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Post Anima Ponderings

I have been home from Magical Anima for some 2 weeks now.  It is amazing to me how quickly the vividness that is apparent in the wildnerness, and particularly in magical places of power, seeps away once home and back in the anesthetized world that I live in.  And that brings something to mind.  Though the world I live in is far less wild than than the pinkrockwalledWONDER in New Mexico, how anesthetized I am depends wholly on me.  Good reminder.  At any rate, this particular visit was quite different from last year's in many many ways.  First, I had company.  Christine and I made the journey together, and that was fantastic.  Here's a clip:

  I think we both wondered how we would do on such a long journey and then in close-quarters.  And it was just find.  We seem to have a great ability to be present together and also quiet, seperate, alone, and apart.  I have been ever so blessed in my life to find people that I can be fully myself with - which includes long period of silence and not-togetherness.  My syster, Christine, is one such person.  That she is also on her own journey toward Herself  makes our time together and apart even more amazing.  Here's another picture (and I think one that really catches us for some reason):

So, having Christine there with me was very different.  I was thrilled to have her see this amazing place and to meet the amazing folks that live there: Loba, Kiva, Rhiannon, and Wolf.  If you haven't already looked at the Anima site and the blogs check them out here.

Christine was not the major difference.  It was in the affect the canyon had on me.  Last year's journey was my first truly alone quest toward myself.  I walked away from my house, my Mom, my dog and cats, and my husband to go into the canyon.  I took off my wedding ring and stripped myself of my armour to the best of my ability.  I knew going in that I was going to face Fear.  Again.  And I did.  Fear, loneliness, and myself.  And it was often a gut wrenching experience (gentled though with periods of intense nurturing).  I cried, felt myself torn apart, had intense dreams and visitation experiences, experienced some extrasensory issues, became physically sick, and had vice grip cramps and intense bleeding - all in the scope of 5 days.  I KNEW the entire time that I was experiencing a birthing process.  And I came away from Anima and changed jobs, took a hiatus from school, and ultimately divorced my husband of 17+ years.  Needless, perhaps, to say, I was a little nervous about this year's journey while at the same time being intensely excited. 

When Christine and I finally arrived in Reserve and then made it to the place where we would leave Molly (my VW) for the week, I sensed that i had a homing device under my skin somewhere.  I knew WHERE I WAS and WHERE I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE in that moment.  We had heavy packs.  Very heavy.  and we decided to carry them in - 2 miles across 7 river crossings.  We silently walked, passing a tomato back and forth between us because there was no more room in either pack.  About half way in, a friend who was on a working weekend offered to drive us; we refused.  Somehow, it seemed right to walk the entire way in and do it with those heavy packs on our backs.  The closer we got, the more i felt a sense of coming home, coming full circle.  Returning, as though the real quest had started with my departure last year.

And that is what my whole visit felt like this year.  Coming full circle.  So much so that I wondered if I would take nothing from the canyon this year.  Would I gain anything? Or was this journey only about tying up the ends?  It was such a gentle experience.  Truly.  Were there tears?  Yes.  I decided to do a vision quest while there (and ultimately fell asleep I was so comfortable).  While I thought this would be a rippingtearingvicegripcontracting experience, i was not prepared for the way it really went.  So sure was I that I need to plant myself (something Loba had encouraged me to do) before it became dark, I gathered little wood and ended up sitting down long before sun down (time moves strangely in the canyon).  As I watched the last golden rays shrink away from the top of the mountain, I began to cry.  I felt myself push the last of this layer of dead skin from my body.  And it hurt.  It was the layer of IAMNOTHINGIFIAMNOTJOHN'SWIFE&WHOIMAYBECOMEWILLNOTBEGOODENOUGH.  I wept.  Snot flew.  I heaved.  I squeezed and rubbed and rolled.  And then I stopped.  Sat.  Stared.  And darkness fell.  There was no fear.  Nada.  Only comfort.  Like being held.  I didn't start my fire for a long time, and I watched the stars come out.  Then I dozed.  And woke.  And watched the stars move.  I finally started my fire, mostly because I felt like I needed to, was supposed to.  And i soon discovered that I had been in such a hurry to sit, to plant in place, that I had not gathered enough wood.  So I watched my fire die.  I watched the waning moon rise and felt the first cramps of that moonth's period start.  And i slept.  Safe.  Next to my dead fire.  When I woke, the stars had moved again, and the moon was high.  And dawn came.  Quietly, then noisily as all the feathered folk woke up.  It was freezing.  Freezing.  Freezing.  Something inside of me was different though, and I don't know how to really speak of it.  I had sat and slept, howled and kept silent under a star-filled sky in the wilderness, and when I unfolded myself, something was different, and something still is.  As I walked back from the river, having gone down to splash and cleanse a bit, a huge blue heron flew over me toward the sun, singing in his raspy voice.  Beautiful.  And I knew I was bleeding and felt my deep connection to Luna.  And I cleaned up, gathered blankets, put water on my coals, and walked back to the Gaia lodge.  The ripping and tearing that I experienced before dark was the last time I really cried during this journey. 

The rest of the time was spent singing.  Singing songs with no words that came from deep deep down inside of me.  Singing alone and sometimes singing with Christine.  The rest of the time was spent drumming.  Drumming alone and drumming with Christine.  Drumming and singing.  Drumming and howling.  Drumming and sensing the rhythm of my untamed self.  The rest of the time was spent learning or remembering.  Learning or remembering that death is our destiny.  It is right there all the time, and when it is time, Death will fold us into Her arms and take us away.  What happens after that is not my concern.  What happens before that time is absolutely my concern.  I must LIVE and LIVE now.  I cannot afford the dreamstate numbness that I have often bathed in.  I must be fully ALIVE now.  Knowing this, I created a list of things to do RIGHT NOW.  It still amazes me, though, how easy it is to sleep.  Still, there is something percolating inside of me.  I know it.  And so I come back to AWAKENESS when I realize that I have been asleep.

  This is a moment to moment task, since sleep seems to be my most cherished activity at times!

While there, I was able to spend several hours with Kiva Rose.  She is my teacher.  I am attempting to embrace my medicine woman self, which I believe is also my witch self, more fully, and am enrolled in Anima studies with Kiva.  We walked up the special wash near the lodge, and she pointed out different medicinal plants, and we talked about those that can be especially useful for Bipolar symptoms, anxiety, and trauma related issues.  We also talked deeply for a time about the medicine wheel and my birthplace in the West.  It was enlightening and so so so relieving!  I was encouraged to embrace my animal self (though I have yet to figure out exactly who my animal tribe is)....my need to be in my den, to be alone, to have quiet.  And this led to talk about my work.  Kiva is so supportive of who I really am, and she seems to so clearly understand that my path in life scares me a bit - because of its sure-to-be unconventionality.  Talking of my nature as a West person helped me to see that path and see it in the light of my personality, of my being.  This lends to a bit more courage... 

Courage Inc and HerStory came out (in part) of this discussion.  Courage Inc. started before I left, but talking with Kiva and gaining more of a personal understanding of myself helped to clarify it for me.  HerStory is really Christine's baby.  We talked and talked about it on our drive home.  These two startups are, at this point, voluntary and don't support income, but that will not always be the case.  My intention and my desire is for Courage, Inc. to be at least half of my support one day.  As i talked with Kiva, I remembered a doctor of mine encouraging me to work as a counselor only part time and to dedicate the rest to art and other activities.  He said this based on my Bipolar diagnosis.  Kiva and I talked about this too.  As a way of supporting and fully embracing my inherent sensitivities, gifts, abilities, and needs.  What a deal.

I am fully embracing my identity as a Medicine Womyn and Witch.  Fully.  That is my path, and what comes of it, well, that is the journey.  This journey includes figuring out how I will bring my medicine to others, where I will live and plant roots, how I will interact with the people and beings around me, and how I will relate to Mama Earth.  One of the missing links in my spiritual path was my relative disconnection from Her.  I was connecting via mind, via dance, via study.  I had forgotten the purest connection.  Sun, dirt, water, plants......  She is outside and inside of me.  The best place for me to connect to Her is through Her.  Outside.  In the heat and the dirt.  And I realized that by connecting to Her body, I will connect to my own, my trance life will be more grounded and deeper, and my medicine will become stronger.  I know these things to be true. 

More change is coming. 


Courage, Inc. is hosting their 2nd Drumming

Hi All! Courage, Inc. will be hosting our 2nd Night of Women's Drumming and Storytelling on July 18th, 2009 from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Since Couarge, Inc. is at least part-me, I thought I'd post briefly about it here.

The location is beautiful - right by the meeting point of Turtle Creek and the Lovely Guadalupe River just outside Kerrville, TX.
We have some core beliefs around this event. First, that all living things have rhythm. Just look at a drop of water under a microscope! And if you think, "ok, water has rhythm, that doesn't mean I do," well, look at a drop of your own blood under a microscope. It DANCES!!!! Second, percussion was the first sound we heard in the womb, and we are natural percussionists. Third, stories, told around a campfire, at the community crafting site, or at a child's bedside, help to pass along the culture of the tribe. We believe that strong womyn stories can help to rebuild our strong womyn selves. So! drumming and storytelling! Flowing water, twilight sky, and systers. What a lovely lovely lovely idea.
Besides all that, love donations will support the local crisis shelter! How can you go wrong?

If you're anywhere near the area and would like to come, please email courage.taibhsear@gmail.com for more information, directions, and what to bring.

If you want to know more about Courage, Inc. and her syster, HerStory, please check out the blogspot: http://courageinc-and-herstory.blogspot.com/

We're just starting the building of both groups and the blog, so check back often.  I'll add the websites as soon as they're up and running.


Anima Shaman Intensive

Hi all, here's the announcement for the Shaman Intensive.  I encourage anyone who can go to Anima to go, and the Shaman intensive would be a great opportunity!

Please Forward to Friends & Post to Any Forums– Announcing:

The Shaman Path Intensive
(for both men and women)

July 2nd - 5th, 2009


A 3 day intensive held not in a classroom but an ancient Place Of Power. Taught by Jesse Wolf Hardin and Medicine Woman Traditon cofounder Kiva Rose … with the focus on realizing a deep and experiential understanding of empowered self… and on redefining the role of the contemporary shaman in terms of envisioning possibilities: maximizing awareness, discovering purpose, bridging the worlds, and personal, community and ecological healing.


“The change of direction can be accomplished only through what Carl Jung has referred to as ‘an obedience to awareness’.”
-Joan Halifax  The Wounded Healer

Specific topics will depend on the needs and desires of the participants, but may include:
• Developing conscious hyperpresence, hyperawareness, hypersentience, precognition and intuition, tapping primal instinct
• Sensing, connecting with, drawing energy and discerning lessons from the various manifestations of the earthen spirit.
• Recognizing and learning from our kindred spirits, including our animal totems
• Reshaping perception
• Plant medicines and teachers
• Moving energy, and the Animá principals of healing
• The Animá Medicine Wheel
• Reincorporating the scattered or denied parts of our whole selves. Reintegrating mind, body, heart, spirit and earth.

“Kiva is a wise medicine woman, teacher and healer whose gentle integrity is truly an inspiration. I honor her strength, her consciousness, her wisdom…”
-Ivy, on Tribe

Kiva will do the opening teaching session with the help of Loba, orienting, defining, grounding and evoking…. as well as discuss plant medicines and teachers, cofaciliate a Medicine Wheel discussion and possibly lead a plant walk if there are enough requests.   Wolf will join Kiva teaching any other topics the group chooses to focus on, and will provide shamanic drumming at a special location on Saturday night.

    “A surprising experience; archaic, fresh, future, wild, refined, all at once… my respects to Jesse Wolf Hardin.”
-Gary Snyder, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

Together participants walk through the portal of the feeling heart, to enter into deeper connection with the daily miraculous… taking responsibility as potentially powerful, artful co-creators of our world and our reality. Those wishing, have the option of spending a night or more out on a mini-quest, or otherwise customize the weekend experience to best meet their needs.

“I find Kiva Rose to be wise, inspiring, inquisitive and kind…and surefooted, as she walks the land and learns from the green growing things.”
-Kimberly Arana, Herbalist, Propriatress of The Blessed Thistle

“Jesse’s voice inspires our passion to take us further — seeing the world whole — even holy.”
-Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge


To Participate, Click Here For Your Shaman Path Registration Form:



 Download this Announcement without photos, to kindly forward and post:


If you’d be willing to printout Shaman Intensive Flyers and post them in appropirate places, please dowload the file here:

 Shaman Path Intensive Flyer

And click here to read Jesse’s essay: “The Shaman: Awakening the Powers Within”:




Logistics & Particulars will be mailed to anyone sending in a Registration Form.


    “Jesse Wolf Hardin has a true understanding of embodied spirituality – the sacred spirit in nature and in human beings… not as an abstraction but in ways sensual, practical, and transformative.” 
-Starhawk, author of  Spiral Dance

  “Wolf sings us Full Circle to the raw, sweet wildness within, and calls us forward to the future primeval.”

-Joanna Macy, author of World As Self, World As Lover

“Kiva Rose inspires me. Her passion, fascination and perpetual curiosity of plants, people, nature, and the relationship that binds them in wholeness stirs those touched by it; encourages our own listening, our own insights and musings.  Kiva, in a word, rocks.”
-Jim McDonald, Practicing Herbalist, Teacher & Author




Thank you very much for forwarding this announcement, and posting it on any forums or sites you may be involved with.


Pre-Anima Pondering

I'll be leaving for New Mexico and the Sweet Medicine River Canyon on Saturday morning pre-dawn.  I signed up for this trip about 8 weeks ago and have been desperately wishing it would get here since then.  Now it is right around the corner, and as usual, my brain is generating all kinds of messages about the upcoming adventure.  It is such a long drive what if you and Christine drive each other crazy what if your drum drops in the water what if something happens while you're gone what if what if what if what if what if..  Really, my sense of anxiety stems from two things.  First, I will be completely out of contact, and that brings up powerlessness - if something happens here at home to mom, dogs, cat, or ex, I will be unable to magically save everyone from sure and certain destruction.  Second, I don't go on these journeys to pick my nose and look at my belly button lint.  I go specifically because I know that my shadow waits for me when I walk away from my everyday life.  Last year, I confronted fears of abandonment, rejection and aloneness.  This year what will it be?  How much more stripping is there before I get to the core of me? How deep down is my authentic self buried and what monsters will I confront trying to find Her?  it is so much easier to focus on all the "back home worries".  Shadow stuff, miraculous growth transformation energy work is a whole lot more intense.

And that's where I'm at today.  I have a bit more homework to complete before Friday, a house to clean, and dinner with Mom tomorrow night.  Life is good, I am open, and this journey, no matter what else it turns into, will be a fantastic adventure.


1:21 in the morning

And here I sit.  It has been a long long time since I have been up at this hour without some reason for being so.  In fact, I have EVERY reason to be asleep.  I have to drive up to Austin in the morning and will NOT be able to stop for a quad-shot Americano on the way unless I rise and shine much earlier than I'd like.  And here I sit.  I'm brewing a cup of lavender tea and praying that it's magical nervine properties will do their job.  I've found in the past weeks that lavender is great at cutting the edge off lingering semi-manic anxiety - we'll see how it does for sleep.  I'm already going through my supply too quickly.  Fortunately, it's the L-Season here in the Hill Country, and a friend has volunteered to pick up some extra L for me at the next festival since I'll be out in New Mexico.  Long sentence.  Run-on.  Insomnia induced run-on....

Even with crusty-eyed, late-night, non-sleep, life is oh-so-much better than it has been of late.  I was getting a little weird there for a time.  Slumpy, irritable, edgy, anxious, and seeing little bits and pieces out of the corners of my eyes (all sure signs that my good old CNS (central nervous system) is mis-firing)...and I have to admit, here on LiveJournal in the company of friends and others that it was a bit un-nerving.  I was reminded that things were a little off last season at this time too, and then i had to remember that springtime is a feverish time for me - a review of journals over the past 20 years will clearly demonstrate the truth of this - but this spring was a little more distressing than other springs (at least recent springs)...  And I know why...  All kinds of reasons...  Whatever.  Things appear to be back on track, or mostly back on track.  Thank Goddess I'm coming up on a vacation too.  I NEED a vacation whether my nerve endings are properly firing or not. 

L-tea is ready.  Strong.  And my eyelids are drooping.  Good sign.  Pups and elder-gentleman-cat are all asleep already.  The house is quiet except for the toilet that has been running a little for a while now.  It's peaceful here.  Magic of L-tea has begun.  Sleepy....

Busy busy rest of week cometh..  Austin tomorrow.  Work first and then coffee and din-din with Christine.  Work work work on Friday (and get oil changed and tires flipped for big NM trip), SpringFest on Saturday, ethics paper due, FolkFest and Patrice Pike on Sunday...  then the countdown to New Mexico.... 



Peace out.


At least for the moment.  In times like this, it is hard for me to tell when the emergence is going to be long-lasting or gone in a blink.  I woke up for the first morning in a few mornings NOT yelling at my sweet pups or wanting to toss my old-man-cat across the room.  I slept well, woke up well, and went to work feeling well.  Life is good.  Friday mornings are my Starlite mornings.  I get to go out, dance around, and share what I know and what I think and what I feel around the disease of addiction.  I get to keep them awake long enough to hear something, and that is a pleasure.  Another beautiful thing about it is that I don't have to go any further than that.  I get to poke them, wake them up a bit, give them something to chew on for a minute, and then their primary counselors take over and help them dig deeper.  Truly, this is the kind of thing I'm really good at, and I enjoy it.  So!  That was great. 

Then I went searching for our drumming location.  I had already decided that if I hadn't heard from the woman who was going to give me directions that I would pick a place and go from there.  As it turns out, the place that I picked was precisely the same place that she was going to send me to.  Whoopee!!!  It's a cool little space, easy to get into and out of, and I think it should be just great.  I'm excited about tomorrow night.  I'm excited about drumming, and I'm excited to share some Goddessy stuff with women without cramming it down their throats.  I have a couple concerns. Some of the women who have expressed interest are a little on the attention seeking side, but I am quite confident (today) in my facilitation ability.  It'll be fine.

My garage sale is tomorrow too.  My first-ever garage sale.  I have some worries about that too, but mostly I'm hopeful.  The Goddess of prosperity and fortune will be much in my prayers tonight and tomorrow!  That said, I'm most excited about clearing some space in my home and in my mind.  I have felt oh-so-cluttered for oh-so-long.  So I'm hopeful.  I'm going to make some jewelry too...while I sit out there in the sun... 

And that's about all that's going on.  I'm doing a group tonight with some families, then it's home to price items and get the drumming stuff together.

What a journey this life is.  Today I am embracing emergence.


Today is Goddess Tithe Day

in North Africa.  On this day, Isis received one-tenth of the riches she has given to the wealthy.  Who cares? You ask.  Well, I guess I do.  As a part of my own liberation, I'm reclaiming Goddess Days.  I'm experimenting with practicing  life filled with celebrations, observations, and activities that are aligned with the Feminine Divine.  So, while Isis is not one of my personal teachers or allies, I am going to observe this day.  I'll be sending a donation off to my favorite womyn's group today in gratitude for their presence and what they've broough to my life.

Oh Isis hearer of prayers, the merciful healer of all ills, renew your blessings for us one more year, that we may gather in the riches of life and keep them in your honor. (from Budapest, 1989).



drumming in the Hill Country

We're hosting a drumming for women up this way.  It's kind of a "yeah I know we're not a real company but let's at least get the name out there and start doing something sort of thing."  Donations will go to the local crisis council....

Looking East


Looking East.  Toward the Sea.  Long Shadows.  Standing at the Edge of Day.  Noses pointed forward, ears alert, Ready.
Ready for what?  To go.  To find.  To seek out.  To taste.  To smell.  To roll around in (jelly fish guts?).  To bounce, and frolic,
and growl, and poo, and pee, and eat, and kiss and slobber.  Looking East.  Toward the Sea.  Long Shadows.  Standing at the Edge of Day.  Noses pointed forward......toward Life.


More sea-dreaming

It is my last night on the coast.  On the coast.  I've never been "on the coast" before.  I've lived on islands most of my adult life.  We don't call  it the coast.  I guess technically it's all coast when you're on an island.  Or is that true?  I mean the US is just one gigantic island.  Really...  Whatever...

Anyway, it's my last night.  The girls and I just got back from moon-prayers at the beach.  The big golden moon was hidden for a while by these huge black clouds.  We just sat in the sand and watched the sandpipers run and waited for Her to peak out.  She was shedding a bit of golden light onto the waves for a while.  And then out She came.  The girls were like my little arm rests - tight right next to me.  I talked in their ears and talked to Her.  I asked Her to open the way.  I thanked Her for bringing me home again.  I felt the deep pull in my veins, and I knew that when it came time to leave, I wouldn't want to go.  And I know that I will come back.  Somehow.  I didn't realize I don't think just how much the Sea calls to me.  I remember when I had my first return.  I was 19.  Driving over the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.  Smelling salt water and hearing sea birds.  I was home.  I knew it.  Not in California, though that's where I'd lived as a small person, but near the water.  The big water.  The Mother of life on this planet.  And crying and laughing all at once.  So, why it didn't occur to me iniially must be one thing -  denial.  Since I moved to TX from HI I've been telling myself that I was fine, all was well, I didn't really *miss* Hawaii that much....  What I've learned this weekend is that while HI may be the home of my heart, the Sea is my spirit's home and the birthing and resting place of my soul.  The salt, the humidity, the sand, the sounds, the smell....the sense that I could walk in, drop off, and die dreaming right into my next life. 

Find a way home.  That's what needs doing.  And come back as soon as possible...even if it'sonly for a day......

The Deep Dark Mysterious Sea
Levanah of the tides, and Ea Bea Ge...

I am your Priestess, and I call to thee....

many blessings.