Opening to Receive:
Inspired Creativity, Puppets, and Poetry
A Guest Blog Post by Colin Wright, with a little help from Victoria Desmond and with context woven by Robin Rose Bennett
This post is mostly written by Colin; herbalist, artist, and recent graduate (2017) of my 3 year Greenwood Men’s Apprenticeship Circle in Herbal Medicine and EarthSpirit teachings.
I am sharing this post in the form of a letter that he sent to me because I love to see the artistic creations that apprentices are inspired to by our work together in the green world, and because I think we all need to learn to ask for and open to receive help and support from others. It is a vital, yet nearly lost part of the art of self-care. He sent me this beautiful letter and I am opening to receive the love and blessings that it reminds me are here for me.
In that spirit, on a recent evening I expressed some fears and concerns about deserving to take my sabbatical, work on my novel, not being there for people, etc. etc. to another wise graduate, Victoria Desmond, and she wrote to me the next day, telling me she’d been inspired to pick up and work on a poem she had put down a few years earlier, and she sent me this:
May you allow yourself this well deserved extension/expansion of your loving self care to balance out the many years of teaching, and giving, and loving and, and, and,...
you beautiful loving giving being
full of the many gifts you bring
we drink, and drink, and drink of your cup now fly on your way
and fill it back up
I recently wrote down the inspiration for my puppet project, and wanted to share it with you as a reminder of the gifts you have shared with me and so, so many others.
So here it goes:
I had been longing to make puppets after my apprenticeship with Superior Concept Monsters, a puppet building group in the Hudson Valley. I didn't have the space, or really even any idea of what I wanted to build, but kept puppets close in my imagination.
When my job finished in the city and we moved upstate, I finally had the space to create. I was listening to a book by Joanna Macey and she talked about holding councils. They were ritual theater projects that combined elemental nature, animals, witches, ancestors, future beings, and other magical forces. These energies could gather and discuss the big issues of our times. I felt so inspired by this wisdom and realized I had the capacity, time and energy to start something.
I decided to start building a council for my community. These councils would come together on the cross quarter pagan holidays and offer insight or advice to those who were gathered. Councils would be held in a sacred space, outside the mundane reality of the over-culture and would seek to address our greatest fears, dreams, and aspirations.
I began building puppets, starting with a wise woman (turned moon deity) and continued with animals, light beings, and Hindu deities, and other celestial representations...
We first came together as a council in 2017 at a winter solstice hosted by my friend and mentor, Wise Woman Robin Rose Bennett. The puppets were a surprise to her. I had asked if I could bring a surprise to the ritual and she offered 15 minutes to dree my wyrd. So I did.
The puppets were animated by Wise Woman Lata Chettri-Kennedy, and green brothers and sisters Anna B, Irina A, Scott M, and myself, and my partner, Teddy. Each puppet bestowed a gift on Robin for her 60th Earth-iversary and each gift was intended to help her move in her 2018 sabbatical with enhanced awareness and grace.
After the solstice ritual participants lit their candles at the altar, the puppets were brought to life. The solar deity narrated the gifts given by the animals.
The sun goddess addressed Robin:
Raven came from the east bringing the winds of change Use Raven's inspiration
of words and song
to receive unlimited potential
to spiral your vision into the world
Trickster Wolf came from the south
carrying the flame of excitement, laughter and joy She reminds us to use these gifts
when times become serious
so we remember to play
Medicine Bear came from the west holding the magical waters of healing Bear gave you this water
for the healing of all our relations and to remind us
of the sacredness of life
Deer travelled from the north with Gaia's green gifts
She shared the love and support given to us by our beautiful earth Deer asked that we use this gift so our community grows
The Ancestors came from below and beyond, represented by the moon deity
The moon gave Robin expanded insight and intuition and told her how to bring dream medicine
back into the waking realm
The future generations came from above and beyond represented by the solar deity
Gifts of surprise, ingenuity, and integrity were offered
These techniques can be used when feeling lost or uncertain
And into the center, the gifts were cast As a group, we stirred the cauldron and ladled out a spoon to imbibe
the sacred imaginings and receive the gifts.
May it be so.
the air the fire the water the earth
return return return
the center of love
return return return
Much love to you Robin,
Images by: Candace Vivian