Eco Spiritual Blog



2012 is Over – Now What?

April 9th, 2013

In 1987, I started thinking about 2012.  The Harmonic Convergence pointed us to the end of the Mayan Calendar and moved the New Thought/ New Age/ Holistic community into a 25-year period in which astral alignments, star-gate openings and meditations for world change were the norm.

Well – we made.  Its April of 2013 and all the worry about the end of the world has subsided.  Now what?

I’ve noticed that a larger than usual number of “lightworkers” (spiritual leaders who have driven the past 25 years of activity) are undergoing issues with their health.  Many are experiencing life events that challenge perception and belief.   It makes me wonder.  Perhaps its just that we are getting older.  The age factor cannot be denied.  Still – I wonder if its more than that.

We have just crossed a threshold.  If the world can now be expected to demonstate dramatic change – where will the changing start?  The prediction was that 2013 would usher in a time of world peace and well-being on the planet.  What will move us in that direction?

If we are to find peace, perhaps the journey manifests first in our own bodies.  How hard have they worked over the past few decades?  Frequency change, resonance change, psychological change – all of these have been aspects of the work done to make way for transformation.  All of these affect the physical form.

E.E. Cumings said “unbeing dead is not the same as being alive.” Maybe our life changes are moving us toward living more fully.    The evolution of our perceptions may be the next most likely step toward a new way of living.

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Sea Goddess

February 28th, 2013

I was 17 when I first met Yemaya  in the darkness of night on a deserted beach in Bahia, Brazil.   Amazing ebony-skinned “Aunt Jemima” women, spinning in the amber light of a crackling fire, chanted  foreign words into the wind and I was mesmerized by their flowing layers of turquoise, sea foam, and blue.  Twirling and stomping, their heads, wrapped in cloth, spun to focus on the sea.  They called to something…some one…singing in surging harmonies that rose and fell with the breeze.  My body wanted to move with them, yet I stood motionless, watching them….watching the ocean …expectant and sublime.

After an amount of time whose length I cannot guess, my teenage friends – other exchange students from around the world – tugged at my elbow until I was forced to step away in order to continue our journey to the discothèque.  33 years later, I can still feel the pull to join in the dance.

She remained nameless for more than a decade, until the Goddess culture brought me my first teacher, for whom She was the face of the Divine.  Though my teacher spoke of Her often, it was many years before our practice together revealed a picture of yet another group of blue-skirted twirling women – and then I came to know Her by name – Yemaya, Mother Ocean.

Now, I am not an ocean girl.  I find the sea big and fierce and frightening – and rarely enter any deeper than my knees.  Still, to sit on the shore and rest into the wind brings me a deep and healing sense of peace. It is as though I were sitting at Her feet, rustling blue skirts ebbing and flowing around me, listening to the honey-thick moistness of Her whisper.  “Its all gonna be fine, Sweetheart,” She seems to say – and to the core of my being, I know it will be.

A feminine face of the Great Mystery, Yemaya is an Orisha of the Yoruba religion. Africans brought Her with them when they were carried to the shores of the Americas as captives. She is the ocean, the essence of motherhood, a protector of children and, as Goddesses go, Yemaya is powerful.

She is the life-giving portion of the ocean, mostly found near the coasts and in many stories, Yemaya gave birth to everything. Often depicted as a double tailed mermaid, She is kind and giving, and takes a long time to anger –  but when She does, be warned, you have a hurricane on your hands.

Having come to understand that there are many, many faces we can place on the Divine in our desire to know Spirit more deeply, I experience this particular expression of the sacred as an ancestral force and I am humbled by Her loving presence.

While here at the beach, I have sat with Her, sharing my prayers, for myself, and for dear ones with special needs – a heart  healing for one,  new employment for another, and comfort for one who has recently seen a parent begin the journey beyond the veil  – and She has listened and given me wisdom, and touched me in the way a mother does when she soothes an overwhelmed child.  I have revisited our first night over and over again, recalling the flickering fire’s glow dancing on the waves as Her presence enveloped me in mystery.  I am filled with gratitude.  And so, in following Her traditions, I make an offering…an energy exchange – in return for Her gentle embrace – this writing – that the Spirit of Yemaya might be known and remembered…no matter the miles between thee and the sea…

Priestess, Pastor, Peacemaker

May 21st, 2012

I began studying Earth-based traditions in 1987.   For more than twenty years, I called myself “Pagan.”  Of course, for more than twenty years prior to that I considered myself Christian -  and of the Catholic persuasion most of that time.

In 2005, I was awakened from a dream and all I could remember was a simple statement; “Ecospirituality is not a religion – its a way of life.” I researched the word ecospirituality, which had not been part of my vocabulary, and found it strongly connected to the Franciscan nuns.    Ecospirituality became the topic that bridged my Catholic upbringing with my Pagan practices.

Having been ordained in Interfaith Ministry in 1996, one of the few formal paths of ministry available to Pagan people who do not gather in traditional congregational settings, this dream gave my ministry new direction.  I realized that, if I could find the right words, I could teach what I had come to value so much – access to the Divine through Nature – without teaching any theology.  I could teach to anyone,  of any faith tradition, without intruding upon their freedom to worship in their own personal way.

My experience of the Divine presence in Nature has never been about worshipping Nature.  Nature has simply provided a reliable and consistent doorway to Oneness.  It can happen on my front porch as easily as it happens in the deep woods.  The warmth of the sun, the beauty of the trees, the soft blush of wind that caresses my cheek…and my consciousness shifts.  Each facet I notice opens me to the brilliance of the Diamond, and faster than I can think it, I am interconnected with the “All.”

Through the Colorado Ecospiritual Center, I have had the pleasure of sharing this practice with people of diverse faiths.  We have talked together, shared ceremony and ritual, celebrated rites of passage, and compared ideas and experiences.   I have shared the concept that Nature is “The Original Holy Book”  and  that it has much to teach us.  We seem to all agree that whether we experience the Creator as energy or persona, we long for direct access.  I love sharing ways that Nature serves this purpose for me.

Today, so many years down the road from where the journey began, I am ministering in a Church that teaches “Practical Christianity.”  Lots of folks have asked if I have “converted” my beliefs.  How does a Pagan Priestess teach Christology.  I often ask myself that too!

In truth, it is easier than I expected.  The challenges come not from the varying beliefs or practices, but from my own imbedded theology – ideas I accepted as true when I was child, just because someone said they were true.  Today, I am releasing what no longer serves me – from every spiritual path I have ever walked.

Within me, bridges have been built.  On a weekly basis, I invite people to walk across these bridges with me, offering them the possibility that there is value in all spiritual teachings and practices.  I do not stop being Priestess because I pastor.  I do not stop being Minister because I stand at the crossroads of many paths and celebrate their confluence.

The ego desires to name what cannot be named.  We may choose any label we like, run our spiritual perspectives through any lens, yet each and every one of us has our own experience of God.  No two can ever be exactly alike – and no label will ever fully describe the indescribable presence of the Divine.

As we evolve, during this transformative time on our planet, we have distinct choices to make that will inform our future.  Perhaps we could consider letting go of our labels.  I am neither Catholic, Pagan nor Christian.  I am, somehow  existing within the heart of the Divine, animated by that Source, and evolving.  And – even as I write, I know that these words are not a full statement of the truth of my experience.  There is so much more.

My ecospiritual experience brings me closer to my own soul, closer to the spirit of what is holy, and closer to each of you. We share “common ground.”  For this, I am truly grateful.  I remain committed to sharing Ecospirituality whenever I am given the opportunity.  It is in the arms of Nature that I find what can never be defined by labels.

Ancestors

October 8th, 2010

Dear Friends,

Autumn blew in with gusto this morning, bringing darker skies  to set the scene, as blustery winds danced the leaves around my backyard.  I am hesitant to face the chill in the air.  It seems the summer was just here, and I was marveling at its warmth and brilliance.  How quickly the seasons change!  I feel myself scurrying to keep up.

It is the time of year that ancient cultures remembered the Ancestors and a time when we, of the modern world, would be wise to do the same. Exactly who are “the Ones who came before us?”

Webster says an ancestor is “someone from whom you are descended (but usually more remote than a grandparent).”  For the purpose of this discourse, it is not familial ancestors we speak to, but instead, it is those whom we credit with initiating our societal ways of life.

And, with that in mind, it is important to mention that remembering and honoring are different things.

Not all of our ancestors are worthy of honor.  Many “who came before us” knowingly did great harm.  In pursuit of power, for lust, and in the name of greed, there are those who came before us who railed against the ideas of freedom and liberty for all, who felt “Equality” must be qualified, and that money was the best criteria for judging a person’s worth.  Such values as honesty, compassion, and generosity were deemed weaknesses – and, when identified, were used as doorways through which the Power-hungry exploited others in the sacred name of Acquisition.

We have inherited many beliefs from these people – and many fears.  From them, we learned that, without money, we are weak and powerless.  We have been taught that if we do not HAVE, then we must fear for our survival because we cannot count on each other.  Over the eons, we have come to live as if receiving is better than sharing and as if the pursuit of happiness must come after the pursuit of a pay-check.

It is time to question these ways of being.  As we of the World move forward through difficult economic times, confronting such challenges as climate change, lack of healthy food and clean water, cultural differences and war, it is time to ask ourselves how we got to this place – and, more importantly, what it will take to get to a different place.

It is time to take a very honest look at our Ancestral roots and to realize that we do not have to continue on this path.  It is not too late to cultivate such qualities as honesty, compassion and generosity in our lives.  We must first acknowledge that these are, indeed, qualities that we value in one another.

When we freely share with one another, our fear of being without will slip away and be replaced by  a feeling of confidence in humanity.  In sharing and helping others, we find true POWER – the power to make the world better, instantly!  Our compassion for those around us makes the world safer for ALL of us and allows us to be open and honest with each other.  Compassion begins in our ability to see each other’s faults and failings as part of the human condition – and to forgive them.

With compassion, we must look at the heritage left by our Ancestors, knowing that they could not have predicted how thier choices would affect our lives.  We must forgive – and we must do something different than they did.

Every single one of us has the ability to do something today to make the world feel safer for another.  How will you help?  What can you give for another’s comfort?  Who needs your compassionate ear? With whom will you share a truth that is healing? By claiming this true power to change our world, we change the future, a tiny step at a time.

As Autumn’s cool winds blow through our lives, let them dance away our distrust and release our hopelessness, making room for something new.  In this way, we will become Ancestors that may be honored.

Blessed be,

Ahriana

A Call for Solidarity on 9/11

September 3rd, 2010


from the Board of Trustees
Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions

As the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, there are competing views about the meaning of these tragic events.

Across the interreligious movement, there is deep distress about the intentions of some to identify the Muslim tradition, and the Muslim community, as the villains, rather than a few radical individuals. Unfortunately, too many in the United States know little about the true aims of Islam, nor do they know that Islam is fundamentally a religion of peace and human solidarity and that the majority of Muslims around the world are peace-loving citizens who unequivocally condemn terrorism in the name of religion.

Regrettably, recent opposition to the building of mosques and community centers in several cities has led to violence against Muslims and the desecration of their sacred texts. Burning that which others hold sacred is an act calculated to spark anger and fuel violence. We believe that such actions are unworthy of our nation and stand outside the shared values of our traditions which call for mutual respect and harmony.

Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions call upon people of faith, spirit and goodwill from all traditions to use the solemn occasion of this 9/11 anniversary to reaffirm our commitment to building a better world for our children and grandchildren, and to affirm our solidarity with the Muslim community in this country and around the world.

In this spirit, we offer this Call for Solidarity:

On this 9/11 weekend, we invite all persons and communities of faith, spirit and goodwill everywhere to lift up their prayers, voices and thoughts to spark a new attitude and sense of urgency, and to enkindle a different flame:

  • a spark that will ignite in us again the impetus to bring comfort to those who lost loved ones on that terror-filled day, and in the violent conflicts and wars that followed from it;
  • a spark that will ignite in us again to stand calmly and firmly against the forces of violence, distrust, hostility and cruelty;
  • a spark that will ignite in us again to stand with those who find themselves on the margins of our society – the homeless and those losing their homes, the documented and undocumented immigrant, the unemployed and financially insecure;
  • a spark that will ignite in us again the commitment to seek healing and reconciliation at home and abroad, in the cause of justice and peace.

In whatever ways that are in keeping with our individual and unique sacred traditions, we issue a call to stand together this weekend of September 10 – 12 in order to quench the fires of hatred and violence in our nation and our world, and to become aflame for the cause of a truly “beloved community.”

The Board of Trustees
Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions

Peace

April 14th, 2010

In January, I was in Hawaii.  In February, I was in Switzerland.  In March, I stayed at home and enjoyed the beauty of the blossoming Colorado springtime, with its sporadic sunshine mixed with snow flurries.  It is now April and, in a few days, I am leaving for Dubai, then on to Bali.  Life is such an adventure.

What amazes me the most is that no matter where I travel, Mother Nature is waiting there – inviting me into her arms.  I find such deep connection with the Divine.   There is something experiential about the doorway Nature provides that is beyond the thinking mind.  It is my very soul that awakens.  Everything about Nature is connected – and interconnected.  And I am Nature, as well.

Whether I think of Nature as an expression of God – or Mother Earth as and expression of Goddess – I am so blessed.   The oceans, mountains and deserts offer such wisdom.  There are so many voices to hear.  Each tree is a holy verse – and each animal carries a story of such profound importance that I wish I had time to memorize them all.

This sacred experience is true Ecospirituality.  It is beyond words  – beyond thinking – and can only be experienced.

Ecospirituality is a rich and wonderous awareness of the sacredness of all life, in every form.

This sacredness brings me incredible peace.

I send that peace to you, this day, wherever you are.

Valentines Day

April 14th, 2010

Love

It is easy to love a laughing child.  It is easy to love the playfulness of a  kitten.  It is easy to love a beautiful sunrise or a bright yellow harvest moon.  It is easy to love a soothing lullaby, the first spring flowers, and the mist that floats across the lake.  It is easy to love the smell of a home-cooked meal, the crunch of leaves underfoot in the fall, the sound of the surf, and the person who loves you in return.  It is easy to love….

or is it?

Valentine’s Day is Sunday, and I am reminded to care for the tender hearts of those in my life who do not find love easy at this time.  In my circle of friends, there are those who are alone, those who have suffered great loss, ended relationships, are alone, those for whom “love” is a painful word, those who feel overwhelmed in a red and pink heart-shaped sea of chocolate and roses to which they cannot relate.

I am reminded that “Love” can hurt – as in ” I am doing this because I love you” -  or “You would, if you loved me!” – and that “Love” can stop a person from saying “No” to what is harmful.

“Love” is a powerful word that is used more often than not, without thought.  It is a word most people long to hear – and long even more deeply to feel.

To my friends and family who are alone this Valentine’s day, I want you to know I am thinking of you.  I want to share that I honor the difficulty of this day for you, and that I wish I could make it easier somehow.  I want you to know that I love you – and that I mean something when I say those words.

I mean this:  You are dear  and important to me.  I value your presence in my life and am grateful for you.  I appreciate who you are and what you are struggling through.  I see the unique expression of the Divine that you are in the world – and it warms my heart to be with you.  I am sending my love, in the most healing and gentle way I am able.  I am wishing you peace.

To those who have someone to share the word “love” with – and especially those who are graced with many to whom they might speak this word – I invite you to look around you.  Who do you know who needs to hear the word “love” come from a sincere source?  Take the joy and gratitude that fills your heart this Valentine’s Day and share it, not only with those who are close to you – but also with those for whom love is not “easy” at this time.

Say the words “I love you” in a meaningful way and you will bring comfort, and peace.

Time to Gather

November 5th, 2009

In the past month or so, I have had three different invitations to participate with circles of friends who are feeling drawn to “gather. “  I received another this morning, which prompted me to consider “why?”

As I look out my door at the scads of leaves that lay, dry and brown, about an inch thick across what would otherwise be my front lawn, I remember the summer, when the trees were full, lush and green. Now, their bones are bare and exposed – and silence replaces the whisper of the wind rushing through dancing foliage.

Remembering moves me to reflect on my own summer adventures, the things I had hoped to invite into my life when the spring was last beginning, and the inner-journey that took place in the wintery time of darkness when 2009 had just been born.

This time of year invites us to consider where we have been, what we have done, and what we have learned through our experiences.  The obvious “end,” whose crunchy sound and fragrance echos under our every step, inspires us to remember the burgeoning earth in its springtime, the sweet fruit of our summer learnings, and the spiraling return to death that is an undeniable finale in this familiar cycle of living.

As fall leads us toward the ebony arms of winter, our final harvest is one of
wisdom – filled memories.  By reflecting, we harvest our passions, our pains, our joys and our sorrows.  We give meaning  and value to what we have experienced.

When the last harvest is complete, we are compelled to share these memories and reflections with each other – the treasures of life that are stories worth telling – and worth hearing!   Our reflections are full and rich and soul-stirring.  They are the culmination of another year-long cycle we are completing.

It is time to gather.

The “Holiday Season” is upon us.  Traditionally, in our modern western world, we gather in large numbers for parties and celebrations.  We work so hard to prepare for what ends up being a short amount of time with those we love, and often, because we are so many gathered in one place, we have little time to share with one another in a heartfelt way.

This year, I suggest something different.  Lets make time for tea.

I suppose you could replace tea with another beverage of your choice – but Tea is something so simple to prepare.  It offers a comfortable elegance that we are missing in our world today.   Its warmth soothes the soul and opens the heart.  Tea can be shared, along with a great conversation, in a single hour or two.   I think gathering for tea is an “old way” that deserves rebirth.

It is time to gather – in a new “old way.”

Over the next few months, I plan to share tea with a few close friends.  I look forward to gathering in intimate circles and weaving our tales of life together in interesting and artful ways. I delight in the anticipation of what I will hear from the hearts of those who are dear to me. Yes, I will make time for tea and for sharing in a deeper way this season.   Won’t you join me?

It is time to gather – to share our stories – and the kettle is on!

Releasing

October 10th, 2009

My yard is covered in leaves all of the sudden.  Just a few days ago, I was thinking how green the trees were.  Today I am reminded how quickly change comes.

I’ve never been exceptionally fond of change.  I like structure and familiarity.  I value what I have come to know as “reliable.”  Consistency brings me comfort.  Still, in every year, Nature gifts us with a time for “letting go” and reminds us of the importance of change in nourishing the future.

As I watch the leaves scatter, I am aware of the pieces of my life that lay strewn across the canvas of my being at this moment – old friends who have moved on with little or no explanation, dreams and visions that never quite got off the ground, beliefs about life, and love, and relationship, that have been proven inaccurate – aspects of existence that have changed in ways I could not have predicted or prepared for.  All of this lies on the barren ground of my autumnal self, dis-integrating.

It is time to let go.  When fall comes, the trees pull in their sap, calling this source energy back to the roots and base.  They close off the connection from branch to leaf, and allow a “falling away” to occur.  I wonder if the leaf mourns the tree, or the tree grieves the exiting leaf. It looks so simple and easy.  All that is necessary is a gentle breeze to help detach one from the other, it seems.

It is Spirit that provides the breeze I need to make my own separations.  It is the breath of the Divine, arriving in a blustery gust, that sings to me, ” What has been will nourish what is yet to come. Let change happen.”

It is time to de-compose my story about sameness and change.  It is time for a falling away of what must become something else.  A gentle whisper, like the cool wind dancing leafy spirals across my yard, speaks of gratitude and sweet memories, and I feel the deepening.  I call my own life blood back to my roots, pulling from the center of my history, the strength to go within.

All that has been feeds all that I am, composing itself in spring, growing through the summers of my life, and de-composing again in fall to become rich, earthy compost that sustains my next becoming.

What is released is never truly gone.  It simply changes form to serve a greater purpose. Perhaps change is not so bad after all.

Abundance and Enough

August 30th, 2009

Enough is enough.

In the Harvest Season, which runs from mid-summer through much of the fall, there is a lot of discussion about abundance. I am finding myself very resistant to this word. I have so much abundance in my life

-an abundance of dirty clothes to wash
-an abundance of boxes to unpack from our recent move
-an abundance of phone calls to return
-an abundance of writing to complete
-an abundance of “stuff” requiring care

“Abundance” is not a word I am comfortable with right now!

Instead, I have been sitting with the word “enough.” That word feels much better to me. How much is enough? How much food is “enough?” How much money is “enough?” How much time with my children is “enough?” How much “stuff” is enough?” The list goes on.

Assuming “abundance” is “more than enough,” I must be clear about how much is “enough” before I can identify whether or not I have “more” than that! And, of course, to identify “enough” would require that I am able to make a distinction between “need” and “desire.”

Just imagine what it would be like to settle into “enough!”

What if you had:

- enough love.
- enough friendship to savor.
- enough adventure and exploration in your life.
- Enough work to be purpose-full.
- enough food, shelter, clothing, and clean water to feel safe.

Can you feel the sense of satisfaction that “enough” brings? How about the recognition of personal accomplishment, or the feeling of safety that follows recognition of “enough”? In a state of “enough,” it is easy to relax a little.
We can be more discerning about our purchases, our commitments and our time. “Enough” is a catalyst for environmentally sound decision-making, and provides space in one’s life for the state of “Being” rather than “Doing.”

As we move into the fall and winter, we will gradually sink deep into the arms of Morpheus and dream about what brings us happiness and joy. If we understand that we have enough, we can fully enjoy this time. We can read books that feed our souls, drink warm tea, and listen to music that uplifts our hearts. We can take long walks and observe the beauty of the natural world around us. “Enough” is an incredibly powerful calming agent.

Our ancestors went into the winter making sure they had “enough” to get them through till spring. They tallied what they had, determined what they needed, and worked collaboratively to create what was lacking, so that they could rest and feel safe.

So dear reader, here is my challenge to you: While the sun is still high and the days provide the light to see by, take an inventory of your life. Explore the difference between “need” and “desire.” Make yourself a list of the areas in which you have “enough” and commit to spending the next few weeks addressing only those areas where “enough” does not yet exist. Plan to go into the dark time with “enough” – so you can rest and rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit.

Incidentally, “Time” is the gift Spirit offers to those who make friends with “enough.”

Blessed be,

Ahriana