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New Moon No. 15, Spring

LUMEN  LETTERS

dried flower offerings  from Blooming Together women's gathering left along the way

“Wherever you go, there you are."

Why hello there luminous ones,

I've made it! I'm writing to you from my new home in Portland, OR. My relocation to the West Coast is complete.

Well, there's still plenty of settling in to do...relocating to the opposite coast is no simple task. With that in mind, this Lumen Letter will be short & sweet. More of a "hey, I'm thinking of you all" then the typical curated New Moon edition with MIND, BODY, & SPIRIT insights. 

& apologies for my absence on the last full moon - my cross country road trip was full of surprises and oftentimes lacking in cell service or wifi access. Which was actually really nice. I love my Luminous community, but I also love the sense of solitude that comes with a disconnection from technology. Try it out sometime, paired with a road trip, and wide open spaces - this combination does wonders for the soul.
In case you missed the presentation of GROUND+CENTER UNBOXED last month in NYC...
GROUND+CENTER UNBOXED

GROUND+CENTER UNBOXED

Photography by Kitfox Valentín
Concept by Kitfox Valentín & Jessica McCarthy
5.29.18
@groundandcenter hits the road, breaks free, becomes unboxed. We escaped the box of NYC yesterday morning, west coast bound, leaving behind the landscape where this project was created, to be able to allow it to grow into it’s potential. The full reveal of this image samples the ecosystems waiting to be discovered. All of the plants and fungi in this image are ones we have personally developed relationships with as food, medicine, and other various uses. After the shoot for this image was wrapped, we partook in the set’s various offerings as soups, tinctures, smudge bundles, teas, and the list goes on and on. While this is our first installment of GROUND+CENTER, we’ve barely scratched the surface; our exploration has just begun.
Sayonara NYC
Sayonara NYC! First stop - Western Pennsylvania to camp out under the full moon & begin the shedding of our NYC skin. 
Crimson & Clover Chicago
5.31.18
Stopping through Chicago for a quick visit with the Crimson to my Clover. A warm hug from a dear friend for well wishes on your new adventure & a goodie bag for the road. I got really good at crackin' sunflower seeds in my mouth by the time I was in Idaho. Oh, and turns out, the man wipes really did come in handy. Thanks Dex & Paul!
Stinging Nettle North Dakota
6.1.18
Harvesting stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) in North Dakota. I’ve been buying dried nettles to make herbal infusions with for the past few months, mainly to help with my menstrual cycle, although this plant’s list of benefits are seemingly endless. Once, at the farmer’s market in Union Square, I even bought fresh nettles and experienced what their sting was like when one of the leaves accidentally brushed alongside my leg. But never have I foraged them myself, until today. It’s often advised to wear gloves while harvesting stinging nettle due to the tiny hairs located on the stems and undersides of the leaves, that when broken, release chemicals that produce a stinging sensation. Hence their name. I didn’t have any gloves on hand, and I’ve experienced the sting before, so I knew what to expect. It’s definitely a great awareness tool to harvest this plant without anything protecting you from it’s sting. Using just my finger pads to select the leaves, I managed to feel only the lightest of stings on my finger pads...except when I got a little too comfortable, tugged a bit to hard, and had the whole plant ricochet back at me, brushing along my lower right arm, giving me a rush of stings and a reminder to be more mindful when harvesting plants. Much gratitude to you, stinging nettle, for the lessons, opportunity to work with you in this form, and for showing up right when I need your medicine most 💚
North Dakota Thunderstorm
Drove through an intense thunderstorm and tornado watch area this afternoon in North Dakota. Never have I seen the sky so majestically threatening, with cloud formations I definitely didn’t learn about in grade school. A wall of clouds ahead of us, a greenish hue to the sky, a blanket of darkness cast over us, and heavy sheets of slapping against our car. This photo was snapped as we were driving away from the storm, out of the dark realms, into what felt like the promise land.
Montana Moments
6.3.18
Montana moments
Top left: I now see why Montana is often called Big Sky Country
Bottom Left: Makoshika, the Bandlands of Montana
Center: Snow near the top of a mountain in Custer National Forest
Top & bottom right: River bathing near our campsite in Custer 
Morrels
6.4.18
Stayed in Missoula with a friend of the wild woods man, who is himself a very wild woods man. He took us mushroom hunting for morrels, and as you can see, we brought back a very successful haul. Cooked up with wild pronghorn sausage, garlic and sage from his garden, the nettles we gathered in North Dakota, and wild rice. By far, the tastiest and most satisfying meal of the road trip! When I participate with my food far beyond that of the typical grocery store run, I find my connection to the meal is profoundly nourishing to the spirit. Not to mention, wild harvested foods pack a punch of nutrition in comparison to most farmed foods. 
Living in limbo
6.6.18
Polaroid snapped when taking a break from driving, after we hiked into a wild hot spring in eastern Idaho to take some time to restore from the road’s wear and tear. Dirt under my fingernails, lounging in limbo, en route to my new home out west with my wild woods man. Grateful for this time on the road to transition from east to west, with the opportunity to see more lovely lands of America along the way. The wild wanderlust within has been quenched, although I wouldn’t mind a few more days out on the road exploring. Alas, journeying onward to reach Portland by this eve. Maybe it will all start to sink in then...but for now, I will soak up the fleeting floating along the river of limbo’s lands. 
Wherever you go,
There you are.
Arrived, physically.
Lingering, emotionally.
Settling in,
Sinking roots into new soil.
Taking time & space,
Like the big skies along my route,
To exist in this place.
May the vastness of what's above,
& the grounding depths of what's below,
Meet you in the middle; here.



Luminous love,
Jessica

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