Summer Solstice Event – Belonging to the Universe: Personal Experiences of Universal Light

Bathed in the light of summer, get ready to reach beyond the sunlight that surrounds us on the longest day of the year!

Cosmic triggers can come about through a wide variety of life experiences–

  • A deep need for change summer solstice
  • A profoundly challenging situation
  • A dream
  • Spontaneous AHA experiences
  • Meditation
  • Medicine journeys
  • Shamanic journeys
  • Trauma

We find ourselves connected to the universe, filled with joy, hope, and comfort. The moment passes – but it instantly becomes part of our reserve of peace, power, and strength.

Spend a day in a sunny mid-Peninsula garden, swimming, feasting, playing. We’ll share personal stories and transform them into power objects or mandalas.  Materials and symbols will be available to help bring those profound experiences into daily life. Celebrate them; make them tactile and visible, bringing their power and wisdom into daily life.

Visualizations will be shared to expand your capacity to reach toward the light in the universe, the light within the earth, the light within our own bodies. the light that’s constantly within reach.

Our exploration this day will accelerate our journey to become more effectively and fully present as we take our places in sustaining the web of life.

Enjoy this video while we wait for the solstice to arrive.

Please confirm with me directly if you plan to attend, and I’ll give you directions to the mid-Peninsula meeting site. $50 includes art materials and lunch.

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

Click HERE to read what others have said about Ginny’s events.

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.

Winter Solstice Gathering

Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

Come celebrate the approach of Winter Solstice and more than twenty-five years of Circling San Francisco Bay, honoring the spirit of place, creating ceremony on sacred mountains that nourish our lives and communities, blending traditional story-telling with plant medicine and elemental wisdom.

We’ll be joining with Daniel Foor and Earth Medicine Alliance, celebrating nine successful years of community ritual with the land and the ancestors, creating conferences and Voices of the Earth, a series of interviews with native elders.

We’ll come into ritual space and participate in personal and visioning. We’ll meet others who walk the sacred space delineated by mountains and streams that surround San Francisco Bay.

Tule Boat

Very likely we’ll construct a traditional winter solstice tule reed offering boat. The boat is one of the time-honored rituals, celebrated in North and South America; that gives us an opportunity to express thanks for bonds of community, for personal blessings in our lives – as well as the connections with the ancestors and with the spirits of place.

The rituals connect us with the privilege and challenge of being alive at this time of transformation of life on the planet, in which we mark the 13,000 year cycle of time in the Mayan tradition and other time-keeping traditions.

This gathering is open to all by donation ($25-40 suggested).  Optional group dinner/social time afterward.  Please confirm with me directly if you plan to attend, and I’ll get you directions to the mid-Peninsula location.

Please contact me directly if you plan to attend:  freyjand@comcast.net

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

Whole Heart Native Warmth Project

Midwinter is dreamtime for me, and much of that has been happening.  I could share that with you, but there’s another winter happening with a warm and fuzzy feeling that took place last week-end that I’d like to share with you.

When Maggie Sotelo heard about winter living conditions on the Pine Ridge Reservation, she was inspired to do something very directly, and through the Whole Heart Native Warmth Project; she committed to make 100 blankets between December and March – all handmade with love, care, and consideration for Native American Families.

Maggie’s in college, and works; I knew this was a huge undertaking, and asked if she’d come to a gathering and show some friends how to help make this happen.

Ten women came with curiosity and trepidation (who sews any more?), and were vastly relieved to discover a process that doesn’t involve a single stitch –layers of fabric, fringed and tied together!  We sat around large tables, talked politics and families, shared challenges of life and solutions to some, sang songs and told stories both personal and tribal.

Six blankets emerged that day from our 2 1/2 hours of fast finger-work – followed by at least that much time feasting and

laughing.  Here’s a peek at several of the unexpected blessings that came our way during the day we shared:

  • working with soft fabrics is a sensory pleasure
  • doing something creative for someone else warms the heart
  • finishing something that feels like a good act makes you feel
  • good about yourself
  • simple projects give you a feeling of satisfaction
  • singing lifts your spirits
  • laughing leaves you in a good mood
  • feasting tops it all off
  • creating community
  • I highly recommend it!

    A sampling of the blankets we made that day.

Afterward, a friend of mine who’d attended the event pursued the possibility that her own ancestors and Maggie’s might have known one another in a past generation and that we are all woven into a fabric of

shared existence. How remarkable that two strangers have connected thousands of miles from where their ancestors may have been in contact.  Here’s part of her message to Maggie -

Dear Maggie,

Anything that can help the Pine Ridge Reservation is certainly very important!!!  I enjoyed the day very much, and it was fun meeting you and your mom.

I googled Lucille Lahoma Rogers Letteer (two e’s in Letteer) which is my maiden name.and got a picture of her grave and which is the same as my grandfather’s brother Roy’s.  They were married on Oct. 19, 1920.  It says she was the daughter of William Charles Rogers, the last chief, and the grandaugher of Captain John Rogers, the last chief of the Old Settler Cherokees.

I then googled Lucille Sixkiller.  I don’t know if this is your ancestor.  Her last name was Barnes.  The amazing thing is that your Lucille and my Lucille, if she is yours, were born within a year of each other in Skiatook, Oklahome which may be on the reservation.  Maybe they knew each other and went to school together.  Perhaps your Lucille’s father was the chief of another branch of the tribe.  I don’t know that much about the Cherokees in Oklahoma but I feel for them and their exquisite suffering as they were pushed from one place to another

Am anxious to hear if this Lucille Sixkiller is your ancestor.

Thanks again for organizing this wonderful project.

Kathy

Here are photos of more of the blankets we put together that day.  Contact Maggie Sotelo on Facebook if you’d like to find out more, and maybe bring a group of friends together for a day of delight and creativity.

A Wisdom Story – my new mountain series

Freyja - The Norse Goddess of Love

Freyja - The Norse Goddess of Love

The wisdom story of the Norse goddess Freyja and her magnificent golden necklace takes us to four mountains that surround San Francisco Bay. Join us in a new exploration of this journey – a narrative for our times about the power of love, the strength of intent, the willingness to sacrifice, and the balance of power that inspires us to rethink our personal roles in the transformation of life on the planet.

Freyja, the goddess of love, threw caution to the winds and followed four dwarves into the hidden darkness of the earth. She would pay any price to possess the magical necklace, Brissingamen. Freyja was a shaman, skilled in prophecy, astral projection, and divination. The dwarves, guardians of the elements and directions, worked below the surface of the earth forging magical tools and instruments –including Brissingamen, their most beautiful work of art.

The human race also lusts for Brissingamen – emblem of the elements and a key to our harmonious existence. The entire human race is at stake as we flounder, searching for a way to live in balance with the very elements that sustain life – and equally have the power to annihilate us.

Heimdall returns Brisingamen to Freyja, in an anachronistic painting centuries after the era of the myth's popularity.

Four local mountains will be our points of entry as we descend via shamanic journeying to discover our personal relationships with the elements. The ancient vehicles of poetry, song, and story-telling will carry us each day on this sacred exploration. Gentle walking, taking space, journaling, and personal sharing will be encouraged, as we pursue the quest for Brissingamen, the “jewel of humanity’s enlightenment”.

The mountains will include sites mentioned in my award-winning book, Circling San Francisco Bay: A Pilgrimage to Wild and Sacred Places. Since several sites could serve the same element, the combination will be based in part on the home territories of the participants.

To apply for participation, please email me something about your current quest and whether meditation or shamanic journeying play a part in it. What attracts you to this journey?

Scheduled dates: March 24, April 14, April 28, and May 12.
Cost: $150 for the series, $135 for payment in advance by March 10.

Email Ginny Anderson, at Ginny@eco-psychology.com or visit my website to read what others have said about past events.

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!

Building Community with the Natural World

Lean times carry a built-in invitation to enhance our sense of community. That turns out to be around kids’ schools, various interest groups such as book clubs, dancing, a night of cards – a variety of activities that bring people together.

But we aren’t limited to the human neighborhood to provide different ways of experiencing and of thinking. More ancient than the oldest people still among us more successful at living on the edge, are various other life forms.

Ginny Anderson presenting at the Pagan Studies Conference

Ginny Anderson presenting at the Pagan Studies Conference.

Plants, animals, and the stone people are allies, modeling ways of being, and demonstrating amazing survival skills. Biomimicry pays attention to the wisdom of plants and animals to learn new ways to live in greater harmony with the natural world – everything from glue to heating systems have taken clues from nature.

As we take part in the changing identity of the nation and its place in the global community, we can’t afford to lose sight of the importance of nature in building community. If we lose our relationship to the land and its stories, we lose the guidance of how to live on it and with it, the guidance to care for it, and the will to protect it.

But to our great peril, many changes in modern life limit direct experience of nature. Already, countless kids have never stepped off pavement. There are many people whose only connection with nature is through the Nature Channel on TV –preferring to view it from the living room couch – where, I’ve been told, the view is better, it’s not as much work, and they can see more. . Richard Louv (1) pointed out that baby boomers may be the last generation of Americans to have an intimate relationship with the land and water.

While that’s certainly true, not only are other dimensions of the relationship lost, but human physical functions and sensory capacities are diminished through lack of use.  Thinking and creativity expand in the spaciousness of the out-of-doors.  Silence itself is no small part of the wonder: Osprey Orielle Lake (2) calls for a deeper kind of listening to the living Earth. She comments that “The Big Quiet invites us to be present with ourselves and our place… and to include the entire Earth Community, down to the smallest of plants and animals, in our conversation.”

Humans have been successful in occupying more diverse natural conditions than any other life form; in part, it’s been done by paying attention to how other species deal with the circumstances. Particularly potent communicators include mountains or high places, bodies of water, certain plants, animals, and birds, and certain stone formations. Wherever we live, the territory itself holds survival information; in addition, it offers unique opportunities to experience wonder, joy, and the experience of being more than your separate physical self.

Two upcoming series offer different approaches to expanding awareness.

Abundant Life in Frugal Times” is a day-long creative event releasing barriers to opening the heart.   This stand-alone experience, second in a four-part series, offers various ways to awaken joy, and support our life’s purpose.

A circle of six mountains surrounding San Francisco Bay forms a container for the experiences we’ll be sharing in the second series (find details at Circling San Francisco Bay .  The culture is in a profound state of flux; the transitions are leading to totally different ways of being. Each site is a source of inspiration for personal exploration, and holds the potential for transforming your relationship with the web of life.

There will be time for silence, for listening and receiving new forms of communication; there will be opportunities to observe the unsung beauty of the natural world. Story-telling, guided visualizations, singing, journaling, and ceremony will all have their places during our time together.

Related books I’ve been enjoying:

1.    Louv, Richard. The Last Child in the Woods.  (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2008)

2.    Lake, Osprey Orielle, Uprisings for the Earth. (Ashland, Or. 2010)

3.    Abrams, David. The Spell of the Sensuous. (New York, N.Y. 1996).