Woman and the Owl

Over at the Woman and the Owl project, I was recently interviewed by Dr. Jessamine Dana, whose project is to cultivate and support women as spiritual leaders in all walks of life. I had the honor of being interviewed for her project, which you can watch here. We have both been drawn to the owl as kindred spirit and totem animal to women and our intuitive process. The owl has long been associated with the goddess, witches, wisdom, magic and the supernatural. To me the owl represents my inner voice, the place I go to within to hear answers. I wait and listen, often needing to let go of what I thought I knew or what I thought I was supposed to do, so that magic can happen.

As Jessamine Dana puts it, "The relationship between the woman and the owl is the complex connection and attraction between ourselves and our potential, between who we are and who we might become, and between the internal and the part of us that flies forward, exploring what the world might hold. The Project, is the work of going again and again into that place of mystery, of the unknown, of the Divine, from whence much of the spiritual feminine comes. It is the work of renewing our commitment to ourselves, our communities, our students, to be brave, to step forward, and to be us."

Aho.

The In Between

oldfrenchfairyta00sgrich_page_0461In the time between Christmas and New Year my favorite things are: Resting and enjoying my home and family

Yesterday my hubby Rob and I went for a bike ride into town in 60 degree weather and had tea at The Open Eye.

We went to see Avatar last night--loved it. See it in 3-D! A wonderful message about indigenous people and taking care of our mother, meaning whatever planet or moon we live on--in this movie we are the aliens who didn't love their Mother and are in search of other resources to exploit on the distant moon, Pandora. Needless to say, our arrival opens up a Pandora's box of troubles for the indigenous people -- wonderful, large, lithe, blue creatures that have much in common with Native American tribes.

Making delicious food like this:

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BAKED APPLE PANCAKE

Start by peeling and thinly slicing about a pound of fresh, tart apples (about 4 big apples) 3 large eggs 3/4 c. milk (soy/rice milk works fine) 3/4 c. flour 1/2 t. salt 1 T. + 1/4 c. butter 1/4 c. brown sugar cinnamon and nutmeg to taste powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Beat together eggs, milk, flour and salt until smooth. Add 1/2 c. thinly sliced apples. Melt T. butter in cast iron skillet in oven; coat bottom and sides of pan and then pour in batter and put in oven for 15 minutes. Then turn temperature down to 350 degrees for last 10 minutes until pancake is light brown and crisp. If bubbles form, puncture with fork. While pancake is baking, saute rest of thinly sliced apples in 1/4 c. butter in skillet on stove and add brown sugar. Season to taste with cinnamon and nutmeg and saute until apples are tender, but not too soft, about 8-10 min.

When pancake is ready, slide onto plate, pour apple filling onto one side and fold pancake over. Pour a little melted butter on top and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Tarot card reading for the New Year

Here's good way to do a reading for the entire year: A full moon spread. Lay out 13 cards in a crescent shape for each of the full moons in the year. Write down your reading for each card and each full moon and see how it corresponds for the year ahead. Did you know we've got a blue moon coming up on New Year's Eve this Thursday? That has to be an auspicious sign for 2010.

(Love the Fairy Tale Tarot by Karen Mahoney. I heart the Tarot of Prague cards if I could ever find them for a reasonable price).

Make SoulCollage card for New Year. Here's the one I made most recently for the Witness card, the one who sees without judgment and draws us up to higher consciousness:image151

Collecting images and ideas for a vision board for what I want to be, create, and bring into the New Year.

One thing I want to do is teach and facilitate more creative workshops and retreats.

Here's what I already have on the calendar: SoulCollage workshop on January 9 at my home and Vision Board/SoulCollage workshop (Outer and Inner manifestation) with my friend Lauri later in January; Crowning the Crone retreat the last weekend in February in Durham; and the BEAR retreat on Cape Cod the last weekend in March in which I will facilitate 2 workshops on Meeting and Manifesting the Triple Goddess. More to come!

Reading a good book

I'm currently reading Wesley the Owl--The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O'Brien

Did you know that owls mate for life? If an owl's mate dies it will often get depressed, stop eating, and die of grief soon after. Did you know that the reason owls can turn their heads 180 degrees is because underneath all that feather and fluff is a very long, thin, neck that can twist on its axis to keep an eye out for both prey and predators? Did you know that even though we tend to think of owl's night vision as its most amazing feature, it's really its hearing that is the owl's primary sense organ. One ear is higher up on its head than the other, allowing the owl to triangulate the sound of it's prey and swoop down on it with amazing accuracy. A barn owl can locate a mouse under three feet of snow by homing in on its heartbeat! (If owl is your totem, like she is mine, it's important to learn about its prey, too. The mouse -- attention to detail -- has much to teach us as well.)

Enjoy the in between!

Wisdom

owl_shadow2 This painting by Meinrad Craighead is my favorite. I love her mystical artwork that celebrates the divine feminine and animal spirits, particularly those that inhabit the New Mexico land near the Rio Grande, where she lives.

I recently saw the documentary film about her life called Praying With Images last week, a beautiful biographical portrait of a woman’s life, an artist’s life, lived on her own terms. She came from Little Rock, Arkansas, where she had her first mystical experience of the sacred feminine as a child. Her family then moved to Chicago, where she began exploring her art in earnest. After she graduated from college, she traveled through Europe, living for a while in a beautiful tower in Spain on an art scholarship. She decided to become a Benedictine nun and lived for 14 years at Stanbrook Abbey in England, where she was given her own studio. While she enjoyed the monastic life, she left it behind in the 1960s and moved to a place near Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she has lived alone, taught art, and produced most of her deepest work.

She says, “I drew from my own myth of personal origin; each picture is a realization of this story and is connected to the ancient images of the God Mother in art and mythology.”

I had the pleasure of meeting Meinrad after the film and hearing her speak a bit about her life and her art. I asked about this painting, Wisdom, drawn as I am to the owl. She said the owl represented the nocturnal, the ability to see in the darkness, and find what you are looking for there. The mandala below it shows the three phases of the moon with the image of the crossroads, which she identified by a particular term, but I don’t recall the word for it. I tried looking for it in my books of symbols, but couldn’t find it. (If anyone knows what it is called, please let me know.) Nonetheless, she identified it as the point in the woods where the road diverges. We talked about the goddess, Hecate, representing the crossroads, being the personification of the triple goddess (it has many meanings: maiden, mother, crone; land, sea, sky; past, present, future; waxing, waning, and full moon, etc). By the way, Hecate is more often associated with the crone, representing wisdom, repose, death, and endings symbolized by the waning moon. The tri-sected circle and the owl are illuminated by the full moon behind it.

I think that Meinrad’s crone wisdom shines through in this amazing work, done with pen and ink and acrylic on scratch board.

I am also including her painting, Crow Mother Between the Two Moons. It seems we share a common interest in the teachings of owl and crow. crowmother

The meaning of owl and crow

In my shamanic journey life, Owl sits on my right shoulder and Crow sits on my left. They are my spirit guides and show me the way when I am sitting in uncertainty or the unknown. Of course, sometimes I don’t need to go anywhere but need to just Be where I am in the stillness or the discomfort, or wherever it is I am sitting for that moment, until the path becomes clear. They are the yin and yang of my soul. Owl is the dragoman (I love that word) of the night, the shadow, dreams, the invisible, underworld, the unconscious. Owl was the companion of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and as such, revealed unseen truths to her. Owl had the ability to shine light on Athena’s blind side, allowing her to speak the whole truth and not half-truths.

So you could say Owl helps keep me honest and guides me to the truth in a situation. That does not mean it is always wise to speak the truth that I see because I have learned that there is a time to be silent with understanding and a time to speak out. I think true wisdom comes from knowing when is the right time to speak your truth. Owl gives me courage to both accept and utter what is difficult. He is quiet and contemplative (the introvert), yet sure when he leads the way into the darkness.

Crow is the yin to Owl’s yang. She is surveyor of the light, daytime, all things visible, and she teaches about living in the world, about living in consciousness and about illusion—what you think you see is not always what’s real. She is talkative, inquisitive, impatient, crafty when she needs to be, and bold. She is the extravert side of me. Crow can be opinionated and speak with the force of her convictions, but the lesson for me is to be mindful of my opinions and actions. Sometimes Crow is impulsive and then I must pick through the carrion of my thoughtlessness and eat crow.

A New Life

Crow is also symbolic of the alchemical process of nigredo, the beginning state of a substance before it has been formed and reached its full potential. Therefore, crow is about the magical process of creating something out of nothing. Crow magic is about change and adjusting to shifts, and boy have I been doing a lot of that lately by moving across the country, and in effect, starting a new life.

In the wild, owl and crow are often enemies, but in my world they are companions who co-exist and work together to help me achieve the balance I need in life: the balance of masculine/feminine, light/dark, above/below, conscious/unconscious, inner/outer. On this blog, they are my guides and messengers of wisdom and truth shared amongst my sisters and friends: bringing messages of truth and wisdom in both directions.