ceremony, moon message, women

A Beltane:: A Fire Festival

Calling Death Doulas and Midwives

It’s often hard to look inside and see change. But since it is Beltane today, May Day, let’s try. A Festival Day ― Beltane ― on the seasonal calendar the time to welcome a new fire burning inside. In this time, at the crucible of a global initiation, do not be left out of Earth’s story. Change is inevitable and Earth could use your genius to initiate her rebirth.

Beltane is the cross quarter day when the wheel of the year has turned to brighten our fire within for purification and healing. This is the essence of Passage ceremonies, after a long, arduous journey, a fire and a dance honors all that changed through the seasons. Join me in Festival today. Earth’s changes are most visible right now.

2020. Who knew? We have sprung into action as Death Doulas. Sorrow is a companion, one of the pillars of grief. We’ve each been hit with sudden death and waves of deep sadness. We are also sad about a way of life. Such rapid change has no precedent. Thousands of Souls, families, communities rocked, how can there be more? We are not meant to see the whole iceberg.

Let’s find a way through the gloom to take this pause as a spiritual assignment. Since we are Nature, we are Earth, with no separation, can we visualize this isolation as the inside of our collective cocoon? 7.7 billion Humans and countless other species together in one cocoon. Vulnerabilities exposed. See the toxic layer of greenhouse gases as the outer layer of our cocoon. We are wrapped tightly and ready to burst forth. Transformation begins in the fire as the big, fat caterpillar changes into a butterfly.

Simultaneous tasks in our Divine feminine evolution. Now see yourself as Midwive to our collective future, what can we labor over together? Our gardens will be the best they have ever been, this is the consequence of attention. What attention does Earth Mother want or need right now? How would she “like” her thinking creatures to behave?

Can you see why Earth needs her Midwives! ? Now? A new vision will be birthed in the collective. We are in the cocoon together. The best of our human spirits will create a more beautiful Earth. Can you see how we might use midwifery skills―care, tenderness, attention―as our right and responsibility? Earth is asking nicely.

When I am in deep listening mode, gratitude rises as my igniter for joy. Let’s turn on those extrasensory skills we have been given. This is a blessing time; we can re-evolve these fine sensory gifts.

Listening deeply, talking more than we ever have before: Listening and talking are two gifts evolved from the Old Ones around the central fire. Earth wants us to pay attention to her little joys like hearing the gorgeous raucous noise of birdsong and sharing the story of our joy. Listen also to the youngest generation and to our adopted relations and their joy, this is a clear message. Using an image of birth in the tender moments of labor, what wants / needs attention from the quiet of our lockdowns? What can we birth by talking?

Step up with me as a Midwife for the Earth. How can we soothe the greater dangers she asks us to see. To deeply love our place on Earth which helps define us, all that holds our stories, Earth invites attention. This human quality that makes gardens beautiful, attention to the Earth at her holy cross quarter day ― halfway between Equinox and Summer Solstice ― a Beltane fire ignited inside today, in ceremony, will serve the months ahead.

Strengthen your spirit with song and dance.
Help each other to stay well, Dearhearts!
Sending love all around the Earth,
Gail oxoxo


Moon Message::New Moon in Taurus

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 Earth Day
Consider how brilliant the Saturn Pluto conjunction was on January 12. Saturn is about boundaries, the little box or sphere around each of us, that holds our agendas, limits our dreams, and calls us to task. Saturn crossed over Pluto, the planet of death, birth, transformation. This conjunction simultaneously unleashed a virus to test us, settle us down at home, to quiet the busy-ness. Sure we have our own fears – of death, of sickness, it’s a time for reckoning.

Have we accepted the great gifts that have come in this human package? Very few of us give the gifts we came to give. The astrology for this year, including down the calendar into April, Earth Day has everyone’s attention.

Like icing on a cake, the New Moon arrives at 7:26 Pacific, conjuncting Sun. Moon, and Uranus, the planet of revolutionary energy. While we are in the dark of the Moon in Taurus, middle spring, ask what R’evolutionary dwells inside of you? What can we do for the Earth? She is inviting us to raise our consciousness. What is being revealed? How could we become Earth’s protectors again?

The simplest answer and the most obvious, plant everything, trees, native shrubs, wildflowers, perennials of every kind that you can care for and will respond to your care. Photosynthesis is regenerative! Become an Earth regenerator, show the Earth you care. And, plant something yummy to browse on – kale, arugula, parsley, and if you can, plant winter squash. Who can see the future? If you can reestablish your relationship with Earth like a service project, imagine how much better we will feel a year from now. We could use this time as a springboard for Earth consciousness.

Recommending a book for awakening:
All around the world, governments declared an international emergency for the Earth, but geologic time is very slow. I’ve become a fan of Christiana Figueres, something about her tone and her voice. She has raised my consciousness and I am grateful. Her podcast is very real. Imagine launching her new book with Tom Rivett-Carnoc into the sh**storm of Corona. Still it’s brilliant, The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis.

Like surprises, two scenarios are presented to us in this book: both set in 2050, one if we do nothing and the other if we hold the line on warming to 1.5° C or 2.7° F. These are the two people who engineered the Paris Agreement in 2015. They know their science, but still they took everything into account to paint the very different pictures. The “do nothing” scenario is infinitely more frightening than Covid-19 has been. Do everything we can while the Earth has her emergency, this scenario is the only one to dream about, to act on.

How the future unfolds is up to us, you+me=we. Reach out to a mentor, mentor a younger, with collaboration we can have the better scenario
Ask me, I will ask you to look carefully at this Threshold.

We are the dreamers. We are not the only ones.

Truly in love with the Moon, the Earth, and you,
Gail, Story Activist


Great Mother

Great Mother, will you offer a space for our stories?

Consider for just a moment the meaning of fate … individually and collectively. You / we may have been on the verge of cooperating with each other for the Earth for regeneration, for conversation about teachings floating about, beyond organic.

Behind many doors, the world has been thrown a spanner, something to stop the machine. Each one of us had our internal engines revved up at maximum torque. One holy act – stay at home – emerged as a resolution to our wrong directions.

Be careful what we ask for / pray for …

Black Throated Grey Warbler hopped from one side of the gate to the other.
When he flew I realized we had received a blessing, me an elder woman with my dog. It’s a favorite gate to the tiny dog park at the Mountain Home RV Park.

The day before Earth Day 2020, we then went to the boneyard beyond to listen and watch. Robins, Juncos, and numerous, various sparrows told the ground squirrels we were coming. Combustion engines sound off like a shadow of background noises.

In my ears, Rebecca Solnit talks about one of her old books, it becomes the top of my must read list. Probably it’s her voice I appreciate the most and the special way she enunciates slowly
quite thoughtfully, like hearing a crystal ring. I want more.

Admiring the sweet life of a ground squirrel beyond a grassy playground I wondered about the family in the hole and felt the magnetic pull of many voices. Quail, Robins, and a symphony of ground squirrels called me over to the tree.

In the middle of this small hollow of ground, below the vision line of people a cottonwood tree, a gorgeous pile of river boulders and a cut-up poplar. All the critters took me into their bosom long enough to sing to me.

Have you hear me say, your stories matter? What is there at the sweet-spot, the intersection of your heart and your head?

Come out, as far as you dare, and tell us how you’re doing this fine day.
❤️ oxoxo ❤️

poem, women

Earth’s Cauldron- an epic poem

The last day of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere, 2020
Boulder Beach, Lake Mead National Monument, Boulder City, Nevada

Dear Ones,

This is Gail’s friend and mentee Becky Suzik here. I am writing to extend Gail’s wishes to offer the beginnings of an epic poem we write together. You are invited to play and add your poems, photos, art pieces to “Earth’s Cauldron”.

Gail said to me today, “We are in an unknown time. A time that is not old, and not new, but completely unknown.”  This after saying yesterday how much we are deeply in need play right now.

Please accept this loving, playful and soulful invitation to contribute to this poem beginning with our elders Gail and Janis Clark-Monaco’s entries. Read the beginning entries “Earth’s Caldron” and add your contributions to the comments section below or email us.

We wonder: how might you make sense of our hurting world right now, through writing, artmaking, creating, playing in our collaborative poem?

Thank you for the gifts you have brought to the world, for simply being you, and here to witness the unknown. Thank you for all of the ways you are showing up, hurting deeply, loving and responding.


Love, Becky, Gail & Janis



The Sun will shine on my natal Moon today
Heralding for the 70th time since I was born
At 0° Aries, Equinox brings equality and humility
Reset to Meg’s question: Who do we choose to be?

Casablanca blinks brightly above the “closed” sign
Home state Idaho in our sights guided by a shadow ―
Like 100 years of other superbugs, this one is a gift
Certainly if we see the gift as connection, we will rise.

Perhaps that’s the ‘who’ I want to be, one who ascends
Nine months ago my consciousness insisted I become useful ―
When initiation gradually came to me this became my mantra
All circumstances considered, I choose to be useful.

Thank you Meg Wheatley for the conversation about collapse
Funny how words prepare us, heart words now spoken
Will rise through this crack in the world, ideas will incubate
In our inner worlds seeking fertile soils to sprout and flower.

Pray every day as a death doula, one who summons re-birth
Earth Goddess Gaia alerted us about tipping points ―
Overshoots, some of us read those red flags as warnings
We began imagining a more beautiful world of possibilities.

We beat our ancient drums of mourning as loses mount
Our collective dance must include a celebration of our labors
Call out the midwives, a birthing comes our way
Birth always requires a Ceremony as does Equinox.

My beloved humans, seek and find your umbilical cords,
Any new journey of initiation can feel inhospitable,
Like a birth canal, this pregnant threshold offers a gateway
Tune your brain with drum and rattle, listen, listen.

After Ceremony, in the midst of grief, midwives gather
In Sacred Circles all around the globe, intentions emerge
To choose well, to find service, to become more useful
Play your Venus card, tell each other what you value.

Welcome love into these conversations, it may be all there is
If you want more, welcome generosity and humility
Venus needs Mars, so welcome action into our circles
Begin to visualize collective consciousness shifting.


Like a call and response, her friend began spinning her into Ceremony:


Cedar, Western Red they say. Mother, I say.
When I touched the shredded bark,
A shot of electric current greeted me. Noticeable, but not harmful
I looked over my shoulder, and up to see how Sun penetrated these woods.
Here is power. Wisdom. 300 years old.

Ten minutes to walk around this Cedar, listening, kissing, dreaming.
I spread my arms and placed my breasts against her bark,
The way to channel 300 years of wise experience is to ask questions.
This is where relationship begins.
“What do you think Great Mother. Are humans going to continue?”
―Coyote knew to be blunt, direct.
“Not in their current configuration,
Humans will not get through their grief unless they grow close in spirit,
Closer to Trees. You could show the way, old woman.”

The spirits were laughing. “It’s true. Losing capacity sharpens other abilities.”
This is the Elder learning curve: I received Tree’s gifts.
One of those had no limits―grief will be endless.
“Dance for me,” Tree asked.
Knees not what they used to be, hips … oh dear Goddess.
“Would you settle for a little waltz, Mother Cedar?”
I danced a merry-go-around with Mother Tree,
Emptying and allowing joy to rise like the Moon.
Reversed directions and rose like the Sun,
Looking up and looking down. Celebrating and honoring
With little rituals, this is the way forward.
A crow cawed. “Hello to you too, Crow.”
“These are my people.” It was true.
“You are all Ancestors of each other, you left Crows behind to call your name.”
“How many people have danced for you, Cedar?”
None for 50 years, before that, only a few.

Divine thoughts flowed from this Tree.
I began to weep, a gift of moment or grief?
“All things simultaneous.”
I laid out to touch Earth full length and spread my arms wide.



Spinning a New Thread



Spinning A New Thread

Dearhearts! First a little story.
Remembering is necessary to becoming.

Way back in the old, old days, they called her Goddess. Each afternoon, while they rested from the ways of women, cleaning everything, watching and caring for children, growing food, and tending flocks of goats and sheep, they gathered in their square and sat in a circle. Spinners, weavers, potters, healers, gardeners, and old women wanting to play again. The oldest tended the youngest and play was the way.
Their hands were always busy, these women, our Ancestors. When they gathered, some one always invited Goddess Gaia into their sacred space, and when they disbursed, they offered thanks. She was Earth Mother to these ancient women, she taught them to care and to share. They honored her essence and invited her guidance. Talk was casual the first round and serious if it needed to be. One woman at a time shared her thoughts about how to improve their lives together.

The story-line went way back. Talking had been the way of their ancestors. Along this river, in this circle, every woman knew she belonged to this place, to the Earth, and to these women. For every change-of-season celebration, those who wandered received a welcome-back feast. Delighted to speak of her adventures, the wanderer felt changed but easily found her place again in the story-line. Remembering traveled back in time more than 8,000 years. Probably it was twice that long.

As one who carries stories of ways as old as dirt, these images draw up a longing from the soles of my feet. I’ve been earthing, walking barefooted on dear Mother Earth – because Polly taught me this – and because spring is here. Late afternoon temperatures invite remembering. Maybe you’re like me, longing for the feel and the high honor of sitting in a circle. It’s time, Dearhearts, to gather and dance on the Earth, she needs our undivided attention. It’s time for women to talk again.

You’re invited: If you are nearby, bring a Sister and come to the Solstice celebration here at Sweet Pea Landing. I am one who has wandered and feel like creating a celebration for Goddess Gaia. I need to tell a story and to hear a story. This is the nature of our belonging.

Fine women’s stories of inspiration travel along our story-lines. Earth needs her women to return to circle, to come back to this old tradition. June 21 is a Friday, in the southern hemisphere winter has come and in the northern hemisphere the opposite. Summer was a long time coming! Gather your people wherever you are and practice the ancient arts of circling, earthing, belonging. Be one of Earth’s Weavers.

If you have read down this far, send me an email to receive more details. You are my people and I have love and finger food to share.

Longing for Circle,
In love with the Earth,
oxoxo Gail


rites of passage

earth message

Earth Message for you weekend, I offer a woven story.

Moratorium on Business-as-Usual (Part 1)
Project Drawdown:
>>Forest Protection: 38th ranked Drawdown Solution: 896 Gigatons of carbon saved
>>Temperate Forests: 12th ranked Drawdown Solution: Net carbon sink

Since I have lived most of my life in the wild west of the US, I am able to report about growth and change over more than 60 years. When I moved to the Idaho Panhandle 12 years ago, the first Al Gore movie was about to come out and we started a citizen’s climate action group. This group worked miracles retrofitting the city buildings and we raised local awareness. We didn’t persist, we didn’t go far enough. Eventually we were remade as Sandpoint 350. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change continued reporting and I numbed like so many others. Inner spirit in me as a spiritual activist didn’t start writing about possibilities or telling stories about core issues until Pachamama Alliance caused a personal shift. My voice does matter, so does yours.

I heard a voice the other day, a beautiful place-holder talked about living off the grid for 40 years at the headwaters of my watershed. She brought to my attention a theory that startles at the thought: Generationally, what we see, feel, and touch, literally using all of our senses, seems normal. This is not a phenomena that is well known, we have to hear from our Elders―what are we not seeing? Marilyn McIntyre introduced me to “shifting baseline syndrome” and I searched out a definition from an ecological journal: “People’s accepted thresholds for environmental conditions are continually being lowered.”

I am a logger’s Granddaughter. We are old together now, my Granddad and I; we remember the old ways with big hearts. After selectively logging with draft horses his whole life, he passed in 1970. Horse logging, selective logging is a dying art. It could be re imagined. Surviving into this century, in each of these western states, there might be one or two with skills like Granddad Board.

When I see a clear-cut forest I feel a deep heart pain. The Earth was not meant to be treated this way; there is something too greedy afoot. Useful and grounding words of Chief Seattle come to mind.

Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does
to the web, he does to himself.
~ Chief Seattle

With my spiritual eyes, I too can see huge differences in my childhood forests and those that are surviving today. Limiting the variety of tree species is one big difference, and a die-off is currently underway, maybe gaining speed. Whole species are no longer growing in our moist montane forests. This is what my friend Marilyn reported. She went back through her journals, as a life-long forestry technician and an artist, she kept good journal records. Some of the keystone species that welcomed her 40 years ago no longer even grow in the watershed we share. Sub-alpine fir and White Bark Pine are absent along Grouse Creek in North Idaho. Without her notes, I could not have known what I was missing. I did know about the blister rust that took out the Western White Pine. Intuitively and reaching into my heritage, I felt my own shifting baseline and planted 100 trees in an arboretum that included Ponderosa Pine, a reinvigorated Western White Pine and a little tree the deer loved, fast growing poplars.

It’s time now to call a moratorium on tree cutting. Even though many of the big timber businesses do replant and many consider trees a renewable resource, we no longer have 40 years to grow a tree. The tipping points in the climate are so close we can see them, feel them, and speak about them. We must stop business-as-usual at least until we begin to draw down the carbon from the atmosphere. Then, after the moratorium, we can re-imagine the logging business.

Pain Replaced by Sacred Activism

Drawdown is a huge concept, at least as big as the industry that put all that carbon out in the atmosphere in the first place. We are already drawing down and capturing carbon in more than 100 ways. I believe that drawing down begins at home, first by spreading information, teaching others to speak the language, and then by planting trees. Trees have been called the standing people by our indigenous Ancestors. In the language of Drawdown, trees worldwide are also precious because they are stored carbon.

Since we all suffer from “shifting baseline syndrome” and we view nature with eyes in this present-moment, it appears normal. This new level of suffering feels especially painful because we fail to realize the illusion and trickery of our own eyes. From the deep knowing, from the history alive from our Ancestors, each one of us can find our spiritual activism in relationship with the standing people, our tree friends.

We can give thanks, collectively, for this spectacular feedback from Mother Earth. That her messages are being gathered, noticed, and shared is outstanding! Normal is shifting so rapidly now a simple search back a few decades might begin with conversations with Elders. Those bridges are easy to build. Those of us with a few decades of growth, like old trees, we can see the difference in our memory banks. We welcome deeper conversations, we can talk ourselves into spiritual activism.

One thing our Ancestors all did, they planted trees! To honor the early passing of a young man in my watershed, he urged us to plant trees. After planting, give them a bit of extra care because they need to survive the shifting climate that we cannot see or feel, but we believe. I give thanks for the signs and the stories of the many Elders who keep our memories enlivened.

With love from me, Story Activist, Gail Burkett
October 2018

rites of passage

Always the Earth Always the Moon

Master Transformer – Pluto, September 14, 2018, Florence & First Snow

Dearhearts, A long read … Grab a cuppa (::). I cannot shorten this one.

For the ritual and the ceremony of Rites of Passage, I stand on the shoulders of giant teachers: Angeles Arrien, Michael Meade, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Ann Mortimer, Meg Wheatley, Kathleen Wilson, Lorene Wapotich. So many others: Every one of my women friends. Margaret Meade told the first coming-of-age indigenous story and Arnold van Gannep wrote about the Rites of Passage form.

Many moderns played with this form, including me. For 20 years, I have helped produce week-long, summer-long, overnight, and weekend ceremonies for women and girls, to offer – on time and out of time – Rites of Passage. They have filled me, these offerings, for babies, for 9 year old girls, for girls just about to bleed.  A brilliant ceremony, a group effort, happened over a 2-night-weekend where more than 40 women looked at the Passages in our recent memories.

Literally, I have sat with this question for years, “How can women who have missed every single passage possibly catch up enough to give this ceremony, in its truest form, to our ourselves first and possibly to our daughters?”

Women, we must give it to ourselves before all others. The form feels familiar: Just like Mists of Avalon, just like the search for the Holy Grail, just like our modern vision quest, offered as a fast. First the call, then an action to separate, to leave, to prepare a Threshold, and ask for a send-off by a village of our peers. The Journey is alone with our inner wilderness, to recover lost parts of our Souls, and to return to a special celebration of quiet elegance designed to celebrate the story. This is a Soul Story.

Women of the 21st Century, busy, hip, totally involved with wonderful, extraordinary people and things. In the past 2 years, I have met many of you, on-line at a distance. Pachamama, TreeSisters, Sophie Mortimer’s magical group. To all of you, oxoxo. Those hugs and kisses are real, just come in close! I am in awe of our collective Stardust. This is what I call women’s genius, Stardust. With my squinty eyes, I see so much longing.

Rites of Passage often does not enter our thoughts until a change comes calling. What does this mean? Women go through about a dozen biological changes in our lives. I chose nine as my number because every one of us go through nine biological changes in common.

What is the layer of this question, could layer be the answer? How can women continue with our amazing and surprising offerings, work and play as a sustainable exchanges for our energies, and how can we experience a deep enough ceremony to truly connect with our inner power, to feel and allow the change, how can we possibly answer the call of our Souls?

The answer was not my answer alone because by the time the download came through as Soul Stories, I had been walking with Ancestral Grandmothers for more than 10 years, asking the same question, how? How in the world? How are we ever going to lift Rites of Passage out of the dust where it has laid, broken and forgotten, for so long? Why? Because of this mystical thing known as calling, as stardust, as purpose ― this often nags at us and saps our energies. To dig as deep as Soul-self takes time, Earth time, slow-time.

I honor your doubt. I honor my own. Doubt comes through as not-belonging, as not-enough, and as not-deserving. These often turn into real fear. Fear is a stopper, we cannot possibly go along on a 9 month or year long Journey of Initiation. I received several body-blows in August ― fire in my core and a pulled hamstring, together. I know this was doubt and fear. Then, there is communication: What is this thing initiation anyway? Initiation is revealing yourself to yourself, nothing more and all of that. Because we are alive, we have survived excellent adventures and painful memories. Why revisit those? Again? This long Journey shows you that you have been whole all along, but perhaps you could not see. You have buried so many longings, they deserve to see light again, with your adult or elder eyes!

I am committed to Soul Stories as a long Journey of Initiation because it feels so much like a celebration of wellness and wholeness. My Sister is right … we are not so much the walking wounded as we are not celebrated. Women are not celebrated. Mind you, birthday parties are marvelous, just not this special blend of ritual, altar, quiet, deep. Ceremony is the capstone of this Journey, falling in love with the Earth and belonging to the Cosmos, these are our benefits. Earth is our only home, this Journey will prepare us to take steps to care for our Great Mother for future generations, for ourselves, and for the stories of our Soul.

This is absolutely a Sisters’ Journey. One of yours may want to hold for you, to celebrate you, to come along with you. Parts of this Journey may reshape your beliefs, not in a religious sense, but in a spiritual sense, in a holy soulful sense. Answers lie in the dust of your Ancestor’s footsteps: “Why this earth-walk?” The answer is yours to discover. The Women’s Journey of Initiation begins September 23rd. It may be the only one I ever offer on-line. I am old, so this might be absolutely true. Find me in this new place www.gailburkett.org and follow me through the registration process.

I am going on this Journey too, I am IN!
Feel my love, feel my arms encircling you,

Symbolic Language is one of the bonuses.
Growth continues until we die, this is true. oxoxo

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

rites of passage


Dearhearts! Sisters!

This is my personal get-ready time, here and away, back here and away again, a ceremonial rhythm you will come to love.

From the lore, the Celtic mysteries, Ash Tree, magical potency, health and prosperity, can you open to receive?

Will you find some time, live at 11am PDT or later, to watch the EVENT on 9-9-18, this Sunday, that ceremony will open our Circle.

This will be the opening, plenty of time to think, to decide, to choose, to notice your process. Look at your obstacles, are they real? Do you have 15 minutes for yourself? That’s what this Journey requires of you. The Elders will Seal the Circle at 4pm PDT September 23, there is all the time in the world to consider, to read the “Steps before a Journey.” You will have to ask for those … Look for me … I am here, lots. Filling up with love, fueling from Momma Earth, getting myself ready.

oxoxo Love, Gail

rites of passage

Women’s Journey of Initiation Begins

Your invitation is here. A Woman’s Journey of Initiation.
Reveal yourself to yourself, initiate to your Soul-self.
Take this opportunity to get to know Soul, deeply.
Journey through the Life Spiral, so rare.
Unusual that something so sacred could be delivered on-line,
But it’s close, accessible, it’s thrilling, even fun to join a Circle.
On this Journey, you follow the Life Spiral around, guided by me.
We will be on-line with the Moons, New Moon and Full Moon.
By the Cosmic rhythm, the circle-women will be well held.
In our own Secret, Private Facebook Group, safe and secure.

~ Gail Burkett

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.