CAYA 2016: Song of the Phoenix

Welcome to a Magical 2016, CAYA! Happy new year!

This year's theme is "Song of the Phoenix." At Harvest Home, we collectively gave CAYA of the past, and the wisdom of our collected experiences, to CAYA of the future. This was the ultimate step, I think, in our choice to Embrace the Mystery as a Coven last year, up to and including our IRS church application. The Mystery we embraced was...US...who we have been, who we are, and who we are becoming as an evolving community. WE are the huggable Mystery--a dynamic, transformative, epic, organic, spiraling wave of energy with many unique, precious, and irreplaceable manifestations. In 2016, we will take that spark of wisdom and magic that we each carry within, the wisdom of Inner Teacher that has been with us all along, and carry it forward into the world individually and as a community, watching it sprout fresh feathers and find its voice anew as an agent of courage, magic, and action.

This year's Daily Practice was written by Stella Iris, with music and arrangement by Yeshe Rabbit.

I am a creature of courage
I find myself in the heart of the fire
I find myself in my strength

I am a creature of magic
I find myself blessed with joy and love
I find myself spreading joy and love

I am a creature of purpose
I find myself rising, making change
Hear my voice! Hear my song!

I am a creature of wisdommmmm."

(We drop into a low hum on the last syllable, extending for the rest of the breath, gathering power at our core, then bringing it up to the surface as a burst of rainbow light on the in-breath that follows. Let that rainbow light symbolize whatever positive thing you want to share with the world.)

Here is a video of the Daily Practice:

Here is an inspiring image from DeviantArt by Tripletace:

CAYA 2016 Reading: performed Oct 30-31 between 11:30 PM and 12:30 AM using Kris Waldeherr's new Goddess Inspiration Oracle. We looked to the Goddesses for guidance in our CAYA fields of activity for 2016. We collectively interpreted the cards, and I wrote down as many messages as I could capture.

Leadership & Learning- Sekhmet- strength of female lion; pride; creating strength in fierceness/witchcraft/revolution; exploring the Solar nature of women and feminist leadership; our next batch of students are going to embody the spirit of creativity, change, revolution, and justice. There is healing in experiencing righteous rage when it is appropriate. Also, some of us may choose to learn about beer and brewing methods.

Education & Information- Kali Ma- Our web site redesign will be very different; "the more you resist, the harsher she gets, but if you meet her with courage, there is love there"; making strong statements about our stances, policies, and positions in the Pagan community; sharing our revolutionary sensibilities and fierce matriarchal values; employing #matriarchy, #366feministwitchcraft, #allmyselfiesarefeministselfies, and other call-to-action hashtags we design

Rituals & Events- Hera (also a lion goddess)- Accountability from everyone to be doing the work; sovereignty; dignity; protection and propriety in our ritual and event spaces; the lesson of the peacock: "One cannot be first in all things." On a practical note: CAYA will begin to offer pop-up weddings at PCon, Pagan Fest, Hexenfest, and other Pagan events! An interesting quote I found about Hera on wikipedia: "There has been considerable scholarship, reaching back to Johann Jakob Bachofen in the mid-nineteenth century, about the possibility that Hera, whose early importance in Greek religion is firmly established, was originally the goddess of a matriarchal people, presumably inhabiting Greece before the Hellenes. In this view, her activity as goddess of marriage established the patriarchal bond of her own subordination: her resistance to the conquests of Zeus is rendered as Hera's "jealousy", the main theme of literary anecdotes that undercut her ancient cult. However, it remains a controversial claim that primitive matriarchy existed in Greece or elsewhere." 
(I daresay, whenever people try to tell me that matriarchies don't exist, or have not existed, I just sort of blink and tell them they must be mistaken, I know they do, because I live in one.)

Pastoral Care- Psyche- under the patriarchal medical model, the doctor is the all-powerful God figure and the patient is the supplicant who has little to no say in the proceedings. In the matriarchy, we enlist individuals in their own care, and honor the medicine woman model that treats the whole being. The Pastoral Care track has a butterfly effect. We have the capacity to make significant change; responsiveness to the results from the health needs survey; the priest/ess/x journey is filled with challenges to learn to love more and go deeper, to learn to tend the whole person; transforming attitudes from ignorance to wisdom

Public Service- Baba Yaga - being "good fairies" for change means sometimes we might seem like the "bad fairies" to those looking to maintain status quo power dynamics; taking strides to transform the invisibility and forgotten-ess of older women; looking with courage at what frightens us about our own mortality, and that of other people; turning away from nothing we find aversive, or that we fear; not turning away from the vulnerability of others simply because it reminds us of our own vulnerability; finding courage and compassion hand-in-hand; ridding ourselves of toxins and poisons in thought, word, and deed; looking for the forgotten or hidden places where we can be effective; how we help the homeless; shamanic work

Center- Main Message: Astarte (another lion goddess)- watch the planet Venus in 2016; stars are the souls of the dead watching over us with wisdom, compassion, and quiet witness; Iris and any other astrologers here can look at Venus in the CAYA chart for 2016; love is the way, love is the only reason to fight and the only way of fighting, if there must be a fight at all; hate will never win anything, but pleasure wins the hearts of many; collectively becoming Celestial Queens; embracing a cosmic view in addition to an immediate earthly mode of thinking; all acts of love and pleasure! Spirit year in Mother of the New Time- Statue needs a meteorite embedded in it.

Overall message of this reading: Attune to the vastness of the cosmic. Think and dream big. Look to the stars for guidance. Create structure and policy from a global framework, while still serving the local with wisdom and courage; cultivate more "authentic self" and less "ego-self." Less "me" and more "we." Collectivity supports us. Care well for the realms that sustain you: this Earth, this community, and your body, among others. There is wisdom and strength in the structured, strategic actions of determined matriarchs of all genders in leadership that is not modeled on the Mother archetype, but rather the Queen, a sovereign. Yet sovereignty is not about self-centeredness, it's about serving the highest good of all who rely on you. In a matriarchy, to maintain sovereignty by serving the highest good of the realm happens not only in a motherly way, but also in a queenly, tactical way. Teach the coming students well and with excellence.

Love, magic, and wisdom,
Yeshe Rabbit