Open your heart, heal the old patterns that confine you, release them with grace as we dance with the Dark Mother under the light of the full moon. Isn’t it time to fly?
L.I.O.N., Love Is Our Nature, had our first ‘DreamStorming’ meeting in January of 2018. That was the birthing of our sewing group, A Circle For Women.
We came together in the beginning of this new year to share our hearts about the numerous problems witnessed in the world, problems we felt weren’t receiving enough attention, assistance, or solution. Many projects surfaced that day and we began a deeper dialogue about what we could do individually and collectively to be of service to the greater good.
One of those projects is assisting girls and women globally with the basic need and right of having sanitary, personal products for their monthly menstrual cycle. The knowledge of this women’s struggle has been burning within me since I became aware several years ago and I have felt helpless to assist my sisters – until now.
A Circle For Women has been meeting monthly, since March, with the focused goal of creating a product that is “Win-Win”, comprised of 100% cotton, cotton flannel, and or wool fabrics to ensure a product for women to use that is clean and safe and also contains no plastic, for a sustainable environment.
Many meetings were held filled with ideas, suggestions, thoughts, feelings and respectful conversation about what would work best and we arrived in agreement, through consensus. What a wonderful exercise in community-based planning, organizing and action!
We already have numerous groups globally that have expressed a need and we just shipped our first order for 45 kits going to Kenya via New Jersey. The Pastoralist Child Foundation will be handing out these free hygiene kits to young girls stepping into their next phase of feminine life, becoming a woman. We are proud, grateful, excited and enormously happy to be able to give assistance to these young women, assuring their ability to stay in school and receive the education that could be the path to growth, empowerment, self-esteem and personal sustainability.
How can you help, you ask? One way is to provide financial assistance which will enable us to continue to purchase the fabrics needed to provide these kits and help pay for delivering them to the numerous locations around the world. Another way is to organize sewing groups in your own communities – many hands make for lighter work.
Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to provide for the needs of each of its members. We are all members of the same human family.
“The pain of one is the pain of all, and the honor of one is the honor of all –
because we are all related.”
Contact me today for more information about getting involved with this good work! [email protected]
Vision Quest is a multi-cultural ceremony that has been leading people into the wilderness to ‘cry for a vision’ for thousands of years. For some, it is a response to a tap on the shoulder, a tug at the heart, an opportunity to get quiet, go deep, search for answers, and face the fears that we are ready to remove from our path.
By fasting and sitting alone in the stillness of Nature, we are given an opportunity to listen with all of our ears and open ourselves to the Wisdom within and without that speaks with a golden voice through the seen and unseen worlds.
It is not a Ceremony to be taken lightly and all women are expected to come, participate in service and support at a Women’s Quest Fire and base camp before making the commitment to climb the mountain and seek a vision.
Questing begins with a series of circle gatherings to explore the foundations of self discovery. Part of taking care of oneself is remembering how to connect deeply with nature, and with the sacred rhythms of the earth. All one needs to understand spiritually can be found in nature. In this modern-day, fast-paced living that we do, we often forget to slow down and see the sacredness all around us; to really honor the sacred space of the plant people, the stone people, the four-leggeds, the winged ones, those that crawl, and those that swim.
We are nature, and in our spiritual walk, we want to respect, honor, and learn from the beauty that surrounds us, the life that surrounds us. We have merely forgotten, and it’s time to come together in Ceremony, and remember. Vision Quest is an opportunity to peel away the layers of everyday life, and connect deeply with nature and one’s place in it.
Whether you are going up on the mountain, or supporting the Questers and community at base camp, it’s a time of inner growth by learning to live fully in gratitude, honoring the sacredness of all life, honoring ourselves and one another, and becoming comfortable with our own personal power. Everyone Quests. It’s a beautiful time to go deeper into learning the value of ceremony.
This is a wonderful sisterhood of women growing together in community while holding a higher vision for humanity. There are many variations to the quest, which we have been holding annually since 2008. If you are interested in learning more about this sacred tradition, supporting the Questers at base camp, or are being called to Quest yourself, please contact me.
New Events for Spring!
Individual Workshops for Women of all ages!
There are many ways to explore the changing stages of a woman’s life.
Though each stage may be symbolized by a woman
of a particular age and phase of life, their aspects interweave within us.
They exist as archetypes, an aspect of the human experience that continually occurs,
a pattern of behavior that becomes represented, or embodied by a symbolic personality.
The Emerging Maiden The Nurturing Mother The Conscious Crone
Space is limited so contact Ymani for more information, or to make your reservation:
The hearth Fires are burning, the nights have turned cold, and some may be feeling a longing to discover something forgotten, remember something hidden.
If you are hearing a call for deep introspection, release of old patterns, and clarity of purpose then this weekend retreat has arrived right on time.
Space is limited!!
We look forward to assisting you in Tending Your Fire Within.
What is Inner Fire? It is the essence of creation that exists within all people; the spark of inner power, creativity, and joy that motivates and directs us to make the specific choices that become our path. It is the essence that is unique to you.
A Women’s Winter Retreat of Introspection…….sound like something you need? Come, step into Sacred Space with us.
Mother’s Day Proclamation
Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace. ~ Julia Ward Howe, written in 1870
I am grateful to have been one of the fortunate women to be in Ceremony with the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers at their first women’s gathering in Arizona recently.
I was asked to write about my experience for the blog at the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Here is my reflection:
Beaver Creek ambles through the arid Arizona land revealing a spreading community of stone-beings that make the waters dance and sing as they roll and tumble on their endless journey. Thursday, March 20, 2014 was Spring Equinox, and I was blessed to be stepping into Ceremony, the first Women’s Gathering, with the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers and sisters from all parts of this beautiful world. The Grandmothers are an international alliance of indigenous female Elders that focuses on issues such as the environment, internationalism, and human rights.
As women continued to arrive that day, our tent community began to grow and spread until we were a sea of dwellings nestled beneath the ancient Sycamores that lined the clear creek and welcomed us to our temporary home in the desert. An air of excitement and shared anticipation began to waft through camp as we edged closer and closer to the Opening Ceremony that would provide a doorway for us to step through, together.
Women around the planet heard the call and 400 were able to take the action required to make the pilgrimage to Soda Springs Ranch, near Sedona, Arizona. This life-changing opportunity, organized by Indigena and Mystic Momma, enabled us to receive the wisdom and Teachings of these remarkable Elders who ask us to connect through prayer and Ceremony for our Mother Earth.
Many Elders from many Nations have been speaking of this time, a time when women would rise together to ignite the Feminine Spirit on the planet. Our Mother is calling us to restore balance, and to awaken our remembrance, and we are listening.
The gathering was hosted by Grandmother Mona Polacca, a spiritual elder of Hopi/Havasupai/Tewa descent. The intention was to come together for World Water Day at Montezuma Well, a sacred site serving as refuge and inspiration to many over the centuries. Ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs mark it as a unique historic site and its constant flow of 1.4 million gallons of water each day uphold a sense of mystery as the source of the water is still an unknown. Local tribes, such as the Yavapai-Apache, Hopi, and Navajo still gather for sacred ceremony at this most blessed site.
“It is said that a great plumed snake has one of his numerous homes here, and that in those deep mysterious waters that flow from deep inside the heart of the mother, the feathered snake dwells.”
So, on Thursday evening the observance began with a Welcoming Ceremony led by the women from the local Yavapai-Apache Nation. Prayer, song, drums, and a sense of sisterhood that knows no boundaries or restrictions were the foundation laid to hold us close in our Medicine blanket for the next few days. We gathered as many and began to feel the surge of energy that swirled around us as we felt our hearts unite and we became One.
Women from all walks of life, all ages, backgrounds, levels of life experience and beliefs had heard a call from beyond that touched our hearts and would not let go. Some answered knowing what was being asked of us, others simply responded through a strong sense of faith. A faith seeded in deep understanding and awareness that things are terribly wrong in our world today, and a firm conviction that it is the bringers of life, the women, who hold the key to the change that must begin to happen to make a safe and healthy home for the next seven generations.
We had already been told that some of the Grandmothers might not be able to join us because of travel distances, health issues, etc., but we were blessed to be in Ceremony with:
- Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim, Confederated Tribes of Siletz
- Grandmother Rita Blumenstein, Yup’ik
- Grandmother Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance, Oglala Lakota
- Grandmother Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance, Oglala Lakota
- Grandmother Bernadette Rebienot, Omyene linguistic community
- Grandmother Maria Alice Campos Freire, Amazonia
- Grandmother Clara Shinobu Iura, Amazonia
- Grandmother Flordemayo, Mayan
- Grandmother Mona Polacca, Hopi/Havasupai/Tewa
The days were warm and sunny, and were shared with the Great Blue Herons who flew the path of the creek and the pair of Red-Tailed Hawks who nested in one of the stately Sycamores above us. We watched the hawks circle overhead as they seemed to play in the wind currents, at times appearing to be sharing private messages with each of us. Nighttime brought a sharp drop in temperature as we settled in to the high desert chill with several communal fires to warm us and an endless canopy of stars that served as a reminder of the paradox of our existence. We are such a small piece of the whole, and yet have our significant roles to play.
Grandmother Teachings by the Fire on Friday continued to touch our hearts with a sense of remembering who we are as women, as sisters, as care-givers and nurturers. A strong sense of promise and recognition that we are not alone in this struggle to protect and defend our beautiful Mother Earth seemed to envelop our camp as if we had been covered in a loving shawl.
We were not strangers; there was a strong sense of familiarity as we moved through the days and nights, paying close attention and caring for one another as individual needs arose. Our space was shared with Turtle Women Rising, a ceremonial drum collective founded and led by Indigenous women who continued to hold us within the heartbeat of the Mother throughout the weekend. We also were blessed with the enchanting music of the duo, MaMuse, and the powerful poetry of Climbing Poetree.
We gathered in the meadow on Saturday morning, World Water Day and walked the one-half mile on a gravel road in pairs, in silence, to Montezuma Well. The Park Service worked in cooperation with us to assure a private ceremony at the well. As I walked, I felt a strong feeling of gratitude for the opportunity to be part of such a sacred event and felt tears of joy moisten my cheeks as I entered a space that knew no time, a moment that knew no restrictions, an opportunity that knew no boundaries.
Four hundred women lined the walkway that borders two-thirds of the Well, and the Grandmothers settled in to their respective places in the four directions along the rim above us. Their voices could be heard floating down as blessings and prayers were offered to the water and then we all began to join them in one moment of timeless, sacred unity. We opened our hearts wider and deeper to the prayers, intentions and healing for the waters of our planet everywhere and for the animals, birds and fishes that are affected. Such a powerful moment to be alive, awake and fully engaged in affecting change for people around the world also gathered at water sources in their communities to speak to the water, to bless it and offer prayers of gratitude.
Life is always complete with its teachings and there is never an indication as to when and how these Teachings will surface. Grandmother Bernadette was informed on Saturday morning that her son had been killed in Gabon and plans were being made for her emergency trip home. She faced a long, sad journey home to help make the preparations for his funeral and to be with her daughter-in-law and grandchildren who were left behind. Once again, our collective heart space opened as tears of sadness were shed as we mourned with her, prayers offered for his soul and for those left behind and a combined outpouring of love as we offered donations to assist her with what lay ahead.
The final ceremonies were held on Sunday with gifting to us from the Grandmothers and an opportunity to gift them a token of our appreciation in return. So much joy and laughter could be heard as we came together one more time In the Name of the Mother.
As we broke camp, said our tearful goodbyes and began to move back towards that break in time where we first stepped into this Ceremony, we realized that something significant, life-changing and monumental had happened within each of us. We had answered the call. We had shown up with open hearts and minds for ourselves, our families, our communities, our ancestors, the next seven generations and for our beloved Mother Earth and all of her children. We signed up for this work and choose to move forward together as we join hands and hearts and circle this planet with the love and nurturing spirit of the Sacred Feminine.
“We are who we’ve been waiting for.” ~ Grandmother Mona Polacca
Ymani Simmons (Chickasaw/Celt) is a peacemaker, writer, mentor, and facilitator of women’s circles and retreats. She participated in a March 2007 Fellowship of Reconciliation delegation to the Islamic Republic of Iran and is an advisor/co-founder of the Kashmir Center for Peace and Reconciliation, a youth initiative. Regarding her usage of capital letters throughout her reflection, Ymani writes, “The Red Road of spirituality is my path and certain words are capitalized as a way to honor and respect the entity. The Fire and Well are sacred beings to us.”
[Photos: (1) Beaver Creek. Photo: Ymani Simmons. (2) A ceremonial place. Photo: Heidi Partlowe.]