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When ancient goddesses, heroes, poets, and outcasts speak, they reveal lyrical
fragments of myth that first enchanted the sacred landscape.

Staff Of Laurel 
 

by Dianna Rhyan

At the crossroads of nature and the human imagination, Earth is sentient, fertile, and eloquent. When ancient goddesses, outcasts, heroes, and poets speak, they speak on her behalf to reveal living myths that first enchanted sacred landscapes. Their primal stories emerge from wilderness and rise from buried libraries to jolt us awake. We meet a lone goddess battling fifty giants, a beguiling wife who is secretly a serpent, a radiant lyre about to sing her own poetry, and an ogre whose heart is his forest. When oaks and rivers call for justice, when furies and monsters counter king and plow, let us turn our ear to hear. As we listen, mythic fragments lead us from marble palaces to nymph-haunted gardens, on a quest that teems with strange immortals. Along the way, a goddess of desolation, a mistress of animals, ash tree spirits, and a trickster water god appear as guides. Primeval green wisdom emerges from abyss, forest, and borderland, hidden in myths we almost lost forever, in ancient images that say things we no longer can.

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Events

"A Celebration of Trees at Camp Asbury Winter Retreat"

A mid-winter yoga retreat at beautiful Camp Asbury, February 3-5, 2023. We will have hiking, yoga, live music, inspiring lectures and discussions, fireplace, fun and games, and vegetarian food from the Ahimsa Grille. Mythologist Dianna Rhyan and therapist Gloria McAlister will lead a celebration of trees. Mike and Paisley will offer yoga, Ellie Manes will provide music, and Jackie Parker and Bob Bowling are preparing nourishing food. Camp Asbury is always special, and definitely lovely in the winter! We arrive Friday evening and leave Sunday morning at 11 am. Beds are provided; please bring your own bedding. Please contact Yoga Central if you have questions.

"The Meadow Mouse Sleeps: A Winter Walk."

A hike at Wooster Memorial Park, Saturday, February 18, 2023, 2:00 pm, starting at the Education area. We will hike around the frosty Old Field meadow, with pauses to consider several ideas from Thoreau’s essay: winter as a time of unique beauty, spiritual stillness, quiet, and turning inward. In closing, we will share a few winter animal & human folktales around the campfire while we warm up.

"Wild Apples in Winter." A hike at Wooster Memorial Park, Saturday, January 14, 2023, 2:00 pm, starting at the Education Area fire ring. We will hike out to a hawthorn tree just north of the old field meadow and consider several ideas from Thoreau’s essay: the beauty of being gnarled, the value of being forgotten, and how apples called to Thoreau’s imagination in winter. In closing, we will wassail with cider & return to the campfire to warm up.

2022 Events

"Growing Your Relationship with Trees," an experiential presentation at Camp Asbury sponsored by Yoga Central, and co-facilitated with Gloria McAlister. Saturday, October 8, 2022, at 3:00 pm. We will discuss the intelligence and compassion of trees, as we circle up together on maple and beech roots for grounding and meditation.

Yoga Central Talks

(Proceeds to Ohio Forest Sanctuaries)

"Beneath the Maple, Beneath the Tree of Life," July 2022. We will explore the most ancient mythology about the Tree of Life, from the hanging gardens of Babylon, to the Egyptian trees of Isis, Ishtar goddess of the date palm, Aphrodite's tree nymphs, and the World Tree who grows beneath them all. (Eve and Lilith may show up too.) As we travel these paths, our shade and hostess will be the Silver Maple who graces the northeast corner of the Yoga Central lawn.

"Ancient Nature Mythology," May 2022. Let's circle up for a lively discussion of ancient myths about trees and plants, focusing especially on the nymphs who love flowers, delight wild places with dance and song, and give life to trees, springs, caves, and sounding sea.

"Forest Bathing at Wooster Memorial Park," May June & July 2022 near the full moon

Thoreau may have called it "sauntering," we might call it a slow, silent nature walk...but some call it forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Research shows the health benefits of forest bathing for stress reduction and balancing our all-too-busy minds and bodies. Meeting in the evening, the traditional time of rest and turning inward, we’ll use this simple practice to slow down and reconnect with the beauty and wonder of the green world. Afterwards, we’ll circle up around the campfire to sit in peace or share a few thoughts if you choose. Please bring a chair or blanket.

Appearances
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About Dianna Rhyan

Dianna Rhyan is a mythologist and therapist whose work focuses on forgotten voices, nature goddesses, and the spirituality of sacred landscapes. At the age of eight she created her first secret language on tablets of clay made from the creek beside her home. In time that language grew into a PhD in Ancient Greek and Latin, and thirty years of college teaching. She has been a visiting scholar on archaeological excavations in Greece and Cyprus, where she explored women's devotion to rural shrines, and investigated the ancient evidence for women's veils. When not delving into archaic myth or studying Sumerian, she can be found exploring the Cuyahoga Valley trails of Northeast Ohio.

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