When I was a little girl, I used to look out the window at the mountains surrounding our little valley. I knew the names of each of those mountains. Those mountains held stories. Family stories. I’d look at the tall pine trees standing watch along the ridge lines, outlined against the blue sky background, and I’d imagine those trees were my ancestors. Standing watch over me. Over us. I wished on those trees. Just like my mother did when she was growing up in the same valley, watching and wishing on the same mountains, with the same evergreen centurions.
It was a soul need to hear the mountains whisper the same blessings they had whispered to Okanagan mothers and their babies for eons.
As an Okanagan tribal member who grew up in the Okanagan highlands, I’m one of the few that can claim to have grown up in their ancestral homelands. One of the even fewer indigenous people who can claim so. What with forced removal, reservations, colonization, globalization and the ease of growing up and moving away these days. But I grew up where my mother grew up and where my ancestors were always at least a seasonal presence before that. Way before that. Way before the first European ever even dreamt of putting foot on our shores.
Growing up this way, there was a sense of security and rootedness that I took for granted, as all children take the blessings they were born into for granted. I was restless. Eager to see more of the world. I went to college only two hours away but I got married shortly after graduation and moved halfway across the States. I moved again to Southwest and then to Spain.
All of this moving and seeing the world was fantastic for my wandering soul. I felt free and secure in new environments, rather than scared or uncertain.
After a few years, I divorced my first husband and ran away to Costa Rica to grieve in private and to reclaim my independence. I met a redhead with a wild look in his eye and enjoyed a brief (less than 24 hours) flirtation with him. We exchanged email addresses and a promise to let him know if I was ever back in the country. Two years went by. On another whim, I decided to go back to Costa Rica as a graduation gift to myself for finishing grad school. I emailed the redhead.
For the first time I realized that my soul needed to catch up with my body.
Ten months later I was pregnant with our first child. A year later, we broke ground on our house. Another 10 months later and I was pregnant with our second child.
In July of 2014, I sat on the gorgeous bed that my wild redhead had made with his own hands, trying to nurse our newborn second son. My body was unrecognizable to me after a second pregnancy, a second 60-pound weight gain, and a second emergency c-section. I lived on top of a cold mountain in a tropical country in a beautiful farmhouse on a beautiful farm, but it too was all unrecognizable.
I was panicking.
After 15 years of traveling and wandering the world and of calling 15 different places “home,” I felt desperate to go capital-H Home. To my homelands. But it wasn’t really homesickness. It wasn’t that I was unhappy in Costa Rica or with the redhead (I wasn’t and I’m not).
It was a primal need to see pine trees.
It was a soul need to hear the mountains whisper the same blessings they had whispered to Okanagan mothers and their babies for eons. To see the evergreen centurions standing watch on top of the ridge and to dedicate my sons into their care.
And for the first time, I realized that my soul needed to catch up with my body. My physical body was happy to wander and to put down roots half a world away from it’s homelands. But my soul had yet to anchor into this new earth. I knew I needed room to explore the spiritual wisdom of this new land while still honoring and, more importantly, remembering, the old land.
So I did the only thing I know how to do when it comes to the soul. I did the only thing I could do that let me be in both places at once: I journaled.
And now the same magical journaling process that I developed for myself, can be adapted for your own spiritual nourishment as well.
If you’re in unfamiliar territory, whether it’s motherhood, a new country, a new career or a new stage in life, DIVINA can help tether your soul to your roots while giving you the freedom to explore new horizons.
DIVINA gives you daily space and accountability to record the musings, insights and guidance from your subconscious. Dreams, intuition, synchronicity, divinations, your menstrual or lunar cycle, gratitude, signs, omens, emotions and reflections all have their place in this journal. Over time, you’ll build a compendium of insight that can be invaluable in determining just how the Divine is communicating to you and what your next move should be.
But hurry. It’s only available for a limited time.
Neptune in Pisces until 2027 is THE time to develop your dream practice, and now this fantastic book is out! I love mine! — Mystic Medusa
I love this journal more than cake. — Little Fox Tarot
DIVINA blew the doors off of my 2016– it saved so much of my sanity! — Keva, USA
Happy Holy Days,
It’s an early morning in 1635. The weather is light and sunny with an impeding sense of rain. This new land, they’re calling it Costa Rica, has been under Spanish rule for just over 100 years. The grandmothers and grandfathers still remember the stories of their own grandmothers and grandfathers– stories of peace and freedom. Simplicity.
With the Spanish has come new diseases, new structures called cities and something called “religion.” The indigenous Costa Ricans aren’t used to living in such close quarters or in houses designed to stay put and not move with the seasons. They’re also not used to mandatory worship of a small pale statue inside a dark and musty building. The statue looks like he is suffering, his arms spread out and nailed down. His side slashed open. What is this strange ceremony that worships death and destruction while proclaiming everlasting life?
Death. Destruction. Life. To the indigenous Costa Ricans, this sounds a lot like the birthing process.
Costa Rica itself is in a time of upheaval, adaptation and the birthing of a new world.
And every birth needs a Mother.
Juana is 8, maybe 10 years old and her mother has sent her into the forest to gather firewood. Her family has recently moved to a big gathering place called a city. They call the city Cartago. Her parents have found it easier to trade for supplies and this thing called money if they are nearer to the Spanish colonizers who need labor and supplies and who seem just as befuddled by this new way of living as the indigenous are.
As Juana is gathering firewood she looks up and notices a small stone carving sitting on top of a rock by the stream. The carving looks just like a doll to Juana. A villager must have been sitting idly by the stream and carved this stone, she thought. She took it home and put it in a safe place so her little brother couldn’t take it from her.
The next morning, Juana is back at the stream, gathering firewood, when she sees another stone doll like the first one. How lucky! Now she has two dolls. She takes the stone doll home and puts it in her safe place with the other doll . . . and discovers that the other doll is missing! She looks down at the new doll and realizes that it is the same doll. Okay. Her brother must be playing tricks on her. This time she takes the doll and locks it in a chest, and hangs the key around her neck.
On the third morning, Juana goes back to the stream to gather firewood but this time she’s keeping her attention focused on the bushes around her. She wants to catch her brother before he can play another trick on her. But then she sees something that stops her dead in her tracks. She quickly reaches up and feels the cord that is carrying the key around her neck. The key is still there. So how . . .?
The stone doll is back on the rock.
This sounds like one of those “witchcraft” things the man in the black robe has warned them all about. She doesn’t want to get in trouble so she grabs the doll and takes it to the black robed man.
The priest half listens to the girl’s story about this small carved stone and locks it in his desk drawer before going about his business. But later, he remembers the doll and goes to his desk to examine it.
The doll is gone.
Curious, he goes to the stream just outside the city and sure enough, there is the doll, by the stream just as the little girl claimed. Something curious was happening indeed. The priest called for other members of the clergy to come see the doll and the stream. He asked Juana to come and tell her story. The churchmen concluded that the doll, an image of the Madonna, wanted to stay by the stream. That this stream was Holy and needed to be protected. Plans for a basilica were began.
This is the story of Costa Rica’s Black Madonna, the Virgin of The Angels, affectionately called La Negrita. And her story, although remarkable, isn’t a new one. Nor was it an unfamiliar story to the Spanish priest who took the “doll” from Juana.
To Be Continued . . .
In March 2009, I was staring down the barrel of a failed marriage.
I wanted out because it felt like I needed to get out. I didn’t yet have an explanation or a reason, but after six years the relationship no longer felt right.
Desperate and isolated from friends and family while we lived in Madrid, Spain, I made an appointment with a psychic. My first ever. I was nervous about talking to her, a bit skeptical, but figured I had nothing to lose.
She confirmed that the relationship wasn’t the best match anymore. I asked her about my future. I wanted to see if I could envision it with my husband. I told her I had an idea to run a guest lodge in the country. I wanted to teach people how to reconnect with Mother Earth. I grew up in my ancestral homelands in a small community of just a few hundred. Now I was living in Madrid, a city of 6 million. I loved that city, but I could go weeks without seeing the sunrise or the sunset. It was starting to wear me down. The need for regular connection with the Earth had never been more apparent to me.
“Yes, that’s an excellent fit for you!” She said. “I also see you traveling . . . Costa Rica, maybe?”
Costa Rica? I’d never thought of Costa Rica before. Wasn’t that in Central America somewhere?
“Also, there’s a man in your life. Your Guides are saying he’s a good match for you. He’s involved in sustainability or ecology and doesn’t mince words. If he’s not in your life already, he soon will be.”
Hmmm. I didn’t know who she might be talking about but I took note!
A month later, I was back in my mother’s house in Washington State. I’d separated from my husband and was headed to New Mexico in August to finish up grad school. I wasn’t sure what to do for the next 3 months but I wanted, needed, to look to the future. Thinking of my guest lodge, I decided to find an organic farm nearby. Maybe I could get out for a day or even volunteer for awhile. I started searching Washington and British Columbia. Somewhere along the way I came across a link that led me to a permaculture farm on the Caribbean in Costa Rica. It looked interesting. They accepted volunteers. I sent an email, volunteering my services but I didn’t really expect a reply. It looked like the kind of place that doesn’t check email very often. But within a few short hours I had a reply: “Yes, we could use you next month!”
Next month!?! That was 10 days away.
Excitement and adventure started to build in my gut.
I should run it by my husband.
No. I don’t need to do that anymore!
I should run it by my mom.
No. I’m an adult! I don’t need to do that either!
Could I really just decide to take a last minute trip to a foreign country on my own?
I booked the ticket. I didn’t know how I was going to afford anything for the next four months, but I just knew I had to go.
I giggled and did a little happy dance and only then did I remember the psychic’s words from a month ago:
My one month in Costa Rica turned into two months. I met friends with whom I will share a lifetime of friendship. I washed my grief away in the ocean. I learned who I was as an individual and as an adult. No one knew me as a wife. Or an ex-wife. They met me and accepted me as I was.
It was exactly what I needed.
About three weeks into my time at the farm a handsome redheaded tour guide passed through. There was a moment of mistaken identity when I mistook him for a big-headed college professor and he mistook me for a Costa Rican.
He was the Costa Rican.
I was the big-headed college girl.
Before he left he looked me straight in the eye. “If you ever come back to Costa Rica, I don’t care if it’s next month, next year, or two years from now– you let me know and I’ll take you on a date.”
He was cute, but I knew I’d never see him again. I gave him my email address anyway.
In the end, it was two years. But I did go back to Costa Rica and I did let him know.
Today we live on a sustainable/organic farm where he and his sisters run a guest lodge with an emphasis on ecology and sustainability. I have 200 acres to roam, with an unbeatable view of the sunset. Oh, and two adorable little boys.