The Artful Life » Blog

creating personal ritual through intuitive guidance

crystal-grid

As children, we don’t make distinctions between intuition and intellect, or imagination and fact. We experience the world with an unbounded heart-mind, holding simultaneous realities with ease. My own childhood was so, perhaps more than others. I spent most of my time alone in nature or immersed in books and art, we had no television, and almost all of my friends were either animals, or what we call “imaginary.”

It seemed perfectly natural and normal to me that I should be able to talk to forest spirits and ocean nymphs, that I should be able to read the flight of birds, see meaning in the stars, and read the messages written in treasures found in the woods and on the beach. Such objects could later be used to make magic, reveal secrets, and open doorways to unusual realms.

For me this is the essence of formal ritual. {I distinguish between formal and everyday ritual. Everyday ritual is about bringing the sacred home, attending to mundane tasks with a mindfulness and joy that infuses them with beauty. Formal ritual is about taking time to honour the spirit outside of mundane life, through prayer or special acts.}

So creating personal ritual was not something I learned as an adult, from a book, or from a human teacher. I learned it from the sky, ocean, and forest, and from my own open mind. There is ecstasy and grace immediately and vividly available to those who can read the text of nature. This gift isn’t only available to artists, children, and mystics. You needn’t travel to foreign places or drink dangerous potions to access this grace. You need only open your senses to the world. Personal ritual creates a container for you to begin to do this.

amethyst-crystal-grid

To read nature, it helps to be in harmony with her movements. This is intuitive, and needn’t be complex. Just look around you, and think symbolically. What is the purpose of your ritual? What season, time of day, weather, and setting are an energetic match for that purpose? We each have our own personal language of symbols, and it is important to trust your own feelings here. Are you doing a ritual of abundance? For one woman, a summer night lit by the full moon may evoke the richest feelings of abundance. For another, it might be the ocean at dawn with the new moon just rising.

Creating rituals in harmony with the phases of the moon is traditional, tried and true. How you use the moon energies is ultimately your own intuitive choice. Traditionally, the new moon is the time to initiate, plant, begin. The full moon brings celebration, harvest and completion, and the waning and dark moons are times for ending, shedding, clearing and cleaning. {If you want to learn more, you can download my free watercolour guide, In Tune With the Moon here.}

creating-personal-ritual-abalone-shell-seeds

A few nights ago I created a New Moon ritual for myself. I wanted to harness the beautiful expansive energies of the Leo New Moon and the entry of Jupiter into Leo {warmth! initiation! expansion!} When I create ritual, as when I make art, I surrender control as much as I can, and allow the dreamy, intuitive aspect of myself to take over. In other areas of life, I’m an extreme planner, list-maker, and instruction-follower. But not with art, ritual, or cooking! These things are all great pleasures for me because of the opportunity to surrender and be led by my magical self.

The truth is, it’s always the wild card that gets me. I love to make personal ritual because I learn so much from each experience. In every ritual, there are moments of surprise and revelation, the perfect pieces I could not possibly have planned, the gems of wisdom I carry out of ritual space and back into my daily life. I’ll tell you about how that worked for me last New Moon.

 My intention was simple – to open to positive expansion in my work and life. I had a few specific personal desires that fit this intention too. Following the advice of my wise astrologer, I scheduled my ritual for a few nights after the New Moon, in the evening. In the days leading up to it, I just relaxed about my intention and let my creative mind play with the shape of the ritual.  I had just acquired some new stones, and I knew I wanted to play with the idea of a crystal grid, so on the day after the New Moon I took the crystals, carefully wrapped in a silk scarf, to the beach, cleansed them in the sun, and held them in the rushing flow of the incoming tide. A young friend was with me at the beach, and she showed me a special spot she called “the waterfall,” where the incoming tide ran fast and clear over the lip of a rock, creating a little musical waterfall that caught exquisite glimmers of sunlight in its flow. Here we washed the stones. Magic was happening already.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The night of my little ritual, I had dinner with two beautiful women friends in a seaside restaurant. We ate wild salmon and listened to each other’s juicy creative plans and rascally jokes, each other’s frustrating challenges and vulnerable hopes. I came away from that dinner with some questions I had been holding for my ritual already answered, and some splendid advice and ideas for implementing the kind of creative expansion I was dreaming into being with my ritual. So, more unexpected magic.

At home the house was quiet and serene, the long Northern twilight was falling on my woods and meadow, the cool night air was beginning to blow through my curtains. I was still feeling the golden glow of my special dinner. I eased into ritual space by gathering a few simple materials; my new stones, an abalone shell, a candle, some incense, some beautiful paper and a pen, a book of poems, a lily. I assembled the stones intuitively into the compass grid you see above, thinking about my intention all the while. Next it was time to bring in the elements of earth, air, fire and water – I needed something just right for air, so important for my intention of expansion. I decided to go for a walk in my meadow, to see what lesson nature would offer me about this element.

grass

I walked out into the deep Northern twilight. The horizon all around was washed with a violet glow, the sky straight above opened to deep cobalt with a few stars emerging. My two acres of meadow are overgrown and scruffy this year – I broke the rider mower venturing recklessly into tall wet grass in the Spring, so for the first time in years, the tall grasses have been allowed to grow in wild profusion. As I walked through the tall grass, collecting little burrs and seed pods as I went, I looked around for what the world might have to tell me. I was seeking my symbol of air. Maybe a feather! Feathers are magical. I’m always hearing about people finding magical feathers. I looked around for a feather. Little airborne seed pods floated through the air around my face. I kept looking for my feather. Sigh! Where was my magical symbol of airborne abundance and expansion? I looked around in frustration, then brushed more of the clingy, floaty little grass heads and seeds from my black shirt. There sure were a lot of these little airborne seeds.

I know, I know. But we are all a little slow sometimes, aren’t we? Nature is quiet, persistent, forgiving. She continues to shower us with abundance and magic even in our petulance and ignorance. Of course it didn’t take me too long to really see the fluffy seed pods. I brought a few dried flower heads inside and held them in an abalone shell, then scattered them as part of my ritual. There was candle-lighting, writing, poetry reading, and quiet meditation, all of which was beautiful; but the true centre of my ritual was the moment I moved from not-seeing to seeing the seed pods. That was my magic and my lesson. And that is the kind of serendipitous, playful and spontaneous experience that I encourage you to open space for in your own rituals.

quartz-crystal-creating-personal-ritual

The important thing to remember is that nothing can go “wrong” in ritual space {and all of life is ritual space.} If the candle gutters, the glass breaks, the wind blows the seeds off the altar, or the water spills, listen to the message and be thankful. If you feel frustratated or disappointed because something isn’t “right,” stop and listen. Open up. This is the actual juice, the ripeness and perfection of your action. The moment when you think “Oh crap, that wasn’t supposed to happen!” is the moment you should be paying the keenest attention.

Embrace your personal rituals with a spirit of play and experimentation. Put the books aside and read the text of Nature. Open to surprise.

Have you ever had a surprising or revelatory experience in ritual space, or in communion with nature? I’d love it if you shared in the comments.

About Bronwyn: Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy. She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her next big adventure is the Artful Living in Mexico retreat at gorgeous Hacienda Mosaico in November 2014. The Artful Life Blog provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

share post:join my mailing list

the artful table – mexican food illustrations

ceviche

I’m working  on such a fun project right now – it’s a collaboration with my friend Sam, who runs Hacienda Mosaico, the beautiful artist’s retreat in Puerto Vallarta where I’m holding my second Artful Living in Mexico Retreat this November. When I was there in March, Sam mentioned that she’d love to produce a Hacienda Mosaico cookbook, to highlight some of the amazing meals her private chef creates for the guests. And I mentioned that I’d been playing with food illustration recently, and really loving it. So a collaborative project was born! I spent a week in March hanging out at the Hacienda, eating, taking food photos and gathering inspiration at the local markets and restaurants. Finally this month I started pulling together some of that inspiration and creating some illustrations. The book, with my illustrations and photos, plus delish recipes, will be available in the fall through Hacienda Mosaico! ensalada-de-nopales-final-square

About Bronwyn: Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy. She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her next big adventure is the Artful Living in Mexico retreat at gorgeous Hacienda Mosaico in November 2014. The Artful Life Blog provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

share post:join my mailing list

new moon in leo – expansive joy, authentic expression

leo-new-moon {Each month, nature in her wisdom and beauty offers us an opportunity, a clean slate, a shining outward and visible sign of the grace we are always given to move beyond our own shadow and start again. In the night sky, the dark Moon begins to clear the Earth’s shadow and reveals a tiny sliver of the freshest silver. The New Moon.}

Ready, set, go! With both the New Moon and Jupiter entering Leo, you can expect a time of high energy, enthusiasm, expansion, initiation, and powerful self-expression. You’ll finally get some traction and start moving – expect new projects to move along quickly in coming days.

What a great moon for intention setting and rituals to support your dream! Authenticity is the key word here, and this New Moon day is the perfect time to make a commitment to authentic self-expression. Are there places in your life where you have been less than fully yourself? Where have you been holding yourself back? Where have you been untrue to yourself? Where has your expression lacked authenticity?

Today is the day to begin to come into your own again (or maybe for the first time.) Re-commit to authentic self-expression. With the courage of the lion, fearlessly show the world who you really are. It’s time.

Authenticity energizes your life and your work, your intimacy and your creativity. Yes, it can feel vulnerable, but it can also feel very powerful. When your true self is aligned with the self you show the world, there is all kinds of power behind your actions, and it becomes easier to feel joy, to connect with others, and to create the conditions in your life that you truly desire.

So take some time today to do your own unique and authentic new moon ritual. Invoke the power of authenticity and celebrate your original self. Sew the seeds of your next big thing. Express your joy.

New Moon Blessings and Love,

About Bronwyn: Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy. She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her next big adventure is the Artful Living in Mexico retreat at gorgeous Hacienda Mosaico in November 2014. The Artful Life Blog provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

share post:join my mailing list

take summer with you into the fall – art and self-care retreat in mexico

“Bronwyn brings light, love and beauty with her presence and her workshop. Her insights, support, experience and wisdom have enriched me in just the one week I was blessed to spend with her in Mexico. This was not my first experience in women’s retreats and I hold it up as an example of what is possible at their highest level. I was inspired and given practical tools to grow in my creativity, body, heart, and spiritual life. This will not be my last retreat with her and I look forward to an ongoing journey with her!”                                                                                                                   ~Laura Flanders Roush, Monterey, California, March 2014 Artful Living in Mexico Retreat Participant

“Thank you for creating and sharing this fabulous week. It was a perfect balance of soul work, creativity, and movement with beautiful like-minded women and in a warm, sunny, inspiring place. I am so grateful that I was able to join you and am heading home truly inspired.” ~Heather Marie Moon, Lansing, Michigan, March 2014 Artful Living in Mexico Retreat Participant

I’m going back! Seven days of art, mindfulness, movement, and deep self-care, all in the intimate setting of beautiful Hacienda Mosaico, a private artist’s retreat in Puerto Vallarta. This retreat is open to three to twelve women only. This year’s dates are November 16 – 22, 2014. To learn more, click here. Now, take a look at the scenes below, from last winter’s retreat, and tell me in the comments which scene appeals to you the most, and why!

IMG_7480

IMG_7512 IMG_7482 IMG_7525 IMG_7529 IMG_7548 IMG_9097 IMG_7570IMG_7571 IMG_7595IMG_9105 IMG_7740 IMG_7823 IMG_7888 IMG_7895 IMG_9445 Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 10.28.26 AM

You should be here, don’t you think?  {Art retreat in Mexico!!}

Love,

About Bronwyn: Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy. She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her next big adventure is the Artful Living in Mexico retreat at gorgeous Hacienda Mosaico in November 2014. The Artful Life Blog provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

share post:join my mailing list

lunar musings

moon-maiden

I’m so sorry I missed celebrating the Full Moon in Capricorn with you on Saturday. I was off in the woods on an all-girl camping trip with three wise women and two brave and smart young girls. At sundown on Friday, we hiked along the lake shore to visit a tiny archipelago of islets, the perfect spot to sit on the rocks and witness the full moon’s stunning entry into the sky.

How was the big juicy moon for you? Was your weekend awash in emotion? Did you feel like the pieces you’ve been trying to make sense of since the New Year were finally starting to come together? Are you feeling full of a new vitality, life force, and pressure to grow? Did you get a chance to practice emotional maturity, or did you give in and get swept away by the current?

Remember, one of the functions of the Full Moon is revelation. The energies of this recent Capricorn moon likely shed light on your growing edge, where ever that is in your life. What did Saturday’s big, bright moon illuminate for you?

For me, this whole year has been a celebration of my growing edge. Which means I’ve been uncomfortable a lot, and happy a lot. Back in February, my sweetie took a job that takes him away from home for two weeks out of every three, which means that I live alone for two thirds of the time now. It was hard at first. It bumped me out of my comfort zone, disrupted all my routines (and we Taureans love our routines,) and made me downright lonely. To cope, I had to start getting off my tush and saying “yes” to things. A theme developed – my “yes’s” were leading me to beautiful adventures in circles of women. I was picking up a thread I had dropped a decade ago, and it was feeling really good. As I move out of the Mother phase of my life and into Wise Woman territory, it feels perfectly right that art, creativity and circles of women should once again be at the center of my life.

So Saturday’s moon found me exactly where I should be for now – celebrating, creating, and having adventures in a circle of women. I hope the moon found you in your just-right place too. And if not, I hope she lighted the path towards that place.

Love,

About Bronwyn: Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy. She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her next big adventure is the Artful Living in Mexico retreat at gorgeous Hacienda Mosaico in November 2014. The Artful Life Blog provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
share post:join my mailing list