: Rhythm / Devotion : is a series of interviews intended to illuminate the connection to ritual & rhythm in our daily lives. This series explores the intimacy of routine, the magic of the ordinary, & how these small acts of devotion set the stage for larger workings in the world ~
What is your name & where are you in the world?
Suzanne Belle Stone.
I can be found in the realm of land, sea & sky. On unceded Wabanaki land. Along the coast of the place I was born into being, often called Maine. Living under a large Red Oak, surrounded by Eastern White Pine, White Spruce, Black Locust, Norway Maple, Serviceberry, Apple & countless other beings in the seen & unseen world of a home called Rohege. Living among verdant beings I tend & who tend to me in a beautiful dance which I try to walk with grace. Some mornings as I open the door to the world, I try to name all the beings I perceive & this often leads to laughter & tears.
How do you define yourself & your work?
The world captivates me & I try to offer my appreciation & to mirror these gifts through aspects of finding infinite in these definitions & work: Community/Intuitive Herbalist, Earth teacher/student, Herbal Medicine co-creator, Tarot Musician, Herbal alewife, becoming Death Doula, Astrology student, Salt Water being (Mer), Verdant World Worshipper, Veriditas Holder, Spirit Worker, Aspiring Tree.
Will you walk us through what a day in your life looks like? Begin with how you greet the morning & guide us until you close off the day in the eve ~
A day in my life depends on the time of year as I truly dwell within the spiraling cycles of seasons & tides. In these Winter times (my favorite season), I awaken without an alarm clock, often to admire the sunrise over the Atlantic painting the sky. Either I write my dreams that are now still circling or return to this realm for a bit more rest.
When I rise, I place both feet on the floor at the same time to ground myself, turn on the sounds of frogs & owl & stretch for a while on the floor to further awaken. Soon after this, I enter my altar space, partake of a flower essence I am working with (often of the Moon by Moon variety) & play the woodblocks to the Sun & the Day, as an honoring & to find my rhythm for the day. I often consult tarot/oracle card/rune, or sit with the ones from the day prior. Prayers to deities I work with are expressed, I sit with a small visioning meditation with ancestors, spirit beings, landscapes, & practice a daily Galdr. Sound healing with a New Moon tuning fork to move stuck energy in parts of my body.
I then tend to my stalking feline familiars. While these beings dine, I place the tea water on the grand hearthstove, usually beginning my day with a green tea mixed with herbal allies, Red Raspberry & Garden Sage leaves of late. My familiars crave the outside as much as I & so I gather some well water in a small ceramic vessel & open the door for the fur beings to explore. As this threshold opens, I welcome, thank the ancestors & land spirits who brought me here & offer prayers & water to quench any thirst.
Morning music is placed on the record player, chores are tended to, possibly dancing, eating breakfast, reading some of the current book I am reading, and/or heading out for a morning constitutional to the sea where I will practice my tai chi/qi gong as the Winter loons call & the sea laps against the rocky shore.
Living within the seasons, Winter is my quieter time, so my days of late have been of rest, of organizing all that I have let go in the busier times. Currently I am rearranging spaces to make way for new, being quiet to allow for visions & listenings, allowing for daydreams. Recommitting to my growth & to my offerings to the world. Gathering new tools & sharpening old ones.
Walks at least once/day into the woods of the land I reside upon or to the sea, visiting the Grandparent Pine & the sacred Cedar grove, practicing Winter tree identification & observing the land at different times of the day. Food is prepared, books are read, music is played (saxophone/ gong/voice), herbal/astrological/Death Doula/deity study is undertaken, classes to teach are dreamed with, writing letters to loved ones, herbal medicine co-creating, herbal exploration, ancestral work, praying the rosary in Italian with my teacher, practicing a couple languages I am learning.
Fires are lit in the woodstove when the coldness sets in with prayer to Hestia & hearth beings. Cats are offered nourishment as the sunsets, sunset is taken in & admired. Nights may be more of the same or watching a film. Attuning with the Moon, basking in this lunar light when present. There is a new telescope at my home I wish to explore with. Watching the planets & constellations move across the sky, listening to the Wind. Sleep comes when it will, often for eight hours of dreaming.
With Spring approaching, I feel new-with-old rhythms emerging.
You are an herbalist, an intuitive, & a writer ~ how do you prepare yourself &/or your space to enter into this practice?
Imagination has always been a strong part of who I am & how I roll, this has always wished to emanate from me when I allow myself to be my authentic self. Story & landscape capture me. Mercury in last decan of Pisces, even in detriment, has its strengths. Inhabiting these spaces prepares me.
Oak grounds me, thoughts of being by Oak, of being Oak, of roots, of roots grounding from the soles/souls of my feet, of verdant leaves sprouting from my arms sending songs for all of creation. Closing my eyes, focusing on my breath, my reciprocal breath with the verdant world, with the stars from whence I have come. Sometimes I breathe as the sea, inward & outwards as the tides rises & returns, seaweed dancing, salt moving that which is not serving or wishes to surface.
There is an intricate inner journey of Grandparents, of all the elements, of traversing the many realms that readies me.
Space is cleared with smoke of plants with whom I have personal relation: Cedar, Juniper, Mugwort, Yarrow, Wormwood, those of whom also my ancestors have sained with. Plants step forward for the situation at hand. Guides are called forward & acknowledged. Drops of essences clear & ready space.
For writing, often music of Hildegard von Bingen & Linden tea guide me, hold me in other space. Certain flower essences bring me to focus: Dogwood & now Blueberry, both Grandmother allies for me. Lately I have been liking the feel & flow of pencil to paper. Dipping writing tips into Walnut ink has been calling.
What do you do/not do if you are feeling stuck around your work?
If I am stuck around my work, I usually need to go outside. Often, I can feel the stale energy around my head & being hitting against the walls, swirling & this needs to be set free into the wind. The fresh air, the wind, the trees, of birds, the sea. I am honored to live near the sea & often go there, singing, placing my hands in the cold water & placing this to my forehead, to my lips. Watching the brave winter birds with awe. Laying on the Earth, laying on the snow gazing upwards into the weavings of the Cedars & the electricity of the Ash.
Sometimes I have to run, not far, just run to get all the stuck energy out, until I collapse. Shake my body out. If it is night, dancing under the Moon with the shadows will break up this stuckness. Touching the Oak, Grandparent Pine. Expelling the sounds of discontent, of blah, screams, screams can shake this up. Loud bursting saxophone playing. Gongs. Allowing the banshee part of me loose breaks this up.
Sometimes it is not the time to work & something else is calling.
Do you have a movement practice?
Oh, I wish to move more! I’m creating physical space within my space for this.
26 Yang form Tai Chi/Eight Pieces of Brocade/Balance of Heaven & Earth Qi Gong practice most days. Been thinking on the Sun Salutations lately, possibly Moon Salutations. I love to dance to music & no music & all in between. To move rhythmically which then is abruptly broken by arrhythmic movements. Walking, I have always loved walking, walking the labyrinth in town, I would love to walk across great land masses someday.
I like the feel of shoveling a certain amount of snow & depending on the season, swimming in the salty sea, crucial! Biking. Joining forces with a wheelbarrow, shovel, rake, broom. Looking for a rowboat to row in the coming Summer, the rhythm of the oars among the meniscus, phosphorescence.
There is great electric energy that runs close to the boundary of my skin & air which demands physical movement of me & for this I am grateful.
What does structure mean to you, or what is your philosophy around ritual/routine?
What first comes to mind with the word structure are wooden beams holding up a home & how beautiful these old trees are when their form is shown, their memory upheld. I have often gazed at these wishing that I would also have this structure, beauty & form & many times remembering that I do. From this, I am wishing to emulate the structure of a living, dynamic forest, home to so many, ever changing, living with the rhythm of the seasons, breathing, birthing & dying & rebirthing again. Not static, ever dancing.
I enjoy ritual & routine that allows for breath & for the winds to change, for the birds to sing a different melody, for flowers to ethereally form buds, bloom, fade away, giving birth to seeds & enduring winter creaking stalks, until the quickening again.
I adore rhythm in music: bass & drums, this causes great movement inside me. I hear/feel rhythm in most/all beings of the world.
Also, I crave spontaneity, a-rhythm: modern classical composers like Penderecki, Ligetti & Messiaen. The sound of a train passing in the night, of metal scraping, vultures screeching, haunting loon calls. Uranus & Pluto in the sixth house of rhythm requires such releases.
I desire the rhythm of the seasons, the Moon, the tides. I attempt to live with the rhythm of all of these & to allow my rhythm to be & to be tempered by these.
The rhythm of tending a garden draws me, has drawn me for a couple decades thus far, visiting the same movements within a different time, with old wisdom & new foolishness. Newness interwoven with the familiar.
What are you listening to, reading, or watching these days?
Listening: to astrology podcasts, herbalists sharing relation & experience, music of Hildegard von Bingen, anything on the Psychic Sounds label/Lost Discoveries Radio (my favorite radio show), Hypnotic Jazz Ensemble, Alice Coltrane, Kay Gardner, Tom K, Big Blood, Diamanda Galas, Arvo Part, Coil, sacred music from around the world.
Reading: books about living & dying: My Father’s Wake by Kevin Toolis (thank you Chanelle), Cultivating the Doula’s Heart by Francesca Arnoldy, Final Gifts by Maggie Callanan & Patricia Kelly, Deathnesting by Anne-Marie Keppel, Die Wise: manifesto for sanity & the soul by Stephen Jenkinson.
Oak: The Frame of Civilization by William Logan Bryant, A Prisoner’s Herbal by Nicole Rose, Always Coming Home by Ursula K Le Guin, Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, Selkie stories of Scotland, Through the Wild Heart of Mary by Gail Faith Edwards, Healing Journeys with the Black Madonna by Allessandra Belloni, & Thus Spoke the Plant by Monica Gagliano.
Watching: ‘Alive Inside’ about music bringing the breath of life back to those with dementia, ‘Dawnland’ of the work of the Maine Wabanaki Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Council & films from the Afrofuturism section of the Criterion Collection. Documentaries of Trees.
Any last words of wisdom?
Ha! To witness sunrise & sunset, moon rise & set each day possible. Ear to the trees & lips to the sea.
How can we find your work?
Moon of Hyldemoer on Instagram
photos taken by Heather Daniels Pusey
Thank you so much, Suzanne, for your beautiful work in this world & for sharing your rhythm devotion with us ~
I connect the flower essence of Cleavers (Galium aparine) as a beautiful companion to Suzanne Belle Stone & her work in the world.
I made my Cleavers essence in a community garden I was once part of in Raleigh, on the sunny afternoon of 29.April, 2018 while the full moon was in Scorpio.
Verdant, abundant vernal green, Cleavers are one of the early Spring herbals that arrives each year & grow in tangles close to the earth. You may best know them for their amazing ability to cling onto fabrics & other unexpected places--one of its doctrine of signatures--due to the prickly little hairs that line their square stems.
Cleavers essence is full of the structured movement of water ~ thus it helps us to have a structured pathway for our own inner waters, the emotional & spirit-laden bodies within us. Cleavers essence encourages the organic & free flowing movement of these inner waters, inviting us to even explore new ways of moving our physical forms. Because of this, Cleavers essence is very inspiring & often rouses us mentally, creatively, & inventively in the world.
Cleavers essence is wonderful for clearing our inner channel, helping to disperse & process stagnant waters or emotions that if not released, often manifest physically, causing illness, fatigue, or ennui. This essence is perfect for those who tend to get "stuck" on something & have trouble letting go. Cleavers gently, playfully guides us in the act of letting go, showing us how to give & receive in a balanced way for ourselves.
Call upon Cleavers to clear the way, to grasp onto any "gunk" that is energetically or emotionally clogging your spirit, & for generally helping to disperse stagnation. Where deep, unresolved, or compartmentalized feelings reside, Cleavers will be your ally. Because of the clarity Cleavers provide, it inspires the potential for great transformation.
Cleavers can bring a beautiful, creative flexibility & spontaneity into our days & routines. It encourages us to keep moving forward, leaning into community for support when needed. Likewise, Cleavers shows us how & where we can offer our abundant, nutrient-filled support in the world. This essence excels at helping us to nourish & build a loving container for all of the inner waters of our being ~ it reminds us of the power of channeling & the magic of channeling our power.
Find a bottle of Cleavers essence for yourself or a loved one here ~