Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Summer Camps and Retreats are open for registration!

Beloveds, we are so excited to offer our first ever Summer Camps and Ritual Retreats! I've been a counselor, director, leader, and teacher, and attendee at summer camps and retreats for years, so you can imagine how tickled I am to have the chance to create these ones:
Mama Gaia's Herb Camp and the Young Women's Wisdom Camps are designed especially for the old souls and goofballs, the daydreamers and free spirits, the young people who love nature and yearn to be a part of something meaningful and sacred, and who need a place where they can be proud of being themselves. Kids and teens deserve a magical, safe, and welcoming space where they can be creative and silly and utterly wowed by how cool the world is and how awesome it is to be part of Nature. They need a chance to sink into the sacred. They need to learn the skills they need to stand true to themselves, to practice self care, and to take care of the Earth and each other. And they need to be loved for who they are, how they are, every day.
That's what these camps do.

Payment Option
Choose Your Camp!
Name of Camper

June 25th 10am-June 26th 4pm
New Moon Wisdom Weekend: A Retreat for Tweens and their Wise Women
Calling all moms, aunties, grandmas, and mentors of tween girls (ages 10 to 13) - this is your chance to connect with the special girl in your life as she bridges the gap between girlhood and womanhood! Girls, this is a chance for you to see the adult in your life not just as "nanna" or "mom", but as a trusted friend and guide who can support you on your journey. Together we'll play, laugh, roast marshmallows, share stories, and explore what growing up means. Join us for a magical, tech-free weekend of love, music, craft, and celebration. We'll finish our retreat with a Women's Circle Ceremony, where we commit to respecting ourselves, honoring each other, and supporting our girls as we welcome them into their womanhood!

July 23rd 10amJuly 24th 4pm
Young Women's Wisdom Weekend: A Ritual Retreat for Teens and the women who love them.
Moms, aunties, grandmas, and mentors - this is the weekend you've been waiting for! Reconnect with the young woman in your life as she discovers her gifts, stretches her wings and begins to fly. Teenage women (age 14-18), this is a chance for you to bond with the adult in your life not just as "nanna" or "mom", but as a trusted friend and ally who can support you on your journey. Together we'll sing, drum, play games, create art, explore women's healing traditions like yoga, massage, and herbalism, and share s'mores and stories around the fire! We'll finish our retreat with a Women's Circle Ceremony, where we commit to respecting ourselves, honoring each other, and supporting our girls as we welcome them into their womanhood!

Gourmet vegetarian meals include: 1 breakfast, snacks, 2 lunches and 1 dinner (please let us know if there are special dietary concerns). 
Tent camping, please provide your own camping materials (tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad). Please bring appropriate outdoor gear. More information will be emailed to you upon registration.

Payment Option
Choose Your Weekend!
Name of girl/teen
Name of accompanying adult(s)
Summertime, here we come!

New Beginnings: Insight for the Start of 2016
Under the cloud-strewn gaze of last year's last full moon, 
Among the beach grass and ocean waves,
Mystery perched briefly on my altar,
and whispered in my ear.

"I have a message," She said, "For those who are not here. Will you share it?" 
"Lady, of course," I promised, and opening my bag of stones,
pulled the runes she called.
Inguz. Ansuz. Raido.
She stroked their etched and ancient faces, 
Leaned close to stoop and kiss my brow, 
and left. 

Here is what She told me to say to you:

Inguz: A rune often associated with intuitive and reproductive energy, Inguz is the rune of New Beginnings, of fresh starts, of deliverance from old tensions and uncertainty and that which has been building but which is not yet finished. If you have been stuck in an old pattern, especially within relationships, now is the time to gather your courage and change things. Finish what you've started. Drawing Inguz means that right now, you have the force required to achieve resolution and completion so you can move forward and continue to walk your Path. Out with any stagnant energy - the time has come to break free of any and all such obstacles, especially those you have lived with out of fear. Safety comes from letting go and moving on.

Ansuz: The rune of knowledge, Ansuz also symbolizes wisdom, understanding, listening, speech, and clear communication. Practice the art of listening, and be attentive to the unspoken messages that others might be expressing. Is there advice or guidance you need? Answers are everywhere, though you may not know how to recognize them yet. Open your eyes, ears, and mind to the language of the universe. Be on the lookout for signs, signals, and reminders - they are everywhere. Perhaps looking to your ancestors is in order, or perhaps you just need to clear yourself of preconceived ideas and be willing to think outside the box. Don't shoot the messenger, and don't discount the message because you're not comfortable with how it arrives. Is there something you need to say? Think clearly and speak your truth. You may need to be creative in how you do so. You have the ability to express yourself with controlled power and the capacity to advocate for yourself and others with clarity and compassion. Continue developing these skills.The more you acknowledge your inner truth, the wiser you become.

Raido (drawn in contrary):  Raido is the rune of Journeys and Movement, especially spiritual movement and the quest for knowledge and fulfillment. Drawn in contrary, this stone symbolizes stagnation and warns against lack of movement and failure to progress. Have you been putting off something important? If you've been considering quitting or not starting what you know in your heart of hearts that you need to do, forget it. If fear is the thing that is stopping you, this rune is another reminder that hiding from your truth will no longer keep you safe. Raido reminds us that difficulties and challenges are to be expected, and are inevitable and necessary steps on the Hero's Journey. Taking the easy way out will not strengthen you, so egg up! It may mean losing contact with someone or lead to unexpected outcomes, but that too is part of your Path - you cannot move forward while staying in the past. Embrace change and be prepared for these new experiences to shape you into the Spiritual Warrior you are destined to become and which the world so desperately needs. When it comes to our sacred life journeys, there really are no shortcuts.



As Samhain marked the third and final harvest festival, it is often considered the end of Summer and beginning of Winter, though in my woods I must admit I look at this time as deep Autumn, a chance to welcome the brisk air into my lungs and the Pleiades back into the sky. In the Woods and Fields, the little people are stockpiling the last of their acorns and seeds, most of the trees’ leaves have fallen, and only a few late goldenrods, asters, and tenacious apples add vivid color to the muted wash of late fall’s beauty. The still-green grass lies protected under a blanket of maple and birch leaves. Despite the silver filigree of light frosts, the wild motherwort and mints are vibrant against the unfrozen soil, protected by the hollow stalks of their taller, grassy kin.
For us busy humans, these next few weeks are a time of respite after the harvest and before the chaos of the holiday season.

As a society, we tend to get very manic around the beginning of Winter, which is the opposite of what our bodies crave. Modern life doesn’t encourage us to stay burrowed and hibernating when the snow tells us to, nor does it allow us to change our pace to the slower, less frenetic pace that our bodies crave. Instead, we go to work and school and the gym expecting to have the same Summer energy levels, and blow through most of our winter reserves before reaching the Winter solstice! No wonder we work so hard to jolly up the season; we’re scared of what will happen when we burn out in January!
It doesn’t have to be like that. Mama Gaia says that’s not the way the Wheel works.
When a person forgets to honor the seasons, he or she can fall prey to dis-ease. When a culture tries to push through the darkness with an endless stream of buying and decorating and gorging and holiday spice-ing, they too are out of balance. The urge to dance in the dark is very real (and ancient), but taken to extremes, it can leave us even more depleted than if we hadn’t honored the season at all.

In this cold climate, our mammalian bodies are undergoing some serious changes.
Without the freshness of local fruits and leafy vegetables, our vitamin and mineral intake is lowered. Digestion changes with the seasons to a slower, winterized rate, so probiotics are extra important right now! Metabolism slows to conserve energy. Our circulatory system works extra-hard to keep our core organs warm, at the expense of our extremities. With less sunlight, we have less vitamin D, which causes us to store calories as fat instead of burning them as energy, changes our skin and hair, and especially affects our mood. Our circadian rhythm changes and our wake-sleep cycle adapts to shorter days, making us want -and need!- to sleep more. For people with Seasonal Affective Disorder, lowered seratonin levels and heightened melatonin levels may lead to trouble sleeping, increasing their seasonal depression. Our immune systems, hormones, and endocrine systems respond as well. Joints stiffen and mobility changes. Our respiratory system handles dry, recycled air, and has to work extra hard to stay moist and safe.

So how do we stay healthy? Ideally, we are sleeping more. We are also taking long walks in the sunlight. Despite the fact that at this latitude the sun is no longer is able to supply us with the Vitamin D it does in the warmer months, we still experience a host of mood- and health-boosting benefits from its presence. We are keeping our cores warm, as well as our extremities. We are drinking lots of nettle and alfalfa tea for vitamins, and we have moved away from cold drinks to hot ones. We are supporting our immune systems by eating cultured foods and supplementing with Vitamin D in mushroom or supplement form (I personally aim for 10,000 IUs a day from now until April, far above the suggested 2,000).
We are also taking adaptogens, such as reishi, ashwaganda, tulsi, schisandra, rhodiola, ginseng, and eleuthero. Adaptogens are a small classification of safe herbs that help the body to handle stress, both short and long term, by counteracting any adverse effects of a physical, chemical, or biological stressor by generating non-specific resistance. They pair well with tonic herbs (such as nettles, milky oat, and rose), nervines (such as skullcap and catnip), as well as herbs that support cognition and mental health (such as bacopa, ginko, gotu-kola, and rosemary).

And finally -and perhaps most importantly: Just as the plants go inward to conserve and replenish their energy, we are also careful to honor our need for quiet, solitude, comfort, and gentle comforts. Though our culture pushes us to go, go, go, Nature tells us to slow, slow, slow. Honor that rhythm.

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