Farewell, 2013 ~ You Were Quite a Year


Each year, during the “time out of time” between Solstice and New Year’s, I work on a Life Review. I like to look back at the most significant moments of the year gone by, the creative projects, spiritual practices, work accomplishments, and sorrows and disappointments too.

This past year was full of surprises. During the first half of the year — especially February through June — I set aside a large portion of my normal life to tend to my close friend Nora Cedarwind, who was near death (or so we were told). During the spring, I learned a lot about mindfulness, about being present, and about walking in beauty. My priorities shifted in a major way from a workaholic tendency to cherishing each present moment.

Even now, after life has gone back to “normal,” I think about the pace I maintained for the last few years, and I can’t imagine how I did it. I have slowed way, way down, and am much less concerned about deadlines than I used to be.

At the same time, I am feeling a sense of urgency to finish my Shapeshifter: Wheel of a Woman’s Life project. I want to finish it in 2014 or 2015, instead of taking nine years to complete it, like I did with the Gaian Tarot. Who knows how much time I have left? 20 or 30 years, I hope.

But we just never know.


Here are a few of the things that happened month by month in 2013, illustrated with some of the photos I took in those months. I’ve linked to some of my favorite blog posts of the year, too.

In January:

  • Moved slowly and quietly into the New Year.
  • Sold out bookings for Magical Tarot Dreams Consultations.
  • Began the second round of Gaian Soul Practices for Candlemas ecourse.
  • Prepared for the Gaian Soul “Brigid’s Feast” Retreat.
Lummi Mountain
Entering retreat time, storm on Lummi Island

In February:

  • Heart full to overflowing at the Gaian Soul “Brigid’s Feast” Retreat at Aldermarsh.
  • Discovered my friend Nora had gone into the hospital on Candlemas, while we were away on retreat.
  • Visited tarot & goddess sisters Ellen-Lorenzi Prince & Lunaea Weatherstone in Portland, Oregon for a weekend of soulful, creative conversation.
Central altar at the Gaian Soul “Brigid’s Feast” Retreat

In March:

  • Nora was sent home from the hospital on Spring Equinox. We were told she had 10 days to live, 3 months at the most.
  • Cancelled plans for teaching a new ecourse and put most of my business life on hold to spend time with Nora, providing emotional and spiritual support. I began to slow way, way down.
  • Began twice-weekly cafe dates with a writing partner.
  • Learned to make peace with uncertainty.
  • Began the second round of Gaian Soul Practices for Spring Equinox ecourse.
March blossoms
Spring blossoms, grey day

In April:

  • Spent time with Nora almost every day. Interfaced with the wider Pagan community on her behalf via social media, email, and phone calls almost every day.
  • Learned to be present.
  • Spent a lot of time musing on death and grief.
  • Finished up weight loss program; a total release of 50+ pounds.
  • Received the news that Llewellyn will be letting the Gaian Tarot go out of print. After I shared this news on social media and in my newsletter, several hundred copies sold in a very short time.
  • Began the second round of Gaian Soul Practices for Beltane ecourse.
Nora and I at the water’s edge

In May:

  • Worked on Gaian Soul brand and site redesign. So appreciated and loved Abby Kerr’s work with branding and copywriting.
  • Went on a Beltane getaway to Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, with Craig.
  • Continued to spend a lot of time with Nora.
  • Learned to be present and to walk in beauty.
  • Craig accepted a management position with a firm that had been an engineering client of his for 17 years. His steady income became a great blessing for us. And better still, he loves the job and loves being part of a team.
  • Travelled to Maine to visit the kids and granddaughter Gracie. Had the best time ever with her so far, in spite of the unseasonable 90+ degree heat.
Gracie, art journal
Gracie and her art journal

In June:

  • Realized Nora had beat the odds and was not going to leave us anytime soon. Began to pick up the threads of my own life again.
  • Launched the revisioned, rebranded Gaian Soul website. Feeling good about my new direction, in which tarot is part of my spiritual toolkit, but not my main focus.
  • Began the second round of Gaian Soul Practices for Summer Solstice ecourse.
  • Went to the Chuckanut Writers Conference here in Bellingham as Waverly Fitzgerald’s guest.
muddy feet, shells
My muddy feet

In July:

  • Attended the World Domination Summit in Portland for the second time with Craig, and was less than thrilled with the 3000-strong crowd, although the speakers were once again quite inspiring. Loved visiting Kelly Rae Roberts’ SoulShine Studio Open House.
  • Spent a lot of time at the beach.
  • Began working diligently and regularly on my “Shapeshifter: Wheel of a Woman’s Life” book and art project.
  • Started writing a blog for SageWoman online.
  • Began the second round of Gaian Soul Practices for Lammas ecourse.
Mandala-making by the sea

In August:

  • Traveled to Taos, New Mexico for Jen Louden’s annual Women Writers Retreat. Got a lot of great work done there, had an intense experience out on the pueblo. Had a lovely weekend in Santa Fe with Lisa de St Croix.
  • Took Pixie Campbell’s online painting course “Visual Quest,” which lit me up and got me extremely excited about painting again. Started a new style with acrylic paints. Realized I could not sustain painting and writing at the same time, and put the painting paraphernalia away at the end of the month in order to focus on writing.
  • Helped James Wells launch his ecourse, Tarot Counseling, and provided infrastructure for it.
Pueblo cross
Cross on the pueblo, Taos, NM

In September:

  • Hosted the third Gaian Soul Retreat (sold out months ahead of time). Love love love working in person with women in circle. Realized I want to do more in-person events next year.
  • Began the second round of Gaian Soul Practices for Autumn Equinox ecourse.
  • Started regular Friday afternoon lunches with Nora. Beyond grateful she is still with us and is doing well, as someone who is living with a chronic, life-threatening illness, instead of someone who is imminently dying.
Retreat feast
Feasting at the September Gaian Soul Retreat

In October:

  • Travelled to Maine again to spend a few days with granddaughter Gracie. Went apple-picking!
  • Began the second round of Gaian Soul Practices for Hallowmas ecourse.
Picking apples
Apple-picking in Maine with Steve, Jenn, & Gracie

In November:

  • The Gaian Tarot App  was released by the Fool’s Dog. Very happy about this.
  • Went on a self-created business retreat and made plans for 2014.
  • Released a print-on-demand version of my ebook “A Crown of Candles: How to Throw a Fabulous Lucia Party”.
  • Made good progress on the Hallowmas section of the Shapeshifter book.
  • Began the third round of Gaian Soul Practices for Yuletide/Midwinter ecourse.
My writing nook just before dawn, at my business retreat

In December:

  • Attended Christina Baldwin’s “Self as Source of the Story” alumni writing retreat at Aldermarsh. Went deep with the writing on the Shapeshifter book, found my voice, received invaluable feedback and insight from Christina.
  • Hosted our final St Lucia Party, after 17 continual years of hosting. Bittersweet.
  • Gave myself permission to rest and dream for the week between the Lucia Party and Winter Solstice.
  • My good friend and circle-sister Charlotte Johnson (model for the Gaian Moon card) died on Winter Solstice night, after dancing with cancer for several years. Nora and I read the Elemental Rite of Release at her memorial service, something I had expected to do at a memorial service for Nora.
Snowy Solstice
Snow, the day before Winter Solstice

How the Wheel turns.

Goodbye, 2013. Let’s open the door to a New Moon and a New Year.

6 thoughts on “Farewell, 2013 ~ You Were Quite a Year

    1. Thanks Loran. I think that’s one of the most important benefits of doing a year-end review. To see it all laid out, and how it all flowed.

      1. You might be pleased to know that I dug through mountains of journals to locate 3 years worth of New Year’s Spreads! They are all now in one place and I did 2014 last night. I wanted to see the flow of the last few years as well. Today I will lay out all the cards for additional insight.

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