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

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?”


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 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 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.

Pouring Forth Sacredness into the World

Someone asked me what I mean when I talk about living in sacredness or the sacredness of life or opening ourselves to sacredness—or best of all, to pour forth sacredness into our lives and this was my response:

One way to think of sacredness is our awareness of that still hypothetical nonlocal consciousness—which I’m working on writing about for a web page. Nonlocal consciousness is also called subtle energy and has many names in different cultures and religions: chi, ki, prana, the holy ghost, and many others are all versions or derivatives of this concept. We each have our own individual way of recognizing or perceiving or denying it. What comes to my mind when I let myself relax into that perception are feelings of openness, of endlessness, of … well… love.

I don’t know if you meditate, but that is something that greatly facilitates being open to that energy because we need a calm mind, open and relaxed rather then tense and self-protective.

As far as pouring sacredness forth, I know this is going to sound simplistic, but the truth is that it is simple. One way to do this is to visualize a source of that energy in some way, It can be god/dess or the glory of the stars in some of the photographs we see or any other image that suits your view of the universe. Alternatively, if visualization doesn’t work for you, remembering and connecting with the feeling of receiving love works even better.

Some people find that, in the beginning, music that evokes that kind of connected feeling can sometimes be helpful—just letting the feeling of the music flow through you, relaxing into it. The feeling of being blessed by anything is part of the same thing as well. Once you connect with the feeling, think of that feeling/energy flowing through you to your heart, and then flowing to your voice, your hands, whatever part of you is acting upon the world.

You could be talking to a friend, cooking a meal, carving a sculpture, singing, cleaning house, doing your work, making love, opening a door and holding it for the person ahead of or behind you. Most people find it easiest in the beginning to practice this when they are sitting quietly alone and can just focus on the feeling of the energy flowing through. Then they can begin extending that into their daily lives. With enough practice, it becomes like breathing—a part of life.

And that’s really all there is to it. Practice improves the perception of the energy, the sense of it flowing through you, and the strength with which it affects the world around you.

Thank you for asking—it’s a question I like trying to answer. If anyone has further questions about this, I’d be pleased to try to discuss them. It’s good for me to think about this, even though I don’t have any definitive answers—just experiences and knackerty knotions and occasionally some creative ideas.

Do You Believe?

Brian Froud asks disbelievers, “What do you think would make life more fun—believing or disbelieving in faeries?” I know the answer to that one for me! Do you know it for you?

But… how to believe? Chances are that, as a child, you believed that everything was alive. The idea of Faery did not boggle your mind at all. Perfectly reasonable. But chances also are that your parents did not include Faery in their belief system. Even people who do believe in something out there are embarrassed to even think of believing in faeries. It’s not only unscientific, but it’s childish! It’s socially okay for adults to believe in gods—perhaps—but it certainly is not acceptable for them to believe in sparkly faeries. The Victorians converted the fae from powerful and often-frightening figures into little twinkly things at the bottom of the garden. They made them cute. The Victorians were magnificent at denial, and their shadow still influences our world.

So, the chances are that you’ve been brought up to be certain that Faery is illogical and unreal and, worst of all, childish. (Notice, please, that this, too, is just a belief because you cannot scientifically prove that they do not exist.)

I think this is where people tear themselves up. We can believe something on the conscious level and disbelieve it on the unconscious level, or vice versa.

Let me give an example: I knew a man who did not believe in ghosts. Period. “When you’re dead, you’re dead.” Yet… at least three times I witnessed that man startled and frightened momentarily because he thought he’d seen a ghost. A better word might be “terrified.” First time he jumped over a wall and fell in the ditch behind it; second time he jumped behind a person with us, and the third time he literally shrieked and dove under a bed.

Each time, there were witnesses who saw his reaction. Did he believe in ghosts? Even after those experiences, he still denied the existence of ghosts vehemently. Yes, there is a thing called “denial” which means you deny the truth of something that you have reason to believe is true. He denied his belief, because he didn’t want to believe—it was too frightening—but really he did. The funny thing about this example is that on each occasion the “ghost” was simply another person who happened to be wearing white in a very dark place.

So, did he believe or disbelieve? Yes. Both. We are not whole. We are each a committee of warring voices. Some parts believe and some don’t. And yet, that is not all we are. There is a part of us that experiences truth. That part, unfortunately, is usually hidden under all the contrary opinions we have. We are so full of opinions/beliefs that a lot of the time we don’t even notice that we are fighting ourselves. In fact, we may become quite angry if someone suggests that we are being illogical and conflicted—as if humans were logical beings anyway.

What healing is largely about is reconciling these differences, these inner conflicts. So, yes, we are what we believe, but that isn’t all we are. We are also what is true—whether we believe in it or not. Like Faery.

The curious thing is, if you pretend to believe in them, it opens your mind and heart, and you start to notice that quite astonishing things do happen…

Feel free to visit if the idea tickles your fancy…

Healing by Dreams

Wild wolves were all around me this morning when I woke up and… but let me tell you first about the blog I read yesterday. Robert Moss wrote a blog on healing dreams, stories, and visions, which I read and thought was an excellent exercise. In fact, it seemed so good that I decided to try to remember to do it each night and see how it worked for me. But I forgot about it at bedtime.

This morning when I awakened, I was still half caught in a dream. In it, my granddaughter, Megan, was about three and she was my daughter rather than my granddaughter. She, my husband, and I were on a car camping holiday somewhere. We had parked far out in the bushes along a trail, near a small lake. We set up a tent there, but decided to walk back into town together for some supper. While we were eating my husband wandered off and disappeared. Megan and I finished eating, and I decided that it was getting too late in the day to linger, so we started back to the car and camping place.

As we walked (I carried her a lot of the time), it seemed much farther than it had while going into town. I was beginning to worry that we’d passed the car without seeing it. Megan was nearly asleep in my arms, and finally it became totally dark—that deep darkness you only get in the country on a moonless night far from any town. I decided we’d better stop and sleep where we were. I was a bit concerned about having no shelter and being in unknown territory, but there didn’t seem anything else to we could do. Fortunately, Megan was wrapped in a blanket that, when unfolded, was big enough to wrap around us both. We found a clear spot just off the trail purely by touch and settled down, snuggled together and well-wrapped up.

Then I felt a cold, wet nose touching the back of my neck. I could hear breathing and panting and rustling sounds.

Megan murmured sleepily, “Gran’ma, who’s here?”

I didn’t know! Yes, I was worried—who wouldn’t be? Yet I certainly didn’t want to alarm her, so I said, “It’s just some animals. They’ve come to protect us while we sleep.” I could hear the grass and bushes moving as several large beings moved around, but since they made no move toward us after the initial touch and inspection by sniffing, I snuggled Megan closer, tucked us in better, and I listened to her fall asleep, which she did quite easily and trustingly. I was so tired that, as soon as I was sure she was deeply asleep, I drifted off too and slept soundly.

When I wakened at first light in the morning, I found us encircled closely by a pack of wolves. All but one of them were sleeping right up against us, keeping us warm. Megan had one arm out from under the covers and was quietly petting the one that was awake. It was the largest wolf. His muzzle was gray with age, and he was looking straight into my heart with his penetrating golden eyes. He let his tongue loll out in a wolfy grin, and I told him, “Good morning, sir. We thank your for your protection and warmth.” I felt like I should curtsy to him, but it’s difficult while lying down, wrapped in a blanket. The pack silently got up and moved back to give us room to disentangle ourselves and stand up. Then they, still quiet, drifted away into the bushes like shadows. Megan waved good-bye to them and grinned up at me.

And I woke up, feeling incredibly protected and secure—more so than I’ve felt in years. It is not that I’ve felt nervous or in danger all this time, but this was like the difference between just not being angry and being completely happy—an enormous gap. This was a radically different feeling of peaceful security, and it was very healing for me.

I think I better understand now what Dr. Moss was talking about in his blog. And yes, I do plan to practice it. If there is no healing dream that volunteers itself, I can always tell myself a healing story and just see what comes up from my creative mind. How we envision our world has a profound affect on how we feel, and the more deeply that vision is embedded in us, the more strongly it influences us. The dream was quite detailed and had a smoothly logical sequence, more like a conscious story than an unconscious dream, but I’ve noticed that my unconscious mind is quite capable of following instructions—when it wants to.

© 2013 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

October Dreaming

Have you ever dreamed that you could see in the dark? As if everything were faintly luminous? Dreamed that you were small and powerful with a body so lithe and agile that you could dance in moonlight like a wraith?

Have you ever wakened from a dream like that and found a cat beside you, paws twitching on the blanket and her breath coming fast?

Did you wonder whose dream that really was?

When a cat wakes and looks at you with a question in her eyes, do you wonder what she is asking? Do you wonder if she wants to know what you heard, what you’re thinking, dreaming?

Do you ever wonder if all around you everything understands something — except you? Is there is a web of communication between all things—cats, trees, slugs, coyotes, stars? Do you ever wonder if we humans have fallen out of that net somehow? Dreaming that we are better, smarter, more important because we are too headblind and deaf to hear, to see what everything else knows? And we, sleepwalking in our dreams of superiority, blundering around destroying, trampling, wrecking that scintillating, intricate web of life?

Have you forgotten everything? Do you wonder what the cat knows? Is there any way at all to get out of your own head? And into the bigger world outside?


Guess what? There is a path — several paths. Meditation is one of the best ways to begin.

Meditation links:

Basic Meditation by Jessica Macbeth. On Jesa’s Woo Woo Classes home page you can use the search function to look up more meditation information on those pages.

Shambala Basic Meditation Instructions This one also has a link to a helpful video.

And a meditative exercise applicable to daily life:

Meditating While You Work by Jessica Macbeth

© Copyright 2013 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

New Year Still Carrying the Old?

So we are past the end of the old year, beginning the new — and perhaps some of us are finding already that, in spite of good resolutions, we’re still carrying some of the old stuff we no longer want around. Emotional baggage. Anger. Grudges. Stuff. I have a magical chant I do in my head when this sort of thing comes up, and you might find it helpful too.

Xxx, I love you.
Xxx, I bless you.
Xxx, I release you.

(You replace the Xxx with the name of the person, the attitude, the object, the feeling — and it works just as well with your own name if you’re thinking you’d like to free yourself from some inner compulsion.)

Don’t be deterred by thinking you do not love them and that to say you do is a lie. Somewhere in you there is a core of pure, unconditional love. Somewhere in everyone else there also is a core of pure, unconditional love. You are just gradually awakening your awareness of that love and connection. It takes time; it takes repeats; it takes energy.

Some people think a letting go process is about “forgiving” but I always feel like there is a touch of arrogance in “forgive” — who am I to forgive anyone of anything when I’m not even qualified to judge them in the first place? Just letting go of my own anger or whatever I’m holding is the best thing I can do for them and for myself. As long as I’m projecting that miserable energy at someone, how can I expect them to like/be kind to/love me? How can I expect me to love me.

So simple; so powerful. Amazing results — when you do it long enough. It may take one time through or it may take many, a few at a time. It’s easy to tell when we’re done — there is love and blessing and freedom. But sometimes we think we’re finished and another layer of old stuff comes up. Not to be discouraged! We store memories in sets, one inside another, like the layers of an onion. What worked on the last layer will probably work on the next.

Please, just trust the process. And Keep It Simple, Sweetie! KISS!

© Copyright 2013 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.