Archive for Rituals

This weekend, I will officiate at a wedding. The bride is a young woman I’ve watched grow from infancy, so this is especially meaningful to me. Her mom is a dear friend.

So you can imagine that weddings, love and commitment have been on my mind.

Years ago in 2007, Bob and I attended a wedding for the son of other friends, Bill and Patty. Like us, they have three sons, and Read More→

Because of the two weddings Bob and I recently attended, the idea of commitment has been on my mind.

Bob and I committing

Bob and I committing

I love weddings and witnessing couples affirm their love for each other and then dare to commit to journey together into the future—for better or for worse.

As with the marriage vow, sometimes when we commit to writing a book or some other act of creation, we do so with the naiveté of the untried and the untested. Or, we commit even though we know the risks of failure are as great as the risks of success. Still, we commit with optimism and hope, and with that tender belief in happy endings.

But remember “…for better or for worse…”?

It’s a warning and a reminder that any commitment, even the ones a couple in love make to each other, is not a magic shield against hurt, disappointment, betrayal or grief. The warning reminds us that life—and love—is not a promise of the happy ending. Unless we are willing to work for it.

Commitment requires work. Down in the trenches, teeth clenched, getting-up-every-day-and-working-at-it-no-matter-what work. Whether the commitment is to a job, a relationship, or a book. Even when the sex appeal of the the project or relationship wanes and determination falters. Even when we wonder, “ WHY AM I DOING THIS?”

Oh sure, there are reasons not to give up—like making a living, leaving a legacy, supporting our children, making a difference in the world, keeping our word.

But sometimes the challenges and the trials can be so numerous or painful that the desire to break the commitment really strains the strength of the commitment.

So what makes us stick it out in the midst of the “for worse”?

And why, oh why would we ever take the risk of that commitment in the first place?

Because, the commitment, along with its better and worse, has the potential to call forth the best that is in us.

The commitment offers us an opportunity for our souls to grow. For our worlds to expand.

Committing to your writing in spite of day jobs and rejections and bad reviews and family and friends that just don’t get it and then sticking with it provides a soul ride that is both exhilarating and terrifying. And we stay with it because somewhere deep inside we long and hope for a happily-ever-after of our own.

The groom at one of the weddings we recently attended had decided that he was never going to marry.

Nope, marriage and its commitments were just not for him.

Until the day he stood before hundreds of people and vowed to love his bride for better or for worse, with joy lighting his face and every word of his vow. He’d arrived at the moment of his happily-ever-after.

Because he understood that there are relationships, opportunities and projects worth making a commitment to, that will grow his soul and expand his world.

Like his bride.

What about you? What creative commitment do you need to make?

Brigit is one of the oldest known Irish or Celtic goddesses, worshipped as a triple goddess, i.e. maiden/mother/crone. Temperance

As goddess of the forge or smithy, Brigit is the patroness of metalworking and other crafts. Her element is fire, the fire of passion and inspiration, and her celebration, February 2nd, includes the lighting of hearth fires and candles.

As goddess of the well, her element is water, and she signals the arrival of the waters of spring, of snow thaw and rain. Through the element of water, Brigit is the patroness of healers, and has many healing springs and wells dedicated to her throughout the British Isles. Water is also associated with psychic Read More→

That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity. So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something.
Meredith Monk

During a recent Akashic records reading from colleague, Tomar Levine, I was advised to pull back and roll up into a ball the many colored energetic yarns of help and support I’ve sent out to others in the recent years.

For the next few months, I am to shift my perspective from the outer world to the inner one in order to be in direct communion with inner knowing and the divine, and to serve as a conduit between the inner world and the vast spacious sky of beyond. As this information was relayed to me, I saw in my mind’s eye a large arched window through which I looked up into a vast sky.

Several evenings later, on the eve of the New Moon, I took out Colette Baron-Reid’s deck, Wisdom of the Hidden Realms, and pulled a Read More→

Masquerade!/ Run and hide–/but a face will/ still pursue you!
from Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Masks are not just for Halloween. Over the centuries, they have served a variety of purposes.

• Entertainment. Since the time of ancient Greece, mask have been used for theater performances (noh masks of Japan) and for celebrations and festivals (Mardi Gras masks).

• Disguising identity. Think of Batman, the Lone Ranger, and other superheroes. Sometimes having a disguise can be very helpful, even it is only a half mask. Thieves and other bad guys will concur; having a mask makes it difficult for anyone to identify you in a line-up.

• Concealment. In Phantom of the Opera, Read More→

Theme, 3 of Coins.  Three is the number of growth, change and creativity.  So the theme for this week is to make time for focusing on your current creative project, especially in ways that will manifest that project physically, since Coins is the suit of the element of Earth, anything you can touch, taste or feel.  So look for opportunities this week to go into your creative space and get into your creative flow.

Focus, The Devil.  This Major Arcana card comes up in movies and books all the time as a card to be afraid of,  that something bad is imminent.  So let’s look at what the Fool is doing in this card.  Even though the Devil holds the symbols of the elements of earth, air, fire and water, over his head, the Fool won’t see what resources are available to him because he doesn’t want to look at what might be scary, powerful, dark, powerful, rule-breaking, powerful.  Get the message?  Where are you losing power and possibility because you refuse to look what appears to be scary or dark?

Action, 3 of Swords.  Another 3.  Another opportunity for growth and change and creativity.  IF… if you can grieve and let go of loss, insult, and injury.  This week, make time and space for a ritual of cleansing.  Cry, shower, bathe, smudge.  Write down the negative messages and burn them. Release.

Gift, The Chariot.  For in the letting go, the dropping away of hurts and grief that you’ve carried, a willingness to face your fears, comes the gift of clarity around your creative goals.  Success with speed is yours.

Categories Creativity, Rituals, Tarot

Andrew, my grandson, was here for a visit with his parents last week so that we could celebrate his first birthday. We invited some close family friends over to share in the celebration and cake, and they brought Andrew three Mylar balloons.

I now have a cherished memory of watching Andrew tow one of those floating, bobbing, shiny balloons from room to room, waving his arms to keep his balance, holding tightly to the ribbon of  that balloon. It’s an image that stayed with me all day Sunday after he left with his parents to return home, and even entered my dreams at one point during that night. The image of that little boy and his balloon has become a creative icon.

As I watched Andrew take his balloon for a walk, here is what I learned: Read More→

Categories Creativity, Family, Rituals

I’ve never known anyone yet who doesn’t suffer a certain restlessness when autumn rolls around… We’re all eight years old again and anything is possible. ~ Sue Grafton

Bob’s and I make a fall mecca to our local apple orchard this time of year. It is our way of honoring the turn of the Wheel of the year, our personal enactment of an ancient celebration of the second harvest of the season known as Mabon, the Autumnal Equinox.

The Equinox is that moment in time, one of only two in the year, when the nighttime and daytime are in equal balance, a balance that, the next day in the fall, tips towards darkness. From here, until the Vernal Equinox, the nighttime is longer than the daytime. Though we continue with our busy schedules, we can feel in our bones and deep in that place in our minds that holds the wisdom of centuries of ancestors Read More→

Categories Creativity, Rituals, Seasons

Do You Take Your Creative Work Out for Dinner and a Dance?

I witnessed part of an interesting ritual the other night.

No, it wasn’t on the History Channel or in the National Geographic. It was in a restaurant near my aunt’s home where I am staying while helping out my son and daughter-in-law with their new baby.

After we were seated at our table, my aunt and I noticed a large group of fathers and daughters seated against one wall of the restaurant. The daughters sat on the green vinyl banquette that stretched the entire length of the wall, and the fathers lined up protectively in chairs across from them, about eight in all.

The fathers were dressed mostly in suits and ties.  Many of the girls, around ages 8-10, wore long fancy dresses.  A few even had tiara-like headbands in their hair. It turns out that there was a Girl Scout Father/Daughter dance at a school across the street that night and the dads decided to take their daughters out to dinner first.

I wondered how this seemingly simple yet powerful ritual would influence the expectations of these daughters when they were old enough to date.  Would these girls grow into young women who valued themselves and expected others to do the same, as their fathers did that night?  Worthy of caring and generosity, of courtesy and protection?  As precious?

It made me think about the power of ritual to affect our beliefs about the value of our creativity.

I’ve seen parents who  take their children’s art and have it matted and framed and hung somewhere in their homes, signifying to one and all that, yes, this is beautiful creative work, no matter that it was done by an untrained artist of 5.  This work is special.  This work is precious.

What if we had a ritual that always acknowledged how special and precious our creativity is—even the work that is immature, undeveloped, and imperfect, yet filled with promise?

Whether or not you grew up with rituals that supported your creativity, there is nothing to keep you from designing a ritual now, is there?  So, think…what can you do to honor your creativity regardless of its level of development or maturity?

Do you need to print out your latest poems in a beautiful font and frame them, or record your latest composition and then listen to it as you sit sipping a cup of tea in the morning sun? Does that sculpture need to take center stage in your living room…or do you?

A lovely ritual that is the equivalent of putting on the long gown and the tiara is to create an altar for your work.  This would be the place at the end of the day, to hang that poem or drawing or photograph, to set a new sculpture or a few pages of your manuscript.  The altar would make your work feel special, for an evening or a day or a week.

I’m not saying to treat every word or sketch or note like gold…exactly.  But do honor the efforts.  Honor the pieces that don’t work for what they teach you, just as you honor the ones that do work.  Don’t ignore your creative efforts, no matter how successful or not.

And, on occasion, take your work out for dinner and a dance.  Let it dress in a fancy gown and tiara… Honor it as something worthy of caring and generosity, of courtesy and protection.  As something precious.

Remember, those fathers that evening were honoring both the girls that their daughters were AND the young women those daughters would someday become.

Can you do any less for your creative work?

Categories Creativity, Rituals