In the Northern Hemisphere we have crossed the threshold into spring. Depending on your latitude, you might see flowers in full bloom or a crust of slowly melting snow. Like wildlife emerging from hibernation, we are shaking off the dust of winter's rest and feeling the call of creation and renewal.
Here at my home in the mountains of the Northeast we are always a few weeks behind, so we celebrate "mud season" by exchanging snow boots for galoshes and artfully arranging buckets under the drips from leaking roofs. The trees are only just hinting at new leaves, but that does not stop the birds from returning. Each morning adds a new voice to the dawn chorus as the winged ones make their way north, and home.
One needs patience to live here, to wait for spring while others are already digging in gardens and lighting their grills. Garden magazines and social media posts invite a longing for things to be as they are not. The more we get ahead of Nature in our minds, the more we lose our sense of place - the awareness of our connection and belonging to the part of the Earth we are standing on.
As our relationship with the natural world breaks down, so do we. A reconnection to Nature opens us to heal and transform our bodies, minds, and spirits. A growing movement in support of the Olympic Mountain EarthWisdom Circle (OMEC) is the HEARTH project. Independently facilitated HEARTH Circles, based on Community Healing Circles described in Shamanic Reiki (Roberts and Levy), offer community support to find our way back to the Earth.
Because HEARTH Circles are local and community-focused, they lay a path for creating the deep inner knowing of place. Each circle reflects what is happening in the moment, where you are, right outside your door. HEARTH facilitators lay seasonal altars, guide meditations or shamanic journeys, and introduce healing practices that help us see, sense, and feel the beauty of the natural world. Through the giving and receiving of Shamanic Reiki and other energy healing modalities in the HEARTH Circle, we connect in community not just with each other but with the Earth herself.
The "HEARTH" name is both a nod to the central place in homes where families gather for food and warmth, and a combination of the words that reflect the intention of the project: "heart," "earth," and "art." Attending a HEARTH Circle is self-care; the practices and sharing open your heart to release stress and stuck emotional energy. By fostering a connection to the Earth, HEARTH Circles provide a setting for awakened discussion and action around ecological and social issues in communities. Within the sacred space held for a HEARTH Circle, you can unveil your art - your unique embodiment of life-affirming creativity.
The creative energy of spring is my inspiration as I plan the monthly Community HEARTH and Healing Circles I will facilitate this season. During each HEARTH Circle there is meditation, the chance to both give and receive energy, and a ritual of naming and then sending energy to far-off beings and situations in need of healing. My underlying desire, however, is to simply offer the folks in our small, rural mountain community a space to gather with like-hearted people, for both light, friendly networking and deep sharing, where everyone's art is honored.
Donations given at HEARTH Circles support OMEC's mission to reconnect us with deep mystery, encourage a sacred and responsible relationship with the Earth, and preserve the ancient wisdom ways of indigenous people and ancestral lands.
Visit OMEC's website to find a listing of existing HEARTH Circles or to discover how to create a HEARTH Circle where you are. Your HEARTH experience ripples out into widening circles of connection, community, and deep wisdom revealed. And, please, take a moment to observe and feel the energy of spring in the place you call home. Oh, and watch out for mud if you aren't wearing your galoshes.
Debbie Philp, HEARTH Project Committee Member, OMEC