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butterfly-fae

The past few months have been rough, and I haven’t been alone in my struggles.  It seems like everyone around me has gone through family problems, major depression, personal crisis, medical or financial hardships, or some combination of those things since Beltane, enough that I had to stop and wonder if there was any significance to it. Today I started to get the whispers of an answer.

This Litha is particularly strong, as it coincides with the full moon.  This is the day of the Sun.  It’s the time for harvesting the herbs we’ll use for healing and rituals, making it an auspicious day for work yet to come.  That raw, masculine energy is high, and we are full of powerful potential.

At Ostara the world was bright, and we watched each other build cocoons with visions of being beautiful butterflies, looking forward to the day we would spread our wings and soar on the sunlight.  We waited patiently, and little by little we began to change.  This is where the transformation began, and we needed that time to be at full strength for what came next.

As I’ve written several times, transformation is painful.  In the second half of this process, our entire form changes, and the cocoon has to be broken.  Our safe little world has to be opened up to an exciting, but terrifying, sky.  It’s bloody.  It’s traumatic.  Everything about us must change.  The caterpillars we were, and the cocoon we used to shield ourselves during our transformation must be cast aside in order to become what we are meant to be.  Those cocoons may have felt safe, but they were dark and restricting.  We weren’t meant to live there.

These battles we’ve been fighting for months are necessary for the transformation we’re each undertaking.  They’re making us stronger, moving us towards who we really are instead of the mere possibilities we have been, but only if we’re willing to let go of the caterpillars and the temporary shells they built around us.

So, back to Litha and the sun we meet as we emerge.  Sun means fire, and the fires of Litha burn hot, hotter this year than I have ever felt.  For many of us that fire has raged internally.  It purifies and transforms us, but it can be destructive if we fear it instead of dancing with it.  I’m  feeling change I set in motion years ago, and I have felt it in every cell in my body for the past three months.  It has tested my faith in myself.  It has tested my relationships.  It has tested my ability to function at mundane tasks while every part of me feels torn apart, but in the end I…in the end we all…will emerge from the darkness that has surrounded us.  I feel it happening a little more every day.  I see it happening around me.  It may not be over for some, but it will get better.  I know we will all pull through this and fly together in the sunlight.

 

Aloha

Go now,be who you were meant to be

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In years past, Litha has been about pure celebration.  Love, revelry, and the raw power of the sun god filling us with waves of blessing.  If you’ve ever smiled up at the sun and felt completely whole and happy, you know the feeling I’m describing.  This year is a little different for me.  There are some big changes coming my way, and I’m finding it extremely difficult to feel the sun in any aspect but burning.  That strength and blessing I generally get this time of year is shadowed, and I feel myself weakening.  I’ve begun to lose my spirit and the energy to keep pushing forward.

I don’t usually keen for Litha.  It’s not  generally a happy summer solstice activity, but it felt necessary.  I didn’t go into the woods like I normally do.  I went to the beach.  If you’re not all aware, the beaches of Northern California do not warm. The moment the icy cold hit my toes I wanted to turn back and give up, but if I couldn’t do this how could I begin to claim my life back from the edge of the long night that loomed over me?  I trudged forward, tears coming to my eyes as I remember why I was there and what stakes were at hand. I got as far as my knees before the screaming started, not the releasing wail of keening but the angry screams of someone who suddenly realized she couldn’t breathe.  Friends, I’ve been drowning in my own life.  For years.  I’ve allowed myself to fight for enough air to keep sinking, but not much more.  So I screamed. I screamed until the water knocked me off balance and straight into the sand of the undertow.  I had not intended to go in.  My clothes were soaked, my butt was cold, and my mouth was full of salt.  I felt scolded by the ocean that has always lead me, and right well I should have been.  I’ve let myself be dragged by the undercurrent for so long I’ve forgotten how to swim.  I laid back and let the water rush over me.  I stopped screaming, and I began to laugh.  I laughed until the taste of salt once again assaulted my senses.  The ocean wanted me to listen.  To be quiet for once in my life…and listen.

I had forgotten that I carry the sun within me.  I had forgotten the strength that has carried me through more hardship and darkness than I care to think about.  I had forgotten the brightness that has always kept a smile on my face and my spirit alive despite that darkness.  I had forgotten what it means to channel it all and become a force of nature.  These are things I must hold on to if I am to come out of this alive.  Alive.  Not survived.  Alive.  Heart, soul, and spirit intact.   This is a crossroads, not a dead end.  This is the harvest of the seeds I planted when I asked for progress and the life meant for me, and if I let it all die on the vine I have wasted it all.  I’ve fought too hard to be weak now.  Wherever this road goes, and it will go through some thick, dark, places, I will carry the sun within, and it will guide me if I let it.

 

Aloha and a Blessed Litha

Go now, be strong. Be Alive.

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As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been training for a mud run.  This weekend that day finally came, and my teammate and I geared up and prepared ourselves to face a pretty big unknown.  Where we ready? Had we trained enough?  Had we trained for the right things?  What on earth had we signed up for?

As I tied my shoes and watched the crowd gather at the starting line I began to lose my grip on the childlike “fun in the mud” motto I had developed during training, and reality threatened my confidence.  I am not a child.  I’m almost 30.  I’ve been overweight my entire life and have battled Fibromyalgia for the last five years.  What was I thinking?  Too proud to back out, I took a deep breath and tried to not look like  I wanted to vomit.

The horn sounded, and we dashed up the first hill only to wait in line for the crawl to the first obstacle, The Mud Pit.  I trudged in about two steps before the mud sucked me in like something out of a cartoon.  My shoe was gone.  My only recourse was to dig it out, remove the other one, and clamor through the pit barefoot.  I did, and rather ungracefully I might add.  Then I pulled myself from the muck as the image of the mammoth at the La Brea Tar Pits came to mind.  I laughed, fell back in the pit, laughed again, scraped my way to relatively dry ground, and put my shoes back on.  We were going to do this thing if it killed us, and I was not so convinced it wouldn’t.

For 3 miles we slipped, climbed, sprinted, and limped our way through mud, water, foam, and rocks.  We cheered each other on and offered encouragement when it looked like one of us might give up and go home early.  We laughed, we danced, and we put on the most convincing smiles we could for each other, but when we saw the 2 miles checkpoint we knew we had it in the bag.  Then we came to it, the obstacle that had been on my mind since we registered for the run.

The Death Drop.  A 40 ft inflatable slide.  I don’t handle heights well.  I handle falling from those heights even less well.  The panic hit me about half way up the ladder.  My knees buckled.  I shook all over.  I froze for a second, my teammate cheering my on from the top.  The world silenced as I slowly edged my way to the top.  I didn’t want to look over the side, but I did, after which I promptly told the attendant that he could call the helicopter any time, because there was no way I was going over the side.  Well, there was no helicopter, and there wasn’t going to be any helicopter.  My only option was to let go and plummet to the bottom.

I am happy to report that I survived the fall.  I have pictures and clean pants to prove it!  We finished the race, and I have seldom felt such a sense of accomplishment and power within myself.  It’s been a long time since I’ve trusted myself to find my own strength and help a teammate find hers.  It’s been a long time since I was able to feel like there’s a lot of life left in me.

To me it’s not a coincidence that this run took place on Litha, a day of power and fruition.  All our hard work and preparation, the seeds we have sown for months, was worth it.  People thought we were crazy, and maybe we are for rolling around in three miles of mud, but not for thinking we could do it in the first place.

Go now, do something crazy!

Aloha

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Litha, the longest day of the year, a day of potency and joy, and a celebration of opportunity.

This is the first summer solstice I have spent covenless, yet it comes in a year that has been more substantial and blessed than most.  I feel more powerful, more healthy, and more driven than I have in years.  Still, this has always been one of the celebrations in which I surround myself with friends and loved ones, and this year it seems to be lacking.

As the day approaches I find myself on several precipices at once.  I am on the verge of being a licensed driver for the first time in my life, I am taking huge steps with both my personal and professional life, my health is ever improving, and though we are in a time of change within our family we are still in a very positive and healthy place.  My first focus will be to empower my final push in all of these areas.

My second focus is the present.  There is no coincidence that summer represents celebration, flirtation, and youthful abandon.  It has become abundantly clear to me that I let myself keep my eyes firmly fixed ahead of me, and that much of my energy and frustration is spent on the next step instead of the current one.  A recent conversation reminded me that this was not, and should not, always be the case.  I need to embrace the spontaneity that once fed my spirit and let myself live in the moment a little more.  I need to enjoy the now and not worry about where it leads.  I also need to stop letting past experiences hold me back.  I am not who I was, and I have wrung every drop of lesson I can from those memories.  I can no longer let myself hide behind apprehension in the guise of self-preservation.  I need to live my life rather than always planning the next minutes of it or fearing a rerun of my past.  Tomorrow will come whether or not I’ve put it in my Google calendar, but today will never come back.

My solstice ritual this year will be unplanned.  I will find myself a spot near the river or in a park somewhere and let it happen however it feels right.  I will most likely be alone, and more and more I’m content with that.  I will have a few basic items with me, but for the most part my spirit will be my ritual tool.  This will be an exercise in flow and living in the present, tapping into a place from which I used to draw all my strength, blending it with the energy I’ve found elsewhere and honed over time, and using my drive and determination for the future to fuel the fire.  Only by finding and combining all three tenses within myself will I truly be using my full potential, and it’s time.

No matter what your plans are for the solstice this year, I want you to enjoy the day for the day, not just for what it leads you toward.  I think you’ll find a lot more power and meaning in it as a moment than as a stepping stone.  I know I will.

Aloha

Go now…be now.

 

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