Wild Divine Reflections

Keeping it real this Summer Solstice.

So I did a thing. A sweet teenager, probably 13 or so, came to my door with his dad. They were selling chocolate for a school trip.

Purdy's Chocolate.

I regretfully but likely condescendingly, smiled & told them 'No, sorry. It isn't fair trade.'

Cacao is notorious as one of many commodities us humans exploit one another for. It's responsible for child labour & slavery. Purdy's claims to give farmers fair prices & conditions, to only purchase sustainable cacao, & ensure people are treated properly. What they don't have is the 'Fair Trade' recognization on their labels. While it's true they can do as they claim without the designation, the fact is, I don't believe them. They are big business & they didn't bother to get the official recognition which even the smallest companies do.

There are no checks, no accountability to their claim.

As the father-son duo walk away I hear the father explain to his son what fair trade is. I thought that was awesome.

So I'm sweeping my floor, remembering my days of selling Brownie Cookies (ahem, full of palm oil don't buy them...), Jump Rope For Heart drives, & UNICEF at Halloween. Everyone was always so nice to me.

I thought 'It's so great that kids still do that sort of things these days. Too bad they're selling junk.'

This is when I start reflecting on travel & how great that trip to Japan will be & how the many journeys I've taken changed my life & shaped me.

That's when I knew I'd totally blown it.

 I humed & hawed about what I should do & finally jumped in my car, tracked them down, & apologized for being a total prat. Then I handed the young traveler to be $20, told him I think he's awesome, & asked him to learn more about chocolate trade in the world when he got home.

I doubt I made an impact at the end of the day but at least I saved a situation. My self-righteousness was not constructive (it never is). Instead of gaining an ally to a cause I find incredibly important, I would have alienated someone right as they are coming of purchasing power age. 

It's really easy to get frustrated when we see the choices people make but pushing at them & judging them is not going to get the results we want. It will do the opposite. 

Be kind. Be patient. Never give up.

xoxo, Jenn

PS Ditch the straw!

Struttin through the Wild Divine

Struttin through the Wild Divine

The age of the wild dame isn’t dawning, it’s here. The delightfully tangled, soul-shaped, Goddess figuring each woman carries in her pocket, like a secret charm, is a talisman of the wild, divine devotion she secretly covets. This new age of woman, man, & beast dangles its feet off the ledge of tomorrow as it flicks it hair at yesterday’s sorrow. Yesterday’s imprisonment & lost delusionment. 

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Beltane Blessings: Kupala's Alchemy

Beltane Blessings: Kupala's Alchemy

Since a goddess is at the very least as complicated as an human woman, the Goddess Kupala also possesses the injurious, flamable aspect of fire. While this further alludes to the theme of purification, transformation, & ahem, wait for it, alchemy (more on that momentarily), it's the nourishing ashes that begets the raw, unadulterated growth we all long for.

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Moon Magic: Walking Your Talk

I'm sassy, crassy, & bad-assy. I'm sarcastic & say fuck a lot. I have a lion-heart & my super-power is the art of the loving, firm scold. 

Also, I live in a state of love.

I see people whole; their beauty & their darkness. Who they are, could be, & want to be, both in their most beautiful & horrible states. I adore both. The light catches me; the darkness infatuates me. Seeing people so completely & adoring the package, means I love everyone, I interact with. I'm also very good at releasing these relationships when they have run their course. 

Usually.

It also makes me a little naive. Sometimes, I don't feel like extracting the lessons. Sometimes, a person gets to you so intensely that you lose a piece of yourself to them, even if the interaction was superficially meaningless. 

It's in those moments you have to be fucking brave.

& it's in those moments you have to walk your talk.

So when a man, who simultaneously stole & broke my heart, in two brief interactions, asked for a favour, it was time to do just that.

& thus, this video was born.

I suppose in this, we're force-fed the lesson & the darkness breaks.

Watch video on Instagram for the rest.

Winter Solstice 2016: 12 months of intention.

Winter Solstice 2016: 12 months of intention.

There's always a sigh of relief in the Northern Hemisphere when Winter Solstice comes & goes. We all, literally, see the cliche light at the end of the tunnel. The sun starts stretching after a long slumber, Yule is upon us, & the excitement of the New calendar Year get us ready for what's next.

Human's love the what's next.

We have the declarations of becoming anew & way too many gym subscriptions are purchased & forgotten, but the season never fails our giddy, excited selves. Even those who don't consider themselves festive can't help but get at least a little swept up by this promise. Because maybe, just maybe, this year actually could be different.

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Gratitude for water; A love letter from a broken heart.

Gratitude for water; A love letter from a broken heart.

Dear America,

This is a hard one.

I had to sit in the dark with journal to pen to even begin. There’s an unfortunate confluence of emotions that need processing. Mine. I require the sort of timeless reflection that can only beexpressed by hand. The inner work has manifested itself as a deliberate trip past the superficial talents of the every day. Here I sit, now barely scratching the surface. I’m depending on the quiet darkness to lead me inward & to the wisdom I need to process the tangled, yet simultaneously scattered emotions, you’ve left me with.  

I’m joined by presence of an elderly man. I knew he’d come. This Solemn Old Chief has been with 

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Finding balance (like a boss) this Fall Equinox.

Finding balance (like a boss) this Fall Equinox.

'Balance': finding it, looking for it, maintaining it, has been all the buzz since the beginning of time, for everyone. Work-life, social-home, the constant shifting of priorities & often overwhelming demands coming at you from all the sides, all the time. Some people seem to be pros at this. They have their shit together & are the masters of getting it all done while maintaining a sense of play.

I've never, ever been good at this.

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Lammas Blessings!

Lammas Blessings!

Metaphorically, this is a great time to evaluate your personal harvest. What seeds have you planted this summer? What are you nourishing & offering sunshine? Has it grown? Prospered? Are you ready to claim what you've toiled so hard for? I see among humans, including myself, a reluctance to fully claim what is ours. We tend to shy away from thriving to the fullest extent we deserve. Why do you think this is?

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Equinox Reflections on the FullMoon Eclipse

Equinox Reflections on the FullMoon Eclipse

I've been feeling a lot like a fair weathered pilot these days. Where I've had unyielding faith & surety if in nothing else, myself, I've found fear creeping in. It has me testing my resolve. Am I able to power through & push forward? Is this what I should be doing? Is it a rough patch, a test perhaps? Or is the universe giving me hints that maybe this isn't where I'm meant to be/what I should be doing/who I should strive to be? 

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Saint Valentine: the real story

Many of us know the gist of the Valentine story, but I suspect most (myself included until today) don't have it to the end. Saint Valentine is the patron saint of lovers. He lived in a dark & perilous time, in 3rd Century Roman Empire, under the rule of Claudius II (a.k.a. Claudius the Cruel). Dear Claudius had some wild ideas. He was against & actively persecute Christians & their one-God belief system. He was also finding it difficult recruiting soldiers. He missed the point that maybe the problem was him & the wars he chose to fight & decided it would be best to ban marriages between young people. He believed this not only would attract more soldiers (them being single & all) but also, that the soldiers would be better as they'd have no one at home to worry about. 

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Here Comes the Light! Winter Solstice 2015.

I have great memories of Winter Solstice past. I used to live in this magical place where Solstices & other seasonal shifts were deeply honoured. I know I use the word 'magical' a lot. That doesn't make it less so. This place is nestled between three different mountain ranges. Two rivers flow through & around it & there's an abundance of wild food that grows in its fertile soil. It's in transition. For decades, it was a logging town, but as forestry continued to fail in the province, it was forced to adapt. It has evolved & softened it's edges & continues to draw the most eclectic group of people. 

 *this photo is not mine

*this photo is not mine

People there rely on the land. They grow their own food, forage, hunt, raise animals, & even heat their homes with deadfall. This breeds a certain sort of person & puts them deeply in touch with their natural world. There's a wildness to them that matches the landscape. Season changes were one of many reasons to get together, eat copious amounts of food, meditate, & enjoy one another's company. 

Winter Solstice here is always greeted with more snow than most outsiders can imagine. Temperatures are well below freezing but the people of this land couldn't stand to be anywhere but outdoors. Campfires are built, skis strapped on & headlamps lit. Mulled wine is brewed & instruments played. It's a genuine celebration in the most traditional sense. Days are are about to get longer & as the poem below illustrates, the scales tip back in favour of the light. 

Once more the balance tips;
the scales of the year veer toward the light,
and we pray in that illumination
for peace.
~Patrice Haan, from We'Moon
 *this photo is not mine

*this photo is not mine

I really feel this this year. The space between Summer & Winter Solstice felt particularly dark & long this time around. Figuratively & literally. There's Syria, Paris, Trump, & overall pain for our most innocent. It's been tough. It's getting better. Here in Canada, you can feel the change. The new government, whether you like them or not, is singing songs of peace & working deligently not only to heal a fractured country but a fractured world.

Unity. Peace. Prosperity. These are the themes the light brings. These are the promises of Winter Solstice. Temperature continues to dip but we have the generosity of the sun to get us through now. The generosity of each other to support us as we wait for spring's first buds. It doesn't matter if you're not 'witchy' or 'spiritual', there is celebration in this time.

 *this photo is not mine

*this photo is not mine

In Celebrate the Solstice, Heinberg writes that “wisdom consists in knowing one’s place in any given cycle, and what kinds of action (or restraint of action) are appropriate for that phase.” Being in touch with your outer environment, puts you in touch with your inner environment. As you become attune to the subtle changes of your outer world, it alligns you to the shifts of your own conciousness & well-being. This can be challenging in the city where it's easy to feel a lack of natural space. Maybe this is why I'm homesick this year. It's not impossible though. It just takes a little more conscious effort, at least at first.

 *this photo is not mine

*this photo is not mine

Many of us are already gathering & celebrating this time of year. There are many ways you can celebrate the longer days & renewed sense of hopefulness. Sharing food with people you care for is always a good way to do this. Potlucks, as mentioned above, are ideal, with each person contributing their specialty. If you focus on featuring seasonal foods, this becomes even more potent. A 'gratitude circle' at this or other gatherings brings light to our hearts. Each person takes their turn & shares just one thing for which they feel grateful.

Get outside. The air may be crisp but the sun is there to get you through. Layer up & find some free space. Have a campfire, go for a ski. Get a little frost burn even. Rosy cheeks & rosy hearts are one in the same. 

 *this photo is not mine

*this photo is not mine

Allow yourself to slow down as winter months demand. Tune into your introspection & listen to the stillness of nature, as you meditate, pray, write, or cosy up with your favourite books. Drink tea. If you garden in the summer, it's a great time to bring out those dried herbs for a potent hot drink. The nostalgia & warmth will heighten you. 

Journal & make a list of areas in your life you want to invite more light. Focus on what you want to attract as opposed to what you want to get rid of. Instead of saying, I hate my body, try, I want to bring physical & emotional health to my life as I build strength & self-acceptance & love. Make it real. If you must, make a list of what you want to purge & throw it into that campfire you made yourself.

Make it your own. Remember, you can't do it wrong. Maybe all you'll do is look into the sky & thank the sun for it's return & for the many ways it nourishes us each day.

Regardless, the light is back & we have so much to look forward to!

 *this photo is not mine

*this photo is not mine

My sister is the most beautiful person on the planet.

(this post was originally a newsletter, but I felt it was blog worthy as well)

Both inside and out...

She has the most generous heart I have ever known and I know some true gems. This year for Christmas, she suggested that instead of exchanging gifts, we buy and donate presents to local children in need. Being from an adult only family, we happily agreed and it was with this sentiment in mind that I went out into the world last night.

I found myself at a big box store that shall remain nameless (not Walmart mind you), where I'd hoped to find an assortment of smaller gifts to fill a a multitude of goodie bags. It was disheartening. In the overstimulating mass of plastic goods, I was quite certain the world had gone to hell. Everything was so expensive and there was so much junk. 

No wonder families struggle. I couldn't imagine how hard it must be for parents to provide a beautiful Christmas for their children. I sympathize and finally recognize, the challenges my parents must have faced. I know it isn't about what's under the tree but it is about kids. While the best thing you can give them is your presence, life is truly magical only a few short years. All the bobble and billie-bobs, are part of that wonder, when you are tiny and young.

What inspired this idea in my sister - apart from her mammoth heart and immense sense of gratitude - was a story from her friend, who is a teacher, in one of our beautiful cities. This woman told her, that when asked what they wanted for Christmas, one little girl replied, her own blanket and pillow.

I'm sorry if this is hurtful to your hearts. It should be of course. While it is not my intension to hurt or shame you, it is my intention to remind you of how lucky we all are. To put things in perspective. Maybe you are part of one of these struggling families and this story is your home. I want you to know, we are with you. Not out of charity or pity, but out of genuine love and sincerity, for you and your tiny humans, as members of this confused, by-pedal race called humanity.

One thing is clear, we are in this together.

If this story inspires you remotely, I encourage you to drop something off for one of these great kids, because as my darling sibling says, "No child should live like this when we live in a beautiful country where we can help one another...a Barbie doll or pair of mittens goes a long way."

If you're eyes are feeling a little wet about now, don't worry, I'm right there with you.

With all the love in my heart,
Jenn xo

May all beings everywhere be happy and free...

Welcoming the Autumn Equinox 2015

Autumn Equinox is tonight, Wednesday, September 23, 2015. Equinox comes from Latin words ' equi' for equal, & 'nox' for night. It literally means equal night. It is one of two days a year, when the night & daylight hours are balanced. Fall Equinoxes invite longer nights as summer slips away. While night & day hours are officially equal on September 26, the sun is perfectly at the equator today. This is the tipping point. 

Despite the coming darkness -  or perhaps because of it - this is a satisfying time. Summer harvest is in, Summer bounty is fresh and there's finally time to rest after the toils of dust & dirt. The work we began during the Vernal Equinox has come to fruition & as the Earth itself begins moving inward preparing for cooler Winter months. The leaves change colour & the air gets crisp. We begin accepting that the soil, which has worked so hard for us all Summer, is ready to rest. All this is welcome however, because the pantries are full, the sweaters cozy, & we're ready for the break as well. 

As the Earth begins to move inward, so do we. 

Some ways we can invite Fall in:

  1. Freshen your alter to represent the season. Press dry leafs as the colours change; Bring in golds, oranges, & browns. Consider making a wreath or offerings of apples or ornamental squash.
  2. Meditate on balance. Reflect on the ways you can bring balance into your life. Make a list of the following four categories: mind, body, spirit, & heart & where you can create space to grow. Are you living in your mind? Are the wheels always turning, obsessing? Have you closed your heart? Have you forgotten to pray? Are you watching too much t.v & forgetting to read? Are you connected to breathe? Exercise? Eating well? Bring it in, be honest, & welcome the quiet opportunities to sustain change.
  3. Pray for peace. Peace for your city, your neighbourhood, your family, the world, the universe...& especially, for yourself. Part of balance is peace. Peace of mind. Peace of heart, peace in the spirit, & peace in the depth of your being.
  4. Find your gratitude. Create a list of what you'd like to invite to your life with the shift in energy. Give thanks for all you have to be thankful for.
  5. Embrace the darkness. People are often afraid of the dark. Like the Equinox, we are both made of light & dark. It's easy for most of us to embrace the light. It's 'light', easy, flirty, fun. It's all our pretty, shiny bits. We welcome it, adore it, & fight for it. The dark, we tend to struggle with. It's where the challenging pieces of our hearts live. It's the insecurity, the jealousy, the anger. These scare us because we've been taught to believe they are 'wrong' or 'bad'.  We forget that it is in the shadow that mystery resides. Where seduction lives. Where the night-crawlers make their home. It is in the darkness that we grow & evolve. What parts of your darkness have you rejected? What of your self do you avoid? How can you begin to integrate these & accept them? When you reject your darkness, you reject yourself. You cannot be a whole & balanced person without these parts. How can these dark pieces be brought into the light?

These are just a few ideas to bring in the new season. Make it your own & follow your intuition. There are no hard & fast rules when it comes to ceremony. There are as many ways to celebrate as there are people. My personal focus is going to be number two, bringing balance to my life in the most accepting, loving way possible. 

Wish me luck.

Getting Going...

So I've done it! It's taken months & years even of thought and brainstorming & mental roadblocks & finally, I just couldn't take it any longer. Launching the online store was the most challenging, yet completely simple thing I've ever done. 'Flipping the switch' & going live was like a big sigh of relief. Finally too uncomfortably uncomfortable to continue on in the constricting pattern of fear I've been living in, it was time to take a leap of faith & 'just go for it'. 

Going for it.

Really, there's no reason to hold back. I know the product is wonderful & I know you'll love it. I often consider how much more powerful fear of success is than fear of failure. If you fail, you just go back to what you'd been up to before the attempt. If you succeed however, there's no going back. Nothing will ever be the same.

So here's to potential & evolution & honouring the reality of my soul calling integrity.

With love,

Jenn