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 .

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First Day of Summer

Beltane, Goddess, Priestess, ritual, Seasonal Greetings

Greetings! May 4th is the First Day of Summer, the cross-quarter day between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. 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.  This holiday is usually called Beltane, but I think of it as the Greeting of the Flame because this is the season that heralds the beginning of the long bright days.

Living in Albuquerque NM, today feels like the first day of summer. The sun is warm and inviting. The roses and wisteria are in bloom. This is the beginning of the season of Light.

This first day of Summer, I feel as if I’m finally getting traction. My feet are hitting the ground, and I am beginning the sprint. It seems there has been so much preparation this spring, so many things to work out, so many complications, so many things holding me back. And now, the long days illuminate the path. Indeed, the way is open. Take a moment at this cross-point in the year to revel in the light of your own accomplishments that have brought you here, and give a word of thanks to those that have illuminated your path.

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 (this year on May 4th).

Your Life as Ritual by Kathryn Ravenwood

Priestess, ritual
Candle

Candle in the hand

You are preparing to do a ritual, maybe for the New Moon, Solstice, or to invoke a special goddess. You sit with Spirit, asking to know what is wanted of you. You set your intentions, visualize and assemble all the items you need to make the altar – the appropriate colored cloth, candles, incense, statues, offerings of the elements. You choose or write a chant or song, and plan each detail of the ritual. You gather your smudge supplies and your regalia. Before the ritual you carefully prepare yourself, perhaps with a ritual bath and sacred oils, to step forward as Priestess of your Circle. You take time to center, to be sure you are aligned with Spirit and the intention of your ritual. You invoke your Guides to be with you to serve the Circle, the Goddess, and this ceremony to the best you are able. When it is time to begin, you gather the Circle together, call in the Directions, and enter into the realms of ceremony. After everyone goes home, the altar is taken down, the candle drippings cleaned up, and you are finally alone again, you give your thanks to Spirit for the inspiration, guidance, and for being able to safely hold space for all the participants. You go to bed with that wonderful feeling of having done something beautiful, powerful, and transformational.

And then, in the morning, you hit the snooze alarm three times, finally get up and realize you are going to be late, rush around getting ready to go to work, grab some coffee and head out the door. The traffic irritates you and you find your patience waning. You arrive at work frustrated and jump right in to the pile of tasks awaiting you. You might wake up to a family member demanding help on a task they could easily do themselves. Maybe you get your tea and settle in to your email or morning news on the TV. About half way through the morning you think, “what happened to that Priestess from last night? Where did she go?”

We seem to forget that we are the Priestess of Our Own Life and the ceremony goes on 24×7. This most powerful of all rituals is constantly in need of intention, awareness, preparation, celebration, and Divine Guidance. Like all rituals, we have created altars to support our life: we may have a Directions altar or one for our personal guides. We might remember to sit and draw a Tarot or Oracle card for inspiration, to pray or smudge the house at least a few times a week. These altars seem to be the ones we are more able to bring conscious awareness to.

But what about the other altars all over our homes that we are not consciously working?  There is the altar of the refrigerator door, the bedroom floor where we have casually tossed a variety of offerings, and the altar of Facebook, which seems capable of overpowering all others. Have we forgotten our songs of praise and instead chant a litany of complaints and excuses? Do we keep an altar of our past mistakes? Are we immersed in mindless routines, forgetting to be aware of our actions or intention?

How do we find balance with “real life” and “priestess life?” We must stop separating and integrate the two. We are the Priestess of Our Own Life and  ritual is what holds us on that path. We all have obligations to meet; work, family and relationship challenges, friends to keep up with, chores to do.  Life as Our Ritual requires attention, intention, action, invocation of higher wisdom, gratitude, offerings, and time to clean up the candle drippings of our messy, complicated lives.

Take time to visualize what you need and want in your life in the present time. Do you need a forgiveness altar? Is it time to invoke a deity to help you clear out what is dead and no longer serving you? Visualize, purify, make an altar that you actually will work and pay attention to. Take down the ones whose energy has gone flat. Write sticky notes, make a vision board, smudge often, sing, chant, dance and pray. Practice being aware of how you are moving through your day.  Priestessing our life ritual is a lot like correcting our posture; we have to be aware we are slumping, have sat for three hours without a break, and we need to move. Are you gulping your food? Be aware and stop and chew slowly, bless it, thank the beings who gave away so you can have it. Bless your body – however it is today – listen to your words, feel your heart.

Life is a process we learn as we go along. We are never perfect, never finished, but we can refine our life with presence of mind, an open heart, and conscious ritual.  Blessed be!

Kathryn Ravenwood is a Priestess for the Water, a ceremonialist, shamanic guide, and teacher, author and reader of Tarot.  She has studied the Mysteries for over 40 years and offers personal consultation for spiritual growth.  Find more information at http://www.kathrynravenwood.com.