Shift Happens


October Newsletter

October has always been a favorite time of the year.

What I love is the true autumnal feeling to October.  Usually there is crispness to the air, the humidity of the summer has passed and the arrays of colors of autumn are on display. The scents and jewel tones of the leaves beguile and bewitch us. There is a poignancy about the month.   In the Celtic tradition, this month would hold the New Year celebration as it is the time that they honored the final Harvest of the year giving October the theme of “endings.”

Samhain (pronounced sow-en) is a magical time when the veil between what we call “the worlds” blurs.  This creates opportunity to drift, to dream, to vision and to connect to the world of spirit. It is the master time to do anything related to divination.   This time is also dedicated to the Dark Goddess.  She rules the Underworld, the Unconscious – She also represents our deaths, rebirths and regenerations.  She has many names – Kali, the Morrigan, Ceridwen, Hel, Cailleach, Scatha or Sythia, Skadi and Hecate to name a few. The stories about these archetype Goddesses always center around the teachings of life from death.  Rituals were performed in caves and underground places with an emergence back to the world above to symbolize the renewal of life.

The Festival of Osiris is celebrated in the month of October.  This is a classic tale where Osiris is killed and dismembered by his brother and the goddess Isis re-members him and restores him to life.  It takes Isis some time to do this because Set, Osiris’ brother, not only dismembers Osiris, but he scatters his body all over and not in one place. Isis spent her days searching for every piece until she realized one last piece was missing – Osiris’ man part! But instead of being defeated, Isis crafted one out of clay and completed his body. Isis then succeeded in giving birth from it!

What do we learn from this?

We come to realize that we carry many different aspects of ourselves; some dictate louder than others how we should act and be within our everyday lives. But by remembering and honoring the pieces that make up ourselves, we become whole – renewed.  Remember who you are, what you really want, what have you forgotten? What dream have you put off? Where are you giving away pieces of yourself? What circumstances or situations are chipping away pieces of your worth, confidence, self- esteem?  What habits and behaviors need to “die” in order to make room for new growth?  This cycle is completing – it is ending and yet, in that ending resides a new beginning. 

The Yew tree symbolizes this wonderfully.  The Yew can regenerate from old wood.  It is often found in church yards and sacred places as a symbol of mortality and resurrection. Yew trees can withstand harsh pruning and live for many years. One of the oldest is over 3,000 years old and is found in Fortingall, Scotland.  The trees pictured here are an avenue of Yew trees leading from the Madron Well in Cornwall.  It is a very powerful and magical place. We did a meditative walk through this avenue and it was transformative.  We hope to bring together a small group to join us next year.

  Yew Walk - Madron, Cornwall

This time of year allows us a chance to withdraw a bit and reflect. This year has been challenging, between the astrological energies, eclipses, retrogrades, followed by the barrage of negativity that is thrown at us on a daily basis from everywhere. So a time of quiet withdrawal by the end of October would be of great benefit. 

For me, many old wounds have begun to re-surface that I thought were long put to rest.  Even with all the tools I have to use to balance the negatives – Reiki, crystals, meditation, journaling, exercise – I still have to check and remind myself to use them.  I also have to re-member with honor that my individual life mirrors the Wheel of the Year with its endings and new beginnings as well.

Take the time to check in with yourself.  Ask some tough questions. Be an explorer. Keep breaking it down until you find the core that you can work with and through.  And always remember – you hold the clay.

Samhain/Halloween is also a festival of the Ancestors as our Spanish brothers and sisters celebrate Dia del Muerte.  We too, honor those that came before us and ask for their guidance and blessings.  As women, we can and should honor and remember the revolutionaries – the midwives, herbalists, wise women and hedge witches and the many courageous women of history. 

This month, take the time to reflect on your life. Put down the phone, turn off the TV, be still…and know.  You don’t need candles, bath salts, a tarot reading or Reiki. You just need to listen for, and trust your own inner voice when it does start to speak during the dark time of Samhain. Then you will be joining a long line of courageous women embarking on the sacred Celtic New Year.

The darkness is not the absence of light – it is the womb of light.  -Fred LaMotte


AHA September Newsletter

September arrives and Summer’s carefree and lighthearted energy begins to wane as the deeper energy of Autumn begins.  Already the days grow shorter and the darkness gains prominence as the light begins to ebb.  September is a transitional month and begins a new energy phase.  It hosts the zodiac signs of Virgo and Libra, which represent great energies to use during this time.  Organizing, making detailed plans about health and well-being, finding a balance between what serves and what needs to go as well as tackling indecisions can be achieved with much success during this time. 

As we find ourselves stepping away from the scurry of Eclipses and Retrograde Planets that influenced us over the Summer, we may find ourselves weighing our gains and losses – much like our Ancestors who were harvesting – by separating the good harvest from that which didn’t make the cut. We too, can choose this transition to happen in our lives because we actually have Mother Nature as a strong influence now!

Sap is moving downwards into the earth for trees and plants, making them stronger as their roots grow deeper.  This is root energy time and as the season transitions we too can use this season to go inward and connect with the roots of our very being – and acknowledge our strength and wisdom within.

The pure alchemy of Nature prepping herself to gracefully face death while offering the brightest, most breathtaking colors we see in Fall’s foliage is a reminder – to let go of what needs to be let go and embrace the beauty in release. Yet sometimes, we ourselves do not go through this transition as we continue to make excuses or settling with what we have, even if we are not truly happy or satisfied.

Our primal instincts during this time may shift as well. We may find ourselves wanting to “settle down” a little bit, away from Summer parties and activities. We also may wish to bring those we love closer into our personal circle as we start to plan the rest of the year’s holiday parties and gatherings. Where the Summer months tend to be more outgoing, we are now starting to enter the period of “in” going, so it’s truly important to choose the special people you want around you for the next 6 months and not settle for those that do not make you feel good or support your life.

Mid-month, we celebrate the Autumn Equinox (Saturday, September 22), a supreme time for calling in sturdy balance. Mabon, which begins on Friday, September 21, is the second and next to last Celtic Harvest Festival. Some say it’s the time of the Witches’ Thanksgiving. Neo-Pagan’s celebrate the tale of son Mabon and his mother, Modron.  It is a tale similar to Demeter and Persephone where Mabon was taken from Madron and hidden in the underworld.  Again we have the metaphor of the time of going inward for strength and inner development. 

 We had a chance to visit the Mother’s Well in Cornwall over our Summer vacation.  The Madron Well we visited is also known as the “Modron” Well (Celtic) or Mother’s Well.  People often tie ribbons to trees that surround these healing wells that represent wishes and prayers for healing.

 

Madron's Well

Madron’s Well – Cornwall UK

How can we use the Virgo and Libra energies for our own healing wishes? Here’s a few ideas:

Virgo governs the nervous system and how the brain communicates with the body, so it is important to be conscious of your inner voice and how it talks to your body.  It also rules the intestines so watch your stress and anxiety and find ways to balance it with some calm and soothing rituals.  Meditation, Reiki, Yoga, long walks, a warm candlelit bath, an earlier bedtime are all great healing modalities.

Libra rules how we hold our body, mind & spirit in balance as well as the lower back area. In some modalities, including Chinese Medicine, the lower back can represent support (or lack of) from family and others as well as how we deal with our finances. If you tend to feel a lower back pain or “pinch,” spend some time reflecting on where you feel you may be lacking in the money department. Are you knee deep in bills? Do you spend money on useless purchases? Are you always finding yourself picking up the bar tab for others?  Use this time to re-set some financial priorities. Learn to say, “no,” or “not this time,” and do not apologize for it. Likewise, for not receiving the support you desire. If you feel overwhelmed because you are helping others get back on their feet but the results just don’t seem to happen in the way you’d wish, spend more time meditating on why you offered your help in the first place and not on the disappointment you may feel about it.

Its all about balancing those Libra scales!  Use those Virgo attributes of analyzing and discrimination to find that level ground. Its important to remember to balance duty and obligation with some merriment and fun!

Simple Equinox Celebration ideas:

Walk mindfully in the woodlands thinking of all you have to be grateful for.  Scatter offerings of seeds or water in gratitude for the earth’s bounty.  Find a tree that calls to you and sit with your back against it.  Consider what you would send down to its roots to gain strength and be nourished through the winter.  Choose a few leaves to bring back an decorate your home.

Plant bulbs which will hide in the earth until early Spring beckons. Make each one a hope, idea or aspiration for Spring and wait until their little green noses show above ground – to remind you.

If we move with the energy of the Wheel of the Year we can stay connected to the natural rhythms of earth’s cycles.  It’s important to recognize our part in working with this energy and appreciate the bounty this harvest yields to us.

Bright Blessings!

AHA


August Newsletter

Happy Lammas!

August gets its name from the Latin adjective, “augustus.” Augustus literally means, ‘might,’ ‘great,’ and ‘magnificent’ – all the traits that people born under the astrology signs of Leo and Virgo display!

Yet, August also ushers in the Neopagan holiday known as Lughnasadh, or Lammas.

Despite that most of us are planning vacations during this month (us too at AHA!), Lammas is honored as the time that kicks off the first of three “harvest periods.” We tend to think that the harvest time is saved for the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S., but the Celts thought differently way back when! Gaelic and Celtic folk celebrated September 21 and October 31 as the second and final harvest cycle – almost a month before Thanksgiving!

The first half of August makes for a wonderful time to give thanks for what we planted back on Imbolc, or February 1st. February 1st is known as the “blessing of the seed,” time; where we choose our seeds carefully, and when we nurture and water our seeds (or “ideas”) consistently and steadily. We then patiently wait to see how our “seeds” or manifestations are growing.  Sometimes we become discouraged (late March) or during April through June, we start to see something growing. By July and before the beginning of August, we take stock and ask ourselves:

Does it need some weeding? Do we cut back some branches or flowers to encourage more growth? Or do we pull the root out entirely?

When Lammas approaches, we usually know the answers to the above questions in reference to our “seeds.”  Maybe you were lucky and therefore, will be giving thanks

Remember, you can also give thanks to hard lessons learned or to a change in the path that you might had felt was wrong – too late. Either way, our manifestations come from within and to believe in our “seeds” or wishes, whether they are successful or not is always a reason to give thanks.

It’s also a great time to give thanks to the earth and to pay respect to Gaia. She is the earth mother who nourishes us through the abundance of plants, veggies and grains.  We tend to take things for granted as we no longer live like the Celts – we do not spend all our time harvesting and tending to crops in order to feed ourselves. Yet, Gaia continuously harvests for us, offering nourishment in so many forms. Spend some time thinking about how you could be of service to the Earth.  Industry and intensive farming are destroying the environment as our sacred oceans are becoming filled more and more with plastic bottles and garbage. Just a simple act of recycling could help. Try and incorporate a certain mindfulness about it. How about supporting a local organic farmer by adhering a Farm to Table cycle?  

The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.

William Blake

Some usual rituals to honor the energies of Lammas can be time consuming or a bit difficult – from crafting corn dollies to baking bread. The act of baking bread is to give thanks to what the annual harvest produced.  Of course, up here in the Northern Hemisphere, the thought of baking bread during the hot summer may not seem so appealing! So another way to give thanks is to bring some yellow or orange flowers into the home, as well as lighting a yellow candle anointed with a drop of sunflower oil.

We are still in the middle of Eclipse Season as well as a couple of planetary retrogrades!

Have you been feeling a tremendous shift in attitude lately?

Can you see a connection between what you wished for in February and how it might have manifested now?

Are you finding yourself inspired to start something crazy? New?

In July, we experienced very strong Eclipses that spearheaded an energy that helped us move into great changes. The final Eclipse this season happens on August 11, 2018 at 5:58am EDT. This Solar Eclipse in Leo, is one final shot at “reaching for the stars,” so make sure to do some wish-casting before 6am on this day because very soon after, our energies will be quickly shifting once again as the end nears for many retrograde planets. We will start to feel more balanced, finally!

August is considered ‘getaway’ time as most rush to get in some form of vacation. People tend to dial down, business offices fully enjoy summer hours and the bustle of life tends to stand still – it seems like nothing majorly important is implemented during this time. Because the Mars and Mercury Retrograde during the Leo/Virgo time is upon us, it is not a good time to start or begin anything but it is a great time to plan and organize for it. Leo is the grand dreamer and Virgo is the ‘organizer’ or the one that gets things done. If you are still itching to do something big during August – you must wait.

The last week of August is the best time to implement any big changes; September, even better.

Our Facebook page has received more likes and that means the world to us! So a big “thank you,” goes out to our supporters! AHA will be doing a Sacred Journey in August so be sure to check our Facebook and Instagram pages for updates!

Have a wonderful rest of the Summer and we’ll see you in September.


AHA July Newsletter

At July’s arrival, we find ourselves in the sultry days of summer!

We tend to experience happier, calmer times when connecting to nature or traveling to the shores and swimming in bodies of water. We experience the summer evenings lasting a bit longer with illuminating stars and an abundance of fireflies.  This is because July brings feelings of abundance, the sweet bloom of life and dare I say – a little more confident – You!  Berries and veggies are ripening on the vines and plump with the promise of fulfillment.  Our gardens are beginning to offer up the literal fruits of our labors.  We arrive at the so called “Dog Days of Summer” which traditionally are the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11.  The timing and name is no coincidence as this time of the year coincides with the morning rise of the Dog Star, Sirius. It is also the month of astrological signs Cancer and Leo, marking a time when we finally come out of our shells and into the spotlight (or sun).

As summer is in full swing and the air is heavy with humidity and warmth, the end of July brings us the Blessing Moon. During the Blessing Moon, it is a superb time to go to the ocean and make an offering to the greatest of all Water Goddesses, Yemaya. Yemaya is known as the Mother Sea Goddess of Yorùbán origin. Called an Orisha, She is considered the Great Mother (some find her similar to Mother Mary) and Her aspects can be found in all Oceans (on the surface). Some devotees claim that when the water breaks on the shore and produces white sea foam, that it is, indeed, Yemaya coming to greet you.  She is the source of all the waters, including the rivers of western Africa and especially the River Ogun. Her name is a contraction of Yey Omo Eja, which means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish.” A simple ritual to be blessed by Yemaya is as follows:

Gather 7 dimes (7 is Yemaya’s sacred number) and a slice of ripe watermelon and bring to a beach. Sit and watch the waves for a little bit, thinking about what you would like to improve in your life as well as give thanks for. When you are ready, stand up and rub the slice of watermelon on your feet while holding the dimes in one of your hands. Walk towards the ocean but make sure to approach the sea with respect. It is bad luck to “charge” the water when working with Yemaya. What most do is this – when they are ready to walk into the water to drop their dimes, they turn so that they are walking into the water sideways. Once you have the ocean touching your watermelon-ed toes and feet, you can turn to face the sea directly. Now you can toss your coins into the Ocean. If you have more time, fully submerge yourself and make an offering to Yemaya with a special crystal like mother of pearl, pearls, larimar, turquoise, moonstone or a clear quartz.

Make sure to take it easy and not only embrace the summer slow-down but enjoy doing nothing!  The New Moon on July 12 is also a Solar Eclipse in Cancer.  This is a very self-nurturing influence, so take the opportunity to work with this energy and be kind and generous… to you.  Cancer rules the stomach, sinuses, body fluids, and breasts. Pay extra attention to these parts of the body around the time of this New Moon.  As the jasmine flower is governed by the Moon—the planetary ruler of Cancer—enjoying its aroma can help support the energy of this New Moon. Jasmine arouses our ability to connect to the divine feminine within us. Sprinkle a few drops in a bath and soak in its feminine power.

Astrologically, we have 6 planets retrograde (with one – Jupiter in Scorpio – turning direct on July 10th) as well as the 2 Eclipses in July.

Eclipse season is a good time for completing shadow work.  The best way to work with this energy is to slow down; meditate, be reflective, journal and think about where we may be blocked or stuck. It is there, where the residual energies we carry, need to be broken down now that it has fulfilled its purpose so that it can be revitalized and re-purposed in a new way (especially during the week of July 9 – July 16).

Face old fears, and try not to avoid them. Be bold and walk right into them because only then will you learn to understand what fuels insecurities and flawed belief systems. After July 16 and through the Lunar Eclipse of July 27th, we can secure a more positive energy surrounding our old beliefs and conditions, thus allowing them to transform. Those of us who face our shadows and deepest wounds will be rewarded.  The Lunar Eclipse is in Aquarius and is often called the Blessing Moon but it is not only about the blessings we wish to receive but the gratitude we have for all the blessings currently working in our lives.

We at AHA are extremely grateful for all of you, too! And to show our appreciation, we will be offering remote Reiki and Healing requests during these Eclipse times. Check the AHA Facebook and Instagram pages for more details!