Archive for August 11th, 2013

During August in Dallas, TX, the last thing one would want to do is appreciate the Sun.  The temperatures are over 100 degrees day after day and everyone just wants to escape the sun and the heat, not appreciate it.

How could our lives be changed if we turned that around?  If we appreciated the miracle that is occurring?


“This is the miracle–
Every tree becomes beautiful
When touched by sunlight;
Every soul becomes God
When touched by the Sun of Tabriz” –  Rumi 1


This month’s New Moon took place in gold-hearted Leo. Astrologers typically describe Leo as extroverted, playful, and creative. Yet perhaps because Leo is placed in the 12th house of my own natal chart, I find meaning in its deeper side, experiencing it as a kind of inner “pilot light.“  In this sense Leo can manifest as the spiritual light-force that powers our faith for, as Rumi writes, “He is the Sun in whose track every heart must follow.” 1

Mystics across the centuries, for instance, have spoken of the Sun as a doorway to the realms of spirit.

How can we rekindle the light of our soul hidden within us? How can we experience the Divine Light that is our original nature? To begin with, it helps to concentrate on the light we see reflected in nature.  Find a place to meditate outside, or position yourself near a window.  Soak in the sunlight that shimmers through the air and lovingly caresses the trees and plants. Feel yourself warmed by the Sun’s rays; allow your body to be filled with its vital, life-giving magnetism.  Close your eyes and, as you inhale and exhale, breathe in sunlight until your whole body is vibrant with light. Feel your aura radiate. Let your consciousness expand into space; be awed by the fiery plumes of light exploding from the Sun’s corona.  Spin with the planets as they encircle it’s mother star.

Next, imagine that your whole psyche is being bathed in a shower of light.  Allow every dark corner of yourself to be lit up; experience the Sun’s kindness as it generously melts away your fear, shame and guilt. The Sun is the ultimate lover: all your hard, unforgiving edges melt away in its broad, beneficent, light-giving Being.  Slowly, as you feel more and more filled with light, you may feel as if you have returned to a place that feels familiar.  For as it is taught in many wisdom traditions, your true self is a ray of light descended from the Sun of Suns, the Divine source. During the course of your journey on earth, however, the core of light within you became veiled, eclipsed by the darkness of forgetfulness and ignorance. Now, experience the joy and love that comes from reconnecting with your genuine heritage as a being of light.

Finally, close your meditation by experiencing the light coalesce into a solar disc within the inner chamber of your heart.  Recall, for instance, images of saints and prophets whose hearts were aflame with love of God, light streaming from this divine center through their fingertips, illuminating their faces, shooting out the top of their head in aureoles of luminescence.  It is the power of their faith that burns so brightly; it is knowledge of their true origins that generates their soft glow.  So remember, when life is hard, and the embers of faith burn low, that your heart, too, is a Sun, a “light upon light”   whose home is in the stars.

Taken from:



Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved, by Jonathan Star


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I have the opportunity to be a leader in a lot of areas in my life; my work, sometimes with Covenant of the Goddess, with my coven, and even with my family (though my SO pushes back when I become overbearing, LOL.)

The following essential traits are very common-sense, yet I don’t think I employ all of them all of the time.  Practice, patience, persistence.

We all have the opportunity and sometimes the necessity to lead at some point in our lives.  It’s good to know how we can be better leaders.

Blessings to all,


Thanks to Valentine McKay-Riddell from Cherry Hill Seminary:

Five Essential Traits of Pagan Leaders
1. Pay attention to what’s going on around you; this is the first, and probably most important trait.  A leader needs to be aware, not just of what people are saying, but the atmosphere in the room, the messages between the lines, what needs to be said but isn’t being said until someone blows up and blurts it out.  If you are not paying attention you are not going to be able to respond to anything that happens.

2.  Be flexible.  Let yourself think on your feet and change direction on a moment’s notice.  Say you have a meeting all set up, the agenda planned, ten people get together, and before you can start someone says, “We have to talk about what happened last week.”  You can see that you can’t get past “go” until you respond to that person.  And perhaps you need to be able to weave that issue into your meeting.  This is why I most often do a check-in at the beginning of meetings or even classes, because sometimes the check-in becomes the topic.  Trust, going with the flow, is something I think is really important, but often people who are accustomed to leading find this hard to do. 

3.  Show appreciation  – this is huge.  Sometimes when someone butts in and tries to take over a group meeting, one way to regain control is to notice that person, notice that what is really being expressed is their frustrated leadership ability.  You can find ways to draw out their experience and abilities, to validate them, without losing control in a meeting.  For example, you might say, “Heather, I can see that you have experience with doing this in the past; would you research how we can get this done and come back to the next meeting with your recommendations?”

4.  Take a holistic perspective – realize that everything is connected, everything is going to be affected by everything else.  The energy of everyone in the room, the things spoken and unspoken, the weather, the things going on in people’s personal lives and your own stuff, and even larger influences, like world events – all of these things impact ourselves, our groups, our entire communities.  To pretend they do not is simply denial.  Take into account the grief people may be feeling about a school shooting, the excitement of an upcoming game or concert, or apprehension about a decision that must be made.

5.  Combine openness, transparency, and trust.  If you are willing to trust that the best and highest good is what you want to have happen, and until proven otherwise that’s what everyone else wants, then you can afford to be transparent.  It’s been proven time and again that things work so much more effectively if people feel they have a personal stake in creating what’s going on.  A leader’s example of openness goes a long way to drawing in the commitment of others to a group project.


Valentine McKay-Riddell
has a lifetime of experience with using and sharing leadership in order to achieve change for good.  This fall she is teaching Conscious Leadership for Turbulent Times at Cherry Hill Seminary.  The class is open to the public, or to students working towards a CHS certificate, and also to master’s students.  Registration is open now and classes start the week of Sept 9.
Cherry Hill Seminary is the leading provider of education and practical training in leadership, ministry, and personal growth in Pagan and Nature-Based spiritualities.

Cherry Hill Seminary is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organized in the state of South Carolina. Web site copyright by Cherry Hill Seminary in 2010, all rights reserved.

Contact us at P.O. Box 5405, Columbia, SC 29250-5405, or by email

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