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

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

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.

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).

Abundant Life in Frugal Times

Part II: Priceless Ways to Nurture the Heart

Sunday February 20, 12:00 PM to 4 PM

Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts

The heart is our source of strength and inspiration as we walk our personal journeys.  Its steadiness, its capacity to open to beauty, joy, and even to sorrow or fear, brings us to the full experience of our lives.

Join us for a creative event where you will explore how to release barriers to opening the heart. In sacred space we’ll bear witness to the stories you’re releasing and the new stories that are wanting to be written.

Movement, sound, touch, Nature’s beauty, and stories all play a part in awakening and nourishing the heart.  Discover ways to uplift this constant companion of all our days.

At this particular season, the collective honors Love through the giving of cards and flowers. We will be turning that nurturing attention back onto ourselves by creating a Valentine for our own hungry hearts.

Come with us as we expand our sensory capacities, opening to the varied ways to awaken joy in the heart and support our life’s purpose.

Please bring an object that represents your own awakening heart for the altar we will create.

Cost: $40-25 sliding scale.  A $10 deposit holds your space.  Send check to Carol or Ginny at 19 Irving Ave., Atherton, Ca. 94027

Contact us to reserve a place, or to get more information:
email: Carol Fitzgerald
or 650-722-1292
email: Ginny Anderson
or 650-323-4494