I usually only see Praying Mantises when they reach their full size in early Autumn here in Michigan, but I happened to spot this young hunter in the front flower garden.
Prompted by The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Optimism, I chose this picture from last April of delicate new leaves on young Box Alder trees that had been hacked down the previous summer. It is truly astonishing how fast Box Alder Maple can grow in spite of poor conditions or trauma, and this trait of the Box Alder Maple makes me optimistic about prevailing in my own endeavors. While the leaves are brand new and very vulnerable, it shows the optimism of Spring for the coming Summer.
After the previous two winters being particularly nasty, with record amounts of snow and record cold temperatures, there was an intensified feeling of dread over this area of Michigan about the snow that arrived last night and is continuing through today. Continue reading
We just got back from a forest retreat in a rustic cabin… no electricity, no running water, no gadgets…. Only us and the forest. Though it was only for a few days, the experience was significant in many ways. I hope to share more in the coming days as I integrate and process the experience, but here is the first poem to emerge.
Morning is beautiful because
the dark has fled and you turn inward
to the poet speaking outward
and baptizing your eyes with sight
reaching deep into the forest’s green shadows…
A stag breaks from the brush.
Startling you in its immediacy.
Nature leaves a layer on you –
cuts and sweat and smoke and Earth.
A domestic embrace we call dirt and grime
in the wild city, running to the shower to scrape
and scrub, pushing it away to the invisible,
only to replace it each morning
with plastic and greed and exhaust and deceit.
A truck rumbles down the street.
Startling you in its hubris.
Yes, the honest smoke from the campfire still clings,
searing the soothing ritual of sweat and dust into your skin.
The breeze grants you a part in birdsong poetry,
the movement of the city reminds you of being
green-washed and cradled in layers of stillness.
The experience settles in.
Startling you in its recognition.
Lughnasadh has aspects of the death-rebirth process. The fertility of spring is coming to full realization with the beginning harvest. The light half of the year is moving toward darkness but we know that life will be reborn again; this is a time for celebration and gratitude…
As a contemplative practice, the construction of land art is an embodiment of sacred space. It is a physical manifestation and acknowledgement of the awareness of the reciprocal relationship between the human soul, place, earth, and the universe… Continue reading
As Lughnasadh draws closer, we have been spending more time with the southwestern nemeton of Visionsong. Something that always fills me with a sense of wonder is the shift in the energies of each nemeton of Dreamvine Circle as the Wheel of the Year progresses. The visit we made today was particularly powerful for me for a few reasons, but the main reason was the way this nemeton’s energy has to me seemed to coalesce into a powerful and communicative consciousness in accordance with this time of the year.
I sense this building consciousness primarily as a chorus of ‘voices’, voices mainly consisting of the surrounding trees and stones. While most of the time the chorus is more of a subtle, blended hum of ‘sound’, today it was more like distinct voices speaking ‘languages’ I could not understand with the logical part of my mind. As I stood ‘listening’ today in the center of the nemeton, I felt an insistent surge of.. I hardly know what to call it. Feeling? Inspiration? I wanted to intone the Awen as a response to this surge of energy, but I am still rather self-conscious about using my voice as a mode of sacred expression. Settling for using my mind’s voice, I ‘intoned’ cascading Awens, lending my ‘voice’ to the voices of the nemeton. By the third Awen, it seemed like all the other voices had joined mine such that a chorus of Awens resounded through the woods and fields all around. It briefly took my breath away.
I read a quote from Carolyn Myss recently that struck me in much the same way: All life breathes together. It is times like those that I experience that reality firsthand, and I might never have come to these kinds of experiences without having come to a conscious practice of modern druidry. As I am sure many have said before me, druidry has ‘always been’ my spiritual practice, I just did not know it by that name until recently. Very much looking forward to celebrating the beginning of the harvest season on Lughnasadh once again!
Through the course of engaging in a short, straightforward meditation, I had a thought that was something along the lines of “The sensation is almost like I’m tapping into some kind of power..”
To my immense surprise, I seemed to receive a corrective response Continue reading