Gratitude

With every new moon I like to chose a card to direct my path over the course of the month. I was recently blessed with the discovery of Nicole Piar’s wonderful, magical, art work and oracle cards. Her art work is available through Instagram @ghostkittenart. Even though I am accumulating quite a collection of tarot and oracle cards, I felt compelled to support Nicole’s artistic vision through purchasing her gorgeous Spirit Cats Inspirational Card Deck.

This photo really doesn’t convey the stunning beauty of her work, so please check out her website on Instagram. The card I drew was “Gratitude.” This is entirely appropriate as I spent the day reflecting on everything and everyone I am thankful for. The list is far too enormous to include in this post, but let me just say that my heart is filled with love and gratitude.

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I recently offered a Giveaway on Instagram to thank my followers for their support. I feel like I have made some strong connections with so many lovely spirits over the past few weeks. I offered a free “singing your spirit home” session. This involves delving into your sense of place and sense of self and piecing together your personal mythology. I normally charge $250 for a full session, but decided to gift this session to two women. I will announce the winners on March 1st.

If you are interested in nurturing your spirit and finding your selkie soul song, feel free to contact me for information about my services. I am also always happy to collaborate with other priestesses, spirit workers, and life coaches.

Blessings to you on this Ash New Moon. It is the time for deepening the bonds of friendship and reaching out to your community. What can you do to help others during this moon phase?

 

 

Selkie’s and Essential Oils

(This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase the items through Amazon.com I will receive a small compensation)

Over the past few weeks, I have become an ardent fan of doTerra essential oils. Ever since I ended up with Lyme Disease last summer I have found it increasingly difficult to maintain wellness. This struggle has been all too real for me this winter as I have been ill more than I have been well. A friend encouraged me to try doTerra oils, gifting me with a few samples to sway my decision to purchase. I have not looked back!

I just placed my second big order and am eagerly anticipating the arrival of the magical box of holistic goodness! I am finishing up my thesis, or at least attempting to do so, so it is vital that I stay well. I am diffusing doTerra’s https://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=ckgemmell9-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B004O276P2&asins=B004O276P2&linkId=6dccbbbfb7529dd35649ac851b6cb1fc&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

in my https://www.amazon.com/doTERRA-33150001-Petal-Diffuser/dp/B00NZFGLHS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1487712973&sr=1-1&keywords=doterra+petal+diffuser&linkCode=sl1&tag=ckgemmell9-20&linkId=77729337a80cb1e0fb7630c4db3a450don a daily basis. I am also drinking a couple drops of On Guard in a big mason jar of water anytime I feel my energy levels are depleted. Lavender is my absolute favorite oil, for its versatility and soothing scent. I also love Balance blend to help ease my anxiety about completing my thesis in time and to help me focus on the task at hand.

These oils are amazing! I feel my energy restored and feel healthier than I have in months. This rejuvenation could also be due in part to my healthy diet (Buddha Bowls at least once a day)and yoga practice, but the essential oils play an important role.

Any time I start to feel discouraged (and believe me, that happens more than I would care to admit!) I breathe in a combination of citrus oils and voila! Instant mood shift!

It is so important for me to stay positive and focused so I can continue to work with women to help them discover their selkie soul song. I’m considering “Selkie Soul Song” as the title for my new book. What do you think? As always, if you would like help working through the puzzle pieces to reveal your personal myth, feel free to contact me.

Blessings!

Agatha Christie was The Woman on the Orient Express

(Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I will be paid a small amount if you happen to click on the links and make a purchase)
It’s been far too long since I wrote a blog post. Life has been very full for me at the moment. I am collaborating on a book with a good friend, writing my master’s thesis, and working with women who need some help finding their personal myth. For those of you that are on Instagram, I recently posted a Giveaway as a thank you to my followers. I am gifting women with a free session, basically giving them a sneak peak into my book about personal mythology and sense of place. If you would like to enter this giveaway, please check out my post on Instagram for instructions on how to enter.

I have also been quite ill this winter. Ever since I got Lyme Disease last summer, I have been struggling with staying well. I used to get maybe one cold per winter, but this year I have been sick more than I have been well. I had to cut dairy and gluten from my diet to boost my immunity. I am also eating at least one Buddha Bowl per day. These are incredibly versatile and delicious and make me feel so much better. For an excellent selection of recipes I would recommend checking out http://messyveggies.com/

The other thing that has helped me lately has come about through a local friend who won me over with her enthusiasm for doTerra essential oils. I had another friend who was a distributor for Young Living and because they were the only ones I was familiar with I kept putting off making a purchase as I couldn’t really afford them. I know a lot of people end up falling in love with a particular essential oil company and I thought I would never be one of those people. Well, let me tell you…doTERRA On Guard Protective Blend – 15 mL has changed my life! I have been using On Guard every single day (in my diffuser and also a drop or two in a big jar of spring water, taken internally) and I actually managed to stay well when my son got a cold! FOR THE FIRST TIME ALL WINTER LONG!!!! These oils are super worth the price. Please, please check them out.

When I was sick last, I ended up reading a LOT! My favorite was a new book about Agatha Christie.

As many of you probably know I am a huge Agatha Christie fan, having discovered a deep admiration for her characters Tommy and Tuppence long before I had even heard of the famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. I have fond memories of watching many television adaptations of Agatha Christie’s work with my parents. When I heard there was a new historical fiction about Agatha Christie, I was intrigued, but skeptical as to my reception of it. I was very pleasantly surprised!

I was laid up with a cold when I read this book and it is a sign of how enthralled I was with the style of writing and the characters as I chose to read this from cover to cover instead of sleep!! I just couldn’t put it down.

The author clearly researched Agatha Christie’s personal life, but also created some fictional characters and circumstances. The author speculates about Agatha Christie’s mysterious disappearance shortly before she divorced her first husband, Archie, and gives us a believable and imaginative account of the circumstances leading up to this happenstance. She also deftly weaves fact and fiction into the pages of this thrilling and cozy read!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good whodunit, and especially to any Agatha Christie fan.

That’s about it for now. I’ll post more about my upcoming book next time.

Transformation and Sense of Place in Fairy Tales.

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When I was a baby, my family took a summer holiday in Florida, to Disney World. Along the way we stopped at Weeki Wachee Springs to view the mermaid show. Although I can’t recall any early memories of Walt Disney World, the experience of watching mermaids swimming gracefully under the water at Weeki Wachee Springs is so firmly etched in my mind that it has become a part of my own personal mythology.

I grew up watching Faerie Tale Theatre and of course one of my favorite episodes was “The Little Mermaid.” I don’t know whether one of the mermaid performers at Weeki Wachee Springs had black hair, but this might explain my early dreams of mermaids living in caverns deep under the ocean, all of them with raven black tresses. It seemed natural to me that the Little Mermaid in the Faerie Tale Theatre version should have black hair.

This belief that mermaids should have black hair, wherever it came from, was so strong in me that when the Disney animated version of The Little Mermaid was released I felt the mermaid named Ariel with flaming red hair couldn’t possibly be THE Little Mermaid. Of course there are so many things wrong with the Disney version of the tale. The Sea Witch is portrayed as an evil villain instead of a wise and powerful witch whose role is to push the Little Mermaid onto her true path, the Little Mermaid’s grandmother and matriarch of the tale is removed from this version all together, and the quest for self is denigrated to a quest for romantic love.

In recent years there have been some truly excellent films that stay true to the themes of transformation, loss of voice=loss of self, finding voice=discovery of self that are central to The Little Mermaid and the Selkie tales that are found throughout the British Isles. My two favorites are Ponyo and Song of the Sea. There is also a lovely film about selkies and the power of storytelling called The Secret of Roan Inish. These three films have resonated with me more than perhaps any other.

The recognition of the films, stories, and images that connect with your spirit are crucial for piecing together the puzzle of your own personal mythology. Long ago, I began to recognize a recurrent them for me. The stories that really spoke to my spirit mostly had to do with transformation of some form or other. I wrote a bit about the loss of self/discovery of self that occurs for women at least three times throughout our lives in my last blog post, “Song of the Sea: Loss of Spirit and Regaining the Voice.”

This is why fairy tales are so important for women. At their root, these fairy tales are all about this transformation that occurs (whether we want it to or not) and are a guide to teach us how to deal with these changes. They offer us kernels of wisdom as to why these transformations are necessary.

Are any of you going through a transformation at this time? What stories can you think of that might offer you guidance and support? I have found it is best to think back to your childhood and make a list of all of the books, films, images (paintings,etc.) that are still so very vivid in your mind. These have stayed with you for a reason. They are a part of your own life story and function as a sort of guidebook to help you navigate your way forward, through the labyrinth that is your inner landscape.

This is part of my own list:

The Little Mermaid

The Selkie tale

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Matilda, by Roald Dahl

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

The symbolism of red shoes, the ocean, forest, boxes, magic mirrors, goddess symbol in apples, golden ball

Fairies (I wanted to be a fairy when I was a child, my dream was to grow up to BE a fairy)

The character Eilonwy in The Prydain Chronicles

Juniper and Wise Child

This is just a partial list, but you get the idea. I would love to discuss personal mythology with anyone who needs some clarification, or needs help discovering her story. Please feel free to contact me. There is a contact form on my homepage.

I will also be offering local workshops and some online workshops and video guides too, so keep watching for more information. I am currently working on a book to help women discover their sense of place through personal mythology. More information on that endeavor coming soon!

Song of the Sea: Loss of Spirit and Regaining the Voice.

IMGP2141.JPGDuring my first semester of grad school, I wrote a paper called “Song of the Sea: Loss of Spirit and Regaining the Voice.” This paper was for my course “Symbols and Archetypes in Stories.” It centered on the Little Mermaid and Selkie tales, unifying them with the common theme of loss of voice/discovery of voice.

I traced the tales from their original oral tradition all the way to contemporary retellings, using a method discussed by Clarissa Pinkola Estes in “Women Who Run with the Wolves.” She refers to her work as “paleomythology,” and uses a technique referred to as “excavating stories.” She strips stories down to their bare bones and then rewrites them in an attempt to restore them as near to their original oral form as possible; whereby the women in the tales are restored to powerful, autonomous beings instead of the damsels in distress they have been denigrated to in more recent versions of folktales.

I am an adamant admirer of Estes and she has been a pivotal influence in my life and how I choose to help other women. As I did research for this particular paper, I realized that Hayao Miyazaki tends to portray girls and women in a favorable light. He rewrote “The Little Mermaid” calling it “Ponyo” and by doing so he perhaps traced the tale back to a much earlier version, closer to that of the selkie tales throughout the British Isles.

In contrast to the Little Mermaid who loses her voice in order to attempt to win the love of a mortal man, Ponyo doesn’t discover her voice until she has taken her destiny into her own hands, making the choice to become human. This cycle of discovery of voice (discovery of self) during adolescence, coming into full power, eventual loss of voice(usually during motherhood), and the journey of rediscovery is necessary for growth and development of all women. This cycle is apparent when one observes the phases of the moon, or studies the triple goddess myths that were prevalent throughout much of the world. I truly believe that all women can relate to these tales  and therefore the Selkie tales are a part of the personal mythology of every woman.

I remember so clearly the feeling of coming into womanly power when I was twelve years old. I came into menarche. My body began to change. I felt the fullness of my power, my potential to not only participate in life fully, but to create new life. It was during this time that I developed my own nature based spirituality, very animistic and Pagan. This has continued for me and is a vital part of my identity.

I always had a strong sense of self, that is until I became pregnant with my son. I believe women go through loss of identity three times throughout their lives. The first occurs as we transition from child to woman. The second occurs as our bodies change once again during pregnancy and as we try to adapt to our yet unformed new selves after the birth of our child/children. The third change occurs with menopause as we enter cronehood.  So what if a woman can’t physically birth a child, or chooses not to? Does this mean this cycle doesn’t apply? Of course not! Women are so naturally in tune with the moon cycles that these changes occur naturally.

(The pictures are of me and my son, my Precious Boy. The other two are of me in my spiritual home, England. Estes discusses the selkie story in her book, calling it “Sealskin Soulskin,” and telling us that this story has to do with “homing” and “returning to ourselves.” My home has always been the British Isles. I feel a deep connection with the land, with the sea. I feel I belong to the land. I struggle when I can’t return “home.” This home is a physical place, but it is also my true authentic self. I lost a part of myself when my son was born and I am in the process of journeying to return to myself. In the past I had to physically return to England to feel complete and whole, but it is impossible for me to return at the moment. Instead, I am trying to build a relationship with the land here, in upstate New York. It is physically very similar to the British Isles, but the feeling is different. It is not my ancestral land, as England is. It will take time, but I am working on developing a deep bond with this land as it is now my home. A fantastic book to help with this is “Body and Earth,” by Andrea Olsen.)

I have friends who are my age, but have chosen to remain childless. These women still identify strongly with the mother archetype and have undergone significant transformation during this mid-life phase/time. One has become a doggy mom, choosing to adopt and look after her furry friends in much the same manner as a mom would cater to her children. Another is a cat mom and a teacher. She is motherly with her cats and with the schoolchildren in her care. Another has babied her creative projects, thinking of her completed art works as her children. And yet another is an activist, participating fully in women’s rights movements and ecofeminist efforts. She is a natural leader and is very motherly to the other girls and women in these groups.

So what can one do to find her voice and regain a sense of self? This is the subject of the book I am currently working on and the workshops that I teach. I will discuss vital ways of living a more authentic life and attaining a sense of empowerment and true self throughout the pages of this blog. I will share my own journey, providing tips along the way. I admit this has been a constant struggle for me, but one that has been necessary for my own personal growth and self-development. There are days when the struggle is all too real, and there are days when I feel fully empowered once again and know that I can handle anything that the universe throws at me!

Todays tip: START A DREAM JOURNAL!!!

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Start a dream journal. I began recording my dreams when I was around ten years old. It has been a way for me to really get to know my inner world and thoughts. It has helped me to know what is important to me and why. If you are artistically inclined, please include drawings, paintings, collages, in your dream journal. I would start with recording and analyzing dreams, but if you are an old hand at this practice I would recommend taking this one step further by reading Stephen Aizenstat’s book “Dream Tending.” In this book he treats dreams as animate and respects that they take place in an actual otherworld. He believes that we can interact with the dream symbols, treating them as animate and engaging in dialogue with them. I know it sounds weird and “out there,” but don’t knock it until you try it! 🙂

More tips to come next time! Until then, blessed be! 🙂

-Cait

Day 1

There is something magical and almost frightening about opening a new diary to its first page. In our technologically advanced times, few people write in paper diaries (meaning the English use of the word. I reckon it would be called a daily planner here in the USA). I still prefer the tactile quality of paper and pen, but there is something satisfying in the way my fingers brush against the keypad of my laptop as I type this first blog post. My ginger cat is curled up on my lap, purring contentedly and completely oblivious to the way in which she hinders my ability to type with ease.

(This is my sun goddess cat, Ginny, or Ginevra Creamy Chin! Does she remind anyone else of the beautiful lion and sun goddess girl from “When the Sun Rose?”)

Although I anticipate a full year of daily entries in my proper paper diary, I have made the decision to join the masses and vow to maintain a digital record of my year. Ready, set, go!

On this first day, I find myself relishing my solitary existence. This bit of solitude is exceedingly rare, as my four year old son and his bursting at the seams with intense energy father have taken themselves away for the next two days. They are off on their own adventure to visit his side of the family. I am left alone with my plump ginger cat, Ginny. I think she enjoys this gift of quiet and calm as much as I.

The occasion calls for a morning tea ritual. First I will fill the copper kettle with tap water. I will set it on the stove to boil. As I wait, I swirl hot water around the tea pot, to remove any dust and to warm it. It is satisfying to open the cupboard door to choose a proper vessel. Shall it be a favorite mug from childhood? Or a delicate and elegant bone china cup and saucer? Or perhaps an equally elegant, but more ornate Japanese cup and saucer? What sort of tea sounds ideal for today? Perhaps I will indulge in Earl Grey, or should I stick with my usual English Breakfast? Loose tea or bags of Clipper English Breakfast? I know I will drink my tea with milk. No sugar for me. I do keep sugar on hand, just in case I have the honor of entertaining family or dear friends. I am keen on creating this tea ritual, but for now I feel obligated to stay seated on the sofa, for fear of disturbing her royal highness, Ginny Creamy Chin. She twitches one ear as if to warn me to dwell on the consequences of disturbing her sleep.

My stomach grumbles and interrupt Ginny I must. I will have my tea!

 

First blog post

This is a little bit about me. I am a mama of a beautiful, otherworldly, four year old son. I call him my Precious Boy when I am feeling quite fond of him. He is also my Little Prince and Little Elf, and sometimes Little Jumping Bean. I live in upstate New York, but still feel a deep connection with my ancestral lands and the place that I was blessed to call home, the New Forest in England. I feel happiest when I am near the sea and in a forest, so the New Forest was ideal for me. I am a writer, and technically a published author. My life purpose is to help women live authentic meaningful lives. I teach workshops to help with this and have led women’s spirituality circles as well.

Blessings to you!