Dry Season in Southwest Florida – pace yourself!

Hello Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, welcome, finally, to Dry Season.

To catch you all up a bit, here in the Earthways Shamanic Path, I’m writing about the Seasons from a place-based point of view.  I encourage you to really get to know Mother Earth where you live, to learn what the Seasons are where you live, beyond the four known as “Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer.” 

Dry Season starts in Southwest Florida in mid-October, and runs till about mid-February.  The first obvious marker of Dry Season, is that it stops raining every day.  And, it gets markedly less humid in Dry Season.  So all the people say, “Ahhhhhh, it is such a nice day out!!!”  The light is shifting.  Different trees are blooming now, and different fruits and vegetables are growing now.  Birds are beginning to migrate here from other places.

Turner Road-Dry Season
Turner Road in Dry Season

And people are migrating here from all over the country.  Down here, we call them, Snowbirds.  (A Snowbird is different from a Tourist; Snowbirds tend to own property here, and stay for several months, whereas most Tourists rent and don’t stay as long.  A lot of people say there are only two seasons in Florida, Tourist Season and Rainy Season.  They are missing the nuances.)  There is a gradual influx of people until the crescendo in mid-February.  By then, our regional population about doubles.

Dry Season in Southwest Florida is marked by a surge in THINGS TO DO.   Suddenly, there are festivals all over Florida, every weekend.  There are art gallery openings and exhibits and contests.  There are plays and concerts.  There are fund raising events and college alumni get-togethers.  And, because it has stopped raining so much and the weather is more comfortable and less buggy, there are now all kinds of nature-oriented things to do too.  People go camping now, and there are swamp-walks and people go star-gazing and kayaking.

While most people were almost in hibernation-mode in their air-conditioned homes and offices during Hurricane Season, now in Dry Season, they can get out and about.

The primary Spiritual aspect of Dry Season is to pace yourself!  There is so much to enjoy, and most people can’t do everything.  You have to prioritize:  you have to decide what’s really important to you, and figure out how much time and other resources ($$$) you have, and do what you can.  And, you have to find your way to stay centered.  You need to carve out down-time for yourself, to restore your energetic reserves because if you try to do everything, you may tire yourself out.

Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere.  You just need to explore the magic of your land.  What is it saying to you?   What are the seasons, where you live?  What do they mean to you?  How are they celebrated? 

And “Let’s Share Peace With Our Earth.”

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group

(c) 2015, Whale Maiden.  All Rights Reserved. 

Earthways Shamanic Path Stepping Stone #2, “Get Grounded.”

Hello Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans.  Here is the Earthways Shamanic Path Stepping Stone #2, “Get Grounded.”  If you can practice this Stepping Stone in the spot you found in your front yard in Stepping Stone #1, go there.  If that feels too “open” for you, find a spot where you can sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes.

You SHOULD always ground yourself before you start any magical or shamanic work.  You can do this while sitting or while standing:  Take a few breaths and close your eyes if you want to.  In your mind’s eye, picture or think of, or see, or feel, or sense, a vine tendril growing up through the ground, through the floor (if you’re indoors,) and up your leg.  It makes its way up to your abdomen and kind of “plugs into” your belly button.  This is a connection to the Mother Earth.  When you go on Spiritual Travels, you want to maintain this connection to the Earth at all times.

To get grounded after you complete your shamanic work or shamanic journey or magical activity:

  1.  Touch the Earth, and see yourself sending excess energy to the Earth.  We usually suggest it be for Healing Our Earth.
  2. Pack up your ritual equipment and put it away.
  3. Eat something, preferably something with protein in it.  Many people swear that chocolate is grounding and I believe it!

And Let’s Share Our Peace with Our Earth.

Always ground yourself before and after any shamanic journeys or magical work
Always ground yourself before and after any shamanic journeys or magical work

We invite you to join in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path Facebook Group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1016713368359826/?fref=nf

Stand Your Ground, Earthways Shamanic Path – Stepping Stone #1

Hello Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans.  Here is the Earthways Shamanic Path Stepping Stone #1, “Stand Your Ground.”  

One of the main points of  The Earthways Shamanic Path, is to identify where you live — where you find your self on this Great Big Mother Earth. From there, you will identify your Seasons, then you will develop celebrations and rituals to mark those seasons.

To help you along with that, in this Stepping Stone Activity, you’re going to go out your front door where you live, and find the closest patch of Earth that you can stand on.  This will be a spot you will visit in other upcoming Stepping Stones.  You’ll want a big enough patch that you can hold your arms out to your sides, and above you, and not get hit on the head by tree branches.  It is ok if you have to go a ways from your front door, to get to a suitable spot of ground.  When I do this, I have to walk out a little concrete path to my driveway, then cross the driveway to the front yard.  If you live in an apartment or a condo, and don’t have any ground out your front door, make your way downstairs, to a place where you can stand.

You may want to bring a little notebook and a pen/pencil with you, when you go out to Stand Your Ground.

The intent of this Stepping Stone, is for you to stand on the ground, closest to where you live in your bare feet.   If it is cold or snowy where you live, please protect your feet while you do this exercise, or wait until it is a nice day out.  This is not a task of endurance or discomfort.

It is ok to bring a yard chair, if you need to sit in order to carry out this activity.  However, in this Stepping Stone, do not sit on the ground, just make the connection between your feet, and the ground.  Stand there for 5 minutes, with your arms to your sides.  Do not speak to anyone, and do not do anything other than stand in this spot, with your feet connected to the Earth for 5 minutes.

While you are standing there, we want you to notice how it feels, to have your feet on the Mother Earth.  Record your experience in your notebook.  If you want to take a picture of your feet touching the Ground, and post to the Group, that would be fine!   Here is the link to the  Earthways Shamanic Path Facebook Group

I’ve posted my picture here, of my feet touching the ground. 20150908_080424And Let’s Share Peace With Our Earth.

Introduction to the Earthways Shamanic Path “Stepping Stones”

Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, many of you have been waiting to go on this Journey with us, on the Earthways Shamanic Path.  As you have heard, a long journey begins with the next step.  Over the coming days, weeks,  and months, we will occasionally post a Stepping Stone, (here at this Blog, and then to the  Earthways Shamanic Path Facebook Group ).  These Stepping Stones will be activities you may do, if you feel so moved.  We will be sharing these Stepping Stones, in order to to share with you, useful practices we have learned along this Path.

This is a blended Path.  Some of the Stepping Stones will focus on Spiritual activities.  Some will focus on Nature and the beautiful Earth we all share.  And some of the Stepping Stones, will share our awe and appreciation for Physics.

What we hope you will do, is experience the Stepping Stone activity, then post your comments about it, to the Facebook Group.

We share these Stepping Stones with you, to help you Share Peace With Our Earth.

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And Now it Begins: Hurricane Season in the Florida Branch of the Earthways Shamanic Path

Yesterday marked the 11th  anniversary of Hurricane Charley hitting Southwest Florida.  This weekend is the start of Hurricane Season, as celebrated by the Florida Branch of the Earthways Shamanic Path.  [The Good Folks at NOAA define the Hurricane Season as starting June 1, and going until November.  But that’s for the entire Atlantic Ocean.  In this Blog, and throughout the Earthways Shamanic Path documentation, we are talking about what is experienced in focused locations.]  Our Shamanic Path Hurricane Season runs from mid-August to mid-October.  It is mercifully short.

During June and July, the air temperature heated up, the water temperatures heated up and everything is warm-to-hot.  This heat stimulates storm activity.  Over the years, I have noticed that the intensity and frequency of Hurricanes
“increases” after the middle of August.  And here we are.

When we presented the Wheel of the Year for the Florida Branch of the Earthways Shamanic Path at our recent Monthly meeting, someone asked, “why would we celebrate Hurricane Season?”  Like her, several people attending our meeting had lived through the Hurricane Season of 2004, and still have vivid memories of that time.

Hurricane Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne hit Florida in 2004.
Hurricane Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne hit Florida in 2004.   Photo from NOAA.

So, I asked her, what is the Spiritual Meaning of Hurricane Season?

The themes of Hurricane  Season, are about planning and flexibility.  Here in Southwest Florida, in early June, the Hurricane Planners and Media folks do a great job to remind people that Hurricane Season is coming, and to make sure people know what to stockpile at home, what to keep in their car, and what to do when a Hurricane is approaching.  Due to the hard work of a lot of really good people, Florida has good roads in place, to help people evacuate.  There are wayfinding signs to help people evacuate.   It has hurricane shelters available.  The media print awesome Hurricane Guides.

Our job is to heed that advice.  We should make sure we have fresh batteries, stockpiles of water, and get our important documents in order.

And then we wait and wait and see what happens.  Most people do not like Hurricanes, because they do bring damage to man-made property.  However, some people really like the approaching storms, and get kind of excited about it.  The interesting thing about Hurricanes, is that they are a vital part of the Earth’s weather system.  It is how the Mother moves heat around and moves water around.

So the spiritual aspect has to do with planning ahead, and being ready to take correct action, but not letting that constant state of readiness exhaust you, or make you anxious.  During the 2004 Hurricane Season, there were Four major Named Storms in six weeks, and there were also  several tropical storms that we thought would come through, so we were in a state of constant readiness for weeks.

So as Hurricane Season approaches, in our Celebration, we will ask that we not be complacent.   We will ask that we learn to read the weather signs.  We will ask that our preparations will ensure us safe passage through the storm(s) that may come.  We will ask for Strength.

Another aspect of Hurricane Season, is learning how and when to ask for help.  After a hurricane blows through your house and your town, you will need help.  Recovery doesn’t happen all by itself.   Yes, we are strong and independent people.  We are grown ups, we are adults.  But after a Hurricane, it is ok to ask for help.  And it is certainly ok, to provide help to other people.

Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere.  You just need to explore the magic of your land.  What is it saying to you?   What are the seasons, where you live?  What do they mean to you?  How are they celebrated? 

And Honorable Shamans, as we observe our holidays, “Let’s Share Peace With Our Earth.”

(c) 2015, Whale Maiden.  All Rights Reserved.

Changing Seasons, changing lives

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Rainy Season: Afternoon thunder shower forming over the Mid-point Bridge from Cape Coral to Fort Myers, FL. June 9, 2015

I think it is FINALLY Rainy Season here in Southwest Florida.  I have traditionally marked it as starting June 15th, plus or minus a day or two, since the Earth does wobble a bit on her axis.

It seems to me that this time of year, is the start of the new year, in Southwest Florida.  Many Pagans I know, start their year at Samhain (October 31st) when it is said that the the veil between the worlds is thin.

But the way I look at it, this is the start of the new year.  This is the time of year when school is out for the summer, and people are graduating, getting married, and moving away.  Some people do all of that in a whirlwind week of change.  The rest of us, go see them off:  we go to graduation ceremonies, to weddings and we help people pack up and move.

In Southwest Florida, all of that is happening as we slog into Rainy Season.  When I place an emphasis on “Rainy Season,”  I am talking about the Wheel of the Year, in accordance with the weather here in Southwest Florida.  (This concordance is in contrast to the Pagan Wheel of the Year celebrated by a lot of pagans:  Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Spring Equinox, Beltaine, Summer Solstice, Lunnasagh, and Mabon/Autumnal Equinox.)

Here in Southwest Florida, we have Rainy Season,  Hurricane Season, Autumnal Equinox, Dry Season, and, Fire Season.  The Solstices and Equinoxes are interspersed in this annual cycle, but I’ll talk about that more, in another post.

After we do all those family rituals and ceremonies, then it is a smart time to do a ceremony to honor the shift of what “was,” and recognize that everything that follows, is new now.  In Southwest Florida, the Rain is very cleansing.,  It usually hasn’t rained a whole lot since about mid-October.  The Earth is dry and everything is kind of dusty.  The Rains literally wash the dirt away.

Once the daily afternoon thunder showers start happening, here in Southwest Florida, then the accompanying element of Humidity, rears its head.  (Humidity is another face of Water.)

In Southwest Florida, our whole way of approaching daily life, changes in Rainy Season.  It must, because Rainy Season is characterized by Rain — usually daily afternoon thundershowers, high Humidity, and Heat.   We also have a high UV index, because we are so far South, we are in the Tropics.

This time of year, I tend to get up earlier, because I want to get a lot of things done before it gets too humid.  I want to sit on the lanai in the morning and bird watch and read Facebook, until it gets too hot to sit out there.  I need to do yard work, before it gets too hot.  I should run to the grocery store, before it gets too hot.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll go to the Beach, before it gets too hot.  So, I have to prioritize and decide, before it gets too hot.

This time of year, by about 10:00 AM, it is usually over 80 degrees and Humid.  If you can manage it, you don’t run errands from noon until after it has rained.  For one thing, it is too hot to be out, if you don’t have to.  For another thing, once it starts raining, seems like everybody forgets how to drive on wet/slippery roads.  This is a particular problem, because the daily afternoon thunder storms occur during rush hour.

On the other hand, there’s less traffic on the road this time of year because the Snowbirds left just before Easter, and, the Tourists haven’t all arrived yet.  {That’s a distinction I’ll save for another post.}  So, for a few weeks, the restaurants are less crowded, and so is everything else.  It is just hot, and everyone is exclaiming that to each other.

When Rainy Season starts, in Southwest Florida, we do a Water Ceremony.  After setting up sacred space, and after acknowledging the Great Spirit and Father Sky, the Big Water, and Mother Earth, and the Four Directions, then we thank the Rains for coming, for without it, we’d all go hungry.  We honor the aspect of High Humidity, because that’s about all you CAN do about Humidity.  We drink water, to honor the Rains and because this time of year, that’s just smart to stay hydrated.

After the daily afternoon thunder shower, the plants and the Mother Earth usually drink up all the water very quickly, and what wasn’t absorbed gets steamed off…

20150609_143220
After it Rains, June 2015.

The point of the Earthways Shamanic Path, is to learn what the natural rhythms are where you live, and then, honor those rhythms.  In doing so, you will Share Peace With Our Earth.