Sunday, September 29, 2013

synchronicity, moon blood myths and the equinox

autumnal equinox = pagan thanksgiving day. it was a breezy, mild day after a perfectly lovely refreshing september rain. we just had a gorgeous glowing full moon last week. everything in order for this big turn of the wheel, harvest home, the autumnal equinox. 

at the bookery that day i had a sweet visit from dolly and little lincoln who gave lucy a dose of his cuddly loveyness with sweet kisses that she gladly reciprocated. ironically i was wearing the dress (my mom's from the 70s) that i wore to dolly's wedding, which i also wore at 31 weeks pregnant on mother's day last year. for me the dress itself has become a celebration of the turning seasons and balance. 

hanging out in the backyard after work with my little fall sprite. the girl has turned into a whirlwind, just a little swirl of blowing leaves, she is everywhere at once and so spirited she leaves your head spinning.

she is wearing a little vintage dress gifted to me by the lovely bridget of Bijou Vintage Bazaar back when i was still pregnant with lucy. i just love its little peter pan collar and seventies fall color palette. 
i've said it before and i'll say it again: they don't make em like that anymore! 

so i wanted to write about the autumnal equinox. you know how sometimes you are reading something, and on the side you are researching another thing, and the same word or phrase or idea comes up, and then suddenly the same thing or a related topic comes up in conversation, and somehow everything seems connected like a bunch of pathways are converging in you? you hear a line in a song that you would not have otherwise noticed, and suddenly it speaks to the very topic you were just reading about in the first book, which is echoed by the second book. i love these kinds of synchronicities and they happened for me most often when i was studying in grad school, one of the brain teasers i miss most from those days. a crosswise labyrinth of knowledge and connection.  a cosmic bandwidth.

i have found these connections lately in relation to my readings about the equinox. Michael Judge writes in The Dance of Time: A Miscellany of History and Myth, Religion and Astronomy, Festivals and Feast Days about the most famous of all ancient harvest rituals: the Eleusinian Mysteries, a "confluence of logic and dream, myth, and reality" that centers around one of mythology's most important dramas," the story of Demeter and Persephone. i'm sure you all know the story of Demeter, Greek goddess of nature, who presided over a green and flourishing world and was mother to Persephone, the most beautiful  creature on earth. how Demeter's grief when her daughter was whisked away by Hades to the underworld led to the darkness and dying-off period that is winter in this world. How Zeus convinced Hades to allow Persephone to return to earth but she had already partaken of six enchanted pomegranate seeds which meant she could come back, but only with an impending return to the land of the dead for six months of the year.

This justification for the seasons became so embedded in consciousness that a religion was born of it and was practiced for nearly two thousand years, a cult whose rites became known as the Eleusinian mysteries because they are so shrouded in mystery. Judge writes that the "facts of the ceremony are scarce," but that we do know that "initiates trooped out of the little town (eleusis)  waving burning sheaves of wheat, reciting prayers dedicated to Demeter and Persephone." They then entered a cave and vanished until next morning, "exhausted and elated." Apparently the night's activities included revelatory visions that appeased initiates fear of death.

Amazingly, the Eleusinians really did uphold their vows of silence, and the air of mystery that surrounds their rites has persisted over centuries. Both Plato and Marcus Aurelius claimed that the mysteries "changed their lives." What was discovered and experienced on this charged night of psychological and emotional ritual? How does it relate to our current celebrations at the turning of the seasons, our turning inward upon the dying of the light, our harvesting and feasting and cornucopias to usher in the quiet season? Lost Persephone, her ordeal, and her mother's ordeal, became such a mysterious part of human consciousness that their story echoes through time and spirit.

I had never heard of the Eleusinian mysteries until this September 22 when I began to read about the autumnal equinox and try to dream up my own personal ritual or practice associated with this monumental turn in time. (or if I had heard the phrase, nothing particularly sunk in.) Now suddenly, they appear in another book I'm reading, The Motherline: Every Woman's Journey to Find her Female Roots, by Naomi Ruth Lowinsky, bringing it all home and personal for me. Lowinsky cites Jung's essay about the feminine principle and mythology traced through, you got it...the Eleusinian mystery religion, "in which the mother-daughter relationship was celebrated as an expression of the central human mystery." The Eleusinian rites illustrated a bond and a power so vital and central to humanity, capable of threatening the very continuity of human existence. "Women in such a time bore no shame for being female. Their gender connected them directly to the life source and the sacred. What was a mystery in those days was the unalterable facts of life: the birth and death of the individual and the sacred continuity of the species." 

Being a mother, I have never felt more connected to timelessness and spirit. Bound to the season, to the earth, to knowledge and to mystery and most of all, to other human beings.
Carl Kerenyi, a great scholar of the Eleusinian mysteries, wrote "Every grain of wheat and every maiden contains, as it were, all its descendants and all her descendants -- an infinite series of mothers and daughters in one." I remember loving learning about the embyonic growth of my babies, how by twenty weeks after conception the little seeds of life are already formed, each of my daughters with her own tiny set of ovaries and eggs, ready to last a lifetime of pure potentiality. What a beautiful process! The egg that created you was formed inside your mother's fetus while she was inside your grandmother's womb.

"We have forgotten the myths that say we were all made of moon blood in the beginning."
This autumn I think I am being called to study my own motherline, to listen and look and feel that intrinsic link between mother and daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter. I will listen to stories and know the cyclical power behind the blood, the birthing, the tears and the joys of being a mother. This autumn, the harvest is coming full circle for me.

so onward to our equinoxial festivities: we feasted, laughed, and chased babies all night at rebecca's house.
we talked motherly mysteries, in the warmest spirit of sisterhood, some of us pregnant together, some of us mamas together, all of us in awe of this magical experience of being woman and creatrix.

me, mary, and becky. becky is due just four weeks after me :)

the feast.

so many playmates. sylvan is incredibly helpful, instructive, and entertaining for the littler ones.

i don't mean to leave boys and  menfolk out of all this blood mystery stuff. they are an intricate and central aspect to our motherlines and kinship webs. of course they too participated in the eleusinian rites, they live their own heroic myths, experience life cycle changes and are physically and emotionally involved in human continuity. but that's all beside the point and sounds trivial because i can just put it bluntly. our dudes are awesome. they are the best group of dads and husbands i could ever imagine.

harvest home happiness. it's cheesy and i'm gushing i know...but i just love this little group of friends.
pure coze.

hope you are all embarking on some rad mysterious journeys of your own, and oh how i'd love to hear about them.

(many of these photos taken by rebecca roehr)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Like a Summer Thursday (what i wore, week 24)

"her eyes were laughter, her touch divine, 
her face was crystal and she was mine."
(good old Townes)

me and my girl do some serious hanging out these long indian summer days. favorite activities: reading, going to thrift stores, dancing, singing, eating peaches and strawberries and making smoothies, looking through photo albums, pulling everything out from my purse, coloring and trying really hard not to eat the crayons.

since dolly asked, i figured i'd show what my lil pregnant self is looking like this week.

24 weeks pregnant. lucy just turned 14 months old. 

we like popsicles. lime, raspberry, strawberry, coconut, pineapple. we are liking them and licking them well into september because as i've said so many times before. it . is. still. HOT. here.

thus our outfits still revolve around sundresses, both of ours recently thrifted.
i really like that mine has tiny planets and rockets printed on the trim. also pockets. 

on another note, my hair turned straight this pregnancy. it is very thick but doesn't grow fast like hair supposedly does when you're pregnant. and it also seems darker, besides the grays!

right after this we retired lucy's gold sparkly jellies. to wait on a shelf for her baby sister. they are size 6-12 month and her feet finally seem to be growing a bit! all that walking is giving her strong little bear paws.

an unrelated note: i am letting my lawn die this time around, these long dry months just wreak havoc on my water bill, and it is kinda breaking my heart. i like a big fresh green lawn to roam and play upon, in my nice-girl-from-suburbia heart. but this bleached yellow scratchiness fits the season better anyway, so here it is. until the rains come.

"so like a summer thursday
i cry for rain
to come and turn the ground
to green again."

one more outfit shot, just for fun. i wore this crazy 80's jumpsuit the other day, when the temp got down to the (gasp!) low-80's! crazy to think if i were transparent, you'd see a happy, temperature regulated, upside down, or sideways, or roly poly, rollicking frolicking teensy tiniest infant inside that round belly. 
approximately 106 days to go.

outfit deets #1
on me:
sundress: Reef, thrifted; sandals: Blowfish, got on clearance from Delia's years ago; turquoise earrings: gift from Darin

on Lucy:
sundress: Pink Angel, thrifted; gold sandals: Old Navy; diaper cover: thrifted

outfit deets #2
on me:
jumpsuit: vintage MOTHERHOOD, thrifted; goddess pendant: gift from an admirer manymany years ago; crystal pendant: my mom's; earrings: gift from Amy, bought in Yellowstone; sandals:free,  from Becky at a clothing exchange

on Lucy:
pink corduroy sundress: hand me down from our friend juniper

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Foxy and Pregnant: Lessons from Friends Number 1, Addie

i've had the pleasure of knowing quite a few pregnant women in my life as of late. i know people always say this, but i really have noticed that these lady friends of mine always seem especially radiant, in possession of some special verve that seems to glow through their very blood and skin. 

but boy do i know now more than ever how hard it can be to maintain your feeling of style, energy, and vivaciousness when your body is growing and changing quickly, not to mention you're pretty darn tired all the time. so i thought i'd so a little inspirational series for myself to remind myself of some of my chic and lovely pregnancy role models over the next couple weeks. all these gals of mine know how to do it up right, how to keep their own unique style while also focusing with grace on growing that baby inside.

i want to start with my brave and amazing sister adrienne, who was pregnant last year of course. she recently began posting on her blog again and tells the whole honest story of her harrowing birth and later struggles with post partum issues, as well as giving a happier glimpse into what her life is like now. i remember her just so vibrant a year ago on her birthday trip to the eastern sierra (so insanely hard to believe that was just one year ago). she was over halfway through her pregnancy and compared to me now, barely showing! looking at the photos reminded me that she gave me back this cute 90's rayon sundress and i need to be wearing it. everyday. look how she is comfortable, cute, and a little bit sassy all at once. brave and proud and ready to tackle those desert mountains she loves so much. 
my lesson, for both wardrobe and life, one must keep a spirit of adventure when one is with child.

a few weeks later on a trip to apple hill. yes, this is what our "fall" often looks like. tank top weather all the way still over here folks. she was good natured about the late dry heat and rocked those white maternity shorts like nobody's business, here and on many other occasions. 

at her dia de los muertos (she called it dia de los vives) themed baby shower she wore black, fittingly on the day after halloween, and boots which became her signature late pregnancy look. i cannot WAIT to start wearing boots again. they balance out a round belly perfectly and look much more supportive than my current daily flipflops.

thanksgiving she wore an adorable 1970's vintage dress with a piece of white yarn tied around as a belt, how cute is that? again with the boots. nice thing about a pregnant belly, you just let it all hang out even when you eat waaaayyyy too much.

and december, her boy would be born about a month later. all through the holidays she was spry, festive and cheery. i plan to be like that this year. we are on very similar seasonal pregnancy schedules, she was due January 9 and I am due on January 4. so watch for some of her same maternity clothes on me come winter. can't wait! the idea of wearing long sleeves right now seems positively otherwordly.

seeing as how it was more than likely the only time she'll be pregnant, i am so glad she had a wonderful experience with it despite the difficulties she endured later with her transition into motherhood. but most of all i am glad that she is feeling so much better now and i am so in love with that amazing little child she created! you can check him out over at her blog. he's a dreamer and a wonderer indeed.

thanks for reading, and if you have tips or ideas for staying snazzy and feeling great during pregnancy or any other time in life, let me know!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

straight to the top

changes round here! 

first off, a little someone special is finally officially walking. She's been working on it for a couple months now! This gal takes her sweet time and likes to do things once she is really confident. 
she finds walking to be a supreme delight these days.

she's also quite a social young thing, although that's no change by any means, i am just looking for an excuse to share these photos. the other day oliver came over for a couple hours and on his suggestion both kids got in the playpen. they had a blast bouncing together. 

we also had a late summer bbq with friends, and darin was baby-swarmed. 

but the big change! 

darin started full time work at the Bookery! he is now just on-call at his other work, giving him ample time to focus on our bookstore endeavors. all this is in anticipation for the next couple years when we will hopefully take over half ownership of the shop. we are very excited to try to make this wonderful place that we love become our livelihood and lifestyle. although the next couple years might continue to be a financial struggle, we are pretty much used to that anyway, and now we will know we are hopefully building toward a more stable future.

Nancy and Celia, owners of the Bookery, celebrated 30 years in business right as Darin started working full time. They threw a huge anniversary party Saturday night. Tons of supportive customers and friends showed up, their were flowers galore and treats and live music and of course, books!

Lucy really started walking that night down the bookstore aisles, giving all the party guests and booklovers quite a show!

It was a great party and a nice reminder of what an important little institution this bookstore has become in our town since the early 80s. Darin and I hope to keep it alive for many years to come. So far, despite the changes in technology and internet competition, the Bookery fills a niche here on Main street and has actually done very well even in recent times.

checking out the bookery scrapbook....

We are excited and feel really lucky to have the chance to raise kids here among these crazy labyrinthine shelves of endless books.

I know there are lots of changes going on lately, and that lovely feeling of the turning season starting to revitalize the air around us all. I wish you all loads of happiness in whatever endeavors you're embarking upon!