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Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy’

It’s been awhile since I blogged about my physical fitness goals as they relate to my spirituality.  Too long, in fact.  Time to get back in the game!

The day after my cesarean section, the nurses and doctors were adamant that I get up to walk around.  Those first few steps were some of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I took them and felt amazing after I did.  Exhausted, but amazing all the same.  It was akin to the accomplishment I felt after going further and for longer durations each time I went out to run last summer.

Only this time it was walking.  I never thought I’d feel so good about little baby steps.

The walking has continued, mostly thanks to my encouraging husband who pushes me as much as himself.  We both want to start running again but know I can just get up and jog.  I have to take things slow.  And so, just about every night, we’ve been going for walks around the neighborhood.  It started with simply going around the block, then up and down a couple streets.  Now we’ve widened our distance to the rest of the town.  We go a little further each time.  Last night we walked over two miles!

Baby Bee comes along for the ride, wrapped against my heart.  She usually sleeps.  Occasionally she stares wide-eyed at the sky and trees.  Sometimes she cries and demands feeding, so I’ve figured out how to do that while wearing her.

It’s important to me that I get back in shape.  My husband and I both want to run again.  My goal is to continue walking until the winter, then, hopefully ,take up cross-country skiing when the snow accumulates.  Next spring and summer, we intend to start running with Couch to 5K again.  Ultimately, I want to run in a 5K race.  I know I might not be ready by next summer, but I definitely want to participate in some of the local races in 2015.

Walking has been a great way for me to keep in touch with the local Nature Spirits.  I’m reluctant to go into the woods on my own like I used to because I feed Baby Bee on demand.  I’m equally reluctant to take her with me because of the overgrowth and the high tick count we’ve had this summer.  (Before I go back to work and things get really busy once more, I’m hoping we can go to an actual maintained hiking trail to enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest safely!)  So walks through the neighborhood have been great, especially because there are plenty of trees, a lovely park, and bridges with great views of the Indian River.  Self-improvement, time outdoors, time with my tribe – what’s not to love?

The Indian River – photo by Weretoad, 2013

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First off, if you haven’t read the latest offering from The Wild Hunt on Mothers’ Day, you really ought to.  It includes a concise history (which I was not aware of before) as well as possibly spiritual implications this secular holiday may have for Pagans.

This is the first time I’m officially celebrating Mothers’ Day now that I’m expecting.  Despite her not having been born, the little one growing in me makes me a mother; an inexperienced mother, but a mother all the same!  Weretoad has arranged for me to get a maternity massage in the near future and brought me to see “The Great Gatsby” last night (which I thoroughly enjoyed).  Today we went to Foxy’s restaurant in Fisher’s Landing on the St. Lawrence River to celebrate with my parents.  The view there is spectacular and they gave mothers a free dessert.  Nom!

I wanted to include a special ritual on my first personal observation of Mothers’ Day.  In particular, I wanted to give offerings to my spiritual mothers.  I’d never thought of doing that before, but becoming a mother really makes one reflect on the sacrifice it takes to be one, and thus I reflected on how I should have been doing that all along!  Originally, my intent was to share a cup of pregnancy tea with my Ancestral Mothers.  The more I thought, I realized that I should also honor the Earth Mother, the Mother Nature Spirits, and the Mother Goddesses, especially my lady Brighid.  They all play an important role in my concept of what it is to be a mother – whether biological or not.  And so, I organized a bit of a tea party devotional!

My very eclectic tea set ready for the job! Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.

I made a pot of pregnancy tea and brought two teacups and saucers to my altar – one to act as an offering bowl and the other for my portion of the tea during the return flow.  I spoke words of praise and thanks to the Earth Mother and Mothers within the Three Kindreds.  I poured tea and meditated.  I drew omens to see what blessings or lessons they had for me on my new journey and they were very good and encouraging.  The Nature Spirits gave me the raven for initiation and protection.  The Ancestors sent me the dog for companionship and protection.  The Goddesses sent me the boar which signifies the strength of a warrior.  I directed those blessings into my cup of tea and drank them up.  I also directed them into an amulet I intend to have with me at the birth.

My tea party devotional was a wonderful way to connect with the maternal energies on this day.  I feel the rite was successful and I intend to do another next year.

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Northern Rivers' beautifully imperfect Maypole!  Photo by Weretoad, 2013.

Northern Rivers Protogrove, ADF | Bringing the Ár nDraíocht Féin tradition to Northern NY.

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People planted baby trees to celebrate Arbor Day. Specialists taught them how to do it properly to ensure the survival of the trees. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.

 

Yesterday I joined my friend Miss Corinne to celebrate Arbor Day with her organization The Thousand Islands Land Trust.  It was a really excellent event held at their Zenda Farm Preserve  just outside of Clayton, NY.  Admission was free and included information about planting and caring for trees, local wildlife, and local conservation efforts.  Volunteers were able to help plant trees throughout the preserve.  Children (and the young at heart) were able to see live animals from the local zoo and organic farm, participate in a community art project, and make seed bombs and peanut butter pinecone bird feeders!  Those last activities were what I volunteered to help with!  It was messy but a lot of fun.  Not many people knew what seed bombs are (Miss Corinne shared some information about that on her blog if you don’t either) so it was really exciting to share that with adults while the little ones played with the clay.  I think it’s a great activity to get children excited about gardening, and it can spiral up into a greater awareness of creating habitats for pollinators, urban renewal, and even permaculture!  Several boy scouts in attendance made as many as they could! Kudos to Miss Corinne for putting together a great activity table!

Seed bomb and pinecone bird feeder station. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013

 

 

Community art project featuring bark from old trees and leaves painted by local children who attended the event. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.

 

Everyone enjoyed the visiting animals, including this wood turtle! He moved surprisingly fast and seemed very excited to see people. Other animals at the event included a kestrel, a python, and a very friendly goat. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.

If you live in the North Country, you should definitely bookmark The Thousand Islands Land Trust’s event calendar.  There are hikes, kayak excursions, gardening, and wildlife viewing opportunities for young and old alike.  They’re ways to connect to and even help with local conservation – something that I feel should be very important to Druids.  Many are free to attend which is wonderful for people (like myself) who struggle with money over the summer but still want to have fun along the beautiful St. Lawrence River.  I can’t wait to sign my little one up for some of their exciting kid treks!

While at the Arbor Day event, I saw many signs of spring.  Nature called, as she frequently does to pregnant ladies, but the farm preserve’s toilet was out of order.  I took a little hike into the forest to find a special tree, and along the way I noticed several trout lily leaves and even some trillium leaves!  They’ll be blooming soon!  Those are always a sure sign to me that winter is definitely over.

After returning home, I saw another sign of spring in the form of a stowaway.  That’s right – I had a tick on me!  I discovered it when I itched my expanding belly.  The darn thing was hiding on the underside of my stomach where I can’t easily see!  In all my years of running around forests, I’d never been bit by a tick before, and I naturally freaked out because I don’t want to get Lyme disease – especially while pregnant!  Weretoad carefully removed it with tweezers but, because we were both new to this, he killed and removed it from the house.  I guess it’s recommended you put it in a bag just in case you need to test or identify it.  He thinks it was a dog tick rather than deer, and my father agrees based on the description. It was still flat, thus it hadn’t been on long enough to engorge itself – which, from what I read, is when you’re at risk of catching the disease.  I hope and pray everything is ok!  This pregnant lady doesn’t need that extra worry…

Yet there’s a sign of spring in Northern NY if there ever was one – the ticks are awake.  Just a little reminder that, along with the beauty, there are those who we consider outsiders.  They’re an essential part of creation but boy, they can be a pain!

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It’s Earth Day once more, and many people, Pagan and non, are doing their best to honor the Mother.  Whether it’s Earth Day, Earth Hour, Arbor Day, or what have you, one should definitely take these observances as reminders of what we should be doing every day.  Honoring the Earth Mother, and attempting to live in better harmony with my brother and sister Nature Spirits, is a major part of my Druidic life.  The key, I’ve found, is to take baby steps and do what I can.  It’s so easy to fall into a guilty mindset, and while that can be a little motivating, it’s mostly discouraging.  It’s better, or so it seems, to commit to small goals and set yourself up for success rather than the opposite!

Every Earth Day, I’ve made a point of going into the forest to pick up a bag of litter.  I dedicate the action to the Earth Mother and local spirits.  This year I’m just not feeling up to it.  The bigger I get, the harder it is to bend over and navigate the uneven terrain in the forest.  Rather than feel bad about what I can’t do, I decided to set myself a smaller goal.  Armed with a little bag and garden gloves, I made a small circuit around my home.  I picked up a ton of trash in just a small area.  Was it casually thrown after an outdoor snack?  Did it blow out of the garbage?  Probably a combination.  Shopping bags, old Halloween decor, plastic eggs, disposable utensils, candy wrappers…  Rather than focusing on blame and disgust in my species, I tried to think about the difference one person can make.  Now the land around my apartment is cleaner!  To top it off, I got a little exercise and did something nice for the local spirits.

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I’ve had a busy but wonderful weekend full of learning, beautiful weather, and old friends.  I feel exhausted, and my feet hurt, but it sure beats lazing around with Netflix all day!

Yesterday I attended the first in a series of meditation workshops at the Kripalu Yoga and Wellness Center.  Local reiki practitioner and long-time meditator, Cherie Schneckenburger, lead us through an explanation of the many practical benefits of meditation, some of the research major universities have done and are continuing to do on the subject (especially in regards to pain management), and some practical exercises to help us strengthen our visualization skills.  Much of this initial workshop was review for me, but some of the activities were new and I found them to be very effective.  I’ve filed them away in my brain for future reference!  They will surely help me help others down the road.  I also wanted some review as I once more get back into my meditative and light trance practices.  I really feel that I’ve been neglecting that side of me lately.  My recent meditation on Ériu was a leap from months of relative idleness.  I’ve been attempting to maintain a weekly practice, but most of it has been in the form of prayer and offerings of gratitude.  There’s nothing wrong with this, of course – it’s certainly kept me very connected!  My meditations are rare, short, and usually focused on grounding and centering, and I’m feeling that I need to start working on those skills again.  Not only do I need to for the Initiate Study Program, but I’m hoping to use meditation as a pain management tool during labor – at least initially.  I am looking forward to the next workshops in this meditation series.  I’m ready to dust off my meditation skills, hone them, and go further with some experienced guidance!

A view of Onondaga Lake in Liverpool, NY. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.

Today, Weretoad and I went to Syracuse and Liverpool to see some friends – grovies from Muin Mound!  It was serendipitous how it all worked out.  One was originally going to come up this way to bring me a breast pump she didn’t need.  Well, she only gave birth two weeks prior and I felt silly having her travel to me, so we decided to go to her!  Suddenly, the old gang was organizing a bit of a nature walk along the Onondaga Lake in Liverpool.  My friend and I decided it was a perfect opportunity to get together and see others from the grove!

I’m so glad we made the trip.  Not only did I get to hang out with my friend and her lovely family, but I was able to visit with other grovies who I haven’t seen in months!  It was great to catch up and take in the beautiful day!  The air was chilly at times but I found myself unbuttoning my coat repeatedly.  The ice and snow were melting, the ducks were out, and people were everywhere enjoying the change in weather!  And to top it off, I got some things I needed like the breast pump (yay!) and some exercise!

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It’s late morning.  After doing my best to offer hospitality to our guest, I’m finally sitting down for some warm cereal and tea.  Ahhh…  me time!  The tea is made with roughly chopped fresh ginger, local honey, and half a lemon – its juice and rind.  Trying to keep my body healthy and ward off illness, of course.  As I sip the tea and slurp the cereal, I’m reminded of Brighid’s warmth and healing waters.

Although it’s only January, we’ve been experiencing a bit of a heat wave.  The snow we were so delightedly hoarding since the Winter Solstice is all but gone.  On and off again rain quickens the process.  It almost feels like spring, and with Imbolc being the traditional beginning of spring, I find myself seeking signs.

Of course, we will be getting more snow this week (supposedly).  It’s a good thing, and I want more snow.  Our ecosystem needs it, our farmers need it, and Upstate NY generally has snow right up until mid march.  Recent years, the patterns has changed a bit…  Which is worrisome.

It seems a lot of us are waiting for Imbolc.  Those who don’t observe the Celtic high days, or the modern NeoPagan calendar, still seem to be thirsting for spring and it’s many festivals.  People want a rebirth within and without.  I’ve noticed a lot of friends who write are suddenly lamenting the difficulties of being a published author.  They’re turning within to mull it over and seek an answer.  Pregnant friends in the end stages of their third trimester struggle with pain, the medical status quo, and anticipation.  People have started the process of cleaning their homes, myself included.  Fellow gardeners are excitedly perusing the seed catalogs arriving in the mail, day dreaming of sprouting seeds and new, verdant life all around!

This past week, I’ve watched with a mostly passive interest as the NeoPagan community grappled with its identity online.  Oh yes, dear readers – the great Pagan/Polytheistic debate of 2013.  Even I’m going to mention it in a blog post.  I had been writing a longer response with all of my thoughts, many of which are mixed, and then I trashed it.  Self-identity is important.  Group identity is important.  Labels and names have power – they really do.  Everyone has a right to express themselves, to feel they belong to something bigger, and to nitpick linguistics and semantics.  Yet in the end, I’m not sure another blog post on the pile would do any good.  As for myself: I’m a proud polytheist who worships her Gods, walks the Druidic path, and yet finds a home within the NeoPagan community.  Maybe that will change one day, but for now, I am who I am.  You are who you are.  Let’s be friends.

My mind is filled with more personal concerns  – my growing baby, keeping my home clean, whether or not the North Country Druidic Study Group’s application for protogrove status will be approved, exercising, eating right, keeping up with my own spiritual practices.  Think of me what you will!

So I sit here drinking my healing tea and praying that Brighid will bless each of us with the healing we need and that spring will bring new, positive things to us all.  Until then, we must prepare and wait.

 

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