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.

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

Mission Blue Nursery October 2013 Native Plant Sale

9:00am to 2:00pm

The Mission Blue Nursery is located in Brisbane  - Google map and directions

October 2013 Plant List

Fall is coming and it’s time to get those California natives for the important Fall planting season. Is your garden looking a little dreary? Plan ahead and this Fall plant those late bloomers that will highlight next year’s Fall garden. An excellent choice is the California Fuchsia which happily survives a hot and dry summer, plus others that will thrive from Summer into the Fall with added water – lizardtail, monkeyflower, seaside daisy, goldenrods, and coast buckwheat, to name a few.

 

Payment by check, cash, and now credit card!

Bring your own carry-out boxes

The Mission Blue Nursery grows only San Bruno Mountain native plants. Please join us in cultivating and celebrating these plants!

The Mission Blue Nursery is one of the hands-on arms of the San Bruno Mountain Watch Stewardship Program. Nursery volunteers donate their time to grow California natives from San Bruno Mountain for restoration projects on the mountain and for public and private gardens, parks and planting areas around the mountain.

For a list of all plants under cultivation at the nursery go to our What’s Growing Now page. Not everything on that list is available to the public.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A Wetlands Ceremony

Drummers and banners dotted the pathway leading to the hillside overlooking Redwood City’s salt ponds, where we gathered around a cheerful hand-made boat destined to be part of the ceremony.

Making our Offerrings to the Wetlands

We’d come to reclaim a vision of the wetlands once present here, a vision for the same kind of transformation that has succeeded in restoring thousands of acres of wetlands along the shore of the Bay. Sites in Newark, in Alviso, in Petaluma and elsewhere form a necklace of wetlands, affording habitat for migrating birds and other wetlands life forms. Human beings, too, enjoy canoeing, walking, birding, kite flying at those sites.

Looking northwest, the hibernating wetlands sparkled with bright white salt; what some have called a wasteland can emerge as it has elsewhere along the Bay, and life WILL return.

Salt Ponds

Salt ponds that Cargill sold in 2002 became a place of refuge as the levees were breached, and the mud of the bay brought with it the seeds of returning life.  Now, when you canoe along the shoreline, cat-tails and tules rustle overhead; hidden nesting sites bustle with activity and melody.  It’s a visible a visible reminder that people with strong intention and deep caring have the power and the pleasure to return balance to the life we share with all beings. Helplessness gives way to hope that we can make a difference.

Revisioning the Wetlands

How do we begin? We tap into the deep will to survive that exists in all creatures.  The will to live is everywhere around us, and all of nature takes part in the invitation to procreate. Nature weaves a beautiful design, one life form calling to another to sustain life on earth.  We’ve come to take part in that intricate dance of life.

Our songs, our open hearts, our dancing feet are part of the seduction we’re extending to life returning. We welcome the lives that have long shared the wetlands at the edge of the Bay near Redwood City; we begin to dissolve the barriers to life returning.

We’ve come to restore and take part in the web of life. We’re here to honor and celebrate the plant people, the fish people, the animal and bird people, welcome their return to their homes in wetlands, where Earth and Water intertwine, where the water surges toward the shore, and returns to the Ocean.

We honored first the elemental powers that sustain all life – calling on air, fire, water, and earth.  Susie reminded us of the Bay’s beginning.  Cynthia shared a traditional blessing of the land.  Inspired by a traditional Haida story of raven discovering the first people emerging from a clam shell, Carol created a story of life emerging in the complexity of cultures coming together at the edge of San Francisco Bay.

Taking up rattles, we joined the drumming of Eric, Jonathan, Penny, and Patter in waking the earth, heard Herb’s delicate flute calling the birds.   We began to envision a restored wetlands. Singing out our invitations to the birds, the fish, the animals, to the muddy waters full of seeds and pregnant with new life, we danced, our feet waking the earth and opening our hearts.  Weaving the songs of life, we let them intertwine, just as they will be involved with one another when they return.

Offerings Placed on the Boat

We gravitated toward the small gaily decorated wicker boat in the center of our circle, and filled it with welcoming feasts from the natural world.  Maya blessed the boat; Robin reminded us of the pond salt dissolving as we placed small fragments among the offerings. Walking toward the shore, Peggy and Holly led songs honoring the earth and the water; Eric carried the boat to the water’s edge, and we sent our invitations to the waiting World of Spirit.

The Procession to the Water

Over the next months, we’ll be engaging with life at the wetlands that have already been restored – canoeing, birding, using magnifying glasses and walking on paths along the water.  We’ll be renewing relationships with the gifts of life on the edge.  We’ll re-member our places in the web of life – filling our eyes and hearts with beauty, pleasure, compassion  and care for the fragile existence of which we are a part.

Doing this, we’ll prepare the way for the return of these precious life forms to the Redwood City wetlands area. Our own capacity to envision the renewal of their habitat will offer them a filament of light to travel back to their homes here.

The Boat Launched on the Salt Ponds

Enjoy your sense experiences at the edges of the Bay to expand your vision of the Redwood City Wetlands returning. Dream it.  Bring it about.

The Salt Ponds

Footsteps of Spring

It’s light from below, rising to the surface.  Creamy yellow flowers, very close to the ground, are wreathed by pale green leaves. When Footsteps of Spring bloom, they bring to my mind Persephone rising from the underworld, foretelling of spring, her golden hair spread on the surface of the earth before she’s completely returned to human realms.

What would she see that might entice her to come out? On the fields of San Bruno Mountain, other flowers are already beginning to dare the weather.  Fragile pink-white blossoms of manzanita near the mountain’s summit present themselves.  Here, where such endangered species are protected, each year’s new blooming is a gift.  She might also see wallflowers, a reminder of the centuries when people carried these luxurious blossoms.

Maybe she would see YOU, out and about on the green slopes of San Bruno or elsewhere on the mountains surrounding San Francisco Bay.  Connect with  MountainWatch.org to find free guided walks on the mountain – or contact Ginny Anderson (650-323-4494) to arrange a hike with friends involving shamanic journeying with Plant People on San Bruno. Or, come join us for a Mountain Meditation on Mt. Hamilton, February 28 from 12pm to 4 pm.