Deer Medicine from the Beginning + Exciting News

Hello, dear Reader,

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. The deer have been strong in my life — with sweet and sad encounters with these creatures. One such encounter involved a fawn who had been hit by a car, and its cries of pain and fright as it was carried out of a ditch by two kind women. When nothing was left to be done, I sang to it, the softest of wordless sounds for a time, and then opening to words with such Threshold Choir songs as “Let Me Lie Down,” “May Peace be With You,” and “River, Going Home” — a beautiful song by Barb Adams, co-director with me of the Vashon Threshold Choir — and other chants.  All these songs as the fawn passed away. I never guessed that my second attendance with song at death would be for a spotted fawn who had barely known life.

These days, I’ve been in deep discovery with plants, and they have had much to teach me, much to share — especially as I apply Body-Mind Centering® practices to my explorations.  Invariably the deer are present as well, moving through the meadow, or lying in the grasses. I had something of an epiphany today with Hawthorn in a place where the deer had bedded only hours before, and I realized that it is time to resume my Deer Medicine Healing practice — and, dear Reader — to share that practice with you.

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Deer Song - photo art by Jane Valencia (c) 2014

Deer Song – photo art by Jane Valencia (c) 2014

So let’s start at the beginning.

Deer Medicine, plain and simple, is about deep listening. It’s about being as present as you possibly can in a moment, and using all the senses you can (even senses you can’t really identify with your thinking mind) to discern what is needed in that moment. If you are with someone in pain (of mind, of body) or even someone who is dying, you are listening and opening, being with them with the whole of your heart, the whole of yourself. Often you are doing what seems like “nothing” — as you hold them with your heart, hold them in a sheltering and witnessing space, hold them with an attunement to the Sacred that is the true nature of the world around and within each one of us, and which threads us altogether.

You are listening, listening. Waiting for something to emerge that feels undeniably like the right small gesture to offer. For me, sometimes it’s a gentle song in the softest of voices, or a melody that emerges that is the breath of the moment, the medicine that softens a resistance, that soothes like a fresh rain. Other times, I invoke Reiki, or speak silently with the plants, and that healing grace infuses the space and offers its own harmonizing and strengthening qualities, working in a mysterious but very real way. I can’t always tell at the time what good has resulted, but something is surely present, and I have come to trust its own timing, its own movement.

You have your own medicine ways. It may not be with song, or with plants, or with energy — but if you are reading this post, I’m certain you have your own creative healing magic. Tell me, dear Reader — when do you find yourself listening, listening, deeply with every cell in your body? What do you find yourself doing or offering or holding in response? If you wish, please share your reflections in the comment box below (you’ll need to scroll down to find it).

Before I go, I have some exciting news to share with you.

Women’s Nature Ways Year-Long Transformational Journey

My dear friend and colleague Stacey Hinden and I have created a brand new offering for women! It’s called Women’s Nature Ways, and it weaves our 50+ years combined experience exploring the realm of deep inner and outer ecological wisdom.

We’re inviting an intimate group of 10 women to retreat with us four weekends a year here on our beautiful Vashon Island home to explore somatic, energetic, and wildcrafting practices to awaken our connection with bodymind intelligence and plant spirit. We’ll slow down and explore both in the studio and out on the land – moving, communing, wild-harvesting, creating, cooking, visioning, and tapping the wellspring of our most grounded, loving, powerfully-attuned selves.

I’d be so grateful if you could help spread the word about Women’s Nature Ways, and even more delighted if you chose to journey with us this year. Registration is open; we begin this November. For more information, please visit our website  WomensNatureWays.com

Gracias, dear One!

WNW-Flyer-8-6-15

The Deer Lead The Way

At sundown I wander to Hawthorn, who I might say is my first tree teacher. Wind and rain have scattered some of her “clothes” upon the ground–lichen of all sorts. I must gather Usnea tomorrow and make some medicine!

I wander the edge of the field, following animal trails that branch off with unexpected frequency into small tunnels in the shrubs. One tunnel slashes through a hedge, and I find a pile of deer droppings (ah, the sign of the Deer 🙂 ).

So, the deer can pass through this hedge! That means I can easily do so too — or: more easily than I can flounder and crawl through a raccoon trail. I push back some vigorous Holly, and enter the edge.

In a few yards it opens to a neighbor’s yard, but I stay within the hedge. This space is its own world! I discover a pair of trees that my eyes had passed over in the “outer world” — twin Cypresses, shrouded in Holly.

This may be a lovely space to get to know Holly. I am currently journeying with the trees and plants of the Celtic Tree Ogham. I will write more regarding that journey in future posts.

Do you have a secret hideaway in a hedge or in the shrubs? Look around your yard, or in your neighborhood. Better yet, settle into a place of quiet, open heart. Ask the plants, the green spirit, or even the deer if they would be willing to help you find it. I’m certain there is a secret space amidst the plant world waiting just for you. Likely, even more than one!

When you find it, or if you have one already, please tell us about it here!

Deer and Green Man – photo by Jane Valencia.    Jewelry by ????

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