Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Solstice Surprise

I spotted this lone, little beauty in my back yard while on a barefoot,
Solstice stroll.  What a lovely surprise!

Divine Messenger

"Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." - Henry James

Cercropia Moth, Messenger from Beyond
Blessed Solstice everyone!  Midsummer has come and what a bright, beautiful one it is.  I'm having a lovely summer so far.  A little different than what I've experienced in the past, but not much different than what I anticipated it being.  Lots of weekend travels, cooking out and mowing.  Not much 4-wheeler riding this year, but lots of walking around barefoot in the backyard.  And lots of hot, sunny days perfect for perfecting diving board jumps and reconnecting with old friends.

If we want to stick our feet into the rabbit hole for a spell, we can discuss that which is slightly below the surface.  Summer is the time when the masculine energies are at their peak.  Action manifests as a result of the springtime idea planting.  I've spent a lot of time woeing and wondering when my writing practice was going to spring back to life.  I've prayed and cast spell.  I've sought advice and researched.  What I've come to find is that inspiration is fickle, and sometimes you can't find it no matter how hard you try.  Sometimes you have to just work your ass off through the sludge and wait for inspiration to find you.  Sometimes creative work is a hard-earned battle.  And sometimes it is a summer afternoon when you begin in the morning, and the next thing you know it's evening and you've spent the whole day doing what you love.  Time has no meaning when you are congruent with your purpose.  But sometimes you just have to trust the mystery and the messenger (or the moth).

"Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead." - Gene Fowler

After 18 months of wearing creative shoes of concrete and slopping through the shit, I am happy to report that I finished the last chapter in Part 5/Book 5 of The Wicked Garden series last Saturday.  Interestingly enough Saturday evening Jon, after working major overtime, came home with a dead Cercropia Moth (me holding it above) that he found where he works.  It is a beautiful, fragile thing.  I didn't see it as a message then, but two days later I thought perhaps it was a totem.  I looked it up online, and indeed... the Cercropia Moth is considered a messenger from beyond, and I am listening so close for the message.  Also serendipitously, I had pulled the Transfiguration card (Death) from the Wizard's Tarot Deck before I saw the treasured moth or knew Jon had found it.  (See the image below)  Perhaps I just needed to get to the end of this Part 5 in order to close a certain part of my life.

The first four parts of this epic novel I am writing flowed out of me so fluidly two summers ago.  I remember that summer so fondly.  I had a year of sobriety under my belt, and my creative river was free of pollution for the first time in many years.  I was full of life.  Aphrodite served as my creative muse as the ideas and passion flowed, and Hermes served as a very vibrant, healthy animus as my ideas were put to the page.  It was the best summer of my life.  I have never felt so inspired and so on purpose.  Ever.


But the good old days weren't always good and tomorrow's not as bad as it seems (so says Billy Joel).  My writing all but came to a halt in October of 2010 (right before a bitter divorce was to begin that spring).  I struggled through Part 5.  Oh it was a struggggggle.  And I am so happy to see the first draft finally complete.

"Go ahead, struggle through it.  Pick up the pen already and put it to the page and stop whining. Write."  - Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I began Part 6 last night.  Just a couple paragraphs, but it was something, and I'm happy that I'm still in writing mode.  A dear friend of mine from high school came back into my life about a month of so ago.  She too has been writing a book, and so we are finding encouragement and support with each other.  It is almost a dream come true to have a cheerleader, an earth angel nudging you toward your purpose.  I am utterly grateful for her reappearance.  It couldn't have come at a better time.

In addition to having human support, I've also invoked the muse Calliope for assistance, and will be looking to Aphrodite and Hermes again as well.  Hermes means so much to me, and I feel he comes to me often, but I find myself needing to look closer.

So now here I sit within the mystery once again.  The mystery of the blank page.  The mystery of inspiration, imagination and peculiar messengers.  If I look a little closer, I think I might find that I AM a manifested version of the Messenger.  Delivering words and ideas straight from the Divine Wow.  Now that is something to consider.

Happy Midsummer Friends
Infinitely Yours, Lenora

Sunday, June 10, 2012

St. Louis Pagan Picnic

Genevieve Esson painting Jon bought us
Posing with Witchy Author Ellen Dugan
Wow whatta day!  Jon and I attended the 20th Annual Pagan Picnic in St. Louis at Tower Grove Park yesterday.  It seemed as if the picnic grew twice the size from last year.  These times, they are'a changin'.  We were able to sit in on a workshop with my favorite witchy author, Ellen Dugan, who lectured on Mysteries of Midsummer.  She is such a hoot.  So funny!

Ametrine point
We spent a good part of the day cruising Vendor Row, and shopping at the over 80 vendor stands.  If I can do anything, I can shop.  Found all kinds of goodies, including Ellen's new book Seasons of Witchery.  I also found a amazing ametrine point.  I didn't realize how hard ametrine was to find.  The piece is gorgeous.

If you ever get the chance to attend this free event, I highly recommend doing so.  The energy is so peaceful and loving, and the attractions are worth the trip.

Little 'ol me wearing one of the skirts I sewed this spring

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Gateway to the West

The Gateway Arch

Last weekend my tribe headed west again for some fun in downtown St. Louis.  We started at the Gateway Arch, the size of which always completely blows my mind.  (That's what she said... oh that was bad)  Beneath the Arch is the Museum of Westward Expansion.  Sophia studied the Lewis & Clark Expedition in school this past year, so she was very interested in seeing the artifacts and displays.

After the Arch, and a picnic by the Mississippi River, we headed toward Keiner Plaza, a fountain filled stop before reaching the City Garden.  The City Garden was developed in 2009 when St. Louis hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.  The Garden is an amazing place, with amazing sculptures and flora.  It was another great day in St. Louie, Louie.
My Obsession with the Horned One continues
Lewis, Clark, Seaward & Sophia
Fountain dancing at The City Garden
Eros Bendato at The City Garden
Soaking it up at Keiner Plaza
I'm a real boy!  Jon Boy taking a break at The City Garden
And last, but not least, my precious White Rabbits in The City Garden.
What's that... I'm wanted in Wonderland... again!?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Field Trip

The summer season is upon us, and along with cook-outs, swimming, yard work and such, my little family is ready for the weekend roadtrips.  Last year Jon, Sophie and I spent many weekends traveling around southern Illinois and the St. Louis area hitting festivals and the like.  

There's something about being at a gathering where you know few people that makes the world seem (paradoxically) kinder to me.  We are all connected by our humanness, and the universal life force.  People-watching broadens my tolerance level.  It reminds me that the world is bigger than me, myself and I.  It reminds me that I am never, ever alone.  It reminds me that kindness and beauty are in the details.  Our details.

And then of course there are the vendors, the food and the music!

This weekend Jon and I took a spur of the moment trip to St. Louis.  It was close to 100 degrees, so we opted for a cool retreat at the St. Louis Art Museum first.  I hadn't been there since the Van Gogh exhibit over a decade ago.  It was good to return.  Being in the presence of such awesomeness is humbling.

Then we moseyed over to the heart of downtown, and enjoyed some barbecue and fantastic music at Bluesfest.  Here are some photos I captured.

Reclining Pan - Oh how I adore the Great Pan 
Stairway At Auvers - Van Gogh
The Dreamer - Renoir
This plaque was just posted randomly - I have been contemplating it every since. 
Untitled (mental map: Lost IV) - Franz Ackermann
Enjoying the view in front of the St. Louis Art Museum
Jon after some yummy barbecue at Bluesfest

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mandala

I have been wanting to give painting a try for quite some time.  The last time I did any painting was on a door in the office of my old house.  I had forgotten about this.  It was just a bunch of fun designs.  I painted on it when I took a break from writing, or when I just needed to create.  It was a very soothing activity.  I must have missed it, because the brushes and colors have been calling me again.  I finally gave in to the pull and bought some paints, brushes and a sketch pad (not brave enough for canvas yet).  This lovely mandala is the second creation since buying the new materials.  I am reallllllly digging the mandala concept.  It's speaking to me.... in a different language, but I hear the call loud and clear.  Check it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fool's Journey

Sometimes Life requires you take a nice long walk.  Here Jon, Sophia and I take a hike/walk/Fool's Journey on my parent's property.  This space seemed so magical to me when I was a kid.  It also played a huge role in my sobriety, for it is where I learned to connect with the deepest part of myself.  It is the back... back yard of what I call home.  It is a place where the world doesn't seem quite as threatening, where birth, life and death cycle over and over again without apology or fear.  It is a sacred space, and sometimes I need to go there to reconnect and refuel.  I may run into thorns, step in some occasional cow shit, or have to scale some electric fences, but I always leave this space feeling more graceful than when I arrived.




Thursday, March 8, 2012

Shady Romans

Check it out peeps... DIY Roman Shades that didn't make me pull my hair out.  Seriously, this is the easiest custom shade tutorial I have found.  Going to make more!  Check out the link below for the instructions.
http://365days2simplicity.blogspot.com/2011/04/easy-no-sew-roman-shades.html

Monday, March 5, 2012

Persephone: The Lighter Side

My Persephone Altar
Hello friends!  I'm taking the Goddess Temple e-course with Stephanie Anderson Ladd for the next five weeks.  We are studying Persephone, Demeter and Hecate.  This week we take a closer look at Peresephone.  I chose to make an altar to honor her lighter side.... but we will get to darker side eventually. That's the side I seem to keep traveling back to, so I must honor it before all is said and done.

Before I started this course, I had been dreaming about Persephone and animals that could travel above and below: alligator, otter and turtle.  I knew Persephone was beckoning me, so I took heed of the call, and soon Pixie was promoting Stephanie's e-course.  Syncronicity is so freaking cool!

Now Hermes has always been important to me.  He's been by my side for the past two years, and I think it's rather interesting that he can also travel in the Upper and Lower worlds safely.  In fact, he was sent by Zeus to retrieve Persephone from the Underworld, in order to return her to her mother Demeter.   Hmmm.... from my perspective Hermes is my communicator.  He is my animus that is able to journey to the Under, come back and put what Persephone has learned into action.  He is very, very important, because without this action, the wisdom gained in the Underworld is futile.  Yes, Hermes is very useful indeed.

It's ironic to me, that when I was reading Jean Shindoa Bolen's "Goddesses In Everywoman" last summer, I was very cautious as I read about Persephone.  The book covered the seven major goddesses: Artemis, Athena, Hestia, Hera, Demeter, Persephone and Aphrodite.  I saw a little of myself in all of them, some more than others, but especially Persephone... and this scared the hell out of me!  At first I denied it, and I tried to stop thinking of the similarities.  I didn't want to see myself as dependent, as frail, as naive... but there is a big part of me that is.  There is a big part of me that needs to jump down the rabbit hole like Alice and allow the adventure to begin again.  There is a part of me that needs to grow, and mature and become self-suffcient.  There is a part of me that is so, so scared of doing such.  Persephone scared me, because I am her.  But I must remind myself, that I have been to void.  I've just come out of the Underworld yet again.  I'm starting to know my way around a bit, just like Hades queen.

I will continue to have Persephone experiences.  She's just built in to me, but which Persephone I bring to the table is up to me.  Both are okay.  The sweet Persephone and the experienced.  Light and Dark.  Yes, I am Persephone or Alice In Wonderland.  I am my mother's daughter, but I am a very curious girl, and if a trip down the rabbit hole is necessary for me to grow, then let the descent begin.  (even if I go kicking and screaming)


Infinitely Yours,
Lenora ∞

Here is the lovely Stephanie Anderson Ladd's website... check it out
http://owlandcrow.saladd.com/

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm Baaaaack

Smudge Wands created during SouLodge
Hello fellow humans... I'm back after a bit of a writing hiatus, in more ways than one.  I have spent the past month or so transitioning.  Ahhh transition... the task is becoming easier.  As I have previously mentioned, Sophia and I have spent the last ten months living with a friend.  This transition occurred when we moved out of the family home, and I filed for divorce last April.  Not a terribly, lovely time in my life, but definitely a welcome change.

I was given a place to stay by a dear friend, and it was at first only going to be for a couple months, August max... then October... then December... then March.  My daughter just gave up hope and adapted.  Smart girl.  Funny story though.  I was at work, just kind of daydreaming about what kind of place I wanted to rent mixed with what I could afford.  My ideas were idealistic, as always: big yard to roam around and practice my path in, window facing the sunrise, window facing the sunset, modern interior, small enough to be cozy and efficient, big enough to breathe in, open sky to view the stars, rent within certain amount, nice, quiet neighborhood... but not too quiet... my family is rather boisterous when they visit, neighborhood roads that were bike-riding friendly, not too far from school, closer to my mom.... the daydreaming went on for a while.  Then the phone rang, and I stopped writing on the bright pink sticky note to answer.  I work at an advertising shopper.  I do graphic design and office work.  A young man was calling from the town I lived in wanting to advertise a small two bedroom house for rent.  Reeeeeaaaaallllly.  How much?  Reeeeeaaaaallllly.  Hmmm.... Sophie and I toured the place that evening, and the following Friday we were moving in.  True story.  The daydream manifested almost instantly.  Absolutely amazing.  Divine timing at work indeed.
Alligator Mask created during SouLodge
And we adore the house.  Yes it is small, about the size of a nice apartment, and yes the yard is big... I will be buying a sturdy push mower and some muscles next month, thank you, but I have a cute little place where Sophie, Jon and I can hunker down.  Decorating is next.  Lots of DIY fun on the way.  HA!

We have adapted rather quickly, and it feels so good to have my own space again.  As much as I appreciated my friend's hospitality and generosity, it just wasn't my space and I haven't felt free to move about in a very long time.

Along with the move, I have also been busy taking part in SouLodge, an e-course by Pixie Campbell taking participants around the medicine wheel.  It was a journey to be sure.  I recognized 8 and possibly 9 of my animal totems.

This course was so good for me, and I recommend it to anyone who is currently doing any conscious soul work.  The lessons and crafts were enlightening and the connections made within the 100 wild woman circle were so meaningful and touching to me.  I will probably be going back for the spring session as well.  Thank you Pixie.  It was just what I needed.  You are beautiful!  If you are interested here is Pixie's link.

http://www.pixiecampbell.com/
http://www.soulodge.com/

Self Portrait Channeling the Crone during SouLodge
One last thing I must talk about today.  I am writing again!  Yip, yip yippie!  I was in the midst of a beautiful creative process when in October of 2010 I just stopped.  I had a lot of emotional turmoil going on inside at that time and for many months afterward, and I believe it blocked my creativity.  I had to get the shit cleared before I could continue.  I did not realize this then.  It was hard to convince myself that it would be okay, to just hang on, to just hold out... it will get better.  Well my inner voice was right.  The bitter divorce is over, I am finally back on my feet and in my own place, and almost magically the drive came sneaking up inside me last Sunday.  I picked up part five of my book where I had left off, and started making revisions.  I spent about three hours with the hard copy and at the computer.  It was amazing to finally feel "in-touch" with the creation again.  I felt like a little spark had been lit.  Like the fog was lifting, and the wild woman was beckoning me to follow her lead.  It is good.  It is true.  It is a process and I will trust the process.

Oh!  And I also celebrated my third year of sobriety on Feb. 3!  Happy Imbolc for me:)

Phew... it's been a busy late winter, and I just can't wait to see was spring has to offer!

Coming soon: My Persephone and Hecate Connection.... oh and house pictures!!!  Did I tell you I started an Etsy store?  Oh my.. it's good to be back.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/ThePhoenixSpirit?ref=si_shop

Here is my Etsy link.... we have several more things to list, pretty hippy skirts, yoga bag, aprons.  Will try to get listed this weekend.  Not much confidence here yet, but it is growing!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dead Ticket

Hey yall!  Do you have a pile of concert tickets paperclipped together and stuck in a drawer somewhere?  Are they maybe pinned to a bulletin board or shoved away in a memory box?  Here is a neat way to honor some of your great concert experiences.  Easy and cheap!

You'll need a 5x7 photo frame, scissors, tape, a background image and your ticket stub.  I framed my Grateful Dead ticket from the St. Louis show in 1994, a year before Jerry kicked it, so I found a super colorful Grateful Dead dancing bear wallpaper on the internet.  I placed the image in a program that allowed me to adjust the size.  Once sized (and it does not have to be perfect), I printed, and trimmed the edges so that it fit inside the glass

Next cut a piece of paper (white or a color of your choice), about a 1/4" bigger than the ticket on each side.  Tape the ticket to your rectangle, then tape your rectangle to your wallpaper image.  Put the whole creation inside the frame and wal-la!  You have instant decoration and a fond memory to display.

Give it a shot, and show me what you've created!


Infinitely Yours,
Lenora ∞

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sophia - Goddess of Wisdom

This is the first in a series of posts discussing specific deities that are playing a role on my spiritual path. I will begin with my spirit guide, and the goddess I most connect with.

In ancient Greece Sophia was known as the Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge, and in Gnostic teachings she is the bride of God.  Sophia can be found in almost every religion, though she is called by different names.  She is considered by many the mother of the universe, wisdom incarnate, and the feminine aspect of life.  She is often times depicted with a halo of stars representing her divinity, and the dove is a symbol of Sophia representing spirit.

Copyright - Pamela Matthews
Sophia first came to me, or rather I first acknowledged her, three years ago, when I was on a personal journey of recovery.  I wrote an autobiographical novel during this time, which played a huge role in my healing, recovery of spirit and development of soul.  Many of the conversations and experiences we shared are in the book.  What I know to be true about Sophia, is that she is infinitely patient, gentle, tender and above all the wisest of wise.

I know when I am acknowledging Sophia, because I make better judgement, I listen closer instead of running my mouth incessantly, I walk taller and I feel grace within me.  She melds what is human and divine.

Sophia is a motherly Goddess, but the kind of mother that allows her children to learn from their own mistakes so that they might discover the lesson, allowing them to grow.  She is a wild mother, whose nature is instinct and intuition.  She knows and she teaches us what she knows.

You might have noticed that my daughter's name is also Sophia.  This is not a family name, and I am not the one who came up with the name for her.  It was my ex-husband's choice, and as controlling as I have been in the past, it was very unlike me to let go of creative control of my child's name.  In fact I already had several picked out, among them were: Alora Dannon (the baby princess in the movie Willow) or Raven Lenore (I'm a big fan of Edgar and my name is Lenora), but I loved the name Sophia from the moment it was suggested.  It just felt right.  It felt holy and true.  Now I am beginning to know why.

One more thing I might also add about Sophia.  She will never, ever let you down.  As long as you open yourself to her wisdom all you need do is utter her name and she will be there with you.  Keep in mind that she may call upon you as well.

The following link will take you to a beautiful channelling of Sophia done by Gillian Macbeth-Louthan.  It brings chills nearly every time I read it.  I love the last line "I am Sophia as are you."  I hope this post finds you in her divine company.

What are your experiences with Sophia Goddess of Wisdom?  Which Goddess do you most relate to?
http://sananda.netii.net/1_30_Message-from-Sophia.html

Infinitely Yours,
Lenora ∞

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Two-Faced

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~ T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”


Out with the old and in with the new.  Another year has finally arrived, full of new possibilities, and fresh energy.  This is a time to try a new approach to an aging issue, or to begin something entirely new.

As for myself, I am starting the new year off with emotional and physical health.  Next week I begin an online course with Pixie Campbell called SouLodge which takes participants around the medicine wheel for inner healing.  Wednesday I begin a yoga class.  And then there is the Etsy store I am developing with my mother.  I am so stoked about all of the awesomeness that is coming my way.

I am enthused about what lies ahead, and at the same time the wisdom gained from the last 365 stays with me.  As I shed the heaviness of the past year and pick up the pieces of wisdom left behind, I am reminded of Janus, the Roman deity after which January was named.  This deity was often depicted with two faces, one looking forward and the other backward.  January is the perfect time for a last bit of the soul’s reflection of the past year, mixed with a healthy dose of the spirit’s vision for the new.

With this in mind I let the soul take care of its business, and allow spirit to reach for the potential and possibility in the present.

Contemplate the wisdom you’ve gained in 2011.  What changes or projects are you fostering for early 2012?

Infinitely Yours,
Lenora ∞

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Well Hello Kitty

Here are some fun images from Sophia's Hello Kitty Birthday Bash.  Most of the decor was DIY.  The amazing cake was from Wally World.  (I am many things, but a baker is not one of them.)  This party was so fun to decorate for.



Tissue balls took the place of balloons this year.  Eight sheets of tissue paper, folded accordion style, staple a ribbon in the middle, round off the edges, then pull each sheet gently toward the center and shape until jussssst right.
The heart shaped ice floater was made with a cake mold.  We used Hawaiian Punch, and real strawberries, froze them overnight, and dipped the mold in hot water the next day to remove.
My beautiful Sophia.
Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty!  This project was so easy.  I used Tacky Glue to adhere zebra printed steamers to the board, creating a border.  I used a shiny, magenta colored ribbon to accent the border.  Freehanded the Hello Kitty with markers.  At the party we had a bucket of markers, and let the girls decorate the precut bows and add their name.  Scotch tape was added to the back of the bows to attach to the posterboard.  This project turned out fantastic.
Love, love, love tulle & lights!
This was easy, peasy lemon squeezy too.  We used just a regular white bag.  Freehand the eyes, nose and whiskers with markers.  The bows I cut out from the wrapping paper I used to wrap Sophia's presents.  (Found the pink cheetah print at Hobby Lobby).  Attached the bow with a glue stick.  The center is black tissue paper, also attached with a glue stick.