Gratitude needs to be the root of all my practice. When I wake in resentment, anger, fear, my entire day feels off. It’s not often that this happens any longer. I have reoriented myself toward gratitude. I start gently with a simple prayer of thanks, as my stiff joints shuffle to the bathroom. I use the beginning of the e.e.cummings poem.
I thank you God for most this amazing day.
I watch the sun come up over the snow. The first blush of dawn highlights the waning moon flanked by Venus and Jupiter in the clear winter sky. The beauty betrays the bitter cold of the morning. 10 degrees. I sip my warm lemon water, snuggled in a blanket.
God, thank you for the warmth of my home, for the ability to build a fire.
The beauty way seeks to find beauty in all the things and also to be the one to bring beauty. I cringe at the toys I can see poking out from under my couches, and the clutter that small children bring, and yet their smiles, the warmth of our home (not just physical warmth, but the warmth of love and acceptance), the laughter, the artwork created by big and little hands hanging everywhere radiates beauty.
Great Spirit, may I walk in beauty. Great Spirit, I offer myself to thee.
I am most thankful that I get to do this work of honoring Spirit and tending to the Spirit of others, helping others live in a way that is harmonious—gentle consumption, stewardship of the Earth, sacred living, self-care, and self-mothering. Through my practice, the work I have offered has evolved. From my first circle of psychic development to now, I can see how much I have deepened in understanding and practice. How each moment is a moment of living in shamanic ways. I continually deepen my practice, so this makes sense to me. I have been blessed with many teachers and mentors who continually teach me how to show up despite adversity and grief and life.
Great Mother, thank you for the women who walk before me, who reach back, hold my hand and show me the way forward.
Last year, I experienced deep loss from the death of my beloved father to both of my animal companions (my dog Jack and my cat Magnus). The tenth anniversary of my daughter’s death amplified the grief. I had physical challenges to my health, and emotional challenges to my worth. I have had all my stories rewritten. I have had friends step away. Institutions shaken up. I have had every solid tower in my life brought down to its stone foundation. Thus is the Tower year, the one that brings it all out. Kali, the Dark Mother, helps destroy and rebuild. I honor her way, though it is hard. I honor her.
Dark Mother, thank you for the destruction of lies, and for the solid foundation to build again. Thank you for steady hand on my back as I move forward.
I am in the process of truth-telling about these incidents, and the process of truth-telling about my past and my history, of seeing things with clear eyes. There are stories that I had come to believe down to my core that just aren’t true. I watch and observe and take notes now about what is true and what isn’t. It is powerful work. Challenging, humbling, but good work. This is what we are asked to do as medicine keepers—continually do the deep work we ask of our students, clients and mentors. 2018 watched the Tower tumble. I used Snake for this work, as my guide. Snake sheds the skin. Releases. Transforms. Transmutes. Heals. Regenerates.
Thank you, Snake, belly on the earth, for showing me the process of shedding my old, torn skin. Thank you for rising from the earth to open a way forward for me.
2019 brings me to this year of the Major Arcana card XVII, the Star. It is a card of hope, of optimism, of healing, of peace. It brings me to watching the early morning sky for the simple beauty of the cycles of our life. Gratitude reorients me due north, the direction of wisdom and patience, the long view only the ancestors can bring. I am reassured of this fact—every part of my journey is used. No part is wasted on the medicine path.
Father Sky, Mother Earth, I thank you for clarity, for the willingness to see the truth no matter how painful. Thank you for bolstering me in the darkness, steering me to my True North.
Gratitude remains the root ball of the strong, powerful tree of me. The one that bends with the wind, but does not blow over. I am grateful for your continued support of my work and mission.