Author Archives: JoAnne Dodgson

Gifts of the Eclipses

Gifts of the Eclipses

Here are some gems from a Bone Throwing Ceremony about the August eclipses, the medicine of these magical times, the gifts being offered for our lives.

As you watch the videos, listen and feel with all of your senses

to receive the guidance, connect with the Spirits,

and touch the vast, beautiful potentials being described

for your life, for humanity, for our earth, for all life.



Gifts of the Eclipses (Part 1) ~ Throwing of the Bones Ceremony from JoAnne Dodgson on Vimeo.

Gifts of Eclipses (Part 2) – Throwing of the Bones Ceremony from JoAnne Dodgson on Vimeo.

Gifts of Eclipses (Part 3) – Throwing of the Bones Ceremony from JoAnne Dodgson on Vimeo.

Gifts of Eclipses (Part 4) ~ Throwing of the Bones Ceremony from JoAnne Dodgson on Vimeo.

Your Song

Your Song

You are the only you in the universe.

Take a moment to stop and breath and soak that in.

You are the only you in the entire universe…always have been, always will be…the enduring vibration of your Song.

This awareness is quite contrary to the predominant ways of the world. We are expected to conform. We are socialized to fit in, to become something other than who and what we really are. We go into hiding. We bury our gifts. We silence our passions and purposes in life. We leave ourselves behind in order to gain others’ approval, to keep the peace, to feel like we belong.

We’ve learned to live in ways that go against nature, even our very own nature, and resist the organic flow of life. Humans are the only species I’ve met so far who battle and judge our own bodies, minds, hearts and spirits – and those of others. We try hard to pretend we are not who we really are and end up expecting others to do the same.

You are the only you. Feel into the beauty of remembering your uniqueness, your wholeness, the vastness of your knowledge and lived experience.

Appreciating your self. Loving who you, all of who you really are. Honoring your own existence on the earth at this particular moment in time. Respecting the ways you’ve chosen to walk the path of your life, learning and changing, facing challenges, regaining balance, following your purpose and passions.

All of this grows from the inside out – remembering and reclaiming and feeling your unique beingness, your vastness, your beauty, your Song. When rooted in the remembering of your genuine self, the doorway opens to connect heart to heart, Song to Song, respect to respect, with everyone and everything.

Centered in your own Song, there is no judgment of self or others. You can sense and appreciate the unique Songs of other humans, of a particular tree and river, of the bugs, birds and ocean-dwellers, of the soils and lizards, the air and clouds, the planets, nebulas, and stars.

Being who you are, remembering and living and sharing your Song, is a gift beyond measure, a boundless sharing of love and acceptance that has no conditions – for yourself, for others, for all life.

Wild Cat Tales

Wild Cat Tales

Just as I was about to step around the gate to enter the forest trail, I caught a glimpse of something tied to the metal post. It was a handmade sign with bold black letters typed neatly on a sheet of white paper and taped to a brown cardboard square. “Mountain Lion Sighting. Please Beware.” I stopped to consider the warning, wondering about the circumstances of the sighting that had occurred just the day before.

The sign on the gatepost brought me unexpectedly to a crossroads. My plans for a walk in the woods seemed so certain until I bumped into that big bold “Beware.” Now mountain lions were wildly running through my mind, with their inspiring beauty and grace, with their powerful jaws and piercing teeth and sharp claws, and their ferocious passion to hunt. I wondered if I should turn back.

I remembered the deer carcass I’d found earlier that week. Maybe the deer had been killed by a mountain lion before the ravens and turkey vultures came by to share in the feast. Standing by the warning at the gate, my mind replayed the news reports I’d heard over the years about people’s encroachment into wild animals’ territories, about people being stalked and killed by mountain lions, about people fighting for their lives after crossing paths with wild cats – climbing trees, throwing rocks, screaming for help.

A sudden gust of wind called me back to where I stood at the gate, to the question still hovering in the air. Should I continue on or should I turn back? My muddle of indecision was interrupted by a blur of golden brown fur rushing up the hillside. It was Jasmine, my beloved velvety-eared dog, following her nose through the thick underbrush, exuberantly chasing an intriguing scent. Looking out toward the western horizon, I was captivated by the beauty of the waning moon setting over the high mountain ridge in the midst of the brilliant blue sky.

I knew, in my heart, I wanted to walk on into the woods. I didn’t want to turn back. So I stepped through the gate, trying hard to convince myself that I wasn’t afraid. I hoped I wasn’t being foolish. I hoped I wasn’t jeopardizing Jasmine and me.

I hiked up the hill, anxious yet determined, my mind occupied with a thorough review of all the tips I’d ever heard for preventing mountain lion attacks. Be loud. Look big. Wave your arms around. Make lots of noise. In other words, appear to be unappetizing, uncooperative prey. So I jingled my keys. I whistled and called out to Jasmine more loudly and more often than usual. I searched for a sturdy walking stick to fend off whatever dangers might cross my path.

“Beware” the sign instructed. So I dutifully remained hyper-vigilant, uneasy and tense, alert to and startled by subtle movements in the trees. I altered my course to stay in open spaces and on well-traveled pathways, watching for mountain lions ready to pounce.

After awhile, I started to wonder about the fear and foreboding I was dragging along with me through the woods. It was stressful hiking in a fight-or-flight state of mind, on edge and disconnected from the beauty which flourished all around. Along with my sense of adventure, my peace and delight had been abruptly left behind. In fact, I was everywhere but where I actually was. Preoccupied with the future, my mind was wrestling with snapshots of terrible things that could happen, a doomsday collage of not-so-pleasant what-ifs. Lost in the past, I was reenacting old patterns, those well-ingrained reactions to perceived threats of harm, all instantly triggered by the warning at the gate and by traumatic events that took place in other people’s lives.

This all got me thinking about how our modern-day culture promotes and reinforces fear as an inescapable, even necessary, part of life. We are taught to be afraid. We learn to walk in fear, not just in the forests where mountain lions roam, but in our everyday lives.

Fear shouts out from the headlines and settles into our homes and follows us to work and sits beside us in school and sneaks into our relationships and haunts us in our dreams and feeds our addictions and controls how we see the world.

We are told, over and over again, about the inevitable dangers that lurk around every corner.

Beware of anyone unfamiliar. Beware of anything new. Beware of death. Beware of love. Beware of the night. Beware. Beware. Beware. The barrage of bewares serves to fill us with anxiety and tension, worry, despair, dis-ease, and distrust.

What would happen, I wondered, if we instantaneously eliminated all the bewares? What if we channeled all the energy we usually spent on worry, fear and stress into simply being aware?

Being aware of who we really are.

Being connected with all that is.

Living with awakened senses.

Trusting the vast knowledge we carry within.

Being attentive to what’s happening around us and responsive to what we perceive.

There amidst the towering pines and whispering aspens, I stopped abruptly in my tracks. I didn’t want to continue walking on in fear. It was numbing and distracting. It stifled my natural curiosity and joy. It held me back and boxed me in. I didn’t want to beware…I wanted to Be Aware.

Which meant walking through the forest fully present to my experience with each and every step that I take. That meant opening up my senses, setting aside fear and doubt, and trusting that I’ll know which forest path to follow and which way to turn and how long to stay and how to protect myself in the presence of whatever isn’t safe. I wanted to walk my life path in the same way, with clarity and unbridled passion, in connection with what exists within me and all around. I wanted to live each and every moment vibrantly aware and awake and alive.

Stepping gently into the meadow beside the mountain trail, I grounded myself in mother earth and reached inside my pocket to gather up my pouch of tobacco. I untied the soft leather string and reached inside the woven pouch, feeling the crinkly dried tobacco between my fingertips. I breathed in the rich earthy smells of the organic healing herb, a cherished gift for spirit guides and guardians. I held a pinch of tobacco up toward the sun, reaching out from my heart and offering my prayers.

To the Grandmothers and Grandfathers, to the Spirits of the Land, asking for protection as I walked about the mountainside.

To my Spirit Guides, seeking their guidance in Being Aware. I asked for assistance in letting go of fears and having clear understanding of the information I gather through my physical and spirit senses. I asked for guidance in responding to what is with clarity, focus, and centeredness.

To the Mountain Lion Nation, asking that we may both move freely about the land in harmony and respectful co-existence, honoring each others’ purpose and presence.

I asked Mountain Lion to show me the ways of walking with balance, in harmony with all life, owning and openly expressing my own power and beauty and grace. I asked Mountain Lion to teach me to hunt with tenacity, to diligently search for and catch what nourishes me and creatively enriches my life.

I sprinkled the tobacco offering on the ground, honoring the sacred space of the mountains, honoring the extraordinary web of life which embraces all beings with unconditional acceptance and love. I gave thanks for the gifts of crossing paths with Mountain Lion and connecting with the medicines of her free and wild feline spirit.

I tucked the tobacco pouch back inside my pocket and breathed in the beauty of the alpine meadow. I watched the vibrant yellow sunflowers and spindly purple thistles dance on a gentle breeze. I listened to the cackling calls of the ravens and the staccato clicking of grasshoppers in flight. I continued on my way along the mountain trail, feeling stones and roots and soil beneath my feet, once again following the path of my heart.

Finding Your Freedom

Finding Your Freedom

We had a beautiful gathering for our community Bone Throw Ceremony last night in Santa Fe. We asked the spirits about freedom, how to create freedom in our lives.

So much guidance was offered.

Such powerful doctoring.

A beautiful weaving of connection.

These clips from our ceremony are being shared with deep respect and gratitude for the spirits, their medicines and teachings.

Wild Boar Medicine: What is Most Delicious About Life for You?


Sea Turtle Medicine: Come Home to Your Heart


Manaole U Manaole,

from my heart to the heart of the mother earth to your heart,


Lessons from Luna and Lily

Lessons from Luna and Lily

My four-legged family keeps growing. Funny thing is, I’m not really a pet-person. I’m much more at home meeting up with animals who are living wild and free, doing what they naturally do.

And so here we are…me and Luna, a black labrador puppy, and Lily, a once feral cat. The three of us are finding our way together, weaving our web as a family, clarifying our understandings of whose space is whose, whose bed is whose, whose food is whose, and who has her claim on me as her mama at any particular moment in time.

During the past couple years, through life challenges and transitions and beautiful happenings, Luna has been my steady companion. Most of all, she’s been teaching me about love.

Every cell of her being radiates love and her absolute passion for living. She gives and receives love in a free, unencumbered, exuberant, funny, pure and simple, ceaseless kind of way. Luna genuinely embodies Love. She has the gift of connecting Heart to Heart. Joy to Joy. Song to Song.

And human to human, we can relate this way too. It’s a natural thing, our organic way, too. Luna is a guide, in her wise canine ways, for how to be the love, how to live centered in love, how to naturally radiate Love that has no bounds.

Lily’s entry into our home began with her hiding behind a wicker shelf, then resting in little cubby holes in the kitchen, then claiming my office as her home. In this moment, as I’m writing, we are all hanging out together, a little circle of three. I’m sitting at the kitchen table. Lily is sleeping across from me on a bench beneath an open window. Luna is napping on a rug beside me, her marrow bone and chewy toy nearby. So peaceful and sweet. Contentment fills the room. We’re finding our way in the dance.

Lily has raised two litters of kittens while living outside. She’s a keen hunter, entirely capable of tending to her safety and well-being. She has let me know, more than once already, that worrying about her is a colossal waste of time. Lily is soaking up the TLC, having a home and a person, being well-loved and well-fed. When she sits in my lap and purrs, it’s hard to distinguish who’s giving and who’s receiving the caring and affection. I’m soaking up the TLC too.

One night, just a few days after Lily arrived, I heard her up on the roof. Seeing her face peering over the edge of the gutters, hearing her meow and meow, got me all wrapped up in a rescue mission. It was a long sleepless night trying to reach her without toppling off the step-ladder, trying to build her a makeshift ramp from the roof to a tree, trying to coax her down with food – all to no avail.

While pacing around the sandy land in the pitch-black dark trying to find a solid place to set my ladder, I saw a shooting star. I took a moment to breath it in and noticed Lily’s silhouette on the very top of the roof under the vast star-filled sky.

Even though I feared she was stuck, I couldn’t help but marvel at the extraordinary beauty. Here was this little cat at the highest vantage point she could find looking up into the brilliant and breathtaking sky. A bazillion stars were surrounding her. The arch of the Milky Way Galaxy held her in a cosmic embrace. She was a part of it all.

A fleeting thought rippled through my mind that I ought to sleep outside in my hammock. But I was in the midst of a serious rescue mission. No time to relax. No time for adventure and fun. I tossed and turned in my bed, hardly able to sleep, and periodically went outside to see if I could conjure up a more effective save-the-cat strategy.

At dawn, I felt even more determined to get Lily down. I needed to get her off the roof before the sun got too hot. I needed a taller ladder. I needed to be bold and just grab her, even if she didn’t like it, even if I got scratched.

The moment I opened the front door, Lily meowed and leapt from the roof into a tree, climbed down the trunk, hopped onto the porch, softly rubbed against my ankles, and peacefully walked inside. Time for breakfast! I just had to laugh, with relief, yes, but also at myself. There was so much more to the story than I’d been able to see.

Lily wasn’t calling for help. She didn’t want anything about her situation to be changed. Yet once I got entangled with fear and worry and my grand rescue mission, I couldn’t hear anything else.

When I replay Lily’s communication in my mind, this is what I sense she was really saying to me. Lily (standing on the roof, meowing loudly, looking directly in my eyes): “Look! Look! The planets! The stars! Our friends in the sky! Come join me! It’s magical! It’s beautiful! Can’t you see?”

In her wise feline ways, Lily planted the seed of a question to open my awareness and expand my point of view, to deepen my connection not only with her but with everyone and everything in the remarkable web of life.

She’s calling me to reach beyond assumptions and fears, to open my heart and mind, to feel and sense much more widely and deeply, to pause and take a closer look and ask myself:  Am I really listening?

Hawk Medicine

Hawk Medicine

I received a remarkable gift this morning while out for a walk along the arroyo. A hawk swooped by and landed in a tree right over my head. When the hawk landed on the branch, a feather drifted gracefully to the ground.

I stood quietly admiring the hawk, listening, watching, wondering what messages Hawk was bringing for me. When the winged one flew away, I searched around for the gift. The delicate feather had landed in my footprints in a place I cross over a gully every morning I walk in the mesas.

My sister and I have come to understand that Hawks are bringers of messages from our dad who died a few years ago. He died just before the Solstice, during this season of the year.

It was so heartwarming to feel my dad’s presence this morning. I hear him letting me know he is with me in my walk, watching over as I find my way in my life path.

With love and gratitude for my dad, for Hawk, for the feather, for the beauty and magic of life.

Unleashing Love

A Gift For You!

A Gift For You!

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