On the day of Lammas, as the sun begins its descent to the horizon, find a place indoors or outdoors where you can feel the warmth of sunshine on your skin. Make yourself comfortable and ensure that the space and your time will be private and uninterrupted.
Close your eyes and begin to track the movement and energies of your breath. On your in-breath, sink deep, deep inside of yourself and anchor within the core of your being. On your out-breath, feel your inner energies reaching beyond your skin, mingling and communing with the outer world. On your return in-breath, draw these outer encounters back inside yourself, rich with the information and energies of your dance with otherness.
Continue to bring this quality of awareness to the movements and turnings of your breath, inner to outer and back to inner again. On your out-breaths, open yourself to the seasonal energies of Lammas, with Summer still hot upon the land, but with the powers of darkness waxing. On your return in-breath, draw in the smells of the sun-baked land, the changing quality of the light and however else late Summer manifests in your part of the world.
When you feel filled up with these powerful Lammas energies, let them paint for you a flat hilltop with an expansive view of the surrounding landscape. Imagine a sunset-hued sky, with the sun descending toward the horizon. Then sense Lugh appear at your side.
Turn to face Lugh; take in the color of His eyes and hair, the look of His face and form, and the feel of His warm, all-encompassing presence. Clasp Lugh’s hands in yours; feel His strong grip and the powerful currents that course through His fingertips — His are skilled, knowing hands that wisely wield the sword that brings death to ensure the wellness and renewal of the whole. Commune with Lugh, sharing words of welcome and connection.
Lugh directs your awareness to the viewscape before you. See an expanse of cultivated land ready for harvest. This is the golden field of your life story that can show you many things, from pieces of your story and soul work that span your entire lifetime or that have come to light in your recent pathwork. It can reveal the micro details of a single memory, or the wider vista of your place and part in the weaving of greater human society. This field resides within you and is reflected in the outer manifestations of your life. It is always present, a storehouse of information and remembrances, to help you make brave, wise choices on your journey of soul.
With a palm held flat against your mid-back, Lugh fills you up with His wise knowing and truth-seeing powers. A beautiful sword, shining and sharp-edged, appears in your hand. When you gaze down at the surrounding landscape, it is as if you can see into the very heart and necessity of things.
Open yourself to whatever the field shares with you in whatever form, be it words, images, sensations, emotions, memories, insights or information. Breathe these things deep into your body, ingesting their healing, transformative lessons, and letting them nourish and change you.
With your sword, carefully, lovingly cut away the old pieces of your personal story and patterns that must now die away. Offer up this sacred chaff to the Mother Earth, knowing that She will honor your sacrifices and endings by transforming what you have cut away, in Her great composting belly, in service of new life.
Tenderly gather up the seeds of new beginnings and possibilities that reveal themselves in your winnowing work. For now, let the seeds be and do not probe any further into their contents. Hold them close to your heart, infusing them with your love and commit to follow where they lead in the next cycle of your journey of soul.
Take as long as you need for these essential Lammas tasks.
Through His touch, your awareness widens and you take in the whole of Mother Earth. You are a part of Her, and She is a part of you. Let yourself fully feel the power and importance of this primal connection; the Earth’s breath is your breath; Her body is your body; Her well-being and stability are inseparable from yours, and your healing and transformation are Hers.
As your Lammas work draws to a close, visualize the last rays of sunlight melding with the contours of the landscape before you. With every passing day, the power of the sun fades and diminishes, and the seasons of darkness and death fast approach.
A parting is upon you, for it is time to say goodbye to Lugh. Gaze upon His beautiful face, His love radiant still in the encroaching darkness. Share with Him your gratitude for His guidance and wisdom, and wish Him farewell.
The sun dips below the horizon and Lugh is gone, taking His sword with Him. Yet your hands are not empty. In their cupped interior are shining seeds that hold the dormant magic of your pathwork to come.
Let your hilltop vision fade away, and use your breath to bring you back into your physical body and waking reality. When you open your eyes, take in the quality of the light as darkness begins to descend around you. As you finish your meditation, take a few minutes to check in with your emotions.
Lammas can be a time of loss and sadness, and it also brings joy and hope. From endings and death, new life emerges. So the world and your life are forever renewed in the waning light of Lammas.
Excerpt from: Path of She Book of Sabbats. Available on Amazon.
Photo Credit: Rose Erkul at Unsplash.com
Posted on:  Jul 5, 2019 @ 12:00 Posted in:  Featured, Pagan Dreamer, Pathwork
I dream of being with a woman elder who teaches me about a clan of good men with special spiritual energy that have been with humanity throughout our history. Then the dream shifts. I’m waiting on a street corner on my island home for a man to pick me up and give me a ride. I intuitively know that he’s part of this clan: a good man, and a teacher and holder of this special energy. The car pulls up. He smiles and greets me. I get in the car and then the dream ends.
In my waking-world life, I know this man, and he is indeed of this special clan of good men whose presence and deeds can open hearts, heal souls and change our world. He’s a poet, teacher and Zen practitioner — a brilliant yet humble man, with gentle, penetrating eyes that seem to take in our world of beauty and sorrow with a deep love, wisdom and crinkle of humor.
Oddly, the good man isn’t our cultural ideal of the masculine. Instead this ideal venerates “real men” who emulate a rugged self-determinism founded on domination and personal gain. In the battle for supremacy in our shared social order, real men fight their way to the top of the pile, reaping the rewards of wealth, power and adulation, indifferent to the price others pay for their success. Our modern political, social and economic systems are founded on this masculine ideal of dominion, will to power, and unfettered self-interest and greed.
It can be hard to recognize the good men among us given the long shadow of our cultural, real-men ethos. Many of us have experienced harm at the hands of an abusive man, or because of the misogynist roots and toxic male and female stereotypes that permeate our social order. Others may have a strong political or intellectual viewpoint that understands the role that men and patriarchal institutions have played in the worst of our human history and current malaise.
Yet there are good men in our midst, with big hearts and spirits, gifting their best in service of others and our world. And these men, with their positive masculine traits, are desperately needed as partners, allies and role models in the mending and renewing of our human society.
When I shared my good-man dream with my poet neighbor who appeared as the good man in my dream, he replied, “Yes, there are such men without a doubt. I’m glad you know, Karen. That, in itself, is worth all the dreams.”
Here is a simple exercise for claiming this powerful, healing good-man medicine in your own life.
1. Start by turning your attention to the good men in the public sphere, living and historic.
Who are your heroes: men you admire for their good nature and good deeds? What gifts do they give to the world through their beliefs, writings, teachings and actions? What kind of positive change do they bring about? What impact do they have on the hearts and souls of others? How do they make the world a better place? Consider the common qualities that you admire in these men.
2. Carry these good men with you in your heart and thoughts for a day.
Imagine them as your companions as you go about your day-to-day life. Try to see the world through their goodness and best qualities. Notice these qualities in yourself and in others. Let your experiences widen your heart and change you.
3. Bring your awareness closer to home, to the good men in your family, community and workplace that more directly impact and influence your life.
With these more intimate connections, remember that no person can be all good, and that you may have a hard time seeing those near to you as fitting the good-man ideal because of some imperfection or inconsistency in their personality. Don’t look for perfection. Instead, consider the men in your life who have a good heart, give of themselves to others, and have a positive impact on the world around them.
4. Again, carry these good men with you in your heart and thoughts for a day.
See the world through their goodness and best qualities. Notice that the good-man ideal applies to everyday men in everyday circumstances, and that the men in your life have positive, life-affirming traits outside of our cultural, masculine stereotypes.
5. Choose a simple way to honor the good men in your personal life and the greater world.
You could tell one of these good men how much you appreciate them, share a positive article about men on social media, or better still, decide to change something about yourself in alignment with the good-man ideal, knowing that a positive masculinity is part of our human nature, available to all of us regardless of our biological gender or gender identity.
In doing these things, we can step outside of the culturally imposed masculine, and begin to dismantle and replace its restrictive, toxic parameters with the bigness of being, heart and soul that is the true, best essence of men and masculinity.
These things shake us awake from our disquieted acquiescence to the real-man cultural ideal. We widen our gaze to the good men and their positive masculinity. We remember: that our hands and our hearts are made for service to ourselves, each other and our Earth home; that good deeds, founded in love, compassion, justice and beauty, are the true markers of the best of our humanity; and that these life-affirming choices and actions are not just the responsibility of the good men of our world, but of each and every one of us.
Together we can claim the dream of the good man as our new cultural ideal of masculinity.
Photo Credit: Joshua Earle on Unsplash
Posted on:  Jun 20, 2019 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Sabbats
I reach out to you at the Summer Solstice with its peak in the powers of light and life, and the seasons turn to Summer, gifting us with Nature’s transformative magic of beauty, abundance and goodness.
I reach out to you as I struggle daily with the onslaught of bad and depressing news that relentlessly reinforces the worst of our humanity, the mess we’ve made of this world, and our seeming inability to alter our destructive ways.
I reach out to you knowing that I’m not alone in my angst. We all sense, deep down, that change is coming at us, hard and fast — change that profoundly matters to our personal lives, to those we hold close and dear, to our children and children’s children to come, to our Earth home, and to our very future as a species.
I reach out to you to offer a different voice, and a positive, empowering vision and path of change in the face of the noise and negativity of the daily news cycle that locks us in a mindset of scarcity, fear, and gross imbalances in power, wealth and wellbeing. This outer mindset is just one possibility and path for our human society, and another path, arising from the life-centered ways of the Goddess and Nature, is flourishing outside your doorstep at this very moment.Walk With Me
Come, take my hand, join me as I walk on a fine, sunny June day, following the same path that’s guided my questing feet for twenty years — down a secret forest trail on our land that leads to a tranquil, rural road surrounded by farmland.
There’s a powerful juxtaposing of realities going on right now: one is the world as we know it, with an ethos of fear and scarcity, and an ugly underbelly that’s so evident in the daily deluge of horrific news; and the other is a life-centered ethos revealed in Nature’s emerging summertime landscape of stunning beauty and overflowing abundance.
Two realities, two ways of living and engaging the world around us, two different outcomes for our lives, human society and Earth home. At this moment, both these realities are turned on high, in our face, shaking us awake and asking us to choose.
This isn’t a comfortable discussion to have. It’s near impossible to take in the horror that’s become our daily news, without trying to hide from, deflect or rage against the toxic brew of sexism, homophobia, racism, violence and the myriad of other ills that pervade our human psyche and collective behaviors.
These terrible events and human ills aren’t isolated, disconnected aspects of our society. They’re symptoms or outcomes of a reality of fear and scarcity that rules our world, where there isn’t enough food, money, jobs, power, social status, and even love to go around. In a reality where the dominant, aggressive and greedy rise to the top of the pile, gathering life’s goodies to themselves, things are going to get nasty and ugly.
Here are three simple, potent lessons from Nature that can help you revision your life and our collective reality in alignment with the powers of life in Summer.
1. Abundance is real.
In the sun-bright days of Summer, abundance isn’t an illusion or utopian ideal. It’s real and substantive, woven of the raw elements of sun, earth, rain, soil and seed that, through the wondrous miracle of life, produce the foodstuff that feeds the hungry bellies of this world.
Nature’s abundance expresses itself in an ethos of generosity, of giving more rather than less, and taking only what is needed. Take a single cherry tree, not only does it offer up delicious fruits for humans and creatures alike year after year, but the pits of the fruit provide the seeds of future plants and harvests.
Imagine living in harmony with Nature’s ethos of generosity by giving more of yourself rather than less, and only taking what you truly need by walking lightly on this Earth.
Imagine conceiving this same abundance in our shared society, where a decent standard of living is a given, and power, worthiness, love, and other markers of personal satisfaction and social value are infinite and available for all, each in accordance with our deep, true needs.
At Beltane, your journey of soul is all about embracing the delicious, transformative energies of the wild world. Now is the time to surrender to your innate, powerful desire to make love and make life, and to bud and flourish in the sunlit realm from the essence and beauty of your true, deep Self.
You need only look to Nature to awaken and fuel this sacred longing inside of you. The cold, death state of Winter has been long forgotten and the powers of life and light are turned on high.
The green world is in the midst of a love-fest, displaying its erotic, fertile impulses with brazen exuberance: the brilliant green of new foliage, the mating rituals of birds and beasts, and the profusion of airborne pollen.
May Day is the secular celebration of Beltane, with its traditional maypole dance. A tall pole is planted in the earth and decorated with flowers and long ribbons. Dancers, each holding a ribbon, circle the pole in opposite directions while interweaving their ribbons. This lovely and seemingly innocent custom has its roots in Beltane’s sexual, fecund energies. The maypole is a giant phallic symbol arising from the fertile earth, and the two weaving ribbons represent sexual union and the creation of new life.
With the veil between the worlds thin, the Green Man walks the land, leaving a trail of burgeoning life in His wake. His touch is a quickening magic that spreads like wildfire, igniting the hungry impulses of life to create new life. All living things, including humankind, are beholden to the Green Man’s powers.
When you step into the Green Man’s magic, you enter His dream of light, love and life-making. He embraces you as lover in the gorgeous, ever-unfolding dance of co-creation, with your outer existence arising from the well-spring of your unique essence.
Beltane, like Samhain, is an edgy Sabbat, stirring up primal forces that have long been denied and suppressed in our human psyche. As Samhain calls us to be wide open and raw in the face of death and endings, Beltane calls us to be naked and uninhibited in our lover’s embrace of life. Of the two Sabbats, Beltane can be the most challenging because it takes us up against our personal wounding and societal prohibitions that negate and distort our desires, sensuality and sexuality.
Let the Green Man and wild realm teach you about transformative change, where immense beauty and new growth naturally emerge from the old and stagnant to heal and renew your life and our world.
Excerpt from: Path of She Book of Sabbats. Available on Amazon.
If you would like to make a delicious, transformative journey yourself into the mysteries of Beltane, check out the Beltane Guided Meditation: Dancing with the Green Man.
On Sale for Beltane at the Path Store for only $9.99.
Photo Credit: Chris Greenhow on Unsplash