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maiden, mother, wisewoman – embodying ageless archetypes

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Yesterday’s Summer Solstice, my 50th, was one of the most beautiful I’ve experienced. From dawn to lingering dusk, the day was infused with magic, sunshine, and roses. I danced and sang the day away in a beautiful circle of women, entering sacred space in the morning on a path literally strewn with rose petals. I liberated my voice and made new friends. I communed with old friends and danced familiar dances I thought I had left behind.

Later, I joined dear friends for dinner. My friend and her nine year old daughter greeted me at the door with flower crowns on their heads – “We’ll make you one after dinner!” At nine, my young friend was exquisite in her flower crown; we misrepresent maidenly beauty as delicate, it is not, it shines with all the vibrant strength of untamed feminine power. The Maiden stands with one foot still in the magical realms, but strong and lithe and prepared to take on the world.

At the end of the meal, my friend produced a number of tiny crystal glasses, and three jars that looked like science experiments. “It’s rose-petal infused vodka!” We had a tiny faerie flight of rose infused amazingness, three kinds made from different types of roses, and named with their poetic rose names. My favourite was called Neptune and Ebb Tide, and tasted like sinking into the centre of a big pink antique rose.

So fortified, we made our way out to the garden, and a gorgeous fragrant crown was produced for me. We roamed the garden in the long twilight, picking flowers, laughing, adorning each other. In those moments, all three of us were feeling the power of the Maiden. But as I watched the beautiful Girl and her Mother prepare my crown, it was pretty clear where I fit in to the scene. Dressed in black, with my pale hair, just entering my fifty-first year, I was the Wisewoman. {I’ve spoken elsewhere about why I reject the title of Crone. I am a Wisewoman.}

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The thing is, we never really leave our old roles behind. I am a Wisewoman, but I am also a Maiden, and a Mother. I still get to own and inhabit those roles. I have lived them. I have earned them. A time of celebration is the perfect moment to stop and play and allow oneself to re-inhabit, and rediscover, the power of roles we have already grown through.  I wouldn’t wear a flower crown every day – I have no desire to try to live my daily life as a younger version of myself. This is a mistake we sometimes make as women, the mistake of trying to inhabit a younger version of ourselves, trying to “get back” the body/life/achievements that belong to another time of life. We do not need to “get them back.” We already possess them, we have earned them, they are part of who we are now.

So I won’t do myself the disservice of trying to live as younger-me. I have grown into a deeper, richer, and yes wiser version of myself. But here’s the thing: if, on Summer Solstice, I want to weave a flower crown into my silvering hair and dance with the maidens, I can, I will, and I should. As ‘older’ women in this culture, we experience an intense dual pressure – we are supposed to walk a tightrope between ‘staying young and hot’ and ‘being age-appropriate.’ I actually have no idea how I am supposed to do both those things at once, even if I wanted to. It’s another set-up. One of many tight-ropes we have been asked to walk in our womanly lives. And I would rather walk with my bare feet on the earth and find my own balance.

But, I have to admit, I thought twice before I posted that photo of me in the flower crown to my Instagram. Flower crown and eye-wrinkles. Hmmm. Will I appear ridiculous? Is it age-appropriate? Who knows. But the better part of me just does not care. This is me, and I love who I am. I will always be a woman who loves to frolic in rose gardens, loves to make solstice magic, loves to adorn herself with over-the-top beauty. And I am thrilled to be at a stage in life where I have earned the right to be Maiden, Mother, and Wisewoman all at once.

The takeaway? Please don’t limit yourself. We are meant to expand and deepen as we grow further into our lives. We aren’t meant to abandon all the younger versions of ourselves, any more than we are meant to try to live in them forever. How you find that balance in your own life is entirely up to you. But I wish for you your own unique version of allowing yourself to dance in a flower crown.

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.

 

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summer solstice blessings

summer solstice

Today I will be celebrating the Summer Solstice doing one of the things I love most in this world – dancing and creating in a circle of women. The sun came so early this morning my body thought it was still night. It’s gently rising now as I snuggle in bed with a cup of tea with honey and bee pollen. Later, as the sun seems to hold still high in the sky, I will be dancing and singing. Through the longest of mellow twilights, I’ll share the cherry cake I made last night with dear friends, and drink a glass of pink or vivid amber wine.

In the Northern Hemisphere, today is the day when the sun reaches her highest degree above the equator; her zenith. It is the longest day, the center on which the whole year turns. Ritually and symbolically, you can treat today as a gateway. You have no doubt had some struggles this Spring, the energy has been a bit rough on all of us. It’s time to move forward now with everything you’ve learned in the last few months, into a time of more abundance and ease. Where in your life do you need and want to move towards achievement and abundance? Now is the time to open to those energies and feel them moving through your body. Dance, make a bonfire, make rituals of release and completion, have a feast, make a special cake, watch the sunset and sunrise, go to a mountaintop, lift your arms to the sky.

My wish for you for the rest of this year is that you will walk your path with clarity and self-love, and that you will nurture yourself so that the highest brightest parts of yourself can shine every day.

Bright shiny solstice 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.

 

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have you set your goals for June?

june-goals It’s that time again – time to create your monthly vision board and goals.

This ritual has become a valued moment of self-reflection for me each month, and the collages, which I create directly in my planner, become touchstones for how I want to feel throughout the month. I check in with the image almost every day, and it helps me to stay focused on my most important goals, and to keep my mood positive and my actions aligned with my greater vision for my life. If you’d like to learn more about my process and how to make a goals collage yourself, read this post. If you’d like to see my monthly goals collages over the years, go here.

It’s June and the weather has been delicious! Sometimes, our Pacific Junes are cool and cloudy, but every day for a while I’ve been waking up to sunshine and birdsong. My garden is at its peak, bursting with pink peonies, white and blue iris, and my amazing white clematis, with saucer sized blooms trailing above my front door. The wild roses are in bloom in the meadow and I’ve been gathering baskets of rosebuds and sleeping with them next to my bed so they fragrance my dreams.

About this time last year, the wind went out of my sails a bit. My energy was SO low it was a little scary! It took six months, three doctors and a naturopath to figure out what was ailing me, but by December, I had a diagnosis and could begin my healing journey. I have to tell you, lovelies, that I have spent WAY too many hours on the couch this year. Way too many. But here’s the good news. Over the last month, I have begun to feel much better. I’m well enough to dance and run and take on new projects and take big juicy bites out of each day. It’s wonderful, and I feel so grateful for my returning energy and my beautiful life! Wow. There is really nothing like a health challenge to set your priorities in order.

So I am welcoming June with open arms! Hello beautiful June! Lets get lots of things done together, shall we? I’m running the forest and beach paths every morning, and have started working with my personal trainer again, so my body is happy (but sore!) I have a million and one ideas brewing for retreats, classes, art collaborations, and fun projects.

Is there a place in your life where you are feeling a burst of new energy? What are your goals and dreams for June? What do you want to do, be, and feel this month? What do you want to experience?

Wishing you a delicious month,

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.

 

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new moon in gemini – hurry up and wait

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 {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.}

Appropriate to the dual nature of Gemini, today’s powerful New Moon in Gemini has a somewhat contradictory dual aspect – a mixture of illusion and clarity.

For many of us, the last few months have been a time of profound change. We are on the cusp of a new life, and the New Moon energy is pushing us to take action. But there are elements of illusion and confusion. You may simply be feeling this as a subtle unease, a bit of an unsettled vibe. You may be seeing an array of choices before you and be genuinely unsure of the right choice. You are feeling the push and pull of big new hopes, dreams, and promises.

The keys to benefitting from this moon’s energy are mindfulness and discernment. You may still need to take some time for emotional processing and review of the changes of the last few months. Be honest in your communication with yourself and others now. Proceed with care and consult your intuition. Be truthful.

Use this time for creating art, engaging in spiritual practice, writing memoirs, journaling, sorting, winnowing, consulting the oracles. Yes you are feeling the urge to push, but it’s not quite time. This is a delicate time of culmination, and we are still dealing with the swirling energies of the patterns that are ending.

For a New Moon ritual, I would suggest creating something that follows the narrative of loss and reclamation in your recent life. A simple version of this would be to do a little fire ceremony: On one piece of paper write what you have lost or released or given up. On another, write what you are welcoming in its place. Offer each piece of paper to the flame, saying “I am ready to release X. In its place, I welcome Y” (or something along those lines.) You could also create a work of art – a collage, a painting , a dance, or a poem, that speaks of what you are releasing from your life, and what you are welcoming in.  A piece of writing might be particularly powerful, under the influence of Mercury, the communicator.

Please feel free to share your New Moon reflections here, in the comments. I would love to hear how you are experiencing these energies.

New Moon Blessings,

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.

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Joanne yeadon - Hi Bronwyn, this post resonates so strongly with what is going on in my life right now. I feel as though I am saying farewell to an old life and on the brink of something new and unknown and it feels vast and spacious but quite terrifying too. I feel the need to make changes but nothing is quite ‘ripe’. There are so many elements to it so it is quite confusing and muddled, to be mindful and follow my intuition resonates. Thankyou for this post, it is good to know that I am not alone.

Bronwyn - Joanne you are absolutely not alone! I’m so glad the post resonated for you. I know I always feel comforted to know that I am playing my part in the cosmic dance, so to speak – that my life is a reflection of larger energies and of universal, shared human experiences. Things will get clear and strong for you SOON. xo

the artful table – my food journal

illustrated food journal I started a new food journal in January. This little journal has already given birth to one exciting new project (more on that soon…) and has been a pleasurable experiment. Do you keep a food journal? How do you like to keep track of new inspirations and recipes, track your eating, or remember exceptional and special meals?

A food journal is simple to keep, and yes, you can do it, even if you think you don’t have any drawing skills. Just keep the drawings simple and whimsical, like I do.  All you need to get started is:

  • a simple bound sketchbook with paper heavy enough to take wet media
  • a good quality black fine tip art pen
  • a small set of watercolours or watercolour pencils – cheap ones are fine.
  • foodie inspiration!

The key is to treat your food journal as a working journal, not a precious and perfect art work. Keep your journal in the kitchen. Get food on it. Make messy notes in it when inspiration hits. Make it pretty when you have the time. Here are some ideas for using your food journal:

  • paste in clippings and pretty food photos.
  • get your own food instagrams printed and pop them in!
  • create illustrated grocery lists
  • record recipes
  • jot down notes and sketches from favorite food shows (I love Chopped!)
  • paste in menus and biz cards from wonderful restaurants
  • make sketches at your next dinner party
  • sketch pretty cocktails
  • sketch at the farmer’s market!
  • illustrate what you eat in one day

Here are a couple of recent entries from my food journal: some items from my first delivery of a local organic food box, and a recipe for a particularly yummy smoothie I recently put together. Enjoy!

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Lots of Love and Joyful Eating,

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.

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Joanne yeadon - Love this idea Bronwyn!