The Antlered Deer Goddess

I love how with each turning of the year, I discover more and more of the deep mythic heart of the world. In so much that on surface seems mundane and superficial in what I perceive as the post-modern world, are truths that are powerfully present — as if in sleep or hibernation, or awaiting the time, like King Arthur and the knights in a cave, when the people and the land have most need of them.

That time is now.

And so, in various areas of my life — and perhaps you are finding it in yours — I discover power, beauty, mischievous and awe-inspiring magic.

Here as our wheel round the sun tilts furthest toward the longest night, I am finding our world rediscovering who Santa’s flying reindeer really are.

Gift of the Antlered Deer Mother - art by Jane Valencia

Gift of the Antlered Deer Mother – art by Jane Valencia

For one thing, the antlered reindeer in winter are female. And Santa himself, in shamanic garb, may — in this lore — represent a sacred power quite different from what is portrayed today. For the mythic and ancestral truth at the heart of Santa’s flying reindeer please read this beautiful and world-opening blog post: “Doe, a Deer, A Female Reindeer: The Spirit of Mother Christmas.”

As a child, crazy about deer (still am), my favorite Christmas story was that of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. As a young adult I strode away from anything reeking to me of commercialism around the holidays. Eventually I became aware of so much majesty that moves through our dreaming at this time of year, in our participation in the circling of the year, and embodiment of earth’s energies as we tilt away and toward the sun again. As ancestral myths and sacred knowings resurface, I feel myself turning the Sun, and the Soul of the World with eyes and heart that once again know wonder and awe, and the child nature that is ready to fly with the deer in the starlit longest night sky.

As we approach the Solstice, what magic are you discovering or rediscovering from an ever-deepening heart-space?

For more Deer Magic, please visit:
An Antlered Advent – Art Contributions
Seven women present art, musings, and more about their relationships with the ancient Deer Goddess and the Deer. I am honored to be included. You’ll find photos by me there, plus a link to “The Abbots Horn Dance” — Celtic harp music by Spookytree, my duo with Deb Knodel. At that link you can listen to and, through the end of this month, download the track for free!

Finally, I finish here with an illustration. Wild Sweet Blessings to you in this Season of Light!

The Year She Grew Her Antlers - art by Jane Valencia

The Year She Grew Her Antlers – illustration by Jane Valencia

 

 

Renewing The Story

Spring returns to the island.

Teeny tiny whorls of Cleavers (but they have been teeny tiny all winter)

Child-nettles flinging upward — I swear, growing an inch a day!

Long fingers of yellow-green starred with purple-red catkins, a dangle of worms from — which tree? A nibble reveals that immediate dryness–the complete astringency of Red Alder. A quick check on friend Web confirms what my taste buds and body already know.

Oh, and the resinous Cottonwood buds! The windstorm of a few days ago helps me here. So easy to walk along the road and begin this year’s harvest, walking a harvest with friends that took place four–or is it now five?–years ago.

I’m waking up with the land, stretching my arms after a long sleep punctuated by fevered dreams, restless awakenings, sun-dapple imaginings.

As I drive down the long stretch of Cove Road, as straight and tall and probably in some form, just as old
as the Western Red Cedar I leaned against only minutes before, I feel the strong straight connection,

old home with new

It’s like picking up that book once more, finding my place, taking up the threads of story that have crisscrossed and wandered and played about in the wind. The plants and I make medicine.

A Tale and A Storytelling Festival

Deep nature connection, nourishing our true selves and our communities by way of nature, and adventuring in nature with our imaginations, curiosity, and creativity has long been my passion, and has mingled in numerous ways in my harp playing, writing, illustration, healing artistry, and workshops. This Sunday I’ll be offering harp and story at an event that mixes much of the above for me!

Please join me on a little journey ….

In 2007 a group of parents banded together to establish program of deep nature connection for kids. They created a vision and mission for the program — “to ignite relationships between the natural world, self, and community”, hiring some amazing instructors, and aimed to never turn anyone away from any of its offerings due to lack of funds. I was one of these founding parents, and helped craft the vision of what was to become the Vashon Wilderness Program. You can read our full history and legacy here. I resumed membership of the VWP Board last year.

In our program, kids spend their day learning just like our ancestors did – engaging all of their senses to co-create a living ecology for them to love and sustain. With Nature as the living teacher, mentors subtly stretch student’s awareness making learning invisible, effective, fun, healing and empowering.

I’m amazed and delighted that VWP has held to its commitment to support any family who needed assistance in meeting tuition, by awarding almost $50,000 in scholarships to date! This year we saw a dramatic increase in requests for support. As VWP grows, we are holding true to our mission – to give the gift of nature to as many kids as we can.

We are poised to mentor more than 185 youth this year. Will you help us make sure that everyone who wants to participate is given a chance to do so?

Please join us for tales and free delicious treats to delight your senses at our 5th Annual Storytelling Festival. Hear some great local storytellers: Steffon Moody, Mik Kuhlman, Lauretta Hyde, Steve Jones, Jane Valencia, Cyndi O’Brien & more
I’m honored to be offering story and harp at this event!

Here are the details:
February 5th from 4-6pm at the Vashon United Methodist Church. $7 individuals, $20 families. Tickets available at Vashon Bookshop.

If you can’t make the Festival (obviously, many of you reading this can’t possibly get over here!), please consider making a donation to the Vashon Wilderness scholarship fund by way of its website, or by mailing a check to:

Vashon Wilderness Program
PO Box 712
Vashon, Washington 98070

The Vashon Wilderness Program is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Any amount, small or large, is greatly appreciated!

Help us in our mission to leave no child left inside!

~ thank you!
Jane

Vashon Wilderness Program Annual Storytelling Festival