Author Archives: JoAnne Dodgson

Medicines of the Moon

Medicines of the Moon

What are your moon stories?

One of my cherished memories took place many years ago when I was on spring break during graduate school. I headed south out of the grey midwest cold to spend time in the Appalachian Mountains. Evening was settling in after a long day on the road. I still had many miles to go. I came upon a detour that directed me even deeper into the mountains along remote winding roads. The hillsides in every direction were saturated by Kudzu, a thick green vine covering the ground and wrapping around tree trunks and branches. I worried what would happen if my car went off the road. I’d be buried beneath the Kudzu, never to be seen again.

I came around a bend and the Full Moon suddenly appeared right in front of me. The moon looked to be rising out of the mountains, so closeby, I felt I could reach out my hand and touch her. The radiance of the moon filled the sky and lit up the landscape. Breathtaken by the beauty and delighted by the magic, my sense of adventure, curiosity and wonder instantly woke back up.

I continued on through the mountains for quite some time, a slow going journey along windy, switch-back roads. I’d turn away from the moonlight into the darkness. Then, curving around a bend, I’d meet up again with the Full Moon. A reunion with a long-lost friend. Then the road would carry me back into the dark of the night. Eventually, I’d meet up again with the moon.

The moon became my guardian. Someone was watching over and I felt less alone. My awareness was opening to the moon’s existence as a conscious presence, a living being, and of our inherent connection in the tapestry of life.

That night sparked an even deeper love affair with the moon. Over the decades since then, I’ve cultivated my connection with Luna with ceremony, art, and stories, with simply watching, listening, and learning. The moon is a powerful teacher about natural cycles. She’s a guide to the rhythms and cycles in my body, in our bodies, and in the flow of life on the earth. She’s a touchstone in the vast cosmos. She’s a teacher about the wild, interconnected dance with life.

What are your moon stories?

The Full Moon Eclipse happening this week offers a rich opportunity to connect with the medicines of the moon. Observe, feel, and listen. Notice when you cross paths with the moon. What is happening inside and around you?

Share your moon stories. Ask other people about their experiences. Open new conversations. Honor diverse discoveries.

Imagine what will happen when awe, wonder, beauty, and mystery fill us up, fill the spaces between us, and ripple far beyond.

New Moon Eclipse

New Moon Eclipse

Our New Moon Eclipse offers a powerful time to dream new dreams…for your life, for the earth, for all the generations to come.

Dream with passion, creativity, open eyes and open mind, claiming what lives in your heart.

Open the Door

Open the Door

We were in the midst of a discussion about cultivating relationships with the realm of the spirits. In a conference call with my current Apprenticeship Group, a student asked how to have more clear communication with ancestors and guides.

Often, as humans, we get weighted down by self-doubts. We have limited beliefs about what spirits’ presence and communication look like. We shut down our sensory awareness with fears, distractions, judgments, and busy-ness.

Before I could gather up the words to respond to the student’s question, the doorbell started ringing (and ringing and ringing!!) in her home. There was an abrupt thump as a bird flew into my kitchen window. My cat, Lily, meowed loudly from outside, insistently calling to be let in.

The seen and unseen offered a vivid response to the heartfelt desires for cultivating connection with the spirits, showing us how: Open the door! Let us in! We’re right here!

Our class erupted into laughter, delighting in the magic. The message couldn’t be any more clear.

The response we were given is helpful guidance for most anything we’re seeking. Set the intention. Claim the desire. Open the door. Reach toward, welcome in, and receive. Listen and feel with all of the senses to the obvious and the subtle, to the physical and energetic.

What are you seeking? Spend time with this question. Get to know your own heart’s desires.

And open the door. Step into the quest. A universe of extraordinary possibilities is ready and waiting to be explored.

Dance with Life

Dance with Life

Full Moon and Solstice are joined closely this month. In the Northern Hemisphere, we’re in the heart of summertime. In the Southern Hemisphere, we’re in the heart of wintertime. Wherever and whoever you are on the planet, each and every one of us experiences the same cycle of the moon.

What a beautiful time to feel our connectedness.

Here we are on the earth with a moon who circles around us shaping the natural cycles in our bodies and on our planet. Here we are on the earth circling around a star who brings light to our planet from so so so far away. Here we are on the earth spiraling through the galaxy for just a flicker of time in this particular choosing of our purpose and form – human, rock, whale, redwood tree, hummingbird, elephant or frog.

Let yourself feel the awe. Marvel at the mystery. Reach within and far beyond to touch the vastness of life.

In diverse cultures through our human existence on earth, we have built immense structures based on intimate knowledge of the relationship of our earth and sun. We’ve created ways of marking and tracking the particular transition with Solstice.

What is it about the Solstice that is so compelling to us, so vital to honor? In our contemporary instant gratification, electronic gadget, rush-around world, we’ve forgotten much of this knowledge. We’ve buried and learned to fear our connectedness with the flow of life, with our own bodies and hearts and spirits, with the earth and cosmos within which we live.

It’s time for the remembering. Give yourself a gift this Full Moon and Solstice. Slow down. Feel the shiftings. Watch, listen, and observe.

Get your feet on the soil. Gaze into the night skies.

Be curious. Enjoy the adventure of opening your eyes, mind and heart a little bit wider. Explore. Leave plenty of space for not knowing.

Flourish in the wonder and awe. Love the beauty and the mystery.

Remember who you are here on earth and among the stars.


Rain Dance

Rain Dance

Many beautiful gifts come along in such seemingly simple, ordinary moments. And it’s often the youngest among us who have something extraordinary to share. Many years ago, during a family holiday in Michigan, everyone gathered outside after our feast. Reminiscing about old family stories, our laughter joined up with the songs of the crickets as the nighttime settled in.

Unexpectedly it started to rain. Instantly the adults backed up against the walls of the house, seeking shelter beneath the rafters. My four-year-old niece, however, had other ideas. Without a moment’s hesitation, Emily spread her arms wide-open and lifted her face toward the sky. Smiling and laughing, she skipped barefoot around the porch. She shouted with glee, “It’s raining! It’s raining! It’s raining!”

For Emily, the rain was cause for sweet celebration. She relished her connection with the natural wonders of life. There was nothing to fear. She had no inclination to hide. Emily’s rain dance was a striking contrast with the collection of aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents huddled against the walls and diligently avoiding contact with the gentle raindrops falling from the sky.

Witnessing Emily’s unbridled delight, I wondered why I was ducking for cover. What was I hiding from? What was it that I feared? What shoulds and supposed-tos were ruling my behavior?

It was clear that Emily was deeply connected with something much bigger than whatever was holding me back. Emily openly expressed who she was. She joined hands with the vibrant energies of life, embodying freedom, passion, and joy.

Emily invited me to lift my face to the sky, to welcome the gifts raining down all around. Emily’s rain dance reminded me to play. To feel my joy. To thrive in my aliveness. To reach out with love to all that is.

Emily’s rain dance still calls me to remember what lives deep in the heart of my heart.



Do You Know Where You Are?

Do You Know Where You Are?

The rough dirt road was a many-mile journey on bumpy washboard. The car jostled and creaked. My backbones felt rattled. The maps on the dashboard slid out of reach. The water jugs on the front seat tipped over.

Even so, everything quieted on the inside. A tidal wave of stillness washed over me, clearing my mind and opening my senses so I could breathe in every sight and sound and scent. My heart expanded into the spaciousness, the beauty and mystery in the land.

Entering through the north gate, I drove right past the campground where I’d planned to stay. Too many cars and campers. Too much protocol to follow. I sat in the parking lot at the Visitor’s Center while contemplating what to do. Then I drove on, exiting through the south gate. I felt called back to the mesas where I’d spent the night (a really cold night) last time I was here. (read story)

As I headed toward the wild lands, I met up with an unexpected companion. Stretched out across the roadway, soaking in the sun, the snake offered confirmation of the direction I was choosing to go.

She was the first snake I’d seen this spring. And this was the second time since sunrise that I’d stopped at a crossroads, listening, watching, gathering information, waiting until I was clear about my next step.

I felt the exhilaration of homecoming as I made my way down the two-track road and parked in the wide-open expanse of the mesas. It was so quiet I could hear the grasshoppers’ wings. The view reached forever in all directions – sky, clouds, rocks, sagebrush, hawks, the spirits of the land. And me. Utterly at home. Peaceful and content. Out here in the middle of nowhere.

It’s siesta time, as all creatures instinctively know, when the sun is high in the desert sky. Warm winds blew, rocking my car. I feel deeply asleep, nestled in a cocoon.


“Do you know where you are?”

I heard the voice before I saw him. He’d parked his Jeep nearby. I was surprised to see anybody else at my secret (so I thought) off-grid campsite. Was I in trouble? Was I in danger?

I told him we were on the mesas near Chaco Canyon. He told me about the GPS coordinates and the curiosity that drew him down this barely passable side road. So neither of us was lost. We were flourishing in the adventure.

“Are you an archeologist or just an interesting civilian?” he asked.

I had to laugh. Because Archeologist was something, way back when, on my list of things I wanted to be. Along with: Anthropologist, Astronaut, Veterinarian, Oceanographer.

Yet here I was in the middle of somewhere without the need for a job title, without the structure of calendars and clocks, without an urgent list of to-dos.

Simply loving the earth. Loving being alive. A vast field of connection. Just me being me.

In the weeks since this roadtrip, I keep asking myself what this man on the mesa asked me: Do I know where I am? In this particular circumstance? In the flow of natural cycles? In the various threads in the web of life I am weaving?

When I find myself at a crossroads, pondering the possibilities in my path, I remember the gifts from my journey to the mesas – to find my way to that deep inner stillness, to pause and listen to the worlds within and all around, and then, when I’m ready, to take the next step.

Unleashing Love

A Gift For You!

A Gift For You!

Sign up for my newsletter and join me in creating a heart-centered world.   As a welcome gift I will send you a copy of my eBook Unleashing Love: Medicine Stories to Feed your Spirit and Awaken Your Heart.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required