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A Winter Picnic Amongst Mounds

This morning, I put on my ruby zoisite necklace after the blue one I had on for weeks kept falling off. Surely it was a sign for some new energy, as the old had expired and faded. Ruby zoisite is a stone for uniting the heart and the mind, creating a lovely union of the two.

It wasn't until later that I realized the direness of my situation here...

Since the temperatures were going to be warm, 43 degrees if we were lucky, we planned to go hiking today. I wasn't dreaming too big here, was planning on going to the closest park to satisfy. Then Austin suggested going to Trempeleau or Effigy Mounds National Monument down in Iowa, to my surprise. It was going to be an adventurous day! I live for adventure, near or far, and it's been quite some time since I've had any. And I even lost my desire to go and have adventures. Perhaps the winter blues... Or something more serious.

In the car after packing a picnic, we flipped a coin. Heads for Trempeleau, or tails for Effigy Mounds. Our penny came back with Lincoln's tiny memorial indicating a trip to Iowa! I decided to bring a book companion for the hour's drive down south, the faintest whisper of spirit left in me drawing me to it. The book is called "Women Who Run With Wolves - Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype" by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph. D. It was one of those random books I bought on my last order from Thrift Books, to get the free shipping. It was a cheap book, but it is huge and loaded with wisdom.

I'm a creator and artist of many mediums, I love to make things, and it has been unusual for me to go such a long period of time without releasing a new book, or creating a video, writing new poetry, or a song, or anything for that matter. I've been really stuck and stagnant. I keep waiting for it to pass, to feel better to get back into it, yet, the longer I wait the longer I realize nothing is going to change unless I create something. And recently, I've been feeling scared for myself and how I haven't been creating anything and spend most of this energy supporting other people's creations.

I flipped to the table of contents before we left to find a section I wanted to read about, something that could help me today. My eyes gazed over the page until I saw section 8 called "Clear Water: Nourishing the Creative Life. Austin packed a picnic while I read on the couch about our creative lives, our divine feminine, being like rivers. They are meant to flow, unconditionally, and the keeper of the river, the divine masculine, animus, is meant to protect & help the creations ground in the 3D world. I came upon the part of how this aspect of self can begin polluting the river, and stagnating it through things like relying on it for money, fame, a vehicle for "getting somewhere in life." The whole notion of "man wanting to conquer nature," in this case, the masculine here tries to conquer the creativity river and force it to his will, to satisfy ego/lower mind desires. This is when that aspect become dark and begins to torture us.

On the ride to Iowa, I felt this more and more as I read on. It appears my creative river has been polluted, because my divine masculine let it. This isn't to demonize him though, he was honestly trying his best, and after fighting for years he just wanted to let go. If I'm going to be honest, it has been really easy to let go of the fight and to give in to the demands that are set out in front of artists, creators, etc. Demands being perfectionism, having an audience to sell to, conforming to a "niche market," delaying finishing projects out of boredom or no "purpose" for them, scheduling creativity and releases instead of divine flow. Not only that, there seems to be even greater forces we're faced with externally in this day and age, but they are all illusions. The divine masculine is supposed to protect, encourage, and manifest our inner creativity without those pollutants. Mine went into oppression mode, telling my inner princess creator that she must stay locked in a tower until she feels better, so her creations don't fail anymore. Because "thoughts & feelings create reality," and we wouldn't want to have failed projects because we put anger or sorrow in them. ("Failed" projects by this definition meant projects that didn't "go viral" and "sell out" immediately and make me some money...," or meet the demands that my masculine put on me). My divine masculine went awry, and he and my inner princess need healing, together.

The quote in the book that really hit me in wanting to make a change was

"I love my creative life more than I love cooperating with my own oppression."

The time flew swiftly as I contemplated over these pages, gaining more clarity on my situation, and how dire it's become. Stopping all outflow of creativity through Adventures Across has affected me, as it's left me feeling without purpose until the spring when I can start my new business (one that can satisfy the demands of making an income in society, and it will make a part of me satisfied where Adventures Across couldn't and shouldn't). To be fair to myself, I definitely needed a break from all of this to realign with what Adventures Across is all about - explore nature, explore yourself. I sort of lost that in trying to be a spiritual teacher/ET specialist and trying to make that work for me online. Spirit is always guiding me, no matter how grim things may seem, and I've been following those breadcrumbs through all of this. Which led me here, at the Effigy Mounds that started me on the path to sacred sites in my area last year.

In the dead of winter, the mulched trail was covered in a mixture of slippery ice, compacted snow, and bits of leaves still falling from the white oaks and beech trees. Halfway up the hill, we noticed three deer with the floofiest white tails gazing at us from the opposite hill. We've seen so many deer this year, there's a group of six of them that meander around our property and down by the river. They are oh so curious and cute, and a symbol for grace in my life. Every time I see one, I'm reminded to give myself grace, and to receive grace as this is the vibration of life nowadays, being in New Earth and all. We no longer need to suffer, just feel grace in the present moment.

The deer ran off gallantly, and we carefully continued up the trail trying to catch up with Sparky. At the top of the hill are a couple dozen effigy mounds, some of them just conical, some in the shapes of bears. Towering them in a protective manner are oak trees, their trunks not yet wide enough to be ancient, yet tall enough to be a several decades old. In between the oaks stood shagbark hickories with their flaky skin crackling off in the cold, beech trees containing the ghost leaves of seasons old, and fallen tree trunks, surely a feat of 'forest conservation.' The forest floor was covered in a thin layer of snow topped with bunny tracks and if you looked closely, bird and mouse tappings. Sunshine barely came through the clouds, perhaps a reflection of my inner being, and quiet and stillness rang loudly in my ears. It was so silent, I wondered if anything lived here at all besides for the sleeping spirits who guarded this sacred site. Then I'd hear the piercing "CHEEP" of a downy woodpecker, their sass always making themselves known.

We walked along the skeletons of the forest and I noticed around most of the oak trees a scattering of old bark. I didn't know if oak trees did this, shed outer layers of bark, but upon looking at the trees my eyes caught that in the place of the old remained burnt white sheathings of what was underneath, smooth and almost chalky looking. This wasn't the work of a colony of woodpeckers, or deer, as these patches facing north went all the way up the trunk. Peculiar, I thought, though perhaps it is another reflection of shedding skins to allow new to come through.

Our goal was to reach a bench at an overlook to have a picnic. On the way there, we passed little and big bear mounds, their outlines hidden in the snow, but the raised ground revealed their presence. As I walked by them, I could feel tingling energy in the palms of my hands & fingers, perhaps energy being gifted to me to begin on my creation journey once more. As thoughts of this came in, the "negative animus" chimed in and told me that I shouldn't take or ask for anything of this land, and immediately I felt what I've been dealing with. Why would the nature spirits wish to deprive me of blessings, or deny me even asking? Would Mother Earth tell her child she isn't deserving of her love, even the love coming from a sacred place like this? Where would thoughts like this come from? Oh, the spiritual and eco movements that discourage "taking" from nature.

At last, we arrived at the bench for our picnic of simple snacks of O's cereal, applesauce, fruit, PB&J rollups, spicy chips, and chocolate chips. We ate in the silence and looked out towards the skeleton prairie, echinacea seed pods poking in the breeze, and viewing a pair of bald eagles in the distance tostling and playing in the sky above the trees. We brought a pink towel for Sparky to sit on, as he gets cold so easily with his naked tummy and tiny feet. As we shared our simple snacks the sun began to peer through the thick clouds behind us, casting a glitter on the snow and the trees' shadows on powdery pillows. What whimsy it was, having a picnic in the middle of February! And how delightful it is to just sit in silence together, not talking about anything, but just being together in the present moment. I'm still working on silencing my mind and feeling anything in the present moment, but this was a great start to it. To quiet the mind to really just feel the heart. I've made it quite obvious in the latest posts on my blog that my heart has been hurting for awhile. My new mission is to heal it to be able to feel it deeply again. And to bring in more artful writing, of the little stories fairies and nature tell to me.

On the walk back to the parking lot, I noticed that most of the oak trees had little aster skeletons at their crowns. Oak trees are symbolic of being great protectors, and to me asters are clusters of stars. Asters are some of my favorite flowers, I find them so dainty, strong, and they are late bloomers, opening up in the fall. In a way, this symbolism was like a reflection to my life. I need to create a new "divine masculine, animus" for myself who can support me and my creations better. One like an oak tree who protects the pure asters below. Originally, I wrote in my forest bathing journal that the asters were guardians for the oak trees, and perhaps in another way they are, or maybe even bright lights for the fairies to follow to go home.

Reflecting on this now, I'm seeing a great opportunity for creating a list of qualities I'd like my divine masculine to have, for the best support I can give myself. Getting clear on what this feels like for each of us can help to create the best "inner man" for us, no matter our gender. We cannot allow ourselves, our past hurts, others, demands from society to get in the way of living our best lives and our creativity. We just can't! No matter what! All of these limits are illusions in our lives, whether they are past or present. They aren't truth. I let myself go there, and trust me it is not pretty. We must follow our hearts and passions, we cannot fall into these dangerous places. We must go and clean our rivers by creating a new steward for them, and let the old one wash away.

"I love my creative life more than I love cooperating with my own oppression."

So, I'm going to leave some journal prompts below for you to play with, and for myself to, to help create our best divine masculine aspects to protect, nourish, and encourage our divine feminine aspects to freely create and live in flow.

Grab your journal and title it "My Inner Divine Masculine, Reborn"

  • List qualities of your divine masculine. Remember, he is your steward, he cares for you and wants to support you as best he can.

  • How do you (divine feminine) feel most protected?

  • How do you feel most encouraged?

  • How do you feel most supported?

  • What does he think about you?

  • What does he look like? Does he have a name you can call him?

  • What would you ask him to do for you and your creativity?

Your mission now is to recognize this new inner masculine when he comes around and to acknowledge him when he does. Anything that comes in your mind that does not align with him isn't him, and should be cast out immediately. There is no need to analyze these thoughts, where they came from or anything. It is best to acknowledge them and to let them go immediately, or they will pollute your creativity and purity. I've had my fair share of indulging in "shadow work" or "alchemizing my dark side," and though it has been helpful sometimes, it is just unnecessary. We can recognize these aspects of ourself and quickly love them and come up with something more supportive to tell ourselves rather than going back into our traumas over and over again to "heal" them. Let's just let them be. Let the past go. And create a better present for ourselves. That quote one last time...

"I love my life more than I love cooperating with my own oppression."

Much love,

P.S. - I've been revisiting old books I've started and realized they need to be finished and released to the world. Not for anybody else, but for me. The art & wisdom I share in these books seems like it's been written for me, for this moment in my life, and I will finish them and get myself out of this hole I'm in. I will be spending time these next months working on these books, they are my new purpose. And I am excited for the fulfillment they will bring to me. Just wanted to let you know :)

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