Diary of an Earth Daughter: Where Do You Belong?

I saw myself waking up to the nascent promise of each new dawn, taking my morning tea outside, listening to birdsong and the bark of a vixen in the wood. I saw my hands in the soil, my feet cold and bare in a fast-flowing river. the person I saw wasn’t anxious, alienated, brittle. It wasn’t her job that defined her, but her way of being in the world. She looked as if she belonged. Not just to a star, and a hill, and a cottage; but to herself and the calling owls, and the wider world she inhabited.
— Sharon Blackie from If Women Rose Rooted; The Power of the Celtic Woman
spring stradddle shadow pic.jpg

This morning I chose an oracle card to begin the day. The message was all about cycles, change and phases. In perfect timing with the new year wouldn't you say? It fits in with what's happening around here too. This post marks the beginning of a new feature I'm trying on for size at Circle Magica and within the pages Of Root & Raven Wing- Diary of an Earth Daughter. In it we will visit with others who are living lives close to the Earth, beauty, artistry; who are ardent lovers and caretakers of nature, her creatures, who have stories to tell that enchant, inspire, inform. I'll also be posting on how I am redirecting my energies to become the Earth Daughter I believe I am meant to be, and continuing my journey of discovery as a Saging woman. 

To get underway there's this. Over the summer friend, Valerianna Claff , introduced me to a book that has become a constant companion and mentor, If Women Rose Rooted; The Power of the Celtic Woman by Sharon Blackie. (The title has since been altered to, If Women Rose Rooted: A Journey to Authenticity and Belonging, as you'll see through the link). Sharon discusses the importance of crafting a connection to place and especially to the land in which we find ourselves as a way of re-enchanting, re-empowering, re-sourcing and rooting us firmly in our lives. She speaks of the Eco-Heroine's Journey:

"The Eco-Heroine's Journey which we 've followed in this book is a path to understanding how deeply enmeshed we are in the web of life on this planet. In many ways, it is an antidote to the swashbuckling action-adventure that is the Hero's Journey: it is a woman's journey, based on a woman's way of being in the world. This path forces us first to examine ourselves and the world we live in, to face up to all that is broken and dysfunctional in it and in our own lives. Then it calls us to change-first ourselves, and then the world around us. It leads us back to our own sense of grounded belonging to the Earth, and asks us what we have to offer to the places and communities in which we live. Finally, it requires us to step into our own power and take back our ancient, native role as its guardians and protectors. To rise up rooted, like trees."

I savored this book over the course of the summer and it spoke to that part of me that longs to tend land once again and to be with others that do so. In the nearly two years since we've sold the Hobbit House, I have felt orphaned and marooned. I realized while descending into Sharon's world and ways that I had made an assumption when we left our home; that I couldn't do what I wanted with someone else's land. That I had to neutralize my habitual pattern of interacting with my home-based surroundings. That I needed to step back from my instincts to be with this place. But within the pages of the book I found a message that contradicted this and made me sit up straight and think again. 

The directive here is one of immediacy and accessibility. No matter where we are, we are meant to be tenders of the place we find ourselves. Doesn't matter if it is alot of land in the suburbs, like our nearly 7 acres, or a balcony on the 20th floor in Brooklyn. Doesn't matter if we "own" the land. After all, does any of us really own Earth? Sharon drew me into wondering if maybe I could rewire my thinking and start fresh in my relationship with this place. I imagine going forward with garden plans, and fantasize about building that chicken coop or maybe making room for ducks.  Dreams of a wee donkey, pygmy goats and a greyhound to roam with. I think about herbs, for eating, magic and medicine. I notice a re-emerging interest in natural landscaping, permaculture, four season harvesting, and dipping my toes back into MeetUps to get back around earth stewards and champions who are full of wisdom, resources and passion.

Mary Reynolds, author of The Awakening Garden: Designs to Nurture Our Land and Ourselves, reminds me to make room for the land to tell me what it wants. I set out walking the boundaries, an age old practice of communion and connection, to listen and learn, to properly introduce myself with offerings, and song and conversation. What I heard was that like me, this land feels orphaned. Once it was a family homestead and horse farm. Over the years, the horses disappeared and the barn fell into disrepair. Brambles, bittersweet and invasive flora claim the space. The family rents out the Little House and tenants come and go. After once providing a tangible usefulness and purpose, and being appreciated for its value, it seems to feel abandoned and I even felt an anger and resignation with that. I could feel its depletion, like it has been stripped bare.

When we moved here the plan was to use our time renting to re-group while Niko finished his senior year in high school and to consider living options once he got settled in college. But with our lease up the end of this month, we’ve decided to renew and stay on. I wasn’t ready for the upheaval of a move just yet and we are comfortable for now, so we are committing to the Little House and her surrounding lands for a while yet. And as we do, I am reconsidering what it means to belong. I can’t say I’ve ever felt I belonged in or to North Andover. While it was a deliverance from an economically depressed and sadly dismal central Massachusetts town we lived in prior to moving here, and an ideal location to raise our child, it fails to quicken my pulse like other homes I’ve had. It misses the mark lacking the wildness, quirkiness and unique personality of the mostly seaside oasis’ I’ve been lucky enough to dwell in and visit frequently like Cape Cod, Ipswich, and Encinitas. My rhythms better sync outside of a frenetic hub spilling over with racing residents and the blur of luxury sedans, mini vans and high end SUV’s. I often feel like I need to armor up when I head out the door, the chaos and bustle, the quintessentially chilly and occasionally hostile New England persona is so palpable. The blind race to nowhere, the acquisition game, zip code comparisons are the norm and acutely alienating.

All that being true, thankfully we have met some lovely authentic folk who have become friends over the years. I ‘ve discovered a few spots in nature, my sanctuaries away from the manic, ultra-competitive, superficially and outwardly focused mindset so prevalent in these parts. Nooks removed from the big box chains, the strip malls, the McMansion cul de sacs. Quiet spots where I can hear my heart beat again, watch the sun set through bony fingered branches, visit with a sparrow who lands nearby, breathe salty air that moistens my upturned face. At the conclusion of If Women Rose Rooted, Sharon offers us an invitation to the Eco-Heroine’s Journey. In it we are welcomed to the Heroine Path.  Under “The Heroine’s Return” we learn that it is possible for us to create a deep sense of belonging. Sharon tells us no matter where we are it is important we “learn to belong”. She continues by suggesting we dive in and learn about the history of our place, ferret out the stories, unearth its secrets, educate ourselves on its geography, ecology, landscapes.  What are the weather patterns? The native flora and fauna? Do we know the phases of the moon? The position of the stars? She asks, “In the context of your own Return what do you think is the unique gift that you are bringing back to the world, or your community?”

I am not prepared to fully answer this question  right now. However, I think for me to rise rooted I would indeed explore this place with a new born enthusiasm and perspective. I would and will continue to ask questions and wait for responses from this land that is mine to tend. I will invest my energy and attentions on what might delight and teach me what has yet to be revealed. I will roll up my sleeves digging for answers and making room for roots that will sustain me for however long I remain.  This much I do know: belonging, in this next chapter has everything to do with the giving, coming together, creating for tomorrow, and for the days when I no longer walk this planet. Belonging to something much grander than this town or that neighborhood. Belonging to this Earth.

 

 

 

 

 

Mercury Retrograde: Perfect Way to Usher in 2017

MERCURY RETROGRADE is to be honored and seen as a blessing in our lives because THIS IS a quarterly opportunity that arrives each year to help us SET THINGS STRAIGHT.

This is when ALL THINGS WRONG come up to the surface and slap you down so that you can really see them and see that changes need to be made.

This is going to be such a productive Mercury Retrograde session as we go back to REBUILD and really think through how to RECREATE a life that makes us feel YES!

We are thinking about how we want to GET THIS RIGHT and fully go over the steps WITHOUT RUSHING, so that we really do the best job possible at whatever is a dream in our lives right now.
— KV/Aquarius Nation

(An herbal and moon calendar for 2017, www.thymeherbal.com. Also available at a new shoppe love of mine: www.crosenest.com.)

Goodness, how precious life is. The late afternoon sun is warmer today-temps reaching nearly 50 degrees- it softly streams through the picture window I'm nestled beside. I sit snuggled under a thick mossy green blanket pausing, thinking about this time as one year wanes and  the next has yet to arrive. The mantle's fairy lights twinkle, the christmas tree keeps me company. All is still here except for the occasional whir of a passing car. Moments like these are special and welcome, and the news just in of actress Carrie Fisher's death on the heels of singer George Michael's passing on Christmas day, make them all the more appreciated. Death, the ultimate attention grabber, sobers me, providing its perennial message of urgency. Don't fritter away your time, be about the business of living. Enjoy, connect, use your gifts, make a difference. Show up for the messy and hard stuff. Leave this place better than you found it. 

I like what KV has to say about this Mercury Re-trograde, productivity through Re-building, Re-creating. I've come to understand these astrological influences in a more constructive way, moving beyond the typical doom and gloom, duck and cover reaction it garners. The message fits in with the upcoming New Year (though I celebrate mine on Samhain-the Celtic New Year on October 31st/November 1st). As many sift through the past year taking stock of what has passed and consider what may come to be in 2017, it is only natural to look back to Re-examine what worked and what didn't. We might take to heart the advice to work with the energy of this Re-trograde to lay a foundation of greater strength and cohesion based on learning from our past actions and outcomes. We could slow the pace, here in this last week of 2016, and make time for the stillness of a special moment to influence us, carry us across a threshold into the realm of spirit and truth. We might listen deeply, expectantly, discerning the path that will lead us to our yes. 

A significant yes for me this year is indeed found in looking back- to the tracks of my ancestors. This March the boys and I are trekking "down South" to Tennessee on a pilgimage to trace roots and belonging. We will visit with my paternal relatives and journey to the homes of my family present and of yesteryear. We will bring the video, audio and photography equipment to capture the stories and sights along the way. Place, belonging, the land and my relationship to it, is a central interest, theme and direction for me as I enter my Saging years, and this trip is one that will bring so much to us, especially Niko, and I -as we really don't know much about the history of our roots. I sense that a Legacy will be born from this experience too. A looking ahead to what I can give back to those whose shoulders I stand on. That if not for them, there would be no me, no crazy D'Onofrio family, here at the Little House. What can I pay forward, what can I continue on with, keep alive or perhaps even Re-surrect in their memory, in their honor, in homage to what can be.

We have much to consider this year in particular, as history takes a turn with the insertion of this new president.  I wonder if you feel like I do- the time of living history is upon us. The time to live our legacy is now. In whatever ways the stillness reveals your mission for the year ahead, may you strike out on the road full of vigor and willingness. May you make the most of what was, and kindle the future with its lessons. May you be full of yourself. May you bring that self to everything you do, with awareness, fully invested, sails billowing, compass pointed true North. 

To 2017, and to working your Mercury Re-trograde with grace!

 

 

And the Winner Is...

Thank you to all who entered the Grace Giveaway. Tussler, our resident troll, chose Cinde Perdigao! Congratulations to Cinde. 

And for those of you who would like to Steady & Ready yourself, either in the Sacred Mist or body oil, just leave a comment on the blog here or on Facebook-https://www.facebook.com/deb.donofrio.3-(this offering is not on the etsy Magic Apothecary site) and I'll get yours out to you asap. ($10/bottle for either, free local broomstick express delivery, pick up at the Little House or $4.00 US delivery, will work out with you for Int'l pricing.)

Blessings of the Green & Wild

Deborah Fay

 

 

Steady & Ready: Grace Giveaway Today

I've posted this on my Facebook page this morning and want to make sure you who follow along here know that I fell called to offer a GRACE GIVEAWAY TODAY-....Yesterday's election events and the inevitable fall out has me doing what I do-making and tending. Here is something I'm a-making just for us- to help us pick through the emotional rubble and regain out footing and vision for whatever is to unfold. The words "Steady & Ready" sprang to mind in the form of a special blend (Lime,cedarwood,copaiba,vanilla,lavendar, ocotea). So we have either a Sacred Spray Mist or body oil to choose from-to charge our person... or surrounding environment or to give out to friends and those who need a bit of solid ground. I am offering a Grace Giveaway today. Just post a comment below to enroll and win a bottle of your choosing. Also,the blend is now ready for you $10/choice. Free local "broomstick express delivery", pick up at the Little House or $4.00 to ship.

 Today is a new day, friends! Love to you. x

    Communing with the Ancestors

    Things are settling here after our summer of transition getting Niko off to college and purging the nest of much stuff, taking our first steps into Empty Nestdom and embarking on our partnership in the media business. It has been a journey for sure- and I can happily report that the efforts have been more than successful, and beyond what I had hoped for!

    On campus at UMass Lowell. Look at that boy's green eyes, what a love! (if I do say so myself).

    On campus at UMass Lowell. Look at that boy's green eyes, what a love! (if I do say so myself).

     

    I've wanted to write and check in with you for sometime, and have carved out this Sunday afternoon to do so.  I seem to have the beginnings of a sore throat and muddled head to wrestle with (!) and will be scooting out to see Niko's last marching band performance shortly, but I won't let the day go without putting this little something out to you.

     I hope you are making your way into the fall with an eye to enchantment and magic. On my end, I wish you a blessed Samhain for those who celebrate. We know it as our New Year and of course, time to convene with our own ancestors as well as the Ancestors. A time to spend opening to whatever forms of divination for the year ahead that we prefer, and to commune with our loved ones in spirit and those who came before who watch over us. 

    I ran across a new book by Raven Grimassi, Communing with the Ancestors that I'm intrigued by and want to let you know about- in case you may be of a mind to take in some new perspectives on the Ancestors. I'm finding it quite different than what currently is out there. My own ancestors have my attention these days and we are putting together plans to do a pilgimage back to my own roots later in 2017. I know they are leading me by the hand each step of the way. It, I sense, will end up being one of the journeys of a lifetime. But more on that as it develops. 

     

    Raven Grimassi's, Communing with the Ancestors: Your Spirit Guides, Bloodline Allies and the Cycle of Reincarnation.

    Raven Grimassi's, Communing with the Ancestors: Your Spirit Guides, Bloodline Allies and the Cycle of Reincarnation.

    When I divine this Samhain, I will be using my trusty Part the Veil Sacred Mist Spray to aromatherapeutically set the tone for riding the hedge, walking between the worlds and aiding me in holding safe and sacrd space to welcome the Ancestors/ancestors in. This mist and everything in the Magic Apothecary is 20% off to celebrate Samhain (with the code ONEYEAR at checkout) so you can stock up on your magical supplies now and for the year coming.

    If you work with cards, I, of course, suggest The Wildwood Tarot by John Matthews and Mark Bryan. We use it weekly as one of our guides in Circle Magica's weekly online Tarot study class and private membership, Magical Monday Musing. We are enrolling for November right now if you are hankering for a supportive group to learn with.

    May you stay open to the magic and mystery of the season and avail yourself to input and guidance from your loved ones in the Otherworld as the Celtic year comes to a close. May you, however you celebrate Halloween/ Samhain, know that you are never alone and connection is there for the asking. 

    Blessings of the Green & Wild on you and with love,

    Deborah Fay

     

     

     

    A Purge Reprieve: 2 Castles, 2 Farms + 1 Sea (Sort of)

    You’re off to great places!
    Today is your day!
    Your mountain (or in our case; castles, farms, sea) is waiting.
    So...get on your way!
    — from- Oh, The Places You'll Go!, Dr. Seuss

    What a summer! There is nothing like the weight of a deadline bearing down to snap one into action. With the lease up at the Little House in a few spare months and Niko heading off to college in five weeks (!) , the urge to purge is epic.  So much to clear out- if you follow on Facebook you know I've spent July burning through- so far- 15 of 24 boxes of old paperwork. And putting hands on every single item taking up space in the basement and garage, and deciding. Stay? Craig's List?? e-bay?? Donate??? Trash???? Burn????? Shred?????? Freecycle????????? The idea is to be done with all of it-  ending in a two day sale: Day One is the Private Preview Sister Sale on Saturday July 30th. And Day Two is a general public yard sale. Then, the remains shall be donated, still working on where, but currently I'm liking the big truck rolling up and hauling it all away option (and to be relocated in a venue where they can find worthy homes elsewhere). It is a jumble of cathartic release, memory lane, embarrassing realization (how could we drag  this much with us from house to house- without even opening the boxes for years on end?), maddening, brain dulling, exhausting, grimy, satisfying.....and while I am sticking to a fairly diligent schedule, this weekend past I needed to  .step away. 

    Won't you come along?  Here you'll find a photo journal of the weekend- 2 Castles: Hammond Castle in Gloucester , Ma. the site of  the annual Abbadia Mare Renaissance Festival, a planned excursion we make each year, and the second quite pixie-led, to Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, in Ipswich, Ma. 2  Farms include: Russell Orchards in Ipswich (for a scone of the strawberry /mint persuasion), a must to fortify the beachcombing that followed and Green Meadows Farm, S. Hamilton, Ma., a place Id been passing forever and decided to stop and snag dinner provsions-in this case, spicy fresh arugula, chevre, a crunchy baguette, picture perfect tomato. 

    Oh, and the Sea? Well, technically it isn't the Sea at all, but the Atlantic Ocean. Sea just rolls off the keyboard so much better. You'll catch glimpses of it here and there throughout, beacause it's summer and sea and summer go together in these parts.

    Scroll through using the carosel function to see all the photos, it's fun :)

     

    Hammond Castle

    Russell Orchards

    Crane Beach

    Castle Hill

    Green Meadows Farm

     

     Sale on Saturday July 30th is 12-4pm, at 947 Great Pond Rd., North Andover, Ma. My cell if needed is 978.873.1346. Park on the side street, South Bradford.

    Now, time to get back to it!  Till soon, friends. xx

     

     

     

    Book Junkie Confessions & Your Next Fix

    Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.

    -Vera Nazarian

    To some of us, books have been a constant source of joy and pleasure for as long as we can remember. Good friends, companions, thought provokers, opinion changers, intellect stimulators, mirth instigators, the ultimte story weavers. If you are like me, the road to book junkie starts out innocently enough. We find ourselves as gradeschoolers sitting criss cross applesauce on the library carpet, waiting for the spell-binder (in my case that would be the beloved school librarian, Mrs. Gill) to crack the weekly picture book, and sweep us into another new world of adventure or intrigue with words that capture our imagination and colorful illustrations that spark our curiosity.

    Love for our librarians runs deep. Here Niko and I say our goodbyes to Mrs. S, our in town children's room librarian, as she finishes out her last week before retiring. Niko and she have been friends since he was in elementary school, and she and I have attended a Tomie DePaola book signing like the one below. Not only does a book junkie crush on books but on those who crush on books too! All the best to Mrs. S!

    Love for our librarians runs deep. Here Niko and I say our goodbyes to Mrs. S, our in town children's room librarian, as she finishes out her last week before retiring. Niko and she have been friends since he was in elementary school, and she and I have attended a Tomie DePaola book signing like the one below. Not only does a book junkie crush on books but on those who crush on books too! All the best to Mrs. S!

    The bottom image is a birthday card I made for Tomie and it later became the first design of my mixed media line,  Art For Your Heart. Creativity begets creativity, doesn't it?

    The bottom image is a birthday card I made for Tomie and it later became the first design of my mixed media line,  Art For Your Heart. Creativity begets creativity, doesn't it?

    Next we are lured along with the issue of our very own library card, and borrowing priviledges! We can take home books, bags full of them, and keep them for weeks! Then trade them in for MORE BOOKS. There are summer reading clubs and prizes, ice cream sundae socials! 

    It can escalate from here and for me, it did. Book. Of. The. Month. Club. Oh yes. Now a brand new book is tucked into your family's mailbox, addressed to YOU. Tearing it out of its carboard sleeve and racing through it the first time, and then savoring it out under the shady oak tree, before bed, with your friends, instead of watching tv on a dull and drawn out summer afternoon. Again and again. Until, the next book arrives and you slip last month's selection onto the bookshelf, because you don't have to give this one back, it's yours to keep!  And yes. I still have a box of my Book of the Month Club books. And yes. I still read them. 

    Scuttle, the Stow Away Mouse, a Book Of The Month Club book that became a read before bed book for Niko too.

    Scuttle, the Stow Away Mouse, a Book Of The Month Club book that became a read before bed book for Niko too.

    And so it goes. There are grown up book clubs to join so you can openly relish your obsession with your own kind, authors to meet who write marvels you must compliment them for, lectures to attend to expand your genre interest, bookshelves to build to house this ever increasing stow of good company. And every so often you must take stock. And when you do, you find that some of these endearing friends are ready to enchant, instruct, and illuminate another book junkie....partly because they have fulfilled their purpose with and for you and let's face it, mostly because you cannot cram another book in anywhere, and you need to, you have to, you must.

    And with that, I extend an invite to all my book junkie soulmates to meet an array of exciting and interesting reads that seek new owners and who will, I am certain, entertain and delight you:

     Come join me on Saturday, July 30th from 12-4pm (note time change) for the Private Preview Sister Sale at the Little House. Of course, much more will be available in addition to books, like clothing, altar and healing tools /supplies, candles, stones, crystals, linens DIY tools, furniture, a few antiques, home goods etc. - you never know what you might find.

    To leave off, a few acquaintances waiting to greet you:

    books like these inspired me to create projects like those below (Projects Not for sale). 

    books like these inspired me to create projects like those below (Projects Not for sale). 

    Cover of Magic Girl, a journal I made using an existing children's book.

    Cover of Magic Girl, a journal I made using an existing children's book.

    Magic Girl, an altared children's book. 

    Magic Girl, an altared children's book. 

    Magic Girl...

    Magic Girl...

    more fun art resource guides and below more fun projects (Projects not for sale )...

    more fun art resource guides and below more fun projects (Projects not for sale )...

    You will find books on all manner of subjects: herbs, creativity, novels, witchery, shamanism, reiki, healing, energywork, eastern thought and practice, yoga, watercolor, drawing, channeling, meditation, psychic / intuitive development, cookbooks, coffeetable books, magazines, childrens' books, folktales and lots more. 

    (The Little House

    947 Great Pond Rd.

    North Andover, Ma 01845)

     

    Street parking only. Park on side street, S. Bradford is best! Feel free to share this blog and keep your book junkie friends in the mix too.

    Hope to see you there!

     

    Welcome Kindred!

    Of Root & Raven Wing Reveal Celebration weekend!

    Our new website and blog launch is just in time to kick off the Fourth of July festivities here in the states.  We have a brand new feel and simplicity that I hope you’ll enjoy. Here’s what’s happening:

    • Tune into Of Root & Raven Wing’s first vlog interview. In keeping with the themes we explore here of beauty, nature, spirit and story, and being granted the rare opportunity to meet one of my favorite storytellers, I feel this vlog offers the perfect start- with acclaimed author Mary Sharratt. I was lucky enough to catch up with her recently and chat about her new book, The Dark Lady’s Mask: A Novel of Shakespeare’s Muse as well as her other novels, the Wild Woman archetype, the Divine Feminine and lots more. Mary tells how to win a free audio book or botanical perfume and meet Ophelia the Feminist Plague Rat! Mary is a lovely human being and storyteller, grab a cuppa and join us.
    • Check out the new essay, Daughter of Goddess in Wild Magic Way. As we enter a new month and influence of a new moon, I invite you to reflect on the beginning of your own awakening or maybe a new start you may be wanting to make in your own life as you read on.

    Here’s to another chapter in Circle Magica’s life story. I am honored you are a part of it.

    Blessings of the Green & Wild,
    Deborah Fay