Wednesday, January 29, 2014

San Miguel de Allende Streets

I am finding that I spend more time enjoying the quiet streets of San Miguel de Allende, than joining in on the guided tours and meeting other U.S. guests to this area.  My Spanish is limited, so I am not integrating very well in the culture.  This is one of my favorite walks, from the artist studio where I am a guest, to the Jardin or the downtown city center plaza.    
Brick wall and archway, topped with broken shards of glass.

Detail of broken glass embedded into mortar.

Wall sconce and vegetation.

Cobblestone street, filled with a variety of interesting brick and mortar walls.

An all so intriguing doorway to a residence.

Perhaps you'll want to visit this street in San Miguel.  It seems that everyone eventually comes to this city.
Growing along the top of an ancient wall and in the soil that has gathered in mortar and brick, grow cactus and ferns, together.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pilgrimage Recalibration

A small collage I created to help me get back on track and release my distractions.

On Saturday, I noticed that I was gaining an increased anxiety.  My Crone Pilgrimage quest was losing focus and becoming diluted with all of the things that one could or should be doing while in San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico.  

Did you ever notice that while trying to explore or establish a new path, that it is easy to be distracted?  How could one come to Mexico in the winter without seeing the monarch butterfly migration resting place?  How could one come to Mexico without following the various portals to the world of Frieda Kahlo or an immersion into Our Lady of Guadalupe?  
How could one come to Mexico without following the path of the beat poets?

I am currently looking for the pulse in my body and in my soul that sends a signal that I am not on my path.  When I am feeling some anxiety, I know that I have gone off my course and may even be repeating old patterns that are not part of my current intended growth.  Certainly, one must go off course for explorations into new landscapes and new territories, that will enhance the intended path.  In those moments, one can feel the exhilaration of stepping into something new.  

Do you have a body compass that gives you a signal that you have gone off of your intended course?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Crone Pilgrimage

Snow Covered in January

Even though I'm in Mexico, avoiding the harsh winter in the U.S., I find myself feeling slightly homesick for my garden in New Mexico.  Last year, there were leeks, chard and kales buried under a layer of mulch and covered with snow in my garden.  Throughout the winter, there was always an expectation of something growing, something incubating.

It is the same for me here in San Miguel de Allende.  Even though I'm far from home, buried deep inland below the boarder of the U.S., I feel as if I'm incubating.  Through the use of images, symbols, journaling, art workshops and dream landscapes, I feel as if I'm immersed in my
Crone Pilgrimage.  

The photo above is from my garden in New Mexico.  It was taken on a day after a January snowfall.  Just about one month after the Winter Solstice, the sunlight was beginning to have a noticeable warmth.  There was promise that what was buried and covered would again come to life.  I feel something inside of me beginning to awaken to an unexpected richness of a Crone's Life.

Monday, January 20, 2014

San Miguel de Allende

Hot Air Balloon Over San Miguel

Although I'm not vacationing in San Miguel de Allende, I have taken some time to be a tourist and attend the outdoor organic market, the artisan's cultural market, walk the streets to the long stretches of mercados and sit around the city square, across from the famous church, the Parroquia.  I've eaten at some of the street vendors and enjoyed eating a gordita filled with the deep fried fatty tissue of the underbelly of a pig.  I've had a wonderful bowl of consume' with big pieces of cabbage, carrots and cooked calabacitas.  I've watched cooks in their tiny kitchens work their sharp knives on meats and vegetables.  There is so much to see here in San Miguel.

Hand stitched tablecloths on the breakfast table at Rosewood Inn.
Right off of the busiest streets are quiet gardens behind arches, bringing a sense of solitude to cafes or B&B's.
Dining Room in a little B&B Cafe' where I ate chili rellenos.
Cuban Beer at a tiny cafe called 100 Beers.
Tiny tables in the 100 Beers pub, looking out to the Institute de Allende.

San Miguel de Allende street view.
I had the good fortune to find the last Cuban beer in San Miguel.  I drank it.  It was a wonderful, refreshing experience.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Pre-dawn hours, reading in the kitchen.

A week ago today, I attended a visual art journaling workshop with a Jungian perspective.  It was a part of my Crone Pilgrimage, to use artwork, symbolism and archetype to gain more insight into this period of my life.

The workshop had us creating collage, much like soul collage.  Using images, symbols, shapes, colors and three-dimensional items, we created a version of our Hestia.  

Hestia, as we know, is goddess of the hearth, home and sacred fire.  

It is important that Hestia nourishes herself first.  Without that inner nurturing and fulfillment, Hestia becomes depleted and cannot keep the sacred fires burning for family and community.

During my Crone Pilgrimage, I am clear that I will nurture and rejuvenate my spirit for the Crone Years that I am now beginning to live.  This is a time of nurturing self through contemplation, guided workshop artwork and reading.

Do you have Hestia in your life?  What do you do to stabilize your internal economy so that you can live in the archetype of Hestia? 

The above photo taken at the art studio of

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Portal to Pilgrimage

Morning moon setting in San Miguel

One week ago today, I boarded an airplane in Palm Springs, California, with an intention to arrive in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  This is all part of my Crone Pilgrimage and my intention to self intitiate into the part of my life that means I am no longer maiden or mother.  

Without sharing too many details that would involve what is known as TMI, or too much information, I can say that when I turned sixty in October, I found a certain restlessness begin to shake my soul.  I began an internal questioning, asking myself what it means to turn sixty.  As October neared the end of the month, I requested some quiet time for reflection in our household, so that I could have time for study and self reflection.  When that request could not be honored, I put my personal items in storage and set out on a quest or pilgrimage.  Some of my friends said that I ran away from home. 

A synchronistic series of events brought me to San Miguel, where I have time for reading, writing, artwork and self study.  One part of me would rather have me at my own home, where I could be in my own surroundings.  But there is nothing like leaving one's comfortable surroundings to explore both internal and external territories.  It is like becoming a map maker and exploring and marking new terrain.  

Last week, the moon was waxing, bringing richness to my intentions.  I came to realize that I am on my own Crone Pilgrimage. 
Morning moon set in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
This is not San Miguel.  The morning moon setting above the Jemez Mountains in New Mexico, USA.
Photo from January, 2013.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Desert desconsos.

On the last day of December, I created a desconsos shrine as a way to put some of my long-carried burdens to rest.  Using a large votive luminary, images and words were glued to the clear glass.  Working quickly, symbols of things that seemed to remain in my field of unawareness jumped out of magazines and article headlines.  I forgot that I was carrying regrets, resentments and related restlessness.  Using the candle as ritual and ceremony,  the candle was lighted.  The burning flame allowed a gentle release of the old bitterness, grief and disappointments.  I imagined that a light was being placed onto a future.

The candle is burned out, but the symbol of release remains.  The desconsos was planted in the desert within a half mile of where I initially landed, from Wisconsin, in 1999.  This particular desert is the place I fled to during a particularly difficult physical and emotional time in my life.  I set the shrine to be covered with dust, wind and the sands of time.  

This is my desconsos.

Place of rest: desconsos.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Atole for two.

Have you ever had a cup of steaming atole' on a cold morning?  This morning, while most of North America was steeped in what is being called the "Polar Vortex," I made a pot of rich atole' for breakfast.  There are as many varieties of atole' as there are families, grandmothers and chefs.  In this case, I used a pre-packaged atole' mix from La Mesa Farms in New Mexico.  This prepackaged mix is filled with dried fresh-ground farm-grown organic blue corn, organic cocoa and farm grown and gound chilies.  In today's atole', I used the Almond Breeze milk.  The cooked and steaming atole' was topped with about two tablespoons of organic whipping cream, but not whipped to stiff peaks.

Atole' is associated with comfort food.  The hot steamy beverage is usually a Christmas tradition, along with tamales.  When I think of atole', I imagine drinking it while a heavy, mountain snow covers the roads to keep people homebound and nesting.  The thick cornmeal and chocolate drink is comforting and gives one the sense of being nurtured.  

Making and drinking this rich cultural drink when most of the U.S. is experiencing the "Polar Vortex," seems appropriate.  But today was not a day for nesting.  On this day, along with a friend, we completed our final packing for our three month trip to San Miguel de Allende.  We fly out of Palm Springs on Thursday.  Maybe, by Wednesday of next week, I'll have a better understanding of Atole.
La Mesa Organic Farms Organic Blue Corn Elixir

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Room of One's Own

Wild Woman Archetype Altar
Until the June of 2012, I kept a small apartment in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.  It was a two bedroom apartment where I could have time for myself to read, write, chant, meditate and have gentle friends visit for dinner parties and esoteric salons.  It was the ultimate Woman's Room of One's Own.

As I move along this Journey of the Crone, I come to realize the importance of such a place.  When I do not have this place of centering sanctuary, I find that I come to be off-balance and my passion to be with myself becomes unruly, untamed and loses direction.

This year, I will create a room of my own in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The studio space is close enough to home in the area of the famous Santa Fe Rail Yard.  This new studio space has several large windows giving my sewing space plenty of light.  In addition to a large work table, there is space for my books, fabric, a futon and writing.  This is the year of my true crone-self, walking into her fullest expression of her life.
Happy with my Bernina.
This photo is not at a Stevens Point location.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Chocolate Elixir and Chili Truffle
Sunday mornings means nesting.  Sometimes, nesting means leaving the house to walk on familiar city streets, with new eyes.  Wrapped in layers of warm sweaters, long coat, snuggly shawl and ear-covering hat, one can walk the city streets to find sanctuary in shadows and flavors.  

Rosaries and shadows at a church in Santa Fe, NM
Nesting cacti
Santa Fe door 
I am currently nesting in Phoenix, AZ.  These scenes are from last year's winter walk around Santa Fe, NM.
Wrapped for nesting walk

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Doorway to Pilgrimage

Doorway notebook drawing.
Last November, a month after I turned sixty years old, I started to look for meaning in what it means to cross this age threshold. My life was spinning out with frustration and confusion as well as a sense of wonder.  In my request to the Universe to "send me a sign," I found a free downloadable e-book at this website: .  The eBook, Exploring Mythos, a 7-day guidebook, felt like a gift from the goddess.  I eagerly tackled the first exercise, "Creating a Doorway."  I worked fast with the drawing, since there was a suggested time limit of 10-minutes.  When my time was up, I had this piece.  

I studied my piece and meditated with it.  Something about my drawing made me think that it had the energy of a Tarot card.  Looking for meaning, I found that my "card" suggested that within two weeks or two months, I will have energy like Mars and move in new directions.  It reminded me that basically, I had drawn a symbol that gave me the affirmation that I would have the energy to move in new directions because I have "attained a certain state of balance and harmony or sovereignty within."

The book I used was The Tarot Handbook by Angeles Arrien.

This doorway is the entryway to my pilgrimage.


In 2013, I became sixty-years old. During the month of October, I believe I had the equivalent of a mid-life crisis.  As a sixty-year-old woman, I have a new awareness that I need to explore the age old question of WHO AM I?

I enrolled in a year long workshop that is taking me on a bit of a pilgrimage to find and ultimately walk into my crone-self.

My first project for my pilgrimage was to work on desconsos.  The January 1st post of Mystical Gypsy is about desconsos.

My second little project for this VisionQuest or Pilgrimage are these small Vision Cards.
My first vision board was about gardening.

Open doorways and window with views keep me wondering and wandering.
What is beyond the beyond?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ocean Smoke

Ocean Smoke on Lake Michigan,  South Milwaukee.

While in Wisconsin last month, on an exceptionally cold morning, I was witness to the phenomenon known as ocean smoke.  Although Lake Michigan is more of a freshwater sea than it is a lake, the fact that extremely cold air above a warmer body of water will cause what appears to be fog on the lake.

I always hear that the best place for viewing ocean smoke is on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota.  For me, I believe that during my walk along the bluff of Lake Michigan in early December, I was witness to a daytime reply to the Northern Lights.
Geese wintering in the city.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Roadside desconsos on Thousand Palms Road, CA.
At around four in the morning, I woke to sense a soft glow in my usually extreme dark bedroom. Not even an LED light is glows in the space of my sleeping sanctuary. But this morning, a warm contiuous light source brought me to remember last evening's little ritual. Outside my bedroom door, on the patio, was a candle and a "desconsos" altar.

 Desconsos is literally, "a place of resting" as defined in Spanish. In New Mexico, there are many shrines along the road, where someone has come to rest, as in killed in a car crash. We've all seen the markers, with the names of the deceased, plastic flowers and spent or dusty once burning candles. Desconsos may have its roots in the tradition of taking a break. When the deceased are carried in caskets, there may be places along the route to the church where the casket was set down and the pall bearers could take a break or a rest. This is desconsos.

I created a desconsos altar, to give some of the things I've been carrying around with me a break. The creating of this altar helped me to ritually put some of that which is holding me back from happiness, or energetically keeping me in unconscious discomfort, a place to rest.   Using a candle with the steep glass container, I decorated it radomly, with symbols, words and pictures. Things appeared to me that I long-ago forgot about. Those items, seemingly forgotten, still had meaning in my life. They called to me that they were ready to be put to rest. With the reverence of deep sacred ceremony, I placed the altar outside of my bedroom door, on a private patio.

Patio desonsos, a resting place for unconsious clutter.

 The candle was lit. Like a devotee placing flower petals at the guru's feet, I sprinkled rose petals around the things that were crying to be put to rest. I prayed and chanted, then let the flame and the long night of New Year's Eve take each bit of long forgotten bitterness to its own cremation grounds. When I woke early this morning, I sensed a warm glow in the room. I opened my eyes to remember that I offered a resting place to that which I no longer need to carry. With this desconsos, I feel a lightness and a place where I can birth a new life in 2014.
Desconsos outside my bedroom door.