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Love deserves to be celebrated in all its glorious manifestations.  

My aunt, who came out as a lesbian in her forties, was over this weekend and she shared with me the story of my grandfather’s sister who lived with a woman but whom no one ever openly admitted was a lesbian. My great aunt’s sexuality was whispered about but never openly acknowledged. We talked about how times have changed and how the struggles my great aunt must have faced were most likely far more isolating and dangerous than the circumstances we experience.

It took me until my forties to openly identify as bisexual. I’ve always suspected I was attracted to both men and women (and when I’m totally honest and not scared to death of how people will treat me, I even admit the fact that I actually identify as pansexual) but identifying my sexuality has been strange for me because I’m in a happy monogamous heterosexual marriage. It’s obviously not the same kind of experience as it would have been had I been able to identify myself when I was younger but in the last few years it still feels important to me to communicate who I really am.

When I shared my sexual identity with my parents, my mom asked if I ever felt like I was missing out or if talking about my sexuality meant I had a secret longing to be in a relationship with a woman. I explained to her that for me it doesn’t. I LOVE my husband. I mean Love followed by a great big fat exclamation mark. We’ve shared years of memories, support, laughter and best friend magic. We have an amazing relationship! We really do. I feel so blessed to have him in my life. He is everything to me. I would fall into a deflated heap of grief the moment our relationship was not as close as it is now. I’m very happy and have no desire to be in relationship with anyone else but at the same time, it has felt so very important to locate myself. It feels important to define who I am. Not for anyone else. Just for me.

I spent most of my life lost and confused. I was so disconnected from my own feelings and emotional needs. I was so disconnected from my own opinions, preferences and desires. I remember asking my friends, even well into my thirties, “Do you think of women this way?” or “Do you think of men with makeup this way?” It was as if I was looking for permission. I was asking them if I was queer instead of asking myself and of course I never received an answer because it’s not a question anyone can answer but me.

For most of my life, I was stuck in a reality where I couldn’t express who I really was unless someone else related to what I was thinking or feeling. If they didn’t relate, then I shrugged my inner experience off and dismissed my own thoughts and feelings. It had heartbreaking consequences. I didn’t follow my own path in life. I lost opportunities to experience things I’ll never get back. I wore a mask and became a stranger to myself and existed in relationships and friendships that didn’t really align with my true values or needs.

A few years ago, I began to heal on a profound level. I was learning to care for my own emotional needs and the more I cared for my own needs, the more unhealthy relationships and habits in my life fell away. I endured a tremendous amount of grief. Shedding my old self wasn’t easy. I read once, that a caterpillar, before becoming a butterfly, actually transforms into a gooey liquid substance. That struck me as symbolic of what it feels like to transform and grow sometimes. I lose all semblance of my old reality and become a sticky goey mess inside. It hurts and I cry and feel broken but slowly, over time, my new self emerges and it feels so much closer to who I really am. The breaking down period of my life turned me into a sobbing mess of goo but ultimately, it led to a rebirth and who I see myself as now feels much more aligned with my Spirit. Living in a way that reflects my true Spirit is terrifying but also so damn liberating.

In the same year that I openly shared my true feelings around my sexuality, I also allowed my identity as a witch to be seen. I wore my cloak in public. I used the word witch to describe my spirituality and I even started using the word witch in my professional life.

Revealing my true self still leaves me feeling exposed and vulnerable. I sometimes want to crawl back in a hole and pretend I’m someone I’m not. I worry I’m not strong enough to handle rejection. I worry people will be insensitive and unkind. I worry my husband will leave me if I reveal too much. I worry people will talk behind my back. I worry I’ll embarrass my kid. I worry people will avoid me. I worry I’ll lose friends. I worry I’ll end up ostracized. And deep down, I worry I will be threatened or physically hurt or that everyone will turn against me and I will be attacked and hated for who I am. But I’ve lived the alternative and it’s not easy either. The alternative feels like hiding and being fake. It feels like tension and trying to fit my Spirit into a shape that slowly chokes my inner light.  I did it for years. No one asked me to but I did it and it was so unhealthy.

I have another aunt who was one of my favorite aunts when I was a child. She committed suicide when I was a teenager and I think of her often. There were obviously complicated factors that led to her death but those who knew her well knew part of the factors contributing to her unhappiness was that she was living a life she didn’t want to because she was afraid to disappoint or hurt the people she loved. She couldn’t give herself permission to be her true self. I love her deeply but I don’t want to repeat that story so I find myself here, in my forties using words to identify myself that I was far too afraid to use in my twenties and thirties and allowing myself to be seen in ways that leave me feeling exposed and vulnerable. It may lead to people judging or rejecting me but at least I know I won’t be judging or rejecting myself and that feels more important to me. After all, there is no one I spend more time with than me. It’s been a lot more fun hanging out in my own mind now that I’ve learned to love myself no matter who I discover myself to be.

Valentine’s Day is coming up and I want to celebrate all the kinds of love that exist. In our mainstream culture, love tends to be represented in one way. My internal world of preferences and sexuality may exist outside of heteronormative norms but I’m also very aware that my external reality does not. I am a cisgender woman married to a cisgender man. My Valentine fits into mainstream culture’s idea of love. This is not the case for everyone. I’ll never have to face the fear of wondering whether or not it’s safe to hold my lover’s hand. There are a thousand issues I won’t have to deal with that my aunt will. I will never experience the same challenges as her because she is in a committed relationship with another woman but I want to be here to support her and the brave lovers like her nonetheless.

Our bodies, our nervous systems and our mental health can endure only so much before they become overwhelmed. If you identify as anything other than heterosexual and need a little mental or emotional relief this month for any reason, big or small, and you resonate with my work and my approach, I welcome you to book an introductory Intuitive Therapy session at a reduced rate (50% of my regular fee). Simply visit this link and use the code ‘loveislove‘ upon checkout. We can connect to the Spirit Guides and angels and see how they can support you or I can give you a MAP session and remove any subconscious blocks that may be causing unneeded anxiety or self-sabotaging behaviors that are working against your personal or professional goals. It’s not much but perhaps it’ll relieve more than we both anticipate (working with Spirit tends to do that).

with love,

Dana da Ponte

 

 

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Holiday Spell and Sell

Join us Friday, November 30th from 7 pm – 10 pm for an evening of magic and holiday shopping as we raise money to support a Moon Sister who was the victim of a racist act.

The Moon Sisters Studio for the Visual and Healing Arts is opening its doors on Friday, November 30th to invite anyone who wishes to cast a candle spell of peace and harmony and enjoy an intuitive card reading, an aromatic kinesiology or reiki session while browsing the beautiful jewelry created by Sade of Hawk Lace Jewelry.

All the money raised will be going to support Sade Auger whose vehicle was scratched in a racist act. The long, deep scratch will cost around $1000 to repair and so our fundraising goal is to raise enough money for Sade so she doesn’t have to pay for the damage herself. This is one small way you can make a stand against the racism Indigenous people in Canada continue to face.

These are some of the ways you can help us reach our fundraising goal:

  1. Send an email transfer donation to support@danadaponte.com Any amount is welcome and very much appreciated. Thank you.
  2. Buy a ticket to the event.
  3. Book an intuitive card reading with Lauren Mackay or aromatic kinesiology or reiki session with Melanie Isles to enjoy at the event.
  4. Purchase Sade’s beautiful jewelry at the event.
  5. Purchase some of the donated products at the event.
Purchase Ticket Here

As a thank you for supporting our cause, at the event we will provide the opportunity to create a candle you can light during the holiday season to bless your home with peace and harmony.

Please feel free to share this event widely and freely with friends and family. We need as much help as possible to raise the funds we need. Click on the social media icons below to share this post. <3

 

This event was created with the support of Melanie Isles of Full Bloom Herbals and Lauren Mackay of Secret Garden Creative.

 

Any proceeds we raise over $1000 will be directed to the Awo Taan Shelter for Women Fleeing Domestic Violence and Abuse

 

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Samhain Mandala

Mark the end of summer and the beginning of winter by seeing what messages Spirit wants to share about the months ahead. Capture the images you receive in a beautiful mandala you can refer back to all year long. Scroll down for a version of this art activity you can print and use.

I love the energy at the beginning of a new cycle. Samhain is what I like to think of as the witch’s New Year. Personally, I like to start contemplating my New Year intentions at Samhain and mull them over slowly in my heart and mind until January, at which time I like to revisit my intentions and consider if there are any intentions I’d like to change or fine tune.

Another helpful practice I do at this time is pull tarot and/or oracle cards for each month in the year ahead to see what Spirit might like me to consider. I’m a visual learner so I like to capture the messages I receive in images, colors and words that I can see so I refer back to them all year long. Last year, I hung my new year mandala in my office. It was filled with a lot of cheerleader messages from Spirit and I often referred back to it when I felt lost or discouraged. It also contained a few cautionary messages showing me things to watch out for or consider. This year though, the most helpful part of having the messages up on my office wall was the way the messages shifted from month to month. Some months were uplifting and celebratory. Some months were darker and more challenging. The images in my mandala reflected that and it reminded me that things shift and are in constant flux so my fear that I will forever stay stuck in a difficult moment is untrue. There is always something different around the corner.

My highly sensitive nervous system also appreciates this practice because being prepared for what might come eases my anxiety.

I’ve outlined the steps to completing your own Samhain mandala below. It’s the kind of activity you can do alone during your Samhain festivities or together with friends.

 

Directions for completing the Samhain Mandala

 

  1. Print the Samhain Mandala from the link below.
  2. Gather your art supplies and tarot and/or oracle cards. You can use more than one deck if you like. I tend to prefer pulling one tarot and one oracle card for each month so I use two decks but you might like mixing a variety of decks together in one pile and pulling from there or you might prefer to keep it simple and use just one deck.
  3. Light a candle and call in your spiritual team. Inform them of your desire to receive messages for each month of the year ahead. Request their help to choose the perfect card from each deck for each month.
  4. Cleanse each deck using your favorite method of spiritual or energetic cleanse such as Reiki, prayer, herbs, crystals, salt, etc.
  5. Pull a card for each month of the year.
  6. In a journal, write down the names of cards you pulled for each month and after looking up the description of the card in the accompanying guidebook, write down any words, ideas or phrases that seem relevant and important. Alternatively, you can forego reading about each card you pull and instead write the words and/or impressions the card you pulled inspire within you as you study it.
  7. Starting with the November section of your Samhain mandala, take the tarot card and the oracle card and your written summary of the messages you pulled for November and draw whatever would best represent the overall feelings and messages you received for the month of November.
  8. Repeat the process for the remaining eleven months on the mandala.
  9. End with a prayer of gratitude.

This art activity is also included in the October 2018 issue of Oriana’s Moonside Companion which is a hand-drawn moon journal with art activities that are thoughtfully designed to help healers and creative entrepreneurs live with magic and intention and nurture themselves, their business and their families. You can subscribe or learn more about it here.

Download Mandala Here

If you do complete this art activity publicly or share photos of the art activity or perform the activity with a group, please respect the work of this artist and creator by mentioning the source and/or providing a link back to this original post. Also, if you end up completing this activity, I’d love to see what you created. You can even post the finished piece on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #danasartrituals or email me at support@danadaponte.com and share with me how it went for you.

with love,

Dana da Ponte

 

 

 

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 Climate change is causing Mother Earth and many of her plants and animals to suffer and highly sensitive people often carry the emotional and psychological burden of these times. This spiritual art activity was created to help highly sensitive people express and release some of the grief and loss they feel. It is also created to invite others to help shoulder some of the spiritual and emotional burden of these ecologically troubled times. Scroll down for a version of this art activity you can print and use.

Yesterday I had a vision. I saw a community leading a wise woman to a spot in the forest and asking her to tell them how the trees and the earth were feeling and what they needed. This vision captures how I wish our society operated. I wish, before they sent the bulldozers and monster-sized machines to form and shape the land in a way they feel suits them better, the people making these decisions communicated not only with scientists but with people sensitive enough to feel the environment as well. I wish how the Earth felt was important and I wish her needs were considered more.

One of the reasons I identify as a witch and I explore nature spirituality is because these are the only spiritual paths in my ancestry that I feel embody strongly enough the relationship I want to have with my earth Mother. Deepening my connection with the earth is difficult these days because there are so many places on her body that are hurting and so many of her plants and animals that are dying or suffering in ways that we humans have caused. Witnessing the neglect and the abuse and the death and all the other consequences of humanity’s selfish pursuits is really hard – like gut-wrenching shards of pain kind of hard. No wonder so many of us ignore what’s happening and prefer to look away.

I also understand that so many people can’t connect emotionally or energetically to what is happening to nature and Mother Earth because they are disconnected from themselves. You can’t know and feel the earth and her needs if you don’t even feel and know your own heart and her needs. The more deeply I attuned to my own emotional needs the deeper my sensitivity to Mother Earth and her needs became.

I created the following art activity as a way to inspire an emotional connection to Mother Earth and her plants and animals. I also created it as a way to inspire you or your children to become more aware of how the plants and animals are doing in and around the place you live. The fact that we are losing so much so quickly ecologically speaking is devastating. Even more devastating is the idea that most people won’t care to acknowledge or witness the loss. For those highly sensitive witches and people who are already emotionally connected to nature and the suffering she faces as a result of climate change, I created this activity as a way to express and process the ecological grief you shoulder.

This spiritual art activity is simple but it’s not easy. It’s not easy to face humanity’s darkness. It’s not easy to learn about the wounds we forced Mother Earth to endure. It’s not easy to open the heart to the ocean-sized pools of collective grief that are hanging around us all the time. We are losing landscapes, untouched spaces, magically potent places and entire ecosystems and species. Choosing to feel the pain and loss that accompanies climate change is not for the faint of heart. That’s why I consider highly sensitive people some of the strongest souls I know. People often tell them to stop being so sensitive but sensitivity is exactly what we need more of. We need to feel and feel deeply so our decisions as humans can change and come from a place of deep sensitivity to our earth mother and the abundance of life she nurtures. There has been far too much insensitivity guiding our decisions and politics.

To complete the activity, research and find an environment or species that is struggling to survive in or around the area you live. Learn about humanity’s role in that species’ struggle to survive. If you can, visit a relevant location in nature and try to feel in your heart what the surroundings are experiencing. Print the page I’ve included below and draw what you feel.

This art activity is also included in the September 2018 issue of Oriana’s Moonside Companion which is a hand-drawn workbook with activities that are thoughtfully designed to help healers and creative entrepreneurs live with magic and intention and nurture themselves, their business and their families. You can subscribe or learn more about it here.

Download Art Activity Here

If you do complete this art activity publicly or share photos of the art activity or perform the activity with a group, please respect the work of this artist and creator by mentioning the source and/or providing a link back to this original post. Also, if you end up completing this activity, I’d love to see what you created. You can even post the finished piece on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #danasartrituals or email me at support@danadaponte.com and share with me how it went for you.

with love,

Dana da Ponte

 

 

 

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This is an art ritual to perform during the new moon.  It will help you set clear and specific intentions and learn how to use your energy to best reach your goals. Scroll down for printable step-by-step instructions.

This month I started my training to become a certified M.A.P (Manifesting All Possibilities) instructor. As my followers on Instagram and Facebook know, since attending University to become an art and English teacher I’ve never taken any other formal training. The day I started hearing angels was the day they became my teachers and mentors and I’ve spent 20 years letting them teach and guide me to become the healer I am today. Even if learning a particular modality or studying under a certain teacher piqued my interest, I could never commit because it never felt right. Instead, my angels encouraged me to trust my process and stay on my path and continue to grow in my organic, intuitive way with my angels, spirit guides and Divine Mother.

This is why I was surprised a couple months ago, when I was reading a post a fellow Moon Sister shared on Facebook about a new training and I heard clear as a bell the words, “Do This”. I read the post again and thought, “Really? You want me to learn this? Now?” And a clear and emphatic “Yes!” was the response.

I’m only the first week in but I’m starting to see how my M.A.P. training will weave so well with the healing I offer through the angels. I think every intuitive healer is a little different from another and the teams they work with from the world of spirit are as unique as they are. My angels and my team of spirit helpers are very much concerned with two things – our hearts and our subconscious mind because those are the two things most often in the way from us living from Love and in line with our Spirits.

To me, following their guidance when helping clients heal feels like what I imagine studying under psychologists and spiritual gurus might be like. They’ve taught me that happiness comes from listening to my heart and learning how to take tender care of it so that my life can then be lived in full alignment with my Spirit and who I really am. When this happens, what my soul came here to experience and do is honored and fulfilled and I feel a profound sense of joy and love. But listening to our hearts and taking tender care of them can be so hard to do when we’ve experienced trauma or are carrying unhealed baggage from our past and unfortunately everyone is carrying baggage from their past.

We can’t be who our souls long for us to be if we have gaping emotional voids or if an unhealed memory buried in our subconscious mind is in complete contradiction of what we’re trying to achieve or who we’re trying to become. The heart and the subconscious mind will always win. Your conscious mind and will power don’t stand a chance against those two mega powers.

The therapy approach I developed addresses the gaping emotional voids that veer us off track and my clients have experienced amazing results learning how to heal those but now I’ll also be able to easily treat the subconscious mind too. This is so exciting for me since the M.A.P approach is definitely my favorite approach to healing the subconscious mind. It produced massive results for me in the most gentle and easy way and I’m so excited to witness the results it inspires in my clients too. Yes, I know, I’m super excited right now but I can’t help it. I just keep thinking of my Moon Sisters and my clients and I know exactly which ones I’ll be using M.A.P on as soon as I’m ready. If you want to try it out or are ready to address things that may be blocking you from moving forward in some area of your life, you can book a session now and save $50 by clicking the link below and entering the coupon code SUMMERHEALING. This offer will only be available for a limited time.

$50 off a Session Here

If you’re not ready to book a session, you may want to try this art ritual at the next new moon.  It’s an easy step-by-step process that I learned in my M.A.P. training with Colette and Val Streicher and weaved with art and ritual because it’s a perfect fit for new moon or waxing crescent energy.

Before sharing the instructions of this art ritual in more detail, I want to remind you that when engaging in one of my art rituals, there are a few steps I perform before I sit down to do the writing, painting or creating part of my ritual. They include gathering my materials, clearing my mind and my physical space, inviting or calling in my spiritual helpers and setting boundaries or placing a circle of protection and blessing my tools and material. I outline these steps in more detail in my “Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for Art Rituals” which I send, along with other helpful goodies, when you subscribe to my Moon Sisters Art and Ritual Magazine.  If you would like the guide delivered to your inbox, you can subscribe to the magazine on my home page.

This is a relatively simple art ritual and remember, it’s not about the end result. It’s about the process so don’t worry about creating a perfect piece of art. Just relax and step into your inner five year old state of creativity.

This is what I gathered together and used for this art ritual:

  • water
  • acrylic ink sprays
  • markers
  • watercolor paper
  • watercolor brush
  • black ink
  • white paper
  • gel pens

After you’ve gathered your materials, created your sacred space, cleared, protected and invited Spirit to guide you, it’s time to create the background for your painting. I used acrylic ink sprays on watercolor paper. I started by spraying yellows, greens and blues then I sprayed a mixture of water and bleach. Then I painted with water which lifts some of the color off and leaves the design I painted. I also sprayed over some stencils and played around with effects until I achieved something I liked.

Oh and I also put hand prints all over my background after spraying the palm of my hands with ink. This is my hand after I washed and scrubbed it. I forgot how hard ink is to remove. My husband saw my blue hand at the supper table and made a comment I won’t repeat but let me just say it has something to do with being naughty with a Smurf.

Next I drew the outline of a tree with roots. In my M.A.P. training, Colette and Val Streicher use the symbolism of a tree to outline the three steps of their magnetization process and after you are finished your art ritual you will see how powerful having an actual visual representation of a tree holding your thoughts and feelings is.

Next, it’s time to create the pages you will use for the leaves. You will need 5 – 8 pieces of white paper. I used simple photocopy paper because this isn’t a professional art piece. It’s just for my own personal use and the art I create during ritual is often temporary. I keep it up for as long as it’s relevant but I dispose if it after I no longer need that specific magic working in my life.

I created my decorative paper by once again playing and experimenting with the acrylic ink sprays. I used warm colors since my background was created with cool colors.

When my pages were dry, I ripped leaf-like shapes out of each one. Rip these large enough for you to write one or two words on and rip as many leaves as you’d like to cover the branches of your tree.

This next step of the art ritual is the first step in the magnetization process. Think of the goal you are working towards or the intention you want to set or the prayer you want to send out to Spirit. Then, think of all the results or outcomes you want to experience when that dream becomes reality or if and when that prayer is answered. What results will it create in your life? What will be different? What will you experience more of? What will grow in your life?

With a gel pen or marker, write a word on each leaf you ripped out that describes one of the results or outcomes you want to experience. Trust that you ripped out the number of leaves you did and continue to find a word to fit on each leaf until all the leaves have at least one word written on them.

The next step is the trunk of your vision or intention. It is the solid structure upon which your dream is held. It is focused and confident. Capture your dream, goal or prayer in one sentence and write it on the trunk of the tree. I used a silver marker to write mine and as you can see, I didn’t quite leave enough room to write my long word.

The last step in the magnetization process is to think about how achieving your goal will make you feel. With the black ink, I wrote all the words that captured the emotions I will feel. These feelings are what will feed my dreams and intentions and, in my work, they are what I really want anyway. The great thing about figuring out which feelings I want is I can start focusing on them right away. I don’t need anything in my external environment to change before changing my internal environment of thoughts and feelings.

The last step is to glue the leaves onto the branches of your tree.

When I was done I was left with a beautiful tree that captures my intentions and reminds me to do things now that evoke the feelings I imagine will also come when my intention is manifested. If it doesn’t feel like ease, joy, magic, play, flow and living from my Spirit then it is something I should reconsider, avoid or gives as little attention to as possible. The best use of your time and energy is to focus on feeling the kind of emotions you listed at the roots of the tree. Let those emotions guide you toward accomplishing your goal or making your dreams a reality.
Below are the step-by-step instructions of this ritual in a format you can print for your convenience. If you do perform this ritual publicly or share photos of the ritual or perform the ritual with a group, please respect the work of this artist and creator by mentioning the source and/or providing a link back to this original post. Also, if you end up performing this ritual, I’d love to see what you completed. You can even post the finished piece on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #danasartrituals or email me at support@danadaponte.com and share with me how it went.

with love,

Dana da Ponte

 

 

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