Prayers to the Goddess: A Moon Cycle Devotion

Books, contemplation, Divine, Goddess, Moon, Prayer, ritual, Women

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Prayers to the Goddess: A Moon Cycle Devotion is on PreSale now!

We are celebrating the release of Goddess Ink’s newest book: Prayers to the Goddess: A Moon Cycle Devotion—by Genevieve Chavez Mitchell and Anne Key. Through daily meditations and prayers, this book supports your journey to the Divine. Following a 29 day cycle of the moon, with beautiful moon art for each day of the cycle, this daily companion will inspire, comfort and guide you on your path!

We are taking orders for PRE-SALE. Regularly priced at $18.95, the pre-sale price is $10 until September 15. This sweet book is small enough for your purse, and it is the perfect gift book– so order enough for your gift list! Pre-sale orders will be shipped by Fall Equinox (9/23/19).

Today is the Waxing Cresent Moon :  from Prayers to the Goddess: A Moon Cycle Devotion

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Join us in celebrating the release of Prayers to the Goddess.  We would love to hear from you, you can email us here.  Also, please review this book on Amazon, the more reviews the merrier!

Genevieve Chavez Mitchell is a student of Divine Mystery.  She studied and practices naturopathy, homeopathy and flower essence healing. She was active with the Women’s Ordination Movement, advocating for women in priestly ministry.  She has followed her own spiritual path which includes connecting with the Divine Feminine, celebrating ritual with family and community and using her resources to create a more just, sustainable and life affirming world.  Genevieve is a priestess, photographer, a wife, mother and grandmother.  She is a partner with the independent press Goddess Ink.  She lives with her husband in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Priestess, instructor, writer and dancer – Anne Key was Priestess of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicatedto Sekhmet, located in Nevada, from 2004-2007. She lived intimately with each moon cycle, leading rituals and sleeping under Her light. In Desert Priestess: A Memoir she details hertime at the temple and her journey to know Sekhmet. Anneis also co-editor of The Heart of the Sun: An Anthology in Exaltation of Sekhmet, a unique book which has both histor-ical information and devotee’s personal encounters with theLady of Flame.Co-founder of the independent press Goddess Ink, Dr.Key is the co-editor ofStepping into Ourselves: An Anthologyof Writings on Priestessesand author of a second memoir,Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love: Life under the Albuquerque Sun.With Veronica Iglesias, she leads Sacred Tours of Mexico and co-created The Jade Oracle: Deities and Symbols of Ancient Mexico. Anne resides in Albuquerque with her husband, his two cats, and her snake.

To order your copy today click here!

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/.  Check out our newly designed store at http://store.goddess-ink.com/. Also, please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

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Spring Equinox and the Full Moon: Illumination and Alignment

Goddess, spring equinox

Today is Spring Equinox, the day the sun rises and sets at exact east and west, the day when the northern and southern hemispheres are bathed in equal light. By the Celtic calendar, this is mid-Spring, halfway through the season. From this point on, the light will continue to grow until we are drenched in sunlight at the Summer Solstice.

Today, we bask in both solar and lunar energy. The full moon – so beautiful and bright this morning! — is in Aries/Libra, bringing an extra charge of balance and moving forward.

The sun symbolizes our consciousness, how we “show up” in the world. The moon is our inner world, and the full moon brings light to our innermost chambers.

At this powerful solar and lunar moment, take time today to balance and re-align. For some cultures, this is the new year; treat today as a beginning. Allow the light of the moon to shine in all the spaces deep within you. The sun, rising in exact east and exact west, shows our true path. Check your internal compass—is it true? At this time when shoots are thrusting through the earth and leaves begin to sprout, do you know what you want to cultivate? Is your cultivation in alignment with your true purpose?

We may not know the answers, but open yourself to the powerful energies of this day. Allow the sun and moon to guide your thoughts. I pray today for clarity for us all—may the pathways open, and may we feel true in each step.

Brightest Blessings to you at the turn of the wheel — Anne

Welcome to 2019

Books, Goddess, Priestess, Women
Welcome 2019

WELCOME    2 0 1 9

 

We wish you the blessings of love, light and joy in these days of winter.  May Goddess fill you with wisdom, grace and courage to be you, the grand and amazing gift you are to the world.

Genevieve, Anne and Goddess Ink

Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Seeker, 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, visit our website and circle with us on Facebook and Instagram. Check out our newly designed store and please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.  If you would like a weekday dose of daily inspiration sign up for our Daily Inspiration newsletter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Book List…Perfect for your BBF!

Books, Goddess, Learning, Priestess, Women

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It’s that time of year again!  Happy We love it and hate it…holidays and holidaze.  But in the spirit of giving, we wanted to share with  you some of our favorite books.

Desert Priestess

  Perfect cozy read for your spiritually minded friend!

Visit a temple in the Nevada desert and live vicariously through Dr. Anne Key as she shares her experience of living as a twenty-first-century priestess. 
Find it in our store or on Amazon.

Burlesque Yoga Sex & Love

Fun read for the wild gal pal in your life!

In Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love, author Anne Key invites us to walk along the glittery rhinestone encrusted path of self-discovery as she confronts, and transcends, the established norms for middle-aged women. Set in picturesque Albuquerque, this memoir explores what it means to connect the body, mind, and spirit through yoga and burlesque. 
Find it in our store or on Amazon.

Dancer for the Goddess

Perfect winter read for the Dancer in your life!

Zaia, the Goddess Dancer lives in a society where women are respected and revered and the Goddess is worshipped. But a shadow hangs over that world. Patriarchal invasions from the north have already begun to make incursions and threaten everything that Zaia holds sacred. 
Find it in our store or  on Amazon.

Goddesses of the Americas
Perfect for the friend who loves Goddess art and history!

This 150 page, full color book features banners and descriptions of over 75 Goddesses and Divine Feminine figures. Accompanying each banner is a description and historical information on each figure. The rich colors and unusual layout make this book a treasure for both the heart and the mind. 
Find it in our store or on Amazon.

Heart of the Sun:  An Anthology in Exaltation of Sekhmet
Perfect for anyone devoted to Sekhmet or Egyptian Goddesses

This anthology is an intriguing glimpse of Sekhmet’s many guises as seen through the unique perspectives of her modern-day devotees.
Find it  in our store on Amazon.

Myths Shattered and Restored

 Perfect for friend that yearns for more Goddess knowledge!

The writings presented in this volume serve to strengthen and support the circle of women and men who share a scholarly passion for sacred myths about women.
Find it in our store or on Amazon.

She Appears:  Encounters with Kwan Yin
Perfect for the friend who needs a big loving dose of compassion.

Referred to as the “Celestial Bodhisattva of Compassion,” the Asian Goddess Kwan Yin manifests herself to those in need around the world in myriad forms.
Find it in our store or on Amazon.

Stepping Into Ourselves: An Anthology on the Writing on Priestesses
Perfect for the Priestesses in your life!

Stepping Into Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings on Priestesses is a colorful tapestry of voices illuminating the roles and perspectives of  priestesses in the ancient and modern worlds and weaving them together to create the beautiful fabric of women’s sacred service. The personal essays, academic articles, poetry, rituals, and tools in this book will speak to your heart, inspiring you to step into your own spiritual authority.

Find it  in our store or on Amazon.

Vibrant Voices: Women Myth and the Arts
Perfect for the Goddess art and history lover!

Vibrant Voices presents the work of contemporary scholars and artists whose visions advance our understanding from a diversity of cultures and folk traditions.

Find it on our store and on Amazon.

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I wanted to acknowledge this great jpg that I got from http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_conflict1.htm

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Genevieve Mitchell is a Partner with Goddess Ink Publishing.  She is a Priestess, a Seeker, 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, visit our website and circle with us on Facebook and Instagram. Check out our newly designed store and please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.  If you would like a weekday dose of daily inspiration sign up for our Daily Inspiration newsletter.

Copal — 5 Things to Know

Divination, Goddess, Jade Oracle, Mesoamerican Goddesses, Mexico, The Jade Oracle

Copal is the aromatic resin from the Copalquahuitl tree (bursera bipinnata). This sacred resin was used in religious rites and healing rituals. Here are 5 things to know about Copal:

  1. Copal is from the Bursera Bipinnata tree, which grows from Mexico to Central America. In Nahuatl, this is called “copalquahuitl,” the “copal tree.” In Nahuatl, copal is “copalli.”
  2. It is used for healing. The truly magical scent of copal is immediately relaxing, balancing the body. This can reduce blood pressure as well as increase  sahumando cenoteconcentration. The scent has also been used as a treatment for insomnia and headaches as well as increasing one’s creativity. It can be drunk as a tea, sweetened with honey, as a treatment for respiratory problems.
  3. It is used as an adhesive and binder. Copal resin is found in mosaics from ancient Mexico, often used to adhere turquoise and other precious stones. It is also used as a binder for pigments in murals. The murals at Bonampak, for example, utilized copal as a binder for the pigment, making them encaustic murals as opposed to frescoes.
  4. It comes in different colors. Copal Blanco, white copal, is usually the highest quality. The smoke from this copal is white and billows out. Copal Blanco has been associated with honoring Tlaloc, the rain deity, as the white clouds of smoke call out for rain. There is also yellow, black and red copal.
  5. It is used in ritual. When copal burns, magnificent clouds of fragrant white smoke
    copal

    Traditional drawing of  a ceremonial bag of copal

    billow out. The white smoke is sometimes called “the white lady,” and the smoke itself is considered evidence of the dialogue between the heavens and the earth. The column of smoke is transformed into the axis, or center, of the world, representing the turning of the universe and all of the beings.

In the Jade Oracle deck, the divination for drawing the card Copalli is: When you choose copal, you are asked to make an offering. The deities are ready to hear you, ready to communicate with you.

IMG_2372How to use it: Light the charcoal with matches or lighter for about 20 seconds until it self-ignites. Use tongs to hold it up (never hold it with your fingers alone or you might get burned). Place the lit charcoal in a bowl or incense burner filled with sand or dirt. Let the charcoal warm for a few minutes. (It turns gray around the edges when it is ready). Now you are ready! Add a small amount of resin on top of the charcoal. The resin will burn and soon release essential, aromatic oils through the smoke. Put more copal on the IMG_2377 charcoal as it burns out and smoke decreases. If you do not have charcoal, here is a great place to get it.

Ritual uses: Use copal as a smudge to cleanse before ritual. Perfect for honoring ancient Mexican deities and for Day of the Dead ceremonies. A truly beautiful way to begin your reading with The Jade Oracle!

How to break it into smaller pieces: Put the copal into a small freezer baggie. Freeze it overnight. While still in the baggie, hit it with hammer or mallet to break into small pieces.

How to clean your hands after using:  Put a splash of olive oil in your palm and rub it between your hands. Then apply a small amount of liquid hand soap or dish soap to your oiled hands. Rub until you do not feel the stickiness anymore, then rinse with warm water.

Where to purchase Copal: You can purchase superior quality white and black copal from our store!


IMG_6430Anne, a native Texan, visited the borderlands during the 1970’s and 1980’s, but after a trip to Mexico City in 1990, she began annual sojourns and research trips criss-crossing the country of Mexico and into Central America. Her doctoral studies centered on Mesoamerican spiritual practices and the Cihuateteo, divine women honored by many ancient Mexican cultures. She and Veronica Iglesias created The Jade Oracle deck with deities and symbols from ancient Mexico to bring this wisdom to a new generation.

A faculty member in Women’s Studies, English and Religious Studies, Dr. Key is the co-founder of the independent press Goddess Ink and co-editor of two anthologies: Stepping Into Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings on Priestesses and Heart of the Sun: An Anthology in Exaltation of Sekhmet. She has two memoirs, Desert Priestess and Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love: A Memoir of Life Under the Albuquerque Sun. Anne resides in Albuquerque with her husband, his two cats and her snake.

For more information, visit our website and circle with us on Facebook and Instagram. Check out our newly designed store and please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

Monsoon Season – an excerpt from Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love: A Memoir of Life under the Albuquerque Sun

Goddess

As we celebrate Summer Reading, here is an excerpt from my second memoir, Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love: Life Under the Albuquerque Sun. This excerpt describes the glorious monsoon season that brings most of the rain for the year:

Late summer in Albuquerque is monsoon season. The word brings to my mind palm trees bending in hurricane-force winds, sheets of rain filling roads and flooding over the curbs, storm drains choked and gurgling. But nary a palm tree is to be found in this semi-arid climate, which is populated with high-desert plants like juniper and sagebrush that thrive at the city’s mile-high altitude. The average rainfall of eight to nine inches per year happens mostly during this season, sometimes in brief torrents, lowering the temperature and providing a respite from the summer heat.

This first Wednesday morning in August begins as a typical monsoon-season day. Ben and I are sitting in the backyard, hands around warm mugs of tea and coffee. Our chairs face east, and over the tops of the mulberry trees and cottonwoods we see the day begin on the eastern horizon with a few cumulus clouds edged in vivid orange and pink over a bright blue sky. In only a few minutes, the clouds turn golden as the sun rises. One moment more and the entire sky is awash in light, white clouds against sapphire: a beautiful start to the day.

I cannot believe that it is already time to prep for fall term. At mid-morning I take a break from setting up my online classes and go outside to drag the trash can up the driveway and back to the garage. A little of the morning coolness lingers, but it is quickly being burned off by the sun, shining completely unimpeded in the cloudless sky. I squint upwards; some clouds lie on the distant eastern horizon, seemingly chased off by the blazing sun. Inside the house is warm and stuffy. I turn on the swamp cooler (the colloquial name for the “evaporative cooler,” a device that cools the air using evaporation of water) and hope the humidity outside doesn’t negate its effectiveness. It is going to be a hot day.

By noon, as I get in to drive to yoga, there is no lingering coolness. The inside of the car feels like an oven and the searing sun commands the sky. Every now and then a breeze musters enough strength to carry a bit of cool moisture, but all else retreats under the fierce midday sun.

Later in the afternoon, a few white puffy clouds appear on the horizon; by 5 o’clock, half of the sky to the east is crowded with clouds. A gray-ness grows. We have skylights throughout the house, and as the clouds cover the sun, the house dims. I turn on the light over the sink and peek out the kitchen window. The clouds darken and, as their edges merge, they deepen to gun-metal gray and lose their individual shape, banding together and covering the sky. I turn to look at the western horizon, seeing white and puffy cumulus clouds form, belatedly mirroring the earlier pattern in the east. I’m loading the dishwasher, wiping down the counter, surveying the contents of the refrigerator for dinner, when suddenly the smell of rain floods my nostrils.

Rain in the desert smells of dust and longing, heat and relief, and the security of knowing life will continue. I swear I can feel a part of my brain being triggered at the smell of rain. I am awash in a sense of well-being. Does this activate my endorphins somehow? Fixing dinner and cleaning the counter are completely forgotten as I am drawn outside. More than drawn—I cannot help but be outside to witness the coming storm. A fresh cup of jasmine tea in hand, steam wafting the delicate scent toward my nose, I get comfortable on the front porch, ready to watch the show.

Ready to read more? Find it at our store and on Amazon.


FINAL_Key225.jpgIn Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love, author Anne Key invites us to walk along the glittery rhinestone encrusted path of self-discovery as she confronts, and transcends, the established norms for middle-aged women. Set in picturesque Albuquerque, this memoir explores what it means to connect the body, mind, and spirit through yoga and burlesque. By the end of the book, you will find yourself traveling outside of the shadowy corners of fear toward a brighter light where there is freedom to be found in accepting yourself and learning to love what you find. Find it at our store and on Amazon.

Anne’s first memoir Desert Priestess recounts her time as the Priestess of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet in Nevada. She co-edited Stepping Into Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings on Priestesses and  Heart of the Sun: An Anthology in Exaltation of Sekhmet. She performs with Unicorn Productions in Albuquerque, New Mexico under the stage name Annie O’Roar.  She teaches under the name Dr. Key as an adjunct faculty offering courses in women’s studies, religious studies, and English. As well as writing, she is also the co-founder of the independent press Goddess Ink.

Anne blissfully resides in Albuquerque with her husband, his two cats and her snake. When she’s not writing or grading papers, you can find her pushing taffeta through a sewing machine or strapping on her heels for rehearsal.

For more information about Goddess Ink, visit our website and circle with us on Facebook and Instagram. Check out our newly designed store and please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

5 Sacred Sites in the Maya Lands

Dance, Divine, Goddess, Goddesses of the Americas, Jade Oracle, Mesoamerican Goddesses, Mexico, Priestess, ritual, sacred sites, The Jade Oracle

There are so many beautiful sites in Mexico, but the Maya Lands are truly stunning. Deep verdant jungles, carved stone temples, turquoise waters and white sands, and over all the spirit of IxChel, Maya Goddess of medicine. GettyImages-165804300_comp

For this blog we are doing a “virtual tour” of the sites on the Sacred Tour of the Maya Lands  and Winter Solstice Priestess Retreat at Isla Mujeres with Anne Key and Verónica Iglesias. This December join Sacred Tours of Mexico and Dive Deep into the Beauty and Mystery of the Maya Lands. Are you ready to make this Winter Solstice the moment when you dive deep, breathe it all in, and return renewed?. Book before July 31 and save $300!

  1. Chichen Itza

chichen-itza-ruinsOne of the largest Maya cities, Chichen Itza is located in the Yucatan, near the colonial city of Valladolid. The site is resplendent with fine stone temples that exemplify the height of Maya art. “El Castillo” is the largest pyramid, and the shadowed shape of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, can be seen rising the stairs at the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes. The “Cenote Sagrado,” a pilgrimage site for ancient Maya peoples, is 200 feet in diameter, surrounded by sheer cliffs. These ruins and this cenote retain the deep beauty and sacred vibration that stems from millennia of ritual.

The feathered serpent, Kukkulcan in May and Quetzalcoatl for the Mixtec/Aztec, represents the highest level of precious knowledge. When Quetzalcoatl appears, you know that you have reached your highest peak. You are the master-creator, able to move between worlds. You can stand at the center of the four winds, strong and able to handle any situation. You are in control of your life.

  1. Tulum

These impressive ruins are situated along a cliff, overlooking the turquoise waters of thetulum Caribbean. Because it faces east, Tulum is also known as “the city of dawn.” As one of the best-preserved coastal sites, the architecture and frescoes is stunning.

Many who have climbed the steps of this pyramid talk about its power to release the old, allowing the seeker to return to the earth renewed.

  1. Ek Balam

ek-balam-pyramidLocated north of the city of Valladolid in the Yucatan, is Ek Balam. The stucco work, such as the jaguar jaws leading to the palace, is unforgettable. Cenote Xcanche is very near main pyramid. From the top of the pyramid, the vista is the gorgeous canopy of the jungle.

The name Ek Balam means “black jaguar, one of the most important animals. A nocturnal hunter and excellent swimmer, the jaguar symbolizes the night and the underworld and is associated with water. Usually spotted, but sometimes black, the jaguar is a symbol of power, and many deities sit atop a “jaguar throne.” While the eagle is considered masculine energy, the jaguar represents feminine energy.

Jaguar brings you the power and understanding of the underworld, amplifying your intuition. You are invited to embrace your feminine side and the magic of the cosmos. The jaguar brings the energy of personal empowerment through divination and ritual; if you are a woman, this power is amplified. Above all, jaguar opens the door to transformation, assuring you that you can safely walk through the dark underworld.

 

  1. Isla Mujeres

For millennia, Isla Mujeres has been sacred to the Mayan Goddess Ixchel. Surrounded byDSCF3345 turquoise waters and ringed by white sand beaches, Isla Mujeres holds the energy, and an ancient temple, dedicated to Her. We will spend Winter Solstice on the beaches of Isla Mujeres, with a Temazcal and rituals to Ixchel.

 

  1. Kaxan Xuul Eco Village

At Kaxan Xuul Eco Village, we will partake in Mayan rituals such as the Balche Ceremony and a Temazcal. Balche is a fermented beverage made with honey and the bark of the kaxansacred balche tree. When the Spanish arrived, they quickly banned the making and drinking of balche because of its strong religious significance. However, when the Maya showed the Spanish its healing properties, the ban was lifted, In ritual, the drink balche has healing properties, both for self and society. When drinking it in ritual, balche connects us to the cosmos, bringing messages from spirits and ancestors.

 

IMG_2258Join Anne Key and M Verónica Iglesias and Sacred Tours of Mexico this December and Dive Deep into the Beauty and Mystery of the Maya Lands. Are you ready to make this Winter Solstice the moment when you dive deep, breathe it all in, and return renewed? http://sacredtoursofmexico.com/2018-tour-schedule/ . Book before July 31 and save $300!

Mid-Summer Illumination by Anne Key

Goddess, Gratefulness, Priestess, ritual, Seasonal Greetings, Summer Solstice

Today is Mid-Summer, the Summer Solstice. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are living in the moments of the most light of the year. Solstice means “sun ceases” (originally from Latin), and it is at this point that the sun stills, rising and setting at its northernmost position on the horizon the few days before and after Mid-summer, drenching us in almost unrelenting light.

Many times, I view the unrelenting light as invigorating, life-affirming, and joyous. This year, the unrelenting light brings exposure. The politics of the day shine a thousand watt beam on the inequality, injustice, and inhumanity that is often unseen, or that we choose not to see, or that we cannot take in without our hearts breaking.

Today in this moment of stillness as the sun bathes us in its light, I open myself to seeing all that is illuminated and accepting my place in it. I see my power and privilege, and I see the limits of my own capacity. I don’t allow myself to be immobilized by guilt or shame, and I acknowledge what I have done to better the world. I take this day to see the big picture, to see my path in it. And I take this moment to open myself to the illumination of the solstice, without and within, and accept myself as whole, holy.

Whatever you do today, take a moment to truly see what is being illuminated, both without and within.

Blessings on this brightest and longest of days —

Anne

Note on Dates: Astrologically, Mid-Summer may be calculated as the date the Sun is at 0 degree cancer. Summer Solstice (Latin: “sun ceases”) is known as Mid-Summer or Litha (from the Anglo-Saxon name for the month of June) and St. John’s Day (the feast day of St. John the Baptist).

For more information, visit our website and circle with us on Facebook and Instagram. Check out our newly designed store and please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

11698910_10153125848983220_7989607679311699491_o (1)A faculty member in Women’s Studies, English and Religious Studies, Anne Key is the co-founder of the independent press Goddess Ink and co-editor of two anthologies: Stepping Into Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings on Priestesses and Heart of the Sun: An Anthology in Exaltation of Sekhmet. She has two memoirs, Desert Priestess and Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love: A Memoir of Life Under the Albuquerque Sun. She and Veronica Iglesias created The Jade Oracle deck with deities and symbols from ancient Mexico to bring this wisdom to a new generation, and they lead tours to sacred sites in Mexico. See more at www.sacredtoursofmexico.com.  Anne resides in Albuquerque with her husband, his two cats and her snake.

Four life-changing ways to encounter the Sacred in the Maya Lands by Veronica Iglesias and Anne Key

Divine, Goddess, Mesoamerican Goddesses, Mexico, Priestess, ritual, sacred sites, The Jade Oracle

The Maya Lands of Mexico offer many ways to encounter the sacred. Here are just a four sacred experiences that are, literally, life-changing.

Being “in-situ”:

It is one thing to see artifacts in a museum or book, and it is a completely different experience to be on the land, at the places where people have performed ritual and honored the ancestors and deities. Walk through the temples of Chichen Itza and hear the echoes of songs and the petals of flowers from ancient rituals. Climb the pyramid at Ek Balam and look over the surrounding verdant jungle, breathing in the prana of the plants. Sit at the altar of the goddess IxChel with the waves of the turquoise ocean lapping nearby. This is the time and place to reach from the past to the present and feel yourself between the worlds.

The Balche ceremony:

Balche is a fermented beverage made with honey and the bark of the sacred balche tree. When the Spanish arrived, they quickly banned the making and drinking of balche because of its strong religious significance. However, when the Maya showed the Spanish its healing properties, the ban was lifted, In ritual, the drink balche has healing properties, both for self and society. When drinking it in ritual, balche connects us to the cosmos, bringing messages from spirits and ancestors. Join us in December for a balche ceremony at Kaxan Xuul Ek Balam Colectivo De La Cultura Maya

Cenotes:

Cenotes are deep underwater pools. The name cenote is from the Maya ts’onot, which refers to a “sacred well.”. When we swim in these sacred pools, we are connected to all the other waters of the land. These turquoise and mineral-rich pools represent the womb, a place where we are reborn. The Maya would make offerings to these pools, and they were a part of their most sacred rituals.
Hear Veronica Iglesias talk about the beautiful and soulful things we will experience on the Tour of the Maya Lands: https://www.youtube.com/watch…

 Temazcal:

Experience a temazcal in the jungles near Ek Balam and again on the island of Isla Mujeres. The temazcal is an ancient ceremony used throughout Mesoamerica. This ritual takes place in a round structure, like a womb. On the south wall, on the outside, is a fireplace. The fire heats the wall and volcanic stones are brought inside. The temazcal ceremony brings purification and healing. When you leave the temazcal, you enter the world reborn. Imagine leaving the dark womb of the healing temazcal and walking over the white sand into the bright sunlight and turquoise ocean of the beach at Isla Mujeres.

 

Join Anne Key and M Verónica Iglesias and Sacred Tours of Mexico this December and Dive Deep into the Beauty and Mystery of the Maya Lands. Are you ready to make this Winter Solstice the moment when you dive deep, breathe it all in, and return renewed? http://sacredtoursofmexico.com/2018-tour-schedule/ 

Visit our website and circle with us on Facebook and Instagram. Check out our newly designed store and please sign up for the Goddess Ink Newsletter for a monthly dose of inspiration.

 

Summer Reading: Legacy by Kerrigan Valentine

Goddess, Story

This week we have the first chapter from one of our favorite fantasy reads: Legacy, by Kerrigan Valentine.  Purchase in paperback from Goddess Ink or Kindle on Amazon.

Prologue

My mother died before I was born. It sounds odd, saying that, but I can’t find any other way of explaining.

She was fifteen when I was born, the first in a long line of unwelcome daughters. A year later, my mother had Beth. The following autumn brought the twins, and then with each year came all the rest. The one boy that Mother bore brightened our father’s life for only a few days. We buried him in the men’s graveyard, my father grieving more for this untouched soul than he ever did for his other living, suffering daughters.

Women lived hard in the Valley. Married at twelve, first childbed by thirteen, they were bent-backed grandmothers by the time they were twenty-six. My mother must have been despaired of when no baby appeared those first years of marriage. Father could have divorced her, on grounds of barrenness. He was nearly thirty then, home from warring, and ready to start a family. But in the Valley, a family meant sons. Daughters were of no importance, except to grow up to breed and rear sons. Those like my mother, who failed to do even that, were truly worthless. As I grew, she turned from dead to a ghost.
I played in the grass one morning, after the twins were born, while my mother drew a stained shirt up and down the washboard. A butterfly lifted from a flower and I laughed, clapping my hands, turning to see if she had noticed. Her dead eyes were still as stone, frightening me. I knew one day those would be my eyes. Their emptiness would be just the same.

By the time I was eight, her hair was white and broken, with spots of scalp shining through like scattered coins. Her head withered into the stalk of her neck, her bloodless arms sunk to bony hands. The pale blue of her eyes had leached away, until they looked as white as her hair. She was an apparition that wisped and disappeared when I turned to see. Rarely speaking, never smiling, never scolding. In our tiny living room full of noisy little girls, she simply vanished.

I looked at my father, tanned from the sun, robust at his work, and yet he was so much older than my mother. One day, I stood up from my child’s game and began helping. Not as much as I could have or should have, but some. If I had expected her to express thanks, I would have been disappointed. It was Father who approved.
“Maybe you’ll be a proper woman yet,” he said once, watching me sweep the floor as he downed ale.

Something dark and evil within me rankled at his praise. For I had made a promise, that day in the grass with my mother washing. I did not know how, but my life would be different. Her eyes would never be mine.

Chapter One – Going Home

I’m twelve past a quarter and already an old maid. The thought made me giggle, though at this vast age, I knew I should be beyond childish laughter. San and Teff looked shocked, their insult falling flat beneath my snickering. Beth elbowed my side.
“It’s not funny!” she said prissily, fussing over the pleats in her skirt. “Look at you, Shannon! A few more months and you really will be an old maid.”

I mussed her thin hair with my free hand. “Better that than a wife, eh, boys?”

Teff’s mouth fell open as San stiffened and moved back from the fence they were leaning on. I hefted the market basket up to my shoulder.

“Well, we’re off!” I said too loudly, pulling Beth along the road. “Why should I bring a husband’s children into the world to starve, when there’s not enough food to keep my father’s from hunger?” I smiled in satisfaction at the sound of three throats choking.
“I can’t believe you said that!” Beth hissed while San and Teff muttered behind us.
“You’re not natural, Shannon Wrightsdaughter!” one shouted. The wet sound of spitting followed.
“What if someone heard you?” Beth flinched away from me and tried to fix her hair.
“Spinsters’ cursed empty womb, brings lonely life from home to tomb!” the boys called as we neared the end of the Trel farm fence.

I rustled around in the basket. “Think I could peg Teff with an apple from here?”
“No!” Beth said, slapping my hand away.

“It’d be a waste of an apple,” I said sagely. “Pity their wives one day. But then who’d marry those cracked brains? I wouldn’t.”

“Well, you have to marry someone,” Beth said.

I started to retort, but she had already begun to wheeze. Children born in the Dark Winter never fared well. Beth and then the boy, both Dark Winter children. And irony of ironies, Beth, the too-early hard birthed baby, translucent-skinned and kitten-weak, had lived. The full-born, rose-colored boy born eight years later had not. Father, the odd time he looked at any of us, made sure to let his eyes skip over Beth. Had she been healthier, more of his rage would have poured down upon her. As it was, his anger was thoughtfully doled out in equal parcels to me, our mother, Beth, the twins, and the others.

Beth tried to even her breathing. I slowed and pretended not to notice her rasp. The sun was setting over the Valley, turning the crop fields a fiery gold against the flame red of the sky. Threads of darkness spread like talons behind us. The road was pale yellow beneath our feet, and the colors of land and sky together were as lovely as Jadan Trelson’s paintings before he had gone to war.

“Marriage,” I grumbled, hoping to draw Beth into conversation. It wasn’t thoughtful, with her trying to breathe and all, but I couldn’t bear the silence.

“What else are you going to do?” Beth said with a shrug, sounding exactly like Old Mother Nhilde in the market. “Cut off your braid and take up a plow?”

“Oh, don’t be tiresome,” I said. “I just don’t want to marry, that’s all. I mean, honestly, do you want to?”

Her voice was tired. “Of course I do. It’s not a question of wanting to, anyway. It’s a matter of doing what we should.”

“Goat drops to that! I’ll do what I please!”

“And that’s why your life will be so much harder than mine,” she said. I made a horrible face at her and shifted the basket to my other shoulder. We’d gone to market that afternoon and were late returning.

“We’re really late.” Beth said. I nodded, judging a mile or so left. I loved going to market, the bustle in the square and commotion from the stores, haggling down prices as Beth tugged on my sleeve in embarrassment. Her face would get redder still when some charitable man with many sons gave us a coin for our poor, unlucky father. Poor Father, naught but daughters. Poor Father, unable to plant all his fields with no sons to help. If Father ever found out we had accepted the money, would his fists fly! I always smiled my gratitude to the giver and pocketed the coin. I had one hidden in my dress right now. Taking it out, I watched the deep blue coin flash and sparkle in the last of the afternoon sun. I went to flash the light in Beth’s eyes, but thought better of it. I stroked its smooth surface instead and slipped it back into my pocket. A full twenty-pence piece, compliments of San and Teff’s father himself.

The road wound south. Suddenly, a rabbit skittered over the yellow gravel and vanished into a patch of thick grass. Beth grabbed my arm before I could give it chase.
“You’re no fun,” I scolded. “I wouldn’t have done it, really.”

“Yes, you would have,” Beth said. The catch in her voice made me look back. Her face was deathly pale, and beads of sweat trickled down her cheeks to drop onto her dampened collar. Her brown eyes slid around sickly, going in and out of focus when they tried to steady on me. She clutched at me to keep herself from falling. Ignoring her protests, I made her sit down along the side of the road.

The Dark Winter came with a vengeance every eight years, with icy winds scrabbling at the cabin walls and the Valley in near blackness for months at a time. Candles and fires gave the only light while thin blankets gave too little warmth. The oldest and youngest quickly died of lung illness and, by the time spring rolled in, the hale and healthy were near death themselves. I had been too young to remember the winter Beth was born, but I could remember the next one with crystal clarity. Father’s mother, Old Luol, sat in the rocker, going back and forth, back and forth through the days and nights. I could not tell one from the other. Firelight flickered on her lumped fingers twisted over the armrests. The only sound but for the shrieking wind was her voice, mumbling stories to us about the beasts in the Beyond. I had been nine, Beth eight, and the boy child lived to see his third day before dying. Had there been some light, Father no doubt would have gone to the tavern. But he had to remain in our cramped, tiny cabin until travel was possible. Beth and I huddled with the twins in a cold corner to avoid his rampaging about, while the rest of our sisters shivered along the other wall. Mother was still bed-ridden in our parents’ room.

“Dead! Dead! Dead!” he screamed. “Look at my son! What have you done to my son?” He held the bundled body to his chest, poking at it now and then, as if to make sure. I had only caught a glimpse and gotten slapped for my trouble, the boy’s whitish face eerily still in its swathe of wool blanket.

Dark Winters were long and hard. Had they come about more than once every eight years, I would probably go mad. That first spring day, when the sun gave the earth no more than a late evening’s dimness, we all spilled outside and would not go back in until nightfall.“Don’t worry, Shannon,” Beth said. I jumped at her voice. “I don’t think San and Teff will tell anyone what you said. They know it was just foolishness.” I stared at her in confusion.

“I wasn’t thinking . . .” I began to protest, but realized she didn’t need to know what I was really thinking. I helped her to her feet.

“I’m better now. Do you want me to carry the basket?” she asked.

“No, I’m all right,” I said as her chin got a stubborn set to it. “Maybe you could carry one or two of the loaves, that would lighten it some.”

She took three and started off. We went the rest of the way in silence. She shouldn’t have come with me to market, as fast as she tired, but it was better than being home.
We turned off the road and walked down the dirt path to the cabin. No cook fire came from the chimney.

“What do you. . .” Beth stopped as two of the Nameless ran for us. After Roaninblue were born, Father had forbidden us to waste even names on other useless baggage. I had names for them, but only when Father wasn’t around.

I looked over their heads at the cabin. The door was ajar. Father started shouting.
“Come on,” I said. “We’ll go into the barn and play games.” I gestured to the other Nameless, huddled on the porch. They clambered to their feet. All of them ducked when a particularly loud shout cut the air around us.

“Hurry, hurry,” I said as I ushered them into the barn, glancing at the cabin. It wasn’t much, uneven boards and cracked glass windows that never seemed to get clean. Old Luol’s rocker lay in a heap in the front yard. I pulled the barn door shut and counted . . . seven, eight, nine. Everyone was here. Roaninblue each took a hand of another sister and tried to pull them into a half-hearted ring game. Roan or Blue gave up, and then the other twin followed suit. Father never called either one by the same name, so they became Roaninblue, like a single identity.

“Come on, let’s play hide-and-seek!” I said loudly to cover the sounds from the cabin. “I’m it!”

Beth took the basket from my shoulder. I had forgotten it was there. I ran to the barn door and pressed my face against it, counting noisily. The three youngest shrieked and footsteps pounded away. Beth chuckled. I heard her sit down with an exhausted sigh.
“Twelve!” I called out. Two giggles came from the horse’s stall. Greda and Keluu, probably. They always hid together. The twins’ voices whispered behind me.
I opened my eyes and looked out a crack between the boards. For a moment, Mother’s face was barely visible through the gray glass of the cabin window.

“Why doesn’t she just hit him back?” I had demanded of her, when I was Greda’s age.
My mother looked out over the market. One of the Trelson boys had slapped his mother and ripped a coin from her palm.

“Thirteen!” I shouted, looking at my mother’s eyes. Her face disappeared. I turned back to the musty barn.“Ready, steady, on I come!” I ran blindly into the dust motes.

The Trelson mother had pressed her hand to her stained cheek. She looked down at the ground. Mother didn’t do anything for a moment. Everyone had paused at the ring of that slap, and then they were in motion again around us, slightly faster than before, to make up for the time they had lost.

I ran, not caring if I tripped, keeping my hands in front of me to push off posts and sagging doors and bales of hay. Why had the other girls been so pleased when it was time to put our hair in braids? Who wanted to be a Valley’s woman?

I stumbled over a loose board and fell, skinning my knees and tearing my dress. I scrambled to my feet. This time when I ran, like a foolish little child, my eyes were closed.

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Author Kerrigan Valentine was born in Wisconsin and grew up in California, where she lives today with her partner. She has a bachelor’s degree in Classical Studies. After graduating from college, she worked for several years in education with mildly to severely disabled children, and now divides her time between writing, occasional teaching and seasonal viticulture positions, and learning how to cook with limited success.