Moon Lesson • It's just Thunder, Deer (nope, that's not a typo)
In this modern age, we look at a calendar or ask Google to confirm when the summer solstice occurs. But, not too long ago...the native people of this country would listen for the first roll of thunder. The Full Thunder Moon is so named because it marks the time when thunderstorms are most frequent. This moon, with all its bravado, announces the arrival of summer. Additionally, this time of year is also when the new antlers of buck deer push out in a crown of velvety fur, so this moon has also been called Full Buck Moon.
I like to think the roll of thunder mirrors how we burst out of our "regular schedules" into our more playful attitudes. It has always struck me as strange that we think of autumn and winter as our "regular schedules" or "normal lives" while spring and summer are our "breaks" from life. I suppose this is just more proof that the seasons, the rhythm of beginnings and endings, and the cycles of the moon truly do have an impact on our way of being. But, what else can we learn from this Full Thunder Moon?
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In my own practice of honoring beginnings and endings and cycles and such, I've made a habit of purposefully sitting down, twice a year, to reflect more broadly on how I've been living this life — once around the turn of the year and again at the break of summer. With Thunder and Buck by our side, we pause and turn to the East — welcome the light of new beginnings along with the fire and spark of curiosity. Welcome the element of Fire.
What can we say about Fire? Fire is destructive, wild, uncontrollable. Fire is warm, inviting, beautiful. Fire is all consuming and life giving. If I hadn’t specified, you might think I was describing every woman at some point in their lives =). And I absolutely love this. It’s a healthy reminder that as women, as healers, we can be both fierce and forgiving. And this is good. We can look left and turn right. And this too is good. This is how our inner wild fire manifests.
With this in mind, traditionally, when working with the four directions, many indigenous peoples around the globe begin with the East — the home of the rising sun, the light of day, and new beginnings. Because I’m contrary by design, I thought it fitting to close our journey by walking through Fire…or by watching things turn to ash and patiently waiting as something new emerges.
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Fire is the ultimate teacher of transformation. And this month, we are sitting with our Teacher archetype. Your Teacher is inquisitive, bright, composed, well-read, organized, and humble. Despite your gut reactions to owning these truths, trust that these qualities, among others, speak to the highest of your Divine Feminine in the role of Teacher. They already exist within you!
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Vera Paley, V Nannamal, and Tao Porchun-Lynch
It kinda goes without saying, great teachers have an incredible impact our lives. Did you know the word ‘guru’ in sanskrit translates to “weighty”? I absolutely love this. Our Teachers offer weight, mass, substance. As healers, it’s critical to consider the weight of what you bring to the people you support.
Teachers can act as sounding boards while providing the necessary validation to proceed. The shadow Teacher might consciously or unconsciously limit your progress by highlighting your fears. The divine Teacher, however, often manifests through the most unusual and unexpected circumstances. Studying other teachers can help us refine our own inner Teacher and her qualities. To help, I thought now might be a good time to walk back through our yoga roots and connect with a few “yoga elders”. I honestly couldn’t share this info in a more succinct or interesting way than this resource has already done. Please visit this link (http://www.oldest.org/people/yoga-teachers/) to gather some inspiration from Vera, Nannamal, Tao and several incredibly inspiring yoga gurus.
What qualities do you think these teachers hold in common? When you consider your inner Teacher, do you share those qualities as well? Why or why not? And what, if any, small shift might you make to nurture your inner Teacher and bring forth her highest and best qualities?
Oh boy…did the inner Teacher just become the inner Student again? There’s that fiery transformation. This month is about the cycle of burning down old belief systems and allowing new thought processes to develop. To be our best Teachers we must be willing to be our own best students.
When I discovered the article above…my first thought was lifelong learners. For me, this is the quality these Teachers have in common and the quality I most hope to attain/maintain for myself. I believe lifelong learning enhances our understanding of the world around us, provides us with more and better opportunities, and ultimately improves our quality of life.
I’d love to hear what sprung to mind for you. Often that first notion is a wonderfully pure reflection and insight as you delve into your inner Teacher and what she needs to feel appreciated, supported, and heard.
Before you begin the work of journeying to gather this piece of your soul, your inner Teacher, I must introduce you to your anchors for this month:
Birch and Jade
She is often referred to as the lady of the woods, and as a tree of enchantment; when the white of the birch tree is seen by moonlight, it looks silvery and gleaming as if it is enchanted, like the moon. As you now know, the birch tree also forms an entrance into our sacred grove, and as such, has become a threshold for initiation.
Traditionally, because of its white color, birch was thought of as being a purifier, and small rods from the tree were used to drive out unwanted spirits. For you, this is the beginning of a personal journey into yourself and into the spirit realm, through the trees of the sacred grove.
Now is the time to begin your journey, by consciously dropping old patterns and leaving behind any old mindsets that no longer serve. The birch tree has always been used as a purifier, useful for driving out old energies that get caught in our homes and minds.
The ancient Celts loved the luminous silvery tree, so much so that they often referred to it as the goddess Brigid, and women would go often to the birch tree, asking for fertility and the blessing of a pregnancy. They would do this by making offerings of small pieces of fabric tied to the branches of the tree. It is written that many villages would keep a birch tree near its center, firstly so that they could see when the spring had arrived, and secondly, to have a sort of “village charm” and use the fertile powers of the tree in many different rituals.
Of course, the birch was not just viewed as a tree of fertility, but also as a talisman. It is said that birch twigs, placed over the doors of the house and barn, would protect against spells and curses, as well as daemons and other beasties that lurk.
The birch also has many healing properties, as well as a high nutritional value, and was often referred to as famine food. The sap can be made into a wonderful, sweet syrup, similar to maple syrup, but also can be drunk on its own as a nutrient-rich source of water, and the inner bark can be scraped out and ground into a flour, used for making small cakes or bread. It was this bread or mush that was often eaten in times of famine.
In Russia and Siberia, the birch tree has a sacred and symbiotic relationship with the Fly Agaric mushroom; they tend to grow alongside one another. The local, sacred Reindeer love to eat these mushrooms, just as much as Siberian shamans do; the mushrooms are considered a sacred food, as they give the shamans access to the spirit world. Once a year, the shamans would spend days fasting and preparing to journey with these sacred mushrooms that grow so close to the birch tree. So it was that the birch tree became closely associated with the shamanic journey for Siberian shamans.
Jade, the ultimate Teacher of trust and useful imagination, is said to bless whatever it touches, serving mankind across the globe for nearly 6,000 years. For primitive peoples in the British Isles, its toughness, and ability to polish and sharpen made it a favored stone for axe heads, knives and weapons. Indigenous tribes of Mexico, Central and South America, and New Zealand carved it into deity masks and ritual artifacts, even cast it into wells as an offering to the water spirits for fresh and plentiful water. Jade has been the most highly esteemed stone in China throughout recorded history, and was valued for its beauty and powers of healing and protection. An endless variety of gems, vessels, incense burners, beads, burial items and statues have been wondrously carved from Jade, as well as musical instruments and pendants inscribed with poetry.
Jade is most valued for its metaphysical properties. It is the ultimate "Dream Stone," revered in ancient cultures, as well as today, to access the spiritual world, gain insight into ritualistic knowledge, encourage creativity, and dream-solve. It is cherished as a protective talisman, assuring long life and a peaceful death, and is considered a powerful healing stone. An amulet of good luck and friendship, Jade signifies wisdom gathered in tranquility, dispelling the negative and encouraging one to see oneself as they really are.
Jade is the stone of calm in the midst of storm. Its action balances nerves and soothes cardiac rhythm. Green Jade also fosters chi, or Life Force energies, and is excellent for hiking, gardening or relaxing out of doors. A piece of Jade kept in a pocket or on a pendant to stroke from time to time recharges energy, and traditionally guards against illness. Jade is excellent for healing feelings of guilt, and for extreme cases of defeatism.
As a professional support stone, Jade aids doctors, nurses, veterinarians, and all healers in making practical diagnosis and in their applications. It is a support stone for educators.
source: The Crystal Vault
Connect with Branch & Stone
Gather your Jade stone, if you have one, place it in your right hand (or place just inside your bra cup near your heart if you’re doing your own drumming), get comfortable and close your eyes.
Your intent in this journey is to ask the tree for any messages or information/wisdom it has for you at this time, regarding yourself as a Teacher. This could be about gifts you bring to your community or things you are working on to develop within yourself at this time.
Sit with your Altar.
Retrieve your bundle of sacred objects or stones from it’s safekeeping. Open it up and place the items you’ve gathered in a circle arrangement on your fabric. This time consider the placement of your objects in relation to the Four Sacred Directions:
Fire in the East for new beginnings, Earth in the South for grounding and connection, Water in the West for cleansing, clearing, and flow and Air in the North for wisdom, space and renewal.
Place your items in a circle (Medicine Wheel) that positions your archetypal representations along the wheel in the most nourishing manner for your archetypes. For example, the totem for my inner Healer would be placed in the North today as I’d appreciate guidance from the Wise Ones in my family lineage while my totem/object/stone representing my inner Wild Woman would be placed in or near the East to support my need for fun and a jovial attitude toward the matters at hand.
The idea behind the placement of each object/totem/stone is that the power you’ve imbued into the item will support and inform the work you are doing, or the question you’ve posed, or the meditation/prayer you are offering at the center of your Medicine Wheel. The power of these items literally rally to provide clarity, insight, and direction as you tackle a situation. This is fire building work.
Once you have your items in a circle, you will either journey or meditate on a personal teacher in your life who has crossed your path in a good way (living or past). This month, honor this Teacher in meditation or through journey and come to an agreement to embody their good practices as you stand in the role of Teacher for those around you now.
Write in your journal how you intend to embody these qualities.
Journey for your Sacred Object
Journey across the river and into the sacred grove of trees. Connect with your Animal Guide and this time head towards the luminous birch tree, and slide your weary bones down to the forest floor and allow yourself to lean against her.
Once there, ask to be taken inside of the birch tree and, once inside, ask the tree to show you any messages you need at this time regarding you and your Teacher archetype.
If you know already that some adjustments need to take place, you can ask the birch tree how best to start anew. The birch is a slow burning wood and very good at new beginnings as well as clearing the way for new patterns to take place.