Memorial Day Reflections on Grief

Compassion, contemplation, Divine, Empowerment, Goddess, Loss and Grief, Memorial Day, Priestess

Today is Memorial Day, a day we pay tribute to the fallen soldiers, our veterans, and those who served our country and died in war.  (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day).

Today, I want to honor those who have passed.  I also want to honor those who grieve.  I want to honor those who have lost someone to war, who had to go on living after that loss.  For mothers and fathers, who sent their daughters and sons to the military, and lost them to war.  For kids who grew up without a parent, because of war.  For sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends and neighbors, who have grieved because of war. I also pray that the Infinite Source of Light and Wisdom will surround us as we grieve our loss.

Blessings- I send you each a flower with Blessing and Light, to honor your loss and to honor your grief on this Memorial Day 2016.

pink and green

Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Network Weaver, a Flower Essence Practitioner, a photographer, a socially responsible  investor, a mother, a grandmother and a devotee of God/Goddess/Divine/Spirit. You can contact her at genevieve@goddess-ink.com.

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:  All photos by Genevieve Mitchell.

Finding Time For Ritual In A Busy Life by Genevieve Mitchell

contemplation, Divine, Goddess, Priestess, ritual

shutterstock_93132085

Do you need more ritual in your life?  How do you put more ritual in your life?

The world in which we live is a world needs new voices, new rituals, new rites and new ways to celebrate and empower women to recognize the Divine Feminine, the Feminine Face of God, the Goddess.  How can we do this?

It feels to me that we need rituals for creating community, honoring the rites of passage, mourning our losses,  celebrating the seasons.  We are busy people, but our connection to the divine is the primary place to get fed spiritually.

For me, I want more ritual in my life.  More ritual of all kind, daily ritual, family ritual, ritual before meetings, seasonal ritual.  For work, my partner Anne Key, Chief Editor, CEO and I start our work time with some type of ritual.  Usually it’s a candle, an invocation, a chant or a meditation.  Sometimes we get a little more elaborate, smudging, incense, divination.  I also have a weekly women’s group called Spirit Women.  It’s a mixture of a mastermind and a weekly ritual.  We have a priestess of the day who plans a ritual to celebrate us, our work and our world. I love having ritual in my life.

How does one create a ritual?  As Nan Brooks says in The Circle of Theatre and Ritual in Stepping Into Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings on Priestesses, published by Goddess Ink, “Intention is the foundation upon which ritual is built and will flow”.  What do you want to create with your ritual?  How do you prepare?  How will you create the sacred space?  What needs to be prepared in advance?  In the end, just the intention to focus on  your connection to the Divine, to the powerful universal force of Spirit can lead you into the awe and wonder of grace.

How do you create ritual?  What is your favorite ritual?  What resources are helpful for you when you are putting together ritual.  I invite you to share your thoughts!

Genevieve Mitchell is Partner at Goddess Ink Publishing.  For More information and to follow Goddess Ink Blog visit www.goddess-ink.com  or visit us on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/goddessinkbooks/

WAKING UP TO THE CYCLE OF LIFE, KWAN YIN’S GIFT TO ME by SANDY BOUCHER

contemplation, Divine, Goddess, ritual

Kwan Yin by Sandy Boucher photo 1

When I walk in the woods on the ridge above Oakland, Kwan Yin is always there. She shines in the sunlight slanting down among the Sequoias; she’s present in the muddy puddles marked by dog feet and bike tires and the waffled soles of hiking boots; she’s everywhere in the silence when I stand still to breathe. And sometimes she stops me cold with the kind of lesson that can only come from the natural environment.

Today as I walked I came upon a downed tree, smack across the trail in front of me. Steep precipice down on the left, steep hill up on my right: no way around. I stood contemplating the obstacle. Although a few dusty leaves still dangled, the tree was clearly dead, its bark grayish and marked with fluorescent green mold, its upended roots crumbling.

Some limbs had broken off in the fall, showing jagged inner bark; others poked out to touch the ground. Bugs had set up residence in the grooves of the bark. If left to itself here across the trail, the tree would gradually surrender to insects, weather and time, until it fell apart in dry hollow chunks. It would be received by the ground beneath it, in which its sustenance would lie awaiting the next seeds or animals or marauding weeds and grass.

Standing looking at the ruined tree, I found it beautiful, its fate profoundly moving and somehow joyful, and I knew that Kwan Yin had prepared this sight for me.

I had been worrying about my own aging—foreseeing disease, disability and finally the inevitable blinking out of the light. But here across the trail before me I saw the whole cycle of life, and how the disintegration of one being benefits the awakening and integration of others. Kwan Yin held me still and invited me to look, breathe, realize that I too will fall and crumble and come apart, fulfilling my destiny. I may be beautiful or not as I sink back into the universe that brought me forward.

When I could stand there no longer, I climbed and picked my way over the trunk among the jumbled branches, feeling the rough bark under my hands and knees, until I broke through into the open trail. Kwan Yin’s warm breath touched my face, as if she whispered to me. Thank you, I answered, and my stride was loose and lively with the sense of the rightness of it all.

Sandy Boucher is Author and Editor of She Appears:  Kwan Yin,  Goddess of Compassion published by Goddess Ink.  You can contact Sandy sandyboucher9@gmail.com. Photo Credit:  Sandy Boucher.

Goddess Ink Publishing, www.goddess-ink.com, offers books, classes and resources on feminine spirituality, goddess studies and the Divine Feminine. Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/goddessinkbooks/.

 

Searching for the Divine by Genevieve Mitchell

contemplation, Divine, Empowerment, Goddess, Priestess, ritual

It seems to me that my entire adult life was a search for meaning, for connection with the Divine and for a path for manifesting the Universal Grace that seems to be omnipresent in my life.  Now, I don’t get me wrong, I made plenty of mistakes, relied heavily on social norms for decision making and have more than a few regrets about decisions I made along the way.

But always, the entire road, I was searching.  I come from a Catholic background.  Mary was a powerful influence.  But the religious norm was He, Him, King, Father God….male domination, male influence and not a female face on the altar, except to clean…. not the stuff that inspires one to be engaged as a strong woman in the Catholic Church.

The wonderful part was I did meet amazing women along the way, powerful women, spiritual women, articulate women, nuns, lay women, political women, creative women who challenged the cultural norms and who spoke their truth even in the face of societal objections.

I hope now that some how, the work I do and the woman I am in my life can inspire others to see the Divine in themselves, in the work they do, in the world in which they live and in the path they walk.

Along the way, I recommend finding companions, groups, friends and colleagues that can support you.  Reading great books is always inspirational to me.  You might find just what you need in our list of Goddess Ink publications.  Or sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.  What are you waiting for?

Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Network Weaver, a Flower Essence Practitioner, a photographer, a mother, a grandmother and a devotee of God/Goddess/Divine/Spirit. You can contact her at genevieve@goddess-ink.com.  Additionally You can find Goddess Ink on Facebook.

Photo Credits:  All photos above are by Genevieve Mitchell.

 

EXPRESSIONS OF KWAN YIN BODHISATTVA’S COMPASSIONATE ENERGY By SANDY BOUCHER

bodhisattva, Compassion, contemplation, Divine, Empowerment, Goddess, Kwan Yin, Priestess, ritual

Kwan Yin by Sandy photo 3There’s a woman in Africa whose life brings me to tears because she so perfectly embodies Kwan Yin, the Goddess of compassion. It might seem unlikely that this unassuming South African nurse would manifest as the Chinese goddess, but of course we know that Kwan Yin is no respecter of national boundaries. Her true domain is the human heart.

This woman, named Sister Abegail Ntleko, grew up in a mud hut. When she was a small child, her mother died and her father became an alcoholic so dysfunctional that Abegail was forced to raise herself. In conditions of extreme poverty and neglect, she managed to go to school and become a nurse. She chose nursing because at an early age she knew she wanted to be of use in the world, to do something about the physical and mental pain she saw all around her. This sounds just like Kwan Yin, a “bodhisattva” who seeks healing and enlightenment for all beings.

Abegail, now in her eighties,  adopted and raised numerous unwanted children while working in the medical and social service fields. She has taken in dozens of children orphaned by AIDs and lovingly raised them to be educated and empowered people. She has been  honored by African and international institutions, praised by such exemplars as the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Tutu said of her, “Sister Abegail exemplifies the true heart of South Africa—a heart that overcame apartheid, that sees the best within all people, and that has never closed in the face of suffering.”

A heart that never closes in the face of suffering: isn’t that the precise description of the Celestial Bodhisattva of Compassion Kwan Yin?

In this month of remembering Kwan Yin, I find so many embodiments of compassion around me—in my family, in my neighborhood, from as far away as Africa.  All shining pilgrims on the bodhisattva path with me.

May you also open your eyes and heart and recognize the everyday acts of kindness, the people who stay responsive to the world, and see in their faces the loving features of the Goddess of Compassion.

Sandy Boucher is Author and Editor of She Appears:  Kwan Yin,  Goddess of Compassion published by Goddess Ink.  You can contact Sandy sandyboucher9@gmail.com. Photo Credit:  Sandy Boucher.

Reviewing the To-Do List by Genevieve Mitchell

contemplation, Divine, Goddess, ritual, Uncategorized

shutterstock_349499291How many things are on your to do list?  What pieces of your life have you left unattended because of the myriad demands on a daily basis?  I had the blessed opportunity to spend a day yesterday, just pondering, sitting, wondering, reviewing.   I spent some time evaluating 2016 intentions and how well I am doing.  I have ten areas of my life I am trying to attend to on a regular basis (ex:  Connection with Divine, healthy me, relationships, work, etc.).  I am able to say I was doing well (8 or 9 on a scale of 10) on some, and only a 5 or 6 on others.  But taking time to review my intentions allowed me to remember all the big hopes I had for 2016.

Fortunately we have 8 more months of 2016, but I want to make sure I spend time doing things that are important, that have value, that will add blessing, grace and light to my life.  I like this quote by Socrates “Wisdom begins with wonder”.  I think taking time to wonder, to ponder and to contemplate certainly allows me better direction and clarity than just charging forward each day with the many tasks in front of me.

What about you?  Have you taken time to envision your ideal world, so you can begin taking steps to put it in place?  I invite you to share how you do your review and how it works for you.  Bright Blessings.

Genevieve Mitchell is Partner at Goddess Ink Publishing.  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/