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

Posted by wimynspeak in Sourceress: The Book of Fear.
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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

#4 Meeting the Warrior: The Sword September 17, 2019

Posted by wimynspeak in Sourceress: The Book of Fear.
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It must be said that the girl knew little to nothing of swords and violence and keeping the peace (peace just was) when she saw the old woman, but this does not diminish the significance of their meeting. And, most assuredly, chance played no part in the event, for fate is written in advance and cannot be avoided once the scenario is struck and life and story have shook on it to seal the deal. That being said, choice still plays a role in how we meet our fate. So the stage is set, the characters are in place, the meeting will happen, and choices will be made. From these choices come all the consequences that follow.

It seems prudent here, as a reminder, to once again point out that the old woman is blind. So, from this point in our story, it is not only choice but blindness — our characters’ and our own — that determines how they and we are impacted in our understanding of events, situations, and outcomes — both intermediate and final. Take heed and remember …

The girl, for her part, recognized the old woman right away, though she couldn’t have explained how or why. When she saw her in the village market, she left her mother’s side and marched right up to the blind warrior. “You have something for me, wise grandmother,” she said.

As soon as she heard the child’s voice, the old woman’s heart leaped, and the sword at her waist began to shrink in the folds of her skirt, scabbard and all, until it was the perfect size for the little girl. The blind woman smiled and laid her hand on top of the girl’s head in grateful benediction. “Indeed, I do,” she said. “And it seems you are even more ready than I had anticipated. Your first blood cannot be far off. In the meantime, you will begin training.”

“Training for what?” asked the girl.

“Why, to take up the Sword of Wisdom, of course,” she told her. “A great sword requires great skill to be used purposefully. It will be many seasons before you are truly accomplished, but I feel you will learn quickly and will have at least some proficiency very soon.”

If the girl was surprised by this pronouncement, she gave no indication (though as we have already established, she knew nothing of swords and warriors and such, only, somehow, that the woman had a precious gift for her and that she must accept it). And so she nodded and bowed to the old woman, who could not see her, yet knew she was being honored.

“I trust the sword has chosen well,” the old one said to the girl. “Now, go back to your mother and wait for my summons.”

When the girl’s mother saw her speaking to the old woman with the sword, she knew intuitively that this was another of her daughter’s guides. She had no reason for concern regarding this (Who was she to question destiny?) and did not anticipate any problems, though if she had been paying attention to the dark clouds gathering overhead (or, we might say, had not been blind to them), she might have realized a storm — coming from an unexpected direction — was about to overtake them.

When her daughter returned to her and told her what the old woman had said, she put her arm around the girl’s shoulder and smiled. “It is time, daughter,” she said. They quickly made their final purchases and turned down the lane to their little home, now engulfed in deep shadow. Neither was sure what would happen next, but each was content to wait and see how events might unfold.

The girl’s father, however, was not so complacent when he heard about the old woman with the sword, and saw her arrival as a threat to their peaceful, contented lives. It had been nearly nine full sun cycles since the faerie woman had shown up at their door, and even though she still flitted about their home constantly in her dragonfly form, she was mostly inconspicuous and he had grown used to her protective presence. The appearance of a strange old woman with a sword, however, looking for his little girl, he found disturbing.

Just as his wife had missed the growing storm outside, she was equally as blind to the darkness that clouded her beloved’s walnut brown eyes, as solemn and deep as night-black fog. She simply patted his shoulder gently, as she always had at times like these and said, “It will be all right.”

The man wanted to believe her, truly he did, but something ugly and twisted had begun to grow within him and this time he wasn’t so sure he could trust without question. Though he had no experience with swords himself, and was generally a kind and gentle man, fear is a fierce alchemist, and he had grown up hearing the stories of the terrible deeds that men wielding swords had committed in the past, and surely did still, even today. He assumed that it was the sword that signified danger and could not know the training and honor codes of those in the ranks of the peaceful warrior, into which the old woman had been initiated. Could not know the crucial part his young daughter would one day play in mortal events. Indeed, had he known, he would have worried no less, for like all caring fathers, he wanted only to protect his daughter from harm, from danger, from grief. He wanted her path to be an easy one.

But now his fear blinded him to the truth: He could not alter his daughter’s destiny no matter what desperate acts he took. In the black clouds of the storm of fear, the girl’s father began to devise a plan to keep the wretched old woman away from his little girl. There was no way he would let his daughter take up the sword — destiny and magick be damned! And the old woman, too, should she cross him to make contact with his little girl.

Outside, thunder rumbled and the first drops of an unusually cold rain began to fall on this near-by, far-away place; the heaviest pelted the little cottage where the family huddled about the fire for warmth, each lost in a tangled labyrinth of her and his own thoughts.

We will stop here, in this place where the fear that was planted when the girl was but an infant is finally taking root and heretofore becomes a major player in our story. It is not that fear was non-existent prior to this moment. We, all of us, carry fear within us as a primal emotion, but it is usually best that it does not direct the action, at least not for long. It has its place, to be sure, in keeping us safe, but when it runs the show, havoc most often ensues. And this, for now, is where we must leave our story, in anticipation of mayhem … and perhaps a bit of magick, too.

 

Copyright 2019 Linda Maree/Linda M Gabriel

#1 Beginning: The Wand July 3, 2019

Posted by wimynspeak in Sourceress: The Book of Fear.
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We begin her story where all good stories begin: at the beginning. But beginnings are controversial and nebulous at best, most being no more than a moment, really, too small for the eye to see, too brief even to take up the space of a word, a sound, too ephemeral and misunderstood to be agreed upon. And so we will choose this particular beginning from all the possibilities and begin our story a few moon cycles after the babe has slipped the confines of her mother’s watery womb and her father has danced under the stars singing, “It’s a girl! It’s a girl!” And all the universe has felt his joy, at least in that precious moment, for life goes on, does it not? and moments change, each a new beginning. Each a story in and of itself. Hence the confusion.

And so, as I said, we will begin here …

Once upon a time, as recently as long ago, in a nearby faraway place, which we shall, for want of a better name, call “home,” a young child, an infant still, lived with her parents. In this place where nothing ever changed and each moment was, as we’ve noted, different from the next, they had settled into their roles, the father opening his shop each morning, serving his loyal customers, and the mother caring for the child, often strapping the little one securely to her body and walking with her to meet the old women, the elders who huddled under the spreading branches of the great Grandmother Tree to once again tell their stories in the hope that they, the stories (for the women understood full well their own mortality), would be more likely to infinitely live on.

And just as the child would do herself one day in the not so distant future, the young mother loved hearing the old women’s stories, so different from the mundane tales of the everyday, for they told of a far distant time, when the stars burned hotter and time itself had a less slippery pace. And no matter how each story progressed or ended, no matter how the characters behaved or events transpired, no matter how it all turned out, the old women always finished their storytelling in the same way: they’d sigh, smile, and pronounce, “It is as it is.” And then they’d all nod, for they understood their acceptance was absolutely necessary for the wisdom within the stories to fully ripen.

And so the sun rose and set, rose and set, and then one morning, just as the steady sun rose once again, a stranger from an even farther far-away place came walking along the river, an old woman with bright skirts and jangling bangles on her wrists and ankles. Her scarves were dyed in colors never before seen in this part of the wide world, and she carried a small and colorful pack on her back. She was tired, for her journey had been a long one, and she stopped at a little pool at the edge of the river to wash the dust from her feet and splash cool water on her face. She was just slipping her sandals back on, leaning on the great Grandmother Tree for balance, when the elder women began to arrive, looking forward once again to the telling and the retelling of the stories, for therein, they knew, lay the magick.

When they saw the old woman, so colorfully dressed, a stranger so different from themselves, they stopped for a startled moment to take her measure, and then, sensing no malice within, they smiled and welcomed her as a sister. The stranger did not speak their words, but she made it known she was looking for a child, a babe in arms no more than a few moons into her terrestrial cycle. The elders invited the woman to sit with them underneath the great Grandmother Tree, for, they assured her, the child she was looking for would surely be along with her mother very soon.

And so it happened. The sun had barely shifted overhead in its journey across the sky when the young woman arrived, carrying her child in a sling across her belly. When she saw the stranger waiting with the elders, she smiled. It was as if she were meeting an old friend, though she was certain she had never laid eyes on the woman prior to this moment. They smiled at each other in silent recognition and when the baby stirred, her mother took her out of her sling and the child reached for the stranger in a way that made it clear to all present that here, for sure, was a kindred spirit. As the woman, now merely an almost stranger, took the child readily and comfortably into her arms, she pulled a long, colorful wand from her equally colorful pack. The wand sizzled like a hot pot over a flame and glowed with the silver shine of the moon when she gave it to the child, who immediately put it in her mouth, as children are wont to do. A startled chorus of women gasped in unison.

“What is it?” asked the young mother.

One of the older women, her crinkled eyes smoothed in the widening of wonder, whispered in her ear, “A Wand of Desire. I have never seen one, but I have heard many stories, passed down through the generations, enough to trust what my admittedly shadowed eyes reveal to me now.” The young woman, startled, immediately tried to take the wand from her daughter. “Oh, no!” she said, apologetically. “She’s chewing on it!” The merely-nearly strange old woman just smiled, patted the young mother’s hand, and pushed it gently away from the wand, shaking her head. The old woman closest to her whispered in the mother’s ear, “She wants her to have it, my dear, to do with as she will. It is for this reason only, it seems, this wise woman, this colorful sage, has come here. It is an auspicious gift, one many of us believed to be no more than a myth. And yet, our eyes do not lie. We see what there is to see. And this little one,” she continued, nodding toward the child, who was clutching the wand and laughing with the old woman who had bestowed her with its blessing, “will cut her teeth on the Wand of Desire. She will always know exactly what she wants in life.”

And so it was.

From that day forward, the Wand of Desire was nearly always clutched in the child’s fist, and when it was not, it could certainly be found within ready reach. At night the little girl placed the wand under her cheek, where she could taste it, smell it, hold it tight while she dreamed. If her mother ever worried that this was not an appropriate use for such a rare and precious object, she never said it aloud.

And so we come to the end of a scene, a segment of time, which itself does not stop, though the story seems to pause, an illusion, to be sure, for life does not pause, though it does change. So far, all is well with our girl and her parents, but because this is a story worth telling, we can be sure that this will not always and forever be so. Something must happen. But not yet. After all, our story is still only just beginning …

Copyright 2019 Linda Maree/Linda M. Gabriel

Playing … an exploration of surrender May 26, 2019

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I was born magick in a world of logic and reason. Creativity was tolerated in children in the context of play, but the real world was the ultimate arbiter of life. When I was a little girl, I may have been allowed to draw moons and stars on my forehead with blue paint and golden glitter, but these kinds of antics were not tolerated in my grown-up self. “Play” was frivolous and must be put aside. I would have said then that I surrendered to authority, giving up on magick and settling into the mundane. But now I know, to have followed the magick would have been the surrender. All I did was give up on my true self. It was not surrender but betrayal. The worst kind of betrayal. And I have been working since then to make it right. To win back the trust of the one who should have been … always … the most important in the world to me. Myself. Once you lie to yourself, it is so much easier to lie to others. Once you betray yourself, betrayal becomes your imprisoner, your signature, the mask you wear, the face you show to the world. Others do not call it that – betrayal — for most wear the same kind of mask. We call it reality, the real world, just the way it is. And we are told we might as well accept it. Life is not fair. Surrender. Give up.

But true surrender is not a giving up, it is a giving in to a higher calling, a purpose. It is a type of courage that calls one to live from the heart, serving the voice within that tells us that there is infinitely more to life than what we can see. That magick still exists. That we ARE magick, and our magick serves a powerful energy that can only emanate from spirit. So, rather than weakness, rather than loss, to surrender is a means of service above and beyond any we thought capable of. Surrender calls us back to our essence, and there …

Playing … I am as a child again. My thin, straight red hair has been transformed, in my imagination, into long, black waves, thick and abundant. My skin has darkened somewhat and my bearing is regal. I feel exotic, different, and I relish my differentness. On my head sits a golden crown in the form of snakes, their heads rising above my forehead, where I used to draw the moon and stars, proclaiming to all my worth. I wear a long white gown, so that I feel as if I am enrobed in clouds, my power as wide as the sky. In my right hand I carry a long sword, but it is gripped casually, a relic from the past that I treasure for what it has taught me, but it is not the source of my power. It is not who I am. Some have called me princess, but I am no prince-ess, no lesser-than prince. No priest-ess. No god-dess. None of these. I am neither s\he nor fe-male. I am simply who and what I choose to be in the moment I surrender to my choice. Nameless until such time a name is possible. Until new words are created, new vocabularies formed, new tongues proclaimed throughout a land revived and reborn.

Playing … I am as a child again. My thin, straight red hair has been transformed and my head is topped with tight black curls. My skin has darkened and my body broader, huskier, more muscular than before. My voice has deepened and drips with authority. I carry no weapon, and yet I feel that the moon and stars would bow at my feet, were I, priest of all that is sacred and holy, to command it. A channel of energy rises through me, and I have a choice: to follow that which is seductive and promises the kind of power and authority that most men dream about. To be the saver of souls, the changer of lives, the maker of rules, the arbiter of life … mine and others. Or to surrender to the unknown. The unseen path that draws me with the power of the soul and the dread of responsibility. The path of service. The path of the change rather than the changer, giving way to the moment with acceptance and a willingness to act when it is time to act, to be when it is time to be. The path of vulnerability. The path of courage.

Playing … I am as a child again. My thin, straight red hair has been transformed and my head is topped with tight black curls. My skin has darkened even more and my body is long, lean muscular. Around my head, a white halo-band of beads and tassels. Strung beads hang from my neck, crisscross my breasts, and shells encircle my waist and my feet, marking me as a dancer. My weapon, if you want to call it that, is my joy. If I could, I would use it to bludgeon others into surrendering to this celebration, giving in to the exuberant persistence of life. But surrender can neither be forced nor coerced, and so I dance. It is no more than an invitation, but it is what we know to do, we mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters of the world and the spirit. This is the story we carry within us, the story we use to paint the sky with rainbows, to draw the moon and stars on our foreheads, to tattoo our bodies with the scars that mark us as courageous in the face of our failures and steadfast in our vulnerability. We dance a reminder of the blessing of surrender and the power of choice.

— Linda Maree

Still Following the Bee: Sweet Sanctuary December 3, 2016

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LogoStill Following the Bee: Sweet Sanctuary

Intuitive COLLAGE Workshop for Women

Rosemary Court Yoga Studio, 810 Central Ave, Sarasota

Saturday, December 17, from 2:00-5:00PM

You gather in the Sweet Sanctuary of the winter hive, you and your sisters, preparing yourselves for the eagerly awaited descent into the dark of the longest night, the night of visions, a time when you can see what is invisible in the light. You hum and dance your way into readiness, savoring the buzz of excitement that permeates the hive and fills you with gratitude for the present moment of communion and the deep desire that is the magick that creates what comes next…

Come join us as we use the intuitive collage process as well as simple creative writing prompts to enter our Sweet Sanctuary and ready ourselves for the descent into the longest night of clearest vision.

Open Pricing *   Please pay generously according to your means.

Advance registration is required. Let me know if you plan to attend.

Still Following the Bee: Great Hive of BEEing November 6, 2016

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LogoStill Following the Bee: Great Hive of BEEing

Intuitive COLLAGE Workshop for Women

Rosemary Court Yoga Studio, 810 Central Avenue, Sarasota

Saturday, November 19, from 2:00-5:00PM

You close your eyes and listen to the still aloneness that seems to envelop you like a soft, warm blanket. Your body quiets and you imagine yourself entering the great hall of the great queen, creative sovereign of this sacred realm. She has summoned you, and you honor her with your presence. When you open your eyes, you find that you are not alone after all, for the great hall is filled to capacity and you are caught in the crush of all that is supportive and wondrous. The queen offers her communion, and all present in the Great Hive of BEEing accept her gift with gracious gratitude …

Come join us as we use the intuitive collage process as well as simple creative writing prompts to enter the Great Hive of BEEing and enjoy the communion of our inner queen, calling us to BEE.

Open Pricing *   Please pay generously according to your means.

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

Still Following the Bee: Crown Your Queen! September 25, 2016

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Honeycomb MoonStill Following the Bee: Crown Your Queen!                      

Intuitive COLLAGE Workshop for Women

Rosemary Court Yoga Studio, 810 Central Ave, Sarasota

Saturday, October 8, from 2:00-5:00PM

You sleep and dream, and in your dream you see a broad door with a heavy brass handle. When you turn the handle, before you appears the vast landscape of your imagination, the gateway to “possible,” to all that is magick. You dance into this dreamscape and a pathway opens up, straight and true, and you follow it to a massive throne, intricately carved and highly polished, which beckons you to sit. When you do, a golden crown, the color of sweet honey, appears and you place the crown on your head, declaring yourself Queen, sovereign of all you can imagine …

Come join us as we use the intuitive collage process as well as simple creative writing prompts to discover the throne of our imagination and crown ourselves Queen of all that is possible.

Open Pricing *   Please pay generously according to your means.

Advance registration is required. Please let me know if you can join us.

Still Following the Bee: Sweet Honey Rain September 2, 2016

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Honeycomb MoonIntuitive COLLAGE Workshop for Women

Saturday, September 17, from 2:00-5:00PM

Still Following the Bee: Sweet Honey Rain

The day it rains honey you are caught in the deluge, and as you close your eyes and lift your face to the sweetening clouds, you open your mouth and drink in the glistening golden drops. The honey rain coats your throat and you find yourself humming a tune that is at once familiar and yet unknown. The hum turns into a melody and the melody finds words, until you are singing the song that has been within you since the first beat of your heart. Now, it sings you into sweetness. You smile as you swallow the precious gift.

Come join us as we use the intuitive collage process as well as simple creative writing prompts to brew up a storm of Sweet Honey Rain and drink in the song of our soul, savoring the sweetness that sustains us.

Open Pricing *   Please pay generously, from your heart, according to your means.

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

Rosemary Court Yoga Studio, 810 Central Avenue, Sarasota

At the Water’s Edge: White September 2, 2016

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White-capped waves roll under white clouds that scudder across a blue-white washed-out sky. The day, hazy at first, has lightened into quiet — save for the soft shushing of the water and the background hum of buzzing insects, all is silent. Even the wind makes no sound, sighing high in the bleached sky where only the clouds feel its gentle nudge. The sun blazes behind the clouds, dispersing its heat on a lazy earth, but holding fast to its golden glow, keeping it greedily for itself, the clouds backlit while soaking up the honeyed rays, unable to share, though, unlike the sun, willing. Generous, they are impotent in the face of their own nature, their inability to create light. The white-topped waves fail to notice anything amiss and continue to roll toward the pale sand beach.

And this is where the white waves find her, on the pale sand beach, cloaked in white, a mirror of the scuddering clouds. She sits now at the water’s edge and the white waves spiral around her, pushing into her skirt and then receding in a rhythmic pulse tapped out by the hidden moon, leaving in their wake a large white snake, which hisses, but does not strike, does not leave. In her hand the woman holds an earthen bowl filled with warm turquoise water shimmering with crystals within. She tips the bowl slightly to show the white snake, who merely nods.

The water in the bowl bubbles and boils and the crystals in the warm turquoise water rearrange themselves and rise from the bowl, a shimmering tree that speaks of life in its light, and causes the white snake to dance, as if only now it has heard the melody tapped out by the hidden moon. The waves on the shore darken and the greedy sun retreats, as the glowing tree grows and encompasses all the light there is to see. The clouds give up their brightness easily, willingly, just as happy to be grey or black as white. To them, only the wind has consequence.

Still Following the Bee: The HeArt of the Hive July 31, 2016

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Honeycomb Moon

Still Following the Bee: The HeArt of the Hive

Intuitive COLLAGE Workshop for Women

Rosemary Court Yoga Studio, 810 Central Avenue, Sarasota

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

You have followed the path spiraling into the dark center and now you sit and wait. All around you are the quiet whispers and hums of your sisters coming and going, the magickal music of life. You feel a sweet vibration as it rises through your core, settling around your HeArt, where it emanates a golden light. The honeyed light grows and you are bathed in the realization that the journey to the center has indeed brought you to The HeArt of the Hive, the HeArt of generosity, a HeArt in loving communion with itself.

Come join us as we use the intuitive collage process and simple creative writing prompts to enter into The HeArt of the Hive, where our generosity thrives and love is the sweet honey we share with ourselves.

Open Pricing *   Please pay generously according to your means.

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

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