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Archive for the ‘spirituallity’ Category

Red Rock Raven, Magik and ManzanitaIt was one of those mornings where I felt the push to get work done. My Corgi Magik who is often a gauge munched on a small branch he found in my collection of rocks. I proceeded to lecture him on how it was important that I work and that I will take him out later. He pouted and looked up at me with those big brown eyes and if he could he would have said, “relax”. I remembered that sometimes when I am frazzled busy that is exactly when I need to go into nature and my place of beauty. So off we trudged into the woods. Walking down the street, a small red rock was on the sidewalk, I picked it up and looked at it more closely. It reminded me of the large Red Rock. I had not intended to go there today, too much to do. I had lectured Magik on how today was going to be a short walk, but I looked at the red rock in my hand and decided to listen. We trudged towards the woods. I was in my head and stomping my feet, moving forward, wanting to get the walk over and done with fast. Just as we climbed the hill I heard Raven’s “cawing.”

There were two of them sitting in a tree, like sentinels, and they were making these “purring” sounds. I hadn’t heard them before. Then they started to make these “popping” sounds also new to me. I watched as they arched slightly backwards to make the low “popping” sound. It’s almost as though their tone or voice dropped lower in order to make the “popping” sound. I was struck by the uniqueness of the vocalization and that they looked like two sentinels on either branch of an oak tree. I stopped to take my camera out, go figure they flew away. “Well I guess I needed to be in the moment with them,” I thought to myself and off we trudged, although my footsteps were a little lighter and my head a little less full.

As we approached the second climb I heard the golden dry grass humming. I wasn’t sure if they were crickets all chirping at once, but something in that steady “hummm” calmed me, it was almost like a chorus of dry golden grass and crickets humming or toning together. The sky was this brilliant blue and the last of my heaviness and mental busy-ness dropped away.

Red Rock Raven, Ravens on Red RockAs we rounded the bend two ravens flew over us, “cawed” and landed on the Red Rock! I was totally awed, and full of wonder and joy! Despite feeling the urge to push myself to work I listened to Magik, listened when I found the smaller red rock, and listened when I saw the ravens. I and others call it listening to the “whispers”. I’m so glad I listened. Magik didn’t notice the ravens and traipsed up to the rock. They flew off, circling above me making that wondrous “purring” sound they made earlier. Gratitude rushed over me! I sat on my usual stone chair on the Red Rock, made myself comfy, got out my aquamarine and started to sing. It was one of those moments where I felt like I stepped out of one world and into another. There was no-one around, the sky seemed electric blue, the golden dry grass sang with me, and the sun and the salamanders seemed to be celebrating, flooding me with passion. Passion for life!

I sang to the forest all mottled with light. I sang to the gnomes who tend the forest, trees and shrubs. I sang to the old woman who tends the woods with such tenderness and care. I sang to them all about the pain in the world, about the violence against women and abuse of children. I sang of regrets and mistakes that I have made. I sang compassion into all the cracks and crevices of the world and my world, to people I remembered, and to those I didn’t know. I sang peaceful blue skies to the places of violence. I sang golden singing grasses to women lost in their pain. I sang raven’s purring to children crying. I sang compassion to eyes watching me. And I sang to the earth gentle as the breeze. Grass “humming”, ravens “purring”, insects “buzzing”, wind “whispering”, ancient tones “droning”. Something deep from within the forest stirred. I could hear her breath. My eyes were seared shut by sunlight, but I could still see the mottled light of the forest. I could hear the flutter of her wings, born anew. Somewhere in the heart of the forest with its mottled light, new life was being born. It was a life filled with the innocence of a deer, and a heart so tender it ached as her wings unfurled and she stepped forth on the earth for the first time. I heard last fall’s leaves cracking under her bare feet. I wondered if they bled? She stepped forth undaunted by the sunlight and caught her breath, the beauty froze her for a moment. Electric blue, golden grass, red rock beauty sang to her, this creature born anew. The wind greeted her, caressed her cheek. She spread out her wings, jumped into the sky and with open arms flew!

I stopped singing and put the aquamarine in my pocket. The wind tousled the golden grasses and the electric blue sky was still there, tangible. Magik came out of his hiding place in the shade and sat, his polite way of begging for a treat. “Not today, you had your treat, we both did.” We got up and headed back home. A shadow of wings flew over me. They were long. The bird was long. But as it flew over me I heard her feathers whisper, “thank you.”

What wildness is born out of our creative play? I would have never known had I not listened to the whispers.

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

photos by Vlatka Herzberg

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Image

A neighbor is freaked out. There are rats in his roof. He blames it on the wood pile next to our house, even though the rats have had homes on the hill behind our homes long before we both lived here. I look at the news. My heart saddens seeing the devastation in the streets of Syria, a ruin of broken buildings and people. I watch a video about a gay teen suicide and cry. I am in a coffee shop in a new town, chatter, chatter, noise, jazz, and espresso machines hissing.

In the midst of the chaos I become a tree. I feel roots growing out of my feet, breaking out of my boots into the rich, moist earth. I feel the earth energy flowing up my trunk, into my branches that bust out of the walls and roof reaching for the aquamarine sky. My branches burst into fragrant blossoms, vibrant green leaves unfurl.

In the midst of the chaos, I can root myself. I can use my imagination. I can be a tree. I can imagine releasing excess energy through my feet into the earth. By doing this I can come back to myself. I can find my center.

When we feel ourselves pulled or drawn into emotional drama, or anxious it is a sign. We can shift things instantly by using our imagination, by becoming a tree, or remembering nature. It is easy for me to imagine being out in the woods, or imagine feeling the rain falling lightly on my cheeks. I can imagine tasting the rain on my tongue, and smelling the freshness of the air and feeling the aliveness of the grass, earth, trees, and leaves all around me.

If I am at home I can go into the garden, stand on the earth, or near a tree, or sink my hands into a pot of earth and sing. I don’t have to get frazzled, caught up in the drama. I don’t have to shrink, instead, I can choose to be more of who I am and who I am becoming.

I wonder how much easier life and chaos can be to navigate when we find our grounding? What would our lives be like if we could each discover what our grounding is? The questions to ask are: “What brings me home to myself in the midst of chaos? What empowers me? What grounds me to myself and to my center?”

Being able to find our grounding doesn’t mean we never lose our center, maybe in some ways it is good that we do, so that we know what it is like to lose our center and to be in chaos. Chaos comes with all change, with all acts of creation.

What helps you ground and center in the midst of chaos? When you know, you can empower yourself. So when you are in the midst of chaos, or when you feel the hooks of drama dig into you,  use the energy as a flag. You can say to yourself, “I’ll be a tree, I’ll remember walking in the woods, and I will root, ground, center, align with more of me, and from this place I will be a light in the chaos.

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It’s still raining! We woke up this morning to the sound of rain and rejoiced. As many know California Governor Brown has alerted us that the California drought had reached unprecedented levels. Photos on the Internet show cracked earth in dried up reservoirs and brown grassy hills. Many fear that a drought could last many years.

When my friend and I went for a walk a few weeks ago she stopped to sing to a small pool of water. Nearby was a dried creek where there is usually a waterfall flowing this time of year. My friend told me of how she always sings to water to honor it. I believe the Celts and other cultures followed a similar tradition.

When the drought first started, people talked about praying to water, sending it gratitude and healing. Water is universal – it doesn’t matter what your spiritual or religious beliefs are we all need it, and we can all appreciate it.

With the concern of the drought and its long-term impact in our hearts and minds, Theodore, my husband and I started to be more conscious of how we use water and how to conserve it. We also went to water sources took photos and sang to them.

When we first started singing to water and more consciously appreciating it, it didn’t rain magically the next day, but we still continued to thank and bless water. Then last night, we decided to go visit a sacred place with a dried up waterfall during the twilight time. To our great delight, there was no one out walking but us.

As it got darker, we found a spot to sit and I started to sing. Magik our Corgi of course thought that was a good time to find the remnants of bay nuts and snack. I sang and danced to the Undines, the water spirits. I sang gratitude, and I sang hope. I sang imagining that all over the world people stopped what they were doing and started to sing to water, appreciating it, thanking it, loving it. I sang until my heart felt like it released a deep longing into realization, then we walked home. As the woods got darker, I felt a calm and reassurance. We rounded the bend, crossed a bridge and entered a mist. I felt moisture press against my cheeks for a moment then we walked through what felt like a veil and headed back home.

To our delight, this morning we woke up to the rain falling, and after we got up it still continued to rain! We decided to go walk in the rain and celebrate. We weren’t the only ones. Others had a similar idea. We saw families, and friends, dogs and their keepers, salamanders and birds, all enjoying and celebrating the rain in their own, unique ways. I don’t want to always wait for the absence of something to feel gratitude for it, but I won’t miss the opportunity to deepen my gratitude and appreciation for water again.

copyright 2014 Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved.

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La Luna

The people of the village use their torches to light up the dark bog and together they remove the heavy boulder off of Mother Moon. Her radiant face shines with such beauty she touches the hearts and minds of all the villagers and fills the bog with illumination. She lifts into the sky and fills the village and the world with light.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes goes on to talk about her insights into the story of “The Lost Mother Moon”. She talks about how the bog in the story represents emotional wounds both in us personally and in our world. She suggests that the way to work with our wounding is not to avoid it, but rather go into it, feel it, be in the center of it metaphorically and meditatively. While being in the center of the wound, feeling with intensity, we can find the light, even if it is just a flicker. We grab that light and fill ourselves with it, we can come back into our lives and into our world being that light for others and ourselves.

After I finished listening to this second cd of “Theatre of the Imagination”, I checked my Facebook page. A friend had posted a story about a man who had gone to a school where there was a tragedy and he stood in front of the school as a bodyguard, helping everyone feel safer. He came everyday to stand as a bodyguard. No one asked him to. No one paid him. He went right into the center of that wound in that school and in that town, and he was a light.

How can we be a light to each other, our world, and ourselves?

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Theodore and I went into the woods with Magik the Corgi. It was during the holidays when there was a down pore of rain for many days. The trails where we usually walk were thick with moisture, the sponge like moss absorbing and holding the dampness.

HiddenTrailBeginning HiddenTrailEntry HiddenTrailMossTrunk HiddenTrailWet

We headed down one well walked trail, but Magik had something else in mind. He led us across a stream, down a deer trail, next to a hidden brook. He scooted around and behind the hill, in his way circumventing the usual path.

HiddenTrailBumMushroom

With so much rain, there was an abundance of mushrooms, and Theodore had his camera ready to capture the moment.

HiddenTrailMushroomSpirit

It was much darker and moister back here than the usual trails. The moss covered some of the oak trees from head to foot, making the holes in the trees, mystical portals to Other worlds, visible.

HiddenTrailPortal

Theodore focused on getting close-ups, seeing a world vibrant with Nature Spirits.

HiddenTrailMushSides

Magik’s nose sniffed out the trail that lead us to bones woven around branches. I wondered how long they had been there. They felt old.

ForestTrailBones

I pressed forward, Magik staying with me, Theodore lingering behind, looking through different lenses to see the richness, and mystery of this place.

HiddenTrailSingleShroon

Magik and I stopped to look at a grove tree, one that was a single tree once and probably very large, an ancient tree, now hollow in its center yet branching out with children and grandchildren around it.

HiddenTrailGrove

I wondered how far the trail would go before it got too thick, and entangled with poison oak for us to explore any further.

HiddenTrailFace

Ahead we saw it, this majestic old Oak covered with moss. I sat at the bottom and began to Sound Heal. Magik was out of sorts that day. Maybe it was all the busy-ness of the holidays, but he was eating every single bay nut he could sniff out in a frenetic sort of way. He finally settled at the bottom of the tree and surrendered to the earth as I sounded for him, sweeping hand movements gently caressing his soul.

HiddenTrailM&Me

It wasn’t until we got home and looked at the photos that I saw the creature sitting near the top of the oak, like a Guardian of the Oak or the woods, hunched over, four legs and wings. It is easy to let my imagination soar with images of moss, leaves, mushrooms and trees.

HiddenTrailSoundGuardian

Magik gifted me that day by receiving a Sound Healing session in the woods. For the adventurer of the heart, I offer Sound Healing Hikes, individual Sound Healing Sessions in the woods. Magik is not the only client who enjoys them. Although I have to say he gives me a pretty good testimonial with his joyous, spirited smile.

HiddenTrailMSmile

Interested in a unique experience, a Sound Healing Hike, a Sound Healing Session in the woods? Email me for costs and details: Soundhealher@comcast.net.

HiddenTrailGuardian

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Yosemite, ©2010 Theodore Herzberg

Recently, Magik and I went to visit our favorite Madrone Tree. It’s near the umbrella like Oak that creates a canopy of shade. Behind it, and down the hill slightly from the Umbrella Oak is the Madrone. It’s young and vibrant, and every-time I nestle down into its roots and lean against it, the leaves dance and welcome me.

Under the dappled light of Madrone leaves I sang, feeling the light and warmth, the laughter and the joy of just being out here, and reveling in the smell of pungent earth. I sang until my heart was full and Magik started to growl, my faithful guard corgi. I turned to see who was there. It was a deer, listening to my song.

Deer often come to hear me sing, other animals too. I wonder if more of us sang in the woods, if it would draw more enchanting animal encounters.

Yesterday, Magik and I went to visit my husband Theodore at his job site. He is a general contractor and the house he is building overlooks a golf course. Throughout the building process there has been a deer family that sleeps in the yard. Yesterday was the first time I saw them, a mamma and her two babies, nestled in the foundation of where there one day will be a pool.

The mother deer cleaned the older baby, the older baby licked her back, mamma and babe nuzzled, while the young one spotted me. I started to sing softly. The baby deer walked a little closer, her black eyes focused intensely on my face. I continued to sing, soft and sweet, baby deer and I held eyes for a very long time — an enchanting moment, a touch, the song luring the baby deer closer and closer.

I must have lifted my voice a little louder, and the wind carried it down to the golf course, because from way down below I heard, “Hey lady, stop singing.” And then the sound of a golf ball being hit. Mental note, will have to keep the “deer songs” in the woods and not near golf courses.

I stopped singing, turned to walk away, but turned and looked back. The baby deer turned and looked back too. Our eyes held for a moment. A connection was made. As we each walked in our separate directions I wondered how our lives might be different because of our touch.

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On a mound I stand

Spreading branches far and wide

Sap trickles down my bark,

Mixes with earth —

Sap drenched roots

Dig deep down into Coyote Den

Where Silent voices

Wait —

Until Night’s embrace

And Howl

My husband Theodore and I went to Folsom Lake Willow Creek Recreation Area yesterday. We were stunned by the tall pine trees and extra huge pine cones. The pine cones had sap on them that neither of us have seen before.

It made us consider making an essential oil out of it. The color of the sap is golden amber beautiful. The pine cones evoked images of dragon claws. They curled and pointed just like claws.

The first tall pine we encountered was on top of a large mound. Imbedded in the roots was a coyote den. I wondered how they could sleep with hushed voices of humans and the pecking of acorn woodpeckers above their home.

Brilliant blue sky, lake sparkling with so much light you could almost hear it singing, children laughing, we walked over water sculpted stones to admire mushroom like plants with feathery roots and tiny purple flowers that sprayed out like fans.

Theodore and I sat on a bench and listened to the sky, the woodpeckers, the pine, the lake, our hands softly touched, we smiled. A breeze whistled through the pine needles and for a moment, it felt as though the pine trees sighed. Perhaps they too felt a sense of well-being.

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