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.

Norns and the Tree of Life: Elders taking part in creating the future

In Norse mythology, the Norns are female figures who work with past, present and future, pouring waters on the Tree of Life so that life of the tree is sustained.

The Norns spin their tapestry at the roots of Yggdrasil.

These figures become our allies, as we explore the role of elder women in today’s culture.  Using the inspiration they provide, we’ll explore our own journeys – how we’ve come to be at this unique place on the planet just at this time. We’ll explore how we can continue to weave the threads of destiny out of the experiences of our contemporary lives and lineages. We’ll discover what it means to find ourselves in the amazing privilege to be in this unique and luscious part of the world. The Norns help us shape our quest for being elders when there is a “Great Turning”, to use Joanna Macy’s phrase.

Another important guide in our journey will be San Bruno Mountain, whose very existence maintains numerous endangered species, plants as well as butterflies.  Using movement, shamanic journeys, writing practices, and guided meditations on the mountain, we’ll be experimenting with learning how to listen to Nature’s voice, as She speaks through the environment.

The story line of our own destinies is entwined with the wisdom of these elder figures – the Norns, the mountain, and the endangered species who live on San Bruno.

A gift of being elders in this present time -  the latest discoveries of brain research can actually help us shape the ways our brains function and the way our lives unfold. Ancient stories describe the Norns coming to babies’ births to forecast how their lives will unfold – and now we are able to share the Norns’ opportunities by putting into practice the amazing new tool provided by recent brain research.

Come join us in this pilot project blending ancient story and newly acquired modern wisdom; take part in creating what shall be, in the culture and in your lives as elders.

Check out the offering on the calendar – see if this journey is for you!

Here are some of many good resources:

Macy, Joanna: “Active Hope”

Hanson, Rick, “Hardwiring Happiness”

Sturluson, Storri: “Prose Edda”

Clebsch, Carolyn – Valley Moon Qigong and Meditation Practices

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.

The Seventeen Virginias: A Day of the Dead Celebration, Oct 28

“Virginia! Virginia!” my dying aunt’s voice called urgently on the intercom between our rooms.

I leaped up, and ran into her room.

“What’s wrong?” I cried.

“Oh, there are 17 Virginias, and they’re scattered all over the place. I have to get them together so we can all leave at the same time!”

Astonished – and still only half awake, I said, “O.K.  Let’s do.  But can we wait till morning?”

She agreed, and settled back onto her pillow. Marveling, I returned, sleepless, to bed, wondering what awaited me.

The next morning, we began.  I came into her room with my lap-top, and settled into a chair next at her bedside.

“OK, shoot!  Where shall we begin?”  And in the last days of her life, we sat together as she reviewed the “Seventeen Virginias” – chapters of her life that had taken her on an amazing journey of transformation at a time when “women’s liberation” was still a-borning.

She was part of that courageous era, played out in large and small ways – a pioneer in stepping forward, who guided me in my years of growing into adulthood in an era when “Leave it to Beaver” was a model for women’s roles in our society.

Several nights later, she slowly left me.  I sat beside her, dozing off, then waking to check on her.  When her last breath had been inhaled, I waited with my own baited breath – and when I knew there would not be another, I sat quietly for a bit, before I called my friend Carol, who came to share my aunt’s passing.

Together, we anointed her chakras, and gathered the threads at each of them, honoring the amazing journey of a lifetime of joyous living, experiences of trauma, courage, love, sacrifice, and accomplishment.  Carol and I touched our own hearts, power centers, third eyes – and invited Virginia to continue to inspire us, to live through us.

I invite you to join me, and to bring with you memories and symbols of someone who has powerfully impacted your life. It could be a parent, another relative, a teacher, a friend. Come with pictures, stories, their favorite foods. We’ll assemble altars, share their favorite foods and drink, and feast in their honor.  We’ll share stories of these wonderful people who have impacted our lives.

Let’s fill the room with their energies, and bring them into the present. Day of the Dead altars have become powerful statements in our California/South of the Border culture. Sunday, October 28th, noon to 4:30

Reserve a place by emailing freyjand@comcast.net or calling Ginny at 650-323-4494.

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 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.