Self-Indulgent Beltaine Fun!

Sacred Essence Women’s Circle is this coming Monday night, 8th November and we’ll be having a bit of girly fun this night …. I”m talking pampering with home-made organic face masks, massage, chocolate coated strawberries – and of course a story and meditation also. This time, if the night is clear I am planning a moonlight meditation walk! It is going to be lots of fun girls and bookings are essential so let me know if you are coming!!

Sacred Essence Women’s Circle

Monday 8th November

7pm

$20 or $45 for three sessions

Silkwood School Moonlight Prep Room

39 Shepherd Hill Lane, Mt Nathan

Bookings: please contact me at

jennifer@ceremonieswithspirit.com

Fundevogel

To continue describing the events of our Sacred Essence Women’s Circle the other evening, the silk painting meditation was followed by a storytelling session of the Grimm Brothers’ version of Fundevogel.

Fundevogel has always been one of my favourite stories, and the lines “Never leave me and I shall never leave you: Neither now nor ever” very nearly made it into my wedding vows. I believe that Fundevogel explores themes of trust and guidance.

To cut a beautiful traditional story short (I do recommend you read this one!), Fundevogel was a boy who was found in a bird nest and brought up by a kind family. The cook, however did not take a liking to him and he was mercilessly hunted by the cook and his helpers who wanted to put him in a pot and boil him. His adopted sister and closest friend Lena had an unshakable belief that all will be well and when she found out what the cook’s intentions were she informed Fundevogel what he needed to do to escape the peril. Together they transformed themselves into something beautiful that the cook’s helpers could not recognise: they searched everywhere but just could not see the beauty before them! Twice Fundevogel and Lena managed to escape before the cook came after them himself. Each time Lena calmly stated what they would do:

You be the rose-bush and I the rose upon it. The beautiful red rose growing in the middle of the woods clearly didn’t belong there but the mal-intenders did not recognise it and turned around.

You be the church and I the chandelier within it. An empty church with a chandelier in the middle of the wood – for goodness sake! It was not considered unusual, it was searched thoroughly and STILL the children were not recognised and were saved once more.

You be the pond and I the duck upon it. Finally the cook saw through this one but Lena didn’t blink an eye. She calmly solved that problem too (how? go find the story and read it!) and voila no more problem. Fundevogel and Lena were able to return to their house (their centre of being, their happiness, their comfort) and resume their direction in life.

My interpretation of the story is that we are Fundevogel. He represents us as we stumble through the woods in our responses to the problems we encounter: we need guidance if we are to address them. Lena is our inner guidance. She recognises when we are in trouble or are about to meet something that is going to disturb our lives and sets us in the right direction. She never once doubts that all will be well and she uses her imagination and speaks her intentions positively and clearly – and so it happens. When we imagine what we could do and project our positive intentions out into the world the negative cannot recognise us as victims and so it turns away. I am convinced that it CAN be as simple as that!

The meditation we followed this story with was a three-fold walking meditation. Coming in the next post 😉

October Sacred Essence

Sacred Essence Women’s Circles have been offered monthly over the last year. They are a time and place where women can take a moment to slow down, to breathe, to take comfort in each other’s company and explore healing ways to be whole.

Sacred Essence offers a variety of modalities to explore and express women’s healing: meditation, yoga, breathing, ceremony, craft, song, dance and artwork. It is a deeply peaceful place to unfold in the safe embrace of sisterhood.

Sacred Essence took a break this month while both Melissa and I have been distracted by baby business (no news from Melissa yet but very close!). October Sacred Essence will follow the theme of Intention and how we can focus our intentions to reflect and vibrate with our inner core of beauty. The world is a beautiful place! Let’s create that together again and again and again … In this coming circle I will be sharing my favourite fairy tale of all time (one that nearly made it into our wedding ceremony as part of our vows!) and also we will be silk-painting a sacred altar cloth!

Come and play!

Monday October 4th, 7:30 – 9:30pm,
$20 per session or $45 for three sessions

Moonlight Prep Room, Silkwood School

39 Shepherd Hill Lane, Mt Nathan

RSVP to jennifer@ceremonieswithspirit.com
Please RSVP by 1st October so that I can plan for adequate craft materials.
Please share this link with your fellow womyn. All are welcome.

Blessings, Jennifer

Sacred Essence Monday 9th August

A note from Melissa Joss …

I’m excited! This month I am spreading this wonderful, inspiring and treasured work with my beloved women to Brisbane’s northside. Since i’m heavily pregnant and fast approaching my due date in very early – I hope- Spring, I think it may be my last month of action for a while so I’m planning a couple of big, beautiful, sacred women’s circles.

This month we are celebrating what it means to be a woman, in all our glory!

In the spirit of self care and gentleness we will soothe our minds, calm our senses, relax our bodies and attune to ourcreativity and sacredness as women… together.

I would love so much for you to come and join me in uplifting, soulful music, a meditation journey, some gentle yoga and creative arts with clay for this beautiful evening of celebration of our divine womanliness!!

For your reading pleasure and a bit of a taste, here is our Blessing:

We are women of the earth

Unified here in sacred space

Wisdom calls us here together

To this circle, our field of grace

Here we embrace one another

And I lovingly nurture my Self

Uncovering our truths and our gifts

We give thanks for all of life’s wealth

Divine Mother send us your blessing

As we awaken our Feminine Spirit this night

May we be strong and free and courageous

And walk in the path of great light.

(Melissa Joss, 2009)

The first of these events is to be held

Monday evening 9th August

Moonlight Prep Room, Silkwood School, Mt Nathan

7pm til 9pm

Cost is $20. All materials provided.

Please bring a yoga mat if you have one, cushion and warm shawl/blanket.

Email me to reserve your place: melissa@myshatherapy.com

Sacred Essence Monday 12th

It is time for our monthly dose of sacred women’s work!!  Sacred Essence is on again – but more than likely without me 🙂 Maybe I’ll pop along as a participant for a change!! In the light of my last post I urge you to go along for some nurturing ‘ME’ time.

Melissa has sent out this message about our next circle :

Our next circle will be held this coming Monday 12th July, 7pm at our usual
venue – Moonlight Prep Room, Silkwood School, Mt Nathan.

With Jen awaiting the arrival of their third beautiful child in this very
same week, I will be flying solo this time round.

I thought it fitting therefore, that we take the opportunity to honour
ourselves for all the challenges we take on!… and spend a little time
working on our feelings of empowerment.

Join me in song, yoga, meditation
and creative arts on this evening of self nourishment!  It is promised to be
a night to commune with your fellow sisters, to relax, as well as uplift and rejuvenate your soul!

Please send me a reply email or text if you would like to come.

Cost is $20
per evening or three for $45.
BYO yoga mat, cushion and warm shawl/blanket.  All materials and
refreshments provided.

Feel free to pass this on to friends and family who may be interested.

Warmest wishes,
Melissa

melissa@myshatherapy.com

April Sacred Essence

The cycle of the year has turned again

In autumn we prepare to turn within

It’s time to heed the call of Harvest Queen

And take stock of your crops and your blessings

Demeter, Mother of the Fertile Fields

Abundance of your food and wealth you yield

And in return we offer up to you

A count of our own blessings we made true

Many are the things we have achieved

From this success we save some special seeds

A plan for future projects and ideas

Grown from past joys and also from past fears

An honest look at all that we have learned

A celebration of the gifts we’ve earned

For well we know the surest way to wealth

It is the cultivation of one’s self

Poetry written by and copyright to Jennifer McCormack 2010

It is Sacred Essence Circle time again … this time we are Harvest Queens – be prepared to celebrate your Self and count your many many blessings in story, yoga, ritual, and craft.

This Circle we make an item that will make sure you never forget what a wonderful gift you are to the world!

You will need to bring with you a beautiful bead to give as a gift, and your yoga mat.

All women welcome:

Monday April 12

Silkwood Moonlight Prep Room

Shepherds Hill Lane, Mt Nathan, Gold Coast

7:00pm – 9:30pm

$20 per session or $45 for three sessions

The Crone’s Eyes … and My Tummy …

Last night was our Sacred Essence Evening – and ah! I slept so well afterwards. Better than I have in ages. Melissa’s yoga and chakra balancing meditation was so soothing and healing for my body, the story was a fascinating modern fairytale and the needle felting (and the conversation that goes along with it) was a wonderful creative meditation too.

The story I told is called The Crone’s Eyes. You can find it within a book I highly recommend reading: The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton (published by Allen and Unwin, 2008). I have been trying to choose stories that sit with you for a while, revealing layers of meaning the longer you ponder them. I just love the way I can tell a story in the circle, and each woman gains something different from it – often a perspective I had not considered will arise.

When we read stories to ourselves, we create meaning by associating the events of the story, and the feelings of the protagonists, to our own experiences. I am not saying you will LOVE The Crone’s Eyes, as perhaps you may not be able to relate to it, but I am pretty certain that everyone can find a deeper meaning in this particular story. I planned to tell this story about a month ago, but it wasn’t until the day before our circle that I really understood why it came to me. This often happens to me a few days before I am due to publicly tell a story!

To me, this particular story highlighted how much there is in front of us that we do not see – and that we do not need to rely on our vision to see it!

My message came in loud and clear the other evening when an acute bout of abdominal pain (that was quickly and lovingly treated by my midwife) gave me an ultimatum: listen to your body or your body will protest!

Yes, I have been ignoring those little whispers of intuition for some time. It is mostly connected with food. When I reach for particular foods there is a ‘twinge’ or a hesitation deep within me, and sometimes I can even feel my lungs wince as I touch the food, or even when I think of it … and yet I will continue and happily munch away. Yum.

Well my digestive organs had the last word and now not only may I not eat the foods I KNOW I should avoid … there seems to be a whole lot more on the list now too! So here is my opportunity for some creative gluten-, dairy-, nightshade-, soy-free cooking! There are a few more miscellaneous foods on the list, and a couple of items I should even avoid touching at the moment.

Time to embrace brown rice and develop a taste for buckwheat 🙂

I had fun today giving myself little tests – reaching for, or even just thinking about, items of food and seeing how I react inside. Sure enough that my body told me what was what. My lungs screamed loudly as I reached for the cheese (I love cheese!) and a pain in my side reappeared when I thought about the delicious bread I had been making for my family for a while.

I’ve been on this eating regime before – not as severe as it is currently – and I remember feeling sooo good and almost entirely ridding myself of any traces of asthma. I’m looking forward to being in that place of health again, and looking forward to the challenge of being creative with my cooking.

We really do rely upon our eyes for evidence and fact, don’t we? But sometimes we can look and look in front of us, and the thing we are looking for just IS NOT THERE until someone else points it out to us … in the most obvious place. What has been dancing about before you that you simply cannot see with your eyes?

Sacred Essence this Monday

A Sacred Essence night is happening again this coming Monday evening:

Come to Sacred Essence!


Melissa will stretch, energise and revitalise our connections with our body and inner self through yoga and meditation.

I take you on a journey searching for “The crone’s eyes”….while (for a change!) you are the one who relaxes and listens. It is not a traditional tale but is very well written, as if it is a centuries old fairy story and is full of deeper meaning for each of us. I was captivated when I came across it.

Crone

And finally, we will end the night creatively with a bit of needle felting to bring our experiences together in a healing, nourishing, pictorial way.

I”m looking forward to it! There is something for the mind, body and the spirit.

There are lots of ways to nourish creativity in your life.

Monday 8th March, 7pm sharp – 9:30pm

Moonlight Prep Room

Silkwood School, 39 Shepherd’s Hill Lane, Mt Nathan

$20 for the evening or $45 for three sessions.

All welcome

0401442455 for bookings

SACRED ESSENCE WOMEN’S CIRCLE February

Next Monday Sacred Essence continues to offer nurturing and time for reflection.


We will wrap you in a cocoon of love as we show you how to apply (and experience) the art of healing compresses. These compresses work on your nervous and metabolic system as a healing wrap, a prevention of stress, and a soothing experience of relaxation.

We will also be contemplating LOVE in a Valentines meditation:

Love for self and love for others,

With a creative experience of needle felting to finish with.

Sacred Essence Women’s Circle

Monday 8th February

7pm start

Silkwood School Moonlight Prep Room

$20 per session or $45 for three sessions

Please bring with you:

– a single bed sheet

– yoga mat

– pillow

– image or object representing a loved one

RSVP Friday 5th February

My Nightingale Song

During a meditation following the story of The Apple Pip Princess (by Jane Ray), at our most recent women’s circle, I was filled from the tips of my hair to the ends of my toes with nightingale song. I didn’t hear actual notes, but instead experienced a sense that my humble body was singing most beautifully, and that it was singing my own song. I am getting better at allowing images and sensations to fill me during meditations, and I quite enjoyed this one!

I’ve been quite taken with the idea of nightingale song since then, and I’m quite curious about this bird. We hear about it in stories, in mythology, as a bird who sings mournfully to lovers or lost ones in the evening. Music so beautiful it hurts your soul to hear it.

That nightingale, who now melodious mourns 
Perhaps his children or his consort dear, 
The heavens with sweetness fills; the distant bourns 
Resound his notes, so piteous and so clear;
With me all night he weeps. . .

(by Petrarch)

But have you heard a Nightingale, or know what it looks like? I imagined a beautiful bird in shining blue plumage (for some reason!), but these little birds are plain brown and white, like a thrush. I found a nightingale call, you can listen to it here.

“Chew-chew chew-chew” and higher still,

“Cheer-cheer cheer-cheer” more loud and shrill,

“Cheer-up cheer-up cheer-up”—and dropped

Low—”Tweet tweet jug jug jug”—and stopped

One moment just to drink the sound

Her music made, and then a round

Of stranger witching notes was heard

As if it was a stranger bird:

“Wew-wew wew-wew chur-chur chur-chur

Woo-it woo-it”—could this be her?

“Tee-rew tee-rew tee-rew tee-rew

Chew-rit chew-rit”—and ever new—

“Will-will will-will grig-grig grig-grig.”

(Author unknown)


We have beautiful singing birds here in Australia, and if I were to equate my experience of the Nightingale to a Southern Hemisphere counterpart, I would suggest the Noisy Friarbird …

… who is not only a very plain bird, but also a very ugly one! I have always been astounded that such an unremarkable bird could sound so beautiful. Maybe it is only beautiful to me … here you can listen to it – a fairly average sample of its call , and it is decribed as dischordant! Not to my ears.

And so to return to the discussion of my experience during the meditation, I experienced this ‘nightingale song’ as MY song … my truth, my essence. It was an experience that made me realise how very important my own voice is, even if what I have to say isn’t something that other people are prepared to hear … like the Noisy Friarbird. There are times among family, friends and the community when we feel compelled to agree with others for the sake of keeping peace, or to make others happy, or to make ourselves happy, or because we may not yet be brave enough to disagree, or at least to present another viewpoint.

In those times we are not listening to our Nightingale song, and in fact we are not even letting it sing. What a difference people see in you when you can hear your own inner essence! What a strength you reveal about yourself, what challenges you can overcome when you really really hear your own truth. And what courage it takes to speak it.

But more often than not the strength it takes to summon this courage is worth it in comparison to the sinking, queezy feeling one experiences when one realises that they have found themselves not listening to their inner voice, and agreeing with others for reasons not true to their own heart’s song.

At the 2009 Goddess Conference I found myself amongst women in the flame of truth, for our Opening Ceremony. Together with four other flames we each sang our own song until all our songs mixed together to make the most beautiful harmony – music of the universe, of the inner sacred woman. This was my song:

I speak with Truth

With Truth I belong

In Truth I sing my

Woman’s heart song …