Celebrate Summer: Body/Earth Nature Connection Retreat

Please join Stacey Hinden and myself in what promises to be a beautiful and deeply rich one-day retreat!

Gather with other women in a sacred circle as we open our senses to the delights of the land, source our body’s wisdom, and awaken our ancient relationship with plant intelligence. With the land overflowing in summer’s abundance, we’ll enjoy a truly nourishing experience, in which we cultivate deeper joy, harmony, and well-being for ourselves and with the Earth.

Body Intelligence. Learn a somatic movement practice to experience your body from the inside out. Enliven conscious connection with sensation and begin to weave the living wisdom of your cells with the intelligence of life around you. Experience a sense of peace and well-being in the present moment.
Plant Intelligence. Engage with Rose, Yarrow, and other plants in the fullness of their life cycle with all your senses activated. Learn to attune to the green beings and interpret their “language.” Discover what these plant allies reveal about your timeless connection to your inner self and the landscape.
Plant Craft. Learn a protocol and practice for engaging with a plant and their essential nature to create a vibrant and more potent food and medicine. Harvest a plant for making a plant spirit extract, and co-create with the plants as our imagination and the season suggests.
Solo Time in Nature. Cultivate a simple practice for “being” in nature, with all your senses activated.
Ceremony, Story, and Song. Create sacred circle and enliven your authentic voice through nature-based story and song.

Date: June 29th
Time: 10am-4pm
Cost: $115, includes $25 materials fee
Location: Beautiful Vashon Island, just a short ferry ride from Seattle, Tacoma, and Kitsap. Location details will be sent prior to each meet-up.
Enroll Now

This retreat is designed for women, and we welcome all sincere students regardless of how they identify. Please contact us with any questions.

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

I Walk In Beauty ~ a sacred song to restore you to harmony

 A very old idea is that when you situate yourself in the physical world–in relationship to the presence and energies of your place on earth and in the cosmos, where you are right now–you restore your right relationship with all creation, and with your inner self.

The simple notion of knowing where East, South, West, and North are in relationship to you (let’s also include Above and Below and Within)–and reestablishing your awareness of the archetypal energies of each direction has the effect of activating those qualities within you, or reawakening them.  You stand at the center of this web of possibilities and guidance for yourself.

The ceremonial practice of “calling in the directions”, by greeting the Four, Seven, or Eight directions and welcoming their qualities serves to remind you on an inner level that you are an essential part of this weave.  All of this is part of you, and you have a place in this weave.

Many associations exist for the Directions.  Here are just a few for the Seven (you can find associations with Eight Directions in my post Where Does Where You Are Say About Where You Are).  What are your associations with the directions?

East: Welcome, birth, new beginnings, inspiration, air, home, prosperity

South: Joyful focus, fire, Óran Mór (the Great Song or divine song within both the universe and within you), summer, adolescence

West: Celebration, community, knowledge, longing, autumn, adulthood, harvest

North: Elders, wisdom, battle, winter, larger perspective, survival

Above: Father Sky, heavens, stars, universe, story, ceremony, Great Mystery

Below: Mother Earth, bones, ancestors, microbial realm, soil, All Our Relations

Within: Mastery, hearth, sovereignty, soul, true self

In noticing and greeting the Directions, be sure to offer special attention to what lies physically in those directions for you, right then.  Notice the trees, the mountains, clouds, sun rising or moving across the sky, the stars.  Be as curious about these companions on your journey as you might be of a person entering a room you sense may be a kindred spirit.  Pay attention to what it feels like within you to experience the nature in each direction, encircling you.

I Walk In Beauty

Below is a sacred song for restoring us to Beauty — within our surroundings, the universe, and within ourselves.  I encourage you to learn the song and sing it to yourself whenever you need reminding of the Beauty all around you!

The words are:

I walk in Beauty

Beauty is before me

Beauty is behind me

Above and below me.


You can also sing a second verse (not sung in the video):

I walk in Beauty

Beauty is before me

Beauty is behind me

Around and within me.

A little about the video:

  Last July I participated in creating harp music for a worldwide Peace Hour, initiated by Harpists For Peace. Harpers Hall members played as a group and solo, offering music for peace. I led community singing of “I Walk In Beauty”, a contemporary setting of Navajo wisdom words to music. You can read more about our Peace Hour offering in my post How I Experienced Village At A Harp Gathering.

Here (revealed for the first time 🙂 ) is the video of my musical offering. Please join in the song.  May you experience yourself walking in Beauty!


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