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.

Deepening Into Deer Medicine

If you’ve followed my blogs, you know that from time to time I write vigorously, then back off, then come back, then grow silent again … In the past it’s been a path of definition and redefinition–deciding what I’m all about right now, what is it that I really want to share? — then backing off because something just isn’t quite in place.   It’s been no different here on this blog.

But now in the darkening season, the time of dreaming, and settling into the roots and stones of nature and our collective nature as humans responding to the turning of the year, I’m just filled with the certainty and surrender that I may as well give into my own nature!

Since I was a child I’ve been fascinated by deer.   I read every piece of fiction I could get my hands on about deer, and every bit of fact too.  I read Bambi by Felix Salten (the book that inspired the Disney movie) literally 50 times.  This book was no cartoon depiction of deer–it was a rich tale by a man who clearly spent a great deal of time in nature, observing wildlife and the ways of animals.  The book Bambi became my bible, my threshold into the Ways of Deer.  But it might as well have been about the Ways of We Humans as creatures of nature, a journey into our own original ways  of being.

These ways  include moving silently through the forest, paying attention to the birds and other animals who are letting you know all the time what is actually happening in the landscape. These ways include knowing about herbs and trees and how they might be food or medicine.  These ways are about listening to your intuition, your gut instinct, and the perils of ignoring the information that is available to you in many forms at any time.

This blog is about deepening into your true nature, about following your “original instructions” — the soul design woven within you, guiding your every step. It’s about deepening your perceptions, your awareness of yourself as interwoven with nature’s magic.  It is about learning and relearning life ways that are close to the earth, that restore our spirits and bodies and fuel our hearts, and help us to connect with one another.  It’s about perceiving the wise village, the ancient teachings, the animal ways, and deep song that moves through our lives, even in our confusing and chaotic modern day world.  It is about helping you discover your unique creative healing magic and offering it in practical down-to-earth ways in your daily life, in your homes, and in your communities.

I invite you to join me in the forest.  And if any of what I write resonates with you, or inspires you in your thinking and path or in anything else, please comment or ask questions.   I’ll point out trails and meanders that are interesting to me, but I’m far more likely to head further into the foliage if I know someone else is interested in adventuring there too.

As always, I encourage you to share your story, your medicine ways. Does a particular animal call to you?  How has it whispered or shouted or dreamed through your life?

Deer Watch - photo by Jane Valencia