It has been a tumultuous year- the COVID-19 pandemic that won’t end, an extremely polarizing US election, the completely devastating wildfires that beg for our action to avert the climate crisis, the continued murders of Black people by the police and the subsequent global movement for racial justice, the politicization of wearing a mask, the loss of many great change-makers - I mean, this has been a hell of a year.

We have now arrived at the holiday portion of this ride.

What could go wrong?

Well...let’s not poke that bear.

Instead, we'll offer...

Seven Tips for Self & Community Care this Holiday Season

...and hope the bear stays in hibernation:

1. Grandma, you’re on mute.

Let’s be real - COVID isn’t going to press pause for the holidays. And while trying to teach your grandparents how to use Zoom can feel like teaching a monkey to do a math problem, it’s also the kindest thing you’ll do this year.

Stay home.

Do it for the people that you love...and for the people you don’t like all that much...

because at the end of the day, we’re all in this together, and we’ll only get through it by coming together.

I recommend flashcards with directions to help the grandparent...or the monkey.

2. You don’t have to go into debt trying to prove you love someone.

I love giving gifts. It’s one of my love languages. I want the people in my life to know how much they mean to me. But spending money isn’t the point, and a gift isn’t necessarily some expensive material thing.

Your time is a gift. A home-cooked meal is a gift. A game night with the family is a gift. A card is a gift. You can show the people in your life that you care without breaking the bank or racking up credit card debt you’ll spend the next 11 months paying off. Consumerism has poisoned the holiday fun, but huzzah! We can choose not to participate in the drive to debt.

Make holiday cards filled with ooey-gooey love notes and mail them to everyone. Bake some holiday goodies and leave them on doorsteps (because again, we’re in the middle of a pandemic). Sit by a fire and tell your favorite stories. Play a game or two with the kids. If you live alone, set up some virtual dates to craft together.

The Grinch was right. The holidays don’t come from a store. We don’t need to spend crazy amounts of money to prove anything.

Love is really all we need. Cookies don’t hurt, though.

3. If you shop, shop small.

Bezos might be sitting pretty on the billions he made during the COVID pandemic, but the mom-and-pop shops are barely staying afloat. If you can realistically afford to shop for gifts this holiday season, consider shopping small - small businesses, local restaurants, Etsy shops, and local artists and craft-people.

Purchase class passes to your favorite gym or fitness studio. Buy gift certificates from your favorite bakery to stuff in a stocking or two. Share good music or give the gift of voice or guitar lessons by your favorite local musician. Connect with a local financial coach or life coach and see if you can pre-pay for a session for a pal. Check out your local independent bookstore for new reads. Head to a farmer’s market for the ingredients for a home-cooked meal. Find a local housecleaning service and pay for a good deep clean for the exhausted healthcare worker or teacher in your life. Most of these small businesses offer shipping or curbside pickup so you can shop safely too.

Bezos has enough money. Let’s invest in our communities this season.

4. You don’t have to participate in any holiday tradition that leaves you broke, overwhelmed, or exhausted.

This one bears repeating aloud. Say it with me now... You don’t have to participate in ANY holiday tradition that leaves you broke, overwhelmed, or exhausted.

Can’t afford to participate in a gift exchange? Cool.

Holiday dinner at Aunt Susan’s house always turns into a brawl? Skip it.

Find decorating exhausting? Your space is beautiful as is.

Attending religious services with the family and feeling drained after? Pass.

Over any holiday tradition? Create your own.

There are no rules to this thing called life. Choose what feels good to you this holiday and do that.

5. Don’t spend time with people who are bad for your mental health - even if they’re related to you.

We don’t all win the family lottery. We don’t all strike romantic relationship gold. We’re not all sitting on a pot of friendship treasures. And the holidays are often an excuse to spend time around some not-so-great folks.

It’s not worth it, y’all. Let boundaries be the gift you give yourself this season.

6. If someone comments on your weight, eat them.

Uncle Fred: “Looks like you’ve put on a few pounds, huh?”

You: “I’m going to put on a few more once I get you buttered and roasted, Unc.”

Bare your teeth and hiss for effect.

Can we normalize NOT commenting on someone’s weight? A person’s weight is a completely irrelevant part of the conversation, unless the conversation is with a medical professional. If Uncle Fred happens to be a doctor, the Zoom holiday call is still not the appropriate place to discuss the matter.

Don’t point out weight loss or weight gain. We are a society full of eating disorders, chronic illnesses, and body image relating to self-worth. Find something else to say, and be kind to each other.

But if all else fails, break out your knife and fork ;-)

7. Jingle all the way to whatever brings you joy.

The holidays are hard every year. This year is compounded by social distance, loneliness, fear, and exhaustion. Find things that bring you joy and hold on like hell.

It could be singing a Christmas carol and dancing in your living room.

It could be eating a slice of pie for breakfast.

It could be making a yule log dessert.

It could be a walk in the cold air.

Whatever it is, no matter how small or silly it seems, find your joy.

Be furiously, unabashedly, indomitably joyful this holiday season - even if it’s only for a moment or two. We could all use a little bit of jingle and joy this year.

Grab your bells, let’s jingle all the way.

Here is a list of some of our favorite small-owned businesses:

  1. Welcome Wellbeing - Acupuncture, Alexander Technique & Wellness | NC-based

  2. Poeta Goddess - Art prints, calendars, notebooks & stickers | Indigenous-owned & made

  3. Permacrafters - Online sustainable living courses

  4. Indigefemme - Handmade earrings and stickers | Indigenous-owned & made

  5. The Woman Who Married A Bear - Northsea Apothecary + Book: Compassion in Crisis

  6. Handewa Farm - Organic hand-raised hemp products infused with CBD oil for health and beauty | Indigenous/Black owned | NC-based

  7. Boomerang Bookshop - mobile bookstore | NC-based

  8. Freehand Market - Ethical and eco friendly home, gift, and women's boutique | NC-based

  9. Xalish Medicines - Plant Magik + Earth Medicines | Indigenous-owned & made

  10. Green Dreamer Podcast - 2021 Planners | POC-owned

  11. Simply Clean Housekeeping - House cleaning services

  12. Wallflour Bakery - our favorite baked goodies! Gluten-free & Vegan options

  13. Rise & Flow - Black-owned yoga studio

  14. Yoke & Abundance - One-on-One coaching for Women

  15. Dame's Chicken and Waffles - Southern friend perfection meets sweet European decadence | NC-based & Black-owned

  16. Hope Magick - Healing Medium available for virtual readings

  17. By The Brook - Handcrafted Tempeh | NC-based

The path to reconciliation starts with honest acknowledgement of our past, with open eyes, and open hearts for a better future. It is time for us to be in good relation with one another. We can do that by learning and unlearning how to give thanks in a good way."

Matika Wilbur & Adrienne Keene from All My Relations Podcast

The True Story of Thanksgiving

This week, back in elementary school, we’d make “Indian” headdresses and pilgrim hats from construction paper, we’d all sit around a table together, and the teachers would pass down the myth of Thanksgiving...

You know the one I mean. The friendly but savage “Indians” welcomed the civilized but persecuted pilgrims arriving from Europe in 1620 with open arms, handing over their land in a bloodless and amiable deal so these hero white folks could build a great nation, a nation of freedom and opportunity. To celebrate this deal, the “Indians” and the pilgrims shared a great feast, and each year, we celebrate this national holiday to mark this coming together.

How utterly ridiculous. This is colonialism’s revisionist history - a story created by the conquerors to erase the conquered and cast themselves as heroes. It is a more palatable tale, meant to keep white folks comfortable and reinforce the so-called American ideology of Manifest Destiny.

The “Indians” were actually the Wampanoag people. When the pilgrims invaded, the Wampanoag had been engaged with Europeans for at least a century, years of bloodshed, disease, and violent slave raiding already informing their understanding of the colonists. The Wampanoag leader, Ousamequin, sought an alliance with the English Pilgrims against the rival people, the Narragansetts, at first, but this alliance quickly dissolved into one of the most horrific colonial / Native wars recorded (known as the Great Narragansett War or King Philip’s War). This war devastated the Wampanoag people, and today, the Wampanoag consider Thanksgiving a day of mourning, grieving the decimation caused by the Pilgrims’ entry into their homeland.

How did history become myth?

According to an interview with David Silverman, author of This Land is Their Land, the myth-making began in 1769 and continued on after Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863:

"For quite a long time, English people had been celebrating Thanksgivings that didn’t involve feasting—they involved fasting and prayer and supplication to God. In 1769, a group of pilgrim descendants who lived in Plymouth felt like their cultural authority was slipping away as New England became less relevant within the colonies and the early republic, and wanted to boost tourism. So, they started to plant the seeds of this idea that the pilgrims were the fathers of America. What really made it the story is that a publication mentioning that dinner published by the Rev. Alexander Young included a footnote that said, “This was the first Thanksgiving, the great festival of New England.” People picked up on this footnote. The idea became pretty widely accepted, and Abraham Lincoln declared it a holiday during the Civil War to foster unity.

It gained purchase in the late 19th century, when there was an enormous amount of anxiety and agitation over immigration. The white Protestant stock of the United States was widely unhappy about the influx of European Catholics and Jews, and wanted to assert its cultural authority over these newcomers. How better to do that than to create this national founding myth around the Pilgrims and the Indians inviting them to take over the land? This myth-making was also impacted by the racial politics of the late 19th century. The Indian Wars were coming to a close and that was an opportune time to have Indians included in a national founding myth. You couldn’t have done that when people were reading newspaper accounts on a regular basis of atrocious violence between white Americans and Native people in the West. What’s more, during Reconstruction, that Thanksgiving myth allowed New Englanders to create this idea that bloodless colonialism in their region was the origin of the country, having nothing to do with the Indian Wars and slavery. Americans could feel good about their colonial past without having to confront the really dark characteristics of it.”

It’s time we own the truth of our history and stop handing down a colonial myth through the generations. Thanksgiving has nothing to do with Native Americans or unity, and instead, serves to reinforce colonial white supremacy.

I challenge you to tell the real story around the table this year.

"You have stolen our land, and buried it to the ground. You oppressed us, we were banned.

Always misunderstood for being tanned, not a single word from taking my house. You have stolen our land.

You said you paid, but it was planned, and now we are being kicked out. You oppressed us, we were banned.

And you say: we eat from your hand, but you get food thanks to us. You have stolen our land.

Immigration would like us to be canned, but why would we let you be? You oppressed us, we were banned.

How can you say we need to understand?, this was ours to begin with. You have stolen our land, You oppressed us, we were banned."

Poem by Meowlli

Practices to Re-imagine and Unsettle Thanksgiving:

  • Begin your day/gathering by offering a Land Acknowledgment followed by a moment of silence in honor of this Day of Mourning. Learn whose lands you’re on here.

  • Read a short story or poem like the one above called “Stolen Land” by Meowlli

  • Tell the truth. Read about the true history of Thanksgiving and any of the provided readings below.

  • Take a walk. Be with the trees, soils, birds and experience of earth in that moment. Intentionally stand together in silence as you quietly acknowledge the land you touch and the original peoples of that place.

  • Envision what gratitude in action looks like. It has never been enough to simply be grateful for the first peoples and the land. Share heartfelt gratitude… but don’t let it end there. The following list is from @hopemagick:

  1. Amplify awareness about missing & murdered indigenous women.⁣

  2. Get familiar with #landback and why it's a good idea for not just Indigenous folks but the whole planet.⁣

  3. Follow accounts that educate about Indigenous rights, traditions, practices, joy, and beauty.⁣

  4. Donate to one of the hundreds of Indigenous organizations that need financial support.⁣

  5. Weave gratitude into the fabric of daily life as a means to connect with Spirit. Gather to give thanks for our life's harvest with community more than once a year.⁣

Here are some more ideas:

  1. Give/pay tax/reparations to your local Indigenous tribes.

  2. Learn about the Native Foods of the lands you occupy. Forage and harvest native foods growing in your local area. Support local Indigenous farmers. These relationships are necessary for developing a deeper understanding of the lands we call home.

  3. Join a solidarity action in your area. Indigenous grassroots people on the frontlines are calling on people to join them in solidarity as a national call to action to support and respect their sovereignty.

Here are some Indigenous accounts that we encourage you to follow:

@indigenousclimateaction @riseindigenous @indigenouswomxnclimb @nativewellness @decolonialatlas @iiycfamily @poetagoddess @therednation @wecan_intl @ndncollective @indigenousrising @1492landbacklane @kanahus.tattoos @sodalitemedianews @willgeorge36 @shanchief @yintah_access


#dayofmourning #ThanksTaking #DecolonizeThanksgiving #reckoning #dismantlewhitesupremacy #unlearn #gratitudeinaction #embodiedactivism #spiritualjustice

A great change is taking place at a molecular level within humanity, and it is also impacting all natural systems and all creatures. Everywhere you look today... you will see a world preparing itself for a leap in consciousness. Such times are inherently unstable and a deep collective fear of the coming change is moving like a spectre through our world. The fear of freedom."

Richard Rudd, from the Gene Keys

A global pandemic.

The polarization of a nation.

Anthropogenic climate disruption.

Extreme ecological degradation.

Sixth mass extinction.

Political implosion.

Civil unrest.

This is what the growing pains of collective transformation look like. As we enter the holy dark time of the year in the northern hemisphere, we are given the opportunity to make peace with the collective shadow.

The shadow is the parts of ourselves that we don’t want to see. We either push it away, deny its existence or disavow it all together because we are embarrassed or ashamed. But here’s the truth: our shadow is a part of our magick. It can bring up fear of who we are being called to become, and regardless of whether or not we want to see it, it WILL show up. The shadow beckons us deeper into ourselves, individually and collectively.

This is what’s happening on a global scale. The shadow of collective trauma is making itself known because we as a people (especially those of us racialized as white) can no longer deny its existence. By virtue of living as modern humans, we can no longer deny the role we play in the systems movement toward extinction. We are part of the greater organism and intelligence network of Earth who is communicating to and through us through the discomfort of these times. It is for our own good and for the health of our planet that our shadow is communicating to us in this way. It’s an alert. But are we listening?

The foundations of an old world order (founded on white supremacy, colonial capitalism, enslavement, heteropatriarchy, industrial extractivism) are dying as we bear witness to Empire in its death throes. Look around and you will see that all aspects of life - from the environment, our political and social structures and world economy to religion, science and technology - are undergoing drastic change. They're crumbling before our very eyes.

We can either deny what’s happening, go along like business as usual and continue feeding the hungry ghost of our collective shadow (which will only grow in size) or we can turn to face the thing that scares us most. We must reckon with our collective past.

We must reckon with the fact that humanity has a pathological relationship to Earth which is characteristic of Empire.

We must reckon with our own disenchantment from Earth and our own bodies.

We must reckon with our experiences of historical and intergenerational trauma, how this came to be and why.

We must reckon with being dislocated from the land and how that was necessary in order to go along with and participate in the violence of capitalism.

We must reckon with our complicity in these systems of abuse and violence.

We must reckon with our power and how we choose to wield it.

Understanding history and where we come from helps us to see more clearly the relationships among consciousness, power, and reality. The question ceases to be, How did we get here? and becomes Where can we possibly go and how?

On the micro level, you may be sensing the presence of shadow in your own life as you navigate the uncertainty of these times (remember, shadow does not equal negative or bad - its a part of our magick). This might show up in your system as waves of fear, anger, frustration, depression, anxiety, etc. You might notice the tendency to hold your breath, hold tension, keep yourself distracted from being with what is by staying busy. Whatever is coming up in your body or presenting in your patterned ways of being, the invitation now is to be with what is so that it can fully move through your system without getting stuck. Name it, say hello and let it know you’re there and you’re listening. Give it space.

Change always brings with it the discomfort of uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Change brings with it grief. Grief for what is no more. Grief for what has been lost. Grief of disillusionment.

Choosing to face our shadow isn’t easy, but it does heal. Denying the shadow seems easier, but it hurts and perpetuates unconscious harm. When we choose to embrace our shadow, we grow in personal empowerment and contribute to breaking the spell of collective amnesia. We begin to make friends with the dark. We begin to remember. The shadow doesn’t seem so haunting anymore, because it is understood and respected in the way that it serves us.

So the question is, "How do we face the dark on the edge of annihilation? How do we find the dark within and transform it? How do we dream it into a new image, dream it into actions that will change the world into a place where no more horror stories happen, where there are no more victims?" (Rain Crowe)

Transformation isn’t supposed to be easy. We are made resilient through the process of growing and becoming, which demands of us discipline, discernment and vigilance. It is a spiritual work that many are undertaking now.

Join us in this January to explore the spiritual journey of shadow work as we seek to create Earth Culture rooted in relational and ecological embodiment.

Stay tuned for more information about Sacred Studies coming soon!


Caliban and the Witch
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#HolyDark #ShadowWork #Healing #Transformation #SpiritualWork #SacredStudies #CollectiveTrauma #Awakening #ChangeIsComing #Reckoning

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Eno/Shakori/Sissipahaw/Occaneechi territories

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