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Living in Season Newsletter

Living in Season
The official newsletter of the School of the Seasons
Volume 3, Number 3
March 1, 2005
Baba Marta’s Day

Contents

  • Welcome
  • My Season: Missing an Issue
  • Update: March Calendar Up
  • Living in Season: Growing Creativity
  • In My Library: Books on Creativity
  • On the Web: Creative Resources
  • Creative Retreats and Workshops
  • Spring Equinox/Eostre Packet
  • Calendar Companion: Leaves from the Tree of Time
  • Signs of Spring
  • Copyright
  • Subscribe - Unsubscribe

Welcome
Welcome to my periodical newsletter featuring ideas for bringing the beauty of the current season into your life. If you enjoy this newsletter, please forward it.

If a friend send you this newsletter, welcome! You can subscribe for free at my website: www.schooloftheseasons.com or by sending an email to:
livinginseason-subscribe@schooloftheseasons.com
We never rent, sell or give away subscriber information.

My Season: Missing an Issue
Did you miss the mid-February issue of the newsletter? If so, I apologize. I must admit that I was overly enthusiastic when I decided to launch both the Calendar Companion and the Spring online class at the same time. Both projects so fully engaged my writing imagination that the newsletter got squeezed out.

Several weeks went by and I wondered if I would ever write the newsletter again. I just didn’t seem to have anything to say. It took me a while to recognize a signficant anniversary in my creation of the newsletter. When I began two years ago, on February 14, 2003, I intended to write 52 columns, 26 a year for two years, to create a year’s worth of ideas for celebrating the seasons. So although I didn’t recognize it consciously, I think my subconscious mind wanted me to acknowledge this milestone.

With the help of some wise friends, I’ve thought about different ways to keep the newsletter lively, including reprinting popular columns from the past (not all of you have been subscribers for two years), occasionally featuring guest columnists and adapting material I’m writing for the Calendar Companion and the Spring online course to fit the newsletter format. My talented webmistress is also setting up the newsletter so it can be accessed via RSS (whatever that is).

I also have to thank all of my readers, including the ones who showed up for my workshop at the Women of Wisdom conference. It was such a pleasure to meet you in person. Whenever I get discouraged, I just open my email and I’m flooded with compliments, corrections and resources that give me renewed enthusiasm for living life in the School of the Seasons.

Speaking of corrections, Alexandra spotted a mistake in the February calendar. I said there were no badgers in America but there are plenty of badgers in America. If you want to know more about them, here’s a link:
http://www.badgers.org.uk/badgerpages/american-badger-06.html

It’s not the badgers’ fault that in America the groundhog or woodchuck took over their role as weather prognosticator — I imagine it rankles them or perhaps not, perhaps they like to be left alone — at any rate, I apologize to all badgers, their friends and families.

Blessings of the enthusiastic energy of spring,
Waverly Fitzgerald

Update: March Calendar
Because Easter falls in March this year, the March calendar is just stuffed with holidays, including Mothering Sunday, Nawruz, Spring Equinox, Red Wednesday, Baba Marta’s Day, Hina Matsuri (the Doll Festival), Liberalia, St. Joseph, Green Thursday and Hilaria. The March full moon on the 25th is an especially lively one. It falls on Good Friday, but the somber tone of the Christian celebration may be drowned out by the splashing of colored water in honor of Holi and the rowdy revels of Purim. It’s also Lady Day, Chronus and the Day of the Swallows. View the calendar here.

Living in Season: Growing Creativity
Around Candlemas every year, I get together with friends to create a New Year’s collage to symbolize the qualities I want to bring into my life during the new year. I’ve written about this at greater length in an article here.Every week for 52 weeks you will receive a brief email with a reflection on the qualities of the present time period and one suggestion, task or question that you can savor throughout the week.

Start whenever you like. When you order the Calendar Companion, you will receive the next week's calendar companion, along with an introductory email.

$20 for a year's worth of gentle reminders to help you stay aligned with natural rhythms. Click here to order or to see a sample reflection.

This year since I’ve been so busy, I didn’t get around to starting my collage until the full moon of February and I’m still working on it. I’m playing around with several themes (serenity as represented by green hills, a sleeping dog, a zen garden, a flowing waterfall) and more sociable elements (a guy playing guitar, a woman carrying a canvas, a bookcase, a cobblestoned street in Italy and a vision of the Virgin Mary).

I remember the first time I attended one of the salons sponsored by Helen Farias, my friend and mentor. She hosted a monthly gathering at her home, Bright House in Clear Lake, Washington, to which she invited a mixed group of her spiritually minded friends. She always posed a question for us to discuss, sometimes about a book she wanted us to read (this was before the proliferation of book clubs) but she also wanted us to have a tangible experience, so she would often provide a crafts project as well. At the February salon, we made valentines. It was the first time I had done that since grade school and it was a pleasure to be surrounded by lace doilies, fancy stickers, construction paper and brightly colored magazines. I’d love to pair this activity with an afternoon high tea.

Another event that has become an annual tradition in my life is the Easter Egg ritual. Every year, I invite a group of women friends to come over to make Ukrainian Easter eggs or pysanky. This is a tradition from the Ukraine where women gathered at night to create these magical eggs, raw eggs dyed and decorated with symbols of the qualities they wish to confer on their family members and given as gifts at Easter time. For a more complete description, see the sample pages on Easter eggs from my Eostre packet here (the link will download a PDF file).

And I must not forget Soul Collage ™. This is a process, invented by Seena Frost, of creating 5x7 collaged cards to represent different aspects of self; you can then use these, like tarot cards, to do readings. Soul Collage ™ has the been the ongoing spiritual/creative project in my life for the past year. In fact, this year my annual pledge is to make a Soul Collage ™ card for each of the seasonal holidays.

I first learned the process from my friend, Noelle Remington. For the first year I usually only made cards at the monthly sessions Noelle sponsored. But now I actually set aside time on Sunday afternoons to cull through my inventory of images and create cards. I love how mysterious the creative process is — some images seem to belong together although I don’t know why. Other times it will take me several attempts to create a card that satisfies me.

I’m also a participant in a Yahoo group called the Ancestor Decks. This is a collaborative art project sponsored by Jo Reimer who invites a group of women to create 3x5 cards honoring an ancestor. After Jo notifies us of our upcoming deadline, we research the ancestor we’ve chosen and create an art work to represent them. I’ve made five, all collages, so far. I just finished a card for George Wittak, my mother’s father and so spent the past week immersed in his life, going through family trees, talking to relatives, looking at a card he wrote in Bohemian to his parents, viewing old postcards and maps of Milwaukee streets, sorting through the photographs.

Finally there’s writing, the heartbeat of my creative life. You can see how I use deadlines effectively to get writing done. The holidays inspire me to do research and create new pieces to honor them. And the knowledge that there are readers waiting for my words motivates me. For my other long-term writing project, a historical novel, I have the enthusiasm of my writing group and my novel buddy, my friend Janis, who meets with me once a week so we can brainstorm about our novels. I also meet weekly with Jeanne, my tango writing buddy — we write silently, then read what we’ve written to each other — and Elizabeth, my writing partner (we usually work on our independent projects at the same table at the coffee shop).

I am grateful for these friends and all of you who help inspire me to be creative. I hope that these ideas inspire you or that you already have created ways to grow your own creativity. (Sorry, guys, I notice that most of these resources and ideas feature women-only groups. Don’t know why that would be. Maybe women are just more likely to create art in groups than men?)

In My Library: Books on Creativity

Cameron, Julia, The Artist’s Way
My favorite book on creativity: twelve weeks of suggestions for how to integrate creativity into your life. Cameron has a spiritual view of creativity, as a gift from the Creator. Her stories and suggestions are wise and encouraging. Everyone I know who completes this book (and I recommend doing it in a group) experiences transformation.

Harmon, Kitty & Christine Stickler, Wild with a Glue Gun: Getting Together with Crafty Friends
I had the pleasure of meeting Christine Stickler at a workshop on making books at Richard Hugo House, a Seattle based writing center, and then learned about this fabulous book. It tells about the various projects created by two groups of Seattle women who got together to do crafts monthly (and sometimes for weekend retreats). Full of fun projects and good advice about how to organize such a group.

Hyde, Edward, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property
A wonderful book with a marvelous title about the difference between a gift-giving economy and a capitalist society. In the former, gifts are meant to be circulated rather than accumulated, and art is one of the gifts Hyde discusses.

Lloyd, Carol, Creating a Life Worth Living
Another great book on creativity but this one is more oriented to people who want to make their creativity into a career. Great exercises that helped me clarify my path and interviews with creative people of all sorts, including inventors, writers, entertainers, etc.

On the Web: Creative Resources

Ancestor Deck Images
redondowriter.typepad.com/sacredordinary/2005/02/ancestor_deck_c.html
www.scissorspaperrockcollage.com/pages/4/

Soul Collage Images
redondowriter.typepad.com/sacredordinary/2005/02/soul_collage_ow.html

Seattle Soul Collage™ Show, including a card I made:
www.lifedoula.com/sacredvisions/

My Soul Collage Teacher, Noelle Remington (she’s also a great personal coach)
www.lifedoula.com

Creative Retreats and Workshops

Creativity Retreat with the Comfort Queen
June 16 to 19, Whidbey Island, Washington
Jennifer Louden, author of the popular Comfort Queen books, is offering a special women's creativity retreat at the beautiful Chinook Center on Whidbey Island featuring special guest, Noelle Remington, Creative Life Coach and SoulCollage™ Facilitator.

This should be really wonderful. For more information go to:
www.comfortqueen.com/retreats/whidbey.html

Everyday Goddess Conference & Retreat
April 8-10, Williams Bay, Wisconsin
At my Women of Wisdom class, I met Mariah Miller who is sponsoring this conference on Lake Geneva. Food, lodging, workshops and a concert are all provided for a very reasonable rate. For more information see her website at:
www.ariesrisingproductions.com

Art and Soul
February 17-22, Portland; September 22-26, Hampton, VA
My friend Lunaea Weatherstone, who is herself a talented artist (see her collaged tarot deck and fabulous rosary beads at her website, www.lunaea.com ) just got back from Art and Soul, the weekend art workshop held in Portland. I know it’s too late for this year but you can start planning for next year (I assume it's always held around President's Day weekend) or attend the session in Virginia. Lunaea described it as “Hundreds of happy women doing nothing but being creative and celebrating that creative community.” Here’s the link to the website:
www.artandsoulretreat.com

Holiday Packet: Spring Equinox/Eostre
It's time to order the Eostre packet. This illustrated portfolio contains 50 pages of ideas for celebrating the joyous mid-spring feast also known as Nawruz, Easter, Passover, St. Joseph's Day, Spring Equinox and Hilaria. It tells you how to:

  • Make tansy pies, hot cross buns and other traditional Eostre foods
  • Decorate eggs the Ukrainian way, using symbol and ritual
  • Use food items and plants to create natural dyes
  • Play traditional games like cracking eggs, egg rolling and pace egging
  • And much more.

I've reproduced the pages on the sacred meaning of dyed eggs, and on my Ukrainian egg decorating ritual from the Eostre packet as free samples on the website. You can download this free PDF file here.

The print version is $14; please allow 10 days for delivery. An email version is also available for $9. It will be sent to you as an attached Word file within 24 hours. Order here.

Leaves from the Tree of Time: a Calendar Companion
It’s not too late to order the Calendar Companion, the latest offering from School of the Seasons. This is a graceful way to incorporate spirit and seasons into your life. Use it along with your usual planning tools and calendar to help you:

  • Slow time down
  • Consult your soul while creating your schedule
  • Make time for what's truly important in your life
  • Move in rhythm with the seasons and the moon

Every week for 52 weeks you will receive a brief email with a reflection on the qualities of the present time period and one suggestion, task or question that you can savor throughout the week.

Start whenever you like. When you order the Calendar Companion, you will receive the next week's calendar companion, along with an introductory email.

$20 for a year's worth of gentle reminders to help you stay aligned with natural rhythms. Click here to order or to see a sample reflection.

Signs of Spring
Back at the start of February, Tricia from New Orleans sent me her two signs of spring: Mardi Gras and the scent of the Sweet Olive Tree, “with its fresh blossoms, reminiscent of tea and orange.” She also mentioned the pink blossoms of the Saucer Magnolias, lying scattered at the base of trees. Marilyn from Sanford Florida let me know that spring is returning despite the damage done by the hurricanes. She says “The heavy rains and high winds destroyed a lot of my plants and flowers, but just after the Winter Solstice the first sprig of green showed in the spot where my Easter Lily is planted. I thought that the storms had ruined it and there was no way it would come back to life in Winter, but as the days pass it gets greener and higher. It was though it was saying "I'm still here, I'm just waiting." Maybe by Easter morning I'll have a full-blown lily!

Samantha from New York had similar reflections after visiting her sister in Florida. She wrote that although the “oleanders have been pruned to remove splintered stalks and sea grape that stood 10 feet tall was cut to the height of my knees, yet the pink and white flowers broke out on the oleanders here and there, and the sea grape sported new, bright red leaves…. The Earth renews Herself whether from the slap of a particularly bitter winter or the rage of hurricanes.”

And from Barcelona, Spain, Silvia sent me a very special sign of spring: She writes: “I planted some narcissus bulbs in my seasonal table, among white and sky blue silks to symbolize the cold...they started growing quickly, and finally, the 14th of February, the first flower opened. This was really beautiful, because the next day, 15th of February, Lupercalia, I gave birth to my second child, a precious girl named Joan! As she was born at home, I could smell the opening white narcissus throughout my labour...Aren't these two wonderful signs of spring?” Wonderful, indeed.

There are more lovely descriptions of spring here.

I love getting a glimpse of the season in so many different places. Send me the signs of the season where you live, and I will post them here.

Copyright
Copyright ©Waverly Fitzgerald 2004.
All rights reserved. You may reprint material from Living in Season in other electronic or print publications as long as you credit me and provide a link to: http://www.schooloftheseasons.com. Please send me a copy of the publication.

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