Prayer-Book Making, And Update

First, the Update …

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted! Here’s a brief update on other writing I’ve been doing.

I’m finishing a draft of a children’s fantasy novel called Because Of The Red Fox, and am posting chapters of this work-in-progress on my kids blog, FoxTales. Characters from the book speak about what’s happening in the novel, as well as comment on the goings-on in their lives on an island called Yonder. I invite you to check it, and share it with the kids in your life!

My website Wise Child Learning is devoted to herbal learning and nature’s magic adventures for kids of all ages. I’m posting about plants, my own herbal adventures, sharing herbs and nature with kids, and more on the blog there. If you’re at all interested, check that out too!

… And now, Prayer- Book Making:

Another project that’s up are Prayer-Book Making  workshops that I am presenting with book making artist Julie Shannon.

As part of that project, I’ve decided to dive into an experiment in prayer-book making, which I’ve begun right on this blog.   Prayer-book making can look and feel like anything with which you might experiment with creatively, from your heart.  It is an expression of your journey with the Sacred, and how that looks and feels in your life.  Really, (I’ll repeat!) that can be expressed in anyway you like–as a scrapbook, a journal, a collection of quotes, photos of loved ones, some mix of all of those or none of them!

In upcoming posts I’ll share some past prayer-books I’ve created, and glimpses of prayer-books that speak to me.  But today I’ll just start by inviting you to view my new prayer-book, a web-prayer-book,which I’m calling Jane’s Book Of Deer.

Please don’t think that this web-book is any kind of expression of “how” one should create a prayer-book! It absolutely isn’t. But what I hope it does is invite you to view your life, your imagination, your heart,  through the lens of the Sacred–something more than yourself, however you experience that more/beyond/forever-deepening.

I invite you to step into your conversation with the miracle of existence, and begin crafting your own prayer-book, a whirl of that magic, in whatever form flows from your being. A garden can be a prayer-book. So can a dance. Our lives are prayer-books. How do we celebrate and honor this conversation with the Divine, the Universe, the beyond-ourselves that lies within and around us and includes us? Let your prayer-book be that  curious wandering and wondering!

Prayer Book - art by Jane Valencia (c) 2003

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 Forest Mass

So it’s Christmas Eve, and I have a yearning to attend a midnight mass … but in thinking this urge through I realize that I have no desire to attend a Catholic mass or any other church service. I grew up Catholic, and my medieval mind has a yearning for something like Gregorian chant … but my wild heart yearns for the forest.

Yes, I may head out into the woods at Midnight, light a candle, sing and improvise a few songs under this dark night (it being the New Moon, there will be no moon in the sky; it being cloudy today, stars are not likely to be here either). But what sparked into my heart was an old idea of mine, newly remembered: to create a “Forest Mass” — ignited by Celtic soul and sprinklings of song and poetic word, and the wisdom of the trees, stars, earth, the Light that returns (harp too!).

So this is my quest for the next year (in addition to completing my novel “Because Of The Red Fox”) — to discover and create this Forest Mass, a quiet song and celebration woven of the trees and earth, the stars and true things. Breathed in by dreams.

I’ll share my journey with you here. Please join me.

And merry everything to you, in this Season of Miracles. May you know blessings and beauty, and the holy light that burns in your heart!

Snow Forest - photo by Jane Valencia