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

The Cusp of Change

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to you, who’ve circled San Francisco Bay with me some time in the past.  On Saturday, Sept. 7, one week from today, I’ll begin my last circle. I’d love to be present with you to renew your relationships with the sacred places that continue to sustain us. We’ll share the ways that we’ve evolved, and the ways that the sites remain available for even more potent connections from our new vantage points.

The culture has shifted; our needs and potentials have different shapes, and we bring to them the experiences that continue to shape our destinies.

The journeys will involve less walking, more story, some spiritual practices, more personal sharing. We’ll be visiting five sites rather than 7 – but later, may visit either or both of them individually, as conditions at Ring Mountain and at Umunhum shift.  My daughter Marci, who’s now a senior mediator, a collaboration specialist connected with Cal State at Sacramento, has heard so much about our journeys, and will be with us as a participant.

A relevant poem by Raymond Carver recently came my way from Larry Robinson’s list for poetry lovers:

And did you get what
You wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
Beloved on the earth.

Visiting recently with Barbara Hiken, and talking about Circling San Francisco Bay, she said, “It changed my life!”   I feel that also – and from this gratitude, I’d like to celebrate these sites and the blessings they offer. We can renew our capacity to assure that as those blessings move through our human lives, we support the web of all life.  Our lives are on the cusp of change (Aren’t they always?  But physical and environmental clocks are ticking!)

Dates and times:  approximate 10 AM to 2:30 PM

Kirby Cove   Saturday Sept. 7

Mt. Tamalpais  Saturday September 21

Mt. Diabo Saturday October 5

Mt. Hamilton   Sunday October 20

San Bruno    Saturday November 2

Please email or call me to register (650-323-4494), or if you have any questions. If you know someone who hasn’t had a chance to do this, please pass the information along. I’ll attach a copy for your convenience.

This is late notice – but I’d like to do all of these visits while the weather is good.

Suggested donation: $60 a session

Best regards,

Ginny Anderson

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Response to the War on Women in America

A Pilgrimage with a Purpose to Sacred Mountains

Within the last several weeks, drastic attacks have been leveled toward women in America from our own Congressional representatives.  The one that arrested my attention was the House of Representatives’ vote to cut all federal funding to Planned Parenthood centers.   The list below from MoveOn includes 10 astonishing actions and dialogues that represent deep threats to our freedom.

Let’s take a look at our lineage – in meditation and shamanic journeys, we can hear from our mothers and grandmothers. A pilgrimage to sacred sites near San Francisco Bay can provide contexts for an exploration of personal stories – the way our lives have been touched by these issues, the implications for our lives and those of our children. Let’s avail ourselves of the opportunity for grounding in the natural world that sustains all life on the planet – including the members of the House of Representatives!  Visits to three sites will take place on weekdays during April and May, organized around the availability of those who’d like to participate – so let me know of your interest, and the dates will come out of the responses.

If you’re too young to remember not having birth control information available, or for that matter birth control itself, you’re about to be part of a national throw-back to a time of diminished freedom, a time of being demeaned beyond what you could possibly imagine.  I personally lost my 4 year scholarship to graduate school at New York University many years ago when my pregnancy was discovered.  They graciously allowed me to stay in the program without financial aid, saying “This is just why we don’t want women in this program!”  We cannot allow the current political climate to take us back to the times when women were second class citizens.

Let Nature speak to you, remind you of your lineage, help you explore our role and our opportunity to make mindful choices in this time of human existence on the planet.

Email Ginny for more information on journeys into nature, guided by community and by the ancestors to extend our paths forward. We are shaping the future.

Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP War on Women – from MoveOn.org

1. Republicans not only want to reduce women’s access to abortion care, they’re actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven’t.

2. A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser.” But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain “victims.”

3. In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)

4. Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

5. In Congress, Republicans have proposed a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

6. Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids’ preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.

7. And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.

8. Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

9. Congress voted yesterday on a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.

10. And if that wasn’t enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can’t make this stuff up.

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.