Monday, December 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
One of those neglected areas is my bookbinding. I love binding books and creating journals, but there is no way to create jewelry and books in the same space: they require totally different tools and materials. So I haven't had the fortitude to put away all my jewelry work to indulge in my journals only to bring all the jewelry work back out once I've finished a couple of journals. So we have turned an adjacent room in our home into my book studio (talk about an abundance of blessings!). I'm very thankful for this space so I can indulge in both of my passions! Andrew and Allen have both helped me to start that shift. But, of course, that creates more clutter (it gets worse before it gets better). Further, I've been wanting the room arrangement to be comfortable from a practical and an energetic standpoint, and it has taken some time for the Muse to whisper what that set-up might be. But I know how I need the room arranged now... and now I need to go through all the accumulation to make that happen! (I'm not going to post a photo of THAT challenge!)
And while harmony is a challenge, too, it doesn't seem (to me) to be quite so structured, so demanding as the idea of balance. I like that; it gives me a break, a little wiggle-room. I don't know why there's a difference in my connotation of the words, but there is. It's as though harmony is inside and outside and flowing, while balance (as in scales) is more structured, more leveled. Maybe Justice is blind because she prefers harmony over those equally balanced scales she's holding....
So, now I am seeking to find harmony in what I do in my business. And the most recent way I have found balance was to rearrange my studios. And what harmony I find in my jewelry studio now (and my book studio very soon)! Ahhhhh....
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Now check out this latest circle: while swallows have been the design for other beautiful circles, this newest one is unique with what looks like code floating behind the swallow! I wonder what secrets those glyphs hold? And why are they associated with the swallow/bird? It looks like a kite taking flight. Bewildering and exquisitely mysterious!
Summer is not my favorite time of the year. Heat and I are not good friends (and hormonal shifts don't help that relationship, either!). Andrew and I moved to the NC mountains from Charleston, SC, because we wanted to live in these green mountains as well as where there were four seasons. In Charleston, there were only 2 seasons: hot and hotter!
Even this recent crop circle seems to recognize the hot weather with a fan designed with crescents! Or maybe it's referring to our upcoming 3 summer eclipses.
A few years ago, I decided to create an altered book depicting the things I love about summer: the ripeness, the abundance of scents and flowers, the birds and the bees. An "altered book" is a book on one topic that you alter the pages/cover/etc. to make it about another topic. I found a wonderful book on the sun at a thrift store entitled The Fire of Life, published by the Smithsonian and re-titled it "Summer Solstice". Some of the pages I left alone because they were about the summer solstice (astronomy, legends and myths about the sun, etc.). Other pages, I altered by covering with decorative papers, rubber stamp impressions, photos, postcards, calendar art, etc. I even took multi-page articles from magazines (such as on the Monarch butterfly from an old National Geographic) and made them into booklets so that I included books within the books. It was a labor of love, and made the heat more tolerable.
As an adult, I remember being led by dragonflies down a country road in Tennessee. Andrew and I were looking for mountain land to buy to retire to; this was outside of Nashville and dragonflies literally led us down the road to the entrance to the property. While we didn't buy that property, it was a procession to remember!
A few years ago, I was swimming in a nearby small, man-made lake. Dragonflies and damselflies of all colors were darting just above the surface of the water. After my swim, I sat on the dock and spent some quiet time looking into the water just below. There were fish languidly suspended below the water while dragonflies were flitting above the water; and then there was my reflection on the water's surface. It was appropriate that my reflection was between the languid, relaxed and the active, darting images.
Also, "Dragonfly is the essence of the winds of change and the illusory facade we accept as physical reality.... messages of wisdom and enlightenment, and connection with the elemental world and nature.... If you feel the need for change, call on Dragonfly to guide you through the mists of illusion to the pathway of transformation."
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I have quoted Donna Henes' book Celestially Auspicious Occasions before, and I will do so again, because I think she says it so well:
The seasonal ascent of light and temperature is not -- despite popular belief -- due to our distance from the sun, but to the degree of directness of its rays. It would be logical... to assume that in the summer the earth approaches closest to the sun, and that we are farthest away in the cold dark of winter. Wrong! The earth reaches its perihelion, the point on our orbit that brings us closest to the sum, in winter (usually around Jan 2 or 3); and conversely, during summer (July 5 or so) we attain our aphelion, the farthest reach of our range from the sun.
Though the distance from the sun is greatest in the summer, it is at the Summer Solstice that the sun sits highest in the sky. The steep path of its rays is angled vertically overhead. Its energy is aimed arrowlike straight down on us.
The Summer Solstice is the height of the glory of the season of the sun. It is at this point that the dark must begin to creep back.... For several days before beginning its descent, the sun stands sentinel at dawn. It seems to stand stark still in the sky, which is what solstice means: "sun stands still". (Just) As we celebrate the birth of the brand-new sun at the Winter Solstice, we
salute its vibrant maturity at the solstice in the summer.
In megalithic times, people began to create structures that would enable them to track the course of the sun, the source of life. These solar observatories were specifically designed to give precise determination of the days of the solstices... that are the times of greatest extreme. It was necessary to calculate the longest summer day, since it serves as a signal light, a warning sign for changes in light and weather to come.
Indigenous Europeans... built many such sun shrines. Stonehenge, the most famous standing stone circle, has its main axis in perfect alignment with the Summer Solstice sunrise. Strikingly similar monuments to the movements of the heavens were built by the ancestors of the tribes of the Great Plains of the northern US and Canada... positioned in exact orientation to the solstice sunrise. There are more than 50 knowing medicine wheels, some dating back 2,500 years.
Summer Solstice is a holyday celebrated with fire and flame. Bonfires are lit in honor of the sun, perhaps the most universal of the celebrations. It is the ultimate act of flattery by imitation.... And at the same time, the light and heat of the fire serve to soothe and affirm that, though departing, the sun will surely return.
In ancient Egypt, the Summer Solstice was celebrated by the Burning of the Lamps in honor of Isis, Queen of Heaven. In Rome, the day was dedicated to Vesta, known as Hestia in Greece... guardians of the public hearth and altar. The Norse goddess Sol, Sul, or Sulis drove the chariot of the sun. Ancient Buddhist texts speak of the sun chariot as the Great Vehicle or the Chariot of Fire. The ancient Greeks pictured the Sun carried across the daytime sky in a golden chariot steered by Apollo (Artemis' twin brother; she was goddess of the Moon and the hunt).
The Hopi Summer Solstice ceremony perfectly describes this seasonal shift in terms of a transferal of our spiritual reliance on divine illumination to the realization of our own personal response-ability.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
And commencement is so well named; it IS the beginning of the rest of these young people's lives. There were 46 graduates (out of over 200 for the past year) who walked the stage. While any form of academic graduation is important, I think this ceremony really was special. All the students who enroll in the GED program have been through some tough times in regular school, and their courage and tenacity to take this step is really something I admire. Allen enrolled and successfully earned his GED in 3 weeks! His instructors said that he was one of the fastest students they've had! And he was labeled a poor student in public school. While I was a public school teacher (decades ago) and I support public schools, the way school funders (government and public alike) consider the lack of value of the school system is obvious in the funding they allocate (or willingly pay via taxes) to the schools. And while throwing money at something doesn't always guarantee improvement or success, it will help. And when our schools have more funding, they can reduce the number of students in each classroom, and give the students the individual attention they need. *sigh* Don't get me started!
So we are really proud of Allen for deciding he was going to earn his GED in record time, and then doing it!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
What makes it even more interesting to me is that I had just seen Seven Pounds with Will Smith a week before receiving notification of the appearance of this crop circle. I'd not seen Seven Pounds before, and I really respect the roles that Will chooses (no, we're not on first-name basis, but he seems like such a regular, family oriented guy... someone you could have a beer with off-screen, you know?), so I wanted to be sure to see it when it came on cable.
What a powerful movie! I knew that Seven Pounds had to do with paying debts, and when I looked up the reference to that, it was old "Willie the Shake" who made it famous: it comes from Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", where a wager is set and the debt to be paid if unfulfilled will result in '7 pounds of flesh' being taken. Its literal meaning these days is that no circumstances will prevent the debt from being repaid, whether it results in devastating circumstances, or even loss of life.
Will's character, Ben, has -- by a momentary, careless mistake -- lost what he loves most -- his wife -- as well as causes the death of six others. He has a "seven pounds of flesh" debt to repay, and does this by literally giving of himself to those who are in dire need of it. Ben is intense and urgent and driven by inner demons and flashbacks. One of these flashbacks is as a young boy when his father took him to the aquarium and the two of them watched ghostly and graceful jellyfish which his father told him are the most poisonous animals on earth. Ben gets one as a pet and keeps it in a cylindrical tank in his room. I took it as a reminder of happier times with his dad, before the gravity of adulthood took over. The jellyfish crop circle looks exactly like that jellyfish!
So the story (I won't tell the ending) is about mistakes made and debts paid. Underlying all of this heavy drama is the undercurrent of the need for forgiveness. Ben needs to forgive himself for a foolish yet fatal mistake. The movie haunted me for a few days (and still does, I guess) and I can't help but wonder how often each of us needs to practice that forgiveness... of ourselves and others. How often do those inner demons keep us from seeing clearly the need to forgive? Those dark demons are intent only on making us feel empty, worthless, evil. While the Light shows us that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, loved beyond measure by Spirit, and are constantly trying to do our best in any given moment to become closer to our Divine Self. While those demons torment, the Light nurtures. Why is forgiveness so hard for us? And while we may forgive others, why can't we forgive ourselves?
I am wading through the bitter disappointment of our 16 year old daughter Paige leaving home for the second time in a month. In our last exchange, she told me of wounds I had caused her when she was little. I apologized for my behavior... and now we both are tormented by those memories and wounds. Neither of us has forgiven me, not me nor her. Now her absence echoes like a drop of water in a hollow cave. Paige has had her own self-destructive behaviors over the past few years -- which have grown in magnitude -- which have made it hard to have her at home. So she needs to learn some lessons on her own, but I worry about her immaturity and lack of judgment and foresight in keeping herself safe. I pray for her safety. And for both of us to forgive, ourselves and each other.
I hope you find forgiveness in your day today.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Then there is the Sower, the person who intentionally plants each seed in carefully prepared soil so that it will grow into a strong, beautiful, nourishing plant. I have had the privilege of knowing Seed Planters, too. Those people who are passionate about an idea and do what they can to make sure it is planted where it has the most potential for growth.
And there are the Waterers. These are the Nurturers of all things, delicate and strong. They are the ones who nurture newly planted seeds so that they can root deeply and leaf generously in order to successfully grow into strong plants. They also nurture old trees to ensure its continued health and strength.
Don't ask what the world needs.
Ask yourself what makes you come alive
And then go do that.
Because what the world needs
Is people who have come
-- Harold Thurman Whitman
Sunday, May 31, 2009
I also bought a bay tree which needs to be potted here in the mountains since it gets too cold for them to winter outside (so I understand...). And I potted some basil for pesto (yum! Andrew calls pesto "husband repellent", so I eat it when he's not around...) My son Allen helped me plant a curry plant, two tarragons, a lemongrass, a thyme, and two big pots of sweet woodruff (check out the recipe for May wine in an earlier post). So now our deck steps are lined with lovely plants that when you brush against them they will send out welcoming scents! And we have new perennials in our herb bed for pickin' and cookin'. The sage planted a couple of springs ago is going nuts, as is the fennel and lavendar, and a couple of varieties of mints. Time for mint tea. Mmmmm...