Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Happier Homemaker

This summer has been one of big changes for me. Getting back to basics has been key. Apparently, becoming a "kitchen witch" was on my agenda too!

We decided to participate in the community garden in our town, and we have a 20' x 20' plot. Whew! What a lot of work! We had a bumper zucchini crop, and we harvested a ton of them until the squash bugs got a hold of the plant. We had beautiful bean plants, until the groundhog decided to make a smorgasbord out of them! We have also been sharing our heirloom tomatoes with the groundhog...much to our dismay! But overall, it has been a great experience. We have eaten onions, potatoes, beans, zucchini, tomatoes & cucumbers out of our garden. MacKenzie has learned about the "farm to table" experience, and I am grateful for that. I have made more zucchini bread than I ever thought possible! Orange/pecan, and chocolate are my favorites!

Today, I made homemade salsa, all with local produce from our garden and local farms and businesses. Thanks to the Rosemary House, the Camp Hill Farmers' Market, Paulus Farms and Spiral Path Farm...and of course the Van Brederode/Gilmartin garden as well!

Here's the recipe:

A handful of yellow cherry tomatoes, pureed
A bunch of cilantro (1/4 cup?)
2 T. green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed in a press
3 T. chopped onion
1 large Roma tomato, diced
2 T. lime juice
2 T. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 T. olive oil

Put all tomatoes in a glass, ceramic or plastic bowl.
Put cilantro, pepper, garlic, onion, vinegar, olive oil and cumin in a food processor and grind until wet and lumpy.
Add to bowl of tomatoes.
Add lime juice.
Cover and let flavors meld for 1/2 an hour.

Makes about 2 cups.
You can add jalapeno pepper to taste for hotness. I like it without...the cilantro and cumin give it just enough bite for me!
You can also add salt and black pepper to taste if you want.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Bubble Baths

It has been some time since I have been able to take a luxurious bath. There just never seems to be time for it. Mornings are not a good time, as there is a lot going on, people sharing the bathrooms, and I like to get things done before MacKenzie gets up. Evenings are not a good time for it because there is dinner to be made, eaten and cleaned up. Mom has to get hooked up to her dialysis machine. Chris has to get his things ready for work the next day and gets his shower or bath. MacKenzie gets her bedtime routine, which often includes a bath. So, where's mine???

Today, I decided it was my turn! MacKenzie got her bath this morning, and fell asleep on the floor of her nursery while she was playing. The bathroom adjoins her room, so I felt comfortable taking a bath during her naptime. Normally, I have so many things to do while she isn't underfoot, that I don't take the time to do much more than a shower at nap time. Today was different. We are taking a "down time" day. Just playing, being silly, and relaxing together. So far, so good!

I got my bath all cold water, just hot. I lit some candles and brought my dime store novel in to the bathroom. I also brought the baby monitor in- just in case. I sank down in the bubbles (yes, I used MacKenzie's "Mr. Bubble" bath stuff! I refrained from using her bath water colors though!) and felt the hot water do its magic. I read until I was so warm I thought I might pass out, then finished up by washing my hair with baby shampoo and rinsing off. My bath wasn't as playful and silly as MacKenzie's , but it sure was just what I needed!

I decided it was time for me to take care of myself the same way I take care of my child. I feed her good, fresh food (well, most of the time!) instead of pre-packaged stuff. I let her play in water almost every day. She can color outside of the lines every time she picks up a crayon or chalk. She explores every environment she is in, even the ones that aren't new to her. I dress her in pretty clothes that I let her get dirty in. She can nap whenever and wherever she wants to. I let her read on her own, and I never say no if she wants to sit on my lap and have me read to her. I never say no to hugs and kisses. I take care of her hurts as best as I can, and I provide a safe environment for her to grow in.

I imagine if I were to do all of those things (maybe not the napping whenever and wherever...that might not be so safe for MacKenzie!) for myself...I might start to see some more growth in myself, and maybe some reduction in this extra weight I have gained.

Thank you to my dear daughter for giving me the inspiration I have needed! Sleep well, MacKenzie...enjoy that nap under your window with the Spring breeze blowing gently through. I hope you remember that feeling fondly, as I do from my own childhood. I often think about naps on my mother's bed in the room under the huge maple tree that cooled Summer afternoons and ushered a breeze through window screens that sent the sheer curtains billowing over my head. I hope your nap is as good as those Summer naps I remember!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

New Year, New Moon, New Me

Today was the day that I took a sculpture class from Molly Stanton of Elven Elysium. The name of the class was "Sculpting the Land". The class was all day- more like a retreat than just a sculpture class.

This is the first weekend after my daughter, MacKenzie, turned one year old. It is quite appropriate that this workshop falls now, just after the Celtic New Year, and on a New Moon, to boot! I feel like now that MacKenzie is a year old and she is no longer an infant, her needs are expanding beyond me and my care. It is time to read who I am as a person, now that I am a mother and have experienced all that I have in the last two years.

I was greeted by a handsome black cat when I arrived at Mulina's Mill House this morning. He made me feel very welcome! Molly and Mulina were there also, and we had a lovely chat while waiting for everyone else to arrive. There were nine participants in all. A nice magical number! Two friends surprised me- Keri & Janell...two of my PocketFae came to play! It was a lovely surprise.

We began with a story from Molly. She told us the tale of The Corpse Watcher. It was gruesome and beautiful and magical all at the same time. The themes of the story were about compassion, connection, and sovereignty (owning your power). It was also about Gifts, and being in the flow of giving and receiving. Molly explained that when you give a Gift, that Gift expands when it is returned to you. One of the important lessons about being in the flow, is that you have to be an active participant. You can't just receive the opportunities; you have to give back so that you can continue to have active energy flow. You must do the work, so that more opportunity can flow through you.

We wandered through the grounds of the Mill. It was a lovely Autumn day, and it was a good experience. We each made an offering to the land while doing so. I took a sparkler (fire/air), incense (earth/air), and bubbles (water/air). In return, we were each to gather a small object that the land Gifted to us. We took those back to sculpt on.

As I was scouting for potential objects, I found an interesting piece of wood. I picked it up and with it, another that was close by. I thought I would look around for more by the Mill Stream, but when I made the first two steps onto that path, the handsome black cat appeared out of nowhere and began rubbing my legs and made me stop walking. I leaned down and gave him a scratch between the ears and set out to move farther down the path, and Bronson (the black cat) wound himself between my legs and made me trip! It was clear that he didn't think I should go that way. So I said "Thank you...I am listening..." and I turned around and went back. I eventually found myself at stream level, and then high above it, looking down...never quite in the flow. Bronson came and collected me, and we walked back to the Mill where everyone was beginning to gather again.

Then it was sculpting time! I had one idea when I came into the class today, and the piece of wood was not receptive to the idea that I originally had! I had expectations that I would deal with my "Zen Pendulum Fallout", and/or that I would make "The Object" that would help me finish my novel. Neither one of those things happened! As I turned the wood around and around in my hands, I saw that there was a little cave-like opening at the bottom if I set in down one particular way. When I rotated it like that, one of the women said that the one point on the side where she was looked like a dragon's ear or horn. When I turned it to see what she meant, I saw a whole dragon's face! Ear, eye, nose, mouth...!

I began sculpting. I was the last to start, and the first to finish. It was like I was driven to finish before the flow stopped. When I had a chance to breathe and look at my sculpture, I realized that it was no longer a dragon, but a BAT. Funny thing was, I had put on my bat necklace this morning. I felt called to wear it! I talked about the significance of BAT with Molly. Bat and Dragon share qualities because of their similar wings. In Asian mythologies, they are synonymous and are substituted for one another frequently. Clearly, I am supposed to work with Bat energy and imagery now!

I also learned a little about my connection with Brigid. I found out that at Imbolc (her feast day), she releases the waters that were frozen with the Winter to make way for Spring. Quite appropriate, as the first day of my pregnancy (the first day of my last menstrual cycle before I got pregant) was February 2 (Imbolc, or The Feast of St. Brigid).

Today was very enlightening, and I am looking forward to seeing where this goes from here. I know that I must actively give back to the Earth and the Universe every day. I hope to make that a part of my daily Spiritual practice.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Book Of Love

Every once in a while, a book comes across your path that changes your perspective. The first time it happened to me, was when I read "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It revealed to me that there was another way of looking at history, both written and oral tradition. Today, I just finished reading "The Book of Love" by Maureen McGowan. It is the second book in her "Magdalene Line". The first was called "The Expected One". These two books have once again shattered my way of thinking, and have opened my eyes to a new thought path.

These books are about the lineage of Mary Magdalene and Jesus. This is not a new concept- I have held to the thought that Jesus' experience as a human was for a reason, and that he was the embodiment of God in human form. For many years, I have wondered why "The Last Temptation of Christ" was so scandalous. It depicted Jesus in a very human way, from what I understand. I have never seen the movie, but have heard a lot about it, as it was all over the media when it was in the theaters. Dan Brown brought the concept to the reading masses a few years ago with "The Da Vinci Code", but I had already been familiar with the concept through my New Age friends.

However, this series has so many parallels to my own beliefs and spiritual experiences, that it is uncanny. I have the urge to buy a cheap copy (I borrowed this one from the library!) and highlight all of the commonalities that I found. I feel the need to write it all down and document it for posterity, which is not usual for me. When I have journaled in the past, it has been for my own reflection. That is not the case right now. I feel like I need to PROVE the connections. It is a strange feeling. I feel the need to reach out and connect to others who may be feeling the same way. Again, not a normal reaction for me. I tend to keep my deep spirituality to a group of close knit people whom I trust with my every fiber of being.

I have been wondering if I am insane or have lost touch with reality, because these works of fiction touch me so personally. The author wrote them in direct response to her own personal experiences, but they are indeed, fiction. And they are not substantiated by any other documentation other than her own. Yet I am compelled to feel that her discoveries are TRUTH. I am an educated and strong willed woman, who doesn't fall prey easily to every fad that comes down the pike. I am willing to listen to new points of view, but I listen with wisdom and care, and I am not eager to jump on a proverbial band wagon every time I hear of a new faith, concept, or product. And yet, here I am. Wanting a new tattoo to document this "illumination". Wanting to hear more. Wanting to jet off to Chartres Cathedral to experience the rapture myself. EXPLANATION, PLEASE????

This all can not be coincidence. I was introduced to this series by my cousin, who I have had the pleasure of walking a labyrinth with. I had a realization in that labyrinth that all the women in my family who were there were part of the healing line of the Divine Feminine in my life. I called it "hedge witches" then. Both sides of my family were/are healers and artists. I am both. She introduced me to the books during the time that I finally went back to the classroom after giving birth to my daughter. My first classes- Fairy Houses and what else, but Clay Labyrinths. While I was reading "The Book of Love", a friend suggested (without knowing that I was reading this series) that I attend a new church in town, dedicated to teaching "The Way". That's the terminology the book uses to describe the teachings of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The church even uses the word "Beloved" in their name...a big concept in the books. Another example- we are having MacKenzie's 1st birthday party at an Italian restaurant. The girls love her there, and they have a nice banquet room that we are going to use. While we were setting up the details there yesterday, I noticed that there is a big can of olive oil from Lucca, Italy sitting at the entrance of the banquet room. I would never have noticed that before, but Lucca was a big part of this book. The theme of this birthday party has been "fairy tales" from its conception. In the book, the heroine realizes that the teachings of Jesus & Mary Magdalene hid in plain sight for centuries through the archtypes in the parables of fairy tales. When that was revealed in the book, I got goosebumps, and couldn't stop talking about it! I have always wondered why Disney spent so much time and artistic effort on stories about princesses who find "happily ever after" with the kiss of their one true love...the feminist in me was always offended by that notion. Now I see it completely different, and will teach it as such to my own daughter.
* A quick add, for my own benefit...The concept of El-Asherah being the male-female aspects of the Divine...could that relate to the place that I feel most comfortable on Earth is the meeting of water and earth? The shoreline? Never completely at home just on the ground, or in the water, but constantly being an edge-walker. El was the male aspect and Asherah was the female. El was the sky and heavens and Asherah was the seas and the Earth.

On the note regarding being an artist and a healer- I have been using symbols to teach others about themselves through archetypal definitions for years. I have always used the phrase "the veil is thin" on auspicious days, when the Mysteries felt close at hand. These two things are referenced heavily in these books.

One more thing before I close. I have been writing a book. I stopped writing the first day of my pregnancy. I didn't know I was pregnant, of course, but I was unable to write for some reason. I have been writing about "The Remembering". Again, is it a coincidence that this book references "remembering" as well? I hardly think so. What I do think, however, is that it is time to start writing again.

I have been writing this for an hour now, and soon, my sleeping daughter will awaken. Actually, I don't think she's really the one who needs to be awakened...I think it has been me who was asleep. She is as close to Divine as a person can be. It's the gift of being an infant. I hope that she never "falls asleep" and that she remembers all that the Heavens taught her before sending her here to this incarnation. I will do my best to see to it that we live in the Light.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Exciting New Life!

This dancing fairie hasn't been posting in a while...amazing things have been happening! After four years, my husband's and my wish finally came true! Our daughter was born October 31, 2009. A Halloween baby!

Many things have changed in my life. I am not working outside the house right now. I used to work 2 & 3 jobs at a time, and here I am! Working as a Mom! I was pretty sick for a good bit of my pregnancy. I had gestational diabetes, and they didn't know it until well into the 2nd trimester. I felt so much better after that was treated! I was forced to slow down- hot, pregnant summer; swollen feet; exhausted body!

I hope to chronicle more of my experience soon, but for now, there are diapers to be changed and bottles & baths to be given!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Irony, Fertility, & Lessons to Learn

Clearly, I have no idea of what the Universe wants from me. I just don't get it. Have I put out so much fertility energy around me that all of the women in my life who don't want to become pregnant are doing just that???

My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for three years now. Even with fertility treatments. We baffled the doctors! They don't understand what is going on in my body. We think we would be great parents- we know we won't be perfect, but we know we will do whatever it takes to raise happy and healthy kids. But yet, we can't seem to get pregnant.

And all around us, couples that we know are getting pregnant left and right. Couples that didn't really want to be pregnant in the first place. One couple already has two children between them from different relationships. Another couple is having marriage troubles, and the wife got pregnant, had a miscarriage and never told the husband any of it. Our next door neighbor's son and girlfriend got pregnant unexpectedly this year. And now, my best friend, who doesn't really want to be pregnant yet just told me this morning that she is 8 weeks pregnant. That makes her baby a Beltane baby. I was sure that Chris and I would get pregnant at Beltane this year. All the spiritual work we have done pointed directly there. I am happy for her...when I first heard the news, I smiled and was so excited...but now I am just sad and confused for us. It just seems so convoluted and mixed up. Why are Chris and I disconnected from all of this? My heart is breaking and I don't know where to put all of this emotion and negative thought that is running around in my head. What do I do with this information?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Broken Arrows

A couple of days ago, I volunteered to help out with building an intentional space to hold a fire dance in conjunction with the Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm. Along with 12 other people, I participated in several parts of a large ceremony that lasted all day while working on the fenced in circle. The man who led the ceremony, Andrew, appointed each person with jobs to do at the beginning of the work day. We had met before, but only in professional circumstances, so he knew nothing of my personal life at all. He assigned me to the West Gate, where all of the dancers would enter and leave the circle. The intention for the Fire Dance is transition, vision, and dreams. The energy of the west is Dana, the mother Goddess and Lugh, a god of the sun and whose mother's father learned that his grandson would kill him. He kept his daughter hidden alone on an island to keep her from getting pregnant, however she found and eventually gave birth to triplets, one of which was Lugh. How about all of that "baby energy"!!! Mother Goddess, and a woman who was kept from being pregnant but the plot failed. . .hmmm. . .notice any parallels?

Anyway, back to the story at hand. We did little ceremonies at each gate when it was built, and then connected each gate to the other with a grapevine fence. When it came time for the West Gate ceremony, Andrew said that he wished for us all to participate in a physical interpretation of walking away from something that holds us back and walking towards our vision. He had spoken of this before in a meeting we were both in attendance at, so there was no surprise for me when he opened a quiver full of arrows and slid them onto the ground under the gateway.

Here's where it gets good. . .as those arrows slid out onto the ground, I could feel the tip of the arrow pressed against my throat. I knew instantly that I had to be a part of this ceremony.

Several people participated before me, but as the ceremony went on, I became restless, and needed my turn. I stepped forward, and said "I want to do this". Andrew asked me as I picked out an arrow what I was walking away from, and I told the group about how medical efforts to get pregnant are not working at all for my husband and I and that we were ready to leave it all up to Spirit now. He asked what I was walking towards, and I immediately replied "being a mother". The group asked for a power word that they could chant in support and I told them the word was surrender. Andrew's wife helped me to get in position for the trial. . .the point of the arrow was nestled in the notch of my throat where it was soft right above where the chest bones begin, and the other end of the arrow with the feathers was notched in a worn spot on a beautiful carved wooden bas relief of Lugh. I took a strong lunge pose and as I took three deep breaths, the group chanted "surrender" over and over. On the third breath, I stepped forward with that arrow at my throat, and the arrow shattered! It broke into 4 pieces. There was a little girl who was 4 years old who was there with her parents. She didn't help anyone else, but she had picked up my arrow pieces for me by the time I had gotten back to my space in the circle. My face was flushed with the energy raised.

After we all broke arrows in some fashion, we each bound our pieces of arrow together. then we bound the arrows to the gate. Andrew's wife accidentally wrapped her string around my arrows on the gate and it seemed to me that was symbolic of her bearing witness to my surrender and holding me in that energy. All of the others who broke arrows put them on the left side of the gate. I put mine on the right, and Andrew, his wife and his son all put theirs as well. Four arrows- wife, husband, son, and me.

Four pieces of the arrow, Four arrows on the gate, Four times the Hawk was seen above the ceremony, a Four-year-old picking up my arrow pieces, and I have seen the number 11:11 (1+1+1+1=4) several times this week since the ceremony. Magic is afoot!

I find it amazing that I could open up to complete strangers, and allow myself to be so vulnerable with them. But somehow I knew I was in safe space and that we were all connected somehow.