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Forest HallsSo the shortest day came. How has your creative fire guided you through 2015?
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 Acorn to Oak - No. 11 - Winter Solstice 2015

Solstice houses - photo by Jane Valencia

Joys of the Season of Light to You!

I just want to express my gratitude to you for reading my Zine, showing up at my gigs, and enjoying my art in the various ways that you all do. I feel absolutely blessed to be able to do what I love in this world -- which is a number of things! Some of you have received newsletters from me for years now. I thank you for sticking by me as my creative fire shifted this way and that in its expressions. I've finally given up trying to choose the "one thing that I do". If you're with me this far, then I trust that you are enjoying something that I offer -- and maybe you experience the unity of it better than I sometimes do!

Here on this shortest day, I invite you to take some time to sit by your own creative fire. Just imagine your unique way of being in this universe as a warming fire. What are the qualities of your fire? How do you feel within your body and emotions as you sit by this fire? If you imagine the year since last winter solstice, how has the vigor, shape, and feel of your fire changed through the year? Allow yourself to rest in your imagination and dream space with this, and to be curious and playful!

How does your creative fire shine as we reach the shortest day of the year? How has your creative fire guided you through 2015, and what treasures has its daring and dancing ways revealed for you? Take a moment imagine yourself as a child, crouched over a basket of wrapped gifts. How many are there? Unwrap them slowly, one by one. What are they? What do they look/smell/feel like? And how do they make you feel? What are these gifts of you -- your magical nature -- that you now unwrap and admire? How have they shape-shifted,  deepened, grown more fancy, or ... [fill in the blank] since last year?
 
If you wish, share on my blog about with what you've been on fire, creatively speaking, and how your sense of your self and your right way in the world has rooted further as a result. I'd love to hear your story!!

In this issue:
  • Poem: The Shortest Day - by Susan Cooper
  • Women's Nature Ways - A gift for you, and early bird registration for A Mid-Winter Retreat ends 12/21. Enrollment ends 1/4/16
  • Upcoming Events In January: Winter Tales: Harp, Story, and Song free performance and Heart of Vashon: telling our Story performance.

Winter Moon - photo art

The Shortest Day

a poem by Susan Cooper


So the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

This is one of my favorite winter solstice poems. I  invite you to read why this poem is so special to me, shared in a blog post of mine a few years back. Enjoy!

Red Cedar - photo

Women's Nature Ways: A Mid-Winter Retreat

facilitated by Stacey Hinden and Jane Valencia. Feb. 5-7, 2016, on Bainbridge Island.

Learn powerful tools and practices to listen to the profound bodymind wisdom within you, and to attune to the timeless, generous spirit of Red Cedar. Please visit our website to learn more about our retreat, and how to join a circle of women ready to explore the mystery and wisdom woven both within us and with nature. Early registration discount through December 21st. Enrollment ends January 4. We look forward to journeying with you!

A Gift for You: Embodied Renewal practice audio. Sign up for our Women's Nature Ways newsletter and receive our free audio guiding you into the nourishing wisdom at the heart of your nature.

Upcoming Events in January

Thursday, January 7, 2016, 4-5PM. Winter Tales: Harp, Story, & Song with Jane Valencia. Vashon Library, 17210 Vashon Hwy SW, Vashon Island, WA 98065. (206) 463-2069. Family Program – all ages welcome. Free!

Discover a snowy forest where wondrous creatures share secrets of the newly awakened year. We’ll enter an enchanted landscape, make music together, learn some mischievous animal ways, play with poetry, and more!

I'm pleased to be performing in this event:
Sunday, January 24, 2016. Two performances: 3PM and 7PM. Heart of Vashon: Telling our Story. Blue Heron - Vashon Allied Arts.19704 Vashon Hwy SW Vashon Island, WA.

This performance reading is one piece of a community project that explores what matters to Islanders about living on Vashon-Maury Island as we roll into the 21st century.Why do we choose to make our home here? What is it that makes living here special? Over 150 people responded to the call for submissions, and a script was woven together from selections and excerpts of what Islanders wrote. An intergenerational cast of readers will share poems, reflections and stories that create a moving, humorous and thoughtful tapestry of Island life. Find out more here.

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