Dear Viriditas Community,
Happy Summer! After weeks of rain here in Boulder if feels so good to feel the warm, hot sun. I love going out for my walks in the Flatirons or working in my garden and soaking in the glorious rays. There is something about the warmth and power of sunlight that nourishes and transforms me like nothing else. How I love the summer!
This month I’d like you to take a really close look at the Viriditas logo. See if you can find any animals hidden in the letters. There are three of them. Each of these three animals is a source of great Wisdom in my life.
This month I’d like you to especially consider the letter V and find the Eagle. The Eagle has always been a source of great inspiration and power for me. In his book Animal Speak, Ted Andrews writes: “The Eagle is one of the greatest and most admired birds of prey… Their ability to soar and hunt amazes and thrills those who are witness. Eagles, in fact, are so good at getting food they spend very little time hunting. The fact that they are good at feeding themselves from the land and still soar to great heights in the sky reflects much about the hidden significance of the Eagle who comes as a totem. They will teach a balance of being of the Earth but not in it…The Eagle is a symbol of spiritual power and illumination…Their energy is healing and aids in creation.”
My experience of the Eagle is most like that of the Pueblo Indians. Here Andrews writes: “To the Pueblo Indians the Eagle was a bird of the sky with the ability to spiral upward until it passed through a hole in the sky to the home of the sun. It was associated with all the energies of the sun – physical and spiritual. The Pueblo Indians honored six directions – north, south, east, west, zenith (above), and nadir (below). The Eagle was the symbol of the zenith because of its ability to soar to great heights. From these heights it could survey all four directions. They became symbols of greater sight and perception.”
For years now I have had experiences in my dreams and also when I am awake in meditation where I sense myself either on the back of or being carried by the claws of a gigantic Eagle. During these experiences I am always being taken somewhere of profound spiritual significance. The Eagle has taken me to the Sun, to the Alps and to Jesus. The Eagle is always powerfully comforting. I have total trust in it, and it definitely feels like a male being that is here to help me receive profound messages needed for my good and the good of others.
To find out which animals are totems to us in our lives, Andrews recommends asking ourselves the following questions: Do you have an animal or bird that has always fascinated you? When you visit the zoo, which animal(s) do you wish to visit the most or first? What animal(s) do you see most frequently when you are out in nature? What animal most frightens you? (That which we fear the most is often something we must learn to come to terms with. When we do that, it then becomes a power.) Do you have dreams with animals in them or are there animal dreams you have never forgotten?
The Eagle has recently come into my life again. A few weeks ago I went on a journey on the back of an Eagle while I was playing the marimba. I was flying through some running lines on the lead marimba. All of sudden I sensed myself on the back of an enormous Eagle flying over the planet Earth, out in space. We were soaring around the Earth. How I was able to keep on playing the marimba is beyond me. It felt like the other marimba players’ music was the Eagle, and they were supporting me, carrying me on this magnificent ride. It was a glorious feeling…very powerful and oh so exciting! I sense that the encounter with the Eagle that night has reconnected me with my creativity. I find myself more willing to experience extremes in a controlled condition and thus facilitate the alchemical process within my life. I also find myself more able to use my passions to purify (the Eagle and I were flying very close to the Sun!) and to use my abilities even if it means being scorched a little. Finally there is also a renewed willingness to seek out the true emotional aspects of myself and immerse myself within them, and by doing so awaken a higher sense of purity, passion, creativity, healing, and spirituality.
Once we finished playing the song that night, I told the group what had happened to me with the Eagle. Randy MacIntosh (our teacher) then told us that the Eagle is very important in Zimbabwe. Check out the image of the bird on the flag of Zimbabwe. The stone-carved Zimbabwe Bird is the national emblem of Zimbabwe. According to Wikipedia it probably represents the Bateleur eagle (= chapungu, pronounced “cha-poong-goo) or the African fish eagle (= hungwe, pronounced “oong-way”). The original carved birds are from the ruined city of Great Zimbabwe, which was built by ancestors of the Shona (a group of Bantu people in Zimbabwe and some neighboring countries), starting in the 11th century and continuing for over 300 years. The ruins after which modern Zimbabwe was named, cover some 1,800 acres, and are the largest ancient stone construction in Zimbabwe. The word Zimbabwe means big house of stones. Among the most notable elements of Great Zimbabwe are the soapstone bird sculptures. The sculptures are about 16 inches tall and stand on columns more than a yard tall. They were installed on walls and monoliths of the ancient city of Great Zimbabwe and are believed to have been a sign of the royal presence.
Randy also told us that he and his wife Amy visited Great Zimbabwe over ten years ago. The guide they were with told them that in earlier times, the king and the medicine man would have their discussions at the site, looking out over the city. They then would give their prayers to the Eagle to be transported to the Spirit World. There is a big rock in the shape of an Eagle head still there today.
The experience that night has greatly informed my marimba playing as well. I invite you to enjoy this video of Titandare playing Mbirimo at the Kutandara Annual Student Festival held at the Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place a few weeks ago. (Click here to view video) Be especially on the lookout for the interplay between myself and Heron (playing the lead). At one point one of Heron’s knobs is going to go flying like an Eagle… enjoy the ride!
The flying like an Eagle continued into Tap Into Transformation on June 5th, where the theme was Flying High! There were certainly moments when our tap dancers looked like soaring Eagles that night! David started the evening by sharing a story of an aspiring actor he’d met years ago in LA who was working as a bellboy in one of the big LA hotels. David was struck by the positive and enthusiastic nature of the young man and asked him how he was so happy when working at such a tedious job? The man replied, “I believe the Universe conspires in our favor when we keep our spirits high.” His name was Rocco. That night David and I asked the dancers the following questions:
Where do you yearn to fly high?
Where does your heart long to soar?
What dreams do you have that need to get wings?
We then went on to learn some wonderful dance steps to the theme song from the movie, “Rocky.” Check out the dance! (Click here to view video) After a wonderful meal of Italian fare, I then invited everyone to get comfortable on the dance floor and I treated them to the experience of one of the meditations from the meditation CD David and I just completed, called Shine the Light. The words of the meditation came from St. Hildegard’s Illumination called Person in Sapphire Blue. The background music was the song we recorded for Feathers On The Breath Of God based on St. Hildegard’s song, “O Frondens.” The meditation invites the listener to become one with the Person in Sapphire Blue and to take in the fire and the light St Hildegard experienced. Once filled with the fire and the light, the listener is invited to extend the fire and the light out into the world. Once the meditation was finished, I gave each participant a small kite shaped piece of paper and invited them to write down how they saw themselves extending the fire and light out into the world.
The week following the event, David and I journeyed to the Grand Canyon. We had burned the pieces of kite papers and took the ashes to the canyon, letting them fly high and out into the universe. It was a very powerful and exciting ritual, and I invite you to try it! If you’d like to use the St. Hildegard meditation, the CD is now available for sale on my website. (Click here to purchase.)
Complete the following steps:
- Cut out the image of a kite and write any of the dreams you have on it that you’d like to fly high.
- Burn the piece of kite paper.
- Take the ashes to a mountain top and let them go!
I would love to hear from you about any dreams you have that need to take off.
One of the dreams that I am letting fly high these days is called The Emerald City Artists Collective. A few months ago when I was practicing my tap dancing in the studio I received a visit from two wonderful artists, Debbie Hill and Beth Merkel. Debbie is the owner of Hoi Polloi Workshop, an open Pottery Studio for the masses. Beth has organized the Boulder Metalsmithing Association. These women came by because they want to collaborate in the promotion of the artists working in the studios in our complex. Each of these ladies is a gifted artist with a powerful vision. I sensed many years ago when I created the Viriditas Studio that this location would one day be a hot bed for a community of artists and I can now say that the Viriditas Studio has joined forces with the neighboring studios and we are flying high! Yes, we are calling ourselves the Emerald City Artists Collective (the color green and emeralds surface again…can’t you see St. Hildegard smiling?) The Emerald City Artists Collective now has a Facebook page.Check it out and be sure to like it! (Click here to visit.)
Finally, I am excited to announce my new blog series for the summer, St. Hildegard’s Medicine. I am using as my primary source the book, Hildegard of Bingen’s Medicine by Dr. Wighard Strehlow & Gottfried Hertzka. I have started by giving the foundation with which to understand St. Hildegard’s medicine. I will be picking highlights which I find particularly practical and have used in my own life in the coming months. As I work on the blog, I keep hearing St. Hildegard telling me, “Remember Jeannine dear, make it useful.” Enjoy and please let me know how these posts are useful in your life. (Click here to visit blog.)
As you soak in the warm rays of the Sun…don’t get too scorched… and keep flying high!