Light Pink Marble

washington2

Lincoln Memorial

This last week I was back in Washington DC.  Alexandra wanted to go to a graduate school seminar so she talked me into a road trip to one of our favorite cities.   It is an easy and beautiful drive up Interstate 81 and we stayed with my cousin in her townhouse which has a view of the Capitol.   Since we were just in DC last summer (you can read about our visit here) we didn’t have a big agenda, just a chance to relax and revisit our favorite sites.

The Washington Monument is repaired and open again after suffering earthquake damage so we started our tour there. As we stood next to this grand momument, encircled with flags we could see the World War II memorial , the reflecting pool and then finally the Lincoln Memorial.  So our next stop was to rent bicycles and have a leisurely ride down to visit Lincoln.  He was a great spiritual master; some even say an avatar, who came to make changes in our world when humanity desperately needed to change.  With few words but great presence he got the job done and his country moved toward having greater equality for everyone.   It has taken awhile, we aren’t totally there but Lincoln definitely began to right a great wrong.

I’ve been to DC many times but have never been to the Jefferson Memorial so that was the next stop.     Last year I visited Thomas Jefferson’s library in the Library of Congress and have been to his home, Monticello, many times.   My first mystical experience was standing on his land and ever since I’ve had a special admiration for this great man.    Like Lincoln he was a great spiritual master.   He changed the world with the Declaration on Independence which he wrote in one night at age 33 a sure sign it was divine inspiration.

I happily turned in my bike, I’m a walker not a biker, and we headed to The National Gallery of Art which is right next to the Natural History Museum.   Alexandra loves Thomas Cole’s The Voyage of Life, four large paintings depicting a man in a boat with an angel facing life’s lessons.    I love everything  there and it brings back happy memories of many visits when I was a child.   My father is an amateur painter so all vacations revolved around visiting art museums. Currently there is a special exhibit of paintings by Andrew Wyeth, one of America’s greatest artists.  His prints hung in the living room of my childhood home and I’m particularly drawn to his stark and yet detailed style.   It was a poignant moment for me because the first room was paintings of the Olson Farm.   Here I was in a room surrounded by the words “Olson Farm” when all summer my life has been taken up by the fate of my family’s farm, the Olson Farm in Minnesota, handed down in my family for the last 117 years.

The rest of my time I spent wandering the galleries seeing the paintings I know and love so well until I found myself in the central dome with Mercury also known as the great Egyptian god Thoth (read my post on Thoth here).   Standing on a giant green marble fountain, shaped like a chalice, Mercury is holding a caduceus in one hand and pointing to heaven with the other. I asked Mercury for help and to protect the land that Carl Olson and six generations have loved so much.

washington4mercury

The next road over from where I live is called Light Pink, such a strange name but is my everyday connection to the National Gallery of Art.   On Light Pink Road was the quarry where the pink marble that   built the National Gallery of Art was cut.  The crystalline stone from my little part of the world is now a magnificent home for great art presided over by our very own Mercury.

Scotland

Glen Lyon

Glen Lyon,  Perthshire Scotland

Scotland has been in the world news the last couple of weeks and it has also been in my personal news too.   I followed the vote for independence not because I hold an opinion, I don’t have enough information to form one, but because I have a personal reason for knowing the outcome, I own land in Scotland.   Yes, that’s right; I have my own piece of heaven, the Motherland, as Hamilton and I think of it.  Alexandra’s middle name is the family clan, McKay.  We love to go to the local highland games to see our people.

Last month a friend gifted me my own personal picnic spot near Oban.   I hope to go visit and enjoy my tiny spot.  But more importantly the land comes with a title.  I’m now legally able to be referred to as Lady Evans.    Thank goodness my status in the world is finally recognized.   I’ve put up signs to remind my staff of the changes in my social standing.

In 2009 Hamilton and I went to Scotland for the first time as part of a whirlwind tour around the UK.   We each had a list of sacred sites we wanted to visit.   Rosslyn Chapel was on the top of my list.   That enigmatic site didn’t disappoint.   I sat quietly soaking in the magic while William, the chapel’s cat, lay on my lap peacefully napping.

We visited Edinburgh Castle, the memorial to Sir Walter Scott and the art museum before heading toward Inverness and Loch Ness.   On the way to Inverness we spent the day in Perthshire to see the sacred sites of Glen Lyon.   I had contacted Barry Dunsford to take us to some of the hidden gems in this magical world.

We saw an ancient yew tree, Roman bridges, hermit caves, stone circles, crystal Fairy Mountains, Druid sites and mysterious chapels.   Hamilton enjoyed being able to just gawk at the scenery instead of driving the narrow roads. My favorite was the St. Mary’s Grail Chapel which has a beautiful painted ceiling with the lineage of Christ and mysterious Grail Knights.  In the center of the ceiling was a large painting of “The Judgment” tarot card.    It was unmistakable and a clear indication of a sacred place of esoteric knowledge.

Judgement Panel

Judgment

grail knight

Grail Knight

Later in the week we went to the stone circle of Kilmartin and took the ferry over to the island of Islay.   Here we visited Hamilton’s sacred site the Lagavulin distillery.  On Islay we also visited a tiny church with a special Celtic cross.  In the grave yard the headstone of a little girl caught my eye.  She was born September 26 and died ten years later on September 26.  The day we were there was September 26.  I said a special prayer for her.

Celtic Cross   Islay Scotland

Islay

Kilmartin

Kilmartin

Scotland calls me, I have so much to discover and learn there. We just got a taste of Scotland and it is top of the list to revisit especially now that we have societal and financial interests at stake.  I want to go to the holy island of Iona and the stones of Callenish.   One mystery at a time, I want to become part of the wind and the land of my little plot of ground and soak up this sacred land.

 

Barry Dunsford and the Sacred Land of Scotland   www.sacredconnections.co.uk

Land and titles in Scotland   www.highlandtitlesVIP.com

mugs

A gentle reminder for my staff

 

The High Priestess

The High Priestess

 

I think it was in 1995 that I first became aware of the Tarot.   A friend suggested that the High Priestess archetype was waking up in me.   I had no idea what that meant so I went searching and somehow had a vague idea that it had something to do with the Tarot.   All I knew was the Tarot was part of the forbidden world of “the Devil’s workshop” bringing eternal damnation to those who use it. I worked through my fears of a fiery inferno and bought a book called Living the Tarot by Amber Jayanti.   I devoured the book and still use it as a treasured reference.  No longer afraid for my eternal soul, I realized the healing and wisdom of  the High Priestess and  never looked back.

The High Priestess is the lunar goddess with the waxing, full and waning moon as her crown. She has the crescent moon at her feet showing her receptiveness to the subconscious.   The moon holds the power of the tides, and this quiet and gentle goddess holds the power of the subconscious.   Her beautiful blue dress becomes the river flowing to the ocean of the unconscious, the Divine Mind where we originate.

It is in silence that we access the subconscious, the place where the Great Mysteries lie dormant until we realize that our busy and noisy lives keep us from entering the inner worlds. These mysteries, the Wisdom of the Ages, are accessed between the two pillars, Boaz and Jachin, the entrance to Solomon’s Temple.

Our goddess holds the Torah, the book of law, the Akashic Record where knowledge and experiences are recorded; she doesn’t have to look at this book because she has a perfect memory.   She holds the key to memory which is to sit quietly and let the remembrance of the eternal rise to the surface.

We use the Tarot as a system for recall; the 22 pictures of the Major Arcana go directly to our subconscious to help us remember the wisdom in the soul’s journey.   When we remember we recreate like Isis “remembering” Osiris back to life.   The High Priestess is Isis, Sophia, the Virgin Mary, beautiful, pure, quiet wisdom.

Call on the High Priestess to help you break subconscious patterning, cope with painful memories, worrisome situations or to become more neutral and therefore receptive.   As you mature you will move from being controlled by unconscious behaviors to tapping into the world of the subconscious through mediation, self-reflection and deep silence.

I’m glad I was able to step over the threat of hell fire and my unconscious conditioning to open the doors wide for the wisdom of the High Priestess. She has been a constant companion in my life.   When my girls where little I use to sing them to sleep with this goddess lullaby:

We all come from the goddess

And to her we shall return,

Like the drop of rain, flowing to the ocean.

 

End of Summer

pool2

My old neighborhood pool

Caroline has my car and Alexandra has my house.   Let me elaborate on that.  Caroline’s car won’t be repaired until Tuesday so she has my van.  Alexandra is having a retreat with 18 fellow students in my house to write the show she is producing this October at her college.    So where does that leave me?   In the apartment over the shop, which is full of books ready for sorting in the bookcase, with the big red pick-up for transportation and lots of time to read.

Three months ago today I left for Spain to walk the Camino.   I miss it terribly.   I’ve spent the weekend reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed.   It is her account of walking the Pacific Crest Trail, a much, much harder version of the Camino but so many of the emotions and experiences are the same.   Although you don’t carry many material goods on these types of expeditions, your heart accumulates a lot and I’ve barely begun unpacking.    Cheryl had been back 18 years before her book was published.

Since I’ve been back I’ve spent 10 days in Florida and 12 days Minnesota at my Mother’s 80th birthday celebration.  I was able to find a new strength somewhere deep to stand-up for myself in a way I had never done before.  I gave a lecture and a power-point presentation, never did that before either.  After only one change of clothes for weeks Alexandra and I have been happy with far fewer clothes and we each lived out of a small suitcase the rest of the summer.

I’ve sorted out rooms and rooms of my mother-on-law’s possessions, splitting them with my sister-in-law and finding new homes for the leftovers.  It has been a monumental task, as my mother-in-law lived to accumulate after the great deprivations of childhood.  But now I have finally found my basement and garage.

Most importantly I’ve sat at the pool.   For the last 15 years I’ve belonged to a little neighborhood pool.  It was built in the 1970’s and is old and tired but I don’t have to clean it and many days I have it to myself.  If it was fancier or in an exotic locale I wouldn’t be happier, my happiness quotient is filled by this spot on earth.  I spent many delightful summers with my girls swimming and eating pizza by this pool.   Now I go by myself and read, drink iced coffee and float.   That pool has received so many of my emotions the last few years and this year it has accepted many new ones.   Thursday was one of the saddest days of the year for me, the last day I could go to the pool for the season.

As I head in to autumn, the most magical months in East Tennessee I hope to leave the summer busyness behind.  I asked the Camino to open doors and it has, and will continue and I am ready. In the mean time I hope to do one of my other favorite things besides float in a pool—watch leaves fall.   The summer of 2014 will be in my heart forever.

books

Many books to sort

 

The Knight of Pentacles

knight

I just love the Knight of Pentacles.   He is my kind of guy, reliable, trustworthy, committed and responsible.   This card is a lesson in practical values, making sure everything works and is on time.   I don’t know about you but I really love when things are practical and work.

The Knight of Wands loves a crisis, the Knight of Cups is afraid to take risks, the Knight of Swords is charging in to take over, but our handsome Knight of Pentacles is just steadily taking care of business.   He is not rushing or scared but sees the steps that he needs to take to build his foundation toward the goal.   He methodically follows though and completes his entire assigned task.

This Knight sits steady on his horse, ready to carry his values out into the world and defend what is right and true.   He carries this code of honor everywhere he goes, shedding his light throughout the countryside.  His helmet and the horse bridle are decorated with oak leaves which show his strength and depth of commitment.

So when you feel like crisis or fear is standing in your way, have the Knight of Pentacles bring you back to the simple and practical steps that will get you to the goal.   Showing up and taking those daily steps can calm your nerves and help you shine your light wherever you are headed.

Aunt Julie

pink flowers

Twenty-nine years ago this summer I was decorating my first apartment.   Hamilton and I were engaged and we added an apartment above his shop for our first home.   We lived there for nine years, it was rent-free which allowed me to finish school and stay home with my babies.   We only needed one car because Hamilton just walked downstairs to work.   After we moved to town the apartment was continuously occupied by family members, friends and employees, giving them a rent-free space to live.   Now we are back on the farm and want to use the apartment as office and guest space but the interior is pretty tired so I’m in the process of renovating.

As I am back in the space for the first time in 20 years memories of that time of my life have come flooding back, almost like watching a movie.   As I started to take down the 80’s wallpaper I thought of Aunt Julie.   Hamilton’s cousin Tony built the apartment and his Aunt Julie offered to teach me to wallpaper the bathroom.    I was so excited to make my little place as cute as possible.

Over the years I would periodically call Aunt Julie.  There were many times I needed her gentle support.  As in most families, I have a couple of close relatives who can be very difficult.  Aunt Julie was the one person who really understood.   We never talked badly about anyone but I knew she knew what I was going through.  I just needed to be reassured that although there was nothing that could be done someone saw me.

Around this same time I was student teaching.   I had a very difficult supervising teacher who was not allowed another student teacher after me.  Those were hard days,  I came home to my only friend, General Hospital on the VCR.   Every day I would take a few students to a reading specialist named Karen.  She was always kind and went out of her way to speak to me.  We never spoke of my difficult teacher but once again I knew that she knew.   Yet again someone saw me.   That was all I needed to soldier on.

I’m so glad to have these memories of kind women who helped a young twentysomething negotiate tough interpersonal relationships, not by advice but by just simply being there. I hope that I have passed on this kindness to someone else.   Please thank a friend or relative that has done that for you.  Aunt Julie has passed on but this week I’m remembering to say a prayer for her and her sweet kindness.

wallpaper

1980’s wallpaper on the way to the trash

A Fawn

fawn

Hamilton was on his second attempt to bush-hog the field across the street.   The first time he was interrupted by a mighty thunderstorm.   He hadn’t gone but a few times round the field when he saw an animal out of the corner of his eye.   He first thought it was a rabbit but then on closer inspection saw that it was a new fawn.   The mother had hidden the little guy in some tall grass and it was too young to walk around on his own.

He called me and I came to see what could be done.   I called the local vet school and talked to a wild life specialist.   She said it was too young for them to take so we agreed that I move him out of the 90 degree heat to the shade and hope the mother returns.   I carefully wrapped him in a towel so I wouldn’t touch him and moved him about 20 feet to the shade.  Only the size of a long legged Chihuahua, he was delicate and beautiful. I couldn’t believe I was picking up such a tiny baby.    We left the area in hopes mom would come back soon.   I did some internet research and was reassured that we did the best thing for his survival.

It is rare to see such a tiny one since the mom usually has them well hidden.   Hamilton went back a few hours later and was distressed to see him still there but on my way to check on him we were lucky enough to see the mom bounding around nearby.   We left the area with hopes that mom would find him and he would live to be a magnificent buck.

I sent Alexandra a picture of the little guy and this is her return text. “TOO MUCH TOO MUCH IT HURTS OMG OMG PLEASE BABY DEER DON’T DIE”.   When I told her the plan she sent this text “Okay good. Keep in mind; I am willing and able to raise him as my own.”    A kind offer but unfortunately illegal so we left him to his mother’s care and took the tractor out of the field so we could give him time to grow.

A week later Hamilton went to finish the field and saw the little guy up and around and able to run out of his hiding place and saw the mom in the creek bottom, a happy ending to the story.

In the language of animal totems, deer means gentleness and a new innocence being born in you.   I like to be reminded of gentleness, we all need to be gentle with ourselves and each other.   There is far too much harshness in this world.    The doe keeps her baby hidden and nurtured until he is strong enough to be in the world.   We too need to keep our deepest experiences, new insights and joys hidden and nurtured, away from the harshness of criticism and ignorance until they are strong.  Alexandra doesn’t want to talk about her Camino experience with her friends, she wants to keep it her private joy, safe and nurtured.    So try a little gentle love on your spiritual journey so your heart can have the space to be safe and grow into something magnificent.

 

Essential books for your spiritual library:

Animal –Speak and Animal-Wise by Ted Andrews

Animal Wisdom by Susie Green