Solstice blessings friends. This morning Russ and I took time to connect into Litha—the seasonal celebration of the longest day/shortest night. I find I am drawn to thanksgiving at this time, and so after singing/drumming a Navaho song to greet the morning, I gave thanks to the Earth and Sky and the richness that is my life this day, embracing the expansiveness of the day with a barefoot walk over the mosses and native grasses in our little stone labyrinth.
We have a whole new swathe of ducklings (now young ducks) in our care. Some are hatched via a friend’s incubator after our sitting duck lost interest in finishing the job she started! They are Welsh Harlequin x Khaki Campbells. Then we acquired a few more Appleyard x Khaki Campbells. There appears to be a couple of purebreds in there so we hope to keep a few of those for future breeding. The drakes are beginning now to reveal themselves, and given there appears to be more than one it looks like drake will soon be on the menu – ah the joys and challenges of living on the land! All going well though, the rest should reach old age (not allowing for pythons, dingos, wild dogs, quolls, hawks, falcons etc) before they simply retire post their egg laying years and join the eccentric old ducks club.
So, for those who did not know, I have recently completed a four seasons journey with the School of Shamanic Midwifery/Womancraft. Part of the journey included creating a sacred object for presentation at the end of the year. Mine began as a clay Sheela na gig, but ended as in metal form! New to metal forging, this was a little unexpected. Yet a friend’s broken singing bowl serendipitously came into my keeping and the journey began from there. Russ welded me a little crucible and the rest is herstory so to speak:) During this year, I also undertook a 10-day Vision Quest process that revealed, among other things, a new name. My previous name, Annica, can be understood in the shamanic tradition to belong to the upperworld or what is known as a masculine spiritual realm. Akhalita, my new name, has its origins in the underworld or soul realm, which is of the feminine. Given this direction has been clear in my life for some time now, my new name supports further transitions onto this path and acts as a guide to where I am next headed. This is a strange thing to do in Western civilisation but not so in many traditional cultures, where new names and initiations went hand-in-hand.
Our uchi-deshi (live-in student) program has been gaining momentum this past few months and it has been rewarding to offer this level of training for those seeking a way of deepening their practise outside of the institutional model. The opportunity to offer this way of learning has been a long held dream and to see it come to fruition makes the years of foundational work worthwhile. The refining of this program is ongoing and we are learning as much as our students, without doubt. Also the hermitage has been accommodating the odd person in solitary retreat.
Email us if you would like to know more about this program or are interested in journeying alone in a supported retreat.
Wishing everyone a gentle and rewarding summer.
Akhalita & Russ