Charged Magical Armor: Creating Breastplates of Protection

In sacred space, in a place of light and beauty, we met on a sunny fall day to explore an important issue – protection from unexpected events that might come our way in the future.  The questions we posed: what’s come your way to give you the chance to learn how to turn straw into gold? What has your path taught you?

Looking at personal protection from three perspectives, we lay the groundwork for the creation of the “magical armor”. We journeyed, asking three questions: what am I protecting? what do I need protection from? and what does my protection look like? Pooling the wisdom of the group, people shared their journeys; coupled with tactile play with symbols and natural materials, they were able to refine their own needs and strengths, and begin to envision what a visual representation of protection might look like. What you’ve learned about yourself and the world around you deepens your experience of being fully alive in the world.

Once breastplates designated high priests and priestesses who possessed capacities for wise judgment, clear vision, and divination.  In these times, we need to come into our own power. Exploring personal power through drum journeys, through an ancient Norse story of the Goddess of Love, as well as hands-on involvement with the use of tangible symbols made the very act of creating the Breastplates an empowerment itself.

Meeting the shadow thrusts us forward, searching for the doorway into light.  Tangible involvement with symbols and images sharpens the awareness of strengths, of important directions, of both external and internal sources to draw upon.

Natural materials, beads, ribbons, paint, milagros, and an assortment of surprising materials were incorporated into personal visions of empowerment and protection. Wood-working artisan Eric DuPraw was on hand to drum, and to guide the use of materials.

A memorial for Lynn Marsh, who Circled San Francisco Bay with us from the beginning of our journeys….

When Circling San Francisco Bay first began – around 1990 – artist Lynn Marsh traveled the Bay’s mountains and wetlands with us.  Her artistic perception of the natural world, her love and knowledge of nature, added so much delight and discovery to our journeys.

Over the week-end we celebrated Lynn’s time with us on the Earth.  “The veil is thinnest…”  took on special meaning as a wide circle of friends came together to create a memorial to honor her passing.  She expanded our sensitivity to the natural world – the wonder and delight in the presence of Spirit that surrounds and permeates all forms of life, the lusciousness of flesh and bone.

Memorial altar for Lynn Marsh

Friends were invited to bring paintings, sculpture, her handmade mushroom papers – any of the many forms of artistic expression that Lynn had created. Outdoors, luminarias lined the path leading to her sculpture of Isis, who was draped with tomato vines and surrounded by orange marigolds. Indoors, we were enfolded by beautiful artifacts, sometimes surprising and whimsical – the Green Man and the Goddess; mushrooms and mushroom papers; beautiful molas, textiles and huipils from traveling days, small bronze figures. A painting of the Tomato Diva hovered over the altar, which was filled with countless remembrances of connections with people, place, and Spirit.  Orange marigolds, lights of many candles.

In the garden, we circled in sacred space, calling the elemental winds to be the container of our sharing – poetry, songs, and stories of her life. Ending the ceremony, a spiral dance was a reminder of her continued presence in our lives and community.  Those of you who were fortunate enough to share in her activities with Circling the Bay still carry the filaments of her shared talents; I encourage you to create a beautiful mandala in a special place in nature, using the natural elements you discover around you to honor Lynn and the natural world she loved.

Fall Equinox Overlooking the Salt Ponds

Bayfront Park

One of the gifts in preparation for the Wetlands Ceremony was spending time each day at Bayfront Park. Before dawn on the Fall Equinox, Carol and I went to the spot where the Ceremony was scheduled to take place.  We sat on a hillside next to Redwood City’s Salt Ponds sparkling in sunlight below us.

We sat in the tall grasses, facing the East. In the foreground, a long, wide channel of water running east and west cut through a salt pond, so that when the sun peeped over the mountains in the distance, a “second sun” appeared reflected in the channel; the higher the sun in the sky, the more the sun in the water moved toward us.  The double image was simply beautiful- and then, before long a third “sun” was reflected in the Bay itself, between the one on the channel and the one in the sky.  I think you’d have to be on another planet somewhere else in the universe to see three suns at the same time!

Finally, we lay back on the land, and looked up at the amazing blue sky through the chaff of the oat grass.  They’re so

The Salt Ponds

transparent that the sun show through the delicately striped, leaf-like structures on the plants, and it was beautiful, beyond belief.  Other tall grasses had less transparent structures, but beautiful shapes all turned golden from the sun.  A tiny snail was clinging to a stem, and its concentric circled shell was glistening, with its whirls of white, blue, grey, and tan all just singing!

Abundant Life in Frugal Times

Part II: Priceless Ways to Nurture the Heart

Sunday February 20, 12:00 PM to 4 PM

Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts

The heart is our source of strength and inspiration as we walk our personal journeys.  Its steadiness, its capacity to open to beauty, joy, and even to sorrow or fear, brings us to the full experience of our lives.

Join us for a creative event where you will explore how to release barriers to opening the heart. In sacred space we’ll bear witness to the stories you’re releasing and the new stories that are wanting to be written.

Movement, sound, touch, Nature’s beauty, and stories all play a part in awakening and nourishing the heart.  Discover ways to uplift this constant companion of all our days.

At this particular season, the collective honors Love through the giving of cards and flowers. We will be turning that nurturing attention back onto ourselves by creating a Valentine for our own hungry hearts.

Come with us as we expand our sensory capacities, opening to the varied ways to awaken joy in the heart and support our life’s purpose.

Please bring an object that represents your own awakening heart for the altar we will create.

Cost: $40-25 sliding scale.  A $10 deposit holds your space.  Send check to Carol or Ginny at 19 Irving Ave., Atherton, Ca. 94027

Contact us to reserve a place, or to get more information:
email: Carol Fitzgerald
or 650-722-1292
email: Ginny Anderson
or 650-323-4494

Creating Pilgrimage: Finding and Relating to Places of Power In the Wilderness.

Summer retreat on St.Joseph Island
During the island retreat this summer in Ontario, we set out to renew our appreciation of Mother Earth, to discern the power of Her gifts to us, and take up our responsibilities as children of this lovely Mother. The following is a brief excerpt of segment of our adventures.

On a remote Canadian island, winds from the Northwest and winds from the Southeast alternately stir the bed of ancient stones and fossils along the shore of Gravelly Point, rearranging them so that each new day reveals new stories. The stones of this beach have been in centuries-long conversation with the water that’s tumbled them on its path through the Great Lakes toward the Atlantic Ocean. More recent dialogue with the weather has now released them onto the land, exposing them to our awe and appreciation for their long journey through time and space.

Now a group of women quietly walk the shoreline, letting stone shapes and markings invite private dialogues. Each person has her own thoughts, as well as issues she’s shared previously with the others. Recently wakened from dreams of the night before, each of us looks, and listens to the stones calling us. Bending down, we pick up random stones, roll them in our fingers and trace the markings. We sometimes toss one back onto the shore, and replace it with one whose message is more to the point. Wind blows our hair, freshens our skin; the breeze helps release heavy thoughts; contentment and openness flows into the space they occupied.

Someone has found a flat piece of driftwood, and we seat ourselves around it on the gravel. Sharing our discoveries, we begin to weave a story. Inspired by an indented triangular stone, I place it on the driftwood, and begin:

“There once was a woman who had a dream one night that made her very restless. She tossed and turned, but couldn’t quite grasp what seemed just beyond reach. When she woke up, the pillow next to her had an indentation, which took her quite by surprise, because she couldn’t remember who or what might have shared the bed with her.
“What’s in danger of being lost?” she pondered. “What is it that’s missing?”

The story line passes to the next person, who describes her stone (whose markings looked like hieroglyphics) as a talisman to help guide the search for the missing element. Each person in turn places her stone on the driftwood; inspired by her personal connection with the stone, she adds a bit to the story. As the last person finishes the tale, she discovers that she’s provided herself with a major life decision

Later, we explore the lime green beauty of a maple forest, where the terrain is marked by moraines that are remnants of the lake’s boundaries of many centuries ago, going back to a time when the Great Lakes were one enormous lake. Using exercises we’d shared early in our time together to extend ordinary sense experiences, we bask in this unique light and its impact on us. We connect with locations on the island that carry the morphic resonance of this unique island set in the midst of exposed stone billions of years old – where the Canadian Shield and the Niagara Escarpment potently hold the history of earliest life forms on the earth.

We’d preceded our retreat by asking ourselves and others where in this far-north terrain people had had a powerful experience in the natural world. Coming from California, the connections were deeply surprising and marvelous to me. The unique experiences where the lakes may be frozen, and the water becomes a different entity, where conditions described as “disappearing into nothingness” offer an expansion of consciousness; they opened wondrous perceptions (and dreams) for me. Wherever we are on the planet, we are the beads on Indra’s net, each connected to all others, and each one holding its own wisdom.

Wherever we live, we hold a piece of survival information. Allowing ourselves to connect deeply with the earth at our feet, we strengthen our sense of belonging to this beautiful planet, and find there the unique gifts that nourish our lives and help us find the resources to safeguard Mother Earth.

So posing the same question to you, I invite you to share with us here a powerful experience you’ve had in the natural world – something that gave you an experience of your individual being extending past your separate self.

Please visit the website for a list of upcoming events and retreats where you can share in these experiences with our groups.