Ways to jumpstart a creative exploration.

Ways to jumpstart a creative exploration.

Happy May Day! May Day, or Beltane, marks the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice and was originally celebrated in Ireland and Scotland as a fertility festival. Common Beltane customs include jumping over a big bonfire (for good fortune), circle dances, maypoles, and of course, making love. This cultural holiday is a celebration of the growth stage of the life cycle, and as such, there is a felt-sense of vitality and exuberance.

I invite you to…

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A Nature Allies Practice

A Nature Allies Practice

As I write these words, the sun is out, the birds are chirping, and the temperature is steadily rising: another beautiful spring day in the Appalachians. This time of year is perfect for walking in the woods where the wildflowers bloom with abandon. On a recent hike, I was delighted to see a childhood favorite, the Mayapple, whose leaf canopy, I imagine, shelters small fairies and tiny Beatrix Potter critters.

The ease with which I was transported back to my childhood, where I played with Mayapples, swung on grape vines, and sucked honeysuckle nectar, prompted me to create a nature connection practice for our community. I encourage you to give it a try, and if you are feeling adventurous, to commit to this practice once a day for two weeks in a row.

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My encounter with a snake.

My encounter with a snake.

Last Saturday, during a wander in the woods, I came across a drift of rocks strewn along the bank of a small creek. The rocks, boulders really, were covered in plush, green moss and made an excellent perch for woolgathering.

While I basked in the sun, so welcomed after the previous cold, blustery day, I heard a staccato noise coming from the pile of leaves in front of the boulder upon which I sat. I immediately looked down and saw the tail of a snake before it disappeared among the leaf litter. I swear my heart stopped for half a second before quickly moving into a rapid beat.

“Oh goodness gracious!” I exclaimed. (Where did that expression come from?) The urge to flee was great; however, I made myself…

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Scheduling a Nature Date with yourself.

Scheduling a Nature Date with yourself.

It is hard to believe that there are only three more classes left of the Intro to Nature Connection course. I have really enjoyed my time with the students and have appreciated expanding my comfort level by engaging with the topic. I am very aware that I have only scratched the surface of wilderness therapy and ecopsychology, and subsequently, am looking at additional training to gain more skills.

One of the gifts received from teaching a class about nature connection is witnessing the therapeutic benefits of nature connection in real time – both for myself and for the students. At the beginning…

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Taking Shakti to the next level of evolution.

Taking Shakti to the next level of evolution.

If belonging relates to a sense of community, and a community is a congregation of beings with shared values, then the capacity to determine our values and stay the course with them is what writer Toko-pa Turner calls a “competency of belonging.” A sense that we are participating as cocreators of something greater than the individual, participating in what Hermeticists call “the great work of creation”. (Tarot for Change p.239)

The above quote encapsulates the on-going work of Shakti in the Mountains. Since May 2010, our mission has been to build an inclusive, collaborative community which elevates and nurtures the feminine. In the intervening 14 years, I have experienced both beautiful and exploitive partnerships, financial successes and mistakes, easy and hard boundary setting, moments of great joy and sadness, and opportunities and challenges. Throughout this journey, I have been sustained by the Shakti community.

Last Friday afternoon, during our Makerspace Open Hours, I felt the competency of belonging deeply. It began with…

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A Reality Check with Hope Practice + Shakti Spring Schedule

A Reality Check with Hope Practice + Shakti Spring Schedule

Happy Spring!! I am enjoying the longer days and the beautiful blooms. I also am enjoying the warmer weather which makes being outdoors easier. I’ve already been to my local garden center and bought seeds to use in Shakti’s new greenhouse. I love the sense of anticipation which comes from planting a seed and wondering what will grow. Spring is dear to me because it feels like a fresh start, a clean slate, a new beginning. In a word, spring feels like hope.

Hope, as you may know, is not the absence of fear or worry, but it does give me the strength to face my fears and to allay my worries. Hope, I find, is like a best friend: it does not ignore your reality (I wouldn’t want a friend who does). Instead hope simply says…

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Why I enjoy ritual so much.

Why I enjoy ritual so much.

Next Tuesday is the Spring Equinox and Shakti is celebrating with art, ritual, and food. While I love our potluck meals, I think my favorite part of our equinox and solstice celebrations is the ritual. I’ve had a hard time articulating why I enjoy ritual so much, that is until I read…

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Spring Updates + International Women’s Day Tea

Spring Updates + International Women’s Day Tea

I just finished finalizing the schedule for the Shakti spring calendar and am happy to report that we have a well-balanced lineup. All of our facilitators are familiar faces who spend a lot of time honing their craft and preparing intentional activities for our community. I look forward to sharing the new schedule with you later this month.

In addition to a new schedule, there will be more special topics occurring during Makerspace Open Hours. While there is always the option of using arts and crafts materials in the space (or bringing your own), you also have the option of engaging in a curated activity.

Because this Friday, March 8, is International Women’s Day, Shakti is hosting a…

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My wish for you + an intuition practice

My wish for you + an intuition practice

Most mornings, after pouring myself a cup of coffee, I sit next to my altar and spend time in quiet reflection and journal writing. This ritual sustains my energy and provides direction for my day. I love how this practice helps me tune into my intuition and grounds me.

During a recent practice, I drew the Strength card from one of my tarot decks. Strength is one of the twenty-two major arcana cards found in a traditional tarot. Each major arcana card represents a different archetype or primary pattern of behavior found in mythology. Together the major arcana cards tell the story of a hero’s journey: a story in which the protagonist answers the call for adventure, overcomes adversity, discovers the necessary elixir, and consequently, is transformed.

The Strength card typically is portrayed as…

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A Shakti Nature-Inspired Practice: What shall I grow this year?

A Shakti Nature-Inspired Practice: What shall I grow this year?

The crocuses and daffodils are blooming where I live heralding the coming of spring. Last Sunday the Sun moved into Pisces, marking 30 days until the Equinox, a new beginning. I am so grateful the light lasts longer in the sky and the days are warmer. Spending time outdoors is easier, so of course, my thoughts turn to the garden. What shall I grow this year?

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