What does it mean to belong? Who decides who gets to be on the inside of any social group, and who’s excluded? What is the benefit of creating clusters where people who are similar can feel safe, and what are the risks? What does it look like to belong to a place? These tricky questions play out personally, politically, and ecologically—from the friendships we have where we might feel excluded to the mass hysteria around national borders and immigrants to the increase of habitat degradation worldwide.
“You belong” is a powerful message. It isn’t conditional. We each belong to the earth, to each other, to the larger web of life. And yet, so many of us struggle to feel it. Layers of conditioning affect our ability to believe that we belong here—in our bodies, in groups of other humans, and on this planet. Each of us comes into this world with a unique expression that yearns to be seen and welcomed with all its idiosyncrasies. Yet for many, both family and the larger culture threaten that belonging hinges on certain beliefs and behavior. When love and support are conditional in this way, we are left longing for a real sense of belonging. Yet it exists, nonetheless, wherever we are.
About the Spell
Cultivating a sense of belonging is highly nuanced, but this month’s image is offered as a simple, steadfast reminder that the vitality moving through you provides inerrant proof that you belong among the living creatures of this world. We offer this month’s spell to help you find sanctuary in this fact. It can feel almost impossible to feel that we belong, at a root level, if we’ve suffered abuse and neglect in life. Even those with good-enough childhoods and close, loving relationships may feel neglected and abandoned at a soul level by the alienating cultural norms we are raised with. This month, we encourage you to surround yourself with the message that you are welcomed unconditionally inside the dynamic existence you inhabit on this vast, diverse, and growing planet.
Meditation on Belonging
Closing your eyes or opening them, let softness move through the muscles of your face and shoulders. Begin to pay keen attention to what you notice: sounds, smells, thoughts, emotions—darkness, color, light. After a long moment of resting your mind on the sensual facts of your existence, hone in on the movement of your breath—in through your nose and out through your mouth—or whatever feels best to you. Settle into your breath and acknowledge that it happens without needing you to make it happen. If possible, settle into the experience of being breathed by the world—your inhale brings the space around you inside and the systems of your brilliant body incorporate the elements they need to live—the systems of your beautiful body also gather up the elements that no longer serve you and, in a restful, effortless exhale, they are returned to the space around you where they become nourishment for other beings. Over and over again, you are sustained in relationship to your environment. Because you were made to be here. Here is where you belong—in your body, in your consciousness, on this planet. Everything you are belongs here, with all of us. We need you to be you just as much as you do. You belong for all that you are, even as let go of all you think you need to do to belong.
About the painting:
Corina: Many years ago, my sister came to me with the idea that we should be putting more rocks in our paintings. With my background in line drawing and printmaking, this seemed ridiculously complicated. What does a rock even look like? How do I draw some generic rock and make it interesting? This began one of the most generative conversations we’ve had about our creative process. I had to let go of certain kinds of creative control and really make room for ideas I had no skills to execute, trusting my sister to bring her own inspiration and techniques. This painting is a beautiful example of what we’re now capable of together as I’ve learned to step back and give her more room. And I love each and every rock in it.
Jocelyn: This painting is dear to me, beyond words. Sometimes, without any warning, a clear artistic vision will come to me and make its way easily from imagination to sketchpad. This month’s image came through one of those unexpected visitations. Inspired by the days I spent alone in the woods on a vision quest last year, this painting is the essence of what I began to understand in that time. This image feels like an offering from my heart to the aching world, and I’m ever grateful that my sister trusted my vision for it.
This month's offerings:
We've got a sale going on this image for the whole month of August! Buy a print of You Belong and get 15% off, using the coupon code BELONG.
This month Corina is accepting students for her new Astrology 101 Immersion course, which will meet through video conferencing once a week beginning on September 21st. This course distills her many years of teaching astrology, and helps students build their vocabulary and practice chart interpretation. Learn more about it!
This month, Jo is continuing her internship at OurVOICE in Asheville, NC, beginning her **final** year of grad school, and devoting a bunch of creative time to next year's calendar with Corina!