Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bathing in the Forest!

Forest bathing
"The Japanese term Shinrin-yoku may literally mean "forest bathing," but it doesn't involve soaking in a tub among the trees. Rather it refers to spending time in the woods for its therapeutic (or bathing) effect. Most of us have felt tension slip away in the midst of trees and nature’s beauty. But science now confirms its healing influence on the body. When you spend a few hours on a woodland hike or camping by a lake you breathe in phytoncides, active substances released by plants to protect them against insects and from rotting, which appear to lower blood pressure and stress and boost your immune system." ~Mother Nature Network

 I was thinking about this teaching as I was taking my walk today. I waited until the rain ended and then took off into the Forest. As I was walking along and chanting: "Mother, Mother, Earth, Earth! I hear your Heartbeat, your Heartbeat, your Heartbeat; it began to sprinkle. Just a bit, but enough for me to know. I walked further into the forest as the leaves got slicker and the puddles were calling to be jumped into; and I stopped! 

I stopped and let myself be bathed in the Forest! 

I breathed in the "phytoncides" and the oxygen being produced by the trees, some still bare from winter and some already trying to burst forth that beautiful Spring Green! And the rain came down and I stood. 

And what I thought was this: isn't it interesting that we want "science" to affirm what we know deep in our Knowing! Before "science" we Knew how Gaia cares for us. We Knew what it did to our very Souls to stand before a sunset and Know Beauty! We knew that in doing so, we were calmer, more focused and having an experience with the Divine. 

And yet even in this statement we hear the words: "But science now confirms its healing influence on the body." Radical idea, huh? 

And so I stood! I stood in the Knowing of Ancient Ones Who did not have to wait until someone else studied it all to say, "Hey we should go on a hike so we can breathe in "phytoncides!" For ones of us blessed to Know; I guess we just grin and say thank you! 

I left the Forest walk and didn't want to go inside, so I continued on my walk around the apartment complex. A woman in a hooded raincoat was walking her dog and said, "You need a hat mam!" I just nodded and said thank you. For you see, she didn't Know that I had been Shrinrin-yoku and wanted to rinse off!

Yep, I was drenched when I got home. Yep, my mom would say I am going to catch a cold. But my answer to her is, "Nope, mom, I received my antibiotic for the day! It's called "Phytoncides" or "Bathing in the Forest". Unfortunately she will not understand either. 

Go outside! You don't have to be actually in the Forest. There are plants and trees everywhere! Just embrace the Knowing, that already in place are the things we need to nourish us, heal us, and strengthen us. Thank you Science for affirming what we already know! 

See you later, the Cardinals are at the Feeders and I must go and listen to their story of how they just got back from Shrinrin-yoku! Maybe my hair will dry quicker that way! 

Blessed be! 


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Reflections, Misconceptions, Decisions

So yesterday I was Trolling through boxes I had not unpacked for over 10 years. You know "Those Boxes!" Well, these had been stored at my brother's warehouse and I had been looking for some of my Native American books, etc. and so Trolling I went. I found what I had hoped to find and along the way discovered my high school yearbooks. Being that I am 61 and classmates have been coming to my attention (mainly through the obituaries), I thought I should have this in my possession so I could look up pictures to match names.

This morning, I decided to travel down Memory Lane and opened the yearbook. Back in the 60's we actually wrote notes in the books. We got them the last week of school and friends and teachers took time out of each class to leave memories of good and bad times and well wishes for that summer at the beach and for the future. There snuggled in those pages were memories, some I would cherish forever and some written between the lines of how I viewed my self and others.

I arrived at Cave Spring High School in the 8th grade. This school was located in the predominately white upper middle class section of the Roanoke Valley in Virginia and was the place to live at that time (and still is pretty much!). We had lived on the "other side of town" in what really was considered the "wrong side of the tracks" if you know what I mean. So, Dad moved us in the middle of my 7th grade, but took me back to my City School to finish out the year. (Probably a big mistake, but looking back I understand as I was in Junior High living in the City, and Cave Spring 7th grade was still in the Elementary School.) Got that? Ok, so whatever the reason, it was known in the neighborhood that a new family had arrived and knew I was going to school in the City and had come from "over there!"

That stigma stayed with me throughout my entire high school years.

What didn't help was that I had a large overbite (later corrected at age 39), and the guy across the street who was in the "Popular" Group named me Horseface! That is how I entered the 8th grade of a new high school. I knew no one; I already had a reputation of being from the "trashy side of town" and I was nicknamed Horseface!

And so this morning, I made the trip down memory lane, reading the comments, looking at pictures and remembering how I felt so out of place. Or was I really?

If I was so out of place then how come there was not one space left in my yearbook that did not have a message written to me. And I realized there were many from those "popular kids" who I always wanted to be a part of but never was allowed in. And here were messages like: "You are a great person, Debbie and I really like how happy you are all the time. You are funny and have great looking legs! Wish we could have gotten to know each other better. Good luck!" All through were memories that stood out boldly of my upbeat personality, my great basketball skills, my amazing friendliness and hippie spirit. Lots of comments about my hippie spirit!

And I saw pictures of a girl I could say, "wow, how did you ever think you were ugly! You were one beautiful and sassy looking gal! Even in my ugly basketball uniform! It makes me wonder if it was me with the idea that I didn't fit all along and with that energy did I keep people (that being the "popular kids") away from me.

Now, I know how high school works. I watched it with my own kids (who happened to go to this very same school). There is this "popular group" mentality and you don't dare move out of it and try to be friends with someone who is "outside" of that group or "else." So, it was most likely coming both ways.

I had to laugh at myself as I made this journey back to 1968-1970! Oh how we embrace what we hear all around us: "you have to be perfect to be popular." But you know, as I walked through the pages of that yearbook, I suddenly remembered lots of laughs; lots of fun and most of all lots of very good memories. My best friends were great gals and the guys I was friends with treated me with respect and love!

Unfortunately, due to all of this, I made the decision to marry "one of the popular guys" from my school who had graduated 2 years before me. We met in 1971 and I had stars in my eyes that this guy would even speak to me, much less ask me on a date. He said one time, "you know I always wanted to meet you and ask you out in high school, but my friends would have laughed me out of the school. You always were having such a great time, laughing, being friendly and you were so pretty." I fell head over heals for this "popular guy from high school" and boy did I get surprised! What a mess up man he turned out to be. But that is not the story I am telling, is it?

The point is, we make decisions, as we are all wrapped up in misconceptions and self identity that is formed from outside of ourselves. It is a shame really and I am not too sure how to break that cycle. I tried with my son and daughter, but watched as the peer messages were truly more than I could combat.

What is wonderful about 61 is that I can look back and tell that High School Maiden that in fact she was amazing, beautiful, funny, intelligent, and could make great decisions. I can tell her that her future was nothing like every one thought, including her, but that it has really turned out magickally well! And for my kids, well, they too have seen how what happened in high school was just that and have moved on to make good decisions based a lot on what I tried to teach them during those turbulent years.

I am glad I brought my yearbook home. It will be a place I can go back to when I need to just smile a lot, or when I must say good bye again to a classmate as they move on to their next life after this one. It was a huge part of my formation; you see I gravitated to those "other" kids who students wouldn't give the time of day to. I formed friends easily and so I was not lonely. I had lots of dates, and the jocks were my friends even outside of the popular group cause you can break the rules when you are a jock!

High School! Well, we all go through it; and I think even the Popular Kids probably feel left out and lonely at times. How sad for them that because of that "group mentality" they were not able to spend more time with me! Really! They don't know what they were missing! I sure wish I had realized that then, but maybe I wouldn't have been the person I am now! Who knows! I thought I was going to be a Physical Education teacher and coach a college basketball team! So much for those "future" plans!

Reflections, Misconceptions, Decisions!

Blessed be!

(Graduation! I am on the Right with my best friend Andrea in the middle! Not sure who the guy is!)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Blogger Awards

I have been honored by my sister witch Autumn Earthsong with two blog awards! She awarded me both and I was very happy to receive them. You can find her amazing blog at

The first award is:

For this Award I am to use the entire alphabet to tell you things about myself:

A: I love Gala Apples
B: I have been named the Birthday Witch; Brown Bear is my birth totem
C: I don't Color in the Lines; never did!
D: My son is David
E: I am Energetic, but not as much as I use to be!
F: Flowers
G: Generous is my middle name
H: I am Happy most of the time
I: I Have been to Iceland and would love to live there
J: Jello is my least favorite food!
K: Kitchen is my least favorite place in my apartment!
L: Love, Light, Listening Ear
M: More peace, More Love, More compassion
N: Native American heritage; Cherokee
O: Open
P: Peace
Q: Quality over quanity
R: Rivers
S: My daughter is Stephanie
T: Truth
U: Unity
V: Violets
W: Winter, Wolves, Witches
X: x-uberant!
Y: Yellow Daffodils are my favorite flowers
Z: Zero gray hairs on my 61 year old head! argggg!

Now to the second award:

Now I am to tell you 11 things about myself:

1. Sunshine was my hippie name and is now my Witch name!
2. I am 61 years old and love it!
3. I have a son and a daughter, ages 33 and 30. I adore both of them and have loved being on their Earth Journey.
4. I first identified as a Witch when I was a teen, despite being raised a Christian. I then covered it up and was enmeshed in that Tradition until 8 years ago when I finally embraced who I really I: a pagan witch!
5. I have been a Radical Feminist for as long as I can remember.
6. I really wish I had been at Woodstock but maybe not since I am such a clean, neat freak!
7. I work my magick in every day life through bringing Light, Love and a Listening ear every where I am.
8. I love snail mail; love sending it and receiving it!
9. I am not a Kitchen Witch! I don't like to cook or grocery shop!
10. I love to write in my blog and my BOS!
11. I have dear friends, most of who I have joined journeys with through facebook!

Once again, thank you Autumn! I am honored and hope that my blog posts touch the hearts of many! I know that most of my posts are hard to digest as they deal with some difficult subjects, but they are all from my heart!

blessed be and much love!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Don't Cry For Me!

Don't Cry For Me!
I am Maiden, Mother, Crone!
I am held prisoner in the patriarchal world! 

Don't Cry For Me!
My Braid symbolizing the Bondage I remain in.

Don't Cry For Me!
The Maiden being taught that being thin is the body image I am to embrace.
The Maiden being taught that my body is for the pleasure of men.
The Maiden being taught that the blood that flows from my body is unclean and to be hated.
The Maiden being taught that I am an incubator for children I may or may not want.
The Maiden being taught that I am not beautiful unless I am made up, dolled up and sexy!
The Maiden being taught that I am barred from spiritual leadership, or leadership in many capacities  because I am a woman.
I am the Maiden!
Don't Cry For Me!

Don't Cry For Me!
I am the Mother!
The Mother being taught that I must bear children from my own body in order to have worth.
The Mother being taught that I must bear children....period!
The Mother being taught that I must sacrifice my self for others at all time.
The Mother being taught that my badge of courage is going without so others can have.
The Mother being taught that the blood that flows from my body is still unclean and to be hated.
The Mother being taught that my value is only about taking care of husband and children and I can't do both and work outside the home. What kind of Mother am I?
The Mother being taught that being thin is the body image I must still embrace if I am to "keep" my partner as he or she begins to look for a Maiden.
The Mother being taught that  I am still not welcome into leadership roles just because I am a woman.
I am the Mother!
Don't Cry For Me!

Don't Cry For Me!
I am the Crone!
The Crone still being taught that body image is what it is all about, so dye the hair and put on more make up, get botox, hate the wrinkles, but rejoice that the hated blood flow has stopped.
The Crone being taught that I have nothing to teach.
The Crone being taught that I am too old for leadership.
The Crone being taught that men will leave me for the Maiden as my vagina dries up and my hair turns gray.
The Crone being taught that after being skinny, having and raising children, my worth is no longer needed. Not that I had worth as Maiden or Mother, but less worth now.
I am the Crone!
Don't Cry For Me!


Bring Raven messages to Me.

The Raven's Intelligence is possibly its most winning feature. Raven's can be taught to Speak; this speaking ability leading into the legend of Raven being the Ultimate Oracle. Teach me to Speak, to embrace the Gift of being the Ultimate Oracle.

The Raven is a harbinger of Powerful Secrets; Secrets held by Women from All Time. Moreover, the Raven is a Messenger, so its business is in both keeping and communicating Deep Mysteries.  Encourage me to embrace the Deep Mysteries and teach them to other Women; thereby breaking the lies and betrayal of the patriarchal.

The Raven symbolizes Wisdom and Knowledge-keeping; the holder of Ancestral Memories. The Raven does not carry different colors on its body to entice others to look upon them; no Ravens carry black so that when gazing upon her, its the Soul, Knowledge and Wisdom that flows forth.

Native North American Tribes saw the Raven as the bringer of Light. Hopi, Navajo, Zuni felt the Raven flew out of the Dark Womb of the Cosmos and with it brought the light of sun (dawning of understanding). Thus the Raven is considered a venerated bird of Creation, for without the Raven, human would forever live in Darkness.

Teach me that I am Light, Wise, Beautiful, Creatress,  holder of the Deep Mysteries (which include the mysteries of bleeding), Intelligent, a Leader, Daughter of the Goddess who does not want me to live in Bondage. Teach me to love the Body I was given in all its forms; teach me that I can Choose to do and be what I want to be or do; teach me how to be released from this Bondage!

I am Maiden, Mother, Crone!
Do not Cry for Me!
Teach me!
Speak for me!

Release me from the Prison I have been placed in along with all my Sisters!

And All will be Released!

Blessed be!

Friday, March 21, 2014


I have been reading this amazing book for quite a while now. It is a book that I must savor and let nourish my soul. It is not a book where I want to hurry through so I can get to the end. It is a book that challenges me and at the same time seeps deep into my soul.

And so one day last week I began the chapter Prophecies. This following 110 pages of stories of the 13 indigenous grandmothers who are deeply concerned with the unprecedented destruction of our Mother Earth, the atrocities of war, the global scourge of poverty, the prevailing culture of materialism, the epidemics that threaten the health of the Earth's peoples, and the destruction of indigenous ways of life.

"We, the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, believe that our ancestral ways of prayer, peacemaking, and healing are vitally needed today...We believe that the teachings of our ancestors will light our way through an uncertain future." (back cover)

So back to last week. Here is the point of my blog (plus encouraging all to read this book!)

"The Grandmothers say that the circle of life was broken around five hundred years ago when the white people first came to the Americas. They came, according to Hopi legend, forgetting the original teachings of the Creator. When He gathered the peoples of the Earth together on an island that is now beneath the waters, He told them, "I am going to send you in the four directions, and over time, I am going to change you into four colors. But I am going to give each of you certain teachings, and when you come back together, you will share these teachings with each other. Then you can live together and have peace upon the Earth, and a great civilization will come about." (115)

I could read no further as I was taken back to a time that I now understand was my own Prophecy from the Goddess that mirrored this very Hopi legend.

I was in my second year of Christian seminary (following retirement) and had been dying to get out of there from the first summer I arrived. It was getting harder and harder to sit in the classes and listen to all the patriarchal doctrine and dogma that was being crammed down my throat. But now I see this as being a necessary step in my journey back to the Goddess and to the exit of this religion.

So, I had been in a class and once again had been in debate with the professor. This time I pounded my fist on the table and walked out, hardly about to breathe I was so angry at the brainwashing that I had participated in for so long, angry that I had tried so hard to make changes within this system that would never change, so angry....oh I was just so very angry.

I went straight into the chapel and fell to my knees in one of the pews and began to sob. Here is what happened:

An amazing light filled the small chapel and I was overcome with a sense of peace. As I looked up I should have gazed right at the huge cross hanging on the wall, but instead there was Goddess and this is what She said to me:

"In the Beginning I Created it all! When I created human women and men, I gave each of them a message to take with them into my beautiful Garden. But the message was different for each of them; just different enough that groups would find one another, and join their voices to the message they had similar. These groups would then begin the journey to the center of the Labyrinth where they would find the Great Cosmic Puzzle. Here they would join all their pieces together and finally live in peace and sacred civilization and would have the Great Understanding. But alas, I also gave my children the gift of Decision; the knowledge of how to do no harm to each other or to my Garden; I gave them the Gift of Choice.

Sadly my Children began to believe the messages of the Patriarchal gods who were filled with the desire to bring down my Garden, to redefine the meaning of living together, and soon power and control took over the original message of peace, and love and cooperation. What has resulted has been Turf Wars over "their piece of the puzzle." The journey to the Cosmic Puzzle has ceased, all because I gave my children Choice. And I am filled with great Sadness but am not without Hope.

Holding on to each message as if it were their own to keep and telling others that their message is the only message worth listening to, is destroying the Garden and all who live in it.

But my lovely Daughter, the Sea is being churned by those such as you. My Daughters are slowing reclaiming their Messages and are beginning to swim to the Puzzle. For you see, my dear, You are the ones who have the pieces of Truth. You, my precious Daughters, the Maidens, the Mothers, the Crones, you have to make this Journey alone now. And the Journey will be hard because the War has gotten so Big. The Patriarchal Religions have poisoned so many minds and the Beautiful Choice I once gave as a Gift has been thrown in the Trash Dumps which now over flow, poisoning my Waters, my Soil, my Air and now even my Cosmos!

You were right to come to this place and soon you will begin your part of the Journey. This is the place where the chains will be broken and when you leave you will find others with similar Messages and join them in the Great Puzzle Discovery.

Go my Daughter, go into the Garden and carry the Message I have instilled in Your Heart."

And She was then gone. I knelt there until my knees began to ache. I knelt there until my feet went numb. I knelt there until I realized I was on Hallowed Ground and it had nothing to do with being in a Chapel.

It took me some time to digest this vision. Luckily I only had 3 more months until graduation, and as I walked up to get my Diploma (which I was sure would be a burning stake as I was being called a Witch on campus anyway) I knew the Truth was not found in the classes I took, in the worship services I had endured, but in the Message given to me that day on my knees.

We are all on this Journey toward the Final Cosmic Puzzle. We each have a message encoded in our very Souls by the Creatrix HerSelf! We have Forgotten and now we must Remember!

Blessed be on your Journey! Blessed be as we come together and embrace all the Prophecies that are held within us! Blessed be! Blessed be!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Fleeting Friendships

Friendships are fleeting as we all know, but luckily there are those that stand the test of time. But one friendship ending recently really caught me off guard and as a result has led me to an understanding and an awareness of how shallow friendships can be. I thought this friendship was deeper than it turned out to be, but in reality I now see how much I was being used for support, love and understanding while this woman was going through her own self awareness and acceptance. But it only took one sentence that struck this woman in the wrong way and bam; that was it.

This woman has now transitioned to male and has fully embraced the patriarchal lifestyle, thought patterns and behaviors she was unable to embrace fully as a Lesbian (even tho' she would not agree with me). Since this woman ended our friendship, Goddess has brought to me other women who have unknowingly brought me to new understanding of the Trans community and the definition of Lesbian, along with affirming and getting me back on my path of Radical Feminism. For this I am so grateful and feel this is the first path I needed to take following up on the Vision from the Shamanic Journey a few weeks ago.

 Friendships can be so fleeting and this friendship proved to be just that. At first I felt used and abused by this person as she spoke of such negative things in a message sent to me; accusing me of not being inclusive, being a man hater and not at peace. But then I remembered that I chose to be there for this human being because that is what I chose to do. I am very good at being supportive, loving and compassionate. I am very good at offering an open heart and mind. I do not regret being a friend to this woman for the past 10 years.

What does make me sad is how it ended. It ended with anger on her part. This has been new for our relationship so it did catch me off guard. But now I understand so much. She has joined the ranks of the patriarchal identification of what it means to be a male. At least that is my take on the situation.

I am not sorry that she was in  my life all these years. She taught me much during this journey of what I thought was a friendship. A friendship that should have survived a misunderstanding on her part. But I am now thankful did not!

And so I say good bye. I wish her much happiness and peace as she moves on her own journey.

Friendships are fleeting at times and that is why I try very hard to nurture the friends I have. It can be hard as we tend to be so different, but I try none the less.

May we always be aware that humans will come in and out of our lives; some for us to care for and some to care for us; but the most precious are those that know how to care for each other at the same time and that stand the tests that will come with us all being human be-ings!

Blessed be and much love! The Journey is stressful enough, let us walk in love and compassion together!