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A sacred initiation

My recent initiation

initiationSince JT (Justin Timberlake) has already brought sexy back, I’m bringing “sistren” back! According to the Oxford dictionary, both brethren and sistren shared common parlance until the 1600s, when the word brethren started to take over.  I say there’s plenty of room for both!

I joined a new (for me) sacred sisterhood this weekend. After nearly a year of study, on September 26, I, along with my sistren apprentices, received my formal initiation as a “Keeper of the Water” (Keeper).

As with many other types of initiations, we each took solemn vows and made sacred commitments. As our elder has so beautifully taught us, we have each now entered into a love-centered contract with the Divine.

And, it certainly doesn’t end there. With this initiation, it has truly just begun. And, will begin again. It’s creation. And, it’s rebirth. We are neither the first, nor the last of the Keepers. What prevails is the devotion to creating sacred space for, and holding, compassion and unconditional love. Love for ourselves, for each other, for Mother Earth, for Grandmother Moon, and for the grandmothers and angels who watch over us all.

We each have our own medicine to bring into our circles and in how we show up in our lives. It is ours to bring forward; ours to share. There is much healing to be done.

Initiations of Various Types

Initiations vary, of course, in terms of their specifics.   All initiations, though, tend to exact a certain demonstrated level of commitment and a meeting of specified requirements. And, what rings true throughout, is the sanctity of the occasion.

Some examples:

There is being knighted. There is priest hood, and priestess hood. Often handed down through the generations, there is the becoming a “keeper” of a sacred tradition, rite, or ritual.

There are sororities and fraternities. And there are fraternal and sororal orders.

While pursuing my undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley, I was initiated into a leadership society known as The Order of the Golden Bear. Each initiate was nominated and then inducted at a formal ceremony.   Referred to as “Fellows” once initiated, members are to carry forth the Order’s charter and pledge to uphold the group’s mission and purpose.

Also while in college, I participated in the Catholic Church’s RCIA (Rite for Christian Initiation of Adults), whereby after a year of devotion and study, I joined the other catechumens to be initiated into the Church during a several hour ceremony at the Easter Vigil.  Once initiated, we began our year-long role as a Neophyte, and with that accepted and carried out our new duties. Our first act of service began that very evening, when we anointed each of the congregants with holy oil.


With my Keeper initiation and the others, I have experienced a sense of fellowship. My “fellow” (sistren!) Keepers and I have each fulfilled the specific requirements, and at the same time all underwent a shared experience as we proceeded though our apprenticeship as a group. Along with a certain comaraderie, we more deeply formed a spiritual bond, a sacred sisterhood. It became clear that in our new role, we were to be continuing a centuries’ long tradition which at one point had gone dormant, and has since been honorably and solemnly resurrected by our elder, our teacher.

May I get a witness

As with Ceremony, with Initiation comes an element of being witnessed. Other members of your initiate class join you as you receive your initiation. They observe your initiation and hold sacred space and compassion for you and what you’re accepting. Among other things, their witnessing serves as an acknowledgement of where you’ve been, and more importantly, where you are headed, as you step up into this next role.

It is in effect a rite of passage. I’ll leave the topic of rites of passage for further exploration perhaps at another time. For now, I invite you to allow the idea and experience of “being initiated” to resonate with you.

As a newly ordained Keeper of the Water, what it means for me is this:

I accept this new role and its responsibilities with reverence, dedication, and devotion. I vow to continue to practice all that I’ve learned, and to do my best to honor the traditions of the grandmothers, and of the sacred feminine.

When I stumble, I promise to stand up. And, to carry on. And, to continue to hold. Again. And again.

For your consideration:

For you, what does it mean to be initiated?

Okay, your turn:

Have you or a loved one ever been initiated?   If so, in what way did you or they perform certain duties or functions? What would you like others to know about that experience? Is there a role you’d like to step into, at this point in your life? If so, what would that be, and what is drawing you towards that next level, experience, or role?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2015 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Harvesting in the riches


As we approach the time of “equal days and equal nights” and in the Northern hemisphere while we are transitioning from Summer into Autumn, let’s take a moment to reflect on the changing of the seasons. During Fall (Autumn) trees slow their growth, reduce their production of chlorophyll, and transform their leaves. There’s a natural cycle, a natural sequence. In the insect world, too, there’s a life cycle that takes its course in alignment with the changing of the seasons. It’s ongoing. And, it’s universal.



There’s a shape to the year.

As with the animals and the plants, it applies to us, too, of course.

We start off each year in Winter, and come back around the circle, lapping around the seasons, with a return back into Winter, and the start of another year.  You may also think of the seasons in terms of quarters, each season representing one-fourth of the year.   (See kids, it IS helpful to know at least a little math (grin)!)

So, for this year, we’re three-quarters’ of the way in! As with a harvest, it’s a good time to reflect and “take stock.” It’s also a good time to envision what you desire to continue or to have more fully flourish, for the remainder of the year. We’re heading into and leaning into the home stretch!




From one to the next

A progressing

A stepping back


A returning

Begin again


From within your own life, which of the “the fruits of your labor” from the past few months have come forward? Autumn’s harvest time is an ideal space from which to appreciate and partake in the blessings that abound, and that BELONG to YOU! Correspondingly, take a moment to reflect and decide — which ones would you like to let go, to release — to allow to die out, as they no longer serve you at this moment in time?


As with a shepherd’s flock or a farmer’s field, this time of year, I invite you to take an inventory – an accounting, of your own life.   From where you started your year, what desires have you been nurturing, watering, and tending to? Where have you directed your devotion and care? Which desires have you perhaps been neglecting?

Which of your “crops” did well, and really flourished? Were there some that produced abundant fruit? In contrast, which ones did not fare so well? Was there an adverse change in conditions along the way? Were there unforeseen storms that may have wreaked havoc with your field? If so, how did you respond? Going forward, are there adjustments you can can and would like to make?

For me, my year as you may recall started with bringing into fruition and to you, the first installment of Soul Notes, and this blog. I’ve been fulfilling my heart’s desire to bring this to you on or near the New Moon and Full Moon each moon cycle since January. I consider it an honor and a privilege to share these posts with you, and to bring forward my version of some of the wise teachings I’ve received from my mentors and from other influences I’ve sought out and benefited from during my spiritual journey.

Another of my heart’s desires this year has been to step into my role as a ceremonialist. Holding sacred space and conducting in-person women’s circles in and near my home, along with conducting Full Moon “Ceremonies in the Park” allows me to bring this desire out into the physical realm. During this time of ever-evolving technology, even with all its benefits, I also relish the sublime opportunity to connect person-to-person and to be in contact with the Earth and the natural world!

This year, I also held a Summer Solstice ceremony and celebration at my home. During that time, at the “mid-year mark,” we each set into motion our intentions and sacred commitments for the second half of the year. Three months later, I have revisited those intentions. I invite you to do so, too.


flower - seasons

Growth Cycles







As with the seasons of the year, it’s helpful periodically to take stock of your lifetime journey as well. Reflect. Evaluate. Surmise. Where are you in the seasons of your life? Are you ready to embark on a new chapter?

Allow your desires really, truly, FULLY to express themselves. If you’re feeling the inclination, the yearning, the pull to explore some “next steps” in this season of your life, in honor of your true desires, I wholeheartedly support you! Explore. Set out on the grand adventure. Dare to desire, and desire some more. Along the way, seek out a trusted guide. TURN ON YOUR SOUL. It’s time for a BIG let-go and let’s GO!


For your consideration:

Did you make intentions at the beginning of the year? Or, at the mid-year mark? (Or, even if perhaps you didn’t, I encourage you to take time to set some in motion now.)

As you survey your year, what do you notice? What has unfolded? What would you like to continue? What would you like to release? You get to decide. Choose, with confidence.

Okay, your turn:

Where are you at this point in your year? Take stock of your own personal growth. An accounting. An inventory. And, share what has come up for you.

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2015 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.