The Tender Void

makenzy lights the womb of what is becoming © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

let the space of the in-between
have its way with you…

surrender to the holiness
of the undefined;

the liminal portal
of cosmic intelligence…

place a flower 
on the altar 
of the womb 
of what is now becoming…

the more we relinquish the reins,
yielding to 
the tender void;
the honey of the pause;

the more clearly 
we will hear the call
to resume riding 
the wild horse of action
when the time is ripe…

such a practice; 
attuning to the primordial cycles:

ebb and flow,
stillness and movement,
praying and dancing, 
gestation and birth;

the rhythm of spanda...

honoring the space 
of not-knowing,

an ear to the ground, 
listening to the whispers 
in the numinous quiet...

let’s get deliciously lost
in this slack tide;

trusting that we 
ride on the breath
inside the very heart 
of the universe… 

sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes at studio petronella
all rights reserved
model: makenzy

Wings of Grace

wings of grace 2 © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

when I am quiet enough
I can hear the wings of grace…

in soft hues,
and silken textures;

appearing when
I least expect her…

tenderly whispering 
in my ear,

placing her hand
upon my heart;

birthing me anew 
from her gentle vastness…

her wings are feathered
with mirrors 
of divine imperfection...

coming closer,
into the dance
of life;

brushing the edges,
and returning to the center;

how easily we find our way
to the altar

and again
and again...

sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes
image: self portrait, hands


A note to My Sister

heather prayer hands holly © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

my sweet sister...

there can be no words
to describe your place
in my heart;

such an inexplicable, indelible treasure...

let us remember the rushing brooks,
the sun dancing on the weeping willow,
the cold winter air permeating the horses' manes at gallop,
the katydids serenading us in the hot summer evenings,
the lightning bugs in glass jars,
the red poppies swaying in the garden breeze,
the fragrant scent of saddle soap and fresh-cut hay,
the sublime tenderness at the center of the impasse;

let this be the beauty that dwells in your heart,
let this be the elixir that permeates your cells,
let this be the medicine that heals...

a note to my sister, february 1, 2019
image: self, hands in prayer
sacred thread words & image: © heather rhodes & studio petronella

Inner Compass

heather self feather over eyes inner compass v2 © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

deep in the slipstream
of liminal space…

trusting the 
supreme navigator;

the sacred intelligence
of not-knowing,

the somatic wisdom
that dwells in the marrow 
of my bones…

we are mere visitors
traveling through;

may we be gracious guests;

the language 
that is without words,

coming to know
the song that rests silently
in the chamber of our hearts; 

embracing the edges
of the unfathomable

sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes 
image: self portrait with feather

Oh Holy Night

makenzy oh holy night centered © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

gazing out
from the nest 
of darkness…

such a holy hum
on this night

when light and dark
become lovers…

I feel the kiss
before their mouths touch;

electric anticipation;

the magnitude
of their communion;

birthing a brand new world
with every turn of the wheel…

the rustling skirts of my gown
glowing with starlight,
the tender moon
tucked inside my pocket;

whirling across 
the dance floor,

into the arms 
of the 

oh, how I love
to turn toward the light;
(and back to the dark again)

like a selkie 
reclaiming her skin,
slipping into 
moonlit waters…

drinking in this 
liquid marriage
of heaven
and earth;

when everything 
feels held 
so close, 

on this

sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes
winter solstice 2018
model: makenzy

Never Ending Thread

heather hands altar to mother and father november 2018 living goddess sadhana © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

holding the ground
of my golden thread
in the great weaving;

staying true to 
how it all lands in me…

tender bones,
soft flesh,
feet upon the earth,

breath of stardust
illuminating the inner map
of my origins…

how is it,
that I always come home
to you…?

blessed darkness
blessed light;

radiant sun
glowing moon;

the alchemy
of heaven and earth…

the aching ecstasy
of relaxing into

what has been
what is
what will be;
as this vibrant moment in time;

fully embracing
the intimacy
of the revelation at hand;

this never-ending thread;
the one line
formed by the many...

I make no apologies;

my home is in the stars, 
yet, I am inextricably intertwined 
with the story of earth;

I walk between worlds,
fully grounded in my
celestial lineage… 

and tonight, as I stand 
upon this vast, living tundra,

my arms 
and heart
open to the exquisite mystery;

the winds of eternity
lift the soft skirts of my dress;

revealing the sacred skin
of my beloved humanness…

sacred thread words & image © heather rhodes
living goddess sadhana, day 9
image: self portrait: my hands, my mother & father, the light from which I came

Reclamation of Holy

katharine reclamation of holy © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

I’m unlocking the doors & windows of my inner cathedral,
I'm flinging them wide open;

I’m letting the birds fly in 
and out…

I’m mending the split between spirit and matter;
with a needle of mother love and a thread of humility;

I’m humming a hymn of reparation as I stitch…

I’m letting the moist earth push up in through the cracks in the floor;
inhaling the rich, fertile aroma into every cell of my being…

I’m inviting the wild forest to come inside;
the trees piercing the ceiling
as they grow skyward;

welcoming the owl and the moose
the coyote and the fox...

I'm letting the grass grow tall,
and braiding it into a verdant, splendiferous day bed...

I’m scattering seeds of innocence, remembrance, and indigenous connection through the aisles…

I’m letting the healing rain cascade through the holes in the ceiling;  
quenching the thirst of the sprouts and the parched hearts below…

I’m inviting the homeless, the lost and the forlorn 
to take refuge 
and give the sermon…

I’m inviting the deer and antelope to rest in the pews,
the gentle mourning dove to roost in the rafters,
the wild hare to make a nest for her babes upon the altar…

I’m invoking a prayer in every language;
one that encourages 
walking barefoot in streams,
listening to the wind,
wearing a crown of kindness…

I’m inviting my ancestors to light the candles in the spiring arches;
illuminating the darkness,
imbuing us with their wisdom and fortitude…

I’m inviting the ocean to fill the holy basins to overflowing;
the fish roaming the interiors of this living temple 
with salty, wild abandon…

I am sending off paper boats filled with regrets, apologies, and visions of a healing world into the star-strewn night…

I’m laying out a banquet table; where all are invited to feast 
and belonging…

And all the while, in the alcoves of this sanctuary,
the bees are buzzing in their golden, honeyed hives;
making a most delicious offering 
of their exquisite, sacred nectar;

may this honey
into each 
and every heart...

[reclamation of holy]
model: katharine
sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes


Answering the Call

ofelia marry the mystery © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

never underestimate 
the impact of your presence
on this holy ride;

seen or unseen:

the sheer beauty of
how the call lands in you…

every word
every gesture
every drop
every ripple;

each necessary ingredient,
as we collectively
make the medicine…

some will roar
some will pray

some will dance
some will drum

some will have quiet revelations
some will awaken with a thunder in their throats…

beauty makers
soul shakers

humble healers
grateful weavers

bone rattlers
honey drippers

everyday poets
deep divers

shape shifters
fire tenders

way showers
seed sowers

risk takers
thirst quenchers

trail blazers
spunky shamans

grief walkers
wisdom squawkers

joy revelers
midnight oilers

death doulas
patient midwives

fearless mothers
courageous daughters


quantum leapers
diamonds in the rough

mistake makers
late bloomers

snake charmers
letter writers

generous forgivers
bridge builders

earth guardians
justice seekers

myth weavers
living altars

flame igniters
ground holders

edge dwellers
lantern carriers

paradigm shifters
conscious drifters

rebel gardeners
quiet nurturers

earth guardians
wound alchemists

darkness dancers
potion makers

sacred lovers

slow movers
earnest wonderers

hand holders
ridge soarers

reverent scientists
cosmic travelers

community creators
circle tenders

veil lifters
heart openers

truth whisperers
brave listeners

dream walkers
vision keepers

mountain movers
silent pray-ers

all in all;
in service 
to the whole;

in unison,
to the river of


the arc of evolution...

fluidly focused;

shaking the ground of

we are blazing a new trail;

the map reveals itself 
in a wake of golden dust
from every step we take;

inside the paradox 
of commitment and surrender...

we are learning to listen
to this ache of wisdom  
in our bones;

to respond in kind;

each in our own way;

a global herd of women, 
committed to the wild, messy mystery
of life unfolding…

I take my seat in the circle;

I am a fire tender
at the center of the bindu…

sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes
at studio petronella
model: ofelia

Eternal Nest

katharine rest in the deep © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

take time to rest 
inside the wild hum of life’s unfolding…

notice the way the sun bows to the moon,

the primordial residue of stardust that saturates your bones…

press your ear 
to the ground of the great below;

breathing in unison
with the belly of the deep;

wherein the recesses of this dark expanse
a preternatural light shines like a thousand chandeliers...

come to land in this eternal nest;
composed of 

tender twigs of softness, 
openness and vulnerability…

shimmering threads of love, 
service, connection and community…

downy feathers of hope and generosity...

earthy fronds
of the compost of what once was...

purposeful breath 
of strength and fortitude…

gossamer strands of indigenous wisdom 
from the natural world...

as you offer to the weaving 
your own brilliant vision 
of the world we know is possible;

remember ~

side by side
heart to heart;

we are all here in this together…

sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes
model: katharine


elderwoman  cj 1  144 rez © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

come closer…

my intrinsic beauty can be elusive
to the preconditioned eye,

my worth invisible; 
to a prepossessed culture
drunk on youth and gadgetry…

I stand in quiet sovereignty;
my feet grounded in both worlds;
undistracted from this present moment…

my silver mane;
a crown of authenticity,

I wear my years
like spun platinum;

weaving rich, glistening threads
and seasoned equanimity;

my compass is internal,
my relationship with truth

my eternal compass
is internal;
I need not reference outside myself;

I am defined by
the holiness
that permeates the all in all;

I am inextricably connected
to the web of living and dying...

my vision is keen;
I see what is before me,
what is beneath
and beyond;

I behold
the architecture
of the universe...

I have learned the language
of the moon and stars;

the rivers and oceans
are my blood,

the mountains and canyons
my flesh,
my bones;

I am
what was
what is
what will be;

the seed
the blossom
and the withering husk;

I am a perpetual invitation
to the great unfolding
in its raw and untamed form…

I have been forged
in life's holy crucible,

my hips have entertained
& queens,
woodland birdsong,
and waves that kiss the shoreline,

my womb
has gestated and birthed
new souls
and galaxies of wonder,

my breasts have suckled
men who wished the war to leave them
and fledgling visions;

I bow
to the intelligence
of all seasons;

I find home
inside the heart of paradox...

honoring the sacrosanct value
of my own transcendent story;

I have delighted
in it all...

I am elderwoman.

come closer;
I have many tales to tell… 

sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes
model: C.J.
elderwomen series


Keep Your Eyes on Me


so deep
in the quiet;
where words are elusive…

the doorway is itself soft,
and excludes nothing.

with eyes wide open,
I purposefully kiss
paradox on its holy mouth;

willing to see it all
to feel it all...

layer upon layer
veil upon veil
come to rest at my feet
as numinous dust;

the glowing, sacred fruit 
in the bindu…

I stand naked before you,
clothed in naught but my devotion;

nothing is missing 
everything belongs… 

in surrendering to see
everything exactly as it is;

I see only you.

such patience and tenderness
as you witness my stumbling,

honeyed nectar flows
in the wake of each footstep closer;

one taste of you
enlivens my blood 
like a river of remembrance;

and now I can see in the dark;
your eternal flame
burning in the chamber of my heart,
lighting the way;

"keep your eyes on me"...

mary magdalene sadhana day 7
sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes at studio petronella
model: annika

Blessed Fruit

emily blessed is the fruit w leaf © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

blessed is the fruit

blessed is she who eats it

blessed are the seeds

blessed are the roots

blessed is the tree

blessed are the branches

blessed is the light that pierces the darkness
blessed is the darkness that cradles the light

blessed is the quiet revelation
that this is all there is

blessed is the holy juice
that drips upon the altar of my heart;

taking me in and in and in;
until the inside is on the outside…

and then
I begin again,
and take another bite…

mary magdalene sadhana day 5
sacred thread words & image © heather rhodes at studio petronella
model: emily

Solstice Prayer

emily drum jamestown summer solstice © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

I’m sending out a prayer today;

that caresses the belly of the golden canyons,
and skims the surface of the deep blue sea…

may all hearts break open
may all hearts become soft
may we come to know there is no other
may we ignite the eternal flame of love

I’m sending out smoke signals;

over the vast arctic tundra,
to the towering heights of the holy Himalayas…

may all hearts break open
may all hearts become soft
may we come to know there is no other
may we ignite the eternal flame of love

I’m sending up a flare tonight;

that lights the sky like a brilliant cosmic lantern;
its dying ember-streams illuminating the darkness below…

may all hearts break open
may all hearts become soft
may we come to know there is no other
may we ignite the eternal flame of love

I’m beating the drum for humanity;

I’m sending out a prayer
on summer solstice…

won’t you join me?

sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes
summer solstice 2018
model: emily (shot at the honey hour in jamestown)

The Necessity of Grief

the necessity of grief © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

take your time
in the crucible
of grief...

yield fully
to its holy mystery;

its fire,
its ice,
its unrelenting honesty,

its gifts, ten thousand fold...

trust the cadence,
the nuance,
the bitter sweetness;

invite its solemn ache
to inhabit requisite space
in the mansion of your soul;

walk hand-in-hand in the garden
with this deeply gentle guide,
sans expectation of parting;

into the somber fields;
the hallowed grounds
of loss
and grace
and longing;

where the bones of what once was
come to rest;

in the indigenous divinity of a heart
cracked wide open...

in this communion
you are not alone;

offer yourself
to this territory
of surrender;

where anguish reigns,
and sorrow wears a crown;

where you lay yourself naked
upon the altar of despair;

penning amaranthine love letters
with benevolent ink;
addressed to cosmic caretakers;

piercing the veil of sadness;

coming to rest
in the tender beauty
at the center of the labyrinth;

where harshness pales,
giving way to a new depth of softness...

I promise you,
there is a fountain of love
inside it all...

the necessity of grief…

sacred thread words & image © heather rhodes at studio petronella
no use or reproduction of any kind
model: emily


Ordinary Magic

jane peony and clouds © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.png

the clouds looked like cotton candy
and the ocean felt like a lover...

wild hare and catbird
whispered secret poetry
beneath the verdant maple canopy,

buzzing bees
fell to their knees
at the sheer beauty of it all, 

and the moon played cat's cradle
with strands of liquid silver;

another ordinary day of magic
here on planet earth...

I don’t have any answers;

but I am learning to love
living inside
the landscape of the questions…

sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes
model: jane


Peony Dreams

jane peony dreams © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.jpg


yesterday I invited Jane
to come sit in the garden with
the first of the luscious, pink peony blossoms…

such a blessing, 
to honor their effulgent arrival in this way;

the layers of soft petals,
an unruly landscape of ruffled colour and texture;

inviting us to dive in,
to lose ourselves
in the wild depths of beauty unfolding…

something so subtlly important takes place
inside the simple act of resting our presence in this way;

we remember
the indigenous language of connection…

sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes
model: jane


Reading the Sky

thunderstorm clouds upslpash.jpg

last night I woke to a long, slow, rolling thunderstorm, my sweet little dog cuddling a little closer than usual as it made its way overhead… I sang to him as we listened in the darkness between the sudden flashes of light…

such a lovely sense of comfort, being in the little cocoon of my home; dry and warm, as mother nature played in her theatre in the clouds...

I began to feel my heart glow with gratitude for both of my parents; for the love and knowledge of nature they carried and nourished throughout their lives and how they instilled this love in us, their children…

I remember counting the seconds between the intense flash and the crack of thunder; my mother letting me know that each second of counting was a mile in its distance from us… I don’t know if this is true, but it still feels comforting to meet each storm in this way; like engaging in a game, or entering into conversation with the elements… our childhood home had lightning rods and we always got struck, I remember the high whirring of the electricity traveling down the length of the rod to crash into the ground below…

I remember knowing it was going to rain soon by the way the leaves on the trees curled and showed their “silver”…

I remember my mother and father knowing how to read the sky... and that the mackerel skies were my favorite; as I imagined the heavens a body of water with giant fish roaming free... and I loved the mare’s tails, too, (we did have a stable full of horses) which let us know that the weather was going to be willy-nilly for the next few days or hours…

on hikes, my mother would help us identify the flora as we made our way through the woods; my favorites were the lady slippers, the indian pipes, the unfurling ferns, carpets of emerald moss and the acorn faery "hats"... we ate edible berries and drank from clear streams and chewed on the loveliness of fresh birch bark…

resting today, in the beauty of this gift from my parents that lives on eternally through my senses and my connection to the natural world, and on again through my son;

resting in the mystery of the cadence, the timing of the inevitable storms that come in life; the unsettling prelude, the disruption, and the calm that resides in the aftermath...

reading the sky ~ sacred thread words © Heather Rhodes
may 23 2018
image: thunderhead, public domain



The Heart of the Mother

ofelia phlox at napatree © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.jpg

feeling into this expansiveness today;

beyond the realm of my own amazing mother,
my lineage, and the gift of being mother to my beloved son…

the world is hungry for mothering;

for the great mother that resides in each of us;

a love that cuts through the unessential
and goes straight to the crux of the matter
without bypassing the heart

a love that is so stable and encompassing, it can hold the most broken of souls and situations without turning away or attempting to fix…

a love that knows no boundaries between my children and your children 

a love whose intelligence is infinite and readily accessible in addressing equality, sustainability and peace

a love that serves as a perpetual warm lap in which to rest, where all shadow and light is seen through an unconditional lens

a love that speaks truth to power, albeit on shaky legs

a love that can see the collective need and respond individually in kind…

we will stumble
and we will fall, 
we will fall short
a thousand times,

but we will always rise
again and again;

letting go


surrogate mothering

mothering the mother; 
who has lost her way
is too tired
never learned how
who lost a child
longs for a child…

knowing there is no "other"...

every day
we are birthing galaxies of new form;

through our

mistake making
fierce truth telling;
clear boundaries
fathomless love;

we are all mothers;
branches from the same magnificent
life-giving tree…

I bow
to all the ways in which
the necessary medicine of mothering
shows up...

I bow to the generosity and the beauty of mother earth
and all her creatures;
may we heed the call to love and respect... 

celebrating mothers day 2018
honoring my son’s birth tree this morning. we planted a beautiful pink crabapple tree as a sapling, over his buried placenta ~ 24 and a half years ago…

sacred thread words & image © heather rhodes at studio petronella
model: ofelia


Light Couture

light couture unexpected beauty 2 © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.jpg

there is
an unbroken chain
of unexpected beauty;

a steady flow of
love notes
from the deities,

that may upon first glance
seem accidental...

[seeing with the eyes of the heart]

sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes

elemental/angelic couture designed by the light streaming through my glass filled with water & colloidal silver this afternoon

A Bride to Wonder

tara sadhana odessa bride to wonder © heather rhodes studio petronella all rights reserved.jpg

deep in the quiet…

tara’s hues dance in my field of consciousness,
as an endless parade of layered

deep in the marrow of my bones
she speaks so softly,
yet her words vibrate every cell,

like a tuning fork;
coaxing me back into my native dharmic frequency…

she stretches brilliant strings of stars across the cosmos,
illuminating the web of aliveness;

she sings through the birds, the bees, 
the gentle blue whale; lumbering through the watery depths,

she shows me the pervasive interconnectedness, 
the pulse that resides at the center of every single thing…

I am at once as expansive as the universe, 
as diminutive as a single molecule;

this is how she breathes me




yellow finch at morning…

fleeting trepidation of things to come…

a waft of soft, warm air along my body in the afternoon…

the way she holds me so close in the dark places,
letting me know that this, too, is hers…

the sacred thread of love, loving, lovers woven through my life…

the intimacy of oneness...

a mother’s soft face, tired at end of day…

the peep frog’s serenade at dusk…

lending space to what is unsettled…

the sweetness of forgiveness…

the gentle glow of my candle on the altar, calling me closer home…

the balm of kind words; given and received… 

the scent of freshly cut grass…

a basket of regrets…

the glow of luna through the trees at night…

rigidity melting in the warmth of the heart…

the subtle lushness of the sheets caressing my skin at bedtime…

the freedom of the space inside not knowing…

oh, what exquisite richness is this gift of being alive:
all of it…

I am forever a bride to wonder…

jai tara ma

sacred thread words & image © Heather Rhodes
model: odessa
deep in tara sadhana