Midsummer Journey 2016

These are my notes from doing the Midsummer Meditation yesterday. The card I drew before starting the journey is:

The Faery Who Was Kissed by the Pixies, Morna, who says, “The answer to your question is, put simply, love — love given with wisdom and compassion, love without selfishness or possessiveness.”

Morna tells us that giving and receiving love and intimacy in a wide variety of relationships is important at this time. She gives you notice that this is a time to open and heal your heart.

Different aspects of life may well be flowing happily together, healing separations and hurts from the past. Bonding may take place and deep feelings emerge. Changes for the better may occur in all aspects of life, but especially in relationships which are deepening and becoming richer.

You are experiencing love therapy for your heart.

Faery blessings on the loving!

I am right here, sitting at home. When I tried to “go” to the Otherworld, the guardian informed me that this is the Otherworld. Everywhere is the Otherworld — nowhere is left out. Not everywhere is Earth, not everywhere is my house, but everywhere is Otherword if I just let myself be Awake and Aware.

I knew this, but I’d forgotten. I’m glad to be reminded. So I’ll sit right here with my cats, knowing that we are all in the Otherworld, and sensing it’s magic around me. As soon as I remembered that Marzipan came, gave me a kitty kiss, and laid down to be my guide. She is purring. Okay.

The God and Goddess want me to practice loving — to do it, feel it, dream it, learn it. It’s very important for me to be learning love just now — love for everyone, everything, including myself. Love is what keeps us alive — and I need to stay alive a lot longer to get the things done that are mine to do.

They have handed me a list: write books (especially Marzipan’s and Gran’ma’s Oracle and the Green Woman’s Book of Healing — maybe others too, they say, but those for starters), do healing (myself, family, everyone I meet to whatever degree is acceptable), and learn to dance more, play more, create more, plant more, breathe more.

I can see why they think I need to practice love in order to live longer if they want me to do all that! There are five books planned just for Marzipan alone!

I’ve been working on this, realizing that it was timely, and I do feel ready to agree to do it. I can do it much better now than in the past. Having my sisters here helped me a lot about that. “Love is patient and kind.” Easier said than done, but all the same, doable.

I hold out my hands with my eyes shut. They put something in my hands — very light, very small. It feels fragile and feathery. It’s a baby wren. No, it’s three baby wrens. They are tiny! They eat, the god tells me, bugs and love. They will help me remember to practice. Goddess says they are also very charming and enchanting and will improve my magic. (O, punny!)

Marzipan says wistfully that she will look after the birds for me, if I like. I agree that we can share them. She takes them one by one off to her “safe place” (her enclosed bed where she doesn’t allow the other cats) and purrs them to sleep. These wrenlings may grow up very confused but well loved.

I am so grateful…. The God and Goddess ask me to draw another card from Gran’ma’s Oracle. I do, and it says:

What to do? Which way to go?

“Weeeelllll, it all depends,” says the Really Good Faery. “To decide your course, ask yourself, please, is this is going to do any unnecessary harm to other people or any harm to you? Be careful – that isn’t a simple question.

“But, If no harm, then why not go ahead with what you want?”

She would like you to remember that being really good does not always mean keeping everyone else happy to your own disadvantage. There is a difference between what people want from you and what they need from you. To be really good, it is important to take care of the needs, when you can do so without harm to yourself, but their wishes are not your responsibility at all — although you may like to fulfil them for the fun of it for you both, just for love, not for need.

Faery blessings on the giving, the giver, and the receiver!

The God and Goddess look at each other and nod. I guess that’s okay then. I probably needed to be reminded of that too.

© Copyright 2016 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved

Midsummer Inner Journey

midsummer sunrise

Midsummer Meditation

This is the Midsummer Inner Journey/Ritual I generally use for myself and when I’m leading a group. It’s part of my Sun Magic, Moon Magic project. The format below is written so it can be used for a group, but obviously you can just use it for yourself. I hope you enjoy it and it helps you along your Path!

Copyright information is at the bottom.

Things Needed If You Are Leading a Group:

Ask the group not to talk to each other during the process, not even during the writing times. Conversation brings them too far from the inner journey state of mind. If they have questions or comments, they should make a note of them and discuss them at the end.

One thing — “sidhe” is pronounced “shee”.

This is going to take about an hour so make certain that everyone has done whatever they need to do to be able to sit quietly and comfortably for that time. It may take even longer if people have a lot of questions or comments at the end.

Each person should have at least three sheets of paper and something to write with — pen or pencil, colored or plain. They also need something to rest the paper on as they write — a clipboard, a notebook, a piece of stiff cardboard — whatever works. This should be ready to use easily so everyone can write from time to time on their journey.

You will need at least one, preferably more, Oracle or Tarot decks. Have each person in the group draw one card from the deck of their choice, which will be used at a certain point in the meditation. Actually, you can do without one, but then you must remember to leave that part out of the journey.

Once they have the card and sit in their place in the circle, they are ready to begin. Starting with the induction, read the inner journey aloud in a calm, gentle voice, allowing ample time for people to process each thing and for a few breaths between.

Induction (The part that relaxes people and helps them into a mental state conducive to making the journey)

You need a comfortable place to sit, a place where you will be able to close your eyes and relax, yet also a place where you can write on your paper. As you sit, close your eyes for a bit and just breathe. Take three slow, deep, natural breaths down into your belly, releasing each one slowly but naturally. No strain, just relaxed deep breaths.

Lift your shoulders up high, then gently let them drop. Do this three times. Softly flex your hands and relax them three times.

As you breathe, notice that your forehead is relaxed… your cheeks, your mouth, your entire face is relaxed. Your eyes may be closed or half open, whichever is most comfortable for them. If your eyes are open, let them rest on your hands or your lap so that they are not busy with the outer world and you can let your mind focus on your rich inner world.

The Journey

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago (or perhaps it was just yesterday or perhaps tomorrow) everyone gathered together at midsummer, the summer solstice, the longest days and the shortest nights. No one got much sleep… but they did do a lot of other things. One of the things that is often forgotten nowadays is that they made journeys into the Otherworld, the land of Faery, the world of the ever-young and the eternal gods and goddesses, the shining ones, the sithe. There they consulted the ancient wise ones to discover three things.

First, they considered what they had. We all have happy things, things that please us, and we all have unhappy things, the things we don’t want, and we all have the things we fail to notice because we are so used to them that we don’t see them anymore — and yet, were we to lose them, our lives would be immeasurably poorer, or in some cases, much richer.

Once people had considered what they have, what is filling their lives now, and then they went on to consult their gods and goddesses to find out what was appropriate for them to be doing at this season, this time of their lives and they asked the gods and goddesses for suggestions about how best to do this.

And then, because all the best gods and goddesses are loving and generous, the people received gifts from them, gifts to come in the future, perhaps quite soon, or perhaps a little further down the line in accordance with when and how they did the things they needed to do that had just been discussed.

Today, we shall follow this ancient observance of this midsummer season. Are you ready? If not, take a final three deep breaths, rest your eyes another moment.

Now, imagine that you are standing up. There is a gate or a door in front of you. In a bit we will enter those doors, but first, notice where you are standing.

What does the earth feel like under your feet? What is your first impression of the ground you are standing on? Is it hard or soft, grassy, rocky, or some other surface? This isn’t a big thing, just an impression of where you are at this moment.

How does the air around you feel? Moving or still? Warm or cool? Dry or damp? Just notice it for a bit. You may allow the feeling of the air to help you to relax if you want to.

Notice how the light is around you — does it seem bright or dim? Where is it coming from? Is it light from a candle or lamp or fire or something like the sun or moon or stars? What is your first impression of the light? How easy is it for you to see?

Now, again notice the gate or the door in front of you — which is it? What is it made of? Is it closed or open or in between? Give it a gentle push to see what happens. If it is locked, you’ll find a key hanging on a nail close to the lock — take it and open the gate or the door. Then go through the opening into the Otherworld and notice any difference you find there.

Is the ground the same or different? Has the air changed in any way? What is the light like now? Do you notice any scents?

At this moment, you are in both the Otherworld and your own inner world, a liminal place, a threshold between times and spaces. It is a safe place for you and, if you wish, you can relax into it, taking a few deep breaths to become more familiar with it as you begin to consider what you have in your life at this time.

On your first piece of paper, write down the first things that come to your mind. You don’t need to list everything, not even all of the “important” things, just the things that come to your mind. They will be the things that matter right at this moment. You will have fifteen minutes for this — plenty of time.

If you run out of thoughts, just breathe gently. As you do that, more things to write may come to you — or they may not. It doesn’t matter. Just write what comes to mind no matter how small or how big it is in your life. Simply write — and when you’re not writing, just breathe gently and naturally. Allow your mind to rest between noticing what you have in your life at present.

***

Now the time is up for writing about what you have, so put your paper and pen down. Get comfortable again and take a couple of deep breaths, close your eyes, and relax into the next part of your journey.

You have already come to the liminal place inside the gate to the part of the Otherword that is also part of you. Now it’s time to move beyond your own personal inner world and on into the timeless world of the Powers.

In the distance ahead of you there is a group of trees. These trees are very tall and their branches spread widely. The leaves shimmer in the soft light, and as they shimmer you may be able to see that they are many, many shades of green — and even that some are more blue and others are golden. Even more rarely, these trees also have leaves of all colors of the rainbow — and many that aren’t in the rainbow at all. These are the ancient trees of Faery and they guard the entrance to the Otherworld of the Sidhe (shee), the people of peace, the elder race.

To help you to enter the guardian tree grove, an animal is coming to guide you. This might be an earth animal or a faery animal or a mixture of both. It may be an animal that is familiar to you or one you’ve never seen, perhaps never imagined before.

As the animal comes closer and you can see it more clearly, what color or colors do you see or sense? How big is it? Does it walk on two legs or four or less or more?

By now it is close enough for you to look into its eyes. What color are they? How are they different from your own eyes? What feeling does it give you to look into them deeply?

When the creature reaches you, hold out your hand. Does it sniff the scent of your hand? Does it touch your hand? If the creature indicates that it would like to be stroked, and if you would like to do that, go ahead and touch it.

When you are ready, ask the creature to guide you on into Faery, and follow it. The animal may lead you toward the trees or in some other direction. There may be another gate along the way or nothing at all to show that you are going deeper into the Realm. The animal know the way. Trust your guide and follow where you are led. When it stops, you are there. You will find that both the God and the Goddess of Midsummer are there to meet you or are very near by and coming to you.

I cannot tell you which aspects of the God and Goddess you may see. They may be familiar to you or faces you have never seen before. If they are unknown, this indicates that you have been growing since you last connected with them, and they believe that you are ready to know them more deeply.

Now you may hold out both hands to them, and they will each take one of your hands. How does their touch feel to you? And how do you feel inside yourself as they touch you?

Does the touch of the God’s hand feel different from the Goddess’s? How do they differ and how are they the same? What physical or emotional sensations do you notice? There are no right answers, no wrong answers — there is just what there is and that is what you feel, what you hear, what you see and smell. Sometimes you may even just know something is there without seeing or hearing it.

Let yourself rest for a moment holding the hands of the Goddess and the God — just feeling, just being.

Now I’d like you to ask them, “What do they need or want from you at this moment, for this season?”

First, one of them will answer. It may be something very simple or something more complex. Breathe slowly in a relaxed way and let your mind simply relax and listen. If you don’t get it right away, just let yourself be patient and listen. Listen with your ears, your mind, your body. Are there feelings in your body that may help you to understand? Are there images in your mind?

If you’re not quite certain, ask the other one of the pair to clarify this for you: What do they want or need from you? Your animal guide may also offer you some help with understanding this. The oracle or tarot you drew before the beginning may help.

When you feel that you understand the request, write it down on the second page of your papers.

Then relax back into the calm restful state you were in before and take three slow, deep breaths — not straining in any way, just peaceful and easy. Then think again about the request the god and goddess made of you. What did they ask you to do?

Is this something you think you can do? Are you willing to try to do it?

If it is, tell them exactly what you are agreeing to do.

Now, write that down on your paper.

Gift

When you have finished writing, relax back into the journey, taking a few deep breaths until you are back standing with the god and the goddess.

Then, imagine holding your hands in front of you, palms up, and imagine that your eyes are shut. They are about to give you a gift.

One or both of them places something in your hands. With your inner eyes still closed, see what you can learn about the gift in your hands. Is it heavy or light or in between? Is it moving or still? What does the texture feel like? Soft or hard, smooth or rough? Does it feel alive or inert? How do you feel in yourself as you hold this gift in your two hands?

Now look at the gift — what colors do you notice? Does it have a scent? If it’s alive, is it looking at you or doing something else?

What is it? How would you describe it to someone else?

Ask the Goddess and the God what this gift symbolizes — what will it mean to have this in your life? If you don’t understand right away, you can ask your animal guide to help explain. Take your time, breathing slowly, and just waiting and listening as they give you this information — it may be in words or in feelings or in some other way — or possibly you’ll just know in a flash of insight.

Let yourself continue to breathe slowly and gently while you receive this gift and the information about it.

When you understand, tell them whether or not you accept this gift. If you don’t want it, just set it down on the ground gently, leave it there, and ignore the rest of this. If you do want the gift, hand the it back to the God and Goddess, and ask them to put it in you or on you or around you — wherever it belongs.

What do they do with gift? Where do they put it? How do you feel with the gift there? Do you feel any differently than you did? Just breathe quietly for a couple of minutes and let the gift settle in.

Is there anything else the God or the Goddess or your Guide wish to tell you about using or living with the gift?

When you are done, you may wish to express your gratitude to goddess and god for the gift and for helping you to understand it.

Now write down both what the gift was and what it symbolized.

And now, it is time to write one more thing — what stood out most for you in the journey? It may or may not have been the most “important” thing, but what was the most vivid or perhaps the most surprising thing?

Return Journey

Again, breathe gently for a moment. Now it is time to come back with the help of your animal guide. You may want to tell the Goddess and the God goodbye for now — though they are always with you, their presence may feel different when you are in your ordinary state of consciousness.

Your guide is ready to bring you back. It may retrace the path you took in or you might come out another way. It might even want to show you something on the way. The Guide may choose give you it’s name — or it might not — they can be tricky or shy about names.

You have a few minutes, about five, to come back through the gate or doorway you first entered.

***

When you are back through the gate, take several deep breaths. Wiggle your feet and toes. Wiggle your fingers. Stretch as much as you’d like to.

Now stretch one more time, as far up as you can reach. Then open your eyes and move around a bit.

Questions and Things to Discuss

What was the thing you were asked to do? Did you agree to do it? How do you feel about that? Is it something you are confident that you can do? Remembering the oracle you drew before we began, does it cast any further light upon the thing you were asked to do?

What was the gift you were given? What did the gift symbolize? Did you accept the gift? If you did where the God or Goddess put it in you, on you, or around you? How did you feel when the gift settled into place? Do you feel any differently now than you did before beginning the journey? If you would like, you could draw another Oracle now to tell you more about the gift. If you do, what does it say?

What do you remember about your animal guide? And can you see any reason now why that creature may have chosen or have been chosen to guide you on your journey?

What questions to you still have? Let the others in the group see if they can help you find answers to them. Also, feel free to draw an Oracle or Tarot card for each question you have and write down the responses on your paper.

Bless you on your life journey. May what you discovered on this inner journey help you on your way.

***
Remember — miracles happen. Faery blessings to you and your miracles.
© Copyright 2016 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved. You may record the journey for your own personal use but not to share the recording with others. I will be making a recording available quite soon and will let people know it is ready on Facebook ( Jessica Macbeth or jessica@jesamac.com ) and also on this  blog (jesalog.com) which you can freely subscribe to, and also it will be on my webpages (jessica@jesamac.com).

You may also like to know that I have a book, Sun Over Mountain, that has many inner journeys. In fact, it’s a complete course on creating and using inner journeys for personal and spiritual growth and spiritual contact. I hope you’ve enjoyed this!

Writing & Other Simple Things

At the end of 2013, I did an inner journey for Yule. In it I really needed to take a look at some things from a different angle — with the help of the fae and Gran’ma Maple.

Some of what I wrote then was: Under my feet the path feels rough, irregular — not a well-worn path, but one that is not often used or has fallen into disuse. I have an impulse to stop and clear some of the clutter — the slippery leaves, the tumbled stones — and to rake it smooth. It will be much more use in the future if I take care of it now. Sometimes these impulses are just distractions but this one feels valid and a good beginning, so I spend a bit of time tending the path itself. There’s no point in having things be more difficult than they need to be.

The path winds between the great trees of an ancient forest, and I’m surprised to notice that clearing a bit of the path affects the whole — the clearness spreads so the entire way is easier to walk. That was easier than expected — sometimes intention is almost all we need. Intention followed by just enough action to fulfill it.

The now-smooth path leads me to a natural clearing in the forest. In the center, there is one ancient maple tree. I recognize her from my worldly life — Gran’ma Maple. How lovely! I lean against her trunk, comforted by her presence. I’m surprised by the amount of tension that drains out of me as I lean against her. And I suddenly realize that one of the things I need to release is the underlying tension caused by feeling that I have to do everything for myself. I don’t. I have help. Why do I feel that I must do “it” all by myself? And can I let that old habit go?

Intention and action… I have the intention, clarity is needed on the action. But first, I want to know more about what I need to release, and I ask Gran’ma Maple what else I need to do. I feel the movement of her silent chuckle. “You don’t think that is enough for now? You think that breaking a life-long pattern and replacing it with a healthy attitude is easy? You don’t think that way for other people — why do you not be as gentle with yourself as you are with them?”

I think about the big difference I felt when I let go of that tension and wonder how much of my energy usually goes into maintaining that “I can do it myself” attitude and self image — not into actually doing things but just into believing my old lie to myself? And then the doing things is even harder sometimes. But doing things for myself when I can is appropriate, while telling myself that I can do everything for myself is not only unnecessary and untrue, but apparently is stressful in many ways.

I get that. Now… I ask Gran’ma Maple about right action. And again, that silent chuckle happens with a rustling of leaves. “Dear! By now you surely have all the tools you need, and if you don’t, you’re perfectly capable of inventing them as the need arises. Blessings on the path!”

Here I am two and a half years later, approaching Midsummer and feeling overwhelmed by all the thing I want to do. I recognize the feeling and know I’ve been here before, but still haven’t quite let go of creating so very much to do and worrying about how little time there is to do it in even if I live to be a hundred years old. I am much better at letting people help me. Not perfect — I still feel guilty and “lazy” when I ask for help. (It would be so much easier if people could magically know what I need and, if they feel like it, just do it, and then I could simply say “Thank you!” but I do realize that this would still give me that uncomfortable feeling of not doing everything for myself.) Lesson not learned! So once more I decide to stop trying to figure this out in my head and see what my heart and soul have to say on an inner journey.

I bow to the Lady and Lord and ask for their guidance (that’s easy — I have gotten some of this asking business right!) and I light the candle symbolizing their presence. I ask them, “What do I need to do at this time to prevent or cope with my tendency to put myself into overwhelm?”

First, I draw a card from the Faeries’ Oracle to give myself a starting place. The card I get is …

She of the Cruach, the Great Yin polarity of the Universe is the many-named Mother of all. She is nurturer and protectress, and in her hands we are safe, secure, and grounded.

This gives us a secure base to work from so that we in turn may offer her nurturing, patience, and creativity to others through our own attitudes and actions.

It is very important for you to focus on that at this time.

Remember to balance that nurturing with the strength of He of the Fiery Sword and to channel their energy instead of using your own personal energy.

Faery blessings on the being!

Well, DOH!

What I love about asking questions of the fae is that they often fairly clout me over the head with the answer!

Of course I need to ask and allow them to energize these projects instead of Trying To Do It All Myself! It isn’t only humans who are willing to help. I could be channeling the energy of God/dess for the things I’m doing. This would be entirely appropriate as these things are my attempts to work in their service!

I know how to do this — it is just like healing. Each time I start to do the work, I can begin by earthing, centering, allowing the energy to flow freely into the writing. While working, I simply need to continue to stay earthed in their hands, their energy — and not to fall out of it into worrying or hurrying or criticizing myself. And when I find myself falling out of the flow and pushing myself, I can simply stop and rest or stop and reground as appropriate. I can even ask them to nudge me when it’s time to stop for a break — another thing I’m not good at remembering yet.

This is so obvious. I’d feel silly if I didn’t already know how silly I am. I’ve only been doing healing most of my life. This uses the same principles exactly. Now one more card, in case they have anything to add.

From Gran’ma’s Faery Wisdom and Gnomic Utterances: the Oracle:

The Unconditional Elf is one of Santa’s Special Task Force elves. This is the one that makes gifts for people whether they deserve them or not. He also delivers them out of season, so they might happen at any time at all. These gifts are not lumps of coal, unless the people are very, very cold and have empty fireplaces.

The only question about the Unconditional Elf is: is he giving you an unconditional gift or wanting you to help him give one to someone else? Or both? Hmm? What do you think?

There are many Unconditional Elves, and this one is named Fred. “Fred” means “peace”.

Faery blessings on those who give and those who receive! May they often be one and the same!

Quite likely the answer to the question above about giving or receiving’ is simply ‘giving and receiving’. I’m receiving to give, and giving to receive. Marzipan’s Adventures, Gran’ma’s Faery Wisdom & Gnomic Utterances, this blog, the web pages, the prospective e-books are all just energy flowing both ways at the same time.

Filled with enthusiasm (but knowing it is well past bedtime), I bow again to God/dess and thank them for their helpful insights. The candle is blown out with gratitude, releasing the energy to work in O Universe, including me, and I saunter gently off to bed, hoping this will help you, just as it is helping me. Good dreams!

P.S. I was so excited about this that I woke up before 6 AM (after going to sleep just past 2 AM) and I thought, “I’ve got to try it!” And what happened? Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Would you believe that it took two hours of frustration to realize that it was working — just as I’d asked. I was being given first a gentle and then a strong nudge that it was time for something else — time to rest, time to sleep, time to dream. That’s the necessary other side of Getting It Done. Sheesh. Am I slow or what? Yes, I’m slow. I really am. But they are patient and will try to help me, even at my most daft. I’m so grateful.

© Copyright 2016 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

Dementia

rainbow-bit I want to understand my sister. I have this deeply ingrained belief that understanding leads to being able to help. BUT!

Without a medical miracle this wish will never come true. Dementia is cruel that way. Understanding depends on things having a reason, but dementia reduces everything to fragments, disconnected from any reason, free-floating in a destroyed brain.

“I don’t know why all these bats are flying around the house making such a racket!” she says.

The cats have been running up and down the hall as cats do, so I say, “Yes, the cats are quite wild just now.”

“NO!” she replies indignantly. “You’re not listening. I didn’t say cats — I said bats! Those black things that fly.”

I’ve learned to say, “O. I’m sorry I misunderstood.” That much is true at least.

About three this morning she came into my room to wake me. I was already awake, of course — the cats tell me immediately when she is up and roaming. She was amused and wanted to tell me about the man and the two little boys who had just come into her room. One of the boys was looking for a dog, but the father told him that the dog wasn’t there, and they left. She thought this was quite funny and asked, “What would I be doing with a dog? Shall I fix you your breakfast?”

(She can find the kitchen now, but as for fixing breakfast, no. She spent twenty minutes the other day trying to bring me a glass of water that she had offered to get for me. I usually say, “No, thank you.” This time I said, “Yes, please” just to see what would happen. The kitchen was ten feet from where I was sitting. She often can’t get that far before forgetting why she has gone there. It took 20 minutes of restarts before the glass of water wound up on the table beside me.)

So, when she offered to make breakfast at 3 AM, I replied, “No, thank you. How about I fix you a snack — peanut butter and banana on toast?”

“O, that would be all right,” she responded glumly. She had visions of I-don’t-know-what — and never will know. She went back to bed and was sleep before I could get the toaster going, so I left the snack on the tray beside her bed. She’ll eat it when she wakes up again in the night. She won’t know or need to know where it came from, and she won’t remember it in the morning. She might ask me why a plate is in her bed, but probably not. It may be inside the pillow case with the pillow. But the food will be gone. It is a bit like making offerings to a capricious god — they are almost always taken, but one is never sure by whom or what.

Our days and our nights have little consistency. Her viewpoint is chaotic, without order, most things forgotten very rapidly and things remembered that never happened. But it’s quite remarkable how much chaos can be created in a house by one elderly, exceedingly slow-moving woman, unsteady on her feet, who cannot remember where she was going or why or what she picked up along the way nor where she put it down.

I yearn for order, for reason, for understanding, for a way to make things better — for her and for me. Even for the cats who are bewildered by her and wary of her slow fumbling traverses of the house. They watch her with perplexed and concerned eyes. So do I. I want to understand her, but it isn’t going to happen. It’s like living with a natural force — a storm, a tidal wave, a fire. Things don’t have to have any reason why — at least not a reason within the scale of human comprehension.

For me this is an intensive spiritual exercise. Perhaps someday I’ll be grateful for having had it. I try to be grateful now.

rainbow-bit

Within Stone (or The Altitude of Wu Wei)

My good friend, Nancy Hendrickson of TarotExplorer.com, strongly recommended that I go on an inner journey. Specifically, she suggested that I go to the heart of a stone and there talk to the Hierophant of the tarot and ask him about what the stones are trying to teach me just now — because clearly they are trying to teach me something.

The stone whose heart I’m going into was given to me by a good friend, Jerry George. It came all the way from the high land of Tibet to live with me. He had found several of these small, smooth, pieces of jade and had been surprised to find those particular stones in that place — he knows his geology and they would not have been expected to be there. Where had they come from? How did they get there? No one knew. He brought them all the way back, and for thirty years now he has carried one in his pocket. I carried mine in my pocket or in my purse. (Why do so many women’s clothes not have useful pockets?) Then a terrible thing happened — I lost it. It must be somewhere in my house, but I cannot find it. I feel bereft and ashamed, guilty of being careless of its well-being and special value — unless it ran away, which is also possible.

But tonight I realized that of course I still carry this precious stone in my heart along with many other stones — the standing stones of Calanais, the stones of the blessing cairn here at home, my outdoor altar at home, the cairn on Dun I on the Isle of Iona, Castlerigg stone circle, the huge lump of white quartz that I brought home in Scotland and eventually had to leave behind because the movers refused to try to lift it, and so many others, large and small. I can only begin to acknowledge them all. They live in my heart and sometimes I feel them murmuring in tones too deep, too slow to hear. Trees and other beings live there too, but tonight it is the stones who wish to speak, especially the small Tibetan stone that I have mislaid but that is still with me.

So I begin this journey within at the gate to my own heart. At this moment, it is a small wooden gate with hinges that squeek their own song, swinging loose in the wind. It opens itself for me, and I freely pass through.

The path to the stone is grassy — greenly aromatic, gentle underfoot. The stars in the dark sky above are shining brightly. A soft breeze lazily plays with my hair. Ahead in the darkness the stone rests on the ground. Although the stone I was given is quite small, here it is its true size, as big as a house. In front of me there is a door, the door to the heart of the stone. The door is small, just big enough for me to enter. All around its frame rune-like symbols are carved. The door swings itself open for me, and as I enter in, I see that it is a someone’s home. A bright fire burns on the hearth. On either side of the fire, turned so they both face each other and the fire, are two comfortable armchairs. I sit in the one on the left, and as I do, I remember that the dark column is on the left side of the High Priestess tarot card, so I am sitting in the yin, receiving place.

Faint shadows move in the other chair in the flickering light of the fire, and gradually the hierophant becomes visible. He is dressed like the pope, but in a shimmering cloth that seems to be all colors at once, even white, even black. I am distracted, fascinated by that cloth for a while and when I come back to the present moment, I see that the shadows have solidified, become someone visibly real. It is the hierophant. He grins at me, almost mischievously, as if inviting me to enjoy his neat arrival trick. Without moving, he is here, as if he had always been solidly and really here.

I rub my nose and apologize for having entered uninvited. He both acknowledges and dismisses my apology with a casual wave of his hand. “The first pope,” he elucidates didactically, “was Peter — and as you may recall “peter” comes from petra and means rock. He was the foundation rock of the church. I am not that pope, but I am the foundation, the true rock of the earth. Now, why are you here?”

I’m not sure of the answer — is “I was told to come” a true answer? My mind is a blank. Is this going to be one of those journeys? The ones that go nowhere? I think of leaving and coming back later, but know that only rarely do I come back to the same place again after leaving it. Catch the moment or let it go… which? I feel more like a butterfly than a rock — and how do butterflies communicate with rocks?

I rise from my chair and sit on the floor at this honored teacher’s feet.

“On these journeys of yours,” he prompts me, “you usually ask, what do I, the guide, need from you — remember?”.

I nod. I’ve only been making these intentional spirit journeys for a little under 50 years in this life — you’d think that by now I’d remember how to get back on track when I get lost. Why do I feel so confused?

Ummm. Because I’m not grounded. Here I am, sitting inside a rock, talking to Rock, sitting on the stone floor, and I am not grounded. I try to “sit like a mountain” as I do when I meditate. Not working — I’m still fluttering. How about sitting like a tree, roots running deep, leaves moving in the breeze?

My spirit self stubbornly persists in randomly floating like a butterfly. Why?

The hierophant’s intense dark eyes pin me in place, my invisible, intangible wings still fluttering. To him, to All Stone, I am like a butterfly — light, floaty, ephemeral. As permanent as a mayfly. It dawns on me that I can be nothing else! To the deep stone, I am impermanent, even evanescent. Fizzy me. I stop trying to be grounded like a stone and instead rise gently in the air. The stone I feel most like is a reverse meteor rising slowly up through the air, slipping free of gravity, burning in my moment of bright insight.

I have spent all of these years trying to be grounded. What am I, what will I be if I let myself go free — ephemeral, short-lived, momentary… floating? This is so relaxing. There is no effort in floating. Being a grounded, practical doer is so effortful… and exhausting. I remember with a feeling of d’oh! that I learned once before, long ago, how relaxing and healing it was to just float, just be free, be diffuse and unfocused. I even made a “meditation technique” of it and taught it to others. (At the right time in the right circumstances, this is a valuable skill  — but it is not a substitute for meditation or being well earthed in the right circumstances for that.)

At this realization, the rigid Stone around me melts and becomes Tree, branches waving in the breeze, roots reaching into Earthmama. Yet, though I may sit like a tree to meditate — usually — I am not a tree, not rooted. Mobile. Bouncy sometimes. Sometimes I flop down on Earthmama, my heart energy connected with her, sometimes I float on her waters or sit in the branches of trees, drifting.

Looking for my right place between the states of stone and vapor, I find my own specific gravity, the place where I am at home — the place of perfect balance, effortless, free, not holding, not releasing, just being. Sensing, noticing that this point changes moment by moment, like the balance of a surfer on a wave. The surfer, too, is in a medium where he neither sinks nor rises above — his natural place is on the boundary between. He bobs with the waves and with his own breath, a complex single movement flowing from many natural forces.

I have earth within me, solid bone, flesh, and bonded blood, and I have air and spirit within me, boundless. There is bright fire and flowing water too. All of the elements are part of me. My natural place is to be just as earthed as I need to be to do what I need to do at this moment. That’s it. That’s all.

Yet at other times I may need to soar freely to listen — to catch the messages that waft between the stars. Or at other present moments it may be time to be between the ebb and the flow to rest in my own specific gravity place — to rest, to restore, to recover, to recuperate, to regenerate, to re-create. Note that word STILL. Being connected to the universe, to stone beneath and stars above, is important. But it is equally important to allow Self to just BE, to rest, silent, not rigidly straight, not effortfully rising, but a living stillness that is in constant motion floating on the waves of the breath of the universe, letting my own breath be what it is and find its own harmony.

Tension is about holding an unnatural, inappropriate, or unskillful way of being. We know it is unnatural and unskillful because it requires tension to hold us there — how simple is that? Relaxation is about consciously letting go of that tension by focus and attention (“at tension” — isn’t that sneaky?) Both are doing. Peace is the place between, the point where nothing is needed, no action at all.

Wu wei.

Good God/dess, how could I have forgotten that?

Everything around me dissolves, becomes esse, being, even the man who is Stone. Nothing is left but a smile that isn’t even there.

Winter Solstice

This is an excerpt from Marzipan’s Adventures, a series of books currently being written about some chat sith dos (tufted faery cats) who live on a world halfway between the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and Tir n’an Og of Faery. This is close to the end of the second book. (No, the first one isn’t finished yet, but these things do happen when you’re doing things with either cats or faeries, and this is about both.) You may wish to know that A’ Ghrian is The Sun in English, and here it means more than just a ball of fire in the sky — it is also the spirit of the sun, a divine being. I plan to add at least one photo to this after the initial posting so check back later for the picture. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from the story, written during the most recent solstice, step by step.

by Jessica & Marzipan Macbeth

Solstice Eve

Solstice evening came early, the longest night of the year. It was cold — colder than Marzipan could ever remember. All of the villagers, all of the people from Hill House, all of the wild chattan sith dos, the cattle, the goats, even the chickens, the wild creatures, and birds — all of them stood silently on the western shore and watched A’ Ghrian falling toward the sea.

As the sun just touched the sea, Riona’s rich voice lifted in slow song — a threnody of sorrow, of deep sadness, of grief and desolation. The light, the warmth of the world was dying. Dairri’s tenor voice joined Riona’s, and soon the silver bell of Aislynn’s voice soared above them both, ringing with Ceilear’s clear soprano. Bram’s bass tones were so deep that Marzipan felt as if it vibrated in her bones. One by one, all of the others joined in, even the animals and the birds, and their voices echoed off the hills. Only Mama Isa and Gran’ma Cait were silent — but their tears were their own songs.

Marzipan felt as if something within her was breaking. She held out her arms to A’ Ghrian as she had done every morning of the year past, but this time was not to help him up, but to gently ease his going. She too sang softly, her small voice breaking, almost unheard in the many-voiced threnody, the song of farewell, of morning.  She sang of all their mornings together, of how his warmth touched her and helped her grow strong, of how generous he was with all his blessings and warmth and light through the year, of how he illumined mind and spirit as well as the world. She sang about the plants in her little garden, who loved him as she did. She sang gratitude and love that pulled at her heart as A’ Ghrian disappeared into the sea for the last time.

He would not return.

The song changed, became A’ Ghrian’s coronach, proclaiming his death, and gradually his requiem — remembering him, remembering the glory he brought in the spring, remembering the richness and abundance of summer, remembering the melancholy beauty of autumn, and the dying of the year… and now his death in the cold sea.

As the shadows deepened into night, all of the folk turned and walked with darkened eyes as the cold stars came out above them, hard and bright. They walked south, then up and across Two Bridges Road, and up the snow-covered Green Road, still singing the slow, heavy song of grief and memory. It was a long, sad walk and some of the smaller creatures needed to be carried part of the way. Sometimes one voice would ring plangently over the rest, poignant and filled with pain, and other times all would harmonize together, swelling and soaring and fading… but never quite silent.

When they reached the top of the tor, still softly singing, the Lady Riona and Lord Dairri paused at the entrance to the old stone circle, more ancient than the world itself. They stood to each side and waited until Gran’ma stepped through and went to the altar stone. She turned and lifted her hands in welcome to everyone. Next Riona and Dairri entered and they also bade welcome to the rest. In ones or twos the others followed and then they all sat on the frosty grass, except for Gran’ma who turned back to the altar fire. There wasn’t quite room for everyone in the small stone circle and some of the wilder creatures were shy about being so close to others. They huddled together just outside and looked in. Marzipan could see the light of the altar fire flickering in their eyes between the stones, and she could see the same light on Gran’ma’s face and in that glow saw how Gran’ma sometimes looked incredibly old and other times very young — and all of the ages in between.

The song continued, sometimes in one voice, sometimes in several, almost like a conversation, the stories and the memories of the year. Marzipan knew the song in her own heart and how it blended with the rest. She wanted to sit in Herself’s lap, cuddled close, but at the same time she knew this was a time for being alone and lonely in the darkest, coldest night, so she pulled her shawl around her and fluffed her fur underneath it. She was still cold — there was an inner coldness as well as an outer one that she felt as she murmured her song of farewell to her beloved friend, A’ Ghrian, who had warmly blessed her every morning, every day for most of her life.

Just before midnight, the song slowly died. The fire on the altar, which had been flickering lower and lower, went out in a puff of smoke. The wind’s whisper among the trees hushed. For a timeless moment Marzipan felt as if her heart had stopped. Stonemother’s little world was wrapped in deep silence. It seemed like a long forever time in the nadir of the night.

It might have been silent forever had there been no one there to open their hearts, but out of the darkness, Riona’s voice rose again — softly, gently, and this time in a hesitant hymn of hope. Dairri’s voice joined hers, interwoven in counterpoint, voices entwined, rising up to the scintillating stars. Other voices rang in, and it was as if the voices were dancing. The swirl and whirl of the interwoven songs, all coming out of the deep darkness, enchanted Marzipan, both made her breathless and brought her more deeply into the song. Every one sang their own hopes and dreams and wishes, no two the same, and yet they were heart and soul in harmony.

Marzipan hummed in her own purr, thinking of her own dreams. Obviously, she wished all of them joy and her own self as well. Good health to the people and the land, gladness and prosperity to all… but anyone would wish that. What did she wish? What path did she want to walk? What did she want to become?

She didn’t know. Marzipan had reached that strange age where no one quite knows what you’re going to do next, least of all yourself, and at that moment she didn’t know what she wanted, didn’t know what to do. She finally realized that going in circles in her mind wouldn’t get her anywhere, and remembering her lessons, she let her mind grow still and sink deeper and deeper into the song.

Solstice Morn

For just that deeply still moment she could hear the Oran Mor, the Great Song of Stonemother, of the stars, of everything that is — and she remembered. She remembered promising Stonemother that she would try to be the very best she could be — she might not yet know just how or what particular thing that might be, but she knew that was it  — to find the path to her very best. And for that, she would need help — the blessing of A’ Ghrian, of Stonemother, of all of the beings around her — the songs of all of them were a part of her song — and her song a part of theirs. She could feel that wish, that profound desire within her, trying to burst out in a joyous carol, to soar up to the stars and delve deep into the heart of the world. She felt as if something were swelling within her, as if she were a small balloon about to explode.

She stood up, quivering, and far too full to speak. Suddenly she leapt upon the altar where she danced the song she felt. There were no words — just her dance, and as she danced, the fire on the altar re-kindled in a burst of light. She danced in the light, like a living flame. She danced to the song the others sang, and the dance itself was her own heartsong. It felt like she danced forever.

The sky began to faintly lighten in the east, over the sea. She could feel the small presence of the new A’ Ghrian becoming stronger, becoming closer, becoming Himself, the blessing of light and warmth and growth.

Father Eagle soared over them, shouting, “He is coming! Now! He comes!

Somehow, instinctively and without thinking about how she was doing it, Marzipan wove all of the heartsongs together in her dance and entwined them with the light of the altar fire, which was the heartsong of Stonemother, and with the gentle glow in the east. Placing her feet firmly on the altar and stretching out her arms, she lifted A’ Ghrian above the horizon. It was the èirigh na grèine, the rising on the sun. He was born. He lived. He illumined Stonemother’s small world.

And Marzipan held him in her paws as she would hold a babe, a kitten, cherishing him, his tiny and fragile and newborn self.

She could feel her friends beside and behind her. She felt their eyes glowing with the new light within them, and all of them had reached as she did, lifting, holding, loving the baby A’ Ghrian — and all of them were filled with his joyous light. The song rose to a crescendo and ended on a single heartbeat — and yet it went on echoing in the hills, between the trees. Marzipan knew that it would echo there all year, shaping the dance of life in the isles.

Gran’ma stretched out her arms and Marzipan jumped into them, and threw her arms around Gran’ma’s neck and hugged her as close as she could. Riona touched her gently, and Marzipan turned and hugged her. Mama Isa watched, smiling through her drying tears, and Marzipan went into her arms and was gently hugged, then handed on to Ceilear, her very own Herself, and she nestled into her arms — safely home, secure, and almost thinking about breakfast.

Solstice Day

Slowly, smiling, each one left the circle, Dairri and Riona first through the gate, where they stopped on each side, blessing each of their folk as they came out. New sun, new day, new year, new life. Gram’ma Cait was the last out, Mama Isa holding her arm, lending strength. It was a long walk home, north on the white snow of the Green Road, westerly down to the bridge and across to the village. Marzipan got to walk part of the way with Aislynn, who was back from visiting Old Earth, and her chat sith dos, Megan, who was new to the isles. She had heard that they would be home and this would be Megan’s first Solstice on the isles.

Megan seemed a little bewildered — she had never seen so many of her people before. Most of the chattan had gone home from the tor to their own places, but Marzipan introduced her to Jake and Granny Catriona who both welcomed her, but Megan seemed very shy and hid her face in Aislynn’s skirts as she mumbled “hello”. Marzipan tried to be friendly, and was sorry when Dairri and Riona turned off for the Hill House and took Aislynn and Megan with them. She had a lot of questions about Old Earth that she would like to ask Megan. But that was all right — she’d see her later at the feast. Aislynn and Megan had come home and would be here all winter.

As they went through the village, all of the purrsons stopped at their own places except Mama Isa and Papa Davie, who had their vardo just beyond Ceilear and Marzipan’s house. They were going to have breakfast together. While Ceilear and Isa lit a new fire in the old kitchen hearth to begin breakfast and Papa Davie lit the fire in the sitting room, Marzipan went outside to visit her garden. Most of the plants were bedded down for the winter in straw, but she lifted up their straw caps so they could see the new sunlight and she told them about the death of the sun and the long night and then the birth of the new sun and the spring and summer that was coming. They seemed excited about the springtime. Then she carefully tucked them back in, and went in to have breakfast and a good nap.

Marzipan knew that later in the afternoon all of the villagers and the wild chattan sith dos and some of the others would gather in the village hall. The chickens and squirrels certainly would come too — they always came to parties for the crumbs and the singing. So did the wild birds — even the owls. The goats liked to come as well, though there were extra-delicious things in the barn for them and the cows and sheep. Goats liked to be in the middle of things.

There would be music and dancing and feasting. There would be presents, handmade gifts to each other. There would be laughter. And over all of it, there would be the warm blessing of the newborn A’ Ghrian. Marzipan thought, “He’s a little baby — he’ll go to sleep early tonight. I must be there to help tuck him in. We’ll all want to go to sleep early tonight!”

The Faery Ninefold Path

You may have heard of the Buddhist Eight-Fold Path, one of the core sets of principles in Buddhism. I first learned of the Eightfold Path many years ago, and more recently I told you about it in my post here, Buddhism on Wings. Today I was sorting through old papers and files looking for things I want to include in the book I’m currently working on (title unknown, but it’s a handbook for Faery Whisperers, an oracle, a path, a guidebook—something like that). I found my copy of the Faeries Ninefold Path, as they gave it to me.

I have to admit that I’ve no recollection of when and where they delivered it. The usual thing is that I sit up in bed during the night or early morning, bleary-eyed and tousle-headed, grab the laptop, and start typing frantically. And when I’m done, I go back to sleep. This is apparently one of those things—undated, titled Jesa’s List, and just bare bones. I’m putting it here because I’m unsure if I want to put it in the book project, but thought I’d wave it around and see if anyone was interested. So here is the Faeries’ Ninefold Path. It doesn’t contradict the Eightfold Path, but it’s not the same either—a different set of guidelines for a life that works from two quite different sources.

  • Maintain expectant gratitude—something good is always about to happen. Something bad may happen as well. Expectant gratitude helps us to notice and see the value in both, and it maintains a harmonious internal environment.
  • Pay attention; be aware—a great deal is always happening. It’s easy to miss the important things (sometimes quite small) if we don’t pay close attention.
  • Note the miracles—they happen often; don’t miss them.
  • Act with integrity—it is essential to inner peace.
  • See what is—observe with clarity and without judgement. Judging clouds the mind.
  • Be kind—compassion is important, of course, but simple kindness and courtesy goes a very long way in creating a world worth living in.
  • Compare carefully—only measure yourself against yourself. What have you learned? How have you grown? How much have you loved? Are you growing?
  • Love generously—risk the heart daily. It gives meaning, purpose, and joy to life. Love flows naturally through an open heart.
  • Be open to adventure—it adds to the texture of life and stretches our definitions of ourselves.

I’ll add a photo to this later if I can find the one I want. 😉

 

Buddhism on Wings

or
How I Became Kinda Buddhist

Once upon a time, many ages ago when I was in my thirties, I was walking back to my office in San Diego on a blustery spring day. Stray scraps of paper were leaping and dancing in the gusty wind. It was a game to grab them as they passed by and then tuck them neatly in the next trash can. In the distance, one, about a half of a page, lifted lightly into the air. Something about it caught me—it swooped so low and twirled so high and with such lithesome grace, never quite touching the ground or the buildings. As I continued walking, I watched it, hoping it would come close enough to catch. Its wild gyrations carried it up almost to the roof level of two-story buildings before spiraling down—and rising again. It pirouetted at roof height right across the street before diving down and back the way it had come. With a sudden reverse, it swerved toward me… and gently settled against my chest.

I stood there, stunned, for a moment as it nestled there, held close by the breeze, until I reached slowly up and peeled it carefully from my breast. The first side was blank. The other side had been written on in hard pencil, not easy to read as it flapped gently in my hand. I smoothed it against a handy wall and held it there. It was a simple list of eight concepts, each with a few words of explanation after it. They were Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.

I remember that the first was “Right View. To see things as they really are. To see the true nature of all things.” I don’t remember the exact wording of the others, but as I read down through the list, I became quite excited. Here, concise and clear, was a description of the path I’d been trying to follow in my own fumbling way. It was like hearing a huge bell ring, the kind that makes your bones vibrate. For several minutes, I just stood there on the street, reverberating. Carefully, I rolled the paper and carried it to my office where I sat and just looked at it until it was almost time for the next client. I can’t say I was thinking or reading— just there, gently humming like a Tibetan bowl being rung.

My office consisted of three main rooms—the front, public room where I taught classes and met individual clients for counseling, the middle room for healing and massage, and the private back room for paperwork and writing. I took the page to the back room and pinned it to the wall above my desk so I only needed to raise my eyes to see it.

Gradually, it became a habit to look at it whenever there was an important decision to make. The checklist helped me keep on track more easily. Then it seemed obvious to begin applying it more widely. Did what I wrote, the classes I prepared, my actions and reactions concerning clients and students measure up to those standards? One of the first things learned (from a Sufi) was that “right” in this context meant “most appropriate, most loving, most healing.” It was a constant challenge, and I fell by the wayside a lot.

About a half a year or so later, a fellow teacher was in the back room as we checked through some class plans. He saw the half-sheet and said, “Oh, I didn’t know you were into Buddhism.”

I didn’t know that either and told him so. He said, “But that’s the eightfold path, the core of Buddhism.”

I looked at it and shrugged. “I found this list and use it for a checklist for stuff. It’s what I’m trying to do. I didn’t realize it was Buddhist.” Though I loved and trusted the man, I didn’t feel like telling him about the paper whirling through the air and plastering itself to my heart. If that happened now, I’d think that Faery brought it to me, the spirits of the wind and air, perhaps, and would probably say so, but I was more shy about these things back then.

“I’ll bring you a book about Buddhism. You’ll like it.”

He did, and I did, and it was the first of a number of books I’ve read on Buddhism, mostly Zen, but also other branches growing from the root of the Buddha’s teachings. And I’ve also gone to a number of classes and meetings to try to learn more. Buddhism is vast. But I wouldn’t call myself a Buddhist. If asked and if I have to come up with a “religion” I usually say “Zen Pagan” and leave it at that.

As far as my current practice goes, I’m human and often mess up. I’m still not perfect at those eight simple guidelines. What is “perfection” anyway? The word itself may be a kind of a trap. Eight little guidelines for living and loving, for compassion and healthy relationships with self and universe. Just eight. Amazingly difficult. Subtle, too. They sound so straightforward — and they are, but things have a tendency to complicate in human minds. We seem to have to start from simplicity, go through a great deal of complexity until our understanding expands enough to move on to a higher level of simplicity. It seems like all these lessons are quite simple once we truly get them. And it also seems that once we truly get them, a little time passes and they start complicating again… because there is yet another level to reach that we couldn’t see before we got to this one.

Somewhere along my rather vagabond way through life, the original piece of paper disappeared. I’ve read a lot since then, and applied what felt appropriate. I made and still make mistakes; hopefully, I learn from them. Things are still checked by the “right guidelines” when there is doubt. You’d be astonished at how much time I spend on some of my responses on Facebook as I work through these. Some responses take days to get past the immediate reaction and into a space of reasonable clarity and “rightness”—as best I understand it.

There may be an end to developing wisdom, but I don’t know if humans ever find it or if we have to progress far beyond the limits of the human mind before we get there. In fact, it may be that the consciousness of the entire universe isn’t there yet. I wonder what would happen if the One became fully enlightened—reaching some state we can’t even begin to imagine. What would that do to us, the tiny cells in Its being? Or does enlightenment work the other way and we small cells have to each and every one reach that ultimate Beingness before the One can?

Meanwhile, I’m still working on trying to find the heart of simplicity in the seeming tangle of complexity. We learn interesting things that way. And I watch carefully what the wind brings me.

© Copyright 2013 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

Footprints in the Sand

The sole of the matter.

I’ve been thinking that this blog has been rather serious lately and I’d like to put something more faery frivolous in it, and this at least starts out that way.

I dreamed that I went to a town meeting. There were a couple of thousand people there. It was being held on the machair, a broad sandy beach with tufts of tough but richly nourishing grass on it. The tide was out, and between the low and high tide marks, the beach was very stony and harsh, unlike the firm sand of the machair higher up. The sea was restless. I was wearing my sandals with flowers on the soles, leaving lovely footprints in the sand, and was walking backward to watch the footprints. They made me feel blithe and whimsical. And happy.

A very old, large, ruined stone building stood on a dune nearby. It was scheduled to be demolished, although most of us wanted it to be restored instead — restored or rebuilt somehow. People were volunteering to help in various ways and offering to work on the building or to help reuse bits from it, saving the best parts. As they considered these things, some small groups sang or danced, some sat in circles, holding hands, while others wandered around looking thoughtful.

Somehow, I accidentally became responsible for all the wine racks from the building (house? castle? stronghold?). The racks were beautifully made of aged black walnut, and there were enough of them to fully furnish all the wine cellars of all the castles in Germany and have enough left over to fill the cellars of the Vatican and every monastic order in Italy. There were probably even more racks than that. Beautiful, strong wood for making furniture and — O, and wouldn’t it be lovely for making doll houses and faery houses and birdhouses? There seemed to be acres of the racks — they stretched as far as I could see.

There was a large, bulbous man who seemed to think he was in charge, though no one I knew seemed to know or like him or to care for his disapproval of all the suggestions offered. He demanded, “Young lady, what are you going to do with those wine racks?” There was a world or two of condescension in that “young lady” — he was many years younger than I. And somehow, I didn’t think he would appreciate the idea of doll and faery houses.

It was irresistible. I became very fluttery. “O, sir! I’m going to carve tiny figures out of them. You know — little humans and animals and other extinct creatures!”

“You cannot possibly use all that wood for that!” He actually stomped his foot in temper. Suddenly he became a judge, wearing robes and seated in one of those high, lectern things that judges use, towering over us all.

“O,” I waved my hands airily, “Do you think not? Then I’ll just have to find other people who’d like to do the same thing. I’m sure there are very many who would enjoy it, and then I’d only need to bring those people” (I gestured toward the imaginary crowd with one hand) “together with these wine racks,” (gesturing toward the racks with the other hand) “and poof! Problem solved! Voila!” I clapped my hands together happily.

“Young lady! You are not making this easy for me!” He pounded his gavel so hard he damaged the beautiful wood of his desktop.

I thought about this and his sarcasm and condescension in calling me “young lady” yet again, and smiled at him as if I were the small Shirley Temple showing off my dimples. I don’t have dimples and am of an elderly persuasion, and then said slowly, “Nooooooo… but I could if I wanted to. You just haven’t given me any reason to want to.”

His entire shiny head turned a brilliant scarlet, like a Christmas ornament, and he began to swell up, bobbing upward in his chair. It would make a terrible mess if he exploded.

So I woke up. And then I laughed and laughed.

There are lots of ways to think about dreams. They can be ways in which the unconscious (or subconscious) mind can tap into that non-local consciousness. Or they can be so simple as a chance to view everything in the dream as a part of yourself. Viewing yourself this way gives an opportunity look at the disparate parts, considering the symbolism, the interactions, the conflicts and resolutions, the ways in which the central “I” of the dream is being helped or harmed — or transformed.

For example, buildings in dreams may sometimes represent the body of the dreamer. Here the ruined building could be my body and the state of my health (which concerns me) or it could be my ‘body of work’ — the various (and often scattered) things that I’ve done, which I’m trying to organize and clarify so I can best work out what is important to focus on now. I suspect that it is both of these things, and in the dream we see this ruin that is maybe, perhaps, conceivably, feasibly, imaginably repairable. Or for all one knows, it might just be trash and scraps, some of which might be salvageable. In either case, body or body of work, it will take the cooperation of many aspects of myself to do anything worthwhile with the current mess. (I’m actually working on both things — O, and a third — trying to create order in my home, in my body, and in my work, but I’m not being very orderly about it. Being disorderly about creating order seems like a contradiction in terms.)

Many parts of myself seem easily distracted, but good-natured, while others seem cooperative and willing to help if only some agreement can be reached. One part, the bossy judge, seems only interested putting down the ideas of others. He offers no constructive suggestions and gets angry with the ideas offered. He wants to be in control and can always (or almost always) find a reason to disapprove of any action. One way of dealing with him is to make fun of him, but… that doesn’t seems to be working well and he is about to explode and make a big mess. This is a recognizable part of me, an internalization of a lesson learned wrongly, but early, that things must be kept under tight control, that action is not safe, that I can’t trust myself or my intuition to make plans and decisions, so I just create more muddle. I thought I’d long since overcome that attitude, and I know that it is not true, but obviously a trouble-making part of me still thinks it is — and I need to find a much better way to deal with it, hopefully a final cure.

I draw a Faeries’ Oracle card to represent the judge and get the Bodacious Bodach, a perfect fit — interfering, bossy, wrong-headed, but meaning to be helpful. I’m wondering what I can do to give him a way to actually be helpful. Perhaps that part of me might like to make lists and put thoughts into categories where they can be looked at in a more orderly way. Lists, plans, and maps can be very comforting, but are a bit boring to make. This suggests that the tediousness of it might well be worthwhile.

Later on, I pull a Medicine Card, asking what I can best do to help the judge be more comfortable. Grandmother Spider, sitting in the center of her own web, tells me that I need not only to be centered about my work, but also about all the other aspects of my life. I need to understand how they all relate to each other: gardening, house, meditation, writing and art, health, and everything. How do these different things cooperate and how do they conflict or get in the way of each other? I may need to draw a lot of Venn diagrams before I understand this.

I’ve no idea what the wine racks represent. Ideas and/or possessions that could best be repurposed (perhaps radically so) now? They are well-crafted, but not useful in their present form. The beautiful raw materials I have for making and writing?

“Footprints in the Sand” — why did I intuitively choose that for the title to this? Is that a part of the solution or of the question? Do I, in my heart, feel that none of it matters and it will all soon be washed away by wind and storm and tide? And where did the thought about “humans and animals and other extinct creatures” come from? I can guess — and have already decided that the only sensible way to live is to act as if there will be a tomorrow while focusing on the value of today. With courage and compassion, and, yes, hope.

What to do? What to do? What to do?

 

Eclipses, Changes, & Cairns

Not complaining really, but I certainly could use a break from eclipses and other potent astrological phenomena. In the midst of the early May lunar eclipse, I decided that I had to completely revamp the on-line class I’m teaching. I’ve been working hard at that ever since. During last week’s solar eclipse, I decided that I finally knew what I really needed to do with a some of my sites that have just been spinning their wheels for a long while without any actual traction. It all started with a when I re-posted on Facebook a link to a blog by my good friend, Nancy Hendrickson, and made the comment that I was having to rethink what I’m doing because of a question she raised there. The question was “What breaks your heart?” and it was part of a series designed to help people find their passion, their personal true north.

Some months ago, I answered that question with “What we are doing to our Earthmother, and what we are doing to our children and their future!” And that is still my heart’s clear clarion call. But my question to myself today was, “So how have I refocused my energies to actually answer that summons?”

Um…

I got complicated about it. Did you see my last blog about complicating things? Well, I’d done it again! I must stay within the parameters of my physical ability to create change. I can use my resources, which are mostly very intangible — my skill in writing, in healing, in teaching — but I can only use them in ways within my physical capacity.

So I’d gone through this convoluted process of concluding that what I could do is to write/teach the things I know on-line… to adults. And yes, I’ve started that process and will keep right on doing this. And the effects will, I hope, ripple out into the world as a force for creating a better world for all of Earthmama’s children. But I wanted something a lot more direct.

As I was thinking about all this, Nancy phoned me. She’d seen my comments and wondered what I was thinking. We were both wondering what we were thinking. We have a nice synergy, Nancy and I. We’ve worked together for so many years that even though we rarely see each other, we talk often about the things that matter most to us. We both have a deep and abiding concern about the global situation ecologically and politically and how that will play out into the future. Unsurprisingly, we concluded that we both have to do whatever we can to try to nudge things into a healthier direction. But what can we do?

I’ll let Nancy tell her own story about this, but I want to share mine with you — just in case it helps you get some traction on your own true north.

There are three things I want to do. First, I want to write more books. People keep telling me that I “ought” to put on paper all the stuff I know about healing and all those things. They say that people need to know. Maybe so. The online Jesa’s Woo Woo Classes are a step in that direction because they get me to actually write these things. But I also want to write some books for children themselves (the kind that adults enjoy reading as well). While I’ve made some efforts in that direction, this needs to move way up on my priority list. I want the books to show how to heal and to enhance ourselves and the world, but they must do so without being “teachy” or “preachy”. I would like them to be simple and wise, to help the spirit and mind to flower on all levels of development, and to be fun! This, it seems, is not easy to write!

Second, I have a website called FaeryWisdom.com and a Facebook community, Faery Wisdom & Fae Dreams. Both of these sites have been languishing while I dealt with other things. They are now knee-deep in dust, but at least it’s faery dust and still has a certain sparkle. (The fae do not think of time as we do. It was at their suggestion that the Facebook page was put up over a year ago, but only now am I starting to understand why they pushed for it in the first place. But, talking to Nancy, I suddenly realized that these were a good base for connecting with the Wise Child Within, the nature spirits, and all of Earthmama’s children. They are potentially a place for us to help each other discover and improve creative ways to move forward in healing the lives of our children — and ourselves. It has to be done in a spirit of joy and kindness, and it has to reach out and be inclusive of all Earthmother’s children. How to do that? I don’t know… I have some ideas, but I’ll need a lot of help to make this fly. If you’re interested, you’d be most welcome on the Facebook site where we can share and discuss ideas.

The subtitle of the Faery Wisdom & Fae Dreams group says: “Faery and the Wise Child Within — for spiritual growth, for healing of the world’s children, for deepening our connection with Mother Nature and our faery kindred.” Description: “For the Wise Child Within — Faery stories (ancient and new), how they see us, some magical knackerty knotions we all can apply, faery nonsense, reading the oracle, faery dreams & visions, original faery art posted only by the creators, experiences with the fae, and more. How can we interact with faery in ways that are healing and inspiring for us, for the Wise Child Within, for the children we connect with, for all of Earthmama’s children? What can we offer to and receive from the fae?

To quote a phrase from an O. Henry story, we need to be “childlike and wise” — and “childlike” and “childish” have almost nothing in common.

And the third thing…

The blessing cairn — when I first moved to where I live now, the process of shaping the land to allow access to humans left me with a big pile of dirt with a nice view of Polaris, the North Star. Faery inspiration struck — you can read about this more fully on BlessingCairn.com. The inspiration was to gradually cover the dirt with layers of stone, to turn it into a cairn, and for each stone placed there, a blessing was to be requested and sent to a particular person or situation. So what I did was to put up the web pages about the cairn and invite people to send requests so I could add them to the cairn. Then, one day when I was sitting on the cairn, something happened.

I’d just placed a few more requested stones on it, and I was focused on the healing and blessings being sent when suddenly I felt this strong sense of connection. At first, I thought it was links to the people that these stones were for, but as the energy came flooding in and flowing through, I realized that it was something much more than that. Yes, it connected to them, but surprisingly, this small, barely born cairn also married with other sacred places of the earth — some very ancient, some quite new. They were all linked in a web of light. And this bright web was anchored in stone, in earth, in many places in this wide world, in the body of Earthmother.

It was an overwhelming experience to feel that network directly. It was also quite surprising to realize that it takes so little to create a sacred space — a few stones and a clear meditative intention, symbolically anchored in the earth. I could see the healing light coming in from other, older and stronger places. But, surprisingly, I could see the light going out from this one to strengthen the rest as well. And with every additional stone and intention, with every meditation, the entire web became stronger.

I would not have thought that anything one person could do would make a real difference, but what I could see and feel here was that it does. It was startling to realize that it wasn’t just me doing my little solitary thing in the woods all by myself, but that it was innumerable people tossing a penny in the “lucky” well, placing a stone on a cairn, saying a prayer for healing and blessing in a church or temple, and that we were all joined together by a scintillating web of light created by the intention of blessing. I didn’t have to do anything to create or join these links. The web of light is alive; it expands to wherever it can put down roots. It can be blessed and made stronger by each of us, and none of us are alone in this. It is, it has to be a community effort — a communion, a sacred act.

And then I had to move away from the land.

So, I did the only thing I could do. I didn’t think it would work, but I put a flowerpot with some earth in it on the porch of the apartment in town that I moved to, and I kept on putting blessings in stones, small ones now, and putting them in the pot. I didn’t expect this to become a part of the world wide web. I planned to carry the stones over to the land and sneakily place them on the cairn. But… the flowerpot linked itself into the web. I could feel it when it connected. Later on, through a series of miracles and kindness, I was able to move back to this land and put the stones in my flowerpot onto the cairn. The cairn had become overgrown — small trees were shooting up rapidly. But the light was still there. Now it is being reclaimed, mostly by the efforts of my neighbor, Tom, who has a Taurean passion for healing the earth.

Which brings me to the new addition to the web, the Blessing Cairn page on Facebook. You know, I puzzled about this. My friend, Nancy, thought it was a good idea. Another friend, Alison, also joined in. It felt like it should start with the three of us. And to my astonishment, I could already feel the light from it. How could this be? How did it anchor into the network of light? Silly question, of course. The WorldWideWeb is a network of energy! Everyone knows that. And it connects into the physical world through computers, large and small, which are touched by hands all around the world. And all kinds of energy flow through it — healing and hurting, pain and sorrow and empathy and joy, anger and love, and even wisdom. It’s all there. Can we make the WWW a brighter place? Can we consciously bring healing to the world through this? I know we can. People are already doing exactly that, often without realizing that they are doing it. Every kind and healing intention blesses and strengthens the web, just as the hurtful, cruel, and dark things dim it. Just as we can with the stones of the earth, so can we do with the silicon chips of our computers and the energy that flows through them. We can add to the light. And the WWW needs all the healing light it can get. We can, if we persist at it, tip the balance toward healing and love.

So, this is about creating and/or strengthening a sacred place in the world to ask for and give blessings and to help with the spiritual healing of Gaia and her children. I’ve already seen how many of you are already doing something like this — gifts of healing, kindness, and compassion going into the world. We invite you to join us. We hope to see more blessing cairns and their many equivalents spread throughout the world in a web of light anchored in stone. We want to consciously focus here on the creation and maintenance of sacred spaces – in our homes, on our land, and in the world, urban and wild, and in the network that is the WWW. We want to see your photos and art work of the sacred spaces you are connected with or are building.

On the WWW we are located at the Blessing Cairn and we welcome you to join us. We’ll be discussing earth energies, healing, the building of cairns, and related things. We’ll be strengthening those sacred sites by interacting with their subtle healing energies, and we’ll be considering how we can best keep them clear and bright, radiating healing and joy out to an uncertain world. But, perhaps most of all, this will be a place for people to request and to give blessings, to pour healing love and light into the world.

So. I have more projects in an already project-overflowing life. But at least these are all the right projects. They make my heart sing. I welcome you to participate when and as you wish.

The photograph is relevant. It’s my granddaughter hugging the Motherstone in the Goddess Garden that was then across from the Blessing Cairn.

© Copyright 2005 Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved to both photograph and text.