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

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.

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

Imagine A Woman

Soon, via sacred mountains near San Francisco Bay, we’ll be exploring Freyja’s journey to the realm of the dwarves.  When I read this poem today, written by Patricia Riley, it seemed very much to represent the kind of thinking  that would  occupy Freyja’s mind space  as she dared  such a journey.  I wanted to share it with you, sending thanks also to Ocean, whose Deaf Pagan Crossroads is a frequent source of inspiration.

I am including an excerpt here – the full poem can be read on their site.

Imagine a Woman by Patricia Lynn Reilly

Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is a woman.

A woman who honors her experiences and tells her stories.

Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman who believes that she is good.

A woman who trusts and respects herself.

Who listens to her needs and desires,

and meets them with tenderness and grace.

Imagine a woman who has acknowledged the past’s influence on the present.

A woman who has walked through her past.

Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman who authors her own life.

A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.

Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and to her wisest voice.

Imagine a woman who names her own goddesses.

Read the rest of the poem on their website. and imagine your own possibilities.

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 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