Gratitude, Mandala Series, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2016, photo © 2016 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
Posts Tagged ‘seasonal rituals’
Posted in Art, Gratitude, Holidays, Mandalas, Personal, Practice, Seasons, Silence, Spirituality, Structure, tagged creating mandalas, end of the year rituals, giving thanks, inspiration, making a Gratitude List, seasonal rituals, Thanksgiving, the practice of gratitude on November 28, 2016| Leave a Comment »
Posted in 13 Moons, 25 Things, Art, Body, Bones, Culture, Death, Dreams, Holding My Breath, Home, Labyrinths, Life, Mandalas, Nature, Place, Practice, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons, Secrets, Skies, Spirituality, Structure, Vision, Wake Up, tagged air, Akashic Records, archetypes, BlackBerry 52, building community through the Arts, collaboration, collage, collective unconscious, community as witness, creating mandalas, earth, Elemental Correspondences, elements, Essence, fire, gratitude for community, healing rituals, importance of ritual in our lives, Magic Dance, Rites of Spring, rituals, seasonal rituals, Sky Dancers, Sky Walkers, spring equinox, spring rituals, symbols, terma, The 5 Elements, The 5 Wisdom Dakinis, The 5th Element, The Ethers, the mystics, water, wind on March 21, 2011| 28 Comments »
Mandala For The 5th Element – 10/52, BlackBerry 52 – WEEK 10, March 13th,
2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
Medium: Drawn by hand with a black Fine Line DecoColor Opaque Paint Marker on Canson Mix Media XL Series 98lb drawing paper. Collaged & colored with Faber Castell 6 PITT Artist Brush Pens, DecoColor Glossy Oil Base Paint Markers, Portfolio Water Soluble Oil Pastels, Caran D’Ache NeoColor II Water Soluble Wax Crayons, Sharpie Medium Point Oil-Based Opaque Paint Markers, Lineco Archival PVA Adhesive, yellow felt letters, metal fastener, archival card stock paper. Photo taken in streaming sunlight on a BlackBerry Tour.
At 6:20 CST on March 20th, 12 hours and 9 minutes of light welcomed Spring to the Midwest. Seasonal rituals are important to our spiritual health. Honoring cyclical changes in the seasons is one way to stay grounded. We delved into daily and superstitious rituals in one of the first Writing Topics on red Ravine. Animals engage in rituals to feed themselves and hibernate, to define and defend their territories; humans do, too. Rituals comfort me in times of loss and uncertainty — walking a labyrinth, creating a mandala, or celebrating the Spring Equinox.
My first response to Cityscape: Behind The Gray in the BlackBerry 52 collaboration with Lotus, was that it captured a late winter mood. The second time I viewed the photo was March 11th, after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Everything changed. I saw Every City, Every Town in her photograph — a skyline, a parking lot of white cars, minutes away from being tossed on the sea like toys. I felt helpless, sad for the collective suffering, for the families living through the devastation.
It was about that time that I learned about terma in Tibetan Buddhism — physical objects, texts, or ritual implements that are buried in the ground (Earth), hidden in a rock or crystal, secreted in an herb or tree, hidden in a lake (Water), or up in the sky (Air), elements that contain sacred teachings, accessible to all when we need them (Essence). Mandala For The 5th Element followed; the center is the symbol for Essence, also symbol for the Sun.
One night at the studio, while collaborating on Obsoletion Blues, an art project for Strange Attractors, I ran across an old article I had copied years ago at MCAD — The Art of Ritual. I read it, remembered the Akashic Records (akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning sky, space, or aether) — source of mystical knowledge, the collective unconscious, the history of the Cosmos. Perfectly in sync, readers began commenting on the same subjects in our daily haiku post. From annie:
I first came across termas when I read Thinley Norbu’s book ‘Magic Dance’. He describes, poetically, exotic tales of the ‘five wisdom dakinis’ (earth, air, fire, water and space/ether). These five dakinis manifest the feminine wisdom energy, bringing strength, power and transformation to our lives. They are known collectively as ‘Sky Dancers’ who dance in limitless space and are the writers of the termas, which they conceal until the time is right for them to be found. Their form of writing is ‘subtle and mysterious’ and the being who finds the terma must call on the five wisdom dakinis to help them interpret it (they also reside in the mind). I like the similarities of the elemental archetypes of Buddhism and Celtic Paganism. It brings it closer to home.
The Five Elements
FIRE — SOUTH
Summer, Youth, Midday, Full Moon, Intuition
ELEMENTAL CORRESPONDENCES: Flames, Red, Point, Combustion, Energy, Passion, Desire, Inspiration, Beginning, Energy, Individual
fire, flame, candles, lamps, fireplaces, torches, matches, sparklers, fireworks, triangular shapes
Foods: hot-spiced foods, cayenne, salsa, Tabasco, curry, hot foods & drinks
Clothing: light and warm
Scents: sharp, tangy smells like cinnamon, odors from a fire
darting, rapid movements
lighting a fire or candle, burning or sacrificing
reds, oranges, yellows
bright, direct light, steady like the noon sun, or a flickering fire, or candle-light
arpeggios, staccato rhythms
the crackling of a fire, violins and other high-pitched strings, soprano instruments
inflaming speeches, stating an intention, invocations, appeals to the Spirit
AIR (WIND) — EAST
Spring, Infancy, Dawn, Crescent Moon, Thinking
ELEMENTAL CORRESPONDENCES: Bell, Incense, Blue, Line, Gas, Mind, Communication, Study, Planning, Merging, Creation, Mental, Relationships
air, wind, round shapes, feathers, fans, incense, pinwheels, books, pens
Foods: light desserts, puff pastry, champagne, sparkling drinks
Clothing: light and free-fitting
Scents: clear and delicate scents
quick, light motions
lifting up or offering up
speaking or reading
sky blue, blues, whites
bright but indirect light, increasing in intensity, electric lighting
the morning sun
clear, high-pitched tones; rapid, precise, light rhythms
the rushing wind, rustling sounds
wind chimes, flutes and woodwinds, rattles, bells or drums
speech and laughter, words that direct thoughts, appeals to reason and logic
WATER — WEST
Autumn, Middle Age, Evening, Waning Moon, Feeling
ELEMENTAL CORRESPONDENCES: Cup, Silver, Plane, Liquid, Feeling Emotion, Integration, Process, Cycle, Deepening, Feeling, Family
OBJECTS: water, cups, liquid containers, crescent shapes, seashells, starfish, fish, dolphins
Foods: libations, clear broths
Clothing: smooth, flowing textures of materials such as silk
Scents: rain, sea air, water lilies
fluid, graceful, rhythmic motions
actions that denote giving and receiving aspects of water: pouring, drinking, washing
blues, blue-greens, silvers
filtered, indirect light, gently changing
rhythmic chanting, rushing water, waves, rain
vibraphone, harp, rhythm section, alto pitch
poetry or singing, speech that appeals to the emotions
EARTH — NORTH
Winter, Old Age, Night, New Moon, Sensation
ELEMENTAL CORRESPONDENCES: Disc, Cube, Earth Tones, Solid, Body, Affection, Application, Product, Ending, Manifestation, Action, Group
OBJECTS: solid, sturdy objects of cubes, globes, squares, stones, metals, crystals, wood
Foods: breads, grains, meat, fruits, mushrooms
Clothing: coats, capes, rough mottled textures such as wool
Scents: heavy, musky odors, the smell of earth, forest floor, baking bread
stillness, slow, steady deliberate motions
lying, sitting, squatting
digging, planting harvesting
eating, ingestion, digestion
moving to each of the four quadrants of the circle
earth tones: browns, blacks, russets, olive greens, yellows
darkness or dim, steady light
silence, the pause between sounds
low, deep tones; slow steady rhythms
bass instruments, drum, fiddle, oboe, tuba
speech that refers to body, the world, actions
ESSENCE — ALL AS ONE
Everything Is Connected, The Ethers, Life Force, Energy That Permeates All of Nature, Wholeness, Unity of Self, the World
ELEMENTAL CORRESPONDENCES: Circles, Mandalas, Altars, the Sun, Labyrinths, Centers, Balancing Points, the Bindu (point of origin and return)
OBJECTS: central altar, candle, lantern, lamp, cauldron, the ritual circle
standing in the center of a circle or labyrinth
holding hands in a circle, prayer chains
recognizing life force energy — prana, chi, ether, Akasha, Spirit, God, Tao (to name only a few)
brightness, light itself, the speed of light
sounds of pitch higher than human hearing
solitary clear soprano note, a choir’s single voice, monks chanting
instruments with a lingering echo, Tibetan bells
in speech, giving thanks for what has been received from Spirit through invocation
I posted excerpts from that old MCAD library book (The Art Of Ritual) containing lists of objects, foods, actions, smells, and sounds to remind me to engage all of the senses, and in turn, each of the 5 Elements. Keep in mind that directional correlations and colors may vary from culture to culture, depending on what books you reference.
What rituals help you to heal or feel connected to the world at large? How do you integrate human suffering and pain into day-to-day life. What symbols help you to heal and grow, to come to terms with death and loss, to create balance in your life. For me, art and writing open doors to other worlds
The essence of ritual is that something done in the physical realm is related to the higher worlds. This may be a simple gesture of the hand or an elaborate ceremony. It can be working consciously in everyday life, so that quite mundane actions become full of meaning, or a carefully designed ritual acted out for a specific occasion…Ritual is the mode of formalizing action and giving it not only meaning, but creating a contact with other worlds.
—Halevi, School of Kabbalah
-posted on red Ravine Monday, March 21st, 2011
Posted in 25 Things, Body, Culture, Dreams, Family, Growing Older, Holding My Breath, Home, Life, Love, Memoir, Personal, Place, Practice, Relationships, Seasons, Topic Writing, Wake Up, tagged childhood memories, circle of life, cleaning rituals, excavating memories, family memories, grandmothers, handing over the job of remembering, holding on, Judith Ford, keepsakes, letting go, Letting Go of What Cannot Be Held Back, life lessons, mothers & sons, mothers and daughters, parents & children, red Ravine Guests, Rites of Spring, rituals, seasonal rituals, Spring Cleaning, spring rituals, the things I carry, using lists to capture details, what's left behind, Wheel of Life, writing the details on March 3, 2011| 20 Comments »
By Judith Ford
My grandmother, who was Dutch, did an incredible job of spring cleaning, every March, every year she was alive. No object and no surface was spared a scrubbing. Rugs were taken out and beaten within an inch of their threaded lives; walls were washed with a hard brown scrub brush. Curtains taken down and washed. Every closet emptied, every sheet and towel bleached and washed. Everything dried outdoors on a clothesline. In March, Wisconsin is still cold so things froze out there, pillowcases transformed into wrinkled boards. Socks turned into twisted sculptures. She washed every dish and pot and spoon. Then when it was all done and everything set back in its proper place, she’d cover the sofa and chairs and lampshades in the living room with plastic covers. She’d lay a plastic path from doorway to living room couch and into the dining room. When I was around 11, I asked her, finally, who she was keeping everything so clean for and when would she remove the ugly plastic. (I didn’t say the word, ugly, I’m sure). “The plastic keeps everything ready for company,” she replied. “But, “I protested, “Aren’t I company?” I had never once seen her living room without plastic. “You,” she explained, “are family. Not company.” She didn’t need to add that I, being a rather messy child, was one of the reasons she protected her furniture.
My mother didn’t do spring cleaning. She did like to open up all the windows on the first day the temperature rose over 50–to air everything out. I always loved that, coming home from school for lunch and finding the windows all wide open, the house looking like a toothless, eyeless caricature of itself, the air sweet and chilly. My mother hated being a housewife and did not cotton to cooking or cleaning. She did the minimums and stuck to the 50’s schedule that most of her friends observed: Monday clean and do laundry; Tuesday iron; Wednesday, volunteer work; Thursday, groceries; Friday, light cleaning (a lick and a promise, is what she called it); Saturday was the night my dad cooked burgers and Sundays we went to my grandparent’s house for dinner. My mother did what she felt she must but mostly without joy and often with many sighs. She did seem to enjoy ironing (which I so don’t get) and would sing while she ironed, in a voice like Ella Fitzgerald. Singing over the ironing and walking in the mountains – those are the times I remember my mother at her happiest. Not cleaning. Never spring cleaning.
Well, it’s sort of spring now and I am sort of spring cleaning. I’ve been putting hours in every week to clean my attic. It has to be done. We’re selling the house and moving to the country.
I’ve lived in this house for 28 years, married husband #2 after living alone here with my daughter for 5 years, moved that husband and his daughter in, had another baby, raised these kids until each one grew their feathers and flew off. Also raised a cockatiel, a parrot, four dogs and numerous gerbils and hamsters in this house. Can you imagine the debris? My attic had become a combination museum, closet (huge closet), and file cabinet. Treasures and cast-offs that have trickled down to me from three generations and two family lines. The leftover objects include outgrown clothes, games, books, and life directions. My very first poem, written at age 10. A couple of Jessie’s baby teeth, nestled inside the newborn bracelet she wore in the nursery: “Baby girl, Marks-Szedziewski, 2-19-78.” An envelope containing a curling wisp of very blond baby hair, Nic’s first haircut, 1988, a battered and faded pink pair of tiny toe shoes (mine, from 1955, I think; although they might be my aunt Jeanne’s). A hair curling iron (great-grandmother Nettie’s, late 1800’s). Aunt Jeanne’s bracelets from the 30’s. So glad I didn’t throw those away. Hundreds of notes from Jessie and from Nic: I Love You, Mommy. Mommy don’t tell anyone but I love you best. Thank you for being my mommy, You are the best Mommy, Next time you go on a trip, take me too. Mommy, I hate camp. Come and get me out of here, please!please!please! Nic’s version of Jingle Bells, written at age 4 with a few backwards letters, words scrawled across the page, Jingle Bells Jingle Bells Jingle all the way, Oh What Fun on Al’s True Ride, On the One on Holken Slay. Jessie’s school trophies, soccer and swimming, her camp and sports t-shirts, Nic’s academic medals for top scores in the state on the ACT and SAT at age 9 and 10, his IQ testing done at Northwestern U when he was 5.
The way I wept when the tester called me and told me the test results.
I wish I had known more back then how to feed his ravenous brain, his wonderful mind. So much I wish I could do over for him.
I will be 63 in a month. The past is truly the past. There are no do-overs and no time left for holding on. Time, instead, for letting go. For boxing up, and throwing away, for going to UPS to send Jessie her soccer and swim team t-shirts, to send Nic his Pokemon card collection. Handing the keepsakes over to my grown-up kids, handing over to them the job of remembering.
In the process of this sorting and cleaning, I’ve had to remind myself again and again to let go not only of the objects but the feelings. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve longed to have my children back in my arms, on my lap, longed for one more night of reading in bed with Jessie at age 7, one more night of long conversation at bedtime with Nic when he was 10. One more chance to see each of them for one hour during each year of their growing-up – one more chance to drink in the sight of them, their wispy hair, freckled faces, braces and missing teeth, to listen to their piping little voices more intently, memorize each one of them even more completely.
I had expected that cleaning out all this old stuff would help me clear the decks for this next chapter of my life, and yes, I guess that’s happening. I had anticipated reminiscing. I hadn’t anticipated the wave upon wave of memories to be so visceral, so wrenching, so expanding and swooping and full of love. I am not only clearing the decks; I am also rejuvenating both myself and the attic. Am going through some kind of death and resurrection here. Turning myself inside out and right side out again. Right side out and I must admit, a little trembly.
Spring cleaning is a piece of cake compared to this.
About Judith: Judith Ford is a psychotherapist and writer who lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was red Ravine’s very first guest writer, with the piece 25 Reasons I Write. Judith’s other pieces on red Ravine include lang•widge, Mystery E.R., I Write Because, and PRACTICE – Door – 20min. Spring Cleaning is based on a 15 minute Writing Practice on WRITING TOPIC — SPRING CLEANING.
Posted in Body, Bones, Culture, Dreams, Growing Older, Life, Personal, Practice, Relationships, Seasons, Structure, Topic Writing, Wake Up, Writing Practices, tagged birthdays, change of seasons, cleaning rituals, deep listening, mentors, personal growth, red Ravine Guests, rituals, seasonal rituals, Spring Cleaning, spring rituals, Teri Blair, the value of introspection, the value of process, the wisdom of older women, turning 50, turning points, wisdom, writing about growing older, writing about spring cleaning on February 25, 2011| 7 Comments »
By Teri Blair
This spring I turn 50.
The cleaning on my mind these days is an internal one. 50 is a significant marker, one that won’t be ignored. I saw Bonnie Raitt in concert the year she turned 50. She was playing the Grandstand at the Minnesota State Fair. She called out to the women in the audience, “Don’t be afraid to turn 50! It’s great!” And I could see she meant it, too—not just trying to buoy herself or us up. That was 11 years ago, and I was still in my 30s. 50 seemed like ages away. But it stuck with me. Her attitude.
I went to a 50th birthday party once for a woman who had a ritual to drop everything in her life that had held her back. It was done with drumming and shouting and people. Powerful stuff. She was brave and she made an announcement to her herself that she was turning a corner. A big one.
I don’t feel bad about turn 50. Mainly. There are things in my life I’m not satisfied with, but I don’t suppose that will every change. There’s some sort of release happening inside. A knowing that I don’t have all the time in the world. And because I don’t, I think about spring cleaning, and what needs to go and what needs to be aired out or left behind or turned over to the garbage heap. I don’t have my internal spring cleaning list completed, but it’s formulating. I don’t turn 50 until May 5th, so I’ve got some time.
I’m not sad about youth being over. That sounds bold and so against the grain of our culture, doesn’t it? I want to be healthy and strong. I want to take care of myself. But I don’t want to be 20 or 30 anymore. Nor do I want to pretend that I am. Nor do I want to watch someone half my age for clues about how I should live my life.
I am watching older women now. Elderly women. They seem far more interesting to me. I met one this month named Gladys—an artist/writer who has made it in the art world. She moves quietly and humbly through life. She listens well. She always seems grounded. Clearly, she had done her spring cleaning.
-Related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – SPRING CLEANING (HOMEMADE CLEANING REMEDIES). Also related to posts: PRACTICE — Spring Cleaning — 10min by QuoinMonkey, PRACTICE — SPRING CLEANING — 10min by Bob Chrisman, WRITING TOPIC — CLEANLINESS, and Wanda Wooley — The Lean Green Clean Machine.
[NOTE: SPRING CLEANING was a Writing Topic on red Ravine. Frequent guest writer Teri Blair joined QuoinMonkey in doing a Writing Practice on the topic.]
Posted in Body, Bones, Home, Life, Personal, Practice, Seasons, Structure, Topic Writing, Writing Practices, tagged Bob Chrisman, cleaning house, cleaning products, cleaning rituals, cleaning windows, fresh air, mothers, old cleaning remedies, red Ravine Guests, seasonal rituals, Spring Cleaning, spring rituals, windows, writing about spring, writing about spring cleaning on February 24, 2011| 8 Comments »
By Bob Chrisman
In my mind it’s too early to think of spring cleaning. As I write that sentence my thoughts veer off in another direction. I never clean my house unless company will arrive within a few hours. Those little cleaning spurts only touch the surface dirt and clutter, not at all like spring cleaning, but sufficient to fool guests into thinking I live in a neat, tidy and clean house.
Spring cleaning to me means days of going after the accumulated dirt of the winter. My mother took down all the sheers and curtains and washed them in the wringer washer. She fed them through the rollers to press the water out and then rinsed them before sending them through the wringer and into an empty wash tub. When she finished she hung everything outside on the clothesline to dry in the sun and wind.
As the laundry dried in the fresh air, she donned her rubber gloves and armed with old rags and a bucket of water went after the windows inside and out as my father removed the storm windows and replaced them with the screen windows. He took the screen windows out of storage in the basement, wiped them down and leaned them against the house. He started the removal of the storms at the front of the house and washed and dried them before he took them to the basement to store until fall cleaning.
Mom climbed the step ladder placed next to the house and washed the window panes and window sills. Then she wiped them dry. My sister and I stood inside and pointed out spots that she missed until she handed us a bucket and a sponge and we became her assistants.
Once the window panes sparkled and Dad had installed all of the screens, Mom would open every window in the house to “air out the place.” This airing occurred regardless of the outside temperature and lasted long enough for her to proclaim that the air inside was fresh.
She washed and waxed the wood floors throughout the house in the early years. After we installed linoleum in the kitchen and wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room, she would polish the kitchen floor until it gleamed and take her Kirby upright sweeper to the rug in the living room.
Just writing about it makes me tired. I think I’ll go take a nap and think about spring cleaning on a smaller scale when I wake up. Or, maybe I won’t think about it at all anymore.
-Related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – SPRING CLEANING (HOMEMADE CLEANING REMEDIES). Also related to posts: PRACTICE — Spring Cleaning — 10min by QuoinMonkey, WRITING TOPIC — CLEANLINESS, WRITING TOPIC — WINDOW, and Wanda Wooley — The Lean Green Clean Machine.
[NOTE: SPRING CLEANING was a Writing Topic on red Ravine. Frequent guest writer Bob Chrisman joined QuoinMonkey in doing a Writing Practice on the topic.]
Posted in Body, Bones, Growing Older, Life, Personal, Practice, Seasons, Structure, Topic Writing, Writing Practices, tagged cleaning house, cleaning products, cleaning rituals, cleaning windows, letting go, old cleaning remedies, seasonal rituals, Spring Cleaning, writing about spring, writing about spring cleaning on February 23, 2011| 14 Comments »
Spring cleaning. Where to start. It’s quiet, late in the evening. I’ve barely scratched the surface. I remember window washing, vinegar and newspaper. I remember dusting with Pledge. The smell of Lemon Pledge, etched in the nasal cavity. I remember Johnson Paste Wax, the rotating discs on the buffer. I remember sand and sandspurs, tearing at my toes, clinging to bits of rug. Spring cleaning is symbolic. A ritual of letting go. It doesn’t have to be deep cleaning. Just the letting go.
The rugs that get hauled out to the clothesline. The rug beater, a wooden stick. Puffs of dirt from the prairie. Not my home. A little house somewhere I can’t remember. I don’t think houses are as clean as they were when I was growing up. Times have changed. Roles have changed. Both parents need to work for a living. And still it’s hard to make ends meet. Spring cleaning leads me to a sunny destination after a long Minnesota Winter. Spring cleaning leads me to Spring.
Cleaning the deck windows until they are crystal clear. Power washing the wood. There is something fun about power washing. This year we will need to replace the trim on the south windows. Weather and woodpeckers have stripped them raw and full of holes. I am fond of the woodpeckers. But they can be destructive. Have you ever watched birds do their spring cleaning? Grabbing bits of feather, lint, moss, and making a nest. Preening their young, mites and ticks. Cleaning rituals are not only for humans.
Spring cleaning means tidying up the garden space, uncovering the rosebush, gathering the old brush and weeds from the end of last Fall and tossing them to the back corner. Spring means transplanting the two pines that have sprouted near the coneflowers, watching the dogwood stems turn beet red with sap, waiting, waiting, waiting for the bloom of the peony. A whole year must pass, that’s how long I wait for the next peony to bloom. Underneath the ash, grubs, a few mice and voles. The white winter squirrel, I haven’t seen her this year. What happened? Maybe a hawk or an owl found her to be easy prey.
Another 18 inches of snow last weekend. I shoveled the driveway hill and raked the roof. I am ready for Spring. In a few days, it will drop to 10 degrees again. The wind will kick up from the North; I’ll zip my jacket a little tighter. All that after a day of sunshine at 32. It’s dangerous to wait for Spring, dangerous to wait for the future to arrive at your doorstep. When all you have is right now.
-Related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – SPRING CLEANING (HOMEMADE CLEANING REMEDIES). Also related to posts: WRITING TOPIC — CLEANLINESS, and Wanda Wooley — The Lean Green Clean Machine.