The Jade Oracle: Bringing the Wisdom of Ancient Mexico to a New Generation

Divine, Goddess, Mesoamerican Goddesses, Mexico, Priestess, ritual

“These images would make an amazing oracle deck.” We heard this phrase over and over after our presentations on the Goddesses from ancient Mexico. But moments after the first time it was uttered, we, Veronica Iglesias and Anne Key, knew that this would be a beautiful way to connect people to the deities and customs of a culture that we have given our lives to studying and practicing, a culture that is often misunderstand and little known outside of academic circles and initiates.

The sacred images of ancient Mexican deities are very different than the sacred images of European culture, which we in American – and even Mexico – are far more accustomed to seeing. Instead of a smiling saint in flowing robes, these images have unfamiliar symbols – green feathers, skulls, snakes, nose ornaments – and unfamiliar names: Xochiquetzal, Huitzilopochtli, Tecuciztecatl for example. But these sacred images and names open the door to a profoundly magnificent culture that reveres the connection of the earth and Her inhabitants, that celebrates the small and grand cycles – that infuses ritual and attention to the sacred in daily life.

Both holding advanced degrees in Mesoamerican studies and practicing priestesses, we could translate the beliefs and culture to a new audience, writing a divinatory meaning for each card. But to create an oracle deck, this project needed a visionary artist to design images that were true to their heritage yet inviting to the modern eye, and at some moment we both realized the one artist that we wanted to work with: Ramona Teo. Renowned for her graphic design, murals, and fine art, she was a perfect match for this ambitious project.

Then the two became three, and the Jade Oracle birthed from an idea to reality. This is a story about the interwoven paths from the Northwestern US and Mexico City that converged in Albuquerque, bringing us together to make magic.

Like tarot cards, the Jade Oracle is a spiritual tool used for divination and introspection. The difference is they are not structured by traditional tarot suits. Each card brings a new form to a universal archetype, giving us a window to our soul, a new lens in which to see ourselves. We named this the Jade Oracle because exquisite green jade was one of the most sacred stones in ancient Mexico, as the color represented the teeming bounty of life. There will be 52 beautifully illustrated cards accompanied by a booklet that guides you through understanding the mythology and interpretations of the cards.

We feel that when we understand another culture, we understand ourselves in a deeper way and are one step closer to connecting with our global family and celebrating this magical land that we share. And for those of us with Mexican heritage, this is a path to understanding, and living, our lineage.

Join our Kickstarter campaign to help offset the production set-up costs and help us bring these cards to life!

About the creators of the Jade Oracle:

Ramona Teo was born and raised in New Mexico, “The Land of Enchantment” where the diverse culture and thriving arts community has inspired her to explore her creative calling. She earned her Bachelor of Art’s Degree at the University of New Mexico in the Cinematic Arts Department with a focus on Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican Art & History.

Her passions include painting, drawing, clothing design, jewelry making, graphic design, experimental filmmaking and belly dance. Always the creative entrepreneur, Ramona started Guerrilla Graphix (original art t-shirts, custom design and printing services) in 2008 and Divine Nature Arts (her personal brand of clothing, jewelry & sacred art) in 2015. A constant theme in Ramona’s artwork is sacred geometry and the mandala. In 2015 she became a certified Mandala Facilitator and guides workshops on healing with mandalas.  Ramona is currently a stay at home mother of two (Zena, 11/5/15 and Rafael 2/1/17) and is in the process of illustrating The Jade Oracle Deck.

Maria Veronica Iglesias was born in Mexico City, Mexico. She has a Bachelor´s degree in Library Sciences and a Master´s Degree in Mesoamerican Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico). Initiated as a sahumadora (bearer of the Sacred Sahumerio) when she was 8 years old, she studied about medicinal plants, crystal therapy and healing with gems. She was initiated in the sacred knowledge of Mesoamerican shamanism and became a Portadora de la Palabra, bearer of the Sacred Word. A Priestess of Ix´Cheel, the Mayan Goddess of Medicine, Veronica researches gem stones and their therapeutic use, Pre-Hispanic medicine, rites of passage and Goddesses from Mesoamerica and is co-founder and guide for Sacred Tours of Mexico.

Priestess, instructor, writer and dancer – Anne Key, Ph.D. has traveled, researched, and written about Mesoamerican culture since 1990; her dissertation investigated the pre-Hispanic divine women known as the Cihuateteo, and she is co-founder and guide for Sacred Tours of Mexico. She was Priestess of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, located in Nevada and has edited anthologies on women’s spirituality, priestesses, and Sekhmet as well as written two memoirs, Desert Priestess: a memoir and Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love. An adjunct faculty in Women’s Studies, English and Religious Studies, she is co-founder of the independent press Goddess Ink. Anne resides in Albuquerque with her husband, his two cats and her snake, Asherah.

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Autumn Equinox: Balance

Fall Equinox, Goddess, Seasonal Greetings

The Equinoxes are the points in the year when all parts of the planet receive the same amount of light from the Sun. It is a moment of planetary balance. And, it is the one day of the year that the sun rises and sets at exact east and west. Here in Albuquerque, the Equinox is on Friday 9/22 at 2:02 pm (find your time here  or here).

My daily-life calendar and the solar/earth calendar don’t always match up. For earth, this is a time the harvest winds down; it is the height of autumn, moving us on the path inward for winter. For me instead of winding down, this is the time that things get very busy. School starts, classes are full, and this year I have new projects coming into being.* Finding balance seems an elusive dream.

But this year, I’ve marked out time on Friday afternoon to sit and let the sun and the earth hold me in their balance. Just as plants die away and leaves fall, I’m figuring out what I’m leaving behind to bring myself into balance.

Take a moment to find out when the Autumn Equinox happens in the place where your feet will connect to the earth (find your time here  or here) and mark your calendar. Give yourself even just a few minutes, outside if possible. Feel the gravity of the earth pull you towards Her, and sink into Her embrace. Breathe in the moment of balance and allow clarity to wash over you. Give thanks for the beauty and bounty of our lives.


Historical and Astrological Tidbits on Mid-Autumn:  Mid-Autumn is the Fall Equinox. Equinox means “balance”, and this is the point when the dark and light of the day are most at balance. On a global scale, the equinoxes are at the points of the year when the entire world is in balance, with both Southern and Northern hemispheres receiving about the same amount of light. The equinox has another important feature as well: it is the only point during the year that the Sun rises in exact east and sets in exact west.  For while the Sun “stands still” at the solstices, the Sun moves very rapidly across the horizon at the equinoxes, leaving only one day to calibrate to the east and west. The Fall Equinox festival is also called Mabon (derived from Welsh mab meaning “son” or “boy”);Harvest Home (in British Isle traditions the time when the harvest is complete); and the Witches’ Thanksgiving. Astrologically, Mid-Autumn may be calculated as the date the Sun is at 0° Libra, which usually occurs between September 21-22.

Award winning writer Anne Key is the author of two memoirs. The first, Desert Priestess: a memoir, relates the three years she spent as Priestess of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, located in Nevada. Her second, Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love: A Memoir of Life under the Albuquerque Sun, recounts her time in Albuquerque performing under the stage name Annie O’Roar. She is co-founder of Goddess Ink.  

*Her newest collaboration is the Jade Oracle deck, featuring deities from Ancient Mexico.  

Harvest

Goddess, lammas, Priestess, Seasonal Greetings

Sunday August 6th is the midpoint between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox, at the cross of the quarters, signaling the first day of autumn (see note below). The sun is rising a little later in the morning, the night coming just a bit sooner; the change of season is in the air. Welcome to the time of harvest.

Here in Albuquerque, our tomatoes and figs are ripening beautifully, and the corn tassels sway in the breeze. But somehow I am not feeling “as without so within.” In my internal garden, I see so many plants that have faltered. Did I not give them enough water? Should I have added more nitrogen to my internal soil? What did I neglect?

Part of this answer is that sometimes seeds do not sprout; sometimes plants do not thrive. Maybe I should consider the two tomato plants that we pulled out this year, or the geranium that just did not make it. Maybe I should come to terms with the fact that sometimes, no matter what I do, that some things will not come to fruition.  And that the two tomato plants and the geranium are in the compost pile, decomposing into the rich soil that will feed the future.

This is the time of harvest, and abundance takes many forms. Let’s celebrate our place in the cycle of life, and ride the wheel of fortune all the way around. Embrace every moment, using its lessons to enrich our lives. Take some time for stillness today in gracious gratitude for our harvests.

With love from my heart to yours-  Anne

N.B.: This cross-quarter festival is commonly called Lammas (from the Anglo-Saxon for “loaf mass”) or Lughnasadh (from the Irish god Lugh), traditionally celebrated August 1st. Astrologically, the First Day of Autumn may be calculated as the date the Sun is at 15° Leo, which currently Falls around August 6th and 7th.

Healing What I Did Not Realize Was Wounded: Part I

Goddess, Goddesses of the Americas, Mexico, Priestess, ritual

Sometimes I don’t even realize I am wounded. There have been many times in my life that I have known that I was wounded and sought healing from divine beings, and for those healings I am eternally grateful. But there have also been times when I was healed eventhough I didn’t even realize I was wounded, and the healing from such moments is truly exquisite grace. This happened on my last two visits to Mexico.

In the summer of 2016, Veronica Iglesias and I lead a tour to Mexico City. Part of this tour was visiting the lands and monuments to thirteen Nahua Goddesses. Veronica took us to a site that I had never visited before, Xochitecatl. From about 700 BCE to 900 CE, and even beyond into the Colonial Era (after 1697 CE), this beautiful ceremonial center was dedicated to women’s rituals, and the energy of the Goddesses Xochiquetzal and Chalchiuhtlicue infuses the land with beauty.

Though I have known of Xochiquetzal for many years, I did not consider myself a devotee. However, when I look over my life as a belly dancer, burlesque performer, priestess, feminist, academic, and general lover of flowers, colorful garments, jewelry, and all that brings beauty to the world, I can see Her touch in my life at every turn. That afternoon at Xochitecatl, She came to me and began a healing of what I had not even realized was wounded.

Lying on the grass in front of the Pyramid of the Flowers, Veronica lead a guided meditation. As often happens, I cannot remember a word of what she said. But I remember the moment I awoke in my mind’s eye, dressed for ceremony and part of a grand procession to the base of the steps of the pyramid. I looked down at my beautifully embroidered quechquemitl, and felt the rustle of feathers in my headdress. Heavy stone jewelry weighed on my neck and wrist. I looked up into the sun, watching it descend over the horizon of the snowcapped volcano, Matlalcueitl (La Malinche), Lady of the Blue Skirt.

As is the way with visions, I have memories of participating in ritual and ceremony, being undressed and washed and purified. But the most vivid moment was when Xochiquetzal appeared to me. I knelt before Her, naked. She very gently sang to me and laid me out on my back, my body held by each leaf of all of the plants underneath me. Then She wrapped me in white fibers, enfolding my entire being in a cocoon. I think I remember Her closing my eyes. What I remember most distinctly is falling into the embrace of deep rest.

When Veronica called us back, I was of course reluctant to return. But, as Michael Harner once told me, our job is to go and come back. So I returned to the present moment, still wrapped. And I stayed in that cocoon until a year later, when Xochiquetzal came to me again.

To visit Xochitecatl in person, join Sacred Tours of Mexico for a Women’s Retreat in the Heart of Mexico, Puebla and Cholula November 2017. For more about the sacred side of Mexico, join our Facebook group and sign up for our newsletter.

AwarIMG_6430d winning writer Anne Key is the co-founder of Sacred Tours of Mexico. She has been traveling and researching in Mexico since the late 1980’s. With a Ph.D. in Women’s Spirituality, Anne brings both her expertise and love to each tour. Her dissertation and articles on Mesoamerican Goddesses are frequently cited sources for their feminist focus. She is the author of two memoirs (Desert Priestess: a memoir and Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love: A Memoir of Life under the Albuquerque Sun), co-editor of Stepping into Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings on Priestesses and The Heart of the Sun: An Anthology in Exaltation of Sekhmet. She is a co-founder of Goddess Ink.

Greetings for Beltaine, the First Day of Summer!

Beltane, Goddess, Priestess, ritual, sacred sites, Seasonal Greetings

Greetings! Tomorrow (Thursday) is the First Day of Summer, the cross-quarter day between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice, often called Beltane or May Day. If we think of the summer as the Season of the Light, then we can see that now it is definitely lighter in the mornings (am I the only one waking up at 5am?).

One European tradition is the maypole, a lively celebration which includes circling a tree with ribbons in hand, which mirrors the growth and verdant fecundity of the season. Though we don’t have a maypole, our flowers, shrubs, and trees are blossoming and leafing, bringing the feeling of life, hope, and joy to my heart.

Snakes also enter in the celebrations at this time of year. The sun warms the stones, and the snakes begin peeking out. In some parts of Italy, snake processions still take place.

My snake Asherah and I have been spending a lot of time together lately. She is awakened from her winter slumber and ready to dance in the season. As I held her last night—her long body coiled around my waist, spiraling up my chest and head atop my shoulder—I was reminded, once again, of wholeness. Snakes live in the ground and climb high atop trees, connecting us from the underworld to the heavens above. When she holds me, I feel whole, connected to deep within the earth all the way to the stars above. And within myself, I am united from my base to crown chakra.

Take a moment today to revel in the beauty of the verdant abundance that surrounds you. Dig your feet into the earth, feel the strength from your base, and let your crown chakra bloom, sparkling like star-fire in the night sky.

Bright  Blessings! – Anne

Note on Dates: Traditionally Beltane is celebrated on May 1st or the eve before. Astrologically, the First Day of Summer may be calculated as the date the Sun is at 15° Taurus (Tropical system), which currently Falls around May 4th to 5th.

Xochitecatl and the Pyramid of the Flowers: Ceremonial Center for Women’s Mysteries

Goddess, Mesoamerican Goddesses, Mexico, sacred sites

The Pyramid of the Flowers at Xochitecatl has a deep resonance with women’s mysteries.  It is believed that this site was used as a ceremonial center.  Perched atop an extinct volcano, the vista from Pyramid of the Flowers offers 360 degree panoramic views of the entire Puebla-Tlaxcala Valley and three volcanoes: Popocatepetl, Iztaccihuatl, and La Malinche.

The Pyramid of the Flowers faces La Malinche; in fact, the pyramid seems to be a mirror

Malinche

La Malinche

image. The platform of the pyramid base is approximately 144 meters east to west and 110 meters north to south, similar to that of Teotihuacan’s Pyramid of the Moon. Because of the large volume of the pyramid, tons of rocks and boulders would have been brought up from the lower slopes. Most of the volume dates to the Formative era (700 BCE), but some of the construction was performed during the Late Classic (650-900 CE), showing the many centuries of use. 

On September 29th, from the summit of the Pyramid of the Flowers, the sun rises directly over La Malinche. This date corresponds to the festival celebrating the Archangel Michael in the town of San Miguel del Milagro, just a few miles to the east of Xochitecatl (read about the celebration here.) For those of us looking for the roots of women’s ceremony and mystery, this seems to point to the idea that this date held significance prior to the coming of Catholicism to the region. And, because of its connection to Pyramid of the Flowers and La Malinche, this day may have been significant to the rituals held there which most definitely centered around women’s mysteries.

The site itself has only one small structure (Pyramid of the Serpent) that might have served as a residence, leading us to believe that the complex was

In the Mesoamerican Cosmovision, Cihuatlampa, (cihua = women; lamp= place) was the

IMG_6337

Step of the pyramid, made from a metate.

designation for west, one of the four cardinal directions. Cihuatlampa was also the celestial home of the Cihuateteo, women who died in childbirth. The Pyramid of the Flowers faces Cihuatlampa, further showing its connection to women’s ritual.mostly used for ceremonial reasons, unlike most other sites (Serra Puche 2012:42-46).

The stairway of the pyramid is literally built of women’s tools. There are a number of metate’s, stones for grinding corn, used as stairs. There were offerings of female figurines found embedded in the staircases. Nearly 500 spindle whorls were found, further linking this place to women’s culture (Puche 268).

IMG_6370

Sunken pool in front of the steps of the Pyramid of the Flowers.

In front of the stairway are two ritual basins, one above ground and one sunk into the ground. Four sculptures were found in the sunken basin: a toad, a mythological serpent with a human face in its open jaws, and two human faces. Toads are a religious symbol for Mesoamericans, possibly relating to the hallucinogenic properties of their secretions. The serpent with the human face could be a reference to Cihuacoatl, the snake-woman. It has been theorized that the two basins were part of child birthing rituals. The image of La Malinche is reflected in the sunken ritual basin.

La Malinche is locally called Matlalceitl, Lady of the Blue Skirt. This name may be connected with Chalchiuhtlicue, the Goddess rivers, closely associated with childbirth and purification (the name “La Malinche” was not given to the volcano until the 1600’s CE). Streams flow from the volcano, and springs with drinkable water surround the base, adding to the idea that the volcano is closely associated with Chalchiuhtlicue.

There were thirty-two burials found near the bottom of the staircase of the Pyramid of the Flowers, mostly females and infants The burials span the entire use of the ceremonial complex, from Formative Era (pre-800 BCE) to the Late Classic (900 CE). Burials were individual and collective, primary and secondary (Puche 269). These burials show the connection of this sacred place to the mysteries of life and death.

Although Xochitecatl’s dedication to a specific deity is still the subject of debate, its geographic location shows that it was a cosmic center of primary importance. This is evidenced by the orientation of the site toward dawn on a particular date, its special relation to La Malinche, and the fact that Pyramid of Flowers is a copy of that mountain itself. Together, these observations reveal a site where ceremonies were performed in which women played the main roles…where other ritual activities, such as baths and offerings, took place. All of these factors point to ceremonies dedicated to the Earth Mother, as personified by the female volcano. (Puche 279)

Xochitecatl holds the sacred energy of thousands of years of ritual dedicated to women’s mysteries. Visit and experience it for yourself!

References:

Mari Carmen Serra Puche, “The Concept of Feminine Places in Mesoamerica: The Case of Xochitécatl, Tlaxcala, Mexico.” In Gender in Pre-Hispanic America, Cecilia F. Klein, editor. Washington DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 2001.

To visit Xochitecatl in person, join Sacred Tours of Mexico for a Women’s Retreat in the Heart of Mexico, Puebla and Cholula November 2017. For more about the sacred side of Mexico, join our Facebook group and sign up for our newsletter.

IMG_6430

Anne in front of the Pyramid of the Flowers

Award winning writer Anne Key is the co-founder of Sacred Tours of Mexico. She has been traveling and researching in Mexico since the late 1980’s. With a Ph.D. in Women’s Spirituality, Anne brings both her expertise and love to each tour. Her dissertation and articles on Mesoamerican Goddesses are often cited. She is the author of two memoirs (Desert Priestess: a memoir and Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love: A Memoir of Life under the Albuquerque Sun) and is a co-founder of Goddess Ink.

 

 

 

Spring Equinox 2017: Ready, set, grow!

contemplation, Goddess, Gratefulness, Seasonal Greetings, spring equinox

Spring Equinox 2017

Today is the Spring Equinox, when the northern and southern hemispheres are bathed in equal light. It is a day to search for balance within and without. Spring is the transition from the dark womb of winter to the brilliance of summer, and we are at the moment when all the underground growth breaks surface.

I’ve had a bit of a dark womb winter this year, and I feel like a part of myself was either hibernating or hiding. There have been times I have wanted to come out of the cave, to pull back the heavy blankets, but I just wasn’t ready.

But now, I’m ready. The sunflower seed bursting from its shell:

For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.  Cynthia Occelli

This is where I am today, just beginning to break open through the seed. Its carcass is still on my leaves.

Take a moment today and consider where you are. Let growth take its natural course. Breathe into the beauty, vigor, and newness that is Spring.

Blessed be – Anne

PS: This sunflower seed was planted at the full moon during a wonderful and powerful ritual. I’m ready to shake myself awake!

More about Spring Equinox: Spring Equinox is often called Ostara, or Eostre, named for a goddess of Germanic origin who is the namesake of Easter. For the Northern Hemisphere, Spring Equinox is Mid-Spring, signaling the height of the season, occurring at 1° Aries in Tropical system. History and ritual ideas: http://www.schooloftheseasons.com/spring.html .

Mid Winter and Solstice

Divine, Empowerment, Goddess, Priestess, ritual, Solstice

shutterstock_242072233I want to start out this post with the phrase “the mid-winter of my discontent.” But I do not want to let the beautiful darkness and stillness of the Winter Solstice devolve, filling the cave of my mind with fears, worries, anxiety and nightmare scenarios, driving out all possibility.
The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and it literally stills, rising and setting at its southernmost position on the horizon the few days before and after Mid-winter.
It is in the stillness of this time of year that I find solace. When I am lucky enough to be surrounded by snow, it seems as if the earth is silent – slumbering and dreaming. It is a time I love to be in bed early and gaze out the window at the velvet darkness, the bright stars and moon punctuating the sky.
I usually look forward to this time of year, to the stillness, the silence, the time to incubate and dream. But, as I said at the beginning of this post, I keep fending off the specters of political futures. It seems I am either lost in Shakespeare or Dickens.
But at this moment, here on the precipice of the solstice and on the edge of stillness, held and embraced in the gentle darkness, I open to the long night. I open petal by petal, a night-blooming flower, and trust in the deepest beauty that I know imbues this world. I trust in the love that lives deep in the molten core of our Mother. I simply must.
Deepest Blessings of the Season to you. — Anne
Note on Dates: Astrologically, Mid-Winter may be calculated as the date the Sun is at 0 degree Capricorn. Winter Solstice (Latin: “sun ceases”) is known as Midwinter or Yule (from the Germanic and possibly Norse)

Award winning writer Anne Key is the author of two memoirs. The first, Desert Priestess: a memoir, relates the three years she spent as Priestess of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, located in Nevada. Her second, Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love: A Memoir of Life under the Albuquerque Sun, recounts her time in Albuquerque performing under the stage name Annie O’Roar. She is co-founder of Goddess Ink

Goddess Ink is your source for inspiration for the Divine Feminine.  Find books, classes and sacred tours to feed your soul.  For more information and to follow Goddess Ink Blog visit www.goddess-ink.com  or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/goddessinkbooks/.  Also, please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

Photo Credits: Shutterstock

Autumn Equinox

Fall Equinox, Goddess, Seasonal Greetings

Los árboles nos están apunto de mostrar cuán hermoso puede ser dejar ir el pasado.

The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let go of the past. 

Thursday September 22 is the Autumn Equinox. It is the point of balance, when all parts of the planet receive the same amount of light from the Sun. It is a moment when inward and outward balance is possible.

However, I feel the exact opposite of balanced. The fall brings new classes, new students, the rush of work. While the Autumn Equinox is at the apex of the fall season when growth is finished and readying for winter begins, my work is just beginning. I already feel behind.

And, just like in the picture above, this fall I am wrapped in leaves of my past. They seem embedded in my very pores, and I am not sure how to let them go. Will I feel naked without them?

But, if I am ever going to dig my toes in the rich compost of my life, the leaves must fall.  The equinox provides us with a day of balance, a moment of clarity. Let’s take stock and see what we need to release.

Bright Blessings of the season to you.


Historical and Astrological Tidbits on Mid-Autumn:  Mid-Autumn is the Fall Equinox. Equinox means “balance”, and this is the point when the dark and light of the day are most at balance. On a global scale, the equinoxes are at the points of the year when the entire world is in balance, with both Southern and Northern hemispheres receiving about the same amount of light. The equinox has another important feature as well: it is the only point during the year that the Sun rises in exact east and sets in exact west.  For while the Sun “stands still” at the solstices, the Sun moves very rapidly across the horizon at the equinoxes, leaving only one day to calibrate to the east and west. The Fall Equinox festival is also called Mabon (derived from Welsh mab meaning “son” or “boy”);Harvest Home (in British Isle traditions the time when the harvest is complete); and the Witches’ Thanksgiving. Astrologically, Mid-Autumn may be calculated as the date the Sun is at 0° Libra, which usually occurs between September 21-22.

Award winning writer Anne Key is the author of two memoirs. The first, Desert Priestess: a memoir, relates the three years she spent as Priestess of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, located in Nevada. Her second, Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love: A Memoir of Life under the Albuquerque Sun, recounts her time in Albuquerque performing under the stage name Annie O’Roar. She is co-founder of Goddess Ink

Harvest

Divine, Goddess, Priestess, Seasonal Greetings

Today is the midpoint between Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox, at the cross of the quarters. In Anglo-Saxon England, this day was historically considered a harvest festival. But this day makes me think of a different kind of harvest.

This year, the monsoon rains came late to Albuquerque, and our plants have been wilting in the heat. The flowers in the front yard have only a few leaves (and only one blossom from a stalwart purple petunia). Our tomatoes were ravaged not only by heat by also by hookworms. The grapes are only now ripening, and the clusters are sparse, having been hit by hail at the beginning of the season and then a harsh monsoonal downpour last weekend.

My harvest this year is a harvest of the heart. My anniversary is today (celebrating 11 wonderful years of marriage), and I am held and supported by many friendships that are forged by the love of the Goddess, a commitment to connecting with the Divine, and honoring the web that weaves us all together.

Take a moment today to contemplate your harvest. Where are your seedlings thriving? Which blossoms are the fullest and brightest? Give an offering of gratitude to the fruits that nourish your life.

This day also marks the first day of autumn. The days are beginning to shorten, and we will begin to turn within. Take some time in these last days of the season to dance, sing, and enjoy the outward expression of your innermost beauty.

Love and Blessings for this day — Anne

N.B.: This cross-quarter festival is commonly called Lammas (from the Anglo-Saxon for “loaf mass”) or Lughnasadh (from the Irish god Lugh), traditionally celebrated August 1st. Astrologically, the First Day of Fall may be calculated as the date the Sun is at 15° Leo, which currently Falls around August 6th and 7th.