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#5 Magick Before Mayhem: The Sword January 23, 2020

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We have arrived yet again at another beginning, in this place of once-upon-a-timeless-time. In this part of our story, in this near-by, far-away place, the girl’s mother, normally astute, does not notice the change in her husband’s demeanor, or you can be sure she would have had something to say about it. Instead, she makes arrangements for the old woman to train the girl in secret, not in defiance or because she is maliciously hiding anything from her husband, but because, in her blindness, she believes he will eventually come around to the truth, as she sees it, on his own. And when he does, she wants to surprise him. And so, rather than the start of training (which we will come to presently), it is this beginning on which our story pivots: Though they do not know it, this is the first time in all their years together that the couple is working at odds with each other, rather than finding a common ground in their actions, as has always been their habit. But they do not see this and we shall not dwell upon it, except to note that this is so and the story bears telling as it unfolds, for here we find not only wisdom and grace, but also much of our own experience, as well as the magickal seeds that hold the essence of all our stories, including this one. And so we begin, not with the sword, not just yet, but with the seeds …

When the old woman first met the young girl at the agreed-upon time and place, she did not bring the sword but rather a handful of seeds, which she had chosen carefully from her own herb garden and carried with her as she had searched for the girl. Now, she gave the seeds to her with instructions that seemed to make no sense, but which the girl promised to follow anyway.

“When the seeds are ready,” the old woman continued, though the girl’s expression revealed some doubt, “you must plant them by a window, outside the room where you sleep. If you follow my instructions, they will grow quickly. At night, leave the shutters open so you can breathe in their scent. This will help to enhance your strength and the power you will need to wield the sword.” She said nothing of the herbs’ habit of nighttime music and dance but would wait to see if the girl discovered these attributes on her own. (In case, as happens, this part of the story thread is dropped along the way, it gives nothing away to assure the reader: She will. And it will have a profound effect on the path of her life journey, though the details are not as important as one might suspect, which is why they may get lost in the telling.) Back to our story:

At the mention of the sword, the young girl’s face grew first troubled, then fierce. Though he hadn’t mentioned it again, she knew her father remained opposed to her sword training and she worried about this, as she had always been an obedient child. “My father does not want me to touch the sword,” she told the old woman.

“I know,” the wise one said, laying her hand gently on the girl’s shoulder. “He is afraid of the warrior in you. He does not understand our ways, but believes only what this world tells him is so.” She wanted to reassure the girl, despite her own concerns. “But belief is not truth, as you will see. Be patient, child. He will come around.”

“That’s what Mama says, too,” the girl replied. “But I am worried. And I don’t like deceiving him.”

The blind one only nodded and sent the girl on her way.

Despite her discomfort, the girl kept their secret, and that night, after everyone was asleep, under the light of the full moon, she planted the seeds, meticulously following the blind warrior’s instructions: holding the seeds in her mouth until they were plump with her own saliva, and only then placing them into the ground, blessing each seed with her gratitude as she did so. The old woman had explained that she must see each seed as a willing collaborator on her journey, an extension of herself. The girl had no way of knowing that this, too, would be the way of the sword: a collaboration.

It serves no purpose to get too far ahead of our story, and so we shall stop here, bathed in moonlight and in the midst of planting magick; before the inevitable mayhem, which we cannot, unfortunately, in either story or life, avoid. It would do well for us, too, to take heed and remembrance of the wise old woman’s words regarding belief and truth, for these are often used interchangeably, misconstrued, and interwoven, as if one fashions the other. Yet, if one looks closely, examining past and future while standing firmly in the present, one will see that one of these is merely sleight-of-hand, a clever trick, and the other pure magick. Time will tell which holds sway in the nearby-faraway …

 

Copyright 2020 Linda Maree/Linda M Gabriel

#3 Activating the Warrior: The Sword August 21, 2019

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And so we are, finally, past the beginning, and now we enter another phase. In this phase we will meet the warrior, and, eventually, the girl will be gifted The Sword of Wisdom. But of course we are not there quite yet. And it must be said that the warrior is not what we think. Or perhaps even who we think. Or why. When one travels back through time and language one learns that ‘war,’ the word and so, too, the idea, in its original meaning and various spellings, had more to do with the confusion of things rather than violence, killing, and the obliteration of people and things. And so our warrior has more to do with cutting through confusion than with cutting through flesh — destruction, unless it is the destruction of useless ideas. Hence, The Sword of Wisdom, for it is wisdom that cuts through confusion.

We return to our story, then, this once upon a time in time, just before the little girl’s eleventh sun cycle threshold, to find a very old woman showing up at the village gates…

She was dressed very much as all the women in the village dressed, except for one thing: at her full, plump waist was sheathed a great sword, so long that, despite her remarkable height, the tip of the jeweled scabbard all but dragged in the dirt. A sword of that size would take, one might assume, great strength to wield, and though the woman was large, taller and heavier than the people who lived in this recent long-ago time and nearby far-away place, still she was undeniably old and no one was likely to be ridiculed for failing to imagine that she could handle the great sword.

No one could know, of course, upon first meeting her, that the old woman had carried the sword an immense distance already; that indeed it had not left her side since she had received it all those long cycles and seasons past. They couldn’t know that the sword itself had grown in size and strength proportionately as she herself had done. And only she could tell that, recently, the sword had become just a shade lighter in weight, an infinitesimal measure shorter than it had been. This was how she knew it was time to find her successor.

The old woman had been raised to be a warrior ever since she had been given the sword at her blood ceremony when she herself had reached eleven sun cycles. An auspicious age to step into the blood flow, her own mother had told her at the time. She was lucky, her mother further explained as they prepared for her ceremony. Some girls, most girls, in fact, were a lot older when their flow found them, and by then it was usually too late.

“Too late for what?”

“To activate the warrior,” her mother had replied. “Because of the way things are in our world and in these times, for girls the warrior-self has to be activated early on or it will never happen, and the best time, the most auspicious time, is at first blood.”

“Never?” She couldn’t imagine such a thin slice of golden opportunity with no second chances.

“Well, almost never,” her mother had said as she finished braiding her daughter’s long chestnut hair and turned her to face her. “But it’s much more difficult. It will be easier for you. Besides, you don’t really have a choice; it’s your destiny. You have been chosen. And,” she said, smiling, “you are ready!”

The old woman hadn’t been sure back then, when she was just a child, that she wanted to be a warrior of any sort. And she would have liked to have felt as if she were making the choice, not being passively carried along on the tides of fate. But her mother had been right. She had fallen naturally into the training as easily and comfortably as she fell into the softness of sleep every night. After a while, it felt as if she had chosen her path, and she was satisfied.

Her training had been intense and rigorous. Warriors in her lineage, she learned, never set out to destroy, but to cut away, when necessary, that which obstructed, strangled, choked off, killed life. Sometimes, paradoxically, this still required the taking of a human life, but this was exceedingly rare and only considered as a last resort. And she was assured by her mentors that the day would come (soon, they hoped!) when warriors would not be required to kill at all. When they would have learned or, perhaps more accurately, remembered the secret that would allow only peaceful resolution to all conflict. When the mere presence of a warrior would inspire life-enhancing choices, collaboration, and cooperation. When the energy of polar opposite positions would come together to create a current of vital life force that nourished and sustained rather than maimed and destroyed.

This was the vision she held still, and she believed it was within reach; could possibly even happen in her lifetime, but would almost certainly happen within the lifespan of the child for which she now searched; the child whose eleventh sun cycle threshold was imminent and whose blood flow would likely begin within the same or the following moon-cycle. She was as sure of the inevitability of this awaited transformation as she had ever been sure of anything in her long, long life.

The only thing she had not been sure of was her ability to find the girl … in time. She had had to trust that she would be led to her. That her eyes that could no longer see would not be needed, and that it was the eyes of her soul, the eyes of the Great Ones, the eyes of her mentors long past who would lead her to the child. For this was also something that was not readily noticeable: The old warrior with the great sword was blind.

Going blind had been a surprise, sudden and traumatic. One day she simply woke up to darkness. She had had no warning, no premonition. She had been angry at first. How is a blind warrior to use a sword? But she had found that the sword, after all their cycles and seasons of practice and working together, had become an extension of her own arm, her will. The sword always found its mark, even when she could not see it.

Her other senses, too, had grown stronger (or maybe it was just that she had learned to use them and rely on them to a greater degree), her inner sight more acute and assured. And now her knowing had led her here, to this village. She was sure the child was here, could feel the certainty in her bones, in the peacefulness that settled around her heart. Her mission would be fulfilled, her dream for the world realized, surely. Surely …

We have come, now, to a natural pause in our story, a time for pondering. Who among us does not hope for peace, at least for ourselves, which is a start,? And who among us does not at least occasionally feel confusion, chaos, turmoil, like a great, foggy storm both within and without? We get a sense here of what is coming, and this is good. It means we are paying attention, even if we are uncertain. Attention, awareness, these are the first steps that can lead us beyond our blindness. For yes, in some ways, perhaps many ways, we are all blind. And so it is with some excitement and yes, some trepidation, that we await the meeting of the girl and the blind warrior, and the gifting of the sword. It must be noted, however, that wisdom is not bestowed so easily as desire and creativity. It will take more than the waving of a wand and the nourishment taken from a cup, no matter how valuable, how magickal, to gain true wisdom … to accept the gift and to learn to wield it with courage, grace, and humility.

 

Copyright 2019 Linda Maree/Linda M Gabriel

#2 Still the Beginning: The Cup July 31, 2019

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And so we find ourselves yet at the beginning still, though, to be clear, it is not the same beginning. Life has moved on, as it does, in a flow of cycles and seasons, and this beginning finds the child sitting quietly occupied in play while her mother carries on with her chores. Her father is not present at this moment, out working at the business of financial livelihood and, as best he knows how, the care and security of his family. (We will see later that this seemingly beneficent belief in his role as family guardian has some unintended consequences, which may cause more than one of us to question the usefulness of such “truth” in our own lives, which, to digress even further, is the purpose of story – to engender introspection and questioning.)

The girl, as promised by the giver of the wand, has indeed grown both strong and kind, and always seems to know her mind and the desires of her heart, though she is not prone to insisting on having her way. If this seems inconsistent with the usual manner of such a young one, so fresh in this world, so be it. We will continue in this vein nonetheless. And so …

Once upon another particular point in that same recent long-ago time …

Just after the girl’s second sun cycle threshold was reached, a beautiful woman, with hair the color of silvery moonbeams, a dress iridescent with the light of a thousand stars, and gossamer wings that were at once as blue as the clearest afternoon sky and as seemingly inconsequential as morning mist, appeared at the family’s abode. She found the door open, as it nearly always was, and the little girl sitting on the floor, the Wand of Desire at her side, while her mother hummed sweetly over some mending. When the winged woman stepped inside, the child and her mother looked up at the same time and smiled identical smiles.

“Hello, little one.” The woman’s voice shimmered and sparkled in the air around them, like sunbeams playing in their own light, and the child laughed with delight. “I have been looking for you,” the woman said to her, and the child nodded in apparent agreement.

The young mother rose from her seat to brew some tea and offered their guest some sweet cakes she had baked earlier. The woman accepted graciously and sat down to wait while the child crawled onto her mother’s lap to suckle. The women sat in companionable silence, nibbling on cakes and sipping tea, until finally the child was satisfied and slid from her mother’s arms.

Then, without hesitation, the little girl approached the shining woman, who lifted her onto her own star-shimmer lap and stroked her baby-silk hair with the same motion the child’s mother used to soothe her when sometimes at night she had frightening dreams, always the same: a great fire and an immense expanse of space where the darkness was impenetrable. (We will see later, of course, how these dreams relate to and even presage the future. For now, we remain in the moment of all-is-well.) The woman spoke to the child’s mother over the silken head lying easily against her breast. “She is growing tall and strong. You have nourished her well.”

The mother nodded, pleased, recognizing the truth as it was spoken. “Yes. Thank you.”

“Soon it will be time for the little one to be weaned. She will know,” the winged woman said, inclining her head toward the Wand of Desire lying on the floor where the child had been playing, “when she is ready.” The woman paused and stared as if considering some long-distant place. Her eyes dimmed to the palest of blue, as clear as water, and she herself turned momentarily translucent, as if she might disappear, before gathering herself and returning firmly to the present. “I have a gift from my sisters in the Land of the Fae,” she said finally, and brought forth from the light of her wings an exquisite little cup. The cup was the color of the moon at its fullness and was encrusted with colorful gems that gleamed as if lit from within.

“Oh!” the young mother exclaimed. “It’s so beautiful!”

“Yes,” the woman of the Fae said, “and there is no other like it. It was created by an ancient alchemist in gratitude for a favor done for her by my many-many-times-great-grandmother. The alchemist used materials she found in my land and imbued them with her own very special magick.”

The winged woman handed the cup to the little girl, who took it and squealed with delight.

“What is it for?” asked the child’s mother, certainty and uncertainty fighting for precedence within her. Another special gift? she thought, glancing at the wand lying on the floor near where her daughter sat in the faerie woman`s lap. The little girl was gazing at the cup, seemingly entranced by its shimmering light. What kind of child receives such favor, and, more troubling, what might be expected from such a child? What be the cost?

The woman of the Fae read the young mother’s struggle in the way she watched her child and so spoke to her gently and with understanding. “It is the Cup of Creativity,” she said. “When she is weaned she must drink from it often. This cup is hers and hers alone. As the current guardian of the cup, it is my choice to pass it on, or to hold it for another. The word, the praenomen, by which your daughter is known to the stars, was whispered to me in a dream, and so I set out on my long journey to find her.” The woman smiled, wishing to further reassure. “If she will accept the cup, I will be her faerie mother,’ she said. “Not in the ways you are her womb-mother, but in ways you cannot be. I will be here to watch over her and to guard the cup.”

Rather than being reassured, however, a dark cloud of concern crossed the young mother’s face, and the faerie knew that the woman understood far beyond what she might have expected. The Fae woman would not lie to her in the presumption of protection.

“Yes,” the faerie said, “unfortunately there may be those who would wish to destroy the cup or to harm the one who bears it … No, no, you mustn’t worry.” She spoke lightly, reassuringly when she saw the distress deepening and taking over the young mother’s face, so that it was collapsing into a mask of fear. “We do not know that this is so. It may be that these are but the stories told by the ancient ones to frighten us into awareness. Rest assured I will allow no harm to come to this child. She will be protected. I promise you. Do you believe me?”

The young mother looked deeply into the faerie woman’s eyes, which were now the sapphiric color of a crystal blue sky on a warm May morning, and saw there only truth. She nodded and, finally, smiled, her fear dissipating into the void. “Yes,” she said. “I believe you.” She knew in a way she couldn’t explain that the faerie woman was incapable of speaking anything but the truth.

While the women were talking, the child had climbed down from her faerie mother’s lap and taken the cup with her. She picked up the Wand of Desire and chewed on it for a few moments, as was her habit. She was only a babe, really, barely two sun cycles out of the womb after all, but she understood, in a way that needed no words, that tonight she would nourish herself at her mother’s breast one last time, and that tomorrow she would begin drinking from the beautiful cup the nice lady with wings had given her.

When the little girl’s father came home, she ran to him as she usually did, and threw her tiny arms about his neck. “Look!” she whispered in his ear, pointing at the cup sitting on the table.

“How beautiful, my love,” her father said, setting her down and giving his wife a quizzical look.

She tried to explain everything to him in detail, wanting him to understand how important this was; what it meant for their little girl. First the Wand of Desire and now the Cup of Creativity! “The faerie woman said this cup is so special there are those who would destroy it,” she told him, wanting only to convey the cup’s special value, not to frighten him.

“What?” Her husband looked suddenly worried, stern. “Then we cannot keep it. I will not allow it!”

The man’s wife was taken aback at her husband’s vehemence, forgetting her own initial fears; then she remembered the faerie woman’s promise. “My dear,” she said, taking his worried face into her two hands and drawing his gaze so that he peered deeply into her eyes. “It is not for us to allow or not allow,” she said gently, but with conviction. “It is as it is. The woman of the Fae has declared herself our daughter’s faerie mother and has promised that no harm will come to her. Our little one is protected by our love and by faerie magick.” She smiled. “It will be all right.”

The man looked deeply into his wife’s eyes, and there he saw the moon and the stars, and a bright, polished gem the color of a crystal blue sky on a warm May morning that could only be the truth. He nodded, softening. “Yes, well … “ and he turned his brightest smile on his precious child, who stood by, watching her parents, the wand in one hand, the cup in the other.

And it is here we come to the end of another scene, another pause in the pacing of the telling, though of course, life for our happy-so-far family continues on, as it does, even if the story seems to rest. By the time we are ready to rejoin the flow, bypassing the ongoing seasons of mundanity that would become simply boring in the telling, the feelings of anxiety produced by the gifting of the cup would seem to have dissipated. But like many seeds that fall on fertile ground, when the right elements come together to nourish it, the seed may indeed germinate and grow. But that is still some time in the future. For now, we must focus on completing the beginning. To the unstoried, it would appear that not much has yet happened, but this would not be so. Much of life and story occurs below the surface of our awareness, and if we are wise, we will recognize this blindness of reality and take it into consideration when we note that, in this moment, though there be ripples in our little family’s glassy pool of calm and truth-as-we-know-it, all is yet well.

 

Copyright 2019 Linda Maree/Linda M Gabriel

The Hive of HERstory: Weaving Our Words June 25, 2015

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LogoThe Hive of HERstory: Weaving Our Words

Intuitive collage workshop for women

The smiling crescent moon called to the women, “Come! Come! Dance with me and weave your stories that I may laugh with you.” And so they did. They danced and sang and their voices created threads of light that flowed about them as their hands fashioned them into intricate knots and spectacular weavings. The tapestry that came together was made of moonbeams and joy and the magick of the women’s words, powerful and true . . .

Come join us as we use the intuitive collage process, along with simple writing prompts, to weave together our own magickal tapestry of joy and power and truth.

Rosemary Court Yoga Studio, 810 Central Avenue, Sarasota

Saturday, July 18, from 2:00-5:00PM

Open Pricing *   Please pay generously and joyfully according to your means.

Advance registration is required.  Let me know if you can attend.

The Hive of HERstory: Tell a NEW Story May 31, 2015

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LogoThe Hive of HERstory: Tell a NEW Story

Intuitive collage workshop for women

Under the faint light of a waning crescent moon, over eons of time, words were passed from the mouth of one woman to the ear of the next, each word carrying with it a vision, shared again and again, until all knew the stories by heart. And the stories were good. But then the youngest among them turned to the wise woman next to her and said, loud enough for all to hear, “The old stories are wonderful and magickal, but the world is changing and so am I.” And the women knew that she spoke the truth, knew that for the magick to continue, they must learn to Tell a NEW Story . . .

Come join us as we use the intuitive collage process, along with simple writing prompts, to find and tell our NEW story, the one that changes everything.

Rosemary Court Yoga Studio, 810 Central Avenue, Sarasota

Saturday, June 13, from 2:00-5:00PM

Open Pricing *   Please pay generously according to your means.

Advance registration is required.  Let me know if you are joining us.

The Hive of HERstory: Women BEEing Wimyn January 3, 2015

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logoThe Hive of HERstory: Women BEEing Wimyn

Intuitive collage workshop for women, Saturday, January 17, 2015

She is hidden in the depths of the shadow in the dark forgotten hive, where the long-stilled voices of generations of sisters awaken and call to her. “Dig deeper,” they say, “and remember!” She does, her vulnerability baring her heart to the sweet bee medicine of sistership: Women BEEing Wimyn in the cosmic cycle of HERstory. Silent until now, she stands at the edge of the dark, finds her voice, and speaks . . .

Come join us in the hive as we use the intuitive collage process, along with simple creative writing prompts, to connect to our own powerful ancestral wimyn-voices.

Open Pricing * Please pay generously according to your means.

Advance registration is required. Let me know if you can join us!

Date/Time: Saturday, January 17, 2015, from 2:00-5:00PM

Location: Rosemary Court Yoga Studio, 810 Central Avenue, Sarasota, FL

The Lake Where the Black Swans Swim December 7, 2014

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The names of the ancestors have been lost in the ethers of time, but the blood scent of these women still calls us to cross thresholds and gather in circles, holding hands, raising our voices in boisterous song, dancing to the music of the stars. Women who make lists, follow rules, and set daily goals to be ticked off as completed sometimes find our gatherings to be too loose, too ethereal  . . . at first. But when we finally cross the lake where the black swans swim, taking the Bridge of Light to the isle hidden by the fog of what is called by those who have no sense of its meaning: Truth, always, always, those who leave their shoes and their heavy limiting goals on the shore (where the black swans feast on the discards) step on to the island barefoot and, hand-in-hand, find themselves ready to dance in joy with the rest of us. Once the decision is made, I have never known the transformation to fail and have learned in this way that the only truth worth hanging on to is the belief in magic.

Awakening August 30, 2014

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She is offered the cup, takes it in both hands, and drinks deeply. Ancient stars explode in her head and her vision clears to a crystal clarity that allows her to see what has been unseen, hidden right in front of her, within her, all along. The moon shines full and a cascade of starlight illuminates the scene before her: Her childself who still believes in fairies and magick, eye-to-eye with the child whose stories have become clothed in practical concerns and the mandatory adherence to dry, out-dated customs long past their usefulness. She — this young, purposeful, practical self — stands strong but bewildered, wanting so badly to be her “other,” to don her fairy wings and fly . . .

Fast forward . . . 40, 50, 60 years, it matters not. It is no accident that she has been led to this place again, this point in time/no time, every moment, every life experience strung together on a necklace of pearlescent wonder. She wants to reach out, trust herself. Trust her own true nature to lead her on a path of healing and a bliss that transforms not only herself, but the world — the planet, her sisters and brothers, all beings. To know the self that sprinkles fairy dust onto the chaos and stands back to watch the result: A world in which we all reach out for each other — to help and be helped — without recrimination or judgement, but rather with joy for the opportunity to love deeply, freely, completely.

Her magickal self, the fairy child, laughs at her hesitation and reaches for her hand. “You’re making this too hard,” she says. “It’s simple really: Remember you are magick! Just come with me, spread your wings, and dance, dance, dance!”

Compassion Fruit August 3, 2014

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She poured each of them a cup of tea, then sat back and smiled. The other woman bent over the cup and allowed the fragrant steam to pink her cheeks and fill her nostrils. Then she smiled, too, but just a little. “Mmmmmm,” she said softly, “My favorite.”

“Of course,” the first woman said. “I haven’t forgotten.”

Tears welled up in the second woman’s eyes and her faint smile disappeared like the steam wafting from her cup. “Sometimes I do,” she said. “And then even when I can’t remember, still I have a sense that I’ve forgotten and I feel so ashamed.”

“There is no shame in illness . . . or aging,” said the first woman. “Each apple ripens and rots in its own way.”

“Rots is an ugly word.”

“It is a true word.”

“Yes.”

Silence.

Then the second woman, the sad one with tears in her eyes, said, “Some apples become bruised and spoil before the others in the same basket, picked at the same time from the same tree. Why is that, do you think?”

The first woman shrugged. “Perhaps it is luck. Perhaps a combination of circumstances: Sunlight. Food. Water. Handling.”

“Yes, some of us have been handled roughly.” The woman’s tears fell – plop! plop! – into her tea.

“We are like apples, but we are not apples,” said the first woman, patting the other’s hand gently. “Drink your tea and later you will tell me your story, the part I don’t know. I will listen. And I will remember.”

MoonRise Oracle: TruthBerry Elixir May 31, 2014

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logo  MoonRise Oracle: TruthBerry Elixir

  COLLAGE Workshop for Women

  Saturday, June 14, from 2:00-4:30PM

That night the full moon smiled down on the berry patch, infusing the ripening fruits with the juicy wisdom of the ages and sages, priestesses, goddesses, crones, and sorceresses past, present, and future. When the first women came at dawn, they found the berries bursting with a magickal scent that called them to gather the fruits, mixing them into a large cauldron and stirring until the elixir that was produced was the pure essence of truth. Filling their cups, the women drank deeply and the ancient secrets, known by all but long forgotten, were revealed once again . . .

Come join us as we use the intuitive collage process to create our own juicy elixir of inner truth and wisdom and reveal the secrets that infuse us with our creative magick.

Open Pricing *   Please pay generously according to your means

Location:  Rosemary Court Yoga Studio, 810 Central Avenue, Sarasota

Advance registration is required: honeycombmoon@gmail.com

 

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