Tag - ask your mama

A Question of Baby Steps to the Goddess

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

*Ask Your Mama™ Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™

by ©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

Dear Mama Donna

I am not a follower of the goddess, but I was walking around downtown Brooklyn with my six-year-old daughter Beatrice when she said to me, “Mommy, I don’t believe in God. I believe in Mother Nature and the faeries in the woods. That’s why I make the circles with the rocks.” Clearly she is on a spiritual path and I would like to support her but I really don’t have the background to show a 6-year-old the path to the Goddess.

I have seen some of your literature about spirituality and ceremony and thought that you might give me some ideas as to how to help her find her way to the Goddess.

Thanks,

Mom On a Mission in Brooklyn

Dear Mom,

Ah, to have had a mom like you when I was six and building shrines! I am so impressed with your desire to help your daughter pursue her own personal spiritual path. Brava!

I established several rituals with my little granddaughter who spent every summer with me until she became a teen. At bed time, after we read stories or talked, we would “Do Om.” I would sit on her bed facing her. We held each other’s hands to create a complete circle, and then we chanted together, Ooooommmmm. Every night was different, sometimes longer, sometimes softer. Occasionally it got all silly and giggly, but more often, we chanted until we felt peaceful. Shaleike would drift off to sleep and I would be reenergized for my night’s chores. This was sacred to us. Sometimes she would ask, “Can we do om for a really long time tonight?”

You might say some version of grace at meals, acknowledging the bountiful Mother Earth Goddess for all the fruits of her belly. Since she already seems to be drawn to creating altars and shrines, you can encourage her to make a special one for her room and “make offerings” there. I’ll bet she has her own version of what that might mean.

The moon is a great way to link to the Goddess. In most cultures, She is the Lady in the Moon. I never could understand how anyone could look at that lovely, smiling, serene lunar face and refer to it as The Man in the Moon. Watch the lunar cycles and do something special on the full and new moons.

The New Moon is the perfect time to start something. Begin a project, Make a plan, Set a goal or an intention. Make a wish. As the moon grows to fullness, so will your ideas. This is a great opportunity for Beatrice to understand that her ideas are powerful and that she can strive to manifest them. She can make offerings to the growing moon to send energy to whatever she is focused on.

On Full Moons we often got dressed up as for a party and drove out to the beach on Stateb Island and danced in the moon light. With sncks, of course1

The first thing Shameike asks when I pick her up in the summer, is “when is the full moon.” When she was little, she called it the “whole moon.”

Take your cues from her. She still remembers.

With blessings on your grand adventure,

xxMama Donna

Dear Mama Donna,

Can we do a fire circle? A water circle? An air circle? And an earth circle together?

Love,

Beatrice

Dear Beatrice,

Yes. We can do a circle together. I would love that.

And you can also do a circle whenever you want to all by yourself – or you can invite your mom or a friend if you want. You can sit down with a bowl of water and a bowl of earth and some incense to make fire and smoky air. You can talk to the Goddess whenever you want to. You can ask Her for help, or you can just tell Her how great you think She is. You can also tell her how great you think you are! She will be proud.

Keep on making your stone circles. People all over the world make circles of stone to use alike a temple for the ceremonies to the Goddess. When the weather is warmer, you could have a ceremony circle outside. What fun!!!

Whenever you have a question, please write to me and I will answer you.

I can’t wait to meet you. You are a real soul sister!

Lots of blessings of light and love to you,

xxMama Donna

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. *Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com

Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine and writes for The Huffington Post, Beliefnet and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she offers intuitive tarot readings and spiritual counseling and works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.

www.DonnaHenes.net
www.TheQueenOfMySelf.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Henes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Queen_of_My_Self

Watch her videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/MamaDonnaHenes

Follow her on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/queenmamadonna

Connect with her on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/MamaDonnaHenes

Read her on the Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-henes/

Read her on Beliefnet:
http://blog.beliefnet.com/thequeenofmyself/

Read more...

A Question of a New Year Clean Sweep

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

*Ask Your Mama™ Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™

by ©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

Dear Mama Donna,

This has been the year from hell. I feel used, abused, and grimy. My entire life has gotten out of control. In my depression I have even let my normally orderly house go. My family is disgusted. What symbolic act can I do at New Year that would help to make me feel like I can make a clean start?

—A Mess in Michigan

Dear Ms. Mess,

As we near the New Year, our thoughts turn to new beginnings, new possibilities, new hope. This fragile interval which separates one year from the next is pregnant with potential. We find ourselves taking time out of time to evaluate our past experiences and actions and to prepare ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually for our future. Our reflections and resolutions at this transition period of the great turning of the annual wheel are critical, for they create the ambient atmosphere and attitude for the entire year to come.

A new year represents another chance, a fresh start, a clean slate, and so we embark upon the shift as on a dangerous journey, freshly bathed and outfitted, full of purpose, fingers crossed in blessing. People enjoy elaborate toilettes; bodies washed, dressed, groomed, combed until they are thoroughly cleansed — often internally as well through fasting. On New Year in Bengal, pilgrims bathe in the River Ganges. The Cherokee spend the eve of the New Year in vigil on the banks of a river. At dawn they immerse themselves seven times, emerging purified and new like the year.

In addition to purifying our person, special care has always been taken to clean and maintain the temples, churches, synagogues, cemeteries, groves, and shrines, in which prayers for the propitious New Year are made. In Myanmar, the former Burma, the New Year festival of Thingyan drenches the entire country, every building and dwelling, and all of its inhabitants in cleansing water. All images of the Buddha, indoors and out, are scrubbed clean as a crucial display of blessing.

By obvious extension, this New Year’s urge to purge includes our home environments, where the most intimate and ordinary prayers of daily life are uttered. If a man’s home is his castle, surely it is a woman’s shrine. Cleaning house to make ready for a new year is a universal task, symbolic and reverant as it is practical. Out with the old and in with the new! Death to dirt! Removing the dust and detritus accumulated during the previous year ensures the ridding of a dwelling and its occupants of the shortcomings and disappointments delivered during that time as well. Domestic renovation signifies spiritual and social renewal.

All over the world, houses are scrubbed spic and span from top to bottom and yards and walkways are swept spotlessly clean. In old England, New Year’s Day was the annual sweeping of all chimneys. The expression “to make a clean sweep” comes from this New Year’s custom. In Hong Kong, ten days before the New Year, women observe a Day for Sweeping Floors. At this time, an intensive house cleaning is begun in readiness for the New Year. Nothing, no corner, is left untouched. On New Year’s Day Moroccans pour water over themselves, their animals, the floors and walls of their homes. In Wales, children go door to door to beg water from their neighbors which they then scatter all over the houses of their community in order to bless them.

In many Native American cultures, in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, hearth fires are extinguished annually and ritually rekindled in a New Year ritual of new fire. In this way, sins and devils are purged in purification ceremonies symbolizing spiritual renewal. Zuni women throw out their live embers, then sprinkle their entire homes with corn meal in a rite called House Cleansing in order to ensure good fortune in child birth in the coming year. During the Iranian New Year celebration of Narooz, wild rue is burned in households because it is believed to drive away all evil and usher in a happy and propitious new year.

Santería, which combines elements of the West African Yoruban religion with those of the Catholic Church and the traditions of the indigenous tribes of the Caribbean, has many methods of spiritual house cleaning. Ordinarily one cleans one’s own home, altar, and aura with a wide variety of special washes, herbs, and candles. But in serious cases of impurity, a padrina/padrino will make a house call to perform a special purification ceremony. S/he most often will spit rum in a fine spray around the room, or roll a burning coconut along the floor while praying, to rid the place of bad energy.

So, darling, get out the brooms and the buckets, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Scrub the grime out of your environment and your mentality. The act of cleaning will help you to feel like you are back in control of your life, and an orderly, cheerful house will definitely improve your mood. Light some incense and some candles and invite in some fresh, new energy.

Happy New Year to you.

xxMama Donna

If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear as it is, infinite.
– William Blake

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. Send your questions about seasons, cycles, and celebrations to Mama Donna at cityshaman@aol,com.

Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine and writes for The Huffington Post and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she where she where she offers intuitive tarot readings and spiritual counseling and works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.

www.DonnaHenes.net
www.TheQueenOfMySelf.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Henes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Queen_of_My_Self

Watch her videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/MamaDonnaHenes

Follow her on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/queenmamadonna

Connect with her on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/MamaDonnaHenes

Read her on the Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-henes/

Read her on Beliefnet:
http://blog.beliefnet.com/thequeenofmyself/

Read more...

A Question of Lost and Found

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

*Ask Your Mama™

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™

by ©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

 

Dear Mama Donna,

Hi! I just read your column for the first time, and I have a question. I went through a very traumatic time five years ago and I did some major soul searching. I used to run through my life, now I enjoy all that the universe sends me. I do see “signs” that I recognize and have a uncanny “gut.” I still feel that I am on the wrong path and I am wondering, do we loose our way for a reason? I have learned so much over the years, and have different perspective on life. I welcome new things (signs and omens) and have been often heard saying, “Wow, life is sooo cool!”

-Stopping to Smell the Roses in NJ

Dear Rosebud,

It seems to me that you are already right smack dab on your path — The Path to Your Self Discovery. You just don’t recognize it, because your intended destination has changed over the years. Consequently, you think that you are lost. But you are right where you are supposed to be.

You have suffered through a trauma and have recovered. Naturally, this would change your outlook and perspective. Plus, you are five years older with more experience and greater wisdom. Our life path is not set in concrete. As we evolve, the path transforms to meet our new needs. As the Irish say, the path rises up to meet us.

You ask if we lose our way for a reason. Personally, I feel that everything in our lives happens for a reason, although it very well might be not be clear to us at the time. All occurrences — the good, the bad, and the ugly — present us the opportunity to learn a lesson that we need to learn. These karmic tutorial sessions might not be fun, but they are essential for the continued growth and enlightenment of our soul. Ultimately, there is no such thing as bad lesson.

We are pulled away from our original planned direction because we need to make a detour along the way in order to see or hear or learn something important. It seems to me that you have been learning quite a few invaluable life lessons along the trail:

How to recognize signs and omens

How to honor your gut feelings

How to take time to appreciate life

How to glory at the wonder of it all

In my book, that makes you a spiritual savant. These are the most important lessons that life has to teach us. So, feel good about all the progress you have made. And be easy on yourself if you feel there is another path for you to discover and pursue.

Don’t worry. Your path has your name on it — posted large so you can’t miss the turnoff — and it is patiently waiting for you to stumble upon it. All you have to do is keep your heart and your mind open — as well as your eyes and your ears. There are signs and omens everywhere leading you directly to your destiny. Just follow your gut.

And enjoy the roses that line the trail.

xxMama Donna

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. *Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com

Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine and writes for The Huffington Post, Beliefnet and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she offers intuitive tarot readings and spiritual counseling and works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.

www.DonnaHenes.net
www.TheQueenOfMySelf.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Henes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Queen_of_My_Self

Watch her videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/MamaDonnaHenes

Follow her on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/queenmamadonna

Connect with her on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/MamaDonnaHenes

Read her on the Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-henes/

Read her on Beliefnet:
http://blog.beliefnet.com/thequeenofmyself/

Read more...

A Question of Needing a Catalyst

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.
*Ask Your Mama™ , Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™
by ©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

Dear Mama Donna,

I just came across your photo of standing eggs on end at the art-that-heals.org web site. This was only minutes after I was pondering how to create a certain earth-healing ritual.

There is a creek here in the city of San Jose, California, that no one seems to own. It’s a tributary to the Guadalupe River. This poor creek is

suffocating with trash of all kinds. I’ve seen birds and ducks living there — it can’t be easy.

I work in a HUGE corporation that is full of resourceful, talented, caring people. I know that if I provide the framework, they will show up. I’d like to perform a general clean-up, perhaps award a prize for the weirdest trash, and then perform a simple healing ceremony, such as tying strips of cloth/prayers to certain branches, or putting up a sign that defends the creek from future trash. Then I’ll buy the volunteers a round at the bar across the street.

I’ve been wanting to do this for months, but I’ve been missing a catalyst — experiencing paralysis and a lot of guilt for not taking action. Have you done something similar to what I’m proposing, and might you have any words of advice for me?

Hoping to be Helpful in San Jose

Dear Helpful,

First of all let me commend you for your fine feelings and fabulous intentions. Good for you! The urge to do something positive for the earth is most honorable, and, as you have discovered, quite daunting, as well. Nagging doubts often delay and deter our action. What to do? Where to start? How to progress? Who am I to aim so high?

As Marianne Willimson said, “Who are you not to?” You have obviously given this project much thought. If you re-read your letter, you will probably be surprised to see that you have already answered all your own questions. It seems to me that you know exactly what to do and how to do it.

The creek obviously needs a major cleanup and your band of fellow workers seems perfectly suited to the task. Perhaps you could expand your out-reach and involve a local school, day care or senior citizen center, scout troop, or such. And sure, reward them with whatever seems appropriate.

Adopt the creek in a formal ceremony, claiming response-ability for its future care. Post the sign that you envisioned. Continue your efforts on a regular basis with periodic clean-up days and educational events. Have plastic bags (recycled, of course) printed with your logo and slogans and pass them out to encourage on-going trash collection.

I love your idea of a prize for the strangest trash discovery. Why not take it a step further and create sculptural elements from the flotsam that you find and decorate the banks and environs of the creek, creating a sort of whimsical ecology/art park? Host community picnics there and celebrate your surroundings and your own self-involvement.

What a lovely vision you have imagined. I see it all so clearly. A brave and beautiful world where we each take responsibility for righting whatever wrongs we witness and create for ourselves with our own imagination and ingenuity, a brave new, viable, sustainable, magical way of life and living.

So, consider this the catalyst you’ve been needing. Swallow that energy-draining guilt, girlfriend, and go for it! We need you.

xxMama Donna

P.S. For further information and inspiration regarding some of your ideas, you might want to refer to the following:

Re: Cleaning the creek: Heartist, Dominique Mazeaud has made a long-time monthly meditation project of cleaning the Guadalupe River in Santa Fe, New Mexico. http://www.earthheartist.com/

Re: Found junk sculpture: Alice Guffy Miller is the queen of fantastical ecological structures, which she creates with community involvement using trash and recyclables. http://home.comcast.net/~sitron45/pf/alice.html

Re: Tying cloth to branches as a healing ritual: I actually wrote an entire book about just that! Dressing our Wounds in Warm Clothes: Ward’s Island Energy Trance-Mission  ( Astro Artz, 1982) is available through me,  www.donnahenes.net

Dear Mama Donna,

I so, so appreciate your letter of encouragement and guidance. You were

right on the money. I know the steps, and your energy added the necessary *zing*. The day after I wrote to you, I actually met with the right person to advertise this project within our company, so it has begun to take on a life of its own.

As my request for help churns through the slow bureaucracy, I notice that nature took a hand and flooded the creek with three days’ rain (we need it!) All the trash danced on top. By the time my company can help, the tide should be out enough. I am filled with optimism! It reminds me of how the National Park Service came up with a 30-year plan to demolish many ugly buildings in Yosemite — and within only 3 months 2/3 of the plan had completed — by (El Niño) nature!

I realize now that the branch-wrapping idea must have come from Dressing Our Wounds in Warm Clothes, a copy of which was at my mother’s Manhattan apartment in the eighties. That’s how powerful your book is — to stick under my skin all these years after a single evening looking (mostly) at the pictures. I am so delighted!

I’ll let you know how the cleanup goes. You remind me of a little prayer that starts out: Oh, Great Mother, bless this Earth through our actions.

Best regards,
Helpful

Dear Mama Donna,

Here’s the latest — We are organized and lined up to clean the creek around Earth Day. In an ironic note, the local cops have forbidden us to enter the area that needs the most work. They tell us it is too dangerous (crime, dealers, needles) for the likes of us. Apparently, no one has told the ducks that!!!!!

Blessings from my activist life,

Helpful

Dear Helpful,

Are you ever! Good girl. When the authorities get all hot and bothered, you know you are doing something right. Take it from me. I once went to jail in Los Angeles for chanting for peace on the Autumnal Equinox, charged with “Inciting to Litter!” A few years ago on the Winter Solstice, 33 of us were arrested for chanting, “Reverence to Her” on the beach. This time, the charge was “Unauthorized Presence.” Well, I think so. And that’s just what ruffles them. We are unauthorized and live and act according to our own inner authority based on integrity, respect, reverence, and mutual response-ability.

Carry on in pride,

xxMama Donna

Art can be a form of enlightened behavior
that is constructive, done out of compassion,
not only for human beings, but for the
environment and for the planet itself.
—Jose Arguelles

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. *Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com

Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine and writes for The Huffington Post, Beliednet and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she where she where she offers intuitive tarot readings and spiritual counseling and works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.

www.DonnaHenes.net
www.TheQueenOfMySelf.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Henes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Queen_of_My_Self

Watch her videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/MamaDonnaHenes

Follow her on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/queenmamadonna

Connect with her on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/MamaDonnaHenes

Read her on the Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-henes/

Read her on Beliefnet:
http://blog.beliefnet.com/thequeenofmyself/

Read more...