Friday, January 29, 2010

Happy Tu b'shvat!

Tu B'shvat is a wonderful holiday that is also known as the New Year for trees. On the Jewish Calender it occurs on the 15th day of the month of Shevat, under a beautiful full moon. During the times of the Temple, Tu B'shvat was also the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing.

I love this holiday that is celebrated with an awareness of the Plant Kingdom! Many have to the custom to eat new fruits and to have a celebratory seder much like Pesach/Passover. It is a magical time for children who are told that the trees dance the night of tu b'shvat and if they are lucky enough, they may even catch a glimpse!

I hope that we all can find that inner innocence within us and see the trees dancing tonight. This is my wish for all of you! I myself will be on the look out for dancing trees!!! Happy tu b'shvat to you all! Go hug a tree, love a tree, thank a tree, smile at a tree, and most of all dance with a tree!!



If not for the trees, human life could not exist. (Midrash Sifre to Deuteronomy 20:19)

Thoughts for Tu b'shvat

The solstice has passed us and thankfully the days are beginning to grow longer but sometimes the sadness and darkness of our own soul lingers. Sometimes it is hard to appreciate these times and all we can feel is loneliness and a deep disconnection with ourselves and the Universe. But these seasons of our soul is a dark and sweet time, much like the winter season. It is a time that allows you to rest and to grow internally. A time to seek your own wisdom. It is also a time to stop looking for the Divine outside of ourselves. It is a time to seek and realize the Divine spark within us.

Many comfort themselves with the thought that the Divine does not leaves the and although this is true but that thought still gives us the picture that the Divine is somehow outside of us a passive onlooker, when the truth is the Divine also dwells inside of us. There is a part of your soul that is utterly connected with the Holy One on very high levels. The spark of the Divine is what keeps your heart beating and you soul longing. Allow your soul to look within yourself and realize how truly beautiful and amazing you are. Then there will be no need to be anywhere than where you are. You will content yourself with your path and continue growing knowing each step of the way you are perfect.

This is a perfect time for this. Tu b'shvat is the new year of the trees, the time when the sap rises in nourishment. We are compared to trees, so this is a time when the Divine rises up within us , nourishing us! You are called to be a wise woman, if this were not so, you would not agonize like this. Allow yourself your pain, your bitterness, your darkness and then grab life and run with it!


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Here is a lovely article written by Rabbi Jill Hammer on tu b'shvat. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

FYI: TRADITIONS IN WESTERN HERBALISM CONFERENCE

Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference - Registration Open!

Announcing (please post and forward):

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

for the Sept 17-19

TRADITIONS IN WESTERN HERBALISM CONFERENCE

TWHC Logo-72dpi-3"

Expanded to 3 Full Days of Classes!

Discount Early Sprout Registration: $250

The first 100 Registrants to request them (just email Kiva) will also receive the following bonus gifts:

Signed Limited Edition “Medicine Woman” color art print by Jesse Wolf Hardin ($35 value)
Foundational Elements in Traditional Western Herbalism Ebook by Kiva Rose ($15 value)

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW

Featuring:

Rosemary Gladstar • Kiva Rose • Paul Bergner • Phyllis Hogan • Jesse Wolf Hardin • Matthew Wood • Jim McDonald • Howie Brounstein • Phyllis Light • Charles Garcia • Donna Chesner • CoreyPine Shane • Pam Hyde-Nakai • Darcey Blue French • Monica Rude • John Gallagher …and more!

Arborea-smFriday & Saturday Night Concerts

Two nights of deeply inspirited music and heart-welling celebration featuring

Arborea & R.I.S.E. (formerly Rising Appalachia)

RISE-sm

Location

The TWHC takes place N.W. of Santa Fe, New Mexico at the enchanting Ghost Ranch, onetime home of artist Georgia O’Keefe and now a relaxed conference center surrounded by beautiful open spaces and sculptured crimson hills.

Classes & Schedule

There will be 3 FULL days of 30 or more in-depth classes Saturday and Sunday, presented by the 20 or so teachers, each 1.5 to 4 hours in length, including hands-on workshops and native plant walks. Specific conditions will be addressed, as well as energetics, diagnostics, preparations and formulas, cutting edge discoveries, ethics and spirituality, the role of the community healer, and plant and habitat conservation.

For more information go to the

Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference Website

or

REGISTER HERE NOW

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Moon and I

The Moon is black
and so am I.
Mysterious and hidden,
not really even there
shrouded by the darkness,
deep at rest.

The Moon is waxing
and so am I.
Slowly coming forward
timidly at first
Then growing brighter and brighter,
casting you a shadow even on the darkess of nights.

The Moon is full,
and so am I.
Shining so brightly
you admire her beauty and bask in her light,
for just a short while,
because gradually she will go away.

The Moon is waning
and so am I.
Slowly she starts to dim,
shyly shrinking back from too much light
gently receding into her rest.

Because she is not like the sun,
who unabashably shines at you,
allowing you to admire him.

You will never truly know her.
As she grows and recedes,
a reflection of the Greater light.
that shines from deep within.

The Moon is resting
and so am I.





Note: this is a poem I wrote back in June of 2007. It is a favorite of mine and I would say the most me poem I have ever written, I suppose you could call it my poetic signature.

The Medicine Woman I am meant to be

I am struggling to work on my Medicine Woman course and it frustrates me that I am even struggling! Why should this be so damn difficult? But for me it is. Perhaps it is the utter honesty that I am demanding of myself. Perhaps it is the fact that it won't let me go even though I will neglect it for weeks at a time. I refuse to give up, I must complete this course, full knowing that I still will not have 'arrived' or learned it all. Strangely enough I am ok with that. The question asks me to envision the kind of archetypal Medicine Woman I believe I am meant to be...complete with appropriate garments, vestments, and animal and plant allies. You'd think I would have had that done lickety split, but I am really thinking about this and don't want some hokey or new age-y Medicine Woman appearing. Who am I? Who am I meant to be?

I see myself more often than not as the Crone, an older woman. I think this is part of my problem, because I do not see myself with the Wisdom now. I see her coming in the future and I think I need to see her as me NOW. Age does not necessarily beget wisdom and the truth is more often than not I don't feel much different than I did when I was a younger woman or even a child. So then with that in mind, I visualize myself as a strong woman, strong and wise, carrying within myself the Wisdom of the Grandmothers, the Wisdom of the Mothers/Immaot. I have a peaceful knowing smile ever on my face. Not of exuberance although that often happens as I find extreme joy in the smallest of things. My smile is of the peace and joy that I have learned by walking in harmony with the seasons and the earth, with people and animals, with the sun and the moon and the stars and the plants. It is a smile of a woman who has some to peace within herself. I know who I am and I understand my own power. I live my life authentically and I am wild and responsible.

My clothing is not much different than what I wear now, because I wear what I want even now. Mostly free flowing, comfortable and natural fibers. I use colors reflecting my mood or the energy I wish to tap into. My colors span the spectrum, but mostly they focus on the earth and the sea. I have very little black and a small amount of white. When I need an extra boost I have yellow, red and orange. Indian skirts and dresses, wide legged pants and many, many shawls. I have much jewelry and my favorite pieces and stones and beads. I suppose in many ways I try to express who I really am through my dress, because to don garments is easily done. To change costumes to suit the day or mood is done with little effort on my part. But to truly manifest that person and to embody this woman, who I truly am, on the inside, ah there is indeed the rub. The only things I would add to my garments a knife to gather my herbs and a large and a small medicine pouch to store my treasure and or carry my talismans in. I would also be armed with a wonderful basket at all times.

My animal allies are the crow who teaches me to be a walker between the worlds. The wolf who teaches me to be a mother and a teacher, who teaches me of loyalty and of community. The red tail hawk who teaches me to continue to look up for the messages and to trust my spirit. The beaver who teaches me to prepare, work and to persevere. I listen to the messages of the Canadian geese and the Monarch butterfly. I even have a protector dragon, black and young.

My plant allies are my beloved dandelion, who nourishes and flourishes everywhere she goes. Who survives no matter how many times she is tramples and torn from her home. She finds her home wherever she is and sends her seeds everywhere the wind blows. She teaches me to send my roots down and even if she is torn up, a piece of her remains. She feeds and heals from all parts of her, flowers to roots. Plantain who is common and who heals wounds, nettle who upon initial meeting, if you are not careful, may sting and burn but whose medicine is so very good and nourishing to all parts of the body. And finally lavender who needs a bit more care, and is gentle and unassuming. She teaches me to relax and be, so stretch tall and survive the cold winters. She also teaches me that to gain the full benefits and fragrance, I may need to be crushed now and again.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Setting Intentions for the New Month

This past Shabbat/Saturday was the New Moon. This is always an auspicious time to start things. As the moon grows in beauty and power our intent set under the Dark Moon grows too. This past particular moon was very auspicious since the moon itself in in Aquarius. An Aquarius moon is a time a great rebellious energy. A time to break habits and to realize personal freedom and individuality. As of this morning at 1:17AM the moon has entered Pisces. During this time the focus is on dreaming, nostalgia, intuition and psychic impressions. This is a good time for spiritual and philanthropic endeavors.* (A good time to help out the People of Haiti)By this weekend the moon will have entered Taurus and be half way full. Under a Taurus Moon intentions have great sticking power and are hard to break. So this is a good week to start a habit and really focus on your intention(s).

Along with the New Moon we began the Hebrew month of Sh'vat. We are in the sign of D'li already, (the sun will be entering the sign of Aquarius at 11:28 tonight). D'li, which means bucket or pail, is associated with the tribe of Asher and Olives, the oil in particular. It is a strange combination this water and oil of the month. Nonetheless, this is a particularly auspicious time of learning and chiddushim (discovering new insight). It is said that all the "chiddushim that a person will develop in the course of a year will be presented to him from Heaven during this month of Sh'vat." The water of D'li is the learning that we do and the oil of Asher is the wisdom that we derive from that learning. It rises to the top!








Friday, January 15, 2010

New Moon and Setting Your Intention

I truly delight in the New Moon! It is during this time of darkness I try to avail myself to quiet and invisibility. It is a time to set my intention for the new month ahead of me. New beginnings, rebirth, discovery are all themes and opportunities for the new month. This particular new moon is a very auspicious time because the Moon enters into Aquarius this afternoon (12:17pm). This make this an auspicious time to make changes and break habits. Personal freedom and individuality (rewilding?) is focus!The dark of the moon inspires me to quiet down and go deep within myself to rediscover me.

The Dark Moon is also a time of reflection and peace. It is a time of introspection and discovering that which is hidden. The moon in her darkness teaches us that even though she is not seen, she is present none the less. Many of us go through this time of 'invisibility'. A time where although we are present, we cannot be seen. This dear one, is not bad or negative. In fact it is quite magical and even desirable. It is a time where the only work to be done is that of resting. Resting is such an important and oft neglected component of our personal growth. The New Moon affords us a time in which we can begin to rebirth ourselves, just like the moon does.


The Moon also teaches us how to grow in moderation. She reveals to us the truth of her moderation by not reaching her fullness over night. Slowly over the course of a full fortnight she reaches the peak of her beauty. There is wisdom in setting our intention and adding to it little by little each day. She teaches us that there is no need to try and realize our intention too rapidly. In fact, she says,it is not even desirable to do so. Slowly realizing our intention is a more graceful and less discouraging way of being.




Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Song of a Soul

My heart aches for you. It aches for your pain and it aches for your hurt. It aches for how lost and alone you feel. It aches because of the fear that motivates you into violent and/or non productive decisions. It aches because there seems to be nothing I can do about it. Nothing I guess except pray...pray?? And what of it?

What will prayer do to help? Speaking to a G-d or G-ddess that may or may not be there? Speaking to a Universe that may be alive with wonder or dead with silence. What will this prayer do to help you or me for that matter? What can I do? What should I do? What difference can I make?

All I know to be is a Light. A Light that shines through your Heart and beams through your eyes. A Light that reveals the darkness that lies within you and around you. A Light that calls you home. Home to yourself. Home to your dreams. Home to your wonder and your joy. Home even to your pain, allowing you the tears that you must needfully shed. Tears that will water the garden of your heart and bring forth the most fragrant of flowers. If only...

But if I shine my Light, will you see it? Will it draw you? Will it help to guide you through the rocky shoreline to a safe harbor? I suppose only you know the answer to that question. Only you know whether you will open your eyes? Only you know if you will follow the Light or steer away. Only you...

For what else can I do except be who I am? I am a Lighthouse on a hill. I stand alone. I shine my Light. A strong but lonely Sentinel.

Yes it's true, the windows are cracked from enduring many a storm and the tower is worn, in need of repair. But in spite of how worn I am, I still stand. And in spite of the cracks, the Light pours through, shining brightly--if only you'll look my way.