Wednesday, March 13, 2019

2019 Spring Equinox

"At night make me one with the darkness
In the morning make me one with the light."
                          Wendell Berry

These stunningly beautiful photographs
were taken by Katie and Michael Stoyka
on their Panama venture last year at this time.
On March 20, 2019, the Spring Equinox (a.k.a. Vernal Equinox) occurs. It is  the special time of the year when the darkness and light are in perfect balance. 

For the Northern Hemisphere, the Spring Equinox is the moment when Winter ends and Spring begins. It also marks the astronomical first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Earth based spiritual practices calls this time Eostar (pronounced O-STAR-ah)
Out of the darkness of despair, out of the bleak dim days, the Goddess returns. With color, bright freshness, sweet fragrance and joy on her wings, this is the time to awaken and to celebrate life

The astrological event of full supermoon comes a mere four hours after this March equinox. The closest coincidence of the March equinox and full moon occurred on March 20, 2000.

As we each celebrate the light and the dark, harmony and balance, may we be filled with joy and

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


The rhythm of Winter here in Santa Fe, NM, is taking some getting use to and is a major adjustment from last year's Winter which was not only unseasonably warm but dry as well. The below sentiment is held by many locals and us recently transplants also.
"Go home Winter.
You are drunk."
               El Rey Court 

Shasta standing in the snow
from an earlier Winter storm.

The snow has mostly melted here in Santa Fe proper but the Sangre de Christo Mountains are covered with recent snow fall. This afternoon as I was driving East on Cerrillos Road I noticed how stunningly glorious they are! The frigid weather continues. We are experiencing day time highs barely above 30 degrees and with the adjustment of the wind chill factor in the low to mid teens. Brrrr! When there is snow on the ground or it is heavily snowing, we do not walk very far. Shasta gets "snow pellets" forming between her paws which she does not like and just sits down. If the wind is truly fierce, we also cut our morning walk short.

When snow was still abundant in our backyard,
snow melt pouring out of a canale from our roof
froze on the butterfly rain chain.
With the Wintery rhythm I am walking less each day. I feel sluggish and "out of sorts" from the lack of physical movement/exercise. While this sluggishness does provide connection with the yin of the Winter and creates space for inwardness, I am not happy. Connecting more with my yin energy has yielded time for thought consideration of how I want to spend my outside "digging in the dirt" and planting time. Hopefully the rhythm of Spring with her warmth will arrive before too many more passing weeks. I have for a number of seasons in Northern California planted the biodynamic way using Stella Nature: working with cosmic rhythms biodynamic planting calendar published by Camphill Village Kimberton Hills. And I also bought from Turtle Tree Seed, Camphill Village, New York, biodynamic open pollinated flower, vegetable and herb seeds.

This Winter connecting with the yin energy, I have been reading more. The Santa Fe Public Library system is rich with books and from there I checked out Biodynamic Gardening: grow healthy plants and amazing produce with the help of the Moon and nature's cycles by Monty Waldin. This book contains glorious pictures of biodynamic gardens and the processes used to create such lush and stunningly beautiful habitats for humans and all sentient BEings. I was hooked and decided to take my own gardening practices to another level by implementing more biodynamic principles. And, oh by the way, I purchased the book too.

All except two vegetable seed packets came from Turtle Tree Seed for this year's starts for our vegetable garden. Using The Maria Thun Biodynamic Almanac 2019, appropriate times have been identified for seed starting, transplanting to 4" pots and planting into the raised beds or ground which has been covered heavily with wood chips since last year. I am so excited to try my hand(s) with this next evolutionary step for the garden under my care.

In tandem with study of biodynamic gardening, I searched for an avenue to give my body movement it craved. I settled on Jazzercise which I did while living in Tucson, Arizona, and often attended in Carlsbad, the "home" of Jazzercise, when visiting my dear, late aunt and uncle. 

Cathie and Donna in her backyard
Carlsbad, California
May, 1987.
We are ready for Jazzercise!
The founder is from Iowa; in fact Judi Missett grew up 16 miles from me. We Iowa girls "need to stick together"! And I agree full heartedly with her philosophy about movement:

“When you have movement in your life, it creates movement in other parts of your life and keeps you moving forward in the best possible way.” Judi Missett, 2014
So I now go two or three times a week enjoying every minute even though I do prefer certain instructors. Even after just a month I feel more energized.

Shasta napping on our bed with the sunshine streaming in through the West window.
"Way too chilly to BE napping outside which is my preference", says Shasta.
As we include more movement in our lives and nap in the sunshine this Wintertime, may we, too,

Monday, February 4, 2019

Chinese New Year of the golden Earth Dog

Shasta's Auntie T's 2019 New Year's greeting.
is also an excellent activity in preparation for 
welcoming the Chinese New Year.

The Chinese New Year begins each year on the second new moon after Winter Solstice. In 2019 this is February 04 or February 05 depending on your global location. 

According to Susan Levitt 2019 is the "year of the Earth Pig, the fortunate golden Pig, a time to make peace and enjoy life. Pig is a year for harmony and fellowship when kind actions are rewarded. People can work together with good will and enjoy community. . . Pigs love to party and enjoy earthly pleasures . . . so take a vacation, relax and do not work so hard."

Since I have lived now in 20 different houses in
my lifetime, somewhere the pig my Gramp
gave me disappeared. When I saw the same one
for sale when I was looking for pigs to adorn
our home, I bought it . . . it now sits on our
dining room table where we enjoy our
made from scratch, organically grownand in season food.
This pig is the closest to "golden" I could find.
In Chinese Medicine the element Earth rules the stomach so this is a year to focus on food which is important to Pig. This year offers excellent qi for eating more healthy. Pig loves good food so here's an auspicious time to alter your eating habits so as to support your health and well BEing.

This meditating pig reminds me of Liu Ming, who
gave a talk annually to usher in the Chinese New Year.
We  spent an afternoon listening to
him share his exemplary insight into the qi 
for the upcoming year.
Not only did we learn,
also we laughed a lot.
Liu Ming was born in a Pig year
so was a jovial fellow.
Four year ago in April he died.
Thereafter we ever so deeply missed
our annual afternoon with him while still living in California.

As our health issues that have surfaced here in Santa Fe, NM, are resolving, we are so ready for a fun filled year! By the way, this is also a good year to take care of those nagging health issues of your own.

This locally made pig sitting in our bedroom for the Chinese New Year of the Earth Pig will be a reminder to not take life so seriously . . . to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us, the friendly neighbors and the diversity of entertainment and our fledgling native habitat on our Santa Fe property. We are a One (on the dynamic map know as the Enneagram) couple, so we embrace each and every reminder to lighten up and have fun.

As each of us honor and take advantage of the golden Earth Pig qi, may we enjoy an often, frequent

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Cross Quarter Day

According to the Farmer's Almanac Cross-Quarter Days mark "the midpoint between a solstice and equinox." For the ancient Celtics as well as the modern day Pagan and Goddess of earth based spirituality, these mark the beginning of each season. There are two major divisions: Winter (Samhain), starting the dark half of the year, and Summer (Beltane), commencing the light half of the year.

February 3, 2019 at 20:01 marks the Cross Quarter Day called Candlemas or Imbolc which heralds Spring.

"Candlemas acquired its English name from the candles 
lit that day in churches to celebrate the presentation 
of the Christ Child in the temple of Jerusalem.

Originally, this day was called Imbolc (lambs’ milk) 
because the lambing season began. It was also called 
Brigantia for the Celtic female deity of light, 
calling attention to the Sun’s being halfway 
on its advance from the winter solstice 
to the spring equinox.

Much of this day is grounded in 
the seasons—estimating how soon 
spring-like weather will come 
and when to plant the crops." 
from the 2019 Farmer's Almanac

during the first year we have lived in

our Santa Fe home we have had birds
crashing into 
these windows. YIKES!
We have now installed
Acopian Bird Savers, aka Zen Curtains,
on our front windows in preparation
 for Spring andthe arrival of a plethora of birds.

As the days grow longer and the nights shorter, may we welcome the arrival of Spring and

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Taking Stock

Heart ornament
hanging from Pinon bough on our front door
welcoming all who enters into our home.
2018 Winter Solstice is just around the corner. There is still time for each and every human to take stock. For those of us practicing an Earth based spirituality, this longest night of the year is the beginning of a new year. This time offers an opportunity to take stock both within and without: what to let go of and what to commit to as we meet the coming light.

BEing one who is often referred to as "the canary in the coal mine" with my hypersensitivity, over the very recent past I am aware of Mother Earth's struggle to maintain her equilibrium so that all BEings inhabiting her can not only survive but thrive. My heart hurts which to me is my mere physical reflection of Mother Earth's pain. 

"Winter Solstice, Yule: 

we have entered into the darkness, 

but just as it grows to its greatest extent, 

the light is reborn. 

This is a time to celebrate 

all that warms us and gives us hope. 
The spiritual work of Solstice is first to cleanse and let go, 
to accept the setbacks, mourn the losses, 
and give thanks for the blessing of the passing year. 
And then to labor as midwives to bring forth
 what we want and need in the year to come, 
personally and collectively."
from Starhawk's "Winter Solstice: A Seed of Light in the Darkness"
Shasta has made enormous strides with her adjustment
to living in an urban environment.
She is a stellar exemplar of a BEing's capabilities
for letting go of the learned and familiar ways.
This time of darkness allows each of us to delve into our beliefs, attitudes, practices both inward and outward, to meditatively question the effects of these and to shift our BEingness towards a more loving, caring, unselfish and passionate stance both inward and outward. 

We humans are at a crossroads: "Twelve years. That’s all we’ve got to fix runaway global warming. If we don’t? Hundreds of millions of people are destined to become victims of severe droughts and flooding, extreme poverty and hunger. Climate scientists couldn’t be more clear, or more in agreement, on just how dire this crisis is." From Regeneration International who promotes globally "regenerative food, farming and land-use as a solution to not one, but many unfolding global crises . . . We can’t solve the climate crisis just by cutting back on fossil fuel emissions. We have to rebuild the global agriculture system so we can build healthy soils capable of drawing down and sequestering tons of carbon."

Will we humans, individually and collectively, not only take stock but step up to the returning light with a commitment to alter how we live our daily lives and put to rest our human centric way we walk upon Mother Earth? My  dear friend, Rob, in Northern California writes in his annual holiday poem: "This chaotic world can be healed.

Rose quartz heart laying on the heart quilt
created years ago by my mother.
Rose quartz is known for its heart opening qualities.
This healing cannot occur without a major overhaul of what it means to BE human at 2018 Winter Solstice. Rob believes opening one's heart is essential for healing ourselves and our home planet.

As each of us is taking stock, may we


Sunday, December 9, 2018

Yule Tree

View of the Sangre de Cristo
("Blood of Christ") mountains
from the East side.
In the shallow valley at the foot of the mountains
where Santa Fe is located and we live, we view this
southernmost subrange of the Rockies from the West.
This range contains "New Mexico's loftiest peaks."
After Thanksgiving and before the rain and snow that was predicted and came, we drove East past Pecos and into the National Forest to cut our Yule tree.

The dirt road was bumpy but our trusted Stella, our Prius, trudged along as we carefully negotiated the ruts. It was windy! Shasta jumped out of Stella but her foray was short-lived and she returned to nestle into the safety of her bed.

We tied our chosen Pinon pine to Stella's roof.

And began our slow drive home.

Before we cut our Pinon pine we considered where we might place it in our Casa Alegre home which is a considerable downsize from our West Sonoma County, California home. So upon returning home, Dwight secured on our front portal our chosen, lovely Pinon pine in the tree stand filled with plenty of water. Many lower branches were cut off and hydrated in a large bucket of water. 

Several days later we decorated our Yule tree with big snowflakes falling.

Our Yule decorations are modest compared to others in the neighborhood, but they suit us and our sense of simplicity.
Front door sway created
from some of the lower branches cut from our Yule tree.

In this midst of all the holiday hoopla, may we each rest, enjoy one another and

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


For our 31st Anniversary and Thanksgiving celebration we visited Taos, New Mexico. Driving to Taos we took the "High Road" and returning the "Low Road" which is along the Rio Grande. Our intended week long stay was cut short since the heat failed in the casita we rented and it was way too cold to remain in Taos. 

We did spend an incredible day at the Taos Pueblo which is an absolutely astonishing experience.

New Mexico is the only state that has three World Heritage Sites:
     Chaco Culture National Historical Park
     Carlsbad Caverns National Park
     Taos Pueblo
The state is petitioning for a fourth site at White Sands National Monument.

The Taos Pueblo gives one an insight into what life was like before "the white man" took over what is now the State of New Mexico. 

The Red Willow Creek is fed by a glacier lake located 25 miles into the Taos Pueblo wilderness. This waterway provides water to the 100 or so inhabitants of the Pueblo. These live on either of the creek in the South House, or Hlaukkwima pictured above, or in the North House (Hlaauma).

A multistoried adobe building on the North side of Red Willow Creek below.

"The adobe is a brick made of an earth, straw and water mixture formed and sun-dried. Each adobe layer is stacked with a mortar (adobe mixture) and sun-dried. Upon completion a coating of the same material is applied. The coating is continuously maintained to sustain the impacts of weather and deterioration." Below is a close up of the adobe:

The adobe structures are heated with incredibly efficient and very small fireplaces. 

Baking is done in out of doors adobe structures called hornos, introduced by the Spanish and perfected by Pueblo people to suit their needs. 

Some tribal members offer for sale food including fruit pies and preserves. The fruit is gathered from the orchards that are well established and productive. There is art for sale often with the artist available to discuss her or his work. 

As one enters one can experience the feel of the inside of these adobe structures.

Signs warn tourists of the private residences unavailable for entry as show in the above photograph.

The Taos Pueblo peoples who live on either side of the waterway have their own kiva for sacred ceremonies. The one pictured below is of the North House.

"Res" dogs abound. These four leggeds amble every where, in what it seems like to this One, a state of serenity.

Or we visitors notice them lying in the sun connected to their Mother Earth.

Guided tours are offered from 9:00 a.m. running every 20 minutes and lasting 30 minutes. Our guide was incredibly animated and passionate about his culture. He provided history and a window into how his present day Pueblo deals with the United States government: Taos Pueblo, like all Native Americans inhabiting "reservations", is a sovereign nation.  Our guide is pictured below:

The majority of the tribal members do not live in the old adobe structures but in newer homes with electricity and running water, some on tribal land and others off. The visitors' bathrooms are warm with flush toilets and very clean.

At the miserable last night we spent in the unheated rented casita, we had an emotional discharging