Early Autumn Forest Bath

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October in the woods in SW Michigan, just minutes from my Three Oaks home…

Moving from the heated expansiveness of summer, a refreshing and introspective autumnal forest calls.  Come walk and linger, enjoy scents and colors, experiencing the restoration and inspiration of the trees, plants, and earth.  The shadows are long and the days shorter, heightening our pleasure of the moment.  Falling leaves reveal the skeleton of a tree.  Scent of decaying leaves is both dank and sweet, a curious embrace.

I imagine most of us woodsy fans are aware of the Forest Bath movement, Shinrin-yuko.  (I rambled about Forest Bathing previously in a wintry blog – Winter Forest Bath). In Japan, formal studies are conducted regarding the health benefits of spending time in nature.  A recent study explores the immune strengthening abilities of essential oils from trees and plant life.  ‘Scuse me while I dab on some Hinoki Oil…

Most beguiling is the personal creativity that awakes in a Forest Bath.  If we step into the woods with senses open we begin to feel very deeply.  We let the forest in –  into us, our psyche – and we experience profound pleasure and the rarified activity, play.

Yeah, it sounds “woo-woo.”  Well, it is “woo-woo.”  Let’s just lighten up go with it.

Here’s some sensory forest bath games to explore.

Scent

Find a scent and breathe it in.  Close your eyes.  How does it make you feel?  Where do you feel it in your body.  Open your eyes and follow the scent until you discover another. Repeat.

Pine, I feel in the head,  throat, and heart.   I walk through the woods tracking pine until I discover a fungal-mushroom scent.  This I feel much lower in my body, it is heavy and rich.  Something about the mushroom seems mischievous to me…  Colors seem brighter after the scent of mushroom.

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Vision

Let yourself gaze at something until your eyes go in and out of focus.  Explore trying not to focus on anything!  Find some lovely objects and make a design with them.

I feel connected to my inner child when I do this.

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Hear

Sit in silence.  Close your eyes.  What do you hear?  Repeat, this time with a smile.

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Touch

Here’s a favorite.  Find a tree.  Go ahead and rest your hand on it.  Feel.  Move your hand away, slowly, and see what you feel now.  Ok, umm. Just wow!  Next, silently introduce yourself to this tree.  “Well, hello there, Tree.  I’m Doreen.  It’s so nice to be in your company.”  See what happens…

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Have Fun!

Go ahead and revel and twirl!  Don’t be perfect!  Be wild and wonderful!  Be present!  Be you in the deep, deep woods of autumn!

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Faerie Festival Roundup 2018

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Dust off your wings!  Faerie Festival season is here! 

First, here’s a little bit about faerie festivals.  Then the roundup of festivals I’ve been to, or want to go to, or want to go back to.
But first – Questions.
Just what is a faerie festival?
A bit of a hybrid festival, faerie fests are a little like a music fest, only more family friendly.  A little bit renaissance fair, only with faeries, and in any time period.  A bit steampunk and rainbow tribe.  Only with, faeries.  Expect music, dancing, activities, street performers, craft vendors and lots of creative expression.  Expect – you guessed it – faeries!
Are costumes required?
Nope!  Although, many folks do dress up in costumes though.  And you’ll have more fun!  All kinds of costumes are welcome- ren fair, pirate, steampunk.  Faerie costumes are very imaginative, have fun with it!
Is there food?
All the festivals have food, but some have more selection than others.  Check the website for each fest.  Bring water.
What about shopping?  Is there cool faerie stuff for sale?
Absolutely!  Bring cash!  Sometimes swipe devices don’t work so well in the woods.
Do people spend the weekend or the night?
Yes!  Most festivals have camping or bunk houses of some sort.  Recommended –  bring twinkly faerie lights and such to deck out your tent.  The camp ground and the after hours parties are where much of the fun happens.  Plus you make friends and get to hear impromptu music jams.  And many festivals have the best after hours dance parties ever.
Are pets welcome?
Mebbe. Again, check the websites of each fest.
Tickets?
If you can purchase ahead of time, do it.  Camping may fill up.
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Here’s the Round-up

(Photographs are my own but not necessarily from each festival they are tucked under)

Friday May 4 – Sunday May 6
York County, PA (Near Baltimore)
A lovely long-standing faerie celebration – 27 years!   The last year at this sweet location as the festival has grown so!
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Friday June 8 – Sunday June 10
Darlington, MD
A friendly and easy meeting of the faerie community with camping or rooms to let.  Don’t miss the Friday night drum and fire jam.
verdant faerie Blogs:
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Thursday June 21 – Sunday June 24
Twisp, WA
This is a meeting of faerie minds and consciousness.  Where you can go immerse and experience true faerie faith.  Seeds of healing…
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Friday June 29 – Sunday July 1
Ouagaquaga, NY
Remote, wild, magic.  This festival is really out there in the woods with tremendous community, spirit, and magic.  A faerie queen on horseback and trolls thrill.  Do camp out…  It’s transcendent.
verdant faerie Blog:
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July 14  – July 17
Western Newfoundland, Canada
Costumes and ugly sticks will be available.
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Saturday August 4 & Sunday August 5
South Elgin, IL
This little sweetheart of a fair is getting better (and sweeter) every year.
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Friday August 24 – Sunday August 26
North Plains, OR (Near Portland)
Glamorous, magical, sizable!  Music and a fantastic dance “floor.”  Camping is extensive the food trucks are amazing!
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Friday September 1 – Sunday September 3
Stuart, VA
More east coast faerie fun because we cannot get enough.
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Friday November 9 – Sunday November 11
Delta Baltimore Hunt Valley
Indoors – Get your Faerie fix in the cold months!  Workshops and fantastic music and vendors.
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A Faerie Poem

The following poem is by east coast photographer,  and faerie soul Cathleen Newberg.  I met Cathleen at Maryland Faerie Festival and she kindly responded to a verdant faerie newsletter with this inspired enchanted poem.  Enjoy!  Thanks, Cathleen for letting me share here!
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I dreamed a dream
of pretty things
Of starlit nights
and Fairy Wings
Of dancing lightly
with feet bared
As if Gravity
no longer cared
My spirit soaring
no longer bound
Celestial  murmurings
such sweet sounds
Expanding, expanding
dreaming the dream
of starlit nights
and fairy wings
~ Cathleen Newberg

Know of any of faerie festivals not mentioned here?

Maybe I’ll glimpse you fluttering by…

 

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Fae on Friday – Flower Faerie

Summer Blooming

I made this flower faerie!
I made this flower faerie!


Fairies, arouse!
Mix with your song
Harplet and pipe,
Thrilling and clear.
Swarm on the boughs!
Chant in a throng!
Morning is ripe,
Waiting to hear.

-William Allingham

Today’s Faerie is a summery flower faerie.  Now is the time to let your spirit blossom like summer flower.   (Perhaps you are in a wintry zone now- if so bring a summer feel to your heart.)   Wear something flowery or bright, gentleman this includes you!  Take some time to smell the flowers…

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A couple suggestions for natural perfumes to wear in celebration (Thank goddess there are so many florals)

Visions in the Garden by Chicagoland’s Kindred Earth Botanicals.  Or Gracing the Dawn by Roxana Illuminated Perfume.

Flowers make Missy smile.
Flowers make Missy smile.

What’s your favorite summer flower?

Love And Kundalini Prelude

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I’m almost finished with Part II of the Kundalini blog.  Read Part I here.  Whew, taking me awhile.  In the meantime, here is a little prelude.  A happy story for you!

When I taught drama in elementary school, I frequently had the kids up and dancing.  Moving and shakin’ it with wild abandon.  Or shaping dances of their own design.  They liked it plenty, but I perhaps loved watching them  even more.

In kindergarten I had an activity involving a drum.  The kids would sit on the stage floor as still as possible with eyes closed.  Very challenging for a 5 year old.  Lots of anticipation.  I would begin to play a hand drum with a slowish quiet beat and chant, “Energy’s moving in your bo-dy, energy’s moving in your FEET.  Just your feet.  Moving your feet.  Let.  Your.  Feet.  Move with the energy.”  I would then direct the energy and movement to the legs increasing the drum beat steadily.  This would go on till the drumming was frantic and loud and their entire little body was moving, eyes would fly open and the dancers would spark alive with energy busting out all over.

Unknown-1They’d go at it for awhile till they started dropping.  Then I’d bring them back down, head to toes.  Slowing the beat till they collapsed spent on the floor.

After we would place our hands on our hearts and feel it beat.  We’d observe how the drum beat was like our hearts.  I’d ask them, “What does your heart feel like?”  You can imagine the utter heartbreaking sweetness of their answers.

My favorite answer ever was, “It feels like fun.”

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Dear Reader,  please close your eyes and put your hand on your heart?  What does it feel like in there?