Week 21: Gratitude

Dear Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Countries around the globe have been celebrating since September, and finally America has caught up! Due to our sordid history, we prefer to remember the good times rather than the guns, germs and steel. But, what does Thanksgiving mean to you? As someone with Native blood in his heritage, I always get a bitter sweet taste every year. That’s why I prefer to celebrate Pagan Thanksgiving for the Mabon Equinox Harvest. (There can’t be said any imperialists sub-titles to that celebration.) But, ranting aside, I do also LOVE Thanksgiving. The pilgrims of the time, could not have known any more than the natives did at the time of what was to come to pass. No more foresight than any of us do at any given moment. And the spirit of the season is to be thankful, to show gratitude for the things to which we already have, and not for the things that which we wish to possess materialistically. Oft times, it’s all about the things that aren’t tangible. Such as the feeling of a gathering, or the glow of love.

So, I sit here as the mulled wine softly trickles down my throat, and the pies wait to be put in the oven. And I wonder to myself, what does this holiday really, truly, mean for me? One word pops in my head and that is: Gratitude. And what do I have to be thankful and show gratitude for? Well, my friends lots of things. I am thankful for, as Caitlin Matthews puts it, “the golden links of lore that our ancestors remembered and that spill into our hands: for the treasures of some traditions, for the rich heritage of wisdom, for the ancestral experiences that I inherit in every cell of my body.” I am thankful for fun, for frolic. For those moments I share with friends and family that are ingrained in my memory. I am thankful for the green things: the plants and trees that give us breath. For the waters that quench our thirst, and for the animals that give their lives so that we do not starve. I give thanks for medicines, for teas, for herbs and bees. I am thankful for family, and family for me isn’t just bloodline. Family is all around me, they are those who choose to hold my hand when I cry, those that share a cup of wine with me after a long day. Those that I can talk and speak for hours upon end without getting bored or annoyed. Their presence and love is my battery, and I continue to wake up every morning and show gratitude for another day to make things a little bit better for others. I am thankful for laughter, for the smiles of our elders. For hot cocoa, and holiday music (without it there would be many a day I would lose it altogether. Ha!) I am even thankful for the hard times as well, because without them how else would I be able to know myself? How else would I know and feel my own strength other than in the face of adversity?

I am grateful for sunshine, for good food, and for indoor pluming. I am thankful for fountain kisses, for hearth fires. For music, and for dance. For drunken frivolity, and for heart-felt hugs. For home-made chicken soup.  I am thankful for the people in my life who are near and far, who no matter the distance continue to pop-in with a smile. This week, I ask you to take some time and ask yourselves what are you thankful for? Who in your life makes your heart pound an extra beat? Who has impacted your life this year? Who recently has lended a helpful hand?

My Little Stone for the day:

Lips and hands,
You can be used for good or ill,
I choose to be gentle & grateful.
***

So, I will begin as always as asking you to ask yourself: how are you as you are entering this time for yourself? Have a heart-to-heart with yourself and reflect on your week past.

Were you able to incorporate last week’s challenge with your busy Life? If so, GREAT!
If not, that is okay too.

The whole point is to go at your own pace. You shouldn’t have to struggle to have fun, it should come naturally and on its own time.


Affirmations for the Mind!

Here are this week’s mantras. Don’t forget, you can tweak them to your liking. In order to make them yours, you must believe them, and affirm them to yourself. So switch ’em up if the inspiration strikes!

Today’s Affirmation: “I choose to choose gratitude instead of thanklessness.

“By the fire, I face unafraid, I will walk in a winter wonderland.” -Dean Martin

“My heart will grow with the coming season. I will keep it bright.

“I offer prayers of thanks and blessings for my heart, my soul, my love.”

“I will allow others to be thankful for my Being.”

“Joy. I am thankful for Joy.

And lastly: “I am loving and alive, and lovable and alight. I am grateful for…”

With Love, 

Derek 

Week 20: Snowtide

Dear Friends,

This week comes a bit tardy.

You see I have been swept up in running around the north east and
working my butt off to no end. The month of November has come with its
many challenges; some have faced a hurricane and then a Nor’easter
snow storm. Some have gone without power, and running water, and I can
do nothing but be thankful that all my loved ones have not been too
harshly affected. Over the past two weeks, I have faced and met my own
personal challenges face to face and I feel that soon, with the
winter, I will be able to slow down, sit and wait and finally relax.
Wouldn’t that be grand for all of us too? Mmm…blessed Snowtide can’t
come soon enough in my opinion!

Photograph by Derek James Healey
Nor’eastern Snow Storm, Princeton, NJ 7 Nov 2012

I have sat down over the past week or so contemplating the changing
season. Winter is very much the crone time of year, where one may sit
with photographs, old journals, and scrapbooks allowing oneself to be
swept up in nostalgia.

In the northeast, this season of Hallowmas soon becomes full blown in
Snowtide until Midwinter at the Yuletide Solstice. And if you aren’t
Pagan this may be a bit garbly, but I think you can appreciate our way
of calling the different times of year by what is happening in the
natural world around us at the time. For me here in Albany, right now,
it is all about withering, quieting, aging, coming to terms with
getting older, appreciating the elders in my life, appreciating what I
have, the memories of what I have done and accomplished, and the
hearts I have touched and broken, as well as the blessed ones who have
touched and broken mine.

“If there is Love in your heart, don’t keep it to yourself, share it!”

Artist Uknown

This week, I ask you to take some time and soak the year past in. What
has happened to you? What moments stick out in your memory? Peruse the
photos you may have strewn about your home, or an online collection.
If there aren’t prints, make some. We are the sum of our moments. The
good ones and the bad. Skim and read your journal from the beginning,
what words of wisdom can you find? What poetry have you put to ink and
paper? What artwork have you painted or drawn? What pieces of artwork
have you created, what projects completed? What relationships have
flourished, which ones have wilted? What homes have you built, and
what parties have you shared your time in? What fires have you built,
what waters have you swam in? What paths have you walked, and which
ones have you created yourself?

My friend and teacher Joanna has pushed us the last few weeks through
Honouring our Beloved Dead, Celebrating Hallowmas, Reflecting on the
Season of the Crone, Honoring our Ancestral Lineage and Healing our
Ancestral Wounds. Next week we contemplate End-of-Life and Leaving a
Legacy. So far I have looked for signs of deepening autumn, made a new
illustrated journal, built ancestor altars, tasted delicious recipes
for colcannon, made paper sugar skulls, went in search of owls, took a
shot at mindful writing “little stones”, and made ready with spell
preparations for banishing, releasing and letting go the things that
no longer serve me.

Photograph by Derek James Healey
First Frost, Albany, NY 6 Nov 2012

This season is a heavy one, and I am not just talking about the food.
Hallowmas isn’t just about candy and partying with costumes. With
every holiday there are always those things that are often much deeper
than the exterior. Those ways are the reflections and honourings of
anyone who so chooses to look to the core of such things. These are
the moments I choose to celebrate, besides the run of the mill feast
and music. I hope you will take some time this week to really dig deep
into “your own forgotten depths” as Joanna would put it, and what this
season means for you.

My Little Stone for the day:

Sweet winter cabin at dusk,
Your inside looks so bright with fire smoke drifting to the mountains.
The skies seem sweet with golden cloud dew.
***

So, I will begin as always as asking you to ask yourself: how are you as you are entering this time for yourself? Have a heart-to-heart with yourself and reflect on your week past.

Were you able to incorporate last week’s challenge with your busy Life? If so, GREAT!
If not, that is okay too.

The whole point is to go at your own pace. You shouldn’t have to struggle to have fun, it should come naturally and on its own time.


Affirmations for the Mind!

Here are this week’s mantras. Don’t forget, you can tweak them to your liking. In order to make them yours, you must believe them, and affirm them to yourself. So switch ’em up if the inspiration strikes!

Today’s Affirmation: “Little book upon my shelf, your pages inspire me!

 “Looking into my deepest depths I embrace my aging Self.”

“There is a Love in my heart that I will not keep to myself.

“There are beautiful signs of deepening autumn & winter in my reflection.”

“I have built fires & swam waters blessed by my presence.”

“Gentle frost you cling to the windows with a graceful dance as cold morning fingers trace your design.

And lastly: “I am not frozen. I am not cold. I am warmed with the spirit of little stones upon my windowsill.”


Guided Meditation of the Week for the Body!

Here is your FREE Guided Meditation. Do it with a loved one or just yourself. Doesn’t matter. Just take some time for yourself, light some incense, a candle, and relax…

Winter Morning Meditation by Derek J. Healey
Once you have woken up early in the morning. See if there is still frost outside. If snow, all the better. 
Dress in warm comfy clothing, and pour yourself a cup of hot tea/coffee of any kind that you yourself desire. Dawn your gloves and hat and scarf. Head outside and look around. What do you see? Take a sip of your tea/coffee and then set it down. Allow the warmth to fill your body, and then close your eyes. You can be standing or sitting, whatever feels more appropriate.
Allow yourself to acknowledge all of your open senses. How do you feel, taste, smell? How does it feel as the warmth gentle melts away, and the cold starts to nibble on your nose?
Allow yourself to dissect this moment you are sharing with the Winter.
How does Winter taste? Breathe, open your mouth, take a deep open-mouthed breathe.
How does Winter smell? Breathe….slowly… are there hints of juniper? pine? an odd watery smell? the smell of ice?
How does Winter feel? Breathe, allow the cold to take you into its arms. Isn’t it enthralling? Enliving? Enrichening?
Now open your eyes.
What does Winter look like? Breathe, don’t try to concentrate too hard. What’s the first thing that pops into your head?
How does Winter show itself to you? Mmm…isn’t it magickal?

Write down any impressions you get from this meditation in your journal. 


Tarot Spread of the Week for the Soul!

Here is your FREE Tarot Spread of the week. Look at the card(s), what do you see? What wisdom can you intuit for yourself? What guidance is being whispered into your ear?

Page of Arrows: The Wren
The Wildwood Tarot

MEANING- The colours of the goldcrest – red, white, green and black – were once held to be sacred and the common wren was considered a guardian of the winter mysteries. Druids kept wrens as totem animals of augury and prophecy and ritually sacrificed them on St. Stephen’s Day (26th December).

READING POINTS- Study and application brings wisdom and understanding which can be applied to most situations. [A youthful spirit] and determination will carry you forward and your nascent skills bring you to a dynamic realization.

TRACKS AND PATHWAYS- Watchfulness. Mystery. Determination. Work. Scholarship. Wisdom. A vigilant guardian.
Write down any impressions you get from this card(s) in your journal. 


Upcoming Events!

Here is a list of local events I will be doing this month:

I will be open for any Guided Meditations and/or Tarot Readings Thursday-Saturday 12pm-6pm. (Times can vary based upon appointments).
Tarot & Journaling Classes will be every Friday at 5pm- 6pm.
Please contact me if you are interested in signing up! We would love to see you in the circle! 🙂


I wish you well on your Journeys this season!
Listen deep to your four-chambered heart. What whispering voice do you hear? Take a moment and gift yourself with your own insight. Your own intuition, your own creative force that lives inside of you. There is much to learn. For me, Life is all about the little gems we allow ourselves to Love.

*With Love, Derek.