Honoring ALL Mothers Every Day

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Mother Earth Art

“Being a mother is an attitude, not always a biological relation.” ~ R. Heinlein


Hello, friends! And Happy Mother’s Day! I hope this finds you and yours well in all ways.

Wow, it’s been a wild ride over the past few months. 2020 has turned out to be more than many of us expected. Regardless of where we are now, and what we have been moving through in this crazy life chapter, we are not alone in any of this. We truly are in this together around the world.

We Are One.

When I say this, it is no trite statement; it is true, friend. This includes the air we breathe, the trees and plants, the skies and seas, and our Mother Earth and her many inhabitants. We are all connected. From the Spring Peepers to the many peoples, we are not separate from one another.

“A hydrogen atom in a cell at the end of my nose was once part of an elephant’s trunk. A carbon atom in my cardiac muscle was once in the tail of a dinosaur.” ― Jostein Gaarder


Incredibly, it’s been over 9 months since we last shared here. Taking a break has been good for many reasons, but since it’s Mother’s Day – and I am unable to be with mine – I Am inspired to share with you today. This will be a relatively short post that includes inspirational images and thoughts related to the many mothers around the world. My hope in you creating time to relax and absorb this will bring you: the gift of new perspective, provide inspiration, and uplift your spirit. Maybe then you will see things in a new light, and pass the love and inspiration onto others. For we all need inspiration and to be uplifted at this time!


“Every thought you have, every move you make, is like a pebble dropped into water; it continues to make ripples. That’s why it is so important your rhythms be true to life’s Spirit. For in that way, your future will always rest in compassion. For such is life’s Spirit. It is the spirit of compassion.” ― Steven James Taylor, The Dog


The Many Unseen Mothers

When most of us think of Mother’s Day, we immediately think of a person. Maybe we think of a grandmother, a biological mother, an adoptive mother, or a mother-in-law. Maybe we are missing a mom who has passed on. Maybe we are appreciating and missing the moms who are still with us. -I know I miss mine. Honoring our mothers (and honoring the mom that you might be) is truly wonderful, but what if we also included the many mothers of the world?


We shared this collage below a few years ago, but the amazing thing about the the Animal Kingdom is that it’s tales are timeless. And maybe more importantly, is an often overlooked aspect: The Animal QUEENdom.👑💗🌍

The many kinds of moms around the world.

What if – from this day forward – on Mother’s Day, we also included the many unseen moms behind the scenes? What if we considered the countless species of mothers all around the world? What a wonderful world that would be.

Moms are everywhere all over this wonderful world.

Our world is filled with an amazing animal kingdom full of extraordinary mothers! Just think of all of the many moms who inhabit our Mother Earth! From the frozen tundras to the humid jungles, moms are there. These mothers in the wild are guarantors of diversity. They are the caretakers, the guardians, the protectors, the providers, the leaders, and the teachers. They are the unsung heroes.


The Moms We May Never Meet

The wonderful world of wildlife is one aspect of Motherhood, but there are other unsung moms busy behind the scenes. Not only are the dedicated and devoted pet-moms-of-the-world some of the greatest people on the planet, but if we pan back far enough we discover other moms. These particular moms deserve our deepest gratitude. Yet, we may have never met them, and we may never know who they are. Although these moms may never be known, they have had a profound impact on “pet parents.”

These moms are the mothers of our animal family members.

The ones who walk, trot, swim, soar, and run next to us came into the world through their mothers. Some of these moms might have moved on from this physical life; some might still be with us today. But if it wasn’t for their mother, we would have never had our dearly beloveds by our side.



When you look at your cat, pup, pig, pony, turtle, lizard, fish, ferret or parrot, do you ever wonder who their mama was? Have you ever wondered who brought your beloved animal family member into the world? Whether they hatched or were birthed, they had a mother. These mothers also deserve our adoration and gratitude. They are the ones who brought our furry, scaly, hairy, and feathered soul mates into the world.

I will always be grateful for these mothers.

Our wee Hocus Pocus, just outside the puppy pile with their mama, Lola

And if you have had the pleasure of meeting, knowing, or falling in love with the mother of your companion animal, it changes you forever. This week, one of our furry family members had a Big Birthday. Not only were we celebrating a decade of our lil dude being with us, but I was reflecting on how grateful I am for the mom who brought his precious soul into the world. Her name was Mama Cat, and I loved her dearly. (You can see the post about her and who she brought into the world here.)

Mama Cat, a feral who gave birth to a litter of kittens under our porch
She had my whole heart from the start. I will love her forever.

Beyond Birth and the Bonds

Your connection to your companion animal comes from within. But it all began long before he/she was even a blip on the radar. We cannot even begin to appreciate every alignment, synchronicity, and behind the scenes orchestration that collaborated together to bring the incredible being with whom you share a home now, into the world. Somehow, despite all the odds, and impossible paths, we all aligned with our beloved family members at just the right moment in time. It’s truly amazing.

And each of their mothers were the seed that grew, and through their lives, they allowed the flowers of our lives to bloom.

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” – Robert Browning


Happy Mother’s Day to the countless dedicated moms around the world who love, care, and protect for their furry, feathered, scaly, and hairy “kids” with such incredible devotion. We appreciate that “Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.” And as Conscious Companions, we honor ALL moms every day! And as the above heart-warming images and these remarkable wildlife tales prove, a mother’s love is unconditional – no matter what species you are.


The Mother of All Life

Last but not least, this post would not be complete without sharing our love and gratitude for the Mother who supports us all; the mother who sustains every species; the mother who is also often overlooked – our Mother Earth.

This Mother’s Day, as we honor our mothers, grandmothers, ancestors, and every mother of the wild ones, may we remember to honor and give our gratitude to Mother Earth. She has seen it all. She has lived through more than we can imagine. Yet she is still here. She is supporting all life, all births, and all of the many mothers around the world.

Thank you, Mother Earth. Thank you for allowing all of the mothers that we love dearly – and the many mothers we may never meet — to be born, to live, and to thrive in your seas, skies, mountains, forests, deserts, and tundras.

All mothers are here because of you.

We thank you, Mother Earth.

Below is some new artwork we created on Earth Day. This pieces serves to be a visual reminder of Mother Earth’s unmatched beauty and resilience, and a reflection of what our Mother can become when she has clean and clear seas and skies. When we heal, she heals, and when she heals, we heal. Every day can be Earth Day and Mother’s Day when each of us chooses to do our part for the greater good of all species who share this precious planet. There is so much we can consider now, to create a better future for all.

We Are One.🤍✨🌎✨

Earth Art we created in honor pf our precious planet

“Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water is a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world, there exists a brotherly feeling that keeps us safe among them … This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living; it gave us reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.” ― Chief Luther Standing Bear


Honoring The Mother of ALL Moms: Mother Earth


Blessings to you and yours, dear ones.

Be Kind and Gentle & Stay Lifted.

All my love💗

Conscious Companion

Amazing Arachnids

Teach them a spider does not spin a web. Spiders spin meaning. Cut one strand and the web holds. Cut many, the web falls. With the web’s fall, so too falls the spider. Break the web. Break the spider. So breaks the circle of life. – Frederic M. Perrin

Spiders. They either invoke reverence or revulsion in the eye of the beholder.

But what if the presence of Spider is much more than meets the human eye???

Spider energy, (or as my Cherokee ancestors refer to it, “spider medicine”) is a sign that your higher self is guiding you toward a deeper understanding of your place and purpose in this life. Grandmother Spider spins the web of time and knows all aspects of the future and the past. In Shamanism the Spider is an inventor. The creature’s 8 legs represent the medicine wheel, and Spider spirit was the sacred keeper of Native American history.

As the weaver of the web, the spider symbolizes the spirit of creation. In several traditions, she’s the totemic symbol of the Mother, strong feminine energy. To the Egyptians, Spider was sacred, and associated with the Goddess Neith – a mother figure. Similarly Native Americans see Spider as a creator and a symbol of the divine Feminine aspect. This creative energy is central to Spider’s lessons.

Spider says, “Haste makes waste. Go slow and steady and wait for the right time.” As you do, you’ll achieve greater understanding of all your aptitudes and traits and pull them together as a cohesive whole. Spider reminds us that planning and taking your time with a heartfelt project is the key to success.

Spider as a spiritual guide and mentor encourages you to try looking at a problem from different angles. Follow one strand – where does it take you? Try another – where are you then? Stay flexible and don’t be afraid to test out a new Path.

Spider asks us to ask ourselves, “Where do you want to build your web/network so that it’s strong?”

Most spider webs are round-ish spirals which unite at a central point. In this, Spider webs are mandalas! As the center of your own “web”, are you focused on what you truly want or are you spending time concentrating on negative energy?

Great things to consider as we celebrate Save a Spider Day !

“What’s miraculous about a spider’s web?”, said Mrs. Arable.

“I don’t see why you say a web is a miracle–it’s just a web.”

“Ever try to spin one?”, asked Mr. Dorian.

–Charlotte’s Web

Learn more about incredible creatures at Conscious Companion.

A New Year’s Blessing for You

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Hello Friends, Bright Lights, and Starlight!

I hope wherever you are, this finds you and yours at peace in all ways possible.  As we release 2018 and welcome 2019 I offer you this blessing:


If I could lay before you the dearest gift this evening

It would be a time of no beginning and no end.

It would be life filled with good health and peace and inner joy that can only come from the Spirit.

You would quietly refine your thoughts and words so that you never draw to you anything but the finest.

You would rest deeply and breathe in sweet peace.

You would know the tremendous difference between the material and the spiritual – turning from anger and frustration to a safe haven of love.

You would always be the most loyal friend – not only to others but to yourSelf.

All the issues of life rise out of the heart – so this is a gift from heart to heart.

– A Cherokee Feast of Days by Joyce Sequichie

Below is a video I created a few years ago with that beautiful Cherokee blessing.

 ✨🌅✨




We are All setting aside 2018 and shifting into a New Year. As one chapter in life ends, another begins.  Have you taken time out of your hectic holiday schedule to consider what this upcoming year has in store for our precious souls, and how you will create a new chapter???

Below are just a few of the questions that come to mind when I consider the new chapter that’s beginning for us all.  In each question I’ve included my favorite inspirational videos or posts from the past few years.  I hope you enJOY!

Energy Medicine_energy healing for pets_animal communication_empath_intuitive_starseed_conscious companion
My husband’s stone, reflecting a sunset on the ocean


As we let go of 2018 and glide into 2019 …

Will this be a beautiful new beginning?  – An ending to a complex chapter?

Will there be more joy and laughter? – An ending to shedding tears?

Will we be kinder? – An ending to criticism of our self and others?

Will we practice more Self Care? – An ending to ignoring our glorious vessel?

Will we be more cognizant of how we spend our precious energy? – An ending to overdoing, and overstretching ourselves?

Will we see our animal companions as Benevolent Beings? – An ending to frustration?

Will we know that  We Are One? -An ending to separation and judgement?

Will we become more mindful and fully present? -An end to mind-wandering and constant distraction?

Will we remember to get outside into Mother Nature?  -An ending to a sedentary lifestyle?

Will we recognize our Fellow Earth Travelers as brothers & sisters?  -An end to divisions and superiority?

Will every day be the dawn of a new adventure? -An ending to feeling stuck?

Will it be filled with empowerment and peace? -An ending to stress, struggling, and strife?

Will we know there is no death? Only a doorway to a new way of Being?

Will we know that with every thought and deed we Create ripple effects in unimaginable ways?

Will we lovingly release the past and graciously welcome the new?🧡

I hope so.💜

ripple-effect_we-are-one

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language.  And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” (Little Gidding) ― T.S. Eliot



I am not one to dwell on the past.  I rarely even glance a day behind me, but I do know that we can learn from the lessons that come through us; for the past challenges and future opportunities are lessons we can learn from now.

This year has been a blessing in innumerable ways.  Many of these blessings are yet unrecognized, but they are there.  It’s also been a challenge.  As I look forward in gratitude to the new chapter, I am reminded of so much that family, friends, and countless communities have been moving through.  But more importantly, I Am thankful for the tremendous healing and growth that have come from it. I am grateful for kindness, compassion, unity, and forgiveness.

We are All in this together.

We Are One.


Conscious Companion_cat walk_senior cats walking on leash_cat training_force free

On a more personal note, it’s been one helluva rollercoaster.🎢 I do love a wild ride, but I deeply miss someone whom we said goodbye to, so this video is near and dear to my heart.  Although it highlights 2016, its message is still relevant today for many families with furry ones.  I hope this speaks to your mind and heart; a reminder of what gratitude, empowerment, laughter, Joy, and Unconditional Love can bring. 

This is a glimpse into what I feel our animal companions are thankful for:


                                                                      🧡

Copyright Conscious Companion 2019

“May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.”
― D. Simone


May every moment of 2019 be filled with inexplicable peace.♥️

Watching the sun as it sets on the ending to 2018 and the beginning of 2019

  ConsciousCompanion.com

“Dog Days” of Summer!

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“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”

― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Hello, Bright Light!

I hope this finds you well in every way.  And I hope you are finding ways to stay cool and beat the summer heat while helping our animal friends to do the same! 

I have not shared with you on this blog in FOUR months! We’ve had a lot on our plate since my last post.  But today I am very excited about something in the skies, so I am making time to share.

This will be a short post because we are still unpacking and getting settled after our PCS (Big Move) from the west coast to the east coast!  Since we are still in the swing of Summertime, I thought this would be fun to share with you. I hope it inspires you!


Did you know … ?

The expression “dog days of summer” was not originally referring to the oppressive heat and laying around like a tired dog in the summer.  It actually refers to the period from July 3 through Aug. 15 when the “dog star”, Sirius, holds a most prominent position in the nightsky!  Sirius is nicknamed the “Dog Star” because it is part of the constellation Canis Major, which is Latin for “the greater dog.” Eventually the phrase “dog days” was poorly translated from Latin to English about 500 years ago; taking on a new meaning.

 

dog days of summer _Canis Major_Constellations

 


The History of Sirius 

For centuries, the effect of Sirius’ light with the combination of our Sun’s energy was understood to have an effect on all life on Earth.  In Egypt, Sirius’ return to the night sky became a precursor to the annual flooding of the Nile, and was associated with the goddess Sopdet.  In Greece, the sighting of Sirius was the precursor to their hot summer and thunderstorms.

 

dog days of summer_dog and rabbit_ancient greeks_sirius Star
The ancient Greeks saw the constellation Canis Major as a dog chasing Lepus, the hare. The star Sirius is the dog’s nose; the Greeks called it the “dog star.”

 

Today, this star is still considered powerful to life on planet Earth.  Sirius, located in the Canis Major constellation, can be considered directly ‘upstream’ from our solar system in a cosmic sense that refers to its relative position in the Milky Way galaxy.  A highly-charged stellar field, it is said to be currently bringing in high-end electromagnetic currents into our solar system, affecting the solar activity and planetary vibrations of every celestial being on Earth. It’s also known to be directly involved in the 8/8 Gateway that we are all  currently in now.

sirius (1)
Photo By: H.E. Bond, E. Nelan, M. Burleigh, J.B. Holberg, STScI, NASA


Bright Lights

When stars reach the end of their evolution, smaller stars—those up to eight times as massive as our own sun— become “white dwarfs.”  These ancient stars are incredibly dense; a mere teaspoonful of their matter would weigh as much as an elephant.

Sirius A Sirius B
This picture is an artist’s impression showing how the binary star system of Sirius A and its diminutive blue companion, Sirius B, might appear to an interstellar visitor.

 

Even as a dwarf star, Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky,  even though it’s 8.8 light-years away from Earth!  The Sirius system is the fifth known closest stellar system.  Sirius observes a period of almost exactly 365¼ days between risings.  Although this incredible star continues to return to the night sky in late summer, its position continues to gradually shift relative to the Sun.  Several millennia from now, this astrological event won’t even occur during the summer.  Roughly 13,000 years from now, Sirius will be rising with the sun in mid-winter. Scientists say that in 26,000 years, the dog days will completely move all around the sky.

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Stars like our sun fuse hydrogen in their cores into helium. White dwarfs are stars that have burned up all of the hydrogen they once used as nuclear fuel.  Fusion in a star’s core produces heat and outward pressure, but this pressure is kept in balance by the inward push of gravity generated by a star’s mass. When the hydrogen used as fuel vanishes, and fusion slows, gravity causes the star to collapse in on itself.

Sirius
Sirius B is the nearest known white dwarf star to Earth.

 


How to Locate Sirius in the Night sky:

Have you noticed a very bright, twinkling star in the predawn/dawn sky?  That star is Sirius.  It’s so bright that, when it’s low in the sky, it shines with glints of red and flashes of blue!  Sirius is highly visible in the Northern Hemisphere night sky because it has a high relative luminosity to other stars, and it’s relatively close to Earth.   If the star were placed next to Earth’s sun, Sirius would outshine our sun more than 20 times.  To find Sirius, use the belt of Orion as a pointer.  The three stars point downward toward Sirius to the left.

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Orion the Hunter and Sirius the Dog Star.

 

The very noticeable constellation Orion the Hunter rises before dawn at this time of year, recognizable for the short straight line of three stars that make up Orion’s Belt. And the sky’s brightest star Sirius – sometimes called the Dog Star because it’s part of the constellation Canis Major the Greater Dog – follows Orion into the sky as the predawn darkness gives way to dawn.

Orion and the nearby star Sirius will become visible in the evening by northern winter (or southern summer). But presently the Hunter and the Dog Star lord over the southeastern sky at dawn’s first light.

VY-CMa-wide1-358x400

 


Simple Stargazing

If you are into the stars and the night sky, I highly recommend getting the Sky Guide App.   I wish I had this as a kid.  I used to lug my huge telescope around the neighborhood at night. This is much easier! 😀  It is So Cool to see constellations so clearly on your phone!  And the Sky Guide automatically adjusts to your viewing direction so you can easily identify stars, planets, constellations and so much more! You can see a demo here.

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a screenshot of Sirius in the constellation of Canis Major from my iphone

 


Must-See Meteor Shower!

Also, if you were not aware, the 2018 Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend.  The upcoming new moon on August 11 guarantees darker nights, so it’ll be easier to see.  The Perseid meteors tend to be bright enough to be seen in suburban skies. Sky Guides are saying the mornings of August 12 and 13 are best for viewing,  but August 10 and 11 will be good, too.  Check out these tips for watching 2018’s Perseid meteors!

 

perseids-en-2018


Stellar Sights!

I know this a switch-up from my usual posts about animal behavior, training, and enrichment, but this is no less important.  I have discovered that when we allow wonder to permeate our being, this sense of wonder and awe flows into all other areas of our life.  When we choose to see life through the eyes of a child, filled with wonder and awe, transformations occur.  When we set out to see new sights, our perceptions change. If we are willing to see things differently, we change, as does the world around us.

I hope that you will create space to view the beauty of space with your beloved animal companions.  May the nightsky and the bright lights within it remind you of the Light within you and your animal companions.

Blessings to you and your beloveds! And Happy Summertime!

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos


 

 

 

Fellow Earth Travelers

California Mexico Humpback Whale
Whale watching in Baja on my birthday

March 2018

As we find ourselves in various challenges and life chapters all over the world, I’d like to share these powerful words of wisdom with you today. May they be a reminder of what our Soul is always trying to share:

 

Touch the earth, love the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places.  For the gifts of life are the earth’s and they are given to all, and they are the songs of birds at daybreak, Orion and the Bear, and the dawn seen over the ocean from the beach.

When the Pleiades and the wind in the grass are no longer a part of the human spirit, a part of very flesh and bone, man becomes, as it were a kind of cosmic outlaw, having neither the completeness and integrity of the animal nor the birthright of a true humanity.

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.

We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves.  And therein we err, and greatly err.  For the animal shall not be measured by man. 

In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.

They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.

― Henry Beston, The Outermost House

 

Felipe Calderon announced the cancelation of a Touristic project in Cabo Pulmo
Grey whale breaching off the coast of southern California

 


May the sights, scents, and sensations of Mother Nature lift your soul.


 

Conscious Companion.com

The Energy of Autumn

“Fall has always been my favorite season.  The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
― Lauren DeStefano, Wither

autumn-leaves

Sept. 22, 2016

Blessings! I hope this find you and yours well.

I am so very, very happy today.  The winds of change are blowing. The Autumn Equinox is finally here!

It. Is. Now. Fall. 🍁🍂

Here on the west coast we are enjoying a crisp, cool breeze coming off the ocean, with sunny skies hovering around seventy degrees.  Although there are no colorful changing leaves denoting Fall is here, I am in heaven.  Autumn is my soul’s season.  Fall makes my heart sing and lights a spark inside of me.  No matter where we are living, I look forward to Autumn all year long.

If you have been flowing with this blog since it began in 2012, then you know the focus usually surrounds nature and animal companions.  But often the palpable energy of the season inspires me.   The current energy is Autumn, so this is is where we will let the winds blow us today.

🌬🍃✨🍂

Although most of us associate Autumn with cooler weather, dancing fires, cozy snuggles, seasonal drinks, squash, scarecrows, pumpkins, and spice in all slices of life, there is another side to Autumn. -One that permeates the world we live in.  It affects us all; plants, animals, and people.


Note: This was written in 2016, so the dates & times of the Equinox have changed.

The Energy of The Equinox Around the World

The Autumnal Equinox arrives precisely at 10:21 a.m. (EST) today (Thursday, September 22).  Unlike an event such as New Year’s midnight, a time that follows the clock around the time zones, equinoxes happen at the same moment everywhere all around the world!

“Equinox” comes from the Latin words “equi” meaning “equal” and “nox” meaning “night.” On the Equinox the hours of light and dark are equal. But because of atmospheric refraction the light is bent which makes it appear as if the sun is rising or setting earlier. Technically September 25 marks “equal day and night” -sunrise will be at 6:47 a.m. EDT and sunset at 6:47 p.m. This day is known as the Equilux  “Lux” is Latin for “light”.  During this time of year the light and dark are now in balance.   This time represents a shift in the seasons, and a time where the energy of the Sun and Moon are in complete balance.

sun-and-moon-in-balance

 

The autumnal equinox happens the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator, which is an imaginary line in the sky that corresponds to Earth’s equator.  The Old Farmer’s Almanac describes it as a plane of Earth’s equator projected out onto the sphere. Every year this occurs on September 22, 23, or 24 in the northern hemisphere.

There are two equinoxes annually; vernal and autumnal, each marking the beginning of spring and fall.  Those in the Northern Hemisphere are now in the season of Autumn.  Those in the Southern Hemisphere are in the season of Spring.  In the Northern Hemisphere, many tree species are getting ready to shed their leaves; letting go of the old and unnecessary parts of themselves in order to prepare for winter.  In the Southern Hemisphere flower buds are beginning to bloom. Greenery is returning after the long winter.  Here in the northern hemisphere, from today onward, the days get shorter until the winter solstice arrives in December.

 


 

A Bit of Background About Autumn

Long before White Contact spread like wildfire across the “New World” my ancenative-american-autumn-fallstors had a huge celebration for Autumn. Cherokee and other first nations referred to it as Harvest Time.  During the height of harvesting and gathering there were great celebrations of thanks. This included music, song, dance, gifting, and feasting.  The celebrations lasted around a week. Sometimes longer.  The community had drumming sessions where they honored all walks of life:  water, birds, Mother Earth, snakes, wind (willow trees), and rabbits. All of these represent the Equinox.  It was a celebration of the “West” -The “direction” of Autumn.  They tribe would perform a smudging ceremony to cleanse and purify, and then use sweetgrass to bring in the “sweetness” of community and of the new season.

September also held the corn harvest, which was referred to as “Ripe Corn Festival”. It was customarily held in the early part of the Nut Moon (Duliidsdi) to acknowledge Selu, the spirit of the corn.  Selu is thought of as First Woman.   This festival respected Mother Earth and gave thanks for providing all foods during the growing season.  The “Brush Feast Festival” also customarily takes place in this season.  All the fruits and nuts of the bushes and trees of the forest were gathered as this time.  Hunting traditionally began in earnest at this time.   October was a time of traditional “Harvest Festival” (the Nowatequa) when Cherokee people give thanks to all the living things of the fields and earth that helped them live, and to the “Apportioner”, Unethlana.  The Cheno i-equa or “Great Moon” Festival is customarily held at this time.

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Autumn Legends

There are many legends surrounding Autumn. I will share just a few with you.  the-spirit-of-the-corn_-selu_first-mother_cherokee_native-american_fall_autumnAs I mentioned above, Selu, the spirit of corn was honored at this time. She represents the harvest, weather, and growth. The legend states that this Native American corn Goddess planted her very heart so people wouldn’t go hungry. The legend tells that her spirit teaches us how to re-fertilize the earth to bring sustenance to all.

Another legend tells the story of how leaves turned red. A battle was fought by the Deer and the Bear in the land of the sky. The colors in the leaves are a result of the blood of the Bear thrown down from the sky upon the trees in the autumn.  You can read the fascinating Wyandot (Huron) Legend: “Why the Leaves Have Many Colors in Autumn” here.   Another legend of why the leaves turn red in Autumn can be found in the story, “Chasing the Great Bear.”

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According to Greek legend, autumn beings when Persephone returns to Hades in the underworld. Heartbroken, her mother, the goddess of grain and harvest, allows the crops on Earth to die until her daughter returns in the spring.  The word “harvest” comes from the Old Norse word haust, which means “to gather or pluck.” As people moved to the cities, “harvest” fell out of use and city dwellers began to use “fall of the leaf,” which was shortened to “fall.”

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Persephone, the goddess queen of the underworld, wife of the god Hades. She was worshiped alongside her mother Demeter, goddess of autumn harvest.

 


celtic-seasons

What’s In The Name?

Etymologists are unsure of the origin of the word “autumn,” though they believe it comes from the ancient Etruscan root autu, which implies a change of season. In this scenario, the Romans then appropriated the term and formed the Latin word autumnus. Americans typically use the word “fall”. The British use the word “autumn”. Both terms date around the 16th century.  Before these terms this  period was called “harvest.”

The Autumnal Equinox is also called the Fall Equinox, the Second Harvest Festival, Festival of Dionysus, Wine Harvest, Cornucopia, and Winter Finding.  Ancient people celebrated each change of the seasons, knowing that nature’s changes outside correspond to inner changes as well. Autumn is now associated with Halloween – a day greatly influenced by Samhain, a sacred Celtic autumn festival.

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Autumn’s Effects on Plants and Animals

Humans are not the only ones affected as we shift from Summer to Autumn.  Animals and plants respond to the changes in light surrounding the season of autumn.  At this time, in response to cooler temperatures and less available light, leaves stop producing chlorophyll. This green pigment assists with  capturing sunlight to power photosynthesis. As the green fades the other pigments of the leaves shine through. This why we see orange and yellow carotenoids and vibrant red anthocyanin.

Plant cells produce compounds called phytochromes in response to different portions of the light spectrum. During late fall and early winter, when the sun remains low in the southern sky, the indirect light produces an increase in far-red phytochromes.  The ratio of these two compounds mediates the hormones involved in flowering, leaf drop, and bud development. Even seeds below the soil are affected. Even the amount of red and far-red light that penetrate the soil is sufficient to govern germination.

To the untrained eye Autumn appears to solely represent a season of leaves changing, but there is much more happening now.  In addition to the energy shift of the season, there are massive ecological changes occurring.  Thankfully, attention and enthusiasm for examining the ecological effects of climate change on autumn is rapidly increasing.

Each autumn, many animals experience gonadal recrudescence, or behavior in response to environmental cues (e.g., daylight). Specifically, in early fall, the amount of available daylight, or photoperiod, matches the photoperiod in spring, which triggers mating instincts in animals.

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Each autumn, monarch butterflies migrate from the U.S. to Mexico and some parts of Southern California.  Monarch butterflies are the only insect that migrates to a warmer climate that is 2,500 miles away. Thanks to the milkweed I brought into our yard we have dozens of Monarchs hatching out of their chrysalises! You can view them in action here.

In autumn the male Siberian hamster’s testes swell up to 17 times bigger than normal to prepare for mating.  And every Fall the black-capped chickadee’s tiny hippocampus enlarges by 30%, which enables it to remember where it collected seeds in different spots in trees and on the ground.  How cool is that?!?

There is evidence that song birds living near sources of artificial light begin singing to attract mates, as well as laying eggs, earlier in the spring than their counterparts in places that remain dark at night.   Migratory birds are a great example.  Dark-eyed Junco nesting in northern Canada respond to the shortened days of summer with a series of physical changes: their reproductive organs become inactive. They shrink in size, and hormones stimulate the rapid growth of a new set of feathers (non-breeding plumage), and fat deposits develop to provide fuel for the long migratory flight ahead. So amazing!

Some even say that levels of testosterone in both men and women are at their highest in the fall.  Scientists speculate the surge may be a result of ancient mating instincts -the fall “rutting season” or that decreasing daylight somehow triggers it.  Who knows.  I am not sure we need any more testosterone in the world right now.  😉

Regardless of whether you are a lover of nature, science, energy, or animals, we all have the opportunity to learn so much from Mother Nature as she is beautifully in sync with the natural rhythm of the energetic shifts of the changing seasons.


Autumn Elements 

5element_webAncient Chinese medicine teaches the importance of elements within each season. The season of autumn is associated with the element of Metal, which governs organization, order, communication, the mind, setting limits, and protecting boundaries.  This time is a great time to finish projects you began in spring and summer – harvesting the bounty of your hard work!  Fall is a time of organizing your life for the winter season ahead and coming more inside your body and mind to reflect on your life.

The lung and large intestine are the internal organs related to Fall  and the element of Metal (or air) in both pets and people.  Lung is associated with the emotion of “letting go.” Sleep is another important aspect of staying healthy in the Fall. The ancients advised that people should retire early at night and rise with the crowing of the rooster during the autumn.  I might have a full-on freak out if I had to rise to the sound of a crowing cock, but you get the idea.  They are suggesting we do as many plants and animals do; rise and rest with the sun.

Now matter where we are, or what species we are, the equinox is symbolic of change.  We are all connected to each other and to Mother Earth. So when seasonal changes occur in nature, many can feel these changes resonating within.  These changes will be reflected in our own vibration and we may find that our energies begin syncing up with that of Mother Earth.


Energy of Autumn

falling-leavesThis Autumn equinox will bring about a number of changes around the world in both people and nature.  This time of year marks the annual beginning of a series of transformations that take place not only in nature, time, and space, but also within each of us, and our animal companions!  We will all experience the autumnal shift in both our conscious and subconscious. For some it will be monumental; for others it will be barely noticeable.

Regardless of how you experience them, the changes are here. libra_balanced-scales_art_equinox

The Equinox comes at a time when the Sun will shift into the energy of Libra.  Libra represents a highly creative time where beauty, joy, and aesthetics are highlighted.  Libra is also all about partnerships and being able to balance energies. Libra is the sign of balanced scales. As we experience equal day and night there are “balanced scales in the sky” Heaven and Earth. Equality and Balance on many levels.

 

Libra is recognizing the objective identity of the other person and seeing how they can fit together as a team.  Scorpio is seeing into the emotional depths of those they are relating to and seek kindred souls they can bond with.  Sagittarius responds to the urge to uplift society and thus the emphasis is on reaching into the loftier realms of religion, philosophy and law.  They feel drawn to help raise people’s spirits though helpful deeds, a joyous and trusting nature, and an interest in spirituality, culture and the arts.  Thus the Fall Equinox ushers in the Autumn months – a time for reaping what has been sown individually and joining with others as a team to bring in the harvest and enjoy it together!

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This Equinox is a reminder that we all change and that transformation is natural and a normal part of life.  If the trees resisted the shedding process, they would not be prepared for what is to come.  If the flower resisted to bloom, she would never know the fullness of heir own beauty. She would hide from the sun; the light that allows her to grow and bloom.

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a rose in bloom at our home

The Symbolism of Seasons Changing

We have so much to learn from nature, and from the changing of seasons. Animals and nature know how to flow with these winds of change. It’s instinctual. But we humans tend to resist change. But we can learn how to learn from nature.

Release.  Clarity.  Creativity.  Balance.  These are the major themes of Autumn this year.  This is a time when we can learn to trust that whatever we release is meant to go.  We will gain clarity.  Whatever we feel called to create will bloom. We are guided to balance all aspects within ourselves and in our lives.   As the light and darkness of  autumn days become in balance we can become attuned to the dark and the light within ourselves. We can create balance in every aspect of our life.

With the energy of Chrion and the Sun in Libra, we are being guided to remember: regardless of the form we are all one in the same.  This energy is helping us to heal cultural and deep-seeded wounds we all have around our connections with “others.” The energy is here now to help us see the truth: Our differences are just an illusion.  Deep down, we are all connected; We Are One.

The winds of change are preparing us for what is ahead.  Allow the Autumn winds to lift and carry you forward.  Harvest what you want to reap. Release what no longer serves. -There is much to embrace and much to let go.  As the ancient poet Rumi said, “Life is a balance between holding on and letting go.”

This is Autumn.

May this season bring you and yours all that your heart desires. May the changing of the season inspire you.  May you find time to play in nature.  Dance with the wind.  Embrace the energy of autumn.  She has so much to offer us all.🍁🍂 🍁🍂


autumn-forest

“Is not this a true autumn day?  Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonize.  The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit.  Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”  

[Letter to Miss Eliot, Oct. 1, 1841]
― George Eliot

 

Conscious Companion

What Animals Do When They Think No One is Watching

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

coyote pups playing

 

In our family we make a point to be playful and silly as much as we can. We laugh a lot. And we make time to play.  I am also a huge advocate of using play when teaching kids and especially adults.  Play is a powerful tool!

Play can lift a person’s mood. Play relaxes everyone in the room, and eases tension any time things get tense.  Play is a great way to remember to not be so serious.  Play is also great exercise.  We all need a lot of playtime in our lives.

People aren’t the only ones who play. Nature plays, too!

Every once in a while, we are fortunate to get a glimpse into the hidden lives of animals in our homes, and in the wild.  When this happens we are surprised how much animal species are like us.  They love. They protect. And they play.

Every time I think I know enough about a species, I am given another opportunity to learn something new from a new animal teacher, and see life from another’s perspective.

Today my teacher was a wild coyote (Canis latrans).

Check out this new perspective on the importance of play:


Have you ever seen an animal in nature playing like this?

Do you play?

Please share!  I would love to hear your favorite play stories!


Recommended Reading:

Coyote facts

PROJECT COYOTE RESOURCES

Coyote Power Animal

Coyote plays with dog toy

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We do not quit playing because we grow old; we grow old because we quit playing.― Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

 

 

 

Moments Like These

snowflake up close

“Snow falling soundlessly in the middle of the night will always fill my heart with sweet clarity”- Novala Takemoto

I hope you are enjoying a most relaxing weekend.  We sure are.  This morning I awoke to discover a soft fluttering of snow falling outside our house.  Considering the extreme lack of snow we have had in our nation’s capital this year, it was a most welcomed sight!

My heart leapt with joy when I saw the gorgeous details unfolding just outside my window.

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The evergreen tree boughs held the falling snowflakes ever so gently, and the grass gladly accepted each falling snowflake as if it were a dear friend helping a loved one settle down to rest.  The snow was falling effortlessly.  Not one of the snowflakes struggled.  Each unique snowflake drifted down with ease and grace.  They appeared to be so light and free.  I wanted to be those snowflakes!

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I stepped outside.  The moment I stood there under the gently falling snow my heart was happy.  My mind was quiet and at peace.  Every time a snowflake landed on my eyelashes and caressed my face I lit up with the joy and laughter of an innocent and playful little girl.

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After my giggles and laughter subsided, I felt another sensation.  What I noticed almost immediately was the calm, quiet, stillness of what I was witnessing. The world was silent.   No cars.  No kids.  No sirens.  Just beautiful silence.  It was if the chaos of the world had been put on pause by a giant mute button.  I was taken aback by the beauty in that silence.   And a part of me longed to experience that forever.

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In moments like these, the entire world appears to be completely at rest and in harmony.  Experiencing this kind of serene silence, stillness, and peacefulness is when I remember that we all have the power to experience this kind of peace of mind and stillness, no matter what appears to be happening outside of us.

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Life gets chaotic.  Work and home can get hectic.   It can be hard to weather the storms that come straight at us.  But we can learn how get through them all with grace and ease.

Whether we are struggling with finances, health, a relationship or career, or if one of our beloveds is aging or dying, we can still find peace despite the heartache and stress.  We can experience moments of deep peace in the middle of one of life’s storms.  Animals do this all the time.  In fact, it’s one of the most miraculous and beautiful gifts they give us; they know how to find that peace within. They show us how to do this.

We can also go within and find this peace.  We can find this peace when we look into the eyes of our beloved animal companions, our children, friends, and life partners.  We can find this peace in art, nature, meditation, prayer, and a million other ways.  We can find this kind of peace watching the snow fall with grace and ease.

This peace and stillness is always available to every one of us; we just have to choose to experience it.


Where do you find moments of peace?  Where and when can you enjoy the silence?

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“Thank goodness for the first snow, it was a reminder–no matter how old you became and how much you’d seen, things could still be new if you were willing to believe they still mattered.” ― Candace Bushnell