Maypoles Gone By…

Do you celebrate the 1st of May? The change of seasons is known as May Day, Beltane, and many other “May holidays in European culture such as May Day, Calan Mai, Walpurgis Night, Maiouma, Irminden, Calendimaggio, to name a few.”  My own Beltane celebrations included a Maypole at the local farmer’s market for years!

I’ve not been to a Maypole celebration since 2019 and I missed it yesterday. Our local market starts later in the season and ends earlier than years past as we all navigate economic changes and a new normal. Reflecting on the years of enjoying this celebration, I feel such gratitude that my kiddo was a participant for 6 years of childhood. We had six years of collecting roses from our own yard, bringing them to the market to add with others’, making and wearing beautiful flower crowns, and spinning around the maypole. I treasure these sweet memories.

The first time we had a Maypole at the farmer’s market, in 2014, there wasn’t a very big turn out. My kiddo is the one in the Star Wars costume, and in 2015, the one in the cape! By 2018 and 2019, you can see how much the crowd grew. As a 6th grader in 2019, my kiddo wasn’t going to join in, but at the last minute, could not resist!

No Maypole this year. And the market won’t be back until June. So, yesterday while my now teen hung out with friends (happy to report they still climb trees, fall into creeks and come home with grass stains!) my husband and I had a long walk through town. As we passed this spot—where the market is held—we reminisced.

All through town we noted memories—the broken arm, the mud puddle that got so huge every year we named it Lake Stoessel (the street name), the thrill of smashing ice on frozen over puddles on the really rare days it was cold enough. We remembered the huge tractor tire that used to be at “Yellow Park” (the kid’s preferred that name over “Fred Hockert Park”) and the day that 9 little kids fit inside. We laughed about the alley our kiddo insisted was a short-cut (it wasn’t) and remembered having to call 911 in that alley once when we found a grass fire. It sure was exciting to see the fire truck come!

Walking past the library we remembered all of the story times, craft events, using the computers and checking out books. Our librarians knew us all by name. Just past the library we came to the elementary school. Those years were so much fun! Great teachers, the science fairs, playdates, and kids we don’t see anymore as they grow apart sometimes…so many memories! Around the corner and further up the road we came to “Stonewall Park” named as such by our kiddo because there is a wall of stones. Sorry “Nick Loutsis” your name is too hard to say and the stone is just so cool. This park holds a frisbee golf course which conjures enough hilarious memories to warrant it’s own blog someday.

So, my Beltane celebration was celebrating the sweetness of a life well-lived. Did you celebrate anything lately?

A Funny Thing Happened at the Grocery Store

I was in a great mood! My husband, teen and I walked to the grocery store for milk and a bit of produce. It was sunny and I was just enjoying being with my people. We haven’t had as much time together lately and I was just really glad. We chatted and joked and laughed and it was just fun.

Having gathered our groceries we headed to the check out, and I have my bag. I always tell the checker I have a bag so they don’t have to ask about my “paper or plastic” preference. I think I am just being efficient.

Well, today, my “I have a bag.” must have expressed my pure joy in the magic of the day because the response from the checker was big, smiley, “Congratulations. Good for you!”

A bit surprised, and hit with this sudden moment of self-awareness I said, “If I can find such joy in just having a bag, I mean, isn’t that great?”

The checker laughed, commented something to the effect of being impressed and then said, “Hey, wherever you can find joy in life.”

To which I responded, “Yes, like this conversation!” And he laughed and laughed.

Then, he said, “Would you like paper or plastic?” Pause…. “Just kidding!”

This whole exchange that was really hilarious, and maybe it was a “had to be there” kind of hilarious, but this brief levity in the midst of the mundane is exactly the kind of magic we need every day!

Good Job!

I could call my part of this blog “Lessons from Luna” since that’s what it seems to becoming. She’s been cracking me up when I overhear her say to herself, “Good job!” And yet, couldn’t we all use a little more self-appreciating in our lives?! She also says, “Good catch!” whenever she trips or falls. What if every time we trip up, or fall/fail in life, we turn our focus to the “good catch.” It’s so easy to help direct her attention to the positive end of the stick, if only I could master my own! 

And now, some wise words from the sidewalk… 

Will you play along with me? Let’s tell ourselves out loud “good job” at least 10 times today!! 

April Fools

In honor of April Fools Day, I find myself thinking of the archetype of the Fool. It’s got this trickster dynamic. The very same kind of innocence that makes one easily fooled is also the openness to possibilities that allows an infinite future.

Follow your own path and trust that you will be guided. Every moment is a new starting point. Your lack of judgement isn’t foolish, it’s innocence from any past, and therefore infinite future.

Time Travel through the Tarot course in Moon Feather Hollow

The Fool of a tarot deck is numbered zero, a round or egg-shaped space from which to go or grow in any direction. A faith in your own instincts and the freedom to move forward with a total openness to life is the archetype of the Fool. Having no distinction between possibility and reality is the “foolish” power of free choice.

Ruminate on the past, present, or future embodiment of the fool in your own life. Have you ever experienced falling for something and then wishing you’d known better? Or, have you ever felt a light-hearted silliness of trickery and fun? What about the experience of pure potential—a stirring of the quantum soup resulting in a wanted outcome? Foolishness itself is not good or bad, yet how we experience it can be labeled as wanted or not wanted.

Let’s harness the Fool’s Pure potentiality! 

Do something spontaneous!

Dance or sing!

Start something new! 

Happy Spring!

I just love to feel the shift in nature. Snow melts, leaves sprout, flowers bud & bloom! Letting the wintery bits of me melt, I wonder what new growth will sprout? How about you?  Where does your heart’s desire lead you to spring forth and what winter wisdom will guide you?  

It’s the Vernal Equinox, the time of the year when our huge, spinning, glowing sphere of hot gas—the sun—moves into the constellation of Aries. This zodiac sign is the archetype of identity, action, and passion. Both the month of March and the planet Mars are named for the Roman god. Did you know that Rome used a 10 month lunisolar calendar that began in March? Did you also know that we’ve only been using our current calendar system, the Gregorian calendar, since it was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582?

In centuries prior, countries around the world had used a disjointed array of uncoordinated calendars, each adopted for local purposes and based primarily on local geographical factors. The Mayan calendar would not be easily aligned with the Egyptian, Greek, Chinese or Julian calendars, and so forth. In addition to the pope’s far-reaching influence, the adoption of the Gregorian system was facilitated by the emergence of a globalized system marked by exploration and the development of long-distance trade networks and interconnectors between regions beginning in the late 1400s. The pope’s calendar was essentially the imposition of a true global interactive system and the acknowledgment of a new global reality.

The Geopolitics of the Gregorian Calendar

I find it fascinating how humanities systems, tools, and practices come into being, and I always feel better when leaning into the natural rhythms of Mother Nature. To me, the Wheel of the Year and the lunar cycles are the calendars that reflect the patterns of living as a creative being. They reflect the life cycle of a plant from seed, sprout & blossom to harvest, decay & rest.

Today, the first day of spring is also called Ostara in the Wheel of the Year. Ostara (o-STAHR-uh) or Ēostre (OHS-truh or EST-truh) are old English for Easter. Whatever spring traditions you celebrate, it’s a time of new beginnings, light and rebirth. From now to May 1st – Beltane – is six weeks.  Take just a moment and try to envision your life in the next six weeks.

Do you feel called to get OUTSIDE!? For the next few weeks try to really notice all of the changes! Get out into the woods if you can and look for signs of nature’s enchantment. Look to the East. Take in a sunrise.  Honor the coming of Spring in some form of celebration!  

Here’s how my very punny husband wished me a Happy Spring!

May your Spring be refreshing, enlivening, and full of new green shoots!

Rosemary and Thyme

Meet the newest editions to our family – Rosemary and Thyme (birthday presents from Grandma)! We already have an elephant named Lavender and I was inspired by our focus on botanical buddy Rosemary in Mystic Raven Secret Garden over in the Hollow. 

Did you know rosemary is associated with love? Apparently the lyrics in Simon & Garfunkel’s famous song are about a man trying to attain his true love. In Medieval times, the herbs mentioned in the song represented virtues that were important to the lyrics. Parsley was comfort, sage was strength, rosemary was love, and thyme was courage. Isn’t that interesting?! We’re also painting watercolors of rosemary, cooking of course, using the herb for smudge and exploring her essential oil therapeutic benefits. 

Anyways, it’s like the cutest thing to hear Luna say “Rosemary” multiple times a day. I’ve got to capture a sound clip. She seems to have skipped from one to three or four syllable words and they crack me up. Her other current favorites are “kombucha” and “guacamole”. The other day she also said “waxing crescent moon” while pointing to the sky. I must have said it recently but it still blew my mind. Her journey into our language is fascinating and yet my role in it is easier than I expected. Of course there are times when things are harder than expected, but isn’t it wonderful when things turn out to be easier?! And it’s a great reminder to continue to quiet the worry tangents the mind can run off on – remembering that is actually just using my imagination to create unwanted scenarios.

Is there anything happening in your life that turned out to be easier than you first expected? I’d love to hear from you and hope all is well in your world. And I invite you to reach for some rosemary if you find you need a bit more love. Herbs are a curious wonder and I’m find the more I learn about them, the more I realize how little I know…

Bright Winter Days

Sunny bright winter days look warm through the window, but it’s so cold today! Cheerful orange flowers and the beach scene on my shower curtains (hiding craft supply shelves) create an illusion of summer days in my sunny imaginarium. I truly love every season, as well as the cycles within seasons, the ongoing ebb & flow of creating my days. But today I am cold. I’ve not experienced a midwest winter for 10 years! I guess I’ve acclimated to the much more mild Pacific Northwest climate. I am ready for my comfortable temperatures back (19 degrees this morning!) and longer daylight. I’m getting restless for spring.

Seed catalogs, crocuses, and shifted products at the grocery store all assure me spring is nearly here! The Vernal Equinox is just three-ish weeks away. Dates on the calendar are closer than they appear!

Suddenly, I realize I am glad it’s cold outside. I need the feeling of plenty of time for puttering, imagining, reading, snuggling, crafting & dreaming before the warm sunny days pull me out into yardwork, gardening, and lengthier explores.

Bright sunny winter days like today remind me that the wanting is part of the fun. The approach of spring, the urge to be out in the sunshine, and not be cold is tempered with an appreciation for the gifts of winter too. Every season has gifts in proportion to our attention spans.

It’s my attention to the moment, over and over again, that needs a bit of practice. Presence in the moment actually expands my experience of time and energy. If I can bring the patience and presence I feel this sunny winter day into spring and summer, perhaps they won’t fly by so quickly. If I can enjoy the wanting feeling as part of the fun of anything I dream about, perhaps I won’t get so restless!

Whether you are present to your winter moments or experiencing spring fever, may you feel something bright and sunny in your days. Perhaps some orange flowers or a cat. Maybe a random musing from someone just saying hello.

Salt Life

Hello from the gulf coast! Yes, we are in winter coats and hats and our baby is naked, but believe me, she wouldn’t have it any other way! We headed south in our camper van, Cricket, after the holidays to explore winter in northern Florida.

The beach is soft and white and in the right light you can’t tell if it’s sand or snow. I love the textures that form from the play of light and shadow. 

We are chasing birds, finding feathers, smiling at strangers, and savoring waves, sunshine, and sunsets. Lots of walks, naps with a view, new words and adventures in potty training fill our days. 

Balancing family life with the endless inspiration that comes from having a community of creatives keeps my heart overflowing with gratitude. It’s truly a blessing to have our extended family in the Hollow to share, grow, and create with. 

Panning For Gold in Memorial River

I’m panning for gold today. I’ve got my Dreamoire (journal), some images I printed last week, and my mug (from my niece for Christmas) filled with soy latte and dusted with cardamom and cinnamon. I’ve got this treasure of a dedicated space — my Imaginarium — and my beloved desk, a gift from my husband sooooo many years ago. It has scratches in it from my cats that annoyed me at their occurrence, but I treasure them now. The gold in those scratches is instantaneous time travel to… Holly sitting on my Desk, demanding my attention.

I miss her. We lost her just before Christmas to cancer – we had no idea she was even sick until the end, such a shock. Life’s shocks are the best places to pan for gold. The tragedies that crack me open reveal hidden treasure over time, but only if I allow myself the full experience of grieving. After Holly died, my sadness was so overwhelming, I had lost hope that I might ever feel happiness again. My logic knew from too many grief experiences in my 50 years that this was not true, but my heart’s heaviness saw no relief. I tried collaging and ended up tossing it out — I did save a few bits of ephemera I wanted to reuse. I carefully pulled them off and laid them sticky side up in a compartment in my desk out in my Imaginarium. Weeks later, I tried to collage again. I knew one bit of ephemera had gone missing – a little word that had been cut out of a Christmas card. I had no memory of what the word was, just that I originally had two and now only one. The next day I was in my house (not my Imaginarium shed where my desk is!) and saw a little bit of white on the hearth. I picked it up and read “Hope” and laughed out loud. I had quite literally lost then found my hope!

Holly is with my sister now, and so many others, like my friend Holly & her cat who died in an apartment fire in 2006. (I didn’t name my cat after her, they both came to me already named.) Like Michelle, my friend who introduced me to grief. She died when we were in 2nd grade. So many beautiful souls whose lives helped to shape me…. mentally bringing them each to mind now… I miss them all, and carry them all in my heart. I feel them — the essence of who they were in my life — so deeply.

I’m panning for gold in Memorial River today…today marks 17 years since my sister died (at the age of 38) in a snowmobile accident. We were best friends who decided to live like the old TV show “Full House” and we bought a duplex together right before she died. Her kids were just 13 & 14. My husband and I were not sure we could conceive – we’d been married 9 years then. That sadness from not having children of my own at the time became relief that all my parenting energy focused on them. As life tends to go, we did finally conceive when the kiddos were 16 & 17. Our daily lives in those years contained so much gold that simply wouldn’t have happened any other way.

Tina & Stephie

Never would I wish for my sister to be gone, but never could I imagine my life any different than it has been. There is pure gold in how her passing shaped me. That entire experience of the deepest grief brought out every part of me, taught me exquisite self-care, mastery in the art of living, of being gentle with myself, of faith in connectedness beyond physicality.

Here in the heart of winter, just beginning to notice more light, slightly longer daylight each day, I honor the wintering experiences life provides. I honor my sister, the two Hollys and so many others… with a river of memories… I’ll dig into my Dreamoire, list those names I mentally brought to mind while writing this, and collage. Practicing exquisite self care, I gently tend to my grief by panning for gold in Memorial River.

Fleeting Art

Have you ever created, knowing it’s soon going to be destroyed? If you spend time with kids you probably have. Luna is currently enjoying watching me draw, and then likes to scribble over it with a crayon. As a creative, with a case of perfectionism currently in remission, it’s a valuable exercise to draw or create with speed, flippancy and detachment. Lately, its taken the form of symbols and glyphs in the sand. Sand art is intrinsically impermanent, fun to create for the sake of creating. I love how Luna watches and encourages me to keep carving lines into our sprawling canvas with a piece of shell. To draw without thinking, just moving my hand in bold strokes as a sort of meditative practice. Standing back to pretend it is a secret language of glyphs and characters that was channeled. Laughing together as Finn runs through barking and spraying sand on us, wiping the canvas clean. 

Embracing these days of unexpected creation—of finding the whimsey, wonder and wisdom woven throughout. 

Will you create some sort of impermanent art today?