After the elections–the glorious ride!

Dear Ones–I live in such gratitude for the past weeks of Indian Summer and the return of the Obamas.

After the elections—-Remember the Glorious Ride!

“My bay had lightning stripes all over him and his mane was cloud. And when I breathed, my breath was lightning.”         

 – Black Elk to his horse

For my Horse Husband, Ranger:

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My bay is like a river of blood, running, running through mountain veins, my veins. Still, he is a red boulder, carved by something older than speed. His heart is mustang, big and fierce, earthed and stolid. He is meant to carry only himself. And, on the holiest of days, I join him.

Blessings on this wide-open, sacred plain of hope and activism. May that which carries you through this world fill your heart with ultimate joy and stretch you far beyond even your wildest hopes. May you ride the Mustang!

Marcie

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Celebrating the Very First Harvest and Lughnasad

 August 1, 2013 is the Celtic and Old European tradition of Lammas or “Bread Mass”–the welcoming in of the first grains to be winnowed and the first breads to be baked from the earliest harvest. High Summer is the moment of coming into full communion with our most fertile and wild First Natures. This is the yeasty time. This is the glorious moment of gratitude for the bounty which surrounds us, and dwells within us. This is also the beginning of farewell–the long slow leavetaking of the Sun as He begins to release his Beloved, Mother Earth. At the Autumn Equinox, day and night will be equal and the depth of winter will not be far behind.

But for now, the Earth Grain Mother and the Sky Sun Father are joined at the supreme point of their summer love affair. We too, are feeling the expansiveness of summer–fewer clothes, no shoes, flowers burgeoning and summer rains bathing us all. In Ireland this is the Eve of Lughnasad (pronounced loo-na-sah) when John Barleycorn and the first ears of corn are welcomed through the threshold and into the feasting hall. The Harvest shock of corn is carried by the Harvest Mother, representing the Great Goddess of the Grain, as she is drawn on a flower-filled carriage to the celebration. It is important for the community to gather and eat, drink and most of all–to dance the ancient Morris dances, jigs and other old pieces that carry the people into the world of Mystery and Trance as they circle and sing, all night long.

This is also the celebration of Danu, the Mother of the Celts and a manifestation of the Earth Mother. Her son, for whom the festival is named, is Lugh Samildanach who is known in Ireland as “the All-Purpose god.” He represents youth at its most rugged and full of prowess. He is the patron of warriors, smiths, doctors, fiddlers, scholars and craftsmen, to name only a few. He is symbolised as a mighty youth with a shining spear and ravens who honor his abilities with Wisdom and Prophesy.

The name of the Fair Ones, the original “fairies” of ancient Irish mysticism, is Tuatha de Danaan, the Children of Danu. As her most precious son, Lugh was also the crown of Sacred Masculinity. He was the god invoked when men (and women) were seeking High Summer healing Magik. Lugh is the patron of Magicians.

HOW TO CELEBRATE AUGUST 1- 2  THE LAST QUARTER MOON OF LUGHNASAD OR LAMMAS:

This is the time to gather some brilliantly-colored Indian corn,or newly picked corn and tie a red ribbon around the stalks. Some people fashion a”Corn Dolly” out of the best ears of corn, dressing them in leaf and twig clothing. These can then be taken to a well, stream or river to be blessed with fresh water then left outside overnight in the Late Summer Moon light. You can hang this abundance fetish in your home to beckon a continuing good harvest in work, life and all relationships. Traditionally the corn designs are kept until the sowing of the next year’s crop.

This is also the time to test your strength and push your physical limits. It is the perfect celebration in which to discover the “Lugh” in you—climb a mountain, swim in a cold, swift stream, honor your yoga practice with more vigorous poses. Take a long hike, especially by the light of the moon and let yourself feel the profound pull between Sun, Moon, Earth. Let your powerful body and spirit draw in the Lunar energies and blast off into the new month!

At Lughnasad, Druid tradition honors two special flowers in particular. The magikal properties of Hollyhock and Sunflower are called upon as we place them on our altars or in the center of our Medicine Wheel or labyrinth. It is believed the the Hollyhock may be derived from the words, “holy oak” because the crusaders brought it back to Britain from the Holy Lands and the flower’s green leaves are shaped very much like the oak’s. For Druid practitioners this is a very powerful combination: brilliant flowers which bloom in July and August and leaves which look like those of the Sacred Oak. They symbolize prosperity, attract wealth of all kinds and are the favorites of Fairies. Sunflower symbolizes the Sun and healthy self-worth, a sense of personal meaning, fertility and life-purpose.

If you gather these flowers and are a woman, you can wear one behind your ear to attract a powerful and well-rounded Lover like Lugh. If you are a man, you may offer these in a bouquet to the Goddess of Grain as you request Her support and generosity in all of your life relationships for the coming year.

In the name of Mother Danu and Lugh, the Shining One–may you be filled with the blessings of the first Harvest–and many more to come.

Marcie

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You Deserve a Nap! Creativity and Hammock-Time

Guenivere and Marcie cat-napping the afternoon away!

Guenivere and Marcie Cat-Napping the afternoon away!

YES! Afternoon naps, twilight naps, naps captured with a little toes-up in the green, green shade of summer. I bet you are already yawning and feeling sleepy. Why do we make ourselves so guilty about this perfect way of recharging our creative juices? And, what does the word “nap” mean anyway?

It seems that the word is derived from a combination of the Old Swedish nappa,  meaning “to catch, to snatch” and from the Middle English word nappen, “a short sleep, a doze.” In other words: to catch a quick doze or snatch a short sleep. Perfect. Don’t you just want to do that right now?  “But,” we say to ourselves, “there’s SO much to DO. If I don’t do it, who will? What will (fill in the blank) say if I don’t drive myself to exhaustion getting Everything Done? You could remind “them” as well as yourself that Thomas Edison, Gertrude Stein, Mozart, Einstein and the Dalai Lama all have honored the Art of the Nap.

Maybe we should follow some of the Master Napsters’ philosophies. When one of DaVinci’s apprentices came rushing out of the artist-inventor’s studio calling “Maestro, Maestro you are needed for an emergency,” the Italian Renaissance man awoke from his nap under a large plane tree. Snatching the apprentice by the ruff DaVinci lifted him into the air and roared: “Never, never interrupt me again. Don’t you know this is the most important work I can do? This is how I receive my greatest inspirations!”

Robert Louis Stevenson claimed that, when he was stuck in his writing of the novel KIDNAPPED, he would  “simply lie down and let the Little People solve it for me.” Children know just how to accomplish the art of napping: run around and around, remaining amazed and fascinated with everything until you simply drop in your tracks–wherever you are. And what about our wiser relatives the cats, dogs, marmots, to name only a few? Every mammal naps sometime. Bears do it. Seals do it. Even the birds and bees do it…

With a 20-minute nap, the brain neurotransmission and the parasympathetic nervous systems have been “reset.” Any negative thought pattern or emotion can evaporate with a nap. We can awaken with a different mind than the one which created our problem. We can reconsider an immediate issue, regenerate creative and innovative brain patterning and resolve some of our current stuck thoughts with just a nap. Blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety and cortisol levels drop. The stress which corrodes our physical and spiritual well-being pauses, allowing even the possibility of Divine Intervention, or at least an entertaining dream.

As I was planning the photo for this blog I thought of featuring one of the 3 empty hammocks hanging at Wise Acre, our secret island in the Rockies. Then I had to bring myself to a halt.  I needed to be taking a nap, not taking a photo. And above is what my partner, Mark, snapped as Guenivere and I caught a little cat-nap.

I learned from my elegant grandmother, Nonnie, that napping is a ritual to be cherished and enacted properly. To accomplish this, my grandmother  slipped off only her shoes.  One then lies across the bed, horizontally, NOT length-wise, as in preparing to sleep at night. Fully clothed–no jammies! Next, one draws up a special, very light coverlet folded at the foot of the bed which is reserved especially for napping. A lavender-filled eye-pillow over the eyes is nice, but not de rigeur. Rest your eyes (i.e. sleep) no longer than an hour, or one may awake feeling as if she has died and not quite been reborn. And worse–may behave that way, too.

The wise Arawakan people of South America knew all of this and more. They gave the invading  Spanish the word “hamaca” for the woven sling which these indigenous nomads carried with them everywhere. When an Arawakan was tired of the company, the climate or the Conquistadors’ endless demands–she hung up the hammock and had a sweet sleep. No matter what. Siestas estan muy importadas!

Remember when you took a nap so deep and so profound that when you woke up, you didn’t know where you were? Go there. Your Day-Dreams are waiting.

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