December 2023  Interview with Valerie Dean, Keeper of Praise Song for the Earth + Middle East Peace

In relation to Praise Song, the altar is the round garden I have grown on the metal tray that is dressed every month and is the centrepiece. I feel it holds the energy of all the prayers, love, expressions of gratitude, etc., and this is the gift of beauty we give every month. I always take a photo at the end of each praise song to send out to the group. 

Here is a Praise Song that Valerie sent last December.

Part I: Natural Magic

A Living Altar           All photos by Valerie Dean

Praise Song for Earth December 2022

Natural Magic.

Grey upon grey upon grey, days of curling mist and deep damp fog, the hill shrouded in cloud it wears like a winter bonnet but I’m not sure it’s keeping out the cold. Days that creep slowly out from the cloak of night, light slowly seeping, but so tentative, so unsure, and we live in the half-light until it edges away swallowed by the descending darkness. But sometimes if I venture out, I am in a someplace, sometime, somewhere, made new by this soft focused light, by the absence of an expansive view in a place that’s all about the view. Damply delicious days, raindrops on the black branches of the twisted hazel, like fairy lights glowing in the gloom, fungi and moss vibrantly alive, I swear I can hear that moss so vivid in its greenness singing out with joy. And as I listen to the gently falling rain singing its song of life and let it fall soft on my face, I am becoming part of this secret underworld of fern and moss, of lichen and fungus, of tangled root and twisted branch, walking on a carpet of leaves and acorns, breathing in air heavy with spores and scents of sweet decay. Squirrels are busy harvesting hazelnuts and acorns, the Jay on sentry duty sounds the alarm and I look up, and there across the grass is a huge oak its golden leaves a beacon of burnished light against the grey, and I am undone once more by beauty. Oh, what is there to do but love, then love some more and speak that love and be that love, thank you, thank you, thank you.

So the year mellows into winter, drops more deeply into the soft darkness of rest and replenishment, more deeply into the dreaming. And I feel my breath slowing as I breathe in the energy of winter, as I let myself slide into the bigger body, nestled warm in Her embrace. Thank you, Mother Earth for holding us, growing us, nurturing and nourishing us, sheltering us, loving us.

It is time once more to let Her know how much we love, how much we, care, how much we cherish. Let us find the gratitude in our hearts, sing Her praises, speak our love. However you wish, wherever you are, join me on Saturday 10th, I will be with the altar from 10.30 am

Any expressions of your love that you would like to offer please share them to the group. Words, poems, music, images, crafts, memories, movement, moments of joy, let love of Her be your inspiration.

Thank you for another year, another cycle through the seasons, thank you for the beauty of your offerings over the year, such richness, such joy.

Wishing everyone a wonderful festive season, a very merry Christmas, a real rest, and many moments of wonder.

May She know that She is loved
May She know that She is loved
May She know that She is loved

November’s Altar

Tim Ray

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