My Altar this month is now complete as I add my maternal grandmother.

Grandmother Shrine: I recently made this shrine with Amanda Heinz- Stevenson at Firestarter Shrines. Amanda is a deeply intuitive facilitator and guided me surely to create a shrine that honors my grandmother, and also supports much needed healing for me. When I see this shrine, I see a Chrysalis and know that neither she nor I were ever broken, there is nothing to fix.

As I light my candle, I feel my bones vibrating now with the song of my ancestors. May their gifts continue to express themselves through me and those that follow me. May their pain and suffering be honored and respected.

May we all know our wholeness, always in all ways.

The Grandmothers are in my heart and now the join me on my Altar.

Grandmother Handiwork: Her hands were rarely idle. She crocheted, knitted, stitched, gardened, harvested, baked, researched our genealogy and she was the first person in our family to have a personal computer. She was still attending her weekly line dancing class in her late 80’s! She bridged the past with the present and through her devotion, discovered our ancestors were from south Germany and the Cherokee nation. She also loved to travel and did it often. She was as prim and proper as a well bred southern woman should be, could give “the eye” better than anyone I’ve ever met, and still had the most mirthful belly laughs.

Memaw, what I really would like from you……some of your talent for organization, your diligence and dedication; some of your ability to do All The Things with grace, because you loved doing the Things.

May we all find our love of what we do and do what we love.

Next Altar addition ~ 11-26-17

Today I add my paternal grandfather to my Altar. He was my first spiritual teacher and by his side was the safest space of my childhood.

Grandfather Crystal: My paternal grandfather was a rock hound, herb gardener, artist and to me a deeply spiritual man who had his communion outdoors. He told me the stories and legends of our indigenous ancestors as we walked in the forests, weeded his garden, canoed through the swamps and dug in the dirt looking for angel stones and crystals.

I light my candle and feel the bones my grandfather first taught me about. I feel his presence in the crystal I have before me. Through him I wish to deepen my connection to our ancestors and the to land where they both thrived and suffered.

May we all hear and heed the warning whispers of our ancestors.

Next Altar addition ~ 11-19-17

This weeks addition to my altar is in honor of my maternal grandfather.

Grandfather Art: Though there was much pain and violence in my grandfathers life, there were times when he was able to take that pain and make it into something beautiful.This is a black and white printout of a photo of one of his original oil paintings.

I light my candle. I feel my bones. I feel the bones of Mother Earth. I feel my ancestors stirring.

May everything that has passed from him to me be made into Art.

May we all take our pain and create something beautiful with it.

Next weeks Altar addition ~ 11-12-17

As the month of October draws to an end I turn my focus to my ancestors. When I first moved to Germany almost 30 years ago, I was naively surprised to see that Halloween was not celebrated. Don’t judge ~ I knew they didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving or the 4th of July!

November 1st is All Saints Day, a celebration of all Christian saints and a day of remembrance of those who have passed. I was deeply touched by the reverence with which the cemeteries were visited, candles lit and wreaths placed on the family graves. It is a quiet day to remember and honor the dead. Experiencing this holiday was what nudged me to research the origins of Halloween/Samhain and other pagan/ Christian celebrations.

This was the beginning my own personal practice.

This month I honor my Ancestors. An ancestor altar can be used in a variety of powerful ways that should never be underestimated. This month I choose to focus on the aspects of my ancestors that I wish to more fully embody.

On my Altar this week:

Stones from here and there:  Stones are the bones of mother earth and we carry the information of our ancestors in our bones.

My ancestors were both immigrants from southern Germany and native Americans of the Cherokee Nation. On my altar are stones from my home in southern Germany and my home here in western North Carolina.

I light my candle and I focus my attention on feeling my bones and feeling the bones of mother earth. With this practice I come deeply into my body and know I AM HOME where ever I may wander. Being in such deep resonance with mother earth is a powerful grounding and embodiment practice that also awakens and amplifies the guiding whisper of the ancestors.

May you always hear the softest guidance of your ancestors and may you always know home.

Next week’s Altar addition coming 11-5-17

In my experience being seen and held in a space of love allows healing.

The events of the past few weeks have been overwhelming. So much tragedy and pain.

My altar has remained the same:

Divine Mother- this is one of the many images of the mother I love. The divine mother holds and loves. I sit with her to remind myself that I am held and I hold others. I am loved and I love. I am whole and when I feel this to be true I am giving others permission to know their wholeness.

The World- I have a glass globe. It lets the light shine through.

A piece of fallen wood from a virgin forest in the smoky mountains- Connecting with the ancient forests of my homeland allows me to connect with my ancestors who lived here so long ago.

We all carry the gifts and trauma of our ancestors within us and they determine so much of how our lives are lived.

A stone heart from the shore of Corsica- my youngest child found this and gifted it to me. This heart reminds me to open mine and keep it open no matter what.

I am an empath. Part of what that means is I feel others feelings as my own; both when I am with someone and also when many, many people are feeling strong feelings, I feel that as well. Not knowing what to do when those feelings hit me can be and is overwhelming.

In my personal practice I create a space through ritual where I know I am safe and can allow the pain and despair that is flowing to me from others to open and lay bare my own personal pain. Allowing this to happen also conjures up sometimes long forgotten/suppressed memories of pain. Sometimes there is no story to explain the pain, just the emotion rising. I focus on my altar and the objects upon it to keep myself centered in the present ( when strong emotions arise it is easy to fall back in time and get lost in the hurt) and to allow the feelings be felt and the person I was then to be seen and embraced. I hold space for My Self and in doing so I am holding space for all the others that are hurting.

May we all have the space necessary to hold our Selves in love.

May we ease the suffering.

May we heal the wounds.

One of my regular practices is a daily altar ritual. I usually set up my weekly altar on Sunday, feeling into the energy of the week and what I want to focus on.

This week we have the first new moon after the Total Eclipse. She is in Virgo and is already showing her power. She brings more change and the need to flow and adapt. She also reminds us of our deepest most painful wounds that want to be acknowledged and nursed.

It is also September…. All the energies of our personal year are intensified and brought clearly to the surface this month.

And it is the Autumn Equinox. A time to celebrate harvest, honor balance and give thanks.

Radical change is in the air… do you feel it too? Read More…

I am beginning to come out of the listlessness. The past 2 weeks have consisted of going to work, coming home, eating and then going to bed to Wake in the early hours to do the same thing over again. Keeping my routines of Qigong and meditation has kept me sane, but unfulfilled. No desire to cook, no inspiration to write or paint or plan my garden or any of the multitudes of creative endeavors I usually enjoy. I put it off to simply being “fruehjahrsmuedigkeit”, German for the lethargy at the beginning of spring. It may also be the frustration of not being able to connect with my muse, my genie, my brilliance.

Or it is what it is. Read More…

Willingly and enthusiastically accept and support the totality of who and what you are;  those inner selves that are not who you truly are, but were created at some point in the past to protect your deepest values and gifts at all cost, the inner selves that are still living in the belief they are not safe.

It took a near death experience, and the resulting deep seated peace within me, for me to compassionately embrace my not good enough and frightened self, the one not daring to be who she fully is for fear she would be shunned or worse.

The months and years following that accident brought ever changing situations/conflicts  into my life that sometimes made the new emotional baseline of peace within me very quiet, as if the volume was turned down on the once all encompassing state. These situations would trigger/ reawaken the old feeling of “It’s not ok to be me”.  I would feel (and still do) an anxiety and tightness in different parts of my body, that would become louder if I did not or do not pay attention to it. Most times the simple act of paying attention to the discomfort would be (and is) enough to ease the tension and anxiety and let peace take its place again. Sometimes it is not enough, and I must allow myself to sink within, be curious and compassionately seek out and embrace the inner me that is causing the discomfort. Read More…