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Archive for June, 2013

family joyA week ago I journeyed back to Kansas City for a visit with son Jerame, his wife Kate and nine month old Flora. Returning visits are about “picking up where we left off, remembering through stories and forging ahead to see the new unfolding.

Jerame and Kate’s current abode is a lovely home with a huge magnificent vibrant garden yard…. trees, flowers, critters, birds, deer make you believe that busy city life is miles from here when in fact it is surprisingly close. Everyday Flora and I spend time sitting and playing on the grass, doing a bit of yoga, singing and connecting with the unseen sparkly fairy magic all around.

Yesterday was a “get out of town day” and so we headed East to more memories and meetings of the past and joys of today – visiting Marshall and Arrow Rock, Missouri.

Another lifetime and world away….. Seventeen years ago Tim and I moved to Marshall, Missouri – a small rural town 83 miles east of Kansas City – He was the Minister for a church and congregation for four years…..lots of memories and stories there!

At little show off time with Flora was called for so a visit with Rebecca was first. Along with her huswith Flora 1band Dan and his father, she reminded us “we are the reason you ended up here!” So true! Hearing her family news, meeting of children, seeing the subtle and not so subtle changes through age allowed for smiles and hugs all round. A quick drive past the old house and then onto our destination…..the tiny village of Arrow Rock, seventeen miles through the countryside.

swim spotSettler’s history starts around 1820s after the War of 1812 when early migration west on what became the Santa Fe Trail took hold. Arrow Rock’s history can be followed from the Native American tribes, early explorers looking for opportunities of land and commerce, the rise of enslaved African Americans, economic  impact of the Civil War and fires, decline of river commerce and traffic with the advent of train travel has brought this little village down to a population of less than 50 today.

Highlight of the day was meeting with Liz Huff, Owner/Chef of Catalpa Restaurant. Liz and Jerame have known each other for many years yet this was the first visit in quite a long time especially since getting married to Kate and having Flora. Fun and stories were shared while enjoying the amazing food at this tiny (8 tables) AWARD WINNING restaurant way off the beaten track. 2012/2013 Best Rural Restaurant in Missouri by Rural Missouri Magazine.

For a mini-blog review   See Catalpa’s Face Book Page.

Until next time……Blessings each day!

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At the end of the first part of this story I left the reader with many questions to ponder in relation to the Unseen World of Spirit and Light and Dark. As a reminder go back and refer to the questions posed and thus the reflections revealed!

To continue on……that first week at the Ojai Foundation was filled with serendipitous meetings and happenings. While I arrived late on a Friday afternoon, unknowingly the following morning the monthly Sweat Lodge was being held on the Upper Land. I would absolutely participate. I had experienced my first Lodge in 1998 with Lakota Chief Richard Swallow Eagle and Elder Red Earth (who later became my teacher.) From this beginning and all Lodges since, from Lakota and Cherokee and a mixture of other Traditions and Teachings I have grown to honor and respect those who hold the role of Lodge Keeper. More often than not, they will tell you “they were chosen, it is not their choice!”

I felt an instant rapport with Lodge Elder Paul (Eagle Bear) and knew it would be a powerful experience. My Medicine Bundle was placed on the Altar and my prayers requested clarity to be revealed. Along with the other dozen or so men and women who shared the Lodge that Saturday morning, we sat in the Womb of the Mother and were blessed in the darkness, the heat, the waters, the songs, the wailing truths and the unspoken secrets released…..we left changed as is the purpose of each Sacred Lodge Ceremony.

During that first week I also met and had wonderful conversations with two women on personal retreat from Sedona and two men and a woman all film-makers from LA. From these very simple meetings I am still in contact with several of them and those connections are part of the profound clues being revealed even today.

(I tell you all this and more in the hopes that the reader may begin to know how to see clues and patterns in their own lives that would not have been possible before without this reminder.)

Getting back to the Domes (previous story)…..That first Thursday saw the arrival of the first group of high school seniors for their 5-Day Rites of Passage Retreat. During the month three other groups would also come for the same retreat experience.

Rites of Passage in modern USA society and culture brings forth in dramatic realism scenes of drugs, sex, alcohol and hazing rituals. Great symbols of manhood, acceptance, very loose courage, power and horrific hangovers.

Whereas in ancient, older and traditional indigenous cultures these same Rites of Passage marked the evolving through life’s growth stages and the tests of courage and self-awareness and respect for the land and heritage were woven into the ceremonies.

For these seniors their days were filled with activities, lessons, sharing, doing and quietness. The highlight of their experience was always participation in the Sweat Lodge Ceremony the second to last day. Prior to the Lodge Ceremony, Paul spent time explaining the history, workings and expectations, everyone participate in dressing the willow frame with layer upon layer of blankets and canvas tarps to ensure total blackness within.

They had heard from others, they knew deep within that this was an experience to transmute and transcend fears and out-worn beliefs, to find their meaning of courage, to support their friends and to know that no matter what happened they are guided by Spirit and what is right for them in the moment. This was done with each group of young people.

During the ensuing weeks I did my work, shared, meditated, helped, walked the endless hills and laughed a lot. On the third week a major conference was scheduled to be hosted on the Land. It was a group of sixty people from many parts of the world – Australia, Canada, Europe and across the US – attending the International Summit of the Rites of Passage Leaders.

Wow…this is significant….especially as I was reminded that I wasn’t supposed to be at the Foundation until the following month!

Everyone… staff, work exchange, volunteers and some council members pitched in to help get ready. The Land was going to be supporting more than twice as many as usual and there were logistic concerns.

What an interesting, diverse and nice group of people. And all seemed to be so truly committed the success of the conference and purpose. So many cultures, heritages, social and economic backgrounds and work environments, varying religious beliefs, traditions, personalities, talents and knowledge were represented.

Granted I was not part of the conference nor attended any of the sessions yet each morning after meditation in the Council House I read the comments, points of reference, notes, etc. on the work sheets on the walls. Top references repeated were the need for common language, inclusion of different people, ideas, traditions, acceptance of where people are, high conscious awareness to the needs of people and planet, and the list goes on. Good stuff to be embodied and exampled world-wide.

The official conference ending was Sunday. On the Saturday evening, at 9:30pm there was to be a Sweat Lodge Ceremony for any of the participants wishing to do so. Paul would be Lodge Leader as with all Rites of Passages groups.

That same Saturday, beginning in the afternoon, Paul’s wife, Melinda held a Women’s Lodge. I chose to participate in this along with twelve other young women. Melinda also held a beautiful and powerful Lodge, honoring The Mother, the cultural diversity of the women present and honoring the songs and Rites she had learned over time.

The Women’s Lodge ended around 6:30pm and Paul who had been our Fire-Keeper busied himself getting ready for the Lodge later in the evening.

The arrival of the Messengers heralded a change that was not evident at first. This couple met with Paul away from everyone. Something was not right in the energy surrounding the small group. Dialogue continued and then dispersed. Paul was not happy about something. Word came back that the evening Lodge was cancelled at the very last moment. Why was on our lips!

Later it was learned that in an intense afternoon session “concern about the traditional authenticity of Paul’s Lodge” was put forth by a couple of people. Paul was hurt beyond measure by this comment as well as feeling all the other emotions to go with it. From within the group of sixty there had been approximately fifteen people who wanted to participate and were looking forward to the Lodge that evening.

The following morning, after meditation, I asked someone in attendance about the incident.  Indeed there had been heated discussion for over an hour on the topic and not from those one would suspect…those present who hold the heritage and cultures of Indigenous Peoples. The complaint came from several “white Christians! And they persuaded everyone to give-up the idea of the Lodge.

Here you have sixty individuals from around the world at a conference on Rites of Passage and expecting young people to live through these examples.

Individuals whose life work, beliefs, mission and financial livelihood are based on “building better communities, cultural understandings, acceptance of others that are different, have different beliefs, color of skin, status and affiliations.

Fifteen or so individuals who allowed a few fearful Christians to rob them of a very special personal experience by not speaking up for themselves!

In my view, this one act spoke volumes as to the failure of the conference as a whole. I did learn there were many who were not happy and disappointed with the outcome, as they should be! At first I heard some making excuses and my not so nice response was “they are hypocrites and how can there be respect from the young people they work with.”

And as for the “white Christians” stirring the pot and having no backbone, please prove me wrong! The years my former husband and I spend serving churches and congregations taught us well that most people are easily intimidate to change their minds or stance when social, financial or religious acceptance are pressure points.

If one does not like or agree with something…stay away or don’t participate. Do not deny others their own experience to learn and grow through diversity and difference.

Gladly I can end this piece on a positive note. I did learn that from this experience new dialogues were begun between Staff and Council members of the Ojai Foundation, several of the participants and leaders of the Rites of Passage movement with the intention of not repeating such an experience.

Therefore when the veils are pulled back from the Dark and Disruptive influences the Magic of Light affords change for all who choose to see!

The richness of my experience at the Ojai Foundation is still close. I am grateful for all of it and the people I met. The theme that revealed itself the first few days was “Birth through the Passages of Life to Unity.”

I am still following the threads even today…..more stories on the unseen and unknown being known are surfacing….stay turned!

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The archive to the right says the last posting was in January…where has the time gone and what has happened since then in your life and mine!

eclipse 4For me, I left beautiful and cold Mt Shasta in late January as my bones never seemed to get warm. Headed for Sonora to stay with friends before going to North Hollywood for 10 days to look after another friend’s animals while she traveled to the East Coast.

This was followed by a fun week of travel from Venture to Santa Cruz with a friend visiting from South Carolina. The day she left I headed for the Ojai Valley for what turned out to be a 2 month stay.

Initially I was scheduled to be at the Ojai Foundation for the month of May with the month’s prior filled by the known whys! Nestled in a valley east of Venture, Ojai has become not only a retirement and bedroom community of The Bay Area, it is also known as a spiritual and artistic mecca.

The large and diverse array of creative arts draws people from all over the world year round. The spiritual community is represented by organizations and centers such as The Krotona Theosophical Institute and School started by Helena Blavatsky in the 1920s, whose original mission was and still is to promote freedom of thought, freedom of society and the seeking of Higher Religious Truth.

Other spiritual communities in Ojai are The Krishnamurti Foundation of America, Meditation Mount, the teachings of Annie Besant and Beatrice Wood, the intentional communities of The Ojai Foundation and Elevate, as well as an array of varying religious and spiritual belief communities.

I visited and shared in the experiences of these main organizations through lecture series and events during my time in Ojai.

As the end of March rolled around I was none clearer as to why I was in the Valley. Then as I vowed to leave one night my guidance seemed to yell loudly “stay and be patient”.

Two day later an email from the Ojai Foundation…we have had two unexpected late cancelations in the programare you available and when can you arrive!

My question answered and so I turned up at the Ojai Foundation on April 6, a full month ahead of schedule!

This whole region is rich in history of the Chumash people, the arrival of the Europeans/Spanish and the Catholic Church. Rich as it may be, it is not without great pain, hardship, abuse, violation, greed and power struggles of  cultures and traditions at odds with each other and themselves.

The Ojai Foundation is set on a ridge of 40 areas within Happy Valley. This community was established over thirty years ago and has been serving as an example of intentional and substantial living and governing by the model of Council. I was especially interested in how Council governing worked as an ongoing model.

As is normal with me, full immersion into all areas of daily life was how I would see and feel the experience. Sleeping on the land (once again), participating and holding the space for meditation in the Council House most every morning for the month I was there, tending the shrines and gardens, doing the beauty way along with everyone else there. Assisting others when their work load for turning over spaces was tight whether in housekeeping or kitchen.  As well my physical body got one massive workout. Being on a ridge the areas of flat land are minimal so everywhere one walks, from one place to the next, is either a quarter mile up or down hill and some days the path between the upper land and offices, kitchen, cars was traversed 3,4,5 times…..heart, lungs and muscles not always rejoicing!

I was honored to share and hold space in the two Inipi or Sweat Lodge Ceremonies during my time on the land. Lodges held by humble, honorable and powerful Lodge Elders.

And most especially meeting and getting to know a group of wonderful dedicated and knowledgeable staff, work exchange participants, council members and guests on retreats (both personal and in groups).

It wasn’t until five days into my stay that even an inclining of why I was there and what was to be learn began to be revealed.

Wednesday was the departure morning for a group of ten or so women who had participate in a “Birthing Seminar for Eight Days.” I volunteered to help get the  sleeping domes in the Grove ready for the group arriving the next day….a group of high school seniors participating in a 5-Day Rites of Passage retreat. (For the previous twenty plus years, seniors from varying schools from Santa Monica and other areas would come to the Foundation for such retreats.)

As the simply process of cleaning, sweeping and beautifying each dome took place, from time to time I would sing….singing songs in languages other than English, accompanied by feelings and thoughts that were not mine. In each dome I left sprigs of lavender, rosemary and sage.

For many years in my intuitive and life alchemy work, it has not been uncommon to “act as a medium or go between for spirit world”.

It was in the third dome that I had an understanding come forth. Whoever had been staying in that dome had left a very distinct “imprint” (for lack of any other description at present) of a baby/child. My immediate sense and song that came forth was of “one that had been lost, was going to be lost or represented the woman herself who was lost!” It could have even been all of them!

In these immediate moments I do not analyze, question or judge. It is to just continue with the flow and honoring of the energy present – sing, pray, cry, dance, whatever is the mode of expression for as long as is necessary.

Then as fast as it has shown up it disappears and a sense of peace rests…my job is done!

That day there were a few other happenings and clearings. Later I briefly mentioned what happened in relation to the babies to my friend who had overheard the singing (for privacy I will leave out their names.) “Did you know that is area is known as the Children’s Grove!” Of course I didn’t!

What concerned me most of all and the underlying message to be gained was that the leader/facilitator of the Birthing Retreat probably had no idea that some of her participants were leaving “things behind” that could interfere with the next occupants – high school seniors – the following day.

The veils are becoming non-existent. In the world of the Unseen it is so easy (myself included) to miss, ignore or not pay attention to what is ours or not ours….what is of Light and what is Dark and Disruptive, what needs attention.

 

Please know to acknowledge the latter is not to focus on the negative. Yet to call it for what it is, even honor it for what has been revealed through the experience however NOW it is not required any more and transmutation to a new path/direction/power will be most beneficial for ITS evolution.

 

Some of you may find this approach difficult to accept yet as an example replace the dark and disruptive being with yourself on a very bad day and circumstance. How do you react? What do you want from the person/people involved? What is the real deep issue that no-one understands? Do you just want to be recognized or acknowledged? As the saying goes….negative attention is better than no attention at all….and thus bad behavior (in either world) is one way of getting it!)

 

I will leave you here to ponder these questions and perhaps a revelation or change in perspective will come forth.  If you are interested in an appointment contact me

I will continue the story in the next posting….hope you join me…..promise the wait won’t be long!

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