Volume 4, Issue 12

December, 2011

Dear Friends,

As we approach the Winter Solstice and the longest night I reflect on the need for self care at this time of year. For those of us who focus our work during the warm month seasons this time of year is a welcome reprieve from the extreme of doingness. Receiving massages, reading a book, taking baths and naps, visiting with friends and family are wonderful ways to rejuvenate. Even though the lead up to Christmas is quite hectic in our society I choose not to become distracted by the hubbub and instead remember that Christmas falls at this time of year because Pope Julius I in the year 350 chose this day to be the celebration of Christ’s birth because it fell close to Winter Solstice (historically there were many other dates prior to this one that were celebrated) when the entire world celebrated the return of the light as the days began to grow longer. I celebrate the gift of love and light that the Solstice brings.


 

star HOLIDAY SPECIAL

Herbal T-shirt special through December 31st

$15.00 includes shipping - order from our website

Be sure to get your “I’ve Been Mugged” T-shirt now

Some folks may view this slogan as a sort of victimization with the pun of being mugged. Once you have been initiated by Mugwort the opposite emerges. The statement “I’ve Been Mugged” is a declaration of the empowering gifts Mugwort has given you. Words are powerful and send particular messages. When we shift the message of victimizing words of the oppressor culture into words of empowerment the old worn-out oppressor paradigm shifts, too. Look for more Power to the Plants T-shirts in the future.


Pam is interviewing for both the Vermont and California Plant Spirit Healing Apprenticeships now.
Please note that the Plant Spirit Healing courses in Vermont are structured differently this year for a few reasons. One is to accommodate those whose resources in time and finances do not allow you to do all three levels this year.
The second is to allow for students who only want to learn to deepen with plants to take just level I and/or II.
Thirdly former students may take any Level as a refresher course. For former students please read the descriptions as new material has been added. For those who want to become a full apprentice Level III is required but does not have to be done in the same year as Level I or II. Because of the nature of plants and their magnanimous spirits the practical healing they offer can be applied to any area of your work and life. Even though the techniques for healing you will learn in Level III are applied to people in the classroom they can be translated into many situations and environments.


Don’t miss the highly acclaimed Plant Communication; Reclaiming Our Birthrite class to be offered this year in Glastonbury, England as well as Vermont and California. Here’s what folks are saying: From a California class, “This weekend my life has changed forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” And from Vermont, “The power of the plants to guide me to heal, grow and perceive with my heart is astounding. Who would have ever guessed so much could happen so quickly.” And from Ottawa, “This is the most powerful weekend I have ever attended and I’ve done lots of workshops. Thanks to you and the plants.”


Another class not to miss is the Earth Spirit Healing Intensive which was a sell-out last year. It is back by popular demand. Check out the pic of the Indigenous Grandmothers 2011(see the pictures) who joined us for a closing ceremony last year.


We are excited to begin many new projects this coming year at Sweetwater Sanctuary. Please check them out and help support these vital projects with your Donation. It’s folks like you who put your money where your heart is that change the world.


We are happy to announce our BE LOVE” Scholarship Fund is now available for folks to apply for and to make donations to.

 

Thank you to all our many supportive friends both new and old.


Exploring Inner Landscapes by Pam Montgomery

The next three weeks are the darkest time of the year when the days grow shorter and the nights longer. Ideally we take this time of year to “be” more and “do” less. Personally, I take this time to explore my inner landscape. I start my day very slowly and quietly perhaps with only a candle lit or the glow from the firelight in the woodstove. I travel the varying terrain of my inner world and take stock of what has filled my cup, left me saturated, what feels tender or what inspiring ideas continue to find a place to seed themselves. As I journey I find rough jagged areas, smooth warm surfaces, cool dry crevices, fresh menthol breaths and I invite the light to shine on those shadowy places that are persistent in their veiling.

Sometimes this exploration finds me in unknown territory where the lack of familiarity can be unnerving at best and a struggle to survive at its worst. It is here that I camp out and invite the strangely different emotions, thoughts and waves of insecurity to come sit by my fire. Perhaps in the shadow of the firelight I will get a glimpse of their faces and maybe even look into their eyes. As we weave in and out of searching for some semblance of comfort I begin to breath. I take a deep breath which fills me with the strength and guidance of one of my plant allies and realize this unknown place is merely a forgotten place. As the stories begin to emerge I find that I actually do know some of these seemingly foreign regions. I begin to remember that this too is part of who I am and I don’t need to be frightened. In this new light I see the fear has been the boulder that sits between me and a deeper understanding of a road I seldom travel. And yet here I am sitting around the fire under a predawn starry sky with all my fears, insecurities, doubts and troubles. The warmth of the fire and vastness of the still dark morning sky relax me and I invite each fireside companion to step forward into the light. Oh, look I know you – little curly headed one that became frightened from a mean-spirited one, and you, full of yourself, only to be made smaller by cutting words, or you the mature one who thought you knew best only to regret your actions. One after another they step forward into the light sharing their stories demanding to be heard. My heart softens with compassion and the love that I am wells up and embraces each and every one of them. I hear you, I see you, I forgive you, I love you, thank you. Here in the light and love of kinship with myself I’m no longer a stranger in a strange land. I come home to myself remembering that I am blessed.

Beannacht

("Blessing")

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.


~ John O'Donohue ~

Partner Earth Education Center
1525 Danby Mountain Road
Danby, Vermont 05739
802-293-5996