Circling in 2013: Rounding a corner: A Circle of Change

Many Bay Area residents have come from elsewhere, looking forward to a transformation in their lives. We’ve come seeking California’s gold, in whatever form that takes – a new career, a new kind of community, a move away from old imprints. .

The community itself is rapidly changing under our very feet, but the unchanging constant underlying our lives is the Earth, the land we live on and which supports the way of life of every person here.

We live in a force field that’s fed by the land itself – by the very stones of the earth and the water flowing through the land. It’s a force field shaped by the climate and the beautiful patterns of weather, by the plants and animals who share the space. Impacted by migrations –by human, animal, plant successions, by the traffic of the streets and freeways – we are carried by all these influences. Not only are we affected by the people who live here now, but also others who lived here in the past, and marked it with their choices.

How, then, do we take the reins in our hands, receiving the opportunities and openings, and participate in shaping our destinies?

Moving mindfully becomes an important way to participate in shaping the future, externally and internally.

This year’s circle is a journey for people in the midst of change. You’re invited to circle San Francisco Bay, becoming mindful of the constants as well as the flow that permeates this desirable and desired place on the planet.

Come into relationship with the deep Spirit of Place, expanding your experience of self in relation to the elements that make the Bay Area unique.

This is a journey of spirit, a journey of the spirit of place, a journey of your spirit’s individual existence. Discover some ways of connecting profoundly with this moment, this place, with the body that is your home. Mindfulness becomes the starting point.

We’ll discover ourselves already present in a sacred circle, visiting places of power that surround San Francisco Bay. Opening all our senses, our capacity to reach outward into the space around us, into the visionary space that each of us carries, we will become more fully present.

These five sacred sites will be our points of entry as we travel via shamanic journeying, through poetry, and song, Age-old story-telling, tales of place, will feed our awareness of our mindful presence here. With shamanic practices, gentle walking, journaling, and personal sharing, become more fully present in this lovely place we think of as our home.

Saturday, Sept. 7 – Kirby Cove
Saturday, Sept 21 – Mt. Tamalpais
Saturday, Oct. 5 – Mt. Diablo
Sunday, Oct 20 – Mt. Hamilton
Saturday, Nov. 2 – San Bruno

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

Cost: $50 per session; a sliding scale is available. With a commitment and pre-registration for the series, there is a 10% reduction.

To apply for participation, please email something about your current quest, and whether meditation or shamanic journeying play a part in it. What attracts you to this journey? contact Ginny by clicking HERE or phone 650-323-4494

Whether or not you’ve had a chance to participate in Circling San Francisco Bay, or in Daniel Foor’s work at these sacred sites, please read my award-winning book, “Circling San Francisco Bay: A Pilgrimage to Wild and Sacred Places“. Amazon.com provides book availability and reviews. Finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year competition, the book also received Editor’s Choice and Publisher’s Choice awards. Reading it will provide a foundation for working with these sites. If you have not had an experience of shamanic journeying, please let me know when you inquire about participation in this circle. An opportunity to do this preparation will be arranged.

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.

Tule Boat Ceremony at the Pacific Ocean

One year ago to the day, the Earth Medicine Alliance, whose purpose was to help bring people back to the Earth Honoring ways and connection them with all their relations, of the stone, water, plant and animal realms sat in ceremony. At one of the early meetings we journeyed, and the vision came of being on a mountain above the Bay Area looking at the lush greenery that had returned and seeing the sparkling connection of the web of life below. We were filled with hope, then as today, as we come together in ceremony and add another spark into the web of life with our ceremony to honor the Ocean.

Our purpose is to honor the Ocean, the body of water that connects us all, the womb of which all life was born and one of the places on Earth where one can find intense peace, joy and harmony within. We gather in a cleansing downpour of rain. The water is with us even before we meet at the ocean.

We gather to create a Tule boat in which we place our prayers and let the Ocean consume them to feed them back to the world. We are led by two beautiful people of mystery, Charlene Sul, who is the founder of the Confederation of Ohlone people, which empowers others to serve their communities thus creating better society and Ginny Anderson an eco-Psychologist and leader of ritual for personal and community transformation.

The Tule reeds were collected a week before by Ginny and Stacey, in a sacred manner, at Alviso by the south end of the Bay. In their search for the tules, Ginny and Stacey where held invisible from park rangers and duck hunters; flying over a fence without shape shifting into ducks, and thus attracting the unwanted attention of the high tech duck hunters that surrounded them. Miraculously, they survived and brought the Tules for our purpose of building a boat.

We begin to gather on the beach with Tules and offerings for the ceremony. We can not see Charlene who is supposed to have arrived. As we wait outside in the rain, we each tell our story about being drawn to the ocean. After we have shared, we do a thorough search of the beach to see if there are any other beings that wish to join in our prayers and offerings to the ocean. A feather, piece of wood, a flower and a breath of prayer of heath to our Mother Ocean are gathered for the boat. Several of the group begin to move down the beach- it seems that Charlene has been hiding in plain sight and steps back into this dimension and is ready to start the ceremony.

We prepare an altar of flat stones in a cleared circle on the beach. Charlene smudges us with sage and the rain stops. We lay out our offerings of flowers, fruits, herbs, seeds, incense and all other offerings to add our prayers to. The Tules are unwrapped and we go to work.

We each gather a bundle by taking the Tules and folding them in half. The bundles are then tied with raffia in four places. Next we braid the raffia in to a rope to tie the tule bundles together. Some of us get a lesson in braiding. The bundles are tied in the shape of our prayer vessel. If one were to make a boat in this manner for fishing then the boat would be allowed to dry completely before being sea worthy.

Once the boat is completed we add our prayers and offerings. It is a beautiful ceremony as we create with our prayers and intentions this offering to the Ocean. The boat is a beautiful expression our hearts’ desires for the Ocean.

Now there are eleven of us, two male and nine females. Charlene opens the ceremony with a song. The birds gather on the ocean as a flock of seagulls plays in the waves. We go around the group and everyone offers a prayer or a song or both. Half way through this the flock of seagulls flies overhead and one of their numbers bless our gift as only birds can with a bit of good luck as some might say.

Next we make a offering of tobacco and cornmeal and each one of us takes a pinch and offers our last prayers for the Ocean. The rest of the cornmeal and tobacco is offered for all forgotten prayers and the boat is ready to be carried to the sea.

The two men, Aerin and Bob, carry the boat to the sea following a straight line in the direction the boat faces and Charlene leads the procession smudging the air. Before going into the Ocean there is one last prayer song. While we sing there is the last offering of honey that is poured on our prayers to sweeten them for the Ocean. They head to the sea, trying to avoid getting knocked down or soaked by the waves, but fully commited to the offering of our prayers.

The boat makes it to the surf and the waves play with it as it moves down the shore line, getting stranded and being brought into the sea again. Charlene tells us that it will take its journey as it will, and not to worry that it is still on the beach. Each one of us offers more of our prayers to the Ocean with the additional items that did not make it to the boat. Our ceremony is completed and we are again joined by the rain.

We join together for a feast of corn, delicious home-made cookies, nuts, cheese and other goodies. Later we return for a picture and while we had our backs on our prayers they were consumed in the surf, a successful offering accepted by Mother Ocean.