Mending Indra’s Net – we invite your participation

Long before the days of the Internet, all life in the Universe was interconnected in another way. People looked up and saw an uncountable number of stars in the sky.

As was the custom, a storyteller created a tale to explain this natural wonder.

The god Indra was regent of the heavens. He managed this enormous responsibility for every act, every event, and every person throughout the Universe by creating a magnificent silver net that stretched infinitely in all directions.  At each connection of the net’s threads, a brilliant jeweled mirror reflected everything happening at every other location.

People felt securely held in this net. It was clear that they were connected to all other beings and to every place on the Earth, and that every thought and every action had an impact.

But every fisherman’s net frays at times, and as artificial light has dimmed our nightly awareness of the movement of stellar bodies on their paths through the Universe, we have lost our sense of occupying a place in universal light. The vitality of places of power on the Earth have begun to fade without our appreciation, awe, and care. Humans have begun to suffer from the lack of soul food our connection to such special places provides.

Now, you’re invited to take part in mending the net.

In the course of your life, you’ve probably had one or more peeks at the net.  Describe an experience that made you feel part of the larger whole of life.  Where did you experience that moment? What had you brought to that moment –perhaps gratitude, adventure, surrender, or sorrow? Remember how it began.  Did it take you totally by surprise? Call up the sensations of being there – the physical sights, the sounds, the fragrances. What happened?  What have you carried forward in your life’s journey from that experience?

Wherever you live in the world, whatever your journey, you occupy a node of Indra’s net.

As we relive these moments, we remember that we are children of the Universe, guardians of the Earth, nodes in Indra’s net.   Share your story, and a photo if you like. You can either comment on this blog, or send an email to Ginny.

Event: Meeting the Shadow – Eating Hucha

What do we do with the heaviness and helplessness, often unspoken, that comes to us in the wake of events far away?  The Shadow’s energy on the planet is widespread – homeless refugees on the move, Syria demolished, age-old treasures destroyed -

A centuries-old tool from the Andes puts heavy energy to use, as darkness afoot becomes compost for Mother Earth.  We can shift our own capacity to deal with the Shadow.

Be supported by the impetus of time’s movement through the dark of the year, and of the monthly turning of the tide. Hone your capacity to use the shadow within, moving into the light.

Wednesday, November 25, at 11:00 AM, as the full moon brings high tide to Bayfront Park in Menlo Park, explore the practice and its place in our own life experiences.  Then walk along the crest of the hills overlooking San Francisco Bay, as we “Eat Hucha”. Taking in the shadow in multiple forms, through intention and the guidance of this spiritual practice, we’ll offer this energy to Mother Earth and fill ourselves with Light.

Email Ginny Anderson for more explicit directions.  Share this invitation with others you know, and find a way to lighten the shadow’s burden on your mind and heart.

11:00 AM on Wednesday, November 25

Bayfront Park in Menlo Park

Cost: $25

Wisdom of the Horsetail: A Series of Gatherings for Women Elders

Join award-winning author and Bay Area eco-psychologist, Dr. Ginny Anderson, for an enlightening series of five 1-day gatherings for women elders to learn how, in this particular stage of life, we can best contribute to the world around us just as a feathery plant called “horsetail” has contributed to the planet for more than 270 million years.

The world is in a state of major flux, and the human race needs our wisdom. At the event, we will:

• Share a mix of wisdom, stories and laughter, journeying and meditation, and playful creativity in a safe place.
• Experiment in a sacred space with transforming your brain’s capacities to meet the challenges of surviving in a global community so reliant on electronic communication.
• Explore how you can best contribute to the transformation of life as we’ve known it on this planet, drawing upon your decades of life experience.

Remember the children’s story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” in which people were afraid to say the obvious? This series will offer a safe place for speaking our truths. We’ll provide form and space for exploring how personal life experiences may create unique perspectives and contributions.

“I am 62 and have been on a spiritual path for many years. It seems unbelievable, but you are the first female elder (for me, that’s  70 and older) who lives a spiritually-oriented life with whom I have had any meaningful contact. With your guidance, I feel a sense of honor in being part of wise-woman gatherings, all of us together weaving new tapestries from the collective of our richest journeys, deepest commitments, and innermost inspirations.”Barbara R.

LOGISTICS: This series will start with a day-long event on Saturday, September 12, from 10 AM to 3 PM in a comfortable mid-Peninsula setting in the San Francisco Bay Area. Feel free to come for just the first session to see if this series is a good fit for you. After this, the group will be closed.

• Meeting dates and times: Saturdays: September 12 and 26, October 10 and 31, and November 14, 2015, from 10 AM to 3 PM each day.
• Location: Atherton, CA . Address provided upon registration.
• Cost: $75 for 1st session alone, or $300 prepaid for series (1 session FREE! A $75 savings)

Register by September 5 by sending a check made out to series leader Ginny Anderson at 19 Irving Ave., Atherton, CA, 94027, along with your hopes and intentions for participating, and any other information you may wish to share about yourself. You may also use this link to register.

Guided Meditation; The Inca Trail – A Shaman’s Journey

Take this guided meditation of a shaman’s journey on the Inca Trail, gateway to the Mysteries of the Inca tradition.

Meditations on the arduous four day journey of the Inca Trail are preceded by preparatory ceremonies with water and with fire.

Follow these guided visualizations; travel in mind’s eye, in spirit body, to work with the elements and with the spirits of nature to transform your energy, and help shape your personal destiny.

Walk in beauty, receiving the support you need to meet today’s challenges. Centuries of travelers have used these trails to shift their availability to the guidance of Spirit, to shape their personal responsibility and attention to walk in a sacred manner.

Journey into other realities that overlap our time and space. Choose the highest possible destiny, and in Machu Picchu, experience empowerment to help manifest your dreams.

Available for download on CD Baby.com

Celebrating Winter Solstice: Tule Spirit Boat

As winter’s darkness prepares to give way to light, join us creating a tule spirit boat with offerings of gratitude for the many blessings that nurture our lives. Those very gifts of Nature and community empower our intentions for the coming year.  In that partnership, we become the voices, the hands and feet – expressing the Life Force.

For many centuries, tules lined most of the shores of San Francisco Bay; growing, their structure helped deal with toxics in the water.  Harvested, they offered housing and boat materials for the Ohlone people.  Early in December, at the edge of the Bay, we’ll gather the tules in ceremony. When the reeds have rested and dried, ready for their next incarnation, we’ll shape the boat and fill it with offerings, talking story  – of the Bay’s past, of the Ohlone people, of our blessings this year. We’ll tell stories of the power of hibernation and of dreaming, of resting and visioning.

This is a really delightful sequence if you like poking in the mud, adventures in nature, celebrating community, sacred play, connecting with the ancestors – and feasting!

Joyous to do – and so helpful to orient ourselves in alignment with the universal powers that help us shape our own desires for living harmoniously with Nature.

Join us for either event, or both

Saturday Dec. 6  11 AM Ceremonially collecting tules near the shore of the Bay

Sun. 21  10 A.M. at Bayfront Park, at the bayshore end of Marsh Road in Menlo Park.

Building, blessing and launching the boat on the high tide, helping pave the path for the return of light, for the highest and best relationship to the evolving web of life next to the Bay. Carried by the boat, biodegradable offerings of flowers, prayers, foods, sweetness, and incense will make their way toward the open sea.

COST of  the 2 events – $75
separately,  Dec 6  $35, Dec. 21, $45

Location:
TBA among various west Bayshore locations for tule collection
Bayfront Park in Menlo Park for the ceremonial building and launching

For further information, or to reserve a space, contact Ginny Anderson, at 650-323-4494, or email Ginny at silkythree18@gmail.com

Radical Joy for Wounded Places – cleanup of several critical habitats

Radical Joy for Wounded Places is a worldwide community of people committed to finding and making beauty in wounded places. Reconnecting with these places, sharing our stories of loss and despair, and making acts of beauty there, we transform the land, reconnect people and the places that nourish them, and empower ourselves to make a difference in the way we live on Earth.

On June 21 at San Bruno Mountain (Summer Solstice), Mountain Watch is sponsoring a cleanup of several critical habitat areas. Buckeye Canyon leads into a 5000 year old shell mound; next to it is Owl Canyon. Nearby is a critical mating area for Pacific tree frogs, but was once part of the quarry on the mountain.

Gathering at the edge of Quarry Road, we’ll help with the cleanup, have lunch, and make a despacho – an Andean offering to the land. We’ll create a symbolic bird with leaves, sticks, and other objects found on the site – contribute its photo to an international website collection. We’ll share mountain stories and meet the people who live and breathe the mountain.

Help put San Bruno on that worldwide map of wounded places being tended and honored. Contact www.mountainwatch.org for more details of the cleanup location.

I’ll be meeting people who are coming at 11:00 at Quarry Park in Brisbane. Email Ginny Anderson if you’re able to do a short walk, work some, then join in creating the bird and in doing the despacho. Quarry Park is at the corner of San Francisco Ave. and Inyo. (map)

Norns and the Tree of Life: Elders taking part in creating the future

In Norse mythology, the Norns are female figures who work with past, present and future, pouring waters on the Tree of Life so that life of the tree is sustained.

The Norns spin their tapestry at the roots of Yggdrasil.

These figures become our allies, as we explore the role of elder women in today’s culture.  Using the inspiration they provide, we’ll explore our own journeys – how we’ve come to be at this unique place on the planet just at this time. We’ll explore how we can continue to weave the threads of destiny out of the experiences of our contemporary lives and lineages. We’ll discover what it means to find ourselves in the amazing privilege to be in this unique and luscious part of the world. The Norns help us shape our quest for being elders when there is a “Great Turning”, to use Joanna Macy’s phrase.

Another important guide in our journey will be San Bruno Mountain, whose very existence maintains numerous endangered species, plants as well as butterflies.  Using movement, shamanic journeys, writing practices, and guided meditations on the mountain, we’ll be experimenting with learning how to listen to Nature’s voice, as She speaks through the environment.

The story line of our own destinies is entwined with the wisdom of these elder figures – the Norns, the mountain, and the endangered species who live on San Bruno.

A gift of being elders in this present time -  the latest discoveries of brain research can actually help us shape the ways our brains function and the way our lives unfold. Ancient stories describe the Norns coming to babies’ births to forecast how their lives will unfold – and now we are able to share the Norns’ opportunities by putting into practice the amazing new tool provided by recent brain research.

Come join us in this pilot project blending ancient story and newly acquired modern wisdom; take part in creating what shall be, in the culture and in your lives as elders.

Check out the offering on the calendar – see if this journey is for you!

Here are some of many good resources:

Macy, Joanna: “Active Hope”

Hanson, Rick, “Hardwiring Happiness”

Sturluson, Storri: “Prose Edda”

Clebsch, Carolyn – Valley Moon Qigong and Meditation Practices

A Tule Boat on the King Tide

A King Tide came our way last week, giving us a glorious opportunity to launch a ceremonial tule reed boat at the edge of San Francisco Bay. Because of the drought we’re experiencing, it had special meaning, bringing with it a sharpened awareness of global warming and the life style changes immanent and necessary, and a deep appreciation for all the ways that water is present in our lives.

This lovely ceremony came from my travels over 25 years ago to Lake Titicaca, between Peru and Bolivia. Tule reeds are not new here to the Bay Area. For hundreds of years they lined much of San Francisco Bay; ignorant of the important role they play in bringing oxygen and in cleansing toxins, over decades most of the reeds were cut down. Now only isolated pockets of them still exist.

When they’re harvested for the boat, we ask permission of the plants themselves, explaining that we want to honor them with ceremony, and want to center ourselves in gratitude and respect for the life forms that are part of the ongoing web of life here at the edge of the Bay – the plants, the fish and other water creatures, the birds shorebirds and those who pass through on the Pacific Flyway, the human beings who are drawn to this special place of beauty and power.

With reeds gathered several weeks in advance, a group came together near the Bay’s shore; we did a ceremonial cleansing of the reeds and our intentions with them. Using raffia to tie them, bundling 15 or so reeds together, we assembled 3 bundles for the base of the boat.  Two bundles on each side created a “container ship”, about a yard long.  We sang water songs, told traditional water stories and personal experiences of water adventures, feasted on fishy things and other treats. Several ears of ceremonial corn were placed in the boat for struts, widening the container so that other biodegradable offerings would fit into it.  Corn meal, herbs, beautiful flower petals made a wonderful bed for origami boats and birds. We added personal offerings – gratitude for water’s presence, commitments to living in harmony with water’s moods and needs, and intentions to celebrate with poems, stories, songs, dance, drumming – being more conscious of this wonderful gift, and not taking it for granted!

Taking the boat to the shoreline, we reveled in the huge swell of water filling the channel – dallied while we watched it reach its peak, telling more stories of water adventures. Barbara sang a wonderful Lakota song, and when the water turned to go back toward the Bay, Roy and Eric got down on their bellies, and launched the boat on the outgoing tide.

That day, the rains began – at first a few days of dribbles. Now a week has passed, and the rain sporadically continues, with another storm on its way.  The agonizing weeks of no rain here were an important wake-up, and we have a chance to shape our water habits with greater appreciation for its marvelous and necessary presence in our lives.

The list below has the titles of a number of stories and songs.  It would be fun to include movies related to water – and if you can add other watery songs and stories, that could extend this source.   Keep tuned for other water events.

Water Stories
Little Mermaid
Descent into the Maelstrom
Bakkus and Philemon  (impending doom)
Poseidon
The Odyssey
Selkie
Balinese version – Heavenly Maiden
Moore’s Castle (from Patrick Ball)
River of Separations – what separates us from being whole

Water Stories involving Goddesses:
Kuan Yin
Yemaya
Sedna
Tefnut
Iris
Oshun

And Gods:
Neptune/Poseidon
Charon

Children’s Story

The cow who went to market

Water Songs
Father Sky Rainsong
Water Planet
The Oculam
The Ocean is the Beginning
Yemaya
I Draw the Rain
The Rain Song
She is Like a River Flowing
River Round
I Take Delight
Stormy Weather
You Never Miss the Water till the Well Runs Dry
Cruisin down the River
Asleep in the Deep
Suwannee River
Old Man River
Moody River – your muddy water took my baby’s life
Muddy River (???)
In the Evening by the Moonlight
Down by the Riverside
Old Mill Stream
Singing in the Rain
Row row row your boat
My Bonnie
How’re ya gonna wet your whistle when the whole darn world runs dry
On the Banks of the Wabash
Banks of the Ohio
Moonlight Bay
Down in the Meadow by the Itty Bitty Boo
The River is Wide
Blue Danube
Michael Row the Boat Ashore
Erie Canal
Water Boy
Sailing, sailing over the bounding main
Cool Water

From another Source
Babylon
Bridge over troubled waters
Cripple creek
Deep blue sea
Deep river blues
Dillan Bay
Dock of the bay
Early morning rain
Erie canal
Fire and rain
Foggy dew
Healing river
Many rivers to cross
Moon river
Ocean love
Peace like a river
Rain
Reedy River
River
Sailing down my golden river
Sail away
Skye boat song
Sloop John B
Soon it’s gonna rain
Spirit of God in the clear running water
Waist deep in the big muddy
Water is wide
We are the river
What have we done to the rain?

From Another Source
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Michael Row Your Boat Ashore
Wellmet–<traditional and mentions the sea>
High Calypso <I had to sound out the name. A John Denver song. Karen liked it a lot>
Fiddlers Green <Irish and about men dying at sea>
Running Bear <60-70′s country where lovers meet and die in the middle of a river…if I’m not mistaken>
Danny Boy <he crosses the sea>
Where the River Shannon Flows <Irish>
Feilin’s Little Boat Phelim’s <Irish>
Arthur McBride <Irish–takes place on a sea shore>
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough <Supremes–mentions river>
Dock of the Bay <Otis Redding>
My Love <Petula Clark? Mentions ocean>
Roll on Columbia
1840 <mentions the Mississippi river>
Ode to Billy Joe <suicide ‘sung’ by his lover>
Boots of Spanish Leather <Bob Dylan–ocean>
Theme to Red River Valley
Wash That Man Outa my Hair <Song from the musical South Pacific>
I fall to Pieces <Pasty Cline–mentions tears>
Singing in The Rain <from the movie of the same name>
Tom Dooley <I’ve run across one version that mentions throwing her into a river>
Raindrops Keep Fallin on My Head
Take me to the River – Talking Heads

New Circling San Francisco Bay Events

I hope you can join me for one or more of these journeys – Ginny

Saturday Dec. 7  (Pearl Harbor Day)   At the foot of San Bruno Mountain, the restoration of a frog habitat site is a perfect setting for an Andean shamanic practice –Mihui – the Art of Eating Heavy Energy.  As we learn this ancient practice, we’ll orient the practice toward the restoration being undertaken at Fukushima, the nuclear site in Japan devastated by a tsunami in 2011.  Co-led with Paul Bouscal, of San Bruno Mountain Watch. Click here for more.


Saturday Dec. 21  (at Bayfront Park at the edge of the Bay, in Menlo Park)  Build and launch a ceremonial tule boat designed after the model of boat offerings at Lake Titicaca in Peru, Tule reeds once occupied some 75% of the Bay’s shoreline., and were used for housing, for clothing, and ceremony by the native people who lived along the Bay’s shore. Click here for more.

 

 

Saturday Jan. 11th  On San Bruno Mountain: In the dark of the year, we turn to the wisdom of the bears (who once roamed the Bay Area territory). We envision also the tiny violas, Johnny-jump-ups. Now underground and completely unseen on San Bruno Mountain at this time of year, this endangered plant will return in the spring to sustain the equally endangered Callipe butterfly.

Through shamanic journeying, we’ll invite the wisdom of these very different life forms for whom a time of sleeping in the dark is key to survival. This respite from activity can help us explore life rhythms that will prepare us for active involvement in sustaining conditions for life on Earth.  Click here for details.

 

Water Meditation – Honoring the Waters of Fukushima

On Friday of this week, some profound cleaning may begin at Fukishima, when workers start the removal of spent and dangerous fuel rods from their holding pools. Here’s a meaningful way to be connected – a process passed along by the Andean Shaman Americo Yabar, over 20 years ago. This was part of Circling the Bay day on San Bruno last weekend, walking next to a frog restoration site – a great place to be, as we spoke of the important work at Fukishima this week. It’s one Circling the Bay has done at Ring Mountain, standing looking out at San Quentin.

This may remind you of a practice you already have in your “tool kit” – or may inspire you to create another way of relating to the intensity of planetary changes. If so, please share what comes to you.

Water Meditation – Honoring the Waters of Fukushima

We are all connected, and the tides twice daily remind us of that.   As Fukushima clean-up intensifies in dealing with spent fuel rods, here’s a walking meditation, a personal cleansing and healing that can connect you with the actions of transformation.  It’s a useful way to participate meaningfully in this time of profound planetary change.

The people of the Andes call this time on the planet Pachacuti – the time of great change.  This meditation, called Eating Hucha, can surprise you in its potential to transform anxieties and fears about the situation.Hucha is heavy or dense energy – our anxieties, fears, anger, depression – you know the kind.

You can do this anywhere, alone or with friends, any time at all.  For the purpose of connecting with Fukushima, as workers remove spent fuel rods, you might choose a spot at the edge of the Bay, a river, or flowing stream. I’ll be doing the meditation on November 8 at the edge of San Francisco Bay, when the tide is going out.  (Bayfront Park, in Menlo Park near my home, has hosted numerous Earth Day Sunrise Ceremonies; there, the outgoing tide that day is between about 3:45 and 10:45 PM., and I’m looking forward to the inspiration of the water’s movement.)

Here’s how to “eat hucha” – or “eat the shadow”:

Preparation:

Wherever you’ve chosen to be, stand still for a few moments, and look around you, taking in the beauty that surrounds you –being aware of the lay of the land, of the wind blowing through the leaves of trees, plants dotting the landscape, clouds scudding across the sky.  Spread your arms wide as you inhale, opening them to receive a huge gift inhale (as you ARE – the breath of life!!).  Tip your head back, so that you’re opening your heart cavity from the sides and from above.  As you exhale, bring your hands to your heart and take in the beauty around you.  Fill your heart, your whole being, with peacefulness, with the pleasures of sound, fragrance, and sight that encompass you here.  Do that several times, until you feel fully aware of, and quite filled with, nature’s beauty.

Eating Hucha:

Sit comfortably, or if you prefer, begin to walk slowly.  Imagine a mouth in your belly – see the lips, the teeth, the tongue.  Notice whether the lips are full or narrow, whether the teeth are perfect or a little askew.

Focus on any feeling of anxiety in your personal life. Let those feelings surface that keep you from being as peaceful as you’d like to be.  Don’t identify with the feelings – just name them, let them come to the surface.

Now focus on the mouth in your belly, and imagine eating those feelings – watch the lips close around them, the teeth chew them up, and the tongue and throat carry them down a pipeline like your twisting and turning intestines, directly into the earth.

Our feelings, like everything else, are a form of energy. Mother Earth has a composting habit that feeds on what we provide, and is quite able to accept as food the heavy energy of your thoughts and feelings. These feelings represent food to be recycled. These feelings become offerings of compost; leave that anxiety to become compost for the living plants around you. Chew up your sadness and pain, your anxiety, your frustration, without identifying with those feelings. Take those feelings down imaginary strands that reach from that mouth, through the muscles of your body, and into the earth.

Use your breath to help this process – inhale as you take in the heavy feelings, exhale as you send them on their way. When you feel complete, take a few more deep breaths, filling yourself with the life force around you – the living, breathing expressions of the life force pulsing in all its forms.

Then allow yourself to tune into your feelings about Fukushima – the anxiety that’s hard to focus on, the sadness about the damage to the Earth, the fear and displacement of so many people, the apprehension about far-reaching impacts of contamination. Images from the news and words you’ve read, dialogues with friends, may have fed these heavy thoughts. Left in our hearts and minds, they keep us from being able to align with peace, with beauty; but we become part of the process of creating peace as we make way to allow other perceptions, other visions, other possibilities to replace that heaviness.

Circling back to the beginning, take in the beauty that surrounds you. Letting go of the heaviness that occupied you, you now have space that can be filled with light, with beauty – with feelings of compassion and participation in a vast community of living beings, some human, some not. You may find yourself able to receive with more depth, and a greater sense of peace.

If you’re near water, be particularly mindful of its beauty, its part in the well-being of our bodies, of all things alive and growing, of its capacity to connect us with the waters of the world.

Notice and enjoy your connection to the Earth, and to the waters.  Send your highest anticipation for the success of the steps being taken at Fukushima.

We are connected.  We can care for our waters with appreciation, and with the actions of our lives.

In gratitude for our opportunity to walk in beauty,

Love, Ginny