I had the good fortune to visit my friend Jennifer Lucero-Earle in southern California last week for a few days of work and play. I grew up in the area, and found myself experiencing a profound, nostalgic return to the landscape of my childhood and young adulthood.
One of the places Jennifer and I visited is a beach called “Little Corona del Mar.” This was one of the first places I ever knew as a sacred landscape, even though I didn’t have that language for it.
When I was 18 years old and a student at the University of California at Irvine, my high school boyfriend was killed by a drunk driver. I was inconsolable. It was the first time in my life I had ever experienced a great trauma. For months after his death, I would leave campus frequently and head for Little Corona, where I wandered around the tide pools and sat gazing out at the ocean. For hours at a time, I watched the waves roll in and roll out again, over and over and over.
The sea taught me that love doesn’t die, because even though my young man was gone, my love for him remained, alive and glowing like a living thing. The tides were teaching me about the cyclical nature of life, although I didn’t recognize it at the time. Two high tides and two low tides a day, ebb and flow, ebb and flow again. The coming and the going, the leaving and the returning: I learned that this can be counted on, as faithful as the phases of the moon or the round of the seasons.
This sensory body-knowledge served me well as my life unfolded, and I danced with Lady Death multiple times over the decades. I experienced the deaths of both parents, of my beloved son, and of several good friends, as well as my own close brush with Lady Death four times.
When Jennifer and I visited Little Corona last week, I felt a profound sense of welcome — of both recognizing the Place and being recognized by it. You might dismiss my experience as my imagination, and I’m fine with characterizing that way. Or perhaps there is a more ancient wisdom at play here: that when we love the land, it loves us right back.
After a few hours on the beach, Jennifer and I climbed the steep hill up to the streets above, and were rewarded by the delightful sight of two monarch butterflies (symbols of the souls of the dead) fluttering through a rose garden, dancing with each other, and leading us ever on.
My five-year-old self comes out to play with Mama Ocean!
Coming later this year …
The Sacred Wheel:
An Exploration of the Cycle of Life / Death / Renewal
Through Nature, Tarot, & Art
I’m hard at work (and having a grand time) creating this new online course. It’s based on the one-day workshop I did at the Kingston Tarot Lenormand Conference last November but goes into greater depth. I am excited about adding a somatic element to the work, with videos that Jennifer and I shot last week in California.
The Sacred Wheel embodies the cycle of life, death, and rebirth: all things begin, grow, peak, begin to wane, and die. And something is left as a seed for a new cycle to begin. In this course, we’ll learn how to make the Sacred Wheel come alive for us through tarot exercises and spreads, somatic explorations, herbcraft, sacred art, and “wild wander” walks in nature. And more!
The teaching I’m weaving into this course is the culmination of decades of learning and teaching, rooted in my own personal journey. In some ways it began back there on that little beach at Corona Del Mar.
I hope you’ll join me! Registration opens August 21st.