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“We urgently need to find practical ways of reestablishing our conscious sense of connection with living nature.” Rupert Sheldrake. Introduction, The Rebirth of Nature
WELCOME TO NATURE AND HEALING
Through direct experience, Nature-That-We-Are initiates us. Trees waving in the breeze; thunder and lightning reverberating and electrifying earth and air; rain nourishing corn; ants transforming rock; bees pollinating plants and making honey; tree frogs whirring in the night–the immense beings of Gaia communicate profound realization of our essence. Nature gives shaktipat–what mystics call a direct transference of spirit.
We do not have to reach far. We do not have to stretch, strain, ‘try hard.’ We can simply sit close–close to this Self, this essence. We do not look through these eyes out into a world of “nature” that exists separate and isolate from ourselves. We sit here, in this moment, in this place; and sitting, quietly thus, we experience, rushing through us and emanating from us, this Nature-That-We-Are.
We are the trees, the wind and the rain, the sunlight that awakens us. This is the mystical realization. We do not come to this realization through intellectualizing, theorizing, conceptualizing–through adopting beliefs that ‘sound good.’ Rather, we come to this realization through an actual experience that transforms us on an energetic and cellular level–so that what we once sensed and intuited to be true we now know to be true. We no longer wonder if we are part of the whole; we know. We are the field–the field that flows through all momentary manifestations–perennially and joyfully announcing essence, invoking presence, inviting surrender, and sharing bliss. Mystical knowing is an experience whose verity is undeniable, as undeniable as our knowledge that we are alive
Plants. Rain. Sunlight. Wind. The many creatures who share our world–through these beings, we experience connection. All beings communicate with us as we walk the path of beauty. When we greet these beings, when we open ourselves in spaciousness to feeling their presence, when we express gratitude, the wisdom of nature flows through us, and we become a healing presence on earth.
If you wish, we can walk together, communicating with our original nature through mystical encounters with the many beings who share this beautiful Gaia with us. Union, Yoga, Connection, Conversation, Re-membering ourselves as the Nature That We Are–this is the path of Nature and Healing.
Let us reawaken our capacity to live and breathe in harmony with Nature, so harmony can move through us into the world. Let us live in perpetual gratitude for our lives. Let us be kind.
Photo credit: Andes Mountain Butterfly, photo taken in 2009 by Yun Yuan Tay, while traveling in Ecuador with Martha Travers and fellow University of Michigan students.
Each of us is like a river, a being that is constantly transforming.
My path is to accompany others, learning to walk with heart and mind in balance, with respect for every part of Nature, giving thanks continually for all existence.
My blood ancestors come from many traditions, including Welsh, Irish, and Scots. My roots are in the Earth, and my community is all Earth-honoring people.
I have lived my entire life on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the sacred and magnificent Great Lakes. Here, the Universal-Consciousness-That-We-Are imprints itself in the image of a human hand surrounded by life-giving, ‘sweet’ waters.
In my early years, I studied poetry and earned a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of Michigan where I taught writing. Writing became, for me, a way of contacting and trusting visions. In my teaching of college students, I encouraged discovering personal voices and true life-paths. I came early to the conviction that ‘following our bliss,’ as Joseph Campbell so beautifully advised, is the heart of true happiness, and I have always sought to impart this confidence to my children and to my University students, numbering now in the thousands.
I have always been apprenticed to Life, our greatest teacher. In the 1980s and 90s, as a mother living with her children, my training and walking included giving birth at home, living in the woods, growing and learning from plants, homeschooling, preparing food and learning its healing properties, listening to animals and birds, receiving instruction from my teacher– Crow– watching stars, learning astrology, journeying on the inner planes, and trusting the dreamtime.
Along the way, I benefited from a beautiful meditation practice, from yoga and dance, from training in process acupressure, from many teachers–plant, animal, elemental, and human– both in and out of body, and from mystical experiences recorded in my poetry and journals.
Between 1999 and 2009, I traveled frequently to South America where I learned aspects of the ancient mystical tradition of the Andes mountains. There, the Universal-Consciousness-That-We-Are spoke to me through mountains, waterfalls, rain, plants, animals, birds, ceremonial fires and brilliant sunlight.
Since 2005, I have been teaching various contemplative practice courses for the Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies in the Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation in The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at The University of Michigan.
In 2016, my book, The WayCard Oracle, published by Schiffer Books, is available. You can ask your local bookstore to order it or find it here on Amazon.
“Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”
Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road
Nature and Mystical Experience Retreats 2017
In the fall of 2015, I moved to a rural property in southeast Michigan that includes marsh land, open fields, groves of oak, walnut, and hickory, and many inhabitants, among them
It is my hope that many creatures will be safe here, that pilgrims will find rest and restoration here, that the elemental forces will make themselves known here and will teach what we need to know in these times. It is my hope that the plants will thrive here and will provide food for the pollinators that provide so much of human food. In the days leading up to moving here, I heard again and again, “Blessed Be, Blessed Be,” and each time I wrote those words, sending them to friends and loved ones, I found myself writing, “Blessed Bee!” So this has become the name of my new home. I call it ‘Blessed Bee Farm.’ This summer, I have seen a few honey bees exploring my flowers. In time, I hope there will be many.
WORKSHOPS AND RETREATS AT BLESSED BEE FARM
In the spring, summer, and fall of 2017, I will begin offering nature and mystical experience retreats here at Blessed Bee Farm in addition to the retreats I offer at the GilChrist retreat center near Three Rivers, Michigan and in northwest Michigan at Sleeping Bear National park.
SPRING EQUINOX NATURE-MEDITATION RETREAT: SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 2017 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
At this retreat, we will explore sacred balance at the time of the equinox when earth and sun achieve this balance in the natural celestial cycle. Through meditation, walking, and ceremony, we will strengthen our rapport with each element: earth, air, water, and fire. Retreat fee: $65.00; under age 33: $35.00. To register, contact me via email.
MONTHLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON MEDITATION AND SPIRITUAL DISCUSSION CIRCLE: TO BE ANNOUNCED
At these meditation and spiritual discussion circles, we will spend time in meditation both indoors and outdoors and will also explore various themes in spiritual practice. These themes will arise from the members of the group. These will be opportunities to share experience, wisdom, and questions with each other. Tea will be served. Circle fee: $50.00 To register, contact me via email.
RETREATS AT GILCHRIST RETREAT CENTER http://fetzer.org/retreat-facilities/gilchrist/overview
NATURE AND MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2017
During this week-end GilChrist retreat, we will explore ancient, but simple, practices that deepen our capacity to communicate with the birds, plants, wind, water, fire–all of our relations. These practices cross the artificial boundary that the mind imagines between ‘ourselves and others.’ We experience the truth of the Mayan expression, ‘en lak esh:’ you are the other me. There will be time for solitude and for deeply entering into one’s own mystical relationship with nature. We will experience the truth that we ARE nature.
NATURE QUEST JOURNEYS SLEEPING BEAR DUNES NATIONAL PARK: 3-day Encounters Spring, Summer, & Fall. Scheduled by individual request. CURRENTLY SCHEDULING RETREAT FOR JUNE 2-4, 2017. OTHER DATES AVAILABLE BY REQUEST.
I have spent many years journeying in the Andes, and this path has guided my teaching. I am now teaching the practices I learned in the Andes in Northern Michigan in the beautiful Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. If you would like to travel with me in Northern Michigan, let me know what dates work for you. If you would like to join an already existing group, email me to request dates.
Nature Quest Journeys are opportunities for you to travel with me to sacred sites where the mystical contact with Earth, Water, Wind, & Fire is especially potent. These journeys are oriented toward cleaning impurities from the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies and absorbing healing energies from the plants, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, breezes, winds, sunlight and firelight that we encounter together.
Develop your understanding of your life’s path through deep immersion in the beauty of Northern Michigan’s National forest along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Sleep on the earth. Do purifications at a small, sacred lake. Experience fire ceremonies to transform energy. Work with the powers of the Wind.
For people at any stage of life, these journeys are tailored to your personal situation. The journeys are designed to be nourishing and rejuvenating, not stressful. Guidance is given in questing for a vision as well as guidance on caring for the physical body while questing. Those who wish to can stay in nearby cabins or hotels. Camping in the National Park is also available. You may join an already-scheduled quest or invite a group of 2 to 4 friends to quest with you and arrange the quest dates with your group in mind. To schedule a quest, choose your dates and email me to reserve those dates.
For further information about retreats, email email@example.com
Learn Nature-based Contemplative Practices
The nature-based contemplative path is the path of sensing intuitively and mystically our oneness with all of creation. It is the path of caring for all created beings, realizing that we are all made of the same essence and that whatever we do to any other being we do to ourselves.
When you do a phone consultation with me, I teach you specific practices that you can add immediately to your life to help you feel vital energy flowing through you.
I listen to your unique circumstances and offer guidance both in spiritual philosophy and in direct action spiritual practices that help you access your inner medicine.
The practices include changes in diet, physical exercises, and daily spiritual activities that directly benefit your physical body and emotions while healing your mind and opening your heart. I also conduct ceremonies with you over the phone to help you join mystically with your path.
To schedule a consult, email firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Way itself knows where it is going.
The Way itself will lift us forward.
The Way itself is all.”
Deepen Your Understanding of Past, Present, & Future
WayCard Readings are phone consultations during which we use our intuitive wisdom to explore personal and spiritual questions using The WayCard Oracle, a divination tool that I received from Spirit while spending time on an island in the Carribean in 1996. Since that time I have been giving readings to help people understand their lives from the perspectives of nature mysticism and archetypal psychology.
WayCard Readings utilize a deck of 33 cards to help you perceive the deeper levels of meaning in your life journey. The WayCard Oracle assists the traveler in the same way that a good map can–showing the main-traveled roads, the wilderness, and the territories ahead. The cards warn of rapids and reveal secret pathways to quiet pools deep in the forest. The WayCard Oracle gives courage and faith when the path seems barely visible or impossibly steep and winding.
Comments from clients:
“I am just amazed at what wisdom and help I get from those Way Cards. Every single time we have asked for help they have come through with clear, concise answers.”
– J.W., Wisewoman Elder and Author
“Martha has given me–oh what gifts! First is the beauty and profound simplicity of the Way Cards themselves. Her gift extends to her readings–understanding the source and the cosmos of the cards, and as their agent, she brings depth, probing clarity, a light touch and spirit to the oracle process. In divination, illumination, application, and transformation, I was wholly guided in my shapeshifting.”
– R.G., Wisewoman Elder and Authentic Movement Therapist
To schedule a reading, email email@example.com