Beautiful prayers for all
on this sacred day.
Night descends. A small wind sighs through the pines and cedars, stirring winter greenery and small patches of snow. Nights are frosty and long, days short and cold. Winter solstice looms just a few days away.
Beyond barn and sheds, high above our mortal comings and goings, a faint star shines in the dark. Eternal and luminous, a compass steady and true., it calls us home. Home to the enfolding warmth of the ancestral hearth. Home to the love that gave us life.
North Star, Fire Star, Wayshower, Hub of the Great Sky Wheel. The ancient ones knew there was hope when lost in a pathless wilderness, or far out on uncharted seas. As long as skies were clear, and the star in view, there would always be a way home.
Stars circle, ages come and go, we ourselves are born, unfold, then pass away. And what for, if not to love? For what is life without the gifts love brings.
So in this wintery time when days are at their darkest, let your soul shine out, walk your path with dignity and grace. Honor your people, forgiving them their imperfections and shortcomings, for they suffer just as you have. It seems we all struggle against ourselves, trying to find some small, longed for glimmer of the Light.
Perhaps it's time to remember that true north is ever-present, eternal and unwavering. Yes, sure, sometimes hidden by storms and clouds, but if you step forward with bravery, trust and heart wide open, there will always be a way home.
It is full dark now. Winters cold breath sparkles across the land turning it into something magical, beautiful and serene. Above earth a star weaves a trail of gossamer, and shines the way . . .
Yes, it is already that time of year again. Atumn is fast fading away into the deep, quiet of winter.
The new studio, just roofed and framed, recieved a gentle blessing by way of a suprise snow fall. Grass, fallen leaves and the last of the late apples and garden greens were soon covered in a soft white blanket. Every rock, tree, branch and twig held their own large and small capes and cloaks.
Red Willow Studio
Since last writing much has transpired here in our magical little corner of the universe.
As the seasons cycled round, gardens were planted, grew, and came to harvest. Herbs were dried and turned to tinctures and salves, fruits were gathered, and tomatoes and other veggies were processed, packaged and frozen.
Rains came and went, hay was cut, dried and stored away for winter. Our one litter of healthy bright eyed pups found happy new homes, and small, sweet mooncow is now heavy with calf. The new flock of chickens, all raised carefully from tiny chicks, are almost grown. We are counting the days until the first perfect brown egg can be collected!
Several of the love-doves have settled down with new mates and our little family of tiny horses are doing well. Everyone is cute and fluffy in their thick new winter coats. Baby filly, now weaned, has filled out into a charming and beautiful young girl.
It was an amazing summer for all those of the green kingdoms as well. We were pleased to see that the hundred or so fruit, sacred white-cedar and tamarack trees I planted over the last couple years making tremendous growth Not to mention the lilies, iris, berries and grapes.
All year the pond was unusually filled to overflowing with water and creatures. Our land was also gifted with a wealth of birds flying, singing and nesting as well many species of butterflies. Growing scarce here because of "big" farming, the butterflies also seemed to really thrive and multiple this last year. I was thrilled to even see a few of my favorites, the mysterious Mourning-Cloak!
Due to our diligence and protection the farm and wetland have become a favored haven for wildlife these last few years. Along with many other amazing species, we also spotted the elusive raven and fisher-cat this fall!
The fullness of life lived close to, and interwoven with nature brings the kind of richness and fullfillment no amount of gold or money could ever buy. It brings something that our ancestors understood and revered, yet so many of us seem to have forgotten in this world gone mad with acquisition, instant gratification and technology.
The simplicity of life, death and rebirth. The slow turning of night and day. The procession of the seasons, the constellations, the equinoxes. Taking time for recognition and gratitude, time to honor that which is unknowable, boundless and beyond time.
Sacrificing something of ourselves, for something of greater importance. Being at peace with the Great Mystery. This is what we have forgotten.
Take this moment just as it is.
Reflect, Honor, Invite.
Then let go.
And soar into the unknown . . .
Update . . . While I was away last week two hundred plus gorgeous wild swans were spotted on the wetland. Wow! Our little preserve seems to have become a very important resting spot for them as well as for quite a few other species of migratory water fowl. Other ponds and nearby wetlands just don't seem to have the same appeal. Perhaps the birds sense our dedicated vigilance and protection?
Last night was full of mystery and change. Rain, then snow, sleet and ice fell fast and heavy on our little world, sending the tentative hopefullness of spring back into the cold realities of winter.
All night the wind blew, shivering the trees, moaning around the house and outbuildings. Historic amounts of snow began to pile up. Small horses, chickens and cattle, tilted their heads, listening. Everyone seemed grateful and content to be out of the elements, nestled safe in stalls and coop.
As I lay awake in next mornings early dawn thoughts and images of a recent journey flitted through my consciousness. It was to one of the last great wildernesses that I'd traveled. A place where the imprint of humanity is much smaller than here. A place where most of the land remains prestine, remote, observant and waiting.
My younger sister lives there. At the end of the world, on a jut of land between inlet and bay. Mountains loom across the water. Cold, austere and strangely beautiful, they sweep up from sea to sky, their reflections littered with flotillas of broken ice. One wouldnt know that beneath them earth's hot blood boils, sometimes erupting from cone-shaped peaks which at present look so quiet and innocent.
That is the way of things though it seems. The unseen, the danger and unrest, the burning vitality of life just below what can be grasped by the ordinary senses. The wild pulse of hearts and natures ready to erupt, for better or worse.
I hadnt seen my sister for almost thirty years, virtually a lifetimes worth of experience and living. Divided by family disorders and loyalties, the distance appeared endless, insurmountable. Always though, just beneath the surface, was a faint ember of knowing. The inner whisperings of the heart singing, "Someday, somehow . . ."
Then it happened. The first tentative steps, then later, trust, sharing, and longer bolder strides. Until the distance was bridged, the past integrated, the long-journey nearly complete.
Tears flowed, laughter and joy warmed the space that'd once held the emptiness of lost comradery and love. Two sisters, two hearts, despite all odds, united.
As eagles watched, we walked arm in arm, along the rocky, windswept shores of the sea, and full circle into the present . . .
The Promise of spring. A pair of swans our wetland preserve, and the arrival of a tiny, gorgeous spirit horse!
Five days old, born on the equinox . . .
After spending three magical days and nights with us our amazing turkey friends vanished. Returning to the wild, just as mysteriously as they had come.
While they visited the turkeys followed me everywhere, seeming to have no fear. In the morning they were waiting by the front door, then would come along as I walked the rounds of chores.
First the big tom, then all the hens followed along down the little path, and yes, even on into the barn.! They were all so curious, investigating everyone and everything. Once satisfied they stood around watching and chirping as I fed and watered all our usual barn friends.
The really odd thing was, it was never about food as some might like to think. They just seemed genuinely to want to be near us, strangely curious and bonded. And always looking up, talkative. Chattering away in their own mysterious and ancient language, as if trying to convey something of great importance.
Two of the nights the turkeys flew to the top of our two story house and roosted on the peak of the roof. The third night they took up position on the front porch. Two roosting on the back of the bench left of the door, two on the back of the bench right of the door. As if they were watching over us, sentinels of earth energy and and deep wild power.
The next morning the turkeys were up early, a rosy-gold light tinting the frosty trees and ground. They hopped off their perches, then walked single file away towards the woods. Never to be seen again.
The experience was astounding, the magic intense, real and humbling. We will never see a turkey the same again.
The spirit of Earth Eagle came, there was grace, we are honored.
Snow lies on the ground, winter continuing to shroud the land. Most of the wild animals are staying hidden away out of sight. Only the occasional set of tracks testifies to unseen activities and lives.
That is why this mornings encounter was such a surprise..
First there was a commotion in the yard Our male shepherd was stalking something. Then there was a whirl of black and white fur, flapping wings and grey-brown feathers. We called out, hurriedly retrieving our little buddy from his glorious chase.
To our surprise the feathers belonged to a large wild tom turkey. Along with three hens the bird had evidently been snatching food from the bird feeder-tub on the front porch.
After a few minutes every one had calmed down and our new acquaintances cautiously climbed the few steps back onto the porch.
We watched in awe. In a lifetime of experience and nature watching neither of us had ever been this close to a wild turkey. Normally these wary creatures flee in a panic before one even sees them. And these were completely wild birds.
After a time of viewing them through the large sliding door, I ventured to squat down and open it a crack. Speaking softly, I held out a handfull of seeds and corn. The turkeys chirped, gurgled and tweeted sweetly amongst themselves, seeming more cautious and curious than afraid.
Soon the hen with the bluest head approached. She held my gaze for a moment or two, considering. Then she actually took the feed. Slowly, gently I reached towards her with the other hand. We connected, my fingers brushing the feathery softness of her breast, the moment was powerful, pure.
The magic continued. For hours. My new friends were soon following along behind as I made my way to the barn for morning chores. They investigated everything. The buildings, the fences, the other animals. Then as I threw some scratch feed to Mr. Rooster and his hens, I called toward the turkeys. Gathering around my feet, they watched attentively as I tossed a little feed their way too.
Then it was back to the house. The turkeys stayed by the barn, hens feeding,. male intent on displaying and performing a little wing dragging circle dance. Claiming his girls, his new territory.
After a while I went back outside and called. It was truly amazing. There the turkeys came, slowly, single file, from the nearby cedar woods. Through the yard, up the path and back onto the porch to peck up the cracked corn placed in a pan for them.
And I've heard it said that turkeys are among the stupidest of animals. These amazing wild beings learned in one un-orchestrated session the meaning of my sing-song dinner call.
When you are your authentic self, walking in stillness, not wanting, nature and Mother Earth respond. Then, in innocence, true connection takes place.
Sacred messengers of abundance, trust, dignity, innocence, peace, harmony and shared blessings.
The Curious One
Last night lightening flashed, thunder rumbled and the wind howled along the drive and lane. The shapes of tall white pines swayed wildly against the dark of the sky. As I lay awake listening, the change was palpable, the night full of mystery, and magic.
Later I dreamed of a young woman with the wide fierce eyes of an owl. She stood on a mountain top, dark hair flying in the wind. Music came, she danced to a gypsy tune and reached out, hand seeking mine.
Rain thrummed steadily on the roof. Tears spilled down my cheeks. Staining the pillow, shimmering softly in the first faint light of the coming dawn.
I recalled a time long ago, when the still of the winter solstice and the dark of the new moon conspired to bring on a birth. A little girl. The third of three lives I would love with the deep, true love only a mothers heart knows.
She was mystery and quiet, beauty and night. A child of the deep, the winter, the horse-path of ancient knowledge and wisdom. A precious gift from the Great Divine.
* * *
Tonight an owl calls in the dark. Snow enfolds the earth, bringing softness and silence. The solstice grows nearer.
Decades have waxed and waned, solstices and winters come and gone. Yet still, the memory is present and clear. Through the disordered maze of stones and sorrows littering the way between us, Love flows. A great strong river, sweeping away all doubt. The time is precious and unforgotten.
In my dreams the raven haired girl remembers too . . .
The dark thins and fades, the owl falls silent. Dawn dances rose and gold along the eastern edge of the horizon. Night reaches completion and winter nods bravely to the warmth and possibilities of spring.
The sun is on the verge of a long slow rise away from this shadow-time of healing and reflection.
The light is returning, inevitably, and surely as it has for countless generations. Life goes on. The cycles turning, completing, turning again. And just as surely, Love goes on too. Lighting the dark, dancing on the mountain tops, whispering its secrets and possibilities on the wind
You are mystery and quiet
Beauty and night
Daughter of the winter
Child of the Light . . .
Love and Blessings,
Welcome Friends. . . .