In the Company of Yin

cover yin yang

There was a time in my life (in that maiden to mother phase) when I naturally fell into a routine of caring for my mate and child, spending more of my time on them than on anything else.  It’s easy to do and I think many American women can identify.

Your girlfriends are in the same stage and it’s easy to let those friendships fall by the wayside.  It’s easy to allow yourself the joys of family and immerse yourself in your relationship with a significant other.  With the exception of lesbian couples, this is almost always a male dominated time in one’s life.

Family

And there’s nothing wrong with that.  I know, for me, it was a time to explore the Animus side of my own psyche.  I spent a tremendous amount of time trying to put myself in my husband’s shoes, in order to better understand him.  It was part of my endeavor to be a good wife/partner in our relationship.  And much of this time in my life was worthwhile and valuable and enjoyable.

But something was still missing.  I realized, one day, that so much of my life revolved around Husband and Family that I no longer had strong bonds with women.  In fact, I wasn’t sure I ever had.  I seemed to hold a belief in the back of my mind that I’d always identified more with men anyway.  In hindsight, this might have been a “sour grapes” sort of attitude.  I felt obligated to that life… even though, when I got honest with myself, I had to admit that I chose it.  But there was, at that time, a bit of a feeling of being trapped in that.

In my marriage, our friends were HIS friends.  My women friends were the wives of his friends.  So I thought I’d try to cultivate some real bonds in that pool of choices.  I decided to have a party just for the women in our social group.

High Tea

I devised a beautiful, pampering “High Tea” sort of soiree.  I called it my Sereni-Tea Party, during which each woman would receive massages, manicures, a soak in the Hot-Tub and all sorts of pampering.  I also devised a small ritual, where each woman was crowned as a Goddess.

The idea was to remind each of us that we are sovereign in our lives, that we may choose, daily, how (and for whom) to live.  It was a big hit.  Everyone loved it.  No one loved it more than I did.  It sparked some changes in my life that are still in the works, I think.

aphrodite

I’m not sure if anyone else at that party “got” what I was trying to convey… but I did.  I claimed myself that day, and again and again on many days that followed it, I claimed my own sovereignty.

The experience sparked a new way of thinking for me.  I had one close female friend and I forged deeper into that bond.  She supported me and cared about my outcomes.  It was a really good start.

friends

I began to embody the Queen archetype.  And that sovereign queen of her own life was not the woman my husband married.  So in some ways, I could call that the beginning of the end of my marriage.  It’s okay.  It was a marriage that needed to end. And when it did, those women (the wives of his friends) shunned me like an Amish photographer. And that’s okay too. They were not “my tribe” anyway.

After the divorce I began to create more and more relationships with women.  I came honestly and openly into groups of females sharing my experiences and my ideas, and offering my empathy for the things that they may have experienced as well.  And that’s when the magick started to happen in my life.

I joined a witch’s grove of learning.  We met each week to discuss books, teach and learn and challenge each other toward excellence.  In the process we also loved, nurtured, supported and cheered each other on.  The grove developed into a coven.  I served as one of the leaders of that coven for quite a few years.

circle of women

I learned and grew more in those years than any other time in my life that I can recall.  I increased my personal power exponentially during that time, because of the company of other powerful women, all striving for their own excellence and the collective excellence of the group.  It created such momentum.  We were all swept along in it.

My leadership role in that group led me to more leadership.  I formed a non-profit spiritual center in my own home.  We offered worship services of an inclusive nature. We provided workshops, support groups, had festivals.  And I gained all of the experiences of facilitating that. And I could not have done it without the blessing of a number of breath-taking feminine souls who were regular members at the center.  They enriched me and the others in our group tremendously.

Life changed, as it does, and eventually I closed the center and moved clear across the country.  In my new home town, I volunteer and teach at a non-profit which supports women in ALL their endeavors to improve their own lives. It’s called Fresh Start Women’s Foundation.

And now, I also facilitate women’s spiritual retreats.  The latest installment of that happened in Sedona, AZ last month.

(There’s a new one coming up in November – Click here for more info!)

Six women from different backgrounds, understandings, beliefs and challenges came together.  We discussed and explored our hopes and fears. We worked towards our dreams.  We shared laughter and shed tears.  We moved forward in our lives, powerfully and magickally.

Above is photographic evidence of the goddess power we generated around us.  (Watch the orb at the foot of each goddess.  This showed up on 3 different cameras!)

owl yin yang

Yin in Taoism is the Feminine Principle.  The feminine aspect of this dualistic reality in which we live occupies the “dark side” of the yin yang symbol.

In Wiccan circles the Goddess is represented by the Moon, the night, while the God is represented by the Sun and the day.

This, in no way should be interpreted as meaning that the feminine principle is “bad” or “wrong”, although that is the way that much of our patriarchal society defines it.

But the divine feminine is a mystery.  The High Priestess card in Tarot holds a scroll, which is half hidden and sits before a curtain, beyond which are mysteries and wisdom untold.  There are even popular jokes about how women are complete mysteries to men.

High Priestess

There’s a reason for that.  And I think it’s our power.  This kind of power cannot simply be offered to everyone.  The power of the Feminine Divine is hidden for a reason.  The right to exist in its web must be earned.

And the women whose power is blatant and obvious to the world have been called everything under the sun, from demon, harlot, bitch to witch, activist, boss and Goddess.

The fact is that all women possess this power.  The degrees may vary or the power may be more or less suppressed by this patriarchal jailhouse, but, make no mistake, it is there.  It is present and can be awakened to greater strengths to greater missions and to the greatness of all things touched by such power.

I’ve found that when women come together in any kind of group, there is a magickal phenomenon that takes place.  There is a heightened power, an increase in intensity, like a spiritual battery being turned on.

A woman is powerful.

A couple of women, or a group, aligned in their Will, connected at their hearts and clear in their intentions, are UNSTOPPABLE, and deeply magickal.

Goddess Group

I’m not talking about excluding men from your life, by any means!  Today, I am in a committed and happy relationship with a loving, wonderful man. In fact, I believe that the time I’ve spent loving and nurturing other women (and myself) is a direct contributor to my finding him and to my being worthy of him.  Our relationship is very strong.  We believe in each other. We encourage each other. We acknowledge each other’s sovereignty.  And I adore spending time with him.

But these days, as the sovereign queen/goddess that I am, I choose to also spend a lot of quality time in the company of Yin.

Goddess Divine Empowerment!

How I went from Playing Way Too Small to Being an Empowered Goddess and So Can You!

oppressed-women  My last blog post ended with me in the depths of addiction and and suffering the pain and humiliation of a terrible marriage.  So, how did all of this turn around?  I’ll tell you!

A few years into that marriage I finally decided to get a handle on my addictive, self-destructive practices. That makes it sound like it was easy, like I made a decision one day and then got clean. That’s not what happened. There was a LOT of “Facing my Shadow”, and “embracing my darkness” at that time. I was introduced to the concepts put forth by the noted psychologist, Carl Jung and began to study the practice of uncovering and accepting our “Shadow” aspects, those parts of ourselves that we would rather deny. I had a lot of that. Also, during that journey, in my twenties, I was introduced to the concept of spirituality as opposed to religion. Cultivating a connection with some “unknowable force” helped me greatly in my recovery from alcohol and drug abuse, and I became a seeker. Learning about spiritual practice became my new drug of choice, I believe, because it touched on that true nature and those gifts I was denying. Some part of me recognized that something here might actually have an effect on the root cause of my destructive behavior. I wasn’t consciously aware of this, of course, but I believe it was there.

So I read everything I could. I spent many years investigating different spiritual practices. I studied, and continue to study, world religions, and philosophies like Catholicism and Christianity in general, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and so on. And while I can’t say that I felt a deep connection to any one religious view, what I did find was the practice of meditation. Meditation was the single most important component in my recovery and my journey to here. And it remains the staple of my current practice. I cannot over-state its importance in my evolution from frightened little girl to empowered Goddess. It saved my life.

I’m going to repeat that here because it’s REALLY IMPORTANT!

Meditation was the single most important component in my recovery and my journey to here. And it remains the staple of my current practice. I cannot over-state its importance in my evolution from frightened little girl to empowered Goddess. It saved my life.

empowered goddess   My studies continued and began to include more philosophy, psychology and mythology. I read some classics by great scholars such as Marcus Aurelius, Socrates, Plato and added in some more modern works by the likes of Eckhart Tolle and Joseph Campbell. My views continued to expand as I continued to grow in every way that I could manage. During all of this, I became the mother to a beautiful old soul, a daughter. Witnessing the miracles of her birth and growth and my regular meditation practice were putting me in connection with the divine on a daily basis. Everything changes then. You see, when you meditate it puts you in touch with that ineffable ground of spirit that permeates all that there is. It verifies the unbreakable connection between these bodies we are currently inhabiting and that limitless “other” which we discover is not “other” at all. It’s like plugging in to a vast switchboard where everything is accessible. The miraculous is occurring all around us at every moment in time. I began to notice, is all.

All the while, I was still married to that overbearing, narcissistic man. And during most of our marriage, because there was still that part of me aiming to please and eager to be seen as “the good wife”, we got along fine. But then I began to grow a spine. I began to understand that I had to set an example for my daughter. And I began to disagree with some of the decisions he was making for us and for me. And that was when it got bumpy. I won’t go into the details here of the ultimate awakening that brought me out of that marriage, but know that I did break free and I did so in a meaningful and mindful way, understanding my part in all of it and understanding what I would no longer accept for myself or for my child.

In the following years I was inspired to study the many connections between science and spirituality and became very interested in (um, ok, obsessed with) quantum physics and the philosophies of mind over matter, what some call the Law of Attraction (what I call witchcraft). There was a wonderful feeling of being carried along on a wave of new information and discovery. One insight led to another. One book led to a dozen more. With a broader understanding of myself and the concepts of energy, I renewed my interest in divination and I studied the Tarot, with all of its wonderful Archetypes and insight into the human journey. I also began again to experiment with Skrying. All of this brought me to the study of Nature-based religions like Wicca and Heathenry and paganism in general. And a new wave of discovery launched me into practice with others and the structure and benefits of ritual, shared energy and sisterhood. I delved deeply into the study of mythology, especially the Goddesses which re-energized my desire to facilitate women’s empowerment. I was given the opportunity to expand my leadership skills as a founding member of a coven, often presiding over Ritual as Priestess. And, finally I put that into practice in my own spiritual Meetup Group and opened an inclusive spiritual center from my own home where I hosted many, many workshops, ceremonies, rituals and festivals before moving to Phoenix, AZ.

Aphrodite2   So here I am today, wanting to share some of this learning and insight with you, the seeker with the Goddess hidden inside. I can help you find your inner Goddess because I worked so hard to find my own. And I’ve distilled all of the seeking and struggles and mistakes and successes into some very essential lessons to set you on your personal journey to Goddesshood. Join me and a number of your sisters on this amazing, life-changing adventure. Simply email me at AffordableSedonaRetreat@gmail.com for all the details.  There is absolutely NO obligation, NO spam, NO sharing of your email address and a free gift!  This retreat will fill up, so don’t hesitate!  

With Love and Sisterhood,

Renée

Blessed Be

… How I went from Natural Psychic to Natural Disaster…

This series of blogs is dedicated to  Goddess Divine -A Spiritual Retreat for Women which will be taking place in Sedona, AZ in May.  Email me at AffordableSedonaRetreat@gmail.com for all the details! When last we connected, dear reader, I had given you a brief overview of my “qualifications” to help you bring forth your inner […]

Goddess Divine Women’s Retreat – Why You Need It!

Sedona

So there’s this amazing event coming up!  The Goddess Divine Retreat for Women in Sedona, AZ on May 20, 21 and 22, 2016 will bring you into deep connectedness with your Sacred Self.  In this way you will discover and form a truly rewarding relationship with your inner Goddess and be excited to share her outrageous beauty and light with the whole world!  If you’re even the tiniest bit curious, do yourself a favor and e-mail AffordableSedonaRetreat@gmail.com right NOW!   There is no obligation and you will receive a valuable FREE GIFT – and even MORE valuable information about how you can be a participant in this wonderful weekend of Sacred Sisterhood! 

In a previous post, I promised you more details about ME Renee Damoiselle of Divining Damoiselle, your retreat facilitator.  So, What qualifies me to prepare you for Goddesshood?

Well, to begin, I will tell you that, as a much younger woman, I was very focused on being perceived as “good” and on not being too noticeable (all the while fearful that my “freak-flag” would be uncovered at any moment!) In other words, I was very much NOT living like the Goddess that I am!  Today, however, I enjoy referring to myself as a Badass Witch Priestess of Warrior Deities, with a divine mission to save the world, one woman at a time.  In other words, I successfully grew a spine and stepped into my Goddesshood, after a time of hiding my light.  It was not easy.  It took work and desire and commitment, but because I’ve been there, I can show you the way.

Shine

That’s me now.   Along my journey, I’ve met many other women whose light has also been kept hidden.  The reasons may be varied (patriarchal society, misogyny, trauma) but the result is actually tragic, for the individual woman and for the world.  The divine feminine light that glows within every woman is meant to be anchored in this world and to shine brightly.  What a woman can achieve once she embraces her true divine nature is limitless.  The healing ripple effects of her efforts will be felt universally.  This is my mission because I know, intimately, what it feels like to break free in this way, and that joy must be shared.

Looking for a juicier story?  Stay tuned for the next blog, where we’ll get down and dirty with the details of that amazing journey!

… to be continued… 

The Magick of Variety

So here’s an update on my progress toward the Spartan Race. spartan – Woo-Hoo!

I’m getting stronger and healthier by the minute.  And I’m learning all kinds of new things along the way.

I’ve been doing a lot of cooking on the weekends to have easy, ready-made meals for the week.  I’m finding new recipes and basing my choices, mostly on whatever I find at the farmer’s market and the organic section of Sprouts.

Farmer's Market< Look at all that gorgeous food!

There was one week where I planned to have a green smoothie every day for breakfast and a salad every day for lunch.  That got old fast!  By Thursday I was so bored with the food that it was REALLY difficult not to grab something off-plan.  I managed, but I was miserable.  And this journey that I’m on (as I’ve said before) is not punishment or deprivation.  This journey is about feeding my body lovely, delicious, vibrant, healthy food, and giving my body solid and fun exercise that strengthens and empowers me.  It’s self-love, NOT self-loathing.

So this week, I have variety!  I’m very excited about it.  I have choices for breakfasts ranging from smoothies, to fruit to eggs and even egg sandwiches with avocado – YUM!- using a recipe I found for paleo, wheatless sandwich rounds made with plantains and coconut flour! Who knew such things even existed!  For lunches I have Spaghetti squash crust pizza, eggplant rollatini, a wonderful medley of beans with spices, mini meatloaves and the most delicious butternut squash soup you’ve ever tasted and yes… salad too.  I actually love salad since it can come in so many varieties… but the same salad every day for five days is a recipe for disaster.  I won’t make that mistake again.

Also, I’m really enjoying being in the kitchen again.  And I’ve noticed that, even though I’m not cooking the traditional foods that I was taught as a child in an Italian household, I can still feel the spirits of my Mom and my Nana with me while I cook.  Mom < This is my Mom.

They are peering over my shoulder at the stove as I add spices, they are lifting their chins as they smell the aroma of the beautifully fresh vegetables and they are smiling approvingly as I dish these masterpieces up for my family.   This is ancestor magic.  The line of my people going back to the beginning is with me as I improve my life.  I feel their presence as I haven’t in quite some time.  I am putting my magic in all the food.  I’m pouring my love (and the love of those who have loved me my whole life) into every meal that I make and this is producing amazing results for my body, mind and soul.

I’m also varying my workouts.  The same workout every day can get just as boring as a salad every day, so I’m doing different things and incorporating magic into all of it.  When I swim, I pronounce incantations in my head.  As I scoop the life-giving force of the water with my hands on every stroke, I’m visualizing the waves of it sculpting and strengthening my core.  When I do water calisthenics, or weight training, my trainers, Odin and Athena, are there to help me keep count, improve my form and keep pushing until the final set.  When I run on a treadmill or elliptical, I listen to empowering music and visualize my muscles working at peak performance.   On hikes, I am rallying the forces of nature to join my quest.   This week I’m adding burpees to the routine.  In case you don’t know, a burpee is a grueling combination of a squat, plank, push-up, squat and jumping jack.  Yes, all of that is ONE burpee.  And if you fail an obstacle in the Spartan Race, you have to do THIRTY of them to get to the next obstacle.  So, I’m starting now.  And no, that doesn’t sound like a tremendous amount of fun. And I’m going to have to find a way to put magic into those! But it will be fun when I start to see my numbers increase and when I start to feel like I can handle it.  And I will.  Because, As I Will It, So Mote It BE!

winning

Blessings, dearest readers!  Love yourselves today!

Wolf Moon

wolfmoon

The January full moon is called, in some traditions, the Wolf Moon. I am posting my Wolf Moon ritual here. It is a story-telling ritual. I was inspired some years back by a PBS series called “In the Valley of Wolves” which featured the saga of a pack of wolves called (of all things) the Druids. They were at one time the largest and most successful wolf pack ever recorded in Yellowstone National Park. I highly recommend watching, especially if you love wolves.

My second inspiration came from Rudyard Kipliing’s “The Law of the Jungle”

I originally wrote this ritual a few years back, when I was a prominent member of a coven. At the time I felt that our group needed healing from some of the struggles that every coven experiences. The story told itself, easily and naturally. I hope you enjoy it.

This is a Wiccan framed ritual, with a bit of native american flair. I’m fond of mixing things up a bit. By “Wiccan framed”, I mean, we consecrate space, we cast circle, we call quarters (for protection and inspiration); we invoke deity; we perform a magical working to raise energy and set intention; we release or ground the energy (or sometimes place it into a talisman or physical spell piece); we thank and release deity; thank and release quarters; take up the circle and say farewell. I was taught that once one becomes proficient in creating and performing traditional Wiccan rituals, then everything is open to interpretation, creativity and innovation.

So here it is.
This ritual was performed for a crowd of people.  But feel free to adapt and use whatever works for you.

I will also say that because this was “Story Time” and I wanted those gathered to hear with the ears and minds of children, I invited participants to wear pajamas, bring pillows, blankets, stuffed animals.  We also used milk and cookies for cakes and ale.

With sage and sweet grass , each person faces outward from the circle and takes the smoking cauldron and assists in “marking” our territory with the scent. While High Priestess recites the following in the center;

Tonight we are pack – by our intentions made one;
This night in this space – no wolf is lone;

We gather to listen, open ears to what’s said;
We gather together, agreed to follow where led.

Our circle is cast by the territory marked;
With the scent of the ages, and our journey embarked.

We ask that the spirit of wolf packs world ‘round;
Be present here with us, as your truths we expound.

Like cubs may we listen to the story that’s told,
Open and child-like as the message unfolds;

Protected and safe this pack shall remain;
For the territory’s sacred, this space our domain.

Quarter Calls..

In the east I invoke Eagle – From the skies join us here
Grant us your wisdom your logic so fair;

In the south I invoke Snake – from fiery desert appear
Grant us your passion, make our intentions clear;

In the west I invoke the playful Otter
Grant us the wisdom of joy – as you come from the water;

In the north I invoke the strong Buffalo;
Grant us fertile soil for our intentions to grow.

Mother Earth and Father Sky – please join us in this sacred space prepared in your honor. We wish to tell a story from which all may learn in the tradition of the old wise ones. Please help your humble priestess this night to tell it well, help our pack to hear the words which have the most meaning for them. And place in us all the wonder and joy of a good story told among friends in the spirit of love. Hail and welcome.

At this point High Priest/ess might give some instruction or set up the story a bit.   The participants are invited to sit and get comfortable, with their blankets and teddy bears to listen as the story is told…

Dana Darkfur…. The story of one wolf’s Journey.

Dana Darkfur awoke to a strange feeling. She was being shoved, or stroked hard by something WET!

EEEWW! Mom! Why the spit bath?!”

There’s a pack council meeting tonight, pup! And YOU are going to be clean for it!”

Dana shook herself and tried to break free – to no avail. Her mother’s relentless tongue kept on cleaning. She rolled her eyes, “Aww… Council, schmouncil – what’s the big deal?” – “OUCH! Whatdya bite me for??”

Her mother, Aurora, a well respected pack wolf, had raised a litter or two. She had seen the good that could come from being a cooperative pack member… and the ill that can come from not. She glared at Dana… her most difficult pup to date and said, “Dana, one day you will understand the importance of being a member of the pack. It’s Survival! It’s Community! This is not just a way for grown up wolves to control our young, you know! There’s a REASON I teach you these things! You keep clean! You obey the elders! You never take from a kill of theirs without permission! If they say move your den, you move it! There are REASONS for all of it…..”

Dana allowed the lecture to continue without really listening. There was no escaping it. AGAIN. She reluctantly started helping with the bath, cleaning her muddy haunches. She began to daydream about hunting and playing with the other young wolves.

Soon she was free and out stalking a smallish weasel with her younger sister. Kyra was a pack wolf through and through. She ALWAYS obeyed, always followed the rules. Dana couldn’t help feeling a little sorry for Kyra.. so carbon copy – she rolled her eyes.

The grown ups usually left the young ones to their stalking and play-hunting. It was good practice. And Kyra, being the good pack wolf, tried to emulate the hunting style of the older pack members. They took turns, she observed, stalking and chasing, until their prey was worn out. Then they killed.

Dana, however, tried to hunt like a mountain lion or something. Kyra watched her chasing this little weasel. It was pretty quick! She knew not to interfere, because whenever Kyra tried to take a turn in their hunts, Dana would nip at her feet and chase her away! So she sat watching and let Dana chase. Dana ran this way and that after the weasel, which was wiry and kept changing directions and going around brush. It hid under one bush until Dana came close to one side and then burst out at full speed from the other side, setting off the chase again. This went on for quite some time until Kyra could see that both Dana and the weasel were breathing pretty hard, slowing down.

She laughed a little and encouraged Dana., “Look, He’s tired! Time for the Kill! Get Him!”

Dana said, “Don’t think I won’t!” and POUNCED… on nothing… the weasel had, well weaseled out of her grasp. She chased some more… angry now and POUNCED again!! … on nothing.

When the weasel escaped this time she rolled on her back and panted with her tongue hanging out. “I give up!”, she said.

So Kyra stood up.. trotted casually after the weasel, picked it up in her young but powerful jaws and shook her head and broke it’s neck. She raised her head high with the dead weasel dangling from her mouth, tossed a muffled, “Fanks fer wearin’ it out fer me!” and pranced off happily, with Dana gaping after her as she went.

This was the way much of Dana’s youth went. She always seemed a bit out of step, a little different from the others. She didn’t mind really. And she just didn’t understand all this emphasis on the pack, the pack – always the pack.

The Council of Elders and the Alpha, male and female wolves of this pack known as the Druids were so revered, even feared. But it seemed to Dana, that they only way they got to those positions was by being different, more aggressive. Even sometimes by killing a fellow pack member. The leadership changed paws so many times it was hard to keep track. This was a contentious group, fighting all the time.

Aurora had told her of a time in her own youth when the Alpha wolves and the council were steady and strong for a long time. And under their reign the pack grew to great numbers with many healthy litters each spring. It was a peaceful and prosperous time. Dana wondered what was different then. What did they do so Right?

As she grew to maturity, Dana did learn some pack lessons. She learned how much easier it was to hunt with friends and to partake of a group kill, when you didn’t have to be “The Star”. She also learned what and when she was allowed to eat. Sometimes learning was perilous!

She recalled a time as a pup when she spent a week in the den with a badly wounded shoulder, her mother pacing, and fretting over her, licking at the wound until she recovered. Dana had tried to take a small piece of a kill that the alpha male had brought in. A hard lesson, but well learned.

By the time Dana and her sister, Kyra, had reached mating age, Dana still didn’t know the secret behind the strength of those Elders her mother grew up with, but she knew the failure of this group. Rule was only gained by fear and death. She had a lot of friends who were, by turns terrified into submission, then longed for overthrow. Dana’s mother, Aurora, kept to the party line. “Pack life is pack life. Do what you’re told. Keep your head down. Get fed.” That was pretty much her mantra these days. But so often, to Dana, Aurora looked sad and worried.

The Peace-time”, her mother had told her, “was marked by real trust. The Elders cared very much for their pack. They took their responsibility seriously. It had never been about Force. There was power, of course, but it had been tempered by Compassion. There was Honor, balanced by Humility.” These stories seemed to Dana to be just that… stories. She had never seen a time like her mother described. She doubted it was possible.

Aurora was still a young and healthy she-wolf and the Alpha males had mated with her on occasion. And this spring she was to give birth to a new litter from the Alpha. She was cautiously happy. The pack seemed to be growing.

But the Alpha Female, was not happy. Aurora threatened her place – because she had not been able to bear pups this year. And one evening very close to the birthing time, Aurora lay in her den, exhausted from the early evening hunt. And Dana watched as Genna, the Alpha female burst into the den and dragged Aurora out, snarling and biting madly.

She was about to intervene when she was stopped by Kyra. “Are you crazy?! She’s Alpha!” So the two young she-wolves watched as their ailing and pregnant mother was torn to pieces by this vicious bitch.

Two decisions were made that day. Dana turned and walked slowly out of the Druid pack territory, to become a lone wolf. And Kyra, no longer under the fair and watchful eye of Aurora, set her sights on the Alpha position, and began to plot her rise to the top.

Years passed. Dana was learning a new way now. She HAD to be the star of every kill. And sometimes she went hungry. But she was surviving. She learned not to leave scent or scat too close to the territories of other packs OR her former Druids. She was learning determination, over dependence. She was learning to shelter rather than socialize. It wasn’t pack wisdom, but it was wisdom just the same. And she was learning to lead, rather than follow.

Dana kept a sharp ear on the boundaries of other packs. Ear rather than eye or nose because wolf packs tended to mark their boundaries with howls back and forth between. Sometimes, Dana was right in the middle. And on those nights, sometimes – a loneliness over took her – and she would join the howling. But she dared not give it full voice, lest she be discovered. Dana was a tough wolf but certainly not tough enough to take on a whole pack. This much she knew.

One clear, bright, winter day, Dana was hunting an otter near a stream. She kept to smaller prey for the most part. There was only herself to feed. But this otter was giving her a run for her money. She would stalk, quiet and stealthy as can be and just when she was ready to pounce, the thing would do some kind of flip and land in the water with a splash. It seemed to be playing with her, mocking her! An Otter – Mocking a WOLF! Not a very smart otter… then again, maybe she wasn’t such a smart wolf.

A sudden SNAP of a branch behind her made her jump so high in the air that SHE fell in the water, and ended up facing the shore. The black male wolf standing at the water’s edge was snickering. She glowered at him, laying her ears down flat and baring her teeth. He didn’t flinch or move away. If this was an alpha from another pack, she could be in trouble. But he didn’t smell of a pack.

He gave in first. He sat on his haunches and dipped his head and nose down slightly. A gesture of friendliness. He meant her no harm. She relaxed – a little.

Finally he turned away and started walking, but not without looking back at her from time to time. She was meant to follow. She was very curious now, and fairly sure that he was Lone, like her. So she followed, – at a distance. He brought her to a fresh kill. He had, apparently brought down a young doe. Impressive. A good meal sized section of meat was already missing. He bent his snout to the carcass and pushed a bit of meat towards her. Then he backed up and sat down. She was very hungry. ….

Some distance away from this meeting of the minds, a fierce battle raged on in the Druid Pack. Kyra’s quest for power was both ruthless and brutal. She would not tolerate any other pregnant females. And her killing spree left the Druids’ numbers decimated. Now, Kyra and the Alpha female were the only two wolves who would bear pups in the spring. Kyra’s determination doubled.

After the night’s hunt, when the females were feeding, Kyra stepped up to take part before her turn. Genna had not taken her fill yet. This was forbidden by pack law, but Kyra refused to back down, and the battle began. They circled one another, ears layed back and snarling. As they leapt at each other, fangs flashing, Kyra’s fury was so great that she even wounded the Alpha male when he tried to step in.

As Alpha female, Kyra would continue her reign of terror on the other wolves. Fear and despair gripped the Druids. There seemed to be no hope.

Dana awoke in the early evening, with her new mate, Shadow by her side. They would begin their nightly hunt shortly, and as Dana gazed at the full moon she felt the first quickening of life in her belly. Suddenly, the strangest feeling came over her. It wasn’t quite fear. It wasn’t quite loneliness. But it was very like both of those.

As they hunted that night, Dana wondered how this would work in the spring when the pups arrived. Lone wolves with pups didn’t do very well. There was no one to watch the little ones when they hunted, and the kills had to be larger to feed the whole family. It was time to return to her pack. So Dana and Shadow started listening for their howls.

They returned to the Druid pack very quietly. And they were welcomed by some of Dana’s old friends. Although they were glad to see her, they looked even more haggard and frightened than when she’d left. And when she enquired after her sister, she discovered why.

Her friends tried to convince her to leave. The fact that she was pregnant made her a target for Kyra. They told her she couldn’t imagine how fierce and cruel her sister had become. But Dana knew. She had seen fierce and cruel, before.

She stood up straight and looked each frightened wolf in the face as she spoke. “There was a Peace-time in this pack once. Some of your parents told you about it. My mother spoke of it often. The leaders were wise and merciful. They saw their position as responsibility, not power. They protected the young. They allowed the adolescents to grow strong and to have a say in the way things went. The leaders of the greatest Druid Pack that ever was, ruled with love and trust. Their only thoughts were for the pack, ever the pack – and not themselves and their own power. We can make that happen again. We MUST make that happen again. For our ancestors sake… and for our pups sakes. Please… all of you… you who remember …. Help me.”

She turned and headed straight for the Alpha Den. Kyra had heard the commotion and was up and ready for her. The scent of another pregnant female had her already snarling. She attacked and somewhere in the midst of the bloody battle realized this was Dana, and flinched and hesitated. Dana didn’t waste the opportunity. In an instant her jaws were clamped around her sister’s throat and Kyra was on the ground, with Dana’s paw holding her there. It would’ve been simple to kill her, but Dana waited patiently until Kyra’s fury subsided and she relaxed. Dana held her just a little longer – until the whole pack was gathered and could see who had won this battle. Kyra began to tremble and whimper beneath her and this was the sign Dana was waiting for. She would not kill her sister. Kyra would bear pups this spring – healthy ones – and there were few enough here.

Dana finally released her sister and gave her a space of a few feet. Kyra let out a low growl with her head down, which turned to a whine as she backed away to find a new den.

Dana, now rightfully the Alpha Female, would assemble a council of wise compassionate wolves. This pack would be strong again.

She climbed the tall rocks, up and up as the moon rose in the sky. She pointed her snout skyward and let out a howl, full voiced and clear. Her pack-mates joined in and the sound grew strong and loud, transcendent. The howls rose up and enveloped her, spiraling up and up around Dana and above her to the sky, towards the moon. It was the sound of unity, and it made her pack stronger. It made the rocks taller. It made the moon brighter. And it made the world better.  

At this point the High Priest/ess would howl and invite participants to join in and howl as a pack to help raise the energy and then let it fall back on the group.

The closing would be much the same as the opening, only backwards.  There’s plenty of leeway here.

So there’s my Wolf Moon!  I hope you enjoy it or at least enjoyed the story!