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.

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

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.

 

The Cusp of Change

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to you, who’ve circled San Francisco Bay with me some time in the past.  On Saturday, Sept. 7, one week from today, I’ll begin my last circle. I’d love to be present with you to renew your relationships with the sacred places that continue to sustain us. We’ll share the ways that we’ve evolved, and the ways that the sites remain available for even more potent connections from our new vantage points.

The culture has shifted; our needs and potentials have different shapes, and we bring to them the experiences that continue to shape our destinies.

The journeys will involve less walking, more story, some spiritual practices, more personal sharing. We’ll be visiting five sites rather than 7 – but later, may visit either or both of them individually, as conditions at Ring Mountain and at Umunhum shift.  My daughter Marci, who’s now a senior mediator, a collaboration specialist connected with Cal State at Sacramento, has heard so much about our journeys, and will be with us as a participant.

A relevant poem by Raymond Carver recently came my way from Larry Robinson’s list for poetry lovers:

And did you get what
You wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
Beloved on the earth.

Visiting recently with Barbara Hiken, and talking about Circling San Francisco Bay, she said, “It changed my life!”   I feel that also – and from this gratitude, I’d like to celebrate these sites and the blessings they offer. We can renew our capacity to assure that as those blessings move through our human lives, we support the web of all life.  Our lives are on the cusp of change (Aren’t they always?  But physical and environmental clocks are ticking!)

Dates and times:  approximate 10 AM to 2:30 PM

Kirby Cove   Saturday Sept. 7

Mt. Tamalpais  Saturday September 21

Mt. Diabo Saturday October 5

Mt. Hamilton   Sunday October 20

San Bruno    Saturday November 2

Please email or call me to register (650-323-4494), or if you have any questions. If you know someone who hasn’t had a chance to do this, please pass the information along. I’ll attach a copy for your convenience.

This is late notice – but I’d like to do all of these visits while the weather is good.

Suggested donation: $60 a session

Best regards,

Ginny Anderson

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.

Toward the Day of the Dead

The Wheel of the Year is turning toward the Day of the Dead, when we celebrate and honor those who have died.  During the approaching weeks, the veil between the worlds is thinning.  We began the cycle with story-telling and visioning – the descent of Freyja, Norse Goddess of Love led the way.

2012 is marked with a particular intensity, and several events offer you opportunities to explore issues related to death and dying.

On Friday, October 19, at 7:00 PM, a documentary – “How to Die in Oregon” – will begin that focus.  The issue of choice about dying is becoming a realistic question, as we balance medical advances and available resources.  The mid-peninsula location will be given when you call or email to let us know your interest in this free evening.  This film was brought to my attention by Carol Fitzgerald, whose therapeutic work with couples is particularly valued in this community, and will co-sponsor this event.

On Sunday, October 28, from noon to 4:30, join me in creating Day of the Dead altars, honoring the wonderful people who have deeply affected our lives.  We’ll share stories, explore the way they continue to live through us in our actions and thinking. We’ll feast in their honor, sharing their favorite foods and drinks.  Let’s fill the room with their energies, and bring them into the present.  Donation $40; no one turned away for lack of funds.

Mid-peninsula location given when you register.

November 3, 10:30-3:00 Breastplates of Protection

When we’re living fully, challenging encounters help us hone our strengths and intent.

Confronting death?

Dealing with loss?

Suffering injury, illness, or pain?

Transforming your identity?

Witnessing others’ suffering?

What’s come your way to give you the chance to turn straw into gold? What has your path taught you? What you’ve learned about yourself and the world around you deepens your experience of being fully alive in the world.

We learn the tools to move forward most effectively by confronting these challenges, finding the way to self-respect and personal power.

Once breastplates designated high priests as invested with capacities for wise judgment, clear vision, and divination.  With ancient stories, drum journeys, hands-on involvement with tangible symbols, explore the roots of your power.  In present time, we urgently need to confirm our ability to be aware of and acknowledge our own powers.

Palms will provide natural bases; beads, yarn, paint, Milagros, and an assortment of surprising materials will be available to incorporate into your personal vision of empowerment.

Ginny Anderson, eco-psychologist and teacher of shamanic practices, will be joined by Eric DuPraw, woodworking artisan, to help you create a Breastplate of Protection.

Cost: $50.  Includes materials and lunch.
Limited to 10 people.  Mid-Peninsula address given when you reserve a space by emailing ginny@eco-psychology.com

On Saturday, November 17, from 7:00 to 8:30 PM, Ethical Wills will be introduced by gerontologist Merrylen Sacks.  Her fascinating presentation will help provide a tangible connection from one generation to the next.

She’ll point the way toward exploring values, hopes, and whatever else you include in your bequests to those who follow.

Donation: $10; no one turned away for lack of funds.

Mid-Peninsula location given when you reserve a space by emailing ginny@eco-psychology.com

Your input at these events will help shape the ongoing pursuit of issues related to a new phase of life.

Article about the effectiveness of Ecopsychology

The Peninsula Press published a wonderful article about the importance and effectiveness of ecopsychology.  Ginny was honored to have her work featured in the article.

“New therapy improves mental health through counseling sessions in nature”

Recent research shows that spending time outdoors and interacting with plants and animals can support mental health in patients with depression, anxiety, and other psychological illnesses. "Ecotherapy" puts those discoveries into therapeutic practice. (Photo: Hannah Kopp-Yates/ Peninsula Press)

If you picture going to a therapy session, you might see yourself in a chair, in an office decorated with tacky floral paintings, with a therapist (in her chair) taking notes under the fluorescent light. If you’re lucky, the window looks out toward a few trees, and not just a parking lot.

If this image doesn’t seem inspiring, take heart— a new movement in therapy and counseling is moving the sessions outside for a breath of fresh air.

Ecopsychology—the study of the human relationship to the natural world—is giving us a better understanding of how mental well-being is linked to our natural environment.

Click here to read the entire article

Freyja: The Goddess of Love Meets the Guardians of the Elements, Sept 30

In 2012, an ancient myth is expanded to illuminate our journey through these times of challenge. From seeds planted centuries ago, follow a guiding thread as Freyja, Norse goddess of love, is moved by greed for a golden necklace. She descends into the realm of the underworld, in what becomes a journey of discovery and transformation. We can recognize greed’s gripping power today, in the imbalance of money, possessions and power, in politics and in personal lives

Take part in a fascinating journey into hidden canyons on San Bruno Mountain, south of San Francisco. Visit four sites imbued with the resonance of the past, and their invitation to connect with the elements.  Help to shape a story unfolding as we journey; we follow the tale of Freyja – and uncover, as she does, our connections with the elements of creation – earth, air, fire, and water.

Freyja, guide and companion, explores and reveals her preparation to descend into the unknown; doors open to our own capacity to walk the path that all humanity is now confronting.

Stories passed from generation to generation are repositories of wisdom, and hold open the doors of experience, of knowledge that has no other recourse than to come to the surface when it is needed.

On Sunday, September 30, at 10:30, meet in Brisbane at the foot of the mountain.  On a corner opposite the San Bruno Mountain Watch office, at 44 Visitacion Ave., there’s a cluster of dwarfish painted fireplugs.  That’s a good meeting spot – bring good walking shoes and a walking stick if you’d like one.  Bring lunch, water, sunscreen, a journal, a rattle – and a willingness to share personal reactions and recollections.

Donation – $40; no one turned away because of lack of funds.

Please pre-register, emailing me at freyjand@comcast.net -  or call 650-323-4494.

See the sequel listed for the following week-end, creating Freyja’s Breastplate of Protection.

Limited number of people can be accommodated for each event.

The Seventeen Virginias: A Day of the Dead Celebration, Oct 28

“Virginia! Virginia!” my dying aunt’s voice called urgently on the intercom between our rooms.

I leaped up, and ran into her room.

“What’s wrong?” I cried.

“Oh, there are 17 Virginias, and they’re scattered all over the place. I have to get them together so we can all leave at the same time!”

Astonished – and still only half awake, I said, “O.K.  Let’s do.  But can we wait till morning?”

She agreed, and settled back onto her pillow. Marveling, I returned, sleepless, to bed, wondering what awaited me.

The next morning, we began.  I came into her room with my lap-top, and settled into a chair next at her bedside.

“OK, shoot!  Where shall we begin?”  And in the last days of her life, we sat together as she reviewed the “Seventeen Virginias” – chapters of her life that had taken her on an amazing journey of transformation at a time when “women’s liberation” was still a-borning.

She was part of that courageous era, played out in large and small ways – a pioneer in stepping forward, who guided me in my years of growing into adulthood in an era when “Leave it to Beaver” was a model for women’s roles in our society.

Several nights later, she slowly left me.  I sat beside her, dozing off, then waking to check on her.  When her last breath had been inhaled, I waited with my own baited breath – and when I knew there would not be another, I sat quietly for a bit, before I called my friend Carol, who came to share my aunt’s passing.

Together, we anointed her chakras, and gathered the threads at each of them, honoring the amazing journey of a lifetime of joyous living, experiences of trauma, courage, love, sacrifice, and accomplishment.  Carol and I touched our own hearts, power centers, third eyes – and invited Virginia to continue to inspire us, to live through us.

I invite you to join me, and to bring with you memories and symbols of someone who has powerfully impacted your life. It could be a parent, another relative, a teacher, a friend. Come with pictures, stories, their favorite foods. We’ll assemble altars, share their favorite foods and drink, and feast in their honor.  We’ll share stories of these wonderful people who have impacted our lives.

Let’s fill the room with their energies, and bring them into the present. Day of the Dead altars have become powerful statements in our California/South of the Border culture. Sunday, October 28th, noon to 4:30

Reserve a place by emailing freyjand@comcast.net or calling Ginny at 650-323-4494.

A Breastplate of Protection – For the Goddess of Love, Nov 3

In the tradition of the Goddess, we’re reminded that each of us is the Goddess.

When Freyja, the Norse Goddess of Love, descends to the underworld, we ourselves are making that journey, She is our guide, and at the same time she illuminates the way that we’re called on to make the journey

In ancient stories, she’s gone to fulfill her vow to spend a night with each of the four creators of the beautiful golden necklace, Brissingamen. In the new rendition of her journey (see schedule on San Bruno Mountain, Sunday October 30), the dwarves who have crafted this object of beauty are also the guardians of the elements, and the true destiny of Freyja’s involvement with the necklace, spoken of as “The Jewel of Humanity’s Enlightenment”, is only revealed during her journey.

You’re invited to craft a breastplate for her journey.  While the full story will be told on San Bruno, abbreviated visualizations shared as we craft the breastplates will help you sample the journey that each of us faces in this time of transformation on the planet.

Using story, drum journeys, hands-on involvement with the use of tangible symbols, explore the roots of your power.  In present time, we urgently need to confirm our ability to be aware of and acknowledge our own power to be in right partnership with the elements of creation.

Portions of palms will provide a natural base for the breastplate;  beads, yarn, paint, Milagros, and an assortment of surprising materials will be available to incorporate into your personal vision of empowerment as a partner of the elements.

Ginny Anderson, eco-psychologist and teacher of shamanic practices, and Eric DuPraw, woodworking artisan, join forces to help you create the Breastplates of Protection.

Sat, Nov 3rd – 10:30 am to 3:00 pm  Cost $50
Mid-Peninsula address given when you reserve a space. For further information, or to reserve a space, contact Ginny Anderson, 650-323-4494, or email Ginny at freyjand@comcast.net