Vanessa wrote the attached ritual for today: May 18th is the 40th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens (Loowit)! It was a wake-up call for many of us. Pay attention, the Earth speaks! The mountain awakes!
Here is what I wrote in 1975 when Naia the fir tree gave me a vision of the coming eruption:
"Awake, the Raven is calling, Rise up women, arise! Awake and claim your new name, Rise and sail the skies, When there's Fire on the Mountain (Fire on the Mountain), Flood in the dale (Flood in the dale), Rise up women from the grave, woah, Rise up women from the grave!" (--Song, "Fire on the Mountain" by Frodo Okulam, published in WomanSpirit magazine, Winter Solstice 1975).
May Vanessa's ritual empower us to listen to the voice of change, Oya's voice, Loowit's voice, in these times!
On May 18th, 1980, I was 16 years old and had been dreaming of upheaval for months. I woke that morning feeling uneasy. It was a Sunday, so I slept in and took the extra time to write in my journal, I wrote that “change is in the air, and I feel it in my body”. At about 11:30am I asked my sister if she wanted to walk to a local park at around noon the mountain blew, and ash was raining down on us. We rushed home. Change had arrived. On December 31st, 2019 I did my usual New Year’s Eve reading and pulled the tower card. I do not pull it often and while I am not uncomfortable with the card, I had never pulled it in a new year reading. I wrote in my Journal, 2020 is going to be a year of great change. The loss of my mother in November had left me tender, exhausted, and grieving, but by March it was clear that the changes I was going to face were not just personal; the whole globe was amid change and COVID-19 was circling the globe. This is Oya’s time, and I feel called to create a ceremony, set on what to me is her sacred day May 18th. Oya is the Orisha of change, she teaches us how to dance with the winds of change.
Oya’s Ceremony Day: May 18th Time: 12:36 pm
You will need: A white candle, a package of seeds of your choice, a journal, some pens, and comfortable clothing for an Orisha walk. If you have ash from Mt St Helens place it on your altar.
Set your intention: Set your own intention. For me this is a ceremony to honor the moment of change that I am in personally and that we are in collectively, through this ceremony I intend create a sacred space to reflect on and to find meaning in the constantly fluctuating energy of change and direct it toward a good and prosperous future, one blooming with new growth.
Create an altar: To create the altar, place items that represent Oya, Mt. St. Helens, and new growth on a white cloth. This is your altar so make sure it is meaningful to you. Make it your own and make sure it is consistent with your spiritual traditions.
Call in the divine: Call the orisha Oya, the spirit of the mountain ( I call her by her pacific north west Native American tribal name Low Wit which meant smoking mountain) and any ancestors, sprit guides, or goddesses that you feel called to gather for your ceremony
Light a large white candle this represents the mountain—as you light the candle meditate on the moment the mountain erupted, imagine the explosive energy that had built up over time, the small and large earthquakes that had weakened the mountain. The destruction that the blast caused, the ways the mountain was never the same, the losses.
Write in your journal: what change energy has been building in your life this year, what eruptions of change have you faced, what has been lost, what will never be the same, how has this time transformed you, how has it transformed the world around you? As you write allow yourself to reflect deeply, don’t rush.
Next, take a seed (any flower seed will work) spray water on it and cup it in your hands between your palms. Meditated on the power of seed. Seeds hold all the potential within them for everything that they will become. As you meditate on the seed it is changing. Look at the seed now, what changes do you notice?
Write in your journal: When the mountain erupted it was the small gophers that survived, because they lived underground. As they emerged from their underground homes they went about their daily tasks, mixing the pre-eruption soil with the ash to create the conditions necessary for the new growth that we see today.
Reflect in you journal on what has survived within you? What values, beliefs, strengths, has survived the stress and challenge of change.? What personal or collective potential will you mix with the lessons of this time to create new growth and an abundant future.
Lastly take a walk, walk with Oya, this can be a long our short walk, the intention of the walk is to listen to your heart (you can write a question on a piece of paper and carry it with you or simply hold the question, what is next?), and feel Oya all around you. Feel the wind on your face, notice how the breeze moves the leaves of the trees, notice how the birds, bees, butterflies, and all things dance with the wind, and remember that it’s the wind as breath that moves within you also. We do not resist our breath; the leaves don’t cling to the tree when the wind comes. When it is time return to your altar.
Reflect in you Journal: Make a list, write a story, draw, write a poem, use your creativity to capture the wisdom of your ceremony.
When you are ready, thank Oya, Loowit, and all that have gathered to support your ceremony. Feel free to leave an offering of tobacco or corn meal for Loowit and red wine, tobacco or eggplant for Oya.
Blessed be Vanessa May 17, 2020
Hello, sisters! Bright Blessings on Beltane!!!
I am remembering past Beltanes, gathering in Michelle's Meadow in the sun or huddling under a canopy in the rain. Dancing the spiral dance, weaving the Maypole ribbons, or tying ribbons to the trees! Eating the feast together, with all the wonderful baking and fresh fruit, and garlanding each other with flowers.
How much we had then, and will have again, gathering in community!
But the ribbons have not broken: the energy web is still alive wherever we think of each other and light a candle, tie a ribbon to a branch, or dance! Not only between all of us in the places where we are, but between us and those beyond the Rainbow Bridge, all connected to the World Tree with Maypole ribbons of energy.
This Beltane, may we remember how much it means to be in community. May all who are in need of healing receive the energy Mother Earth is sending out! May we connect more deeply with each other and with all the other Beings.
Blessed be, Frodo
SisterSpirit’s Earth Day Virtual Ritual
SisterSpirit Council members created video invocations for each of the Elements and for Gaia. Vanessa provided the handout with the quote and suggestions for things we can do for Earth Day and for every day. Here is a suggested ritual outline. Blessings to you all as you celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day Wed. April 22, 2020! Elemental Invocation: Watch the videos with the links below for each direction and for Gaia. Invoke the elements and Goddess in your own space.
Reading: Read the reading in the attached handout. Choose an action or actions to do as you celebrate Earth Day. Raise energy, drumming and chanting in your own way in your own home space. Send the energy for the healing of Mother Earth and all her elements and creatures.
Here is a chant you might use to send: To those who fly in the air, To those who swim in the water, To those who live on the earth, And those who live under, You and we are one. You and we are one. --Pat MacAodha Thank the Goddess and the Elements. Pay special attention to those in your own home space. Blessed be, everyone!
Happy Earth Day!!!
Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again! --Frodo and the SisterSpirit Council
10 Earth Day Ceremonies
“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed." ~ Written by an Irish author Kitty O’Meara” in the 1880s.
On this Earth Day we are unable to gather in community and create a circle with our linked hands or raise our collective voices in celebration and gratitude for all that our Great Mother Gaia provides. So, we invite you to join our virtual circle for practicing these Earth Day ceremonies in celebration and honor of our Great Mother, the Earth Herself. May each of us individually take time on this day to re-commit to taking care, honoring, and celebrating her in the year ahead; and in that individual action, we shall become a global circle of change.
Pick a spot in your yard to sit and be with the plants that call your space home.
Start a visual nature journal using old magazines, crayons, or printed copies of pictures you have taken of nature.
Write earth supporting affirmation cards and begin the daily practice of reading an earth affirming affirmation.
Donate what you can afford to an environmental organization that is on the front lines of doing environmental justice, look for groups that focus on environmental justice in marginalized communities.
Plant some seedlings in doors and watch them grow.
Write a poem for each of the four elements and add them to your book of shadows
Get up at sunrise, find a place of stillness and meditate, notice what sunrise feels like in your body, write about your experience in your journal or book of shadows.
Sit outside, close your eyes, and listen to the earth herself; do this at a different time each day for a week, and make note of what you notice.
Tend your garden, patio, or other green space, take time to create beauty in the natural spaces that support you in your day to day life.
Conserve water. Water is the life blood of mother earth. Set the intention to reduce your use of plastics, write a vow to conserve and preserve the earth. Place your vow someplace where it will help you remember your intention.
to the COVID-19 Coronavirus Emergency
In response to the need for social distancing at this time, all of SisterSpirit’s in-person events, groups and rituals have had to be suspended.
We know how hard this is for our community!
Many of us look forward to PaganFaire all year, and to monthly groups and rituals to see our friends and spiritual family. It’s a good time to remember that we are still here, connecting our energy across the miles!
Mother Earth has not cancelled Spring either—she is sending warm sun, healing rain (and even snow) and the trees have burst into flower. Birds are singing and nesting, and ecosystems are enjoying some recovery time from the stress our human activity places on them. There is no need to keep social distance from the trees, flowers, and animals! Like the trees, we can send messages to one another through the fungal network in the soil, nurturing each other to grow. Here are some recommendations:Call, email, or message one another, especially if you know someone is a Crone and/or lives alone. Call those you may know in care centers or locked-down senior facilities. Send energy and check in with those who are in other vulnerable groups, with health or immunity issues. Parents of children who are out of school, health care providers, and grocery store workers are also under stress right now. Hug a tree, plant your garden, spend time with your animal familiars. Go outside and enjoy the sunshine, keeping 6’ away from others but waving and smiling! Do rituals of healing for those affected by the virus. This is important! Our energy can be raised one-by-one just as it can be raised in circle.
Here is a simple ritual: Light a candle or virtual candle. Ground and center yourself. Invoke the directions: “Air I am, Fire I am, Water, Earth, and Spirit I am.” Call on the Goddess by the name(s) that most speak to you. “Goddess, I am calling on your presence. I know you are always present, but I want to be especially mindful of your energy surrounding me right now. Spread your cloak around me and around my community. Unite us with the whole world, everyone who is in need right now. I am asking for your healing. Heal our bodies, heal our fears, heal our communities! Let us be aware of our interconnection with you and with all the other beings. I place my trust in you.”
Sing: “I am the Circle”. If you have others with you, echo each line. Sing it 3 times. “I am the circle, I am healing you. You are the circle, you are healing me. Unite us, be as one. Unite us, be as one.” Spend a few moments holding the energy, feeling the interconnection and visualizing the light of healing spreading throughout the world to the places where it is most needed.
Say with energy, “So mote it be!” Then ground, thank the Goddess and the directions, blow out the candle and close circle. “Though the material flame be extinguished, yet the eternal flame burns on.”
Dear PaganFaire Community,
Given the Oregon Governor's ban on all events of over 250 people for the next 4 weeks, we have no choice but to cancel SisterSpirit's PaganFaire 2020 Sat. Mar. 21. This is to keep everyone as safe as possible at this time.
We would like to have rescheduled for later this Spring but given the uncertainty of the way the virus will spread and the need to not conflict with other community festivals, we don't think this is feasible.
We love you all and will keep you posted as soon as we get a date for PaganFaire 2021.
Spring is not being cancelled: it will come! May the energy of Spring bring healing to our community and to the world. Look at the sunshine, hug a tree, smell the flowers, and sing along with the birds today and send energy for a wonderful tomorrow!
Blessings and love, Frodo Okulam, SisterSpirit Coordinator
Vendor fee refunds will be sent out as soon as we can manage it. Your patience is appreciated. Blessed be, Jamie Okulam
SisterSpirit Calendar of Events March 2020
Mon. Mar. 2nd Nature’s Magick for women, 7:30 pm at our office, 3430 SE Belmont #102. All women (including transwomen) are welcome to come explore the connections between magick and the natural world! Office is wheelchair accessible.
SisterSpirit presents a monthly women’s spirituality ritual and Nature’s Magick group. More small groups may soon be forming.
Michelle’s Heart is an Emergency Fund for women and their families administrated by SisterSpirit. This is a last-ditch emergency fund designed to make the difference when emergency circumstances impact the ability to provide for basic needs.
PaganFaire is an all day artisan faire and talent stage.
"Michelle's Heart raffle, " to benefit SisterSpirit's emergency fund for women and children.
This year, you will be entertained by Renegade Rose, Treasa (Harp and vocals), "Frodo Okulam (Celtic Fiddle and vocals) and Jennifer Pratt-Walter (Harp and vocals), Portland's Dancing Witches, John Highcroft (sound, guitar, and vocals), and Tribal Heart Belly Dancers.
11 am to 5 pm, Oaks Park Dance Pavilion. $5 at the door kids under 12 are free.
At 5pm, (free to everyone) SisterSpirit's Spring Equinox Ritual, for the entire community:
"Seeds of Change – A rite of initiation, transformation, and magic. Guest ritual priest, Michael Agee!