Here Comes the Sun

Although the bulk of winter’s cold is before us for the year, at Yule, we celebrate the infinitesimal return of the sun to the sky. This mystery itself is such a lovely representation of the energy of Yule and Imbolc. Imbolc translates loosely to “in the belly” and speaks of the quickening of the unborn child. In CUSP manifestation, we begin to plan in Yule what will manifest in our lives in the coming harvest. Yule gives us the spark of inspiration that lights our desires and tells us how we wish our life to be different the coming fall. As those thoughts slip around our brains, they are new and fragile, still subject to change. They cannot yet be seen because they have no form and are not yet corporal. They are merely an idea. So too is the return of the sun merely an idea. It is still cold and will likely become colder, but we know intellectually that the days are lengthening by tiny, imperceptible bits with each turn of the earth.

This is a magical time when the beginning of creation is at hand. This is the time of “Until now…” which are the two most powerful words in the English language. In the words, “Until now…” we hold the power of change. It is a defining border between how things have been and the changes we will make.

Take this special time to imagine your life as you wish it to be. Place no limitations on yourself and do no allow doubt or limitations to cloud your wishes. When you begin to think things like, “That could never happen” or “I couldn’t do that,” immediately dismiss those thoughts outright. Let your mind dream without conditions or judgments. Build your future in this poignant and potent time. This is not the time to consider even for a moment how these goals will manifest or what you have to do to get there. We build the destination first and then the route to get there becomes clear.

Take copious notes. Write clearly about what you want and what you see. Write about how you will feel when the changes take place and what they mean to you. Become more and more comfortable with and excited about what you are describing.

Once you know your desires, condense them into a bullet point list. It is fine to have a long list. When your list is complete, search out similarities in the goals. Wanting a new home, a new car, and a new job are all about prosperity and abundance. Wanting to lose weight, bring down your blood pressure, and stop smoking are all about health and well being. The tighter you can draw in your focus, the more you can accomplish when you start sending energy toward your goal. Look for the feeling you want to have when the goal is manifested. I want to feel prosperous and successful.  I want to feel loved and supported. I want to feel confident and beautiful. Magic stems from a feeling before it turns into language, so identifying the feeling brings it into closer contact with the Higher Self and creates easier access for magical intervention.

See if you can condense a longer bullet point list into a few specific goals that cover a lot of territory. Be prepared to work on your list for several weeks and have it finalized by Imbolc, when it will be offered up to the Divine for confirmations or redirects. This list is a work in progress and is not solid until you plant in the spring. Place your list under a column candle or jar candle of your favorite color. Light the candle and let it burn for a while from time to time while you meditate on your goals. Open your mind to new ideas about your goal, but resist any negativity or doubt. Begin the process of receiving even now. This starts with opening your spirit to the new goals and trusting the process that will lead you to them.

Remember that during the winter months, our ancestors planned the coming crops and rested from the previous harvest. Even though there was still work to do to sustain the village, the work of harvest was done and was all in the mind. Let your mind do the work on your coming life changes and trust your spirit and The Universe to send you the right tools to create a blessed harvest.

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Harvest Into Samhain – 2014

At last we move forward into Mabon, the sacred boon of the year. While Lammas celebrates the rewards we receive from our own efforts (those of the garden), Mabon brings the blessings of the God and Goddess that would grow with or without our attention (the nuts, fruits, and foods of the vine). At times, the blessings of Fall supplemented a challenged harvest to the point that it literally made the difference between life and death for a village. As such, the miracles that happen in our lives, big and small, from Mabon to Samhain, can define how the Dark of the Year will proceed for us.

If your year has been anything like mine, you are so very ready to put the hard work of the year behind you and slip into the comfort and quiet of the Dark of the Year. While that repose is incredibly tempting, there is still work to be done before Samhain takes us into that darkest embrace for the harvest cycle. Our ancestors believed that crops left in the field on November 1st were poisoned by the trickster who came around Samhain night, so there was a great effort during this time to harvest as much as possible. The brilliant Harvest Moon gave additional light to work and bring in the last of the crops, as well as apples, nuts, and other blessings of Mabon.

Our ancestors knew as well as we do that the food in the field on November 1st has no fundamental difference than it did on October 30th. They also knew that people need to be told when to stop moving. They need a line of “when” to tell them that the year has transitioned and they should let go of wanting and focus on what they have. We can follow the same cycle by working hard “making hay while the sun shines,” then dialing back our activity during the dark part of the year. Tuning ourselves to the cycles of nature and to the behavior patterns encoded in our DNA structure by thousands of years as agricultural people gives us a greater sense of being “in the zone” and honoring the flow of natural progression.

Moreover, it is a psychologically sound process to break away from the constant force of lusting after specific outcomes and going nonstop without time for introspection and contemplation. Samhain heralds our time to pass through our own veil and move into a quiet, still time where we minimize our efforts and go within.

Now, however, we move through the time of Mabon, which is about abundant, unexpected blessings we receive for a job well done. Today, we open ourselves to the transition into cooler weather, shorter days, and the crisp smell of falling leaves and pumpkin in the air. We work hard to bring in the last of the crops from the field we planted and finalize the year, getting our lives basically under tarps until Spring, gearing down to the bare essentials, and preparing our lives to “go within” both literally, in terms of the weather being less hospitable to outside work, and metaphorical, as we turn our attention to our inner selves and our inner thoughts.

May your Mabon be blessed and joyful and may your boon be abundant and delightful.

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Summer Into Harvest – 2014

To me, it feels like we just planted and here it is almost the launch of yet another harvest.  It has been a hard year and I know barely anyone who has emerged from it unscathed in terms of personal loss or challenges.  I am trying to think of hearing from someone that it was an easy year for them and nothing is coming to mind except a huge flow of soul-crushing, game-changing challenges.  For myself, everything comes back to the harvest cycles, so I try to keep in mind what I planted and how what I am experiencing relates back to that goal.  It also helps to think about where we are in the harvest cycle.  For instance, at the time of this writing, we are ten days away from the start of the first harvest, which is when the rewards for your own efforts through the year come in.  The moments just before harvest are some of the most difficult of the year.  Just after Samhain, around the time of the Mourning Moon, we begin to adapt into what we had to release in the past year.  To my mind, that is the only time that comes close to the mental stress of the time just prior to harvest.  At Summer Solstice, we could see our crops growing healthy out in the field and knew that barring unforeseen catastrophe, our sustenance was assured for the coming winter.  It is a time of patience because the crops are not yet ready to eat, but it has been a year since the last harvest and our reserves are likely almost gone.  This creates a potential for fear and even panic if there is any threat to the crops.  We begin to worry that Deity will forsake us and our harvest will not yield, so we stand in front of this immature harvest and shout, “HURRY!!!” Continue reading

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Beltane Into Summer – 2014

The year is just flying by, isn’t it?

In 2011 and 2012, I watched as the pieces flew around the chessboard of life, creating new alliances, new opportunities, and different outcomes than any of us anticipated. The CUSP philosophy has taken hold and is now practiced internationally and throughout the United States.  To say that we are flattered and gratified is an understatement. Mostly, we feel blessed and honored to be a part of this dynamic and exciting spiritual process that has changed our own lives so profoundly.

The CUSP process continues to influence our lives with every year’s planting and this year is no exception. We started our active time of the year with an Ostara (Spring Equinox) ritual hosted by Family of the Goddess, one of our favorite circles. Our group did their own planting after the ritual, burying our empowered seeds in the dirt of the park where we were. I may do some late planting that is born of experiences the first planting created. No problem with a harvest that comes later in the year, I figure.

Our own Beltane incorporated our favorite practices of the May Hole, the May Pole with wishes written on the ribbons, and the Great Rite. We added a couple of new ideas like the bringing and planting of the Maypole rather than having it already grounded when the circle began and the legacy ribbons where new wishes are written on the ribbons that already have the prior year’s wishes written on them – a new way of building on the foundation created in the previous walk of the spiral.

Dear friends joined us for Beltane and we had a wonderful time. Afterward, I could really feel the stirring of life in the goals, stimulated by the fertilization.  Photos of our own Beltane are in the links in the menu above.

Now, May is mere days away from turning into June and we are weeks away from Summer Solstice. We will enjoy working at the Sacramento Celtic Faerie Festival on June 21st, so our own celebration will be delayed. That feels correct for the year anyway.

Summer Solstice is the height of male power and many male-gendered people may feel a sense of frustration and urgency in the next few weeks as the energy builds. I am eager to see those little crops in the field and to know for sure that the planting has taken hold and is producing results. That moves us directly into Harvest time and let me tell you, I simply cannot believe we are already a stone’s throw away from it.

I hope all of you are seeing results from your Ostara planting and can see the tiny beginnings of how your Harvest will manifest.

Blessings and tremendous love to you!


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The Quickening – 2014

Did you feel it?  That little flutter of an idea of how you want your life to be different?

In some cultures, a baby’s life is not measured from birth or even from conception, but from the time that the mother first imagined she would have a child.  That dream of a child was the child’s first moment of being.

What we do in CUSP is similar.  At Winter Solstice when the spark of life returned to the sky, the spark of inspiration came to us.  After six weeks of quiet introspection and rest while the fields lay fallow, we open our minds to the first thoughts of what we want to grow in the coming year.  What do we want to change?

Our group went into the sweat lodge to open to the spark.  We did not have the hot rocks, but just sat in the darkness of the womb and visualized to get the first inkling of our list for the year.

By Imbolc (Feb 1), we had solidified what we wanted to harvest in the coming Fall and gathered around the bonfire to burn away the papers on which we’d written our goals.  That stirred the life we would conceive in the spring.  It gave us the first clear image of what the new life would look like, would feel like, and would mean to us.

Over the next six weeks, we will be very alert for significant confirmations and redirects from The Divine.  God/Goddess will show us if what we plan to plant in Spring is the right thing.  Sometimes, what we have on our list is already well underway and will be granted to us before March 21 (the planting).  This tells us that we should focus our energies on a new venture.  Sometimes, we receive clear messages that what we intend to plant is not in our best interest.  Occasionally, that is because we are planting at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons.  Sometimes, it is because we cannot see why this is not the right path for us to take.  Other times, we receive encouragement that want we want is exactly right.  Invariable, Deity speaks and tells us how to proceed.

The time between February 1 and March 21 is a time of listening and opening.  Imbolc is traditionally translated as “in the belly,” or the time of the quickening when the new life is sparked.

What new life do you want to grow?  How do you want to craft your own life to be what you want it to be?  So often, we are afraid to dream, but the Universe wants us to be happy.  We hold ourselves back by our own negative thoughts of why we cannot have what we want.  Really, we are the only true obstacles to our happiness.  Some life changes are easier than others and some take longer than others, but any and all are within our reach if we are willing to do and give what it takes to get there.

Just as with a true agricultural harvest, we have to do the work.  A garden does not grow itself, even with all of the blessings of God and Goddess.  A harvest does not walk itself up to your door; you have to go bring it in.  Life itself is a delicious, cooperative dance between our own energy and Divine energy.  “As above, so below” is also about how we mingle our energies together to create outcomes.  What will YOU manifest in the coming year?  Dare to dream!

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Thriving in the Dark – 2014

What a wonderful winter!  Generally, I am not a fan of winter, not because of the impending depression that some people get, but because I do not care for the cold and have a fear of falling. I moved to California in part to avoid harsh winters and a mere seven years after I got there,  my husband delightedly moved us up into the mountains of the Sierra Nevada at an elevation of around 4100 feet.  Since then, I have been through the worst winters I have ever seen, including blizzards that last for days and snow accumulation of (no exaggeration) 10-15 feet over the course of the winter.  We are under threat of snow from October through the end of May and until “the snow has fallen on the dogwood blooms,” we always know there is a danger of being hammered by a freak snowstorm.

This year has been one of those odd, blessed years that happen ever so often where we have very little snow.  Granted, it picks up with a vengeance between February and April, but for now, we have lovely temperatures in the 50s and 60s, dipping into the 40s and high 30s at night. I do not have to think that I am going to fall and break an old woman hip when I go out to get mail or feed the chickens and that is more of a delight with each year that passes.

Winter has been a tremendously creative time this year with two books coming into publication and some intensive soap and candle making getting underway as of this week.  It is unbelievable that we are already almost a month away from Yule and that Imbolc is coming up so quickly.  Time flies and the spiral turns ever faster.

Have you found ways to alter your life, even slightly, for the Dark of the Year?  Remember that our ancestors took this time to be indoors more often, to make necessary repairs to the home and out buildings, to finalize canning and other ways of preserving the harvest to last throughout the year, to share stories and wisdom, and to spend valuable time with friends and family.  There was little work to do in the fields as they are put to rest after Samhain.  This was the time of hunting game to supplement the harvest of sewing and repairing and creating.  This was also a time of recover as the longer nights provided more sleep and rejuvenation time.

Our modern life rarely allows for us to dramatically change what we do each day, but if you search diligently, you will find ways to demand less from yourself and to honor the natural “drawing in” that occurs during the dark of the year.  Read books.  Spend time with loved ones.  Clean your living area thoroughly.  Sort out and discard unused belongings and streamline your life.  Express your creativity in crafts, woodwork, painting, writing, music, and other avenues for your talent to find its way into the world.  Rest and recover from the hard work of the year.  Decline invitations as much as you accept them if your life is overwhelmed with social obligations.  Take time to yourself to meditate and journal, finding your inner voice and giving it recognition.  Take time to really listen to your favorite music.  Spend time with the people you appreciate; not the ones you merely tolerate.

The winter can be a very safe and enjoyable place when used correctly.  Find your “winter pace” and wear it until Spring Equinox when the active part of the year begins again.  Your chi will thank you.

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Harvest Time!

Here we are right smack in the middle of the two harvests of the year.  How is everyone doing?  Tired yet? I know I sure am, but hey, those crops aren’t going to bring themselves in out of the fields, are they?  At this time of year, we all start to feel like we can’t possible go a step further, but leave it to The Universe to challenge us beyond what we think we can do and prove to us how strong we really are.  We always underestimate what we can accomplish and without these tough times, we would never know the miracles we can pull off.

We are ending the time of Lammas when we are rewarded for our own efforts and we are about to celebrate Mabon, when the extra blessings from the God and Goddess manifest…the boon.  Watch for all kinds of miracles to take form.  You will find that right when you thought everything was falling apart, it comes together.  You will have unexpected joys and out-of-the-blue rescues.  You will begin to see “reasons why” unfold and will form a better understanding of why things happened as they did and your part in the matrix of life.

Watch for things to slow down considerably as you come into the first week of November.  For those who are tuned into the tides of Nature, your integration with the flow will naturally encourage you to slow down and begin the quiet descent into the dark of the year.

If your harvest has not yet manifested, do not despair!  It simply means that Divine Intervention was needed to bring it along and it could not manifest by your own efforts alone.  We are only halfway through the harvest cycle and there is more to come.  This was a tremendously profound year as our paradigm shifts and magic is filling the air.  It seems as though there is a huge divide in society that is widening every single day.  Part of our people are on the fast-track to enlightenment, feeling the pull of spirit in a profound way, and truly living the magical life.  The other part seem to grow more distant from spirit at an alarming rate.  We see religious leaders all over the world who are stepping away from the love of the Divine and working through the hate, oppression, and anger of those who are devoid of spirit.  The train is pulling out of the station folks!  Are you going to be on it or at the station wallowing in self-pity!

I’m ready to RIDE!  Let’s get this party started!

Happy Harvest, All!

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Happy Summer Solstice!

Are you seeing your crops in the field?  During this time of HIGH MALE ENERGY, you probably notice that some of your male-enriched relationships are all fired up and uppity!  You should see signs of how your harvest will manifest, even though there is still PLENTY of work to be done!  It’s not time yet, but you can at least see the direction it will likely take.  Think of the offers you’ve received lately or information that has come to you.  Pay particular attention to omens and signals from the Universe.  Say YES more often than you say NO!

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