Celeste and June in November

“It’s Scorpio time,” said Celeste who as her name suggested paid some attention to the stars and their progress through the wheel of the year. “What is going to happen this year? Something always does….”

“Several somethings, no doubt,” said June dryly. “I always feel a little braced in November.”

“Is it time to conjure a few more wise ones? Wizards and witches, shamans and fools? It’s that season.”

“I think Owen is getting close to his Chironic wounded healer power and Thea is diving deep with her painting. Really everyone is taking some major leaps right now. The dream world has been hopping. And the birds are pretty excited. Almost spring-like in some ways or mid-summer when the raucous young ravens fledge.”

Celeste yawned and stretched thinking how tired she was and that tomorrow was a school day. A fire twinkled merrily in the grate, welcome sustenance on this chilly night. She licked her forefinger and pressed it to glean the remaining chocolate chip cookie crumbs from the plate Ariel had presented them earlier. “Maybe I should take your advice about retiring soon. Rhea is coming along nicely as a teacher and I can imagine leaving the Illahee School in her competent hands. I have my eye on Ariel too.”

“That would be a huge step for you,” responded June, not daring to hope her partner would act on the suggestion any time soon, yet knowing that the time was inevitably approaching. “It would be lovely to have you present here in a different way. I wonder what that would look like.”

“More sewing and clothes design for one thing. I could get serious about my astrology and astronomy studies for another, I still have such a strong feeling that you and I are here from the stars. I’d like to explore my connection with the Pleiades.”

“And I with Sirius. We are spirits learning to be human.”

“Oh no. I just thought. What if our true homes are different worlds. I don’t know if I could bear to be separate from you, dear heart.”

“Perhaps we’ll just need to come back here again…. so we can be together…..” Each fingered the single diamond in her own left ear, a pair split one holiday season to remind them of their origins in the stars. Each then reached across to finger the twin sparkling in the other’s ear, looking into each other’s eyes. It was a ritual that never failed to delight them. A quick hug sealed with a kiss and they sat back again in their corners of the blue chintz love seat drawn in front of the fire.

“I know that Pluto and Neptune are dancing in tandem. Shadow selves being fished out of the deep by the watery king, while Jupiter makes it all loom large. Is there something we should be doing to help things along?” asked Celeste, pouring herself a little more from the delightful Goddessy Damiana liquour bottle between them.

June added another log to the fire – wood Arlo had split – and then decided to warm up her cooling cup of Cindy’s lavender and tulsi tea nestled in the duck down cozy that Caliente had made for them. So lovely having evidence of younger friends all around them. The fire happily kindled more brightly and the stars twinkled outside the window.

“It feels like there is some heat bubbling in various quarters…. sexually I mean. It could stir things up to have some company in that realm.”

“Other female couples?”

“I don’t know about that. Sure, it would be nice to have more witchy lesbians around, but I have a feeling that’s not so important as raising the general heat level around here. Ours too, of course.”

Their hands reached across the small distance between them to clasp warmly and then following suit, their heads bent forward as well. Lips connected and softened, opening to allow tongues to do their dance. Each put a hand on the other’s cheek. And drank deeply. “You smell good,” said one to the other. Breath came faster for a moment then stilled again. They drew apart, their eyes open deeply to each other, content to let the stirring in their cunts simmer for a bit.

“Do you ever wish we were younger, Celeste?”

“You mean like I would have grabbed you hard in the old days and we’d be rolling on the floor by now with or without our shirts?”

“Nice memories, aren’t they?”

“I keep having the feeling that if there were more juice around us, we’d have more juice between us. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking….”

“When you wish upon a star…. “ Celeste sang. “Venus is rising again in the east aka Inanna returning from the Underworld to greet her lover.”

“Remember back when I was whining about how there was no one else to play with magically?”

“I wasn’t very willing to take part in those days, was I?”

“You were busy putting energy into the school. You still are.”

“I know,” Celeste said ruefully. “It’s all-consuming.”

“And worth it. You’ve helped a lot of young folks come into their own. Look at the marvelous crop abroad now, both those here and those out a’wandering about the globe.” June thought longingly of Marina Goodwin-Brown, a favorite of hers.

“Still…..”

“I remember I had to take myself firmly in hand and do the psi stuff on my own. Let my sand tray work be shamanic, even if my clients didn’t always realize it. I learned how to move myself in that space of magic and mystery, letting even ordinary, everyday actions have meaning and import. Model the world I want to be living in. It’s a challenging discipline.”

“You do it so well.”

“Not all the time, of course, but I had such marvelous training from my earliest years. I thank my mother and aunts daily. Plus I keep my life quiet enough that I can usually open my heart center to operate from. All my chakras really. As you know, it doesn’t work if I’m out in groups too much. No dancing or drumming for me much less city council meetings or board memberships, no matter how worthy the cause. I just can’t stay centered when I am pulled every which way by people’s energies and dramas and fears. I get seduced into caring too much about the details then. I can manage it one on one with clients if I’m very careful and cleanse after every session. Put their worry cares into my little cauldron to work themselves out on their own…. Of course, sometimes a particular group thing calls me….”

“Seems like there have been more than usual this fall. You got us to the Equinox Labyrinth, the Demeter and Persephone women’s ritual, and even Day of the Dead. I’ve been amazed.”

“I’m tracking that about myself obviously. Seems like things are heating up somehow and my Inner Guidance keeps saying I’m needed to be present – to nudge things a bit more than in years past. Maybe it’s all finally coming together….”

“Have you noticed Gabriel and Jasmine Terranova’s energy? It’s very intriguing.”

“Kind of sparking…. They haven’t opened up yet about all they know…. Getting their bearings I assume. And who on earth are Ken and Marsha? They’re taking Ursula’s class. I come across him wandering around in the dream time but he’s pretty unconscious….”

“I’ll bet one or both of them show up in your sand tray studio soon.”

“We’ve been waiting an awfully long time. Is it finally long enough? We always knew people would show up and grow into their power.”

“You helped heal a bunch of them.”

“As you helped raise a bunch.” June raised her teacup to salute Celeste. “We both are available when the big energies need us.”

“I’ve always thought it amazing that we can live here in a group house….”

“Luckily we have our little suite.”

“And Owen is such a steady soul.”

June raised an eyebrow. “You’re forgetting….”

“I suppose I am. But at least we weren’t all living together during his pot and alcohol PTSD years. Nor during his sadness while Susan died and then when Robin fledged from the nest. But that led him to invite us into the house. What a blessing that has been. We’ve helped him anchor, I think.”

“Not to mention the stray urchins who pass through here. We always seem to know which ones will work for us, and us for them.”

“Usually. I think Ariel is a keeper, though I don’t suppose she’ll be content in this house forever. She will stay in the area now.” June spoke as if saying it made it so which it did. “She’s home, you know.”

“Probably she’ll partner up. I have a feeling it might be with a woman, speaking of that.”

“Speaking of that.” Their hands reached out massaging knees and sliding up thighs to their matched pair of v-shaped crotches…. The flames kindled a bit more this time. “I do believe there is a little juice flowing, Sweetie. Shall we adjourn to the bed? As inviting as the fire is, this floor is awfully challenging to my hips nowadays.”

“Not just yet,” said June. “I’d like to dedicate our rising flame to the collective fire – juice and muscle, sinew and bone. Semen and fallopian tubes – even ours that aren’t doing much any more. Our memories will suffice and can flow forward from the past into the future.” She turned her eyes towards the winged Isis statue that knelt on the mantle piece surrounded by lavender sprigs, calendula and feather bouquets, several cowrie shells and a large piece of obsidian. “May the Goddess bless all our unions and the gods rise to the charms and calls of Venus, Inanna and Isis. It is time. Help me up, Celestina mia, my knees are a bit creaky tonight.”

 

 

Mother Daughter Ritual 2

Molly sat in the car feeling the tenor and tone of her mental and physical fatigue. “I’ve gotten this far – dirty jeans exchanged for clean; green plaid shirt for the blue…. Now I need to start the car, pull out the hand break, put it into reverse….” She tended to speak to herself when she was in this state. “Thank goodness I have an automatic shift now. One less set of details to track…. I don’t have far to go this evening. I’ll be fine.”

Her mind groped towards the ceremony ahead. She’d noticed before that she needed to be deeply tired in order to allow herself let go out of her doing self into her magical receiving self. “Does it take exhaustion for me to hear the voice of the Goddess? That’s hardly a healthy way to go about it…. but maybe it’s the best I can manage at this juncture in my life.” She took a deep breath. And another.

“How do I prepare myself for the content of this ritual?” She thought about her son Ethan who lived in the city. He was not far away and his connections here actually brought him home fairly often. No complaints there.

What washed over her was how much she minded not having a daughter. Her matriarchal line ended with her. It had been umbilical to umbilical to umbilical down countless generations of women. She was the last. Hardly a new thought, but tonight a particularly deep level of sadness welled inside her along with a pang of jealously for her sister in Southern Oregon who had two daughters, as did Ursula…. A sob welled in her chest.

Molly pulled to the side of the road to look out over the ocean for a good weep. Her thoughts were tortured. “If I had been able to stay with you, oh husband once mine, maybe we would have had another child that maybe would have been a daughter…. Who maybe would now have a child…. Faugh! Enough of these tired ‘what ifs.’ Perhaps the work for tonight is to let go of this hugey grief.” Releasing old pain was surely part of coming into new awareness – becoming healed…. Demeter could help….

 

Happily enfolded in her goddessy dress, hair only a little damp from her rainy communion with the elements, Ursula set up the altar in the middle of the frayed oriental carpet that had come from ReBound years ago. She spread a red silk cloth shot through with gold and set on it the vases and candles she’d prepped. Running back upstairs to her bedroom, she located a white bowl decorated with wheat sheaves. Back down again, she filled it with Mountain spring water. Should she light the candles now or wait ‘til people arrived?

That question was answered by a knock on the door that turned out to be Pia arriving early with an armload of grasses for the altar, as well as a red bowl of pomegranate seeds and a few whole ones.

“Molly got these to me yesterday so I could pick out the seeds ahead of time. What do you think about leading the young women off to the hot tub with the pomegranate seeds?” she asked.

“That might be perfect,” answered Ursula. “But how ‘bout we wait to see if it fits in the moment? I see more cars arriving. Will you smudge people in the entryway? I want to use the rain stick just inside the door. I’m thinking it should be a non-chatty beginning tonight.”

So Pia stood tall and elegant in a rainbow-striped caftan, her frizzy henna-dyed hair aglow, as women came into the large entryway lined with benches. Umbrellas and walking sticks stood in a tall handmade urn. Each hung their wraps on the hooks that once sported children’s jackets, added their shoes to the jumble that lived there and, one by one, stood to receive the cleansing wafts of white sage from Pia’s bundle. She waved it over each head, down the front with a spiraled focus over their wombs, and went all the way down to their feet, which some people raised to get the bottoms cleared. Then up the backs of their legs and spines with another spiral at their back heart before circling the head again. Finally with a kiss on their forehead or cheek and sometimes a whispered word or two, she sent them through the French doors into the living room.

She admired Cindy’s new purple hooded cape and thanked June & Celeste for their role as counselors, pleased to have them there though they weren’t mothers as far as she knew. Sensing Molly’s tiredness, she gave her a little extra attention until she could feel the ReBound Director sink into this place rather than the outside world. She winked at Thea who was looking around in wonder. Could this be her first time here?

Cali entered the familiar space of her old home with a smile. It always smelled the same, even with the overlay of whatever had last been cooked. What was it? Damp coats, smudge certainly and just a tiny whiff of the cat box. Her mom must have skipped that prep detail. She gave Pia a hug and her mom one too once she went through the door, where Ursula was tipping a long rainstick up and down each person’s body. “Could you light the candles?” Ursula whispered. “I never quite got to that.”

When it seemed like all had arrived and settled into a circle, Ursula moved to stand in a spot left for her. Everyone else stood listening as she continued the soft shuuush shuuuush of the rainstick. “Feel your roots going down into the ground like rainwater – nourishing, replenishing, centering into the Mother. Feel the Mother’s warmth coming back up into your root chakra and up through each energy wheel in turn, through belly, solar plexus, heart, throat, to your third eye. Feel washed and grounded by the Mother all through your body.”

Ursula stopped the rainstick and Molly dinged together the two discs of a Tibetan chime. “Feel this sound in your third eye. Feel it shimmer with your consciousness up through your crown to burst out of your head and shoot up past the clouds and the moon. Feel it swoop around the Universe. Then bring the starry light –  let’s call it masculine light tonight – back down into your crown, down past your third eye, through your throat and your heart to glow there in your diaphragm. Mother Earth and Father Sky. We are here.”

Turning to the East, the group called out associations with that realm. “I call on Eagle for the wider vision.” “Clarity.” “Inspiration.” “Breath.”

Facing South next, a few began to clap their hands and shimmy a little. “Fire!” “Warm hearts.” “Passionate feelings.” Cali glowed, this being her favorite element and direction.

Watery West brought new voices into the mix. “Dreams.” “Mermaids.” “Orca’s telepathy.” “Gray Whale.”

Facing North, the group began to stomp. “Ancestors, we call you in with all your stories.” “Polar Bear.” “Rocks and bones.” “The Mountain.”

Finally turning back to the center, and raising their arms high they called in unison, “To the Above.” Then they bent to touch the ground, “To the below,” and rising to extend hands forward, “To Spirit, the Great Center.”

Pia called out triumphantly, “The circle is cast. We are between the worlds.”

Thea felt a shimmer down her spine.

Ursula stood silent for a few moments, then took up her bright feather be-decked rattle and spoke into its rhythm. “The harvest is mostly in, the herbs are drying on the racks, tinctures are a-brewing. The serious rains are coming. It is close to the time for the bears among us to go inward. We are accustomed to the march of seasons here. But once upon a time in these latitudes and in many around the world, it was always summer. Demeter and her daughter Persephone (sometimes known as Kore) played in the fields and gardens year round. They wandered among the ever-growing plants and ever-bearing trees plucking what they needed. They nibbled on berries and spinach, threshed grain, and dug up carrots and beets. It was a rich, sweet life.” Ursula paused so all could remember and soak it up.

“Yet, there came a time when Persephone was beginning to feel a little restless. She had recently begun to bleed every month and was noticing the young men eyeing her. None of them had caught her fancy enough for her to forego the pleasure and security of her mother’s company…. So far….

“Then one day, as she was picking flowers in the meadow Persephone noticed a dark stranger standing at the edge of the forest. He was tall and beautiful, with a spotted wildcat skin around his loins and curling hairs on his bared chest. He was older than she….”

“Sexy,” someone pronounced and everyone giggled. Ursula nodded and winked.

“Persephone was very intrigued by him. Acknowledging her interest, he put the set of pipes Pan had given him to his lips and beckoning with his eyes for her to follow, he turned and slipped between the trees deeper into the forest. Who among us wouldn’t have been at least tempted to follow? Persephone, though hardly of an impetuous nature, never even looked back. She followed the stranger all the way to his gloriously bedecked cave deep within the earth….”

Rhea moaned and all the women followed suit, elbowing each other knowingly.

“Ah, but when Demeter tells the tale she sounds like a Mother Bear: ‘I was at the far end of the garden tending to the grapes when I looked up to see a dark bearded man shrouded in a cowl, grabbing my beloved Persephone. He dragged her screaming into a huge crack in the earth that had opened at the edge of the forest. I dropped my basket of fruit and dashed after them but the crack closed and they were nowhere to be found. I searched and called and threatened to no avail. I moaned and mourned, pounded the earth and tore my hair ‘til the skies became dark and the rains fell like never before. Not gentle rains but hurricanes and typhoons, one after the other. Such tempests seemed fit mourning for the abduction and rape of my Persephone.

“’This went on for months until all was laid waste such that famine threatened. The people, unaccustomed to having to fend for themselves, begged me to forget about my grief for my daughter and let the sun shine again so that their food could grow.

“’Finally able to hear their plight, I sent Hermes to the Underworld to beg Hades for her return, for that was who I learned had taken her. Hermes and Hades reached agreement that Persephone could come back but before she left, hellish Hades tricked her into eating a single pomegranate seed…. For the Fates had a rule that whosoever consumed food or drink in that place of death was doomed to spend eternity there and so the compromise was that Persephone must return to the underworld for six months out of each year. Thus each year we have six months of autumn and winter when I mourn my daughter’s absence, and six months of new growth and warm weather in spring and summer when she is returned to me.’

“This is how the mother tells the story, thinking the worst. And this is how the Patriarchy has told it through several millennia, being rather enamored of rape and pillage and macho displays. But what if Persephone was actually happily ensconced with her lover – a beautiful wild man who treated her magnificently, fed her elegantly, and loved her well and often. She did sympathize with her mother, of course….”

“Of course.” Was the group’s tone just a teensy bit sarcastic?

“So when the bargain was struck she didn’t mind going back up for part of the year, but she always returned to the dark world and her true love with joy and anticipation…. Now some stories say she was also “Mistress of the Labyrinth” and it is appropriate that we think of her as such given our recent journey into the Equinox Labyrinth. I also like to think of her as a healer – an edge-dweller, She who is willing to go deep into the mysterious shadows but who is also the bringer of Spring.”

Ursula sat down quietly with her hands in her lap, waiting to see what would happen next. It wasn’t long before June spoke, “There is another dimension to this story that I love. Persephone and Demeter came to represent the great wheel of life, death and rebirth. They were celebrated in ancient Greece in the Eleusinian Mysteries at this time in late September. The women danced wildly, took hallucinogenic potions, and were part of secret rites that have never been described to this day, it being death to any who told of them to the outside world.”

“That gives me shivers,” said Cindy, her almond shaped eyes aglow with ancient memories.

“Me too,” agreed Ursula. “I’d forgotten that part when Demeter came to me so strongly last week. It was as if she were asking for this ritual.”

Thea didn’t say anything, still being so new to all this, but thought of her Mountain Woman painting. Was it Persephone in her cave being with the shadow side? Or was it a local native version of a similar archetype?

Grounding at Illahee

School family in the spring

 Ursula walked down the hill through Sitka and hemlock, salal and fern to Illahee – the little alternative school where her kids had spent their formative elementary years, leaving to go to 9th grade in the public high school across the bay. She loved this long familiar path and took it often though usually she was headed on towards Mahonia and just gave a nod and a wink to the school as she passed. There was a road to the school also, of course, but she preferred this slightly more round-about route.

She and Charley had been part of starting the school, along with Pia, Owen, and Molly, and five or six other families almost 30 years ago, when their kids were all small. They had called it “parent run” though there had been much debate about what that actually meant. Probably there was still conversation about this, though the intervening years had laid down some patterns and traditions that could be followed…. or returned to….

Ursula was no longer directly involved but still got asked to stop in now and then, either for a special class or to help untangle some crisis or another. Wrangles were inevitable in such endeavors and institutions. Somehow the school seemed to have more than its share of upheaval but she always figured it was because people were extra touchy about their children – both around their individual child’s issues and about the curriculum, not to mention the direction of the school itself.

It had been a miracle every day it lasted in those early years. It was a miracle still. And now – “blessings on us all” – some of the children of the original students were attending. In fact, Owen’s daughter Robin was chairing the Board this year. “And soon,” she thought, shivers running along her spine, “My granddaughter Menolly will be coming.”

As she approached the schoolhouse tucked into tall alder and hemlock trees she thought back on the process of building it. The land was donated after they had been operating for a couple of seasons in people’s homes and garages. It only had an old stable on it and it took a loooong year of weekend work to turn that into two classrooms, an office and a commons area. In the interim they had rented a portable classroom trailer. Pia, who was the school secretary at the time, had her “head” office in the bathroom. Things were a little fancier now and at some point, long after her family was out, the parents had added another classroom.

There were still occasional conflicts about “academics” and the “3 R’s” vs. more elemental work and play, but at least at the moment, the parents seemed comfortable with a laid back approach. She thought perhaps it was because more of her children’s generation had experienced some sort of “free” school in their growing up, even if it wasn’t until attending colleges like Evergreen or Bennington and Hampshire. In her day only Pia had any direct experience at all of another way of going at it – she’d actually gone through progressive schools back east. Ursula and the rest had only been able to feel their way by instinct. At any rate, the kids heading off into public school still did just as well as they always had over the years.

She smiled at the multi-topped cedar that graced the entrance, thanking it for the protective presence it always seemed to provide. She patted the now fading totem pole that a parent from her day had helped the kids carve. The school’s name was a Chinook jargon word meaning something like “home place,” so the pole had always seemed appropriate even if it wasn’t part of the local native culture.

Ursula thought back to Halloween two years ago, the first time she was asked to come to school as its “resident witch.” She had arrived dressed for the part all in black, complete with the classic pointy hat. Studying natural cycles was integral to the school’s learning process so the kids immediately understood the compost she brought to connect them with the season’s energy of plants dying back. The cast iron cauldron she carried it in had been an added theatrical touch.

The children had told stories of their beloved dead – grandparents, pets and one father who had died the previous year – as they placed mementos on an impromptu altar to which she added a small animal skull and a photo of her uncle whose legacy had paid for the kiln they still used. She would never forget asking Flicker that day what he had in the largish box he lugged in from the carpool. “Grandma,” he’d said succinctly. “She died this summer.”

“Can…can I see her?” little August had asked. “Nope,” came the reply. “The box is sealed.”

When they gathered for Circle she’d told them how it was a witch’s job to be consciously in tune with the seasons of life and of the year. Once upon a time all people had felt connected to the sequences of birth, growth, dying back and rebirth, but gradually the job had become relegated to a special few. Then in a terrible development – part of a growing fear of and denial of death and nature in general – those few had been persecuted and even killed for their wisdom and role in the community.

Together Ursula and the children had brainstormed a list of remnants and reminders of the old wisdom that appear at Halloween – ghosts and ghouls and harvest pumpkins, witches characterized as warty crones, and the Hispanic culture’s Dia de los Muertos skeletons. Then exchanging her pointy hat for a crown of dried flowers, she had declared it time to celebrate all that they were learning of the old ways.

 

Today a lovely hum greeted her from the classrooms as she entered Commons. Was it just her imagination or did the children themselves seem calmer now than in her day?

Cindy was on the phone in the office so Ursula just waved a greeting. She could see evidence of Owen’s regular presence in the drawings of Oregon Grape and Oxalis on the walls. He came over often to be their naturalist expert.

“Oh goodie. It’s an Ursula day!” Otter Logan, Owen’s granddaughter, appearing from the bathroom, hugged her merrily. “Come see what I’m doing.”

Ursula allowed herself be led into the West Room where most of the ten older kids were absorbed in writing in their handmade books. Nestled in the corner, one of the older girls was reading aloud to August who was apparently visiting from the younger group. From the artifacts and the children’s own artwork spread about the classroom, it looked like the group was studying the Mayans. A partially built step pyramid was on the big worktable next to well-thumbed reference books opened to pictures of jungley ruins. Someone had been working a loom that was tied to a chair in another corner like those still used in Guatemala.

Ursula admired Otter’s illustrated report on the Mayan calendar, enjoying the “best guess” spelling that had “egul” for “eagle.” “A much more sensible way to spell it,” thought Ursula.

Celeste finished what she was doing with a new little girl that Ursula had never met before, and came up to give her a hug. “It will be perfect having you talk about grounding today,” she said quietly. “I’m feeling like we could all use a little of that, especially Sedona there, who is new to us. Her folks – Mom and Grandmother – just moved to Mahonia to open a B&B. I think she has a tendency to leave her body a lot – she kind of gets to bouncing off walls and doesn’t know how to choose a project and settle in.”

Celeste turned and raising her voice to teacherly firmness, said, “It’s time to finish up and gather for Circle. Otter, do you want to go tell the Youngers that Ursula is here? Flicker, can you offer Ursula a cup of tea? And who wants to see if she wants a cushion or a chair? Remember how we like to treat our Elders.”

Ursula chucked inwardly at the idea of being an Elder, especially as Celeste was older than she was and white-haired to boot. But the truth was she rather liked getting such royal treatment. It was a nice attempt on the part of the school to begin to honor the wisdom of those with a few more years under their belts. There was a lot more conversation generally in the world these days about the need to have the Elders stay vital parts of the community rather than the marginalization pattern that had emerged in previous generations.

Soon the sliding doors between the classrooms were pushed aside and the little ones from Rhea’s group in the East Room joined the circle on the floor in the wide doorway. Ursula was now ensconced on a purple cushion, appropriately decorated with a child-painted bear.

Some of the little ones were still squirmy and the new student looked at her self-consciously. Ursula reached out to pat Anise’s patched knee, the wiggler to her left, and smiled at Sedona on her other side.

“I really like that sweater you have on. Did someone make it for you?”

“My grandma,” Sedona answered shyly, though more at ease now that she had been noticed and acknowledged. “She lives with us.”

“Cool. I’d like to meet her one of these days,” said Ursula, making a mental note to ask Celeste what the grandma’s name was. She was probably no older than Ursula herself.

“Ok, kids, have any of you ever felt all wiggly and unable to focus?” Ursula began.

“My mom says I’m like a puppy sometimes,” said Otter.

“Sounds like you dash around a lot.”

“Yesterday I felt all twitchy and I had to go outside,” volunteered another child.

“I feel like that too sometimes,” said Ursula. “And sometimes that is exactly what I need to do. But today I’m going to teach you a process that will help when you need to concentrate or get your work done. It can help each of you on your own or when you all want to focus as a group. It’s called grounding.”

“My mom does that in her Medicine Circle,” said Otter.

“Does that mean like you touch the ground?” asked another child.

“Exactly. Good thinking. So I want you all to sit cross-legged, Indian style and settle your bottoms firmly on the floor.” More wiggling ensued for a moment, of course, and excited anticipation filled the air.

“Now take a deep breath….” said Ursula demonstrating. “And another…. Now pretend there’s a string in your tummy just below your belly button. It could be brown like a root or it could be gold or white…. Or any color. Red or blue.… Now imagine that string reaching down through your body into the floor…. See it going through the crawl space and into the dirt underneath. It goes past the earthworms and the bugs and other roots and the rocks…. lots of rocks and some water…. down, down. Deeeeeep into the Earth. Miles and miles. Feel it way down there, warm and cozy, settled in like a root does in the garden. Is it still the same color?” Ursula paused to let the potent image take hold.

“Take a deep breath, you’re not forgetting to breathe are you? Now leave the string rooted there and bring your awareness back up the string. Imagine yourself rising through the dirt and stones. Bring with it the settled, calm feeling you found down there. Bring that feeling and your consciousness up past the earthworms and out into the air under our building and up into your body again. Feel that warmth deep in your body. Feel yourself still connected with the Earth but back here in your body in this room sitting in a circle together.”

Ursula breathed quietly for a minute or two and the children did too, deeply grounded. “How did that feel?” she asked at last, turning to Anise. “Let’s go around the circle.”

“I feel like we’re all connected right now into the earth like trees in the forest.”

“Me too and I feel really calm.”

“My string was yellow and it liked going past the worms. I even saw a salamander.”

“The Earth said she liked me coming to visit like that and she hopes I do this more often.”

“I don’t feel like talking yet. Maybe I’ll draw you a picture later.”

“We could all do that after Ursula goes,” offered Celeste.

“I could feel my granny down there with me. It was like she was cuddling me on her lap,” said Flicker.

“It felt like I was swimming in the earth.”

“Wow. Out of the mouths of babes,” thought Ursula as she listened to their observations on around the circle. “Why am I not surprised? Maybe next time I’ll teach them about opening their pineal gland to connect to their Third Eye.”