The sky has been extra beautiful lately. I think it’s because of the autumn cold, it makes everything clear and bright. I can see so many stars in the canvas over my house, especially now that the leaves have fallen, and I can gaze through the once covered branches.
In my wholeness, I am many.
I used to think I was one, but then I realized how fragmented I really am. I am the sum of my stories, each separate, complete on their own, yet somehow all blending into me. I used to think I was one, but instead I am a multitude. I am alchemy.
In my search for peace, I sought to remove the slivers of tales that still pierce my inner core. Only to find they have embedded in my dreams, with no hint of beginning or end, forever to reside in the velvet beauty of me. I am forced to live with the damage they have wrought, to allow my flesh to heal over sharpened tips. Like a rose, fragrant and divine, I am a gift, protected by my thorns.
In the light of day, I search the open sky, peering through the branches, I see nothing but bits of clouds floating by. The universe is filled with a multitude of stars, fragments of holy fire, all coming together to create the wholeness of celestial delight. Constellations and planets, dancing through infinity, each separate, complete on their own, yet somehow blending into one.
A form of chemistry and speculative philosophy practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold and with finding a universal solvent and an elixir of life.
any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.
any seemingly magical process of transforming or combining elements into something new
In Alchemistic Peace,
May we Dance,
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Every day I find myself looking beyond what is in front of me, deep beneath the surface, a smidge behind the obvious, and up over the above, all to find a greater sense of meaning.
I am unable to live a life with my heart and mind closed to the sacred. Despite simple reason, I experience everything through the lens of someone who has walked this earth before.
I understand the finite days and nights we each have to live. Filled with a divine blend of beauty and sorrow, the stories we become, despite how we intend them to be, are so much more than how they appear.
How can any of this possibly matter, as we while away the minutes into hours, if we forget who it is we really are. What is left when you remove the layers of your armor to the soul behind your smile.
I want to tell you there is more to this journey than just the struggles we endure. Perhaps if we close our eyes to what we think is real, maybe…just maybe, we will be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of eternity.
May We All Walk in Beauty ~ Raven
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Today is watering-my-house-plants-day, which is something I do once a week when I know I will be home alone. It’s a dedicated time that I set aside specifically for their care. Tending to my plants has slowly evolved over the years from being a basic chore to a sacred ritual that I find very calming.
Being surrounded by my plants brings me such happiness; they are my ever flourishing reminders to the beauty of nature.
I believe creating rituals that are significant to you, will strengthen your ‘soul-er system,’ by opening up pathways between your body, mind, and heart. This holistic perspective will give you the clarity to live a life that is more genuine, purposeful, and truer to your inner convictions.
Traditionally, many rituals are practiced by performing a meaningful course of actions, with the intent to honor and/or connect with the divine. However, rituals don’t always have to be elaborate in order to be authentic: you can easily take a simple routine such as making your morning meal and turn it into a ceremony of gratitude, just by adding purpose and higher intention to your actions.
My leafy pals are my daily companions, each with a different personality, energy, and personal story. For instance, I found my giant Fern on the side of the road while on a walk last Summer. Another time while driving I saw a person about to place this full grown Spider plant on the curb. I quickly pulled over and they handed it right to me.
My large aloe, and pink geraniums were freely given to me by a generous gardener two summers ago. She carefully dug them up from the ground and I brought them home wrapped in a blanket, dirt and all. They are now potted so I can bring them outside during the warmth of summer, then back in for the cooler months.
These origin stories are only a small part of what I see as I water each one: they are also reminders of who I was when they first arrived and who I have now become in the present. Watching my plant friends evolve through the changing seasons has been a helpful way for me to measure my own personal growth.
Recently, my potted geraniums have begun flowering, which is amazing since we are in the coldest part of winter; they are very pretty against the backdrop of ice and snow.
Establishing rituals can support one’s belief in the divine, and manifest the possibility that we are part of something magnificent and holy. By our very actions we become active participants in beauty.
Watching my plants grow in size and seeing their newly sprouted leaves is so rewarding. Some of my favorite plants bloom throughout the year: delicate little whites, tubular fuchsias, purples, and rosy pinks, all blessings of joy to brighten my world; I have several heirloom varieties of scented geraniums: lemon, apricot, nutmeg, lime, and orange, along with my organic herbs: rosemary, oregano, and lavender, all delightfully fragrant and pleasing to the senses. I also have the added joy of caring for my friend’s Patchouli plant while she is away being a ‘traveling nurse hero’ during this pandemic.
I find the ancient custom of rituals found in different religions and cultures to be fascinating, which is why I follow my own. I have learned in my quest for emotional healing that rituals can help reduce anxiety, just by the weight of comfort and stability they provide by performing familiar steps. Rituals offer up a sense of spiritual continuity which by its very nature is a reminder of peace.
My three eldest are trees, two Ficus, and a Norfolk Pine, all standing over 6 feet tall. We have known each other now for more than a decade. They have been my non-judgmental, supporting witnesses during significant times in my life, such as raising my children, divorce, financial struggles, romance, loss, and of course everything else woven in between.
Many leaves have since fallen, and dried branches broken off, yet we continue to thrive and reach for the sun.
I know my plants are happy to be here and I sincerely believe they love when I compliment and praise their beauty. I am also certain we have the same taste in music.
Prayer, walking, cleaning your house, building a fire, preparing meals, bathing, making a cup of tea, writing, exercise, art, gardening, can all be forms of rituals if you want them to be. The key is to stay mindfully focused, step by step, and to engage your entire self in the process;body, mind, heart and soul.
In Ritualistic Peace, May we Walk in Beauty, Raven
“A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life. I think ritual is terribly important.”
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Spiritual quests are my salvation. My heart yearns for answers. Clarity to questions I have always asked. Feelings of separateness are what keep us from the divine. We have this incredible birthright, unattainable, simply because we choose to disbelieve the sacred. To look outwardly for something when its already ours, to struggle for peace, though its been given.
The universal laws of nature and the cosmos are written by the same infinite presence we carry within. Blessed beyond the breadth of imagination, still many choose bondage to fearful limitations. Reasoned from our narrow understanding, we forget we are offspring to the divine. I want to remember.
Like the pinpoint light of a candle, I meditate on the flame of promised brilliance. Unwavering beneath flickering doubt. Gently I feel the miracle of holy perfection melting away divide, freeing me from human uncertainties. Beautiful possibilities delight. I am a beloved child of the mystical presence within. What has always been mine since birth, I gracefully now accept.
When I was a young girl in the 70’s, between the ages of 7-13, my family and I would often drive two hours from San Diego to Los Angeles to visit my grandparents. The ride up was mostly dreary highway, but sometimes we would all sing songs which I greatly enjoyed. These were some of the happier moments in an otherwise difficult childhood. For the most part there wasn’t a lot of affection or joy in our home, nor was I encouraged to express myself in any way, especially emotionally. My parents did the best they could, as I am sure they endured the same. Thankfully I was able to end this painful legacy when I had my own family. Through the joy of raising my children with all the beauty and love I had missed, I was able to heal and grow from my past. This has been my greatest success.
When I think of my little self in the back seat, face pressed against the window, it feels bittersweet to remember how alone I felt, sitting there with my 3 siblings, and parents in the front. It was usually early evening when we drove home. My father would play the radio, and we would listen to all the current music, which I still love to this day. One of my favorite songs was about a pony named Wild Fire, by Michael Martin Murphy. With the opening notes, I would immediately relax into a peaceful trance, lost in wondrous dreams of riding my own magical horse. I think the part of me that is so connected with spirit and the mystical was awakened during these times.
Staring out the window, I would see my face reflected back to me. I would gaze deeply into my eyes, fading in and out with the passing of car lights, and wonder at the connection I was feeling. It was as if I recognized my soul.
In between the music and my shadowy reflection, I would search the darkening night until I saw my loyal friend the moon. It was a ritual for me to then say softly to myself, “I see the moon, the moon sees me. God bless the moon, and God bless me.” I would watch this brilliant light in the sky for as long as I could, marveling at how close it seemed, and how devoted it was to follow me home.
Late this afternoon, I took my familiar 3 mile neighborhood walk around the lake. Always I look forward to this time of contemplation and renewal. Usually it is spent in gratitude, and just being in the moment, but often feelings of heartache, my constant companion, will rise up in the rhythm of my footsteps for me to embrace. Sometimes what’s under the surface needs to break free. I am no stranger to loss, nor, unfortunately is anyone in this world. I think it’s part of our being human. Adrift in my growing anguish I glanced up into the sky, and there looking down at me, shining radiant over the trees, my dearest forever friend, bright and devoted, following me wherever I go. I smiled, and wiped the tears from my eyes. I remember now, I am never really alone. The Moon and I will always be.
“I see the moon, the moon sees me. God bless the moon, and God bless me.”
In Peace, Raven
“The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.” ― Tahereh Mafi
Outside the winds are blowing wildly, the air is warm and filled with an unmistakable energy I haven’t felt in a long while. The night is getting late, I am tired from my long day of responsibilities. I have walked this road many times, and it is a good one. Routines can feel safe. They keep us on track to accomplish daily activities, secure in the knowledge life will continue to move in the same familiar direction. Our minds and realities become sleepy in the commonness of predictable choices. Many times we hesitate, unwilling or unable, to seek out the less traveled paths offered along the way. Avoiding change, following the same steps as those before us, happy to stay where we are. One day waking up to the fact that nothing is further from the truth, for life is all about something being made different. Our bodies continue to reinvent themselves, and unless we choose to be stagnant in thoughts and feelings, these too are in constant fluctuation. Change is a blessing and not always a welcome one. No matter how we understand it to be, transformation is undeniably woven into the fabric of our being, deeply rooted in all of Creation. Clearly written for us to see in the phasing of the moon, day into night, the turning of seasons one to another. Changes are everywhere, in everything, our very existence relies upon this truth. To be alive is to transform. The winds are blowing wildly and I am ready In Peace ~ Raven