Questions that I am often asked about the invitation to make a pilgrimage journey are: “How do I know if this is really The Call knocking on my door?” “How do I know if this just isn’t a mood or a distraction from my responsibilities?” There are, fortunately, ways to tell. The great mythologist Joseph Campell who did extensive work around the idea of the monomyth, or the hero’s journey, notes four experiential qualities that accompany The Call. Do these resonate with you?Read More
I co-created this mandala today as a spiritual practice to attune to the new season and see anew how the plant world was emerging on this vernal day. This Spring season will place my delight and discipline within forest and woodland landscapes. I thought it was completely appropriate then that this mandala is presenting along with shadows cast from a still-southern arcing sun through the fringe forest that is our back yard.
“The Practice & Poetry of Listening in Place” was the title of the workshop I was invited to facilitate with the poet, writer, and philosopher David Whyte. From this starting place, we drew upon themes of the selva oscura, the dark woods, and how the path is both guide and our truest selves. Participants were given native plants to get to know and with whom to co-create nature mandalas as a practice of listening to, and learning from, the more than human world. It was an extraordinary day!Read More
In February I went away for my personal Winter Rewilding Retreat up in the North Cascades. Here, in a cave-turned-cabin, I engaged prayers and practices that reconnected me to the deep and sacred symbolisms associated with Winter, North and Air, locating them in the bioregion of mountains and high places. From this place I sought the mythopoetic wisdom of the sage, the elder, the crone. Temperatures dipped into single digits so I kept the cave’s wood burning stove burning, not so unlike the fires around which wise ones gathered to tell their stories of what the wild had taught them.
Read on about my Rewilding Year and how you too might be inspired by the sacred wild world that surrounds you!Read More
One of the greatest teachers in the Celtic world, John Scotus Eriugena in ninth-century Ireland, taught that Christ is our memory. In Christ we remember how we are designed to be in relationship with the cosmos, humanity and the more than human world. However, we suffer from the “soul’s forgetfulness,” he says as our anthropocentric religions hierarchical structure push to the side our communion with creation.
Christ then comes to reawaken us to our true nature, how we are meant to be, a meant-for-ness that is interconnected with the more-than-human world.This deep remembering brings us back into an integral relationship with the whole assembly of the natural world.
I was able to spend set-apart time for this remembering this past January at the California School of Celtic Consciousness with John Philip Newell. What a blessed time this was creating new friendships and tending to my soul!Read More
Engaging with the natural world becomes an essence of imaginative play. Being within the enchanted edges of the more wilder places is a foundational element to the children’s way of knowing, understanding, and interacting with the natural world that manifests in their ability for creative self-expression and sense of belonging to the world.Read More
Ecological conversations place us in political arenas, fundamentally because power resides in land. An environmental ethic began to take shape in the consciousness-raising 1960's as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work began to expand the focus of his civil rights movement to extend to economic human rights throughout the world. The laws of economics and ecology are one and the same, each derived from a fundamental principal of sustainable habitat, or household for all life. The intersection of King’s economic human rights intersected the environment (ecology) in the understanding that our planetary household requires space and the means for a flourishing life for all living things. Dr. King understood the work that was required of us all to live together in peace in our “inherited large house, a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together."Read More
"You are a maker. And you have what it takes—whether you make poetry or paper snowflakes, clear clutter or ivy, sing the most haunting music or longing howl, maybe you draw or dance or color or entrain with the ocean, maybe you dig with your hands in the earth, or work at teaching your children that we all are neighbors, even the trees. Whatever draws you nearer to life, do it. It matters. This is poiesis, making something that is not yet. Every time we live out our poiesis, we grow our capacity to listen, to see, to know that wholeness includes and incorporates the dark."Read More
Ritual is what reminds us from whence, and whom, we have come and positions us with a forward-facing imagination for what new thing might break in. As the sun set this Solstice Eve, my daughter and I went West to the salty sea, to witness the descent of the sun, breaking rosemary rolls and partaking of tea together. As the waves crashed around us and the dark gathered around the edges of our woolen blanket, we prayed a shelling prayer and Solstice blessing. And then, we went to the woods!Read More
While I have loved well my garden and all the growth that has occurred through the process of cultivation and design, I have found in recent years a deep and demanding need to leave the order of the garden, to see it as a threshold inviting me beyond to the forested fringes or the wisdom found within wild waters. I have desired prayers and practices, rites and rituals that would remind my bones that I am related and dependent upon beaver, bluff, and bird, and how they fare becomes a litmus for my own wholeness and wellness. This kind of wholeness which balances on an ecosystem approach, can only be gained by a journey that takes one deep into the woods, through fields, tracing watersheds to the sea, and climbing up to the high climes of the mountains.Read More
I believe that much of hope is rooted in an intrinsic understanding that, “We are, where we are.” “I am where I am.” Simple sounding, yes, but this is really quite profound and lays the foundational groundwork for a rewilding vision of re-membering our hope, our selves, back into the deep and wise mysteries that are made evident through the cycles of our precious planet and our cosmic neighborhood. This kind of re-membering requires a connection with and within the natural world; to be exposed to, and experience, the integral ecology of which we are a part.Read More
Wilderness is a place where the wild potential is fully expressed, a diversity of living and nonliving beings flourishing accord to their own sorts of order. This is the is-ness of a place; where what one is intended to be, is. In ecology we speak of “wild systems.” when an ecosystem is fully functioning, poet and writer Gary Snyder says that “all the members are present at the assembly.” To speak of wilderness is to speak of wholeness.Read More
To be humble is to be close to the earth, in relationship with the more-than-human world, and to read the revelatory text of creation. To decorate one's home then with the bounty and the beauty of the backwoods within our lives, is a way of reminding us of how to receive the blessing of the sacred, wild world.Read More
To find one’s place within an ecosystem requires an introduction to the names and experience of the very real places that make up one’s homes cape. These features are found not only through direct experiences, but also by the stories we tell about them.Read More
As our waking days get increasingly shorter and darker, our longing for transcendent light increases in tandem. Solstice times hold needs in tension: requisite turn of the wheel of the year towards elements of the next season with what our body's inherently need for wholeness. We are nourished by the dark like the seed who knows to bed down in the dark earth to grow. And yet, even in our knowing of this need, there is always longing for the next season, for the next turn. As we wander into the last week of the darkest time of the year, our desire for light and the nourishment it provides expands with the shadows.Read More
Our personal pilgrimage journey is global in both scope and impact, and we are invited to transformative micro-practices that overhaul how we view our homescapes. Our return requires us to leave the door open to the world just beyond its threshold, maintaining a posture of looking out for opportunities to give of our gained wisdom and our boon of blessings.Read More
The pilgrimage journey is a sacred circuit: a round that calls us to leave home, to confront fears, to face Source, to forge identity, and return back to our home transformed, offering the gifts of our found insight to our community. Wisdom is found in the wild wheel of the pilgrimage journey. Will you go?Read More
The required posture on the Pilgrim’s Path has prepared you for your arrival; you have practiced the necessary way of seeing and listening to the surrounding greater community of things. So it is that when you arrive to your sacred destination, you are equipped to receive that which is for you. Equally, if not more, important is how are are you prepared to give? How does pilgrimage posture the spirit of reciprocity in you?Read More
Time Magazine rightly recognized the countless women behind breaking the silence of patterned sexual assault as the 2018 Person of the Year. It is not a surprise that our cultural consciousness is cracking as it experiences a reckoning in response to the #metoo movement during this season of stretched out night. Advent comes during utter darkness, and yet there is yet hope in the coming light. There is another female whose voice we must elevate alongside all the other voices who have spoken: Mother Earth otherwise known as Gaia.
Through the archetypal movements of pilgrimage, one finds deep meaning and spiritual connection through both the exilic wandering and the renunciations associated with the journey; moreover, as a result, one finds themselves deeply connected within the community of creation, and profoundly rooted and at home in their pilgrimage place.Read More