Full Moon

All posts in the Full Moon category

Upcoming Appearances, Workshops, etc

Published November 20, 2014 by ireneglasse

The cold wind blows, but light and warmth glow brightly within!  I have a few upcoming events you should know about, all available to brighten the long, cold darkness of winter.

Wednesday, November 26th (Thanksgiving Eve), 7 pm
Harmonious Healing at Ananda Shala Yoga and Pilates Studio

Relax and Re-Center before the Holiday Weekend with a special offering from studio owner Aimee McBride! Harmonious Healing incorporates Yoga Nidra, Somatic Yoga and Reiki (provided by Reiki Master Irene Jericho during the class). Find release in mind, body and spirit as Aimee guides you through gentle movement and meditation while you receive light healing energy work. Yoga Nidra, or ‘yogi sleep’ is among the deepest possible states of relaxation one can attain while still maintaining full consciousness. Lucid dreaming is the Western term used to denote a practice similar to yoga nidra. Somatic Yoga offers exercises that reprogram muscles to dissolve chronic pain, dramatically improve flexibility, regain strength, and leave you with an overall sense of peace and wellbeing. Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by a laying on of hands. A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats body, emotions, mind and spirit. creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing.  Facebook event here.
 Cost: $20, click here to register
Saturday, November 29th, 9 am and 11 am
Thanksgiving Recovery Yoga at Ananda Shala Yoga and Pilates Studio
Come work off the calories and release any stress from Thanksgiving and Black Friday!  The 9 am class is an All Levels Prana Flow Yoga Class lasting an hour and a half.  I plan to do a lot of detox-supporting asana to help return our bodies to homeostasis after the Thanksgiving feasting.  The 11 am class is a Level One–perfect for those beginning their practice or simply looking for a more gentle flow.
Click here to register
Sunday, December 7th at 7 pm
Full Moon Labyrinth Walk at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick
Need a chance to recenter in the midst of the holiday crush?  Come enjoy the beauty and peace of the Labyrinth by the light of the full moon! The labyrinth will be illuminated from 7:00 pm till 9:00 pm. Everyone is welcome. During the cooler months, we take our Labyrinth practice indoors, and will be walking the Rainbow Seed Labyrinth, a canvas Classical-pattern Labyrinth. Please remember clean socks or slippers to walk the Labyrinth in.  If you haven’t walked a Labyrinth before, there is no ceremony or ritual. We put out the little flickering LED tealights and just keep the space open 🙂  Please bring a small contribution for the UUCF.  Facebook event here.
Friday, December 12th, 7 pm
Mala Circle/Mala Making Workshop at Ananda Shala Yoga and Pilates Studio
The yogic answer to the Stitch’n’Bitch!  Join our Mala Circle to learn and relax while you create your very own mala!  Free for those who already  know how to make a mala and bring their own supplies, $20 for those needing the workshop instruction. Ananda Shala Instructor Irene Jericho will share her method for creating a Mala, a strand of 108 beads used for meditation.Create one for yourself or as a beautiful gift for a special person in your life.  A mala is a necklace of 108 beads commonly worn and used by yogis for for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra. This practice is known in Sanskrit as “japa.” Malas are as personal as the yogis who wear them–let your creativity shine in this fun, interactive workshop. Irene will provide good beading thread to string your mala, instruction, a handout detailing the technique we will use, examples of mantras, and other tips and tricks for getting the most out of your mala.  Facebook event and supply list here, click here to register if you plan to take the workshop portion.
Thursday, January 1st, 7 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick
New Year’s Day Purification Ritual
Enter 2015 from a centered place of peace. Release the energies of the last year, and set a harmonious tone for the year to come. Sacred Space will be held from 7 to 9 pm in the Sanctuary of the UUCF.  Attendees are invited to move through the Elements, releasing the shadows of 2014 as they go. Elemental Guides will be available at each Quarter to offer a way to move into the energy of a new year. End your Purification journey with a walk to the center of the Labyrinth to receive any messages for the new year. All are welcome to attend.  Free will donations are welcome.
Friday, January 16th, 7 pm
Darkest Yoga at Ananda Shala Yoga and Pilates Studio
Inspired by Black Yo)))ga in Pittsburgh and Tough Love Yoga in Atlanta while paying homage to our area’s own Darkest Hour, Darkest Yoga combines flow yoga and atmospheric heavy metal to serve the greater Washington, D.C. community.  Irene Jericho (RYT 200) will be guiding you through your 75-minute moving meditation with some killer tunes over the PA. Enjoy a stripped-down, alignment-focused, no-fluffy-stuff yoga class with Ananda Shala’s own Heavy Metal Yogini.  Cost: $15 in advance/ $20 at the door
Sunday, February 1st, 7 pm
Kindling the Fire Within: An Imbolc Yoga Practice at Ananda Shala Yoga and Pilates Studio
Winter’s darkness lingers with us still. Naked branches scrape the sky and night falls early. We crave the warmth of summer while we navigate an often snow-covered landscape. Yet in the midst of night, there is a glimmer of brightness–a tangible reminder of the sun-filled days yet to come. This light in the cold winter stillness is Imbolc. The word Imbolc is derived from the Gaelic word “oimelc” which means “ewes milk”. Herd animals have either given birth to the first offspring of the year or are expecting new life very soon. Join Irene Jericho for a transformative Imbolc yoga practice as we ignite the fire within and find warmth from the heart out. Live hand drumming will accompany the journey from darkness to light, from stillness to asana, from silence to music. Ignite your own Winter Fire, and allow the light to carry your practice into spring.  Participants are encouraged to wear white or light-colored clothing to practice in.  Cost: $20
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An Introduction to Labyrinth Walking

Published October 25, 2012 by ireneglasse

I often receive emails or comments that run something like this: “You talk about Labyrinths and Labyrinth Walking a lot.  What is it, exactly?  What happens at a Labyrinth Walk?”

So, let’s begin at the beginning.

What is a Labyrinth?

In Labyrinth Walking terminology, a Labyrinth is a single meandering path that winds from an entry point to the center of the design.  There is only one path–the same walk is taken on the return trip from the center to the entry point (now the exit).  There is only one path.  There are no turns or dead-ends as in a maze, and nothing designed to confuse or bewilder the walker.  To walk a Labyrinth, you simply start walking between the lines and follow your feet.  Although the path winds toward the center and back out again, you never have a choice to make about the direction you’re going.  That single path holds true.

Labyrinths can take many forms.  Here are some examples of Labyrinth designs:

Although each of the above Labyrinths have unique characteristics, they all share the most fundamental trait: there is only one path.

Because of the single path, if you decide to walk a Labyrinth as part of a group (at an open Labyrinth Walk, for instance), you will encounter other people along your route.  Labyrinth walking as a group is a cooperative experience–to allow someone else to pass, you can simply step out of the way, then back to wherever you were on your path.  Everyone shares that single route.

On Labyrinth Walking

The Golden Rule of Labyrinth Walking is “There is no wrong way to walk a Labyrinth.”  You can set any pace you’d like–you can walk slowly and meditatively, at your usual walking pace, at a good clip…you can even dance or run through the Labyrinth.  It’s all up to you.  You can enter the Labyrinth with a specific thought in mind to contemplate, you can carry a prayer with you, you can enter in joy, grief, or pain, or you can wander in with no expectations or plans at all.  All ways to move within the Labyrinth are correct.

A lot of things can happen during a Labyrinth walk.  If nothing else, if you walk in with no expectations, you will walk out feeling more relaxed than when you entered.  However, many other things are possible.  You might realize the solution to a problem you’re facing or change your perspective on a situation.  You might find a creative block suddenly loosened.  You might find yourself connecting deeply with Spirit, whatever form that happens to take for you. Many people pray on a Labyrinth walk.  Occasionally, we find ourselves walking with the souls of those who have passed on before us.  Surprising things can happen.  We calm down, gain insight, figure out solutions…the possibilities are endless, and endlessly individual.  Everyone gets something unique to them out of their walk.  One of my favorite quotes from ‘The Sacred Path Companion’ (the workbook for ‘Walking a Sacred Path’, both by Lauren Artress) is “The Labyrinth meets you where you are, gives you what you need, and nurtures a web of interconnection.”  Every Labyrinth walk I take or facilitate underscores that quote more deeply.

There are some fairly widely-accepted principles that can help you get the most out of your walk.  Remember, what follows are simply suggestions.  When walking a Labyrinth, the most important guidance to listen to comes from within you.

Calm and Center Yourself

Take a moment to clear your mind and become aware of your breath.  You may want to spend some time around the outside of the Labyrinth before you begin.  When you feel ready, enter the Labyrinth, find your own pace and follow the path.

Set Your Own Pace

Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go.  If you meet someone on the path coming the other way, simply turn slightly or step off the path and allow each other to pass.  If you wish to pass a slow walker, or help others pass you, it is easy to do so at the turns.  There are places to step off and pause if you need more time along the way.

Take Your Time

The center of the Labyrinth is a good place to pause and reflect, sitting or standing or kneeling, before retracing your steps on the path that now guides you out of the Labyrinth.  A Labyrinth walk is a journey, not a race to get to a destination.  You are welcome to take all the time you need.

The Three R’s

There are three movements and associated emotional states to the Labyrinth, and you are free to make of them whatever you like.  Remember, there is no right or wrong way to walk a Labyrinth.  These states can happen in order with the associated actions, or in a different order, or not at all.  All paths and experiences are correct.

Releasing

On the inward journey, walkers can cast off, discard, divest, unwrap and forget.  It is an opportunity to unload emotions, mental states, memories and thoughts that do not serve the walker’s highest good.

Receiving

At the center, walkers can pause.  This space is an opportunity to be open, expectant and receptive.  Walkers can take the time to listen to an inner voice, to Mystery, or to the simplicity of silence and stillness.

 Returning

On the outward journey, walkers can gain direction, satisfaction, comfort and new energy.  It is an opportunity to integrate the knowledge gained within the Labyrinth, to prepare for leaving Sacred Space.

What happens at a Labyrinth Walk?

An open Labyrinth Walk is a great way to begin your Labyrinth practice.  Depending on the location and layout of the Labyrinth, and whether there are any facilitators present, open walks can vary a bit.  I’m going to recount what you’ll experience  if you come to one of the Open Full Moon Labyrinth Walks that I facilitate at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick.

At the UUCF, we walk at night, after the sun has gone down.  We have two Labyrinths we use, an indoor one and an outdoor one.  Which one we use is dependent on time of year and climactic conditions.  (The next open walk I’m hosting will be on the indoor labyrinth–it’s getting chilly out there!)  The indoor Labyrinth is a Chartres-style canvas Labyrinth that we roll out in the sanctuary.  The outdoor Labyrinth is a contemporary Labyrinth designed specifically for the church by John Standing Bear.  It is laid out in brick on a grass courtyard.

The Labyrinth is marked with flickering LED tealights.  They help show you where the pathway leads.  If you arrive after the walk has begun, you’ll find that it’s pretty quiet.  Labyrinth walking is a meditative activity, so it’s customary to keep the noise down in order to give everyone time with their thoughts.  If people do want to talk and socialize, however, they’re more than welcome to do so elsewhere on the property.

I stand at the entrance to the Labyrinth.  My purpose there is simple: since we all walk the same path together, it’s easy to have a ‘traffic jam.’  I help put space between people as they enter the Labyrinth so that while you walk, you have a chance to focus inward rather than worry about stepping on the person in front of you.  I’m also then available to answer questions or help out anyone who needs extra assistance for their walk.

The number of people at a Labyrinth walk can vary greatly depending on the time of year.  At a guess, we’ve had as many as 40 and as few as 10 at past Labyrinth walks.  After I welcome you onto the Labyrinth (generally done with a gesture in order to maintain silence), you’ll probably end up passing a couple people who are on their way out.  You may also find that when you come to the center, there are a few other people seated in meditation there.  Everyone is very good about being respectful of each others’ space.  This is the aspect of Labyrinth Walking that fosters community.  A Labyrinth Walk can be deeply personal and cooperative at the same time.

On your return journey, you’ll again pass other walkers.  After you walk out of the Labyrinth, you’re welcome to sit down and journal or think about your walk.  There are benches at the outdoor Labyrinth and seats placed around the perimeter of the indoor one.  You can sit and contemplate, move to an area where conversation is welcome to chat about your experience, head home for the night or walk a second (or even third) time.

During the warmer months, we welcome hand drummers to play during the second half of the Labyrinth walk.  Drums add a different energy to a walk.  Where a silent walk is contemplative, a drumming walk is jubilant.  People dance and twirl on the Labyrinth, clap their hands and sometimes sing or chant.  That’s why we only have drums during the second half of the walk.  It allows walkers a choice in terms of what kind of walk they’d prefer.  Many walkers, myself included, do both.

At the end of a walk, after the last walker leaves the Labyrinth, a few people generally stay and help clean up the tealights and move chairs if we were using the indoor one.

And that, my dear ones, is that.  I hope this helped answer your questions about Labyrinth Walks.  If you have any additional questions, anything I didn’t address, feel free to leave me a comment 🙂

‘Solvitur Ambulando.”

Lunar Labyrinths

Published April 7, 2012 by ireneglasse

In Pagan practices, the full moon means many things.  Abundance, spirituality, peak psychic ability, fertility, a good time for magick…depending on the Tradition you get your information from, almost everything has been ascribed to the full moon at some point.  To me, though, the full moon most means Mystery.  Something about that silvery light sets the subconscious to dreaming.  Things are possible by moonlight that are not in the revealing light of day.  We can be more truly ourselves, casting off some of the masks we layer on in order to fit in during our daytime lives.  Our truths are easier to manage in moonlight.  With our faces dimly lit, we feel more free to share, to feel.  We wrap ourselves in that chiaroscuro shroud and suddenly connection is possible–with our friends, with the Powers, and perhaps most importantly, with ourselves.  We’re more willing to step into Mystery, to allow dreams, to listen to what our inner voice has to say.

The lifting of barriers that occurs in moonlight is part of why I feel full moon Labyrinth walks are so powerful.  The Labyrinth, at its most potent, enables us to find our center.  The Full Moon, at its most potent, allows us to tune out the chaos and noise of our normal lives and tune in to Spirit.  To combine the two is to truly set the stage for revelation, healing and connection.

Strange things happen on the Labyrinth, especially in moonlight.  We find ourselves walking with old friends or family members who have passed beyond the Veil.  We suddenly see a simple solution to a long-vexing problem.  We gain surprising insight into relationships.  Without warning, we realize where the real problems are, and are shown a path to take in order to work on them.

My surprising revelation from last night involved a particular ceremony.  My work over the last year has been on developing more compassion for myself and others.  It’s a work in progress.  I still have good days and bad ones.  Overall I’ve moved forward–my expectations of myself are getting less absurd.  As a result, my ability to feel compassion for other people and their battles has increased.  When I moved through the Labyrinth, I focused on releasing the blocks that do not serve me anymore–judgement, needing to be right, fear, the need to control.

As I walked, as I released, I heard my own voice telling some of my students about a ritual.  It’s one I’ve recommended as additional homework many times over the years but have never actually performed myself.  In the ceremony, the practitioner sits before a mirror with a list of positive and negative traits.  They ground, center, and establish connection with the higher self.  One by one, alternating positive and negative traits, the practitioner says “I love you, ______, because you love helping people/can’t balance your checkbook/are open minded/are stubborn/etc.”  This helps the spirit heal from our societal need to compartmentalize and allows love for the self to become unconditional.

Once again the lines of that Leonard Cohen poem popped into my head–“There is a crack in everything.  That’s how the light gets in.”

And I found myself shifting from releasing my compassion blocks to releasing my little self-hatreds.  To letting go of how much I beat myself up for my flaws.  Instead I saw them as full of moonlight–cracks that make the surface more interesting.  Allowing the light to get in.

The Labyrinth takes us to our center, if we’ll let it.  And the full moon lights the way.

May this moon see new light spilled into your life.  May the Mystery find you, wherever you are.