Updated: Dec 18, 2020
My friend Kirsten Rickert brings thoughtful beauty into the world with her every action. When I got to connect with her in a redwood forest for a SpiritWeavers gathering several years ago, she had already been a homeschooling icon to me for quite a while. I can still vividly picture some of the activities she did with her girls and how they informed how I wanted to teach my own daughter.
I still keep an eye trained on Kirsten and learn from her ancient and wise perspectives on life. Today, we all get to!
Read on to learn the story of the granite spiral she built near her home in Maine. And if you find you also want more of her medicine in your life, follow her on Instagram @magnesium_blue.
I do not feel conscious of when the spiral became an important symbol for my journey, but I remember for certain the day I realized I had to make one. It came about as a repose for mental health, and spiritual wellbeing. I was painfully activated one day by careless words said by a friend about my mental health. I can be sensitive about mental health because I have a mother who is currently homeless, and struggles greatly. As a middle age adult I recognize how I may have been predisposed and conditioned, and how my inner atmosphere has changed as I have grown and healed. I felt in good health, but I admired this friend very much and could not shift an ill feeling. In that moment of emotional activation, I realized I needed some self care, but it had to be different kind of self work, it had to be significant. Then I went outside and began making a stone spiral.
I was moved to create a ritual place I could step into daily to cultivate inner peace. A place I could journey to, via walking meditation. A place for alignment of body and soul. A place of centering.
Making the spiral was a laborious pleasure. I could only carry one stone at a time. It was simple methodical work because I knew exactly what I was doing. To start with I was in a huff of resistance, feeling annoyed with the words of this friend. The stonework was a great physiological way to live out my strength and determination, while my mind processed a sense of self. I let a lot enter my field in daily life, so starting the spiral with some emotional resistance and resilience felt great. After about 20 minutes of hovering in a neural pathway of, "That was a really insensitive thing for him to say! He knows mental illness is a part of me and my life," I settled into a zen experience of creating for love. Connecting to breath, being with the elements, communicating with the stones. I LOVED working with the Granite, oh my, what a gift to be with ancient chunks of matter, loaded with quartz crystal, making a sacred shape.
The timing of the emotional activation was a week before Samhain. I worked on the spiral for seven mornings, walking it for the first time on all hallows eve. It felt magically designed that I would come home feeling destabilized after a conversation with a friend, then fortify myself for 7 days with a stone spiral that was completed on the mid point of solstice and equinox.
Meanwhile my friend apologized, and I shared the spiral journey with him, and we became better friends. I felt respected and seen in the way I wanted to be. What words did I used? Determined and strong.
That sense of meant to be can feel particularly sweet after you have risen above adversity in a positive way.
After Samhain I walked the spiral religiously for forty days. Then I only walked it when I felt like it, which might be every day for a week, then I skip a week. I offer friends to walk it when they visit. Everyone so far has said yes! It takes longer than you think... round, round you go, spiraling in, and then round, round you go, spiraling out.
While the days I choose to walk have an ebb and flow, I maintained a consistent ritual practice when using the spiral. This involves pausing with words and setting intent as I enter - Walking inwards - pausing at the center to be with creation - spiraling outwards - then pausing once again at the exit, to revisit the entry intent. I generally work with the planet Mercury at the beginning and end of the spiral, and in the center I generally foster whole body connection through the heart, to the earth, moon and sun. Sometimes it might be another planet, or the entire cosmos! It depends on life, and which neural pathways I may be turning up or down. I do this by using words from Hermes Trismegistus and my own personal words or visualizations. Sometimes I will carry an object: shell, herbs, flowers, into the spiral to leave in the center. Most often not.
The spiral has offered a lot. Some days I will walk it at both sunrise and sunset. I live in Dawnland, which is what the Wabanki, specifically Penobscot Nation, call this land because it is the first place to see the sun rise on the mainland of the east coast of America. Walking the spiral as I watch then sun rise over White Mountain of First Light (aka Acadia National Park) in Dawnland is a gift... it is well being. In gratitude to the first people of this land.
The ability to create the spiral was relative to the environment. I live on a blueberry barren in Maine where past generations had cleared the barren of all small stones and put them in piles that form boundary lines. We have a few cleared stone piles on the land, which meant the spiral medium was sitting right there. I asked if moving the stones was right action, and I felt that it was. I would not have removed untouched stones from the barren, I believe the blueberries and granite go together for a reason. Since others had piled the stones for farming, I felt ok working with them.
Today when I walked the spiral it was St. Lucia Day. I felt like dressing in white, and leaving an offering of paper whites, a sea urchin shell, and a lit flame. Taking the photos while doing so created a sense of separation, but I plan to walk the spiral again tomorrow at sunrise during the new moon solar eclipse.
This is the wonderful thing about self care... there is always tomorrow.
My favorite book about the spiral.