It’s been a season full of travel. A flight a month since August. Settle into a breath and some. Focus on my work companioning leaders. Tend to home and heart. Then shift back to preparing and packing. One more to go, in mid-December, and then to sink and surrender into the gifts of winter’s cold and darkness.
Already the anticipation of immersing myself in the making of photo books from two remarkable journeys. Slow dinners of roasted roots and braised meats, best with our favourite fulsome reds, cellared especially for now. Wool and down, fleece and flannel, coats and sweaters, hats and scarves, boots and gloves, took over closets and beds on Labour Day, a month early, but prescient given snow that came well before summer went. Though underneath, until recently, the still vibrant and beauty of autumn. This is the wisdom medicine of such early snows, trusting the hidden beauty remains.
One of these flights included a trip to Saltspring Island, BC. In October the stars and my schedule finally aligned to attend an annual dream retreat hosted by Toko-pa Turner. I’d been intent to sit in this circle, to learn and practice more deeply the artistry of dreamwork, as a facet of my life work of attending to the inner life to live and lead with kindness, clarity and wisdom. For three days, this multicultural, multi-generational circle of thirty women feasted on the harvest of our night-time dreams, and the meals lovingly prepared from the organic gardens of Stowel Lake Farm, an intentional community and wellness centre.
Invited to bring a talisman for the dream altar, and for introductions, my initial choice of a small ceramic evoking Sedna of the deep waters was impulsively over-ridden by Athena, the Wisdom, Warrioress and Writer. A gift from beloved friends and mentors, with whom a year earlier I was initiate in how to be, witness, and serve in shadowed and breaking times, in a complex circle of chaos and conflict.
She served me well, that statue forged in her Greek homeland, reminding me of tender fierceness and fierce tenderness. Qualities to embrace and embody. Needed now. Placed on the altar’s corner, she became a presence of “unselfconscious majesty” reminding me of who we each truly are. Need to be. Now. For the duration, she became witness to our sacred dreams spoken in silence, written in words, sang and danced in sunshine and moonglow.
During our final morning, as homage this circle, these women, our dreams, and to what Toko-pa called our “Holy Helpers,” I quietly noticed and wrote, and then offered to the centre as farewell
Fiercely Tender Moments
One sits under the portico. Eyes closed.
Soft breath attuned to soft falling rain.
A colourful blanket wrapped about her shoulders,
keeping her safe and warm in the early morning cool.
Another sits writing down her dreams.
Her turquoise heart gift glows with appreciation for a new-found friend.
I can see her as her twenty-year old self. Imagine a long-haired hippy…strong, tall Scandinavian beauty.
Noiselessly shuffling tarot cards.
Clunky wooden bracelets a contrast to her long, elegant, gold ringed fingers.
A grace, a beauty that is remarkable, enthralling even.
One, then another, and another circle around the dream altar.
Honey scented candles softly illuminate these simple riches.
Taking in, reverently touching. Bowing before soul-filled symbols. Talismans of thresholds.
What is teacher? Healer? Warrioress? How do they feed and inspire my own visionary?
Heads bent over journals.
Pens softly scribing night time dreams, day time visions.
Hot creamy coffee sipped.
Buttered toast tasted.
Thick rain pouring steadily down, muting the vibrancy of this autumn morning glory.
Kitchen clatter reminds us of home soon to come.
Across the room a smile of morning greeting.
Closer still, a touch, an embrace.
Still the sacred silence honoured.
We are power in the heart.
Sweet honey in the rock.
PS – This is my first post since I “freshened up” my website. It’d been a few years and was time to refine the focus. Take a look and let me know what you think. Thanks and kindest regards.