Monday, July 7, 2008

It's my birthday

I'm turning 33 today. In about an hour. And just like (knock on wood) every year on my day the weather is incredible. The mist is cool and smoky from the river, and the crows are in full flocking force as they move from station to station with their frenzied chatter. The hawks are screaming incessantly on the hill, and the woodpeckers have already made their breakfast rounds to my trees.
The smell of the air is like no other time of year. It is thick with nectar, pollen, fresh water vaporised by sunshine, and deeply breathing plants. I woke up to greet the day and took in large gulps of this air, as it is my healing ambrosia. I must take in enough to strengthen my spirit.

I'm going to sit here this morning in the summer air, and write and read for a while. That's my favorite way of all to start the day.
Then I might take a plant walk or hike to the Cedar Grove. I can't go in the river today because there is e-coli .... upsetting news.... but indeed happens at some point each year.

On my birthday I like to think about where I've been and where I'm going. Who I am and who I am becoming.
I've accomplished another year in homeschooling my children (which often means self) and for that I pat myself on the back. I love having the freedom to allow them a self directed and self aware life. My son turned 9 yesterday (a little birthday gift for me :) and he still has the most magical, funny, and brilliant sense about him.

I've graduated from my Green Witch Correspondence Course with Susun Weed. It took me just over two years, although many of the lessons I had already been passionately pursuing already, so I had a good head start. I have learned a LOT through this course and it has effected who I am profoundly. It has also given me good solid footsteps toward my more authentic self, leading me in a truer outward expression of that. I realised when I sent in my completion letter ... that the whole point of completion really is when you realize that it's never done ... that really it's the beginning as well, another rung of the great spiral. I feel like my medicine bag is getting fuller and more potent. Some of my tools are getting sharp, and some of my visions clearer. Many of the lessons in the course are ones I will be using over and over for my whole life.

I've changed my entire career. Some of you know that before this last year, I was in the throws of a career as a professional dancer; performing throughout the state, teaching, choreographing, and in general staying very busy both creatively and physically. As of June 21 - it was a year behind me. This was a pivotal choice for me, with many deep layers as reasons and motivations for changing ... which I need not bore you with here. The undercurrent of this change is that it granted me the time to watch, listen, and act. The watching pertains mostly to my children and to nature. I've been able to really watch the plants this year, through many more slow changing moments, leading me to some exquisite plant love experiences and wisdom. I've started a weather journal, and so I watch the sky and smell the air and listen to the birds, and record each day my notes.

I listen more carefully, hopefully to other people as well as my deeper self.

I have taken action on some of my more important visions; raising a Red Tent Temple (finishing it's 5th month yesterday!) honoring the wheel of the year with simple or community ritual and ceremony, journaling more, and putting good strong focused energy into the classes I teach for the Wilderness School. One of my most important actions to take was to do less. And so the list stops there.

Where am I headed? I ask my self this question a lot. Sometimes I get a little answer, but more often I get silence. I'm not exactly sure. Sometimes I wonder what I am in such a hurry to get to. I worry that someone might beat me to my own goals, or to my own destiny if that's possible.

I'm not even sure what I'm doing all this for or what to do with what I learn or even how to begin to organize it into something cohesive if I wanted to teach it.

One of my biggest struggles that I would like to gain peace around this year is my sense of home. My sense of belonging and of place. There are glimpses of my world that bring me this feeling of depth and connection that I crave, often they show up here as I write about the land around me and the plants. But I think the blog cleverly trims out the parts that don't belong for me .... many neighbors close by, oppressive cost of living, the land that turns from ecstatic in summer to desolate and dead for many more months out of the year; land that puts my whole being into torpor during that time.

I've never lived in a climate that was without a sure winter. I grew up in Iowa. Yet I struggle to deal with it year after year, as I watch my allies hide away underground, the comfort of the sun leave, the green of the landscape fall away, and the brute of the grey sky and whipping cold set in like the slap of the Narnia Queen. The sting of half my life away is something I cannot come to terms with .... leaving me with an unending sense of UN belonging. Of un place and un home.

I would like to find peace and resolution around this.

Another thing that might change for me this year is work. I may have to return to work, as the financial climate for a family of four is, to say the very least, hostile where I live. It's corporate America, folks, and unless your hubby makes a fortune in Manhattan, you'd better find some tampons and get your ass to work. For us normal folk, good isn't good enough. It's barely enough. So, we shall see where this fact leads me. I can't work full time because we have chosen a life as homeschoolers - and I am committed to maintaining that for my children.

What new things for me would I like to see in this next year? I'd like something to help me bring my learnings full circle - whatever that means. I often think about doing another training, perhaps the Priestess path with ALisa Starkweather, or the Medicine Woman's Path with Kiva Rose, or another path that would be both deeply spiritual as it was wisdom filled. I think I will just have to wait for the right moment to inform me.

I am especially looking forward to my birthday gift. I have requested a day later this month. ... and during this day for some of my close women friends to arrive at my home and teach me something. This makes my heart flutter every time I think about it. A whole summer day to myself, where the women of my 'tribe' stop in at their own chosen moment, to share a wisdom of theirs with me as I grow. This feels like a memory that I have uncovered. I can't wait to discover what they will decide to share .... songs? gardening tips? meditations? a hunting story? It just makes my spirit feel alive. This will be a very special day indeed, and I feel relieved and joyous about celebrating my birthday the way I feel it is meant to be. Modern day birthday structures just make me cringe.

The birds are simply glorious this morning, so full of melody as I watch the sun come out from behind the Hemlock boughs. Still laced in fluffy clouds, the sky is hazy and mild. The vacationers at the riverbank are quiet on Monday mornings for all their weekend parties. The St. Johnswort in it's yellow mini-suns beckons a second round of harvest. The Queen Anne's lace opens right up as if to wish me a personal happy birthday. The black raspberries are heavy on the vines and the wine berries and blackberries are gaining a sweet momentum of their own, readying for their moment in the sun. My children tinker inside the house as they rise from slumber, with their messy cute hair and mismatched jammies. My older one rises late .... for staying up with dad watching sports... or because I think after lights go out, hers goes back on in silent, late night pursuit of a good book.

Happy new year, to me.


Yarrow said...

HAPPY, HAPPY, BLESSED BIRTHDAY TO YOU! What a lovely, personal post. I am anxiously awaiting my fortieth, this month on the 23RD. I hope that I can be as clear in my reflections and looking ahead as you have been. I love the idea of your "tribe" of women friends coming by to teach you something. I hope you will be able to share how that works out.

I would love to hear more about the Red Tent Temple. How you got it started, what kind of time and energies it asks of you. I would love to start one in my community. Thanks.

The Plant Whisperer said...

Thanks Yarrow!
I am more than happy to share about the red tent temple and anything I can to help you create one of your own. you can see how I have structured it at my other blog: and the original info is from the one and only ALisa Starkweather:
TONIGHT there is a conference call - if you can make it!!! Email her for th call in number.

I'll post about my birthday 'gifts' when the day comes! Happy birthday to you too!!

Kiva Rose said...

happy birthday, dear one, you've been in my thoughts all weekend during our shaman's path gathering.

may you always find a home inside yourself, and also hear your home in the land drumming you back to it, singing your name.

thanks for being born, you are a gift to us all :)


Elizabeth said...

Happy birthday! What a great post! Your feelings about winter are so interesting to me, as I feel the complete opposite. Winter, to me, is a very clean, pared-down, cozy, introspective, meditative time. Anything but desolate! I've actually come to long for winter in the middle of the bustle of spring and summer.

Anyway, have fun celebrating your birthday :)

ALisa Starkweather said...

Ananda, you are truly a beloved among us. I have felt your amazing love, energy, support, creativity, magic streaming out in all directions. Each day the Red Tent Temple Movement rises more and more as we hear from women in different states and countries and I count you as a solid root that has assisted this grassroots movement to grow. You have been a woman who has courageously said, "yes, oh yes, here I am with all my gifts, ready to be of service to the precious life we are all a part of." I feel you sister. I really do.
And I am AMAZED that I could find my way to your site today while it is your birthday because today I was thinking about you as I poured out some precious oils that you made for your first Red Tent Temple at my home. And DeAnna, whose video you wrote about emailed me yesterday causing me to ponder you again.

I am inspired and moved by you Ananda. And your blog today speaks about the womanplant that we are. I wanted nothing more than to grow into myself in my thirties and it had both its growing pains and leaps towards new vistas. I also felt in a hurry, much like a plant reaching in the summer towards the sun to become, to grow, to flower, to seed, in the season of life we are given.

Sometimes however we have no perspective on how far we have already come and who we have already been to so many who love us.

So here is to your 33 years. You are here with astonishing love for all to behold. Your drum will resound with the spirt that you are. And your path will be one of beauty with your children, your beloveds and your vision.

If you come to Priestess Path ever, I will rejoice. If you work with Kiva, (oh how I can feel her through her gentle and fierce writing where I met her spirit)how wonderful. If you find that you simply find your way from what is inscripted in your soul and you yourself become the teacher, it would not surprise me at all.

For now, I would like to invite you to Daughters of the Earth Gathering as a birthday present. Having you there would benefit us all. Write me and I will register you. Bless you dear one and thank you for being born. ALisa

The Plant Whisperer said...

Oh my Goddess! Thank you all for such intense and quenching birthday love! I must be blessed :)

Kiva- I love you green sister.

ALisa, I am just overwhelmed by your generous words and your gift - I will be writing to you, you bet!