Which photos for my book?

My upcoming book shares my journey as a witch, so I’m including a handful of photos of me at different ages. Here are pics from today. I thought photos of me when I’m close to finishing the book would make nice memories for me.

Would you like any of them in the book? Which (Witch?) ones? Would love your input.

I’m not asking your opinion about other people’s possible reactions. I actually want to know which you’d personally enjoy in the book.

At age 66, it’s interesting looking at photos of myself that I’ll release publicly. My young, dewy beauty long gone, all that is left in the photographs is who I am inside, for all to see. And for me to face and embrace.

Examining these pics, I am content. I see in myself an elder shaman, a wild wanderer traveling between atoms, and a loving, mystic fool who still enjoys life. Whew!

Each pic has a number above it, so you can tell me by number which you like.

I think they’ll be crisper and clearer in the book.

Thanks so much for your support!

Number1: July2016FDG1

Number 2:July2016FDG2

Number 3:July2016FDG3

Number 4: July2016FDG4

Number 5: July2016FDG5

DNA and Ancestral Ritual

DNA Science and magic meet. I won’t choose between mysticism and science. They can feed each other.

My ancestors are spiritually important to me. So I’m combining science and spirit in a deeply personal way: I ordered an AncestryDNA test kit.

A mystic, I travel through the blood in my veins, back through time, to discover the ancient ways my family once practiced. Today, the logical rational side of me does the same by spitting into a vial. This test tube becomes a chalice that arrived by mail, enclosed in plastic. Two supposedly disparate halves of me come together to feed my spirit.

I mailed my saliva, part of my sacred body, to scientists, who will analyze it to reveal my ethnic background. They’ll go back through many generations, the same way my meditations have. Their work will expand my otherworldly travels.

The lab analysis will determine where my ancestors hail from, based on a science my layperson’s mind can’t understand, no matter how much experts explain it.

Many scientists would be equally puzzled by my ability to uncover historical information by meditating on my blood. I have my expertise, they have theirs. I get to draw on both.

A relationship with my ancestors, in ritual and daily life, is pivotal to me. They lovingly support me. And I tend them. Trance journeys give me a strong intuitive sense of my ancestors. The DNA results can help me know whether my intuitions are correct.

It would be fine to trust my intuition without the DNA results. (Check out my blog about that: Mysticism and Non-Academic Scholarship.) But corroboration is useful.

Science can support my spirituality in other ways, too.

For one, I come from a European shamanic family tradition. Some of my family history has been lost. I’m hoping DNA will fill in gaps.

For example, I might see how major societal events impacted my family’s past generations to shape the family’s spirituality. That familial story could provide context to better understand my own path.

Luck allowed me to gather a staggering amount of anecdotal evidence about my ancestors. Information from relatives, and from strangers I don’t know but who have my last name, and from other sources, provided enormously convincing material, when looked at as a whole. I believe anecdotal evidence is part of folk culture and one source of the old wise ways. This fecund anecdotal evidence can be augmented with DNA science.

For example, the DNA test might help me gather more anecdotal evidence, if it leads to relatives I hadn’t learned about previously. They might know family history I don’t.

DNA results could also be a jumping off point for more ancestral rituals. I love the wisdom of ancient cultures, and appreciate reenactment whether based in textbooks’ history or intuited history. I revere native and ancestral spiritual practices. These leanings feed my desire for DNA info about my ancestral roots.

I can best explain another reason for wanting a test by telling you a personal story.

A friend of mine was part of a DNA study. Before continuing the story, let me be clear: I’m not part of any study. My test kit is from AncestryDNA. They’re not experimenting on me, and their tests results do not show an ancestral timeline such as you’ll read about in my friend’s tale. I checked out some companies, and AncestryDNA seems to give the most comprehensive results. If you’re interested, their kit is also easy to use.

Back to my story:

My friend phoned me one day, and exclaimed rapturously, “I got the DNA results. My family originated in Egypt!”

Then she added, “My later ancestors migrated to Greece. Guess where else my ancestors migrated to?”

I responded, “Mongolia?”

There was a long pause. Then she said, in a stunned voice, “That’s right! How did you know?”

“It was obvious. Your immense love for Egyptian religions motivated you to become an Egyptian scholar, devoted to reviving ancient Egyptian spiritual practices, which became part of your personal devotions. Later, you seriously worked with Greek Gods. Then, you channeled material that had no geographical basis, as far you knew, but later found out that the material resonated with documented Mongolian traditions.”

I continued, “Your family only told you about your Caucasian Irish lineage. But your earlier ancestors influenced your mystical life. Your spiritual quest this lifetime follows the migration of your ancestors, step by step!”

The point of my story: I want to know if my DNA matches my various spiritual leanings.

There can be valid reasons we’re drawn spiritually to cultures we were not raised in. Our DNA might be one of those reasons. I don’t hold with the idea that you should only use the spiritual tools of your obvious ancestors.

Mind you, I am not okaying co-option. I’m saying legitimate cross cultural shamanism exists.

That legitimacy is hard to come by. It would take a whole book to explain how to pull it off ethically and otherwise, so I won’t get into it here, except to say:

By “cross-cultural shamanism,” I don’t mean “core shamanism,” AKA the idea that shamanism is primarily the same in all cultures. I disagree with the modern standardization of shamanism.

My experience is that shamans individualize according to cultural differences, and way past that, individualizing family by family and person by person.

My personal definition of legitimate cross-cultural shamanism is an ethical, thoughtful blend of earth based mysticism as it manifests in various cultures.

Moving on:

I am a little worried. With adventure, comes fear of the unknown: am I going to like the DNA test results?

But mostly I’m excited about the DNA adventure I am embarking on.

And I feel gratitude for science and magic.

When the DNA results arrive, I’ll post them here, and share how it impacts my mystical journey.
********************
Note: I first posted this blog May 2015 at http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/a-faerie-haven.html and post it again here for those of you who tend to read me here.
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NewsPrpl

Upcoming Training

Update: The day and time of this event has been changed, so you can enroll if the new schedule suits you better. New schedule: we meet seven Sundays, from 4 to 5 PM EST, starting Sunday November 8. Classes are consecutive weeks except we skip November 29, for Thanksgiving weekend. Reserve Sunday Jan 10, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions. Rest of class info is below:

Come Home to the Faerie Queen
A Seven-Week Faerie Shamanism Training

FeyRealm

The Faerie Queen tells us, “I’m Mother of the Faerie Nation. And more of you are awake to your magic now—lovers, warriors, children and elders, changelings, cats in disguise, bards, wolves, gardeners, corporate executives, tricksters, star-children, and many others. Come to me, come home, I will protect you and tutor you until our starlit cells flow back and forth between us like the milky way in all its immense luminosity. You’re awake now, my Faerie children. The new global Fey village has begun.”

This class responds to the Faerie Queen’s call. You’ll create previously impossible possibilities for you, Gaia, and all beings. Honest. The curriculum is the culmination of decades’ work. Rewrite your DNA and break through to the stars.

Faerie Ancestor who is a guardian to this site. Silk Painting, Outlaw Bunny

Faerie Ancestor who is a guardian to this site. Silk Painting, Outlaw Bunny

The Fey-spark in humans re-ignited. Ancient starlit blood came forward till it finally hit critical mass; Faerie magic’s thoroughly awake in many people. This leaves us with new questions and new approaches needed to answer them:

image* Have you sensed shifts in the human/plant/mineral psyche?

* Can you have self-healing, prosperity, and great sex during present times?

image* Do you feel the mystic part of you desperately needed by everyone, including you, right now?

* How can we better use our new/old/undiscovered/shifted powers, both magical and mundane?

image* Do you find Paganism too dogmatic, not pagan enough? Do you long for fellowship that supports your unique vision?

* How can mystics—ranging from activists to quiet magicians—come together to love, celebrate, and protect Gaia? Can Gaia—and ourselves—be happy, or even survive, without such a tribe happening globally?

This class addresses these issues with innovative magic and fresh ideas.

FDG2015ProfileYou also receive lessons to be your style Faerie shaman. There are different places in Faerie, each special. One is your home. This class helps you go home. If you’re already home, you’ll learn (more) about its unique magic and spirituality, and use them practically to empower your mundane life.

This teleseminar is multi-leveled, suitable to entry-level beginners and adepts.

Come Home to the Faerie Queen qualifies as one of the two electives needed before advanced Third Road training.

Nuts and bolts:
* These are group meetings by phone. To participate, just dial the phone from anywhere.
* Class meets seven Sundays, from 4 to 5 PM EST, starting Sunday November 8. Classes are consecutive weeks except we skip November 29, for Thanksgiving weekend.
* Reserve Sunday Jan 10, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.
* Tuition: $250. If you’ve taken it before, repeat it at half-price. Your usual long-distance charges apply and appear on your phone bill. The event’s area code is a U.S. #.
* Enroll here.
* Or pay by check or money order here.
* Upon receipt of payment, I email you event phone number, etc.
* Call me—814-337-2490—for more info or to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan. Do not email me. Refunds unavailable.

imageIf you want to be part of this experience, enroll now, because I don’t know when I’ll be able to teach it again. It’s maybe been six years since the last time.

If you see someone else’s class that sounds the same, this class is original material. No one teaches it but me.

Faerie holds daily miracles. I trust that.

Enroll here.

DentaliaBar

A mystical event is no substitute for medical care by a trained physician, psychiatric counseling, or other therapeutic treatments. Participants are personally responsible for the consequences of their voluntary participation.

A Pagan Mystic’s Venting

image

BotmBevldNwslter

A Pagan Mystic’s Venting

Shhh, it is a secret. . . . I can yell it all I want.
Because most wrongly think they recognize what I shout.
But they only want to steal the fruits of my journey and
pretend a journey they do not take.
They’d never ride a dragon with me
into the cracks between realties.
(No, I did not intend to type “realities.”)
The few who do, I love them so.

Please forgive my bitterness about heart damage
caused me and mine.
I work to overcome sourness in my words and spirit.
I work to avoid being judgemental.
And I know most fakes lie to themselves,
becoming the ones who lose the most.
But some days . . .

Sign up for my free newsletter—ideas, events, and other offerings: http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/InfoForm.htm

Mysticism and Non-Academic Scholarship

A mystic needn’t be an academic to be a scholar. Why is this idea important? Some people create a magical, fulfilling life based in a non-academically-shaped worldview. We also might want to teach from such an orientation. Our cosmology can be as carefully constructed and extensively developed as any scientific understanding, but many would crush our power by insisting there is only one intelligent way to see, to learn, to study.

Trust your observances made through mystical states, e.g., trance. Trust your non-ordinary modes of perception, like intuition.

I’m not suggesting you blindly believe and act on everything you think you’ve observed. For example, when you have an intuition or receive guidance from spirits, run it by a down-to-earth person who exists on the mundane plane. Non-academic perspectives are as subject to fault as academic insights.

But, luckily, I did not wait until a university validated each step of the many I needed to travel along my shamanic path. I’d have taken fewer steps, losing great joy and fulfillment, not only in my personal life but also because I would have taught less.

Academic validation does happen to me lots, and it feels nice. But relying on it as a way to tell myself or anyone else, “See, I know what I am doing” would undermine my belief in my style of scholarship. An example: Pics of subatomic particle tracks validated what I’d seen in trance for decades. But I’d validated it for myself already. Hence the painting below:ShamanicPhysics 2012-03

Training can be crucial. Just as a scientist studies his “craft,” so have I. I also spent years in trance, 24-7, researching as diligently as any scientist in a lab.

I’m not suggesting you trust yourself only if you do the full-time training or research I did. Mine was needed because of goals I had as a teacher and mystic. Otherworldly reality is innate in us all. Just as many linear-minded non-scientists trust their personal worldview, so should many mystics observe and assess their environments, drawing our own conclusions, instead of docilely following “experts.” I mention my full time commitment only to reinforce the extensive possibilities of mystical wisdom.

Insights I gain through altered states are building blocks of trainings I create. But I don’t carelessly throw something together in the name of Divine inspiration. I spend years developing a curriculum before teaching it.

My fastidiousness does not naysay the observations of someone without training. The psychic realm is as much a part of human heritage as ordinary daylight; we all have insights about it; and they are important contributions to community dialog. In fact, one of my goals as a teacher is to create tools that help people trust their insights and recover their innate mystical awareness, which has often been squelched.

Being a mystic does not deny your intellect. (And too many beautiful, astute, linear minds are used to invalidate somebody’s heartfelt, lyrical worldview.) I know amazingly left-right-brain integrated mystics.

It’s like being a musician. In my last year of college, I supposedly needed more units of logic-based classes to get my degree. But the college president felt that my thirty hours of music theory, which is mathematically based, obviated the need for further logic classes.

When I write a song, channel liturgy, or travel faerie realms for info, my intellect needn’t suppress my efforts. It can weave in and out of my emotive fanciful state, improving my effort. I also might go over what I have created to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, until I’m satisfied.

In various mystical states, there’s a dance between the two sides of the brain and the heart and soul. Each aspect of you comes forward, adding what it can. All of you weaves constantly, in such rapid-fire succession of ever-changing intertwinings that you might be totally unaware of this complex inner interaction.

At such times, we learn truths that others may deny. We plug into immense powers to control our own destiny. We become part of miracle. Even other pagans may try to invalidate these gains, Goddess bless them, instead of realizing that their approaches and ours can be different without either of us being wrong.

But the things we learn in such states set us free.

This has been a limited view on mystical scholarship. But the crux is: Let yourself be free.

Meeting Lady Olivia Robertson

My dearest Olivia, Below is a post to honor and celebrate your birthday. The piece was written over a decade ago, but you may remember it, because you told me twice you wanted it as your memorial reading. A birthday is a much happier occasion, I am blessed to post this as a birthday offering.

FOInitiationB

A treasured picture of my FOI initiation. Click on it to see it less blurred and large.

It’s been quite a while since we’ve been in touch—only once or twice in a decade—which saddens me. I wish my health had allowed otherwise. The multiple sclerosis (that’s what my illness probably is, we still don’t have a definitive diagnosis) ate up my life for years. It got so bad that it looked like I’d only a few months to live. Not to worry, now I’ve another 10 to 30 years left, because I made a deal with the Faerie queen. She needed some community work done, which I now do, and she keeps me going.

My health, though greatly improved, is nevertheless challenging: I use a wheelchair and require caretakers to perform many of my daily tasks, such as dish-washing.

But I am able to continue my work, and am still very happy in it, serving community with the shamanic skills that I was given for that purpose. And the relative improvement in my health has allowed me bit by bit to reconnect with some folks: I’m so grateful to be contacting you and re-sharing with you the piece you enjoyed.

With love, Francesca De Grandis

**************************************
Meeting Lady Olivia Robertson
Francesca De Grandis, September 2002

In the early ’90s, I was given a vision of Olivia. I saw her to be very similar to myself, what I would become. I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant; Olivia is one of the public priestesses I most admire and my admiration for her also extends to her simply as a mystic with an enormously inclusive and remarkably warm heart. Thus, to say I think we are alike might sound uppity. But in fact, it’s not that way. It’s just that, simply speaking, we are quite alike! Take that as you will.

So I went on a pilgrimage in Ireland to meet her. To her castle in Clonegal. And I wondered: Since I only had that one brief visit scheduled, how was I going to forge the connection that I was spiritually driven to make?

Waiting for her to arrive, I suddenly sensed a presence behind me. Knowing she had come into the room, I turned and there she stood, wearing bright green eye shadow and her bathrobe, the latter clearly—somehow I knew this—worn as a ritual robe. She had posed herself precisely, and her entire aspect proclaimed, “Aren’t I magnificent!?” And she was. She truly truly was. I knew that my vision had been real and correct.

We sat and chatted. Thinking that I had to grab her attention immediately, and somehow impress upon her that we had a reason to go further than a brief, amiable discussion, I took a risk: I told her who I was.

I said to her, “Olivia, I had to meet you. Because I’ve been told we are alike. I’ve been told that, like me, you are eccentric, a remarkable counselor, and an equally remarkable ritualist.”

She responded, “Why do think they call us eccentric?” And then she went on, answering her own question, “You know, they did this book. And, in it, so-and-so lay on an altar and such-and-such-other-person was leaping over a fire, and they called me eccentric! But you know why I think they call us that? It’s because we don’t do it for the money.”

FOInitiationA

A treasured picture of my FOI initiation. Click on it to see it less blurred and large.

Oh, but I gulped at that point. Because of what I knew I had to say next. To tell her who I was. Only the truth, as always, would do. And I said, “But, Olivia, I do get paid for my services.” I didn’t tell her that I do far more free work than the work that I get paid for, because that wasn’t the point.

She looked at me, perhaps startled, and said, “Ah, I know why they call you eccentric. Because you are sincere. You believe the gods are real.”

She understood. And although we had scheduled a brief visit of an hour or two, she cordially allowed me to spend the rest of the weekend with her.

There are many things I could say about Olivia. Not only in regard to what happened between us that weekend and since then, but also about her work in the world. But for now I will say this: She embodies a gracious inclusiveness that I think is sorely lacking in almost every other spiritual leader and religious organization I have seen. She understands that each person’s path is beautifully valid and, therefore, welcomes everybody into the Fellowship of Isis, blessing each soul who appears before her, querying each person with delighted questions about their unique journey. And I will add this:

Years later, she came to dine with me in my home which, being oh-so-truly-humble, unlike myself, was a sharp contrast to her castle. And as we sat in my kitchen, breaking bread at my Formica table, I happened to tell her that I had spent seven years in Faerie; a time in which I was in trance 24 hours a day. And she asked a question that no one else had ever spoken, no one had had either the insight or forthrightness. She said, “Were you celibate during those years?”

She, again, understood; she is not only a profoundly loving person, though that would have been enough. She is far more. Often, when someone has a big heart like Olivia does, others assume that the good heartedness lacks depth. People tend to think that a person has to be one-dimensional—as if one can have a good heart or brilliance, creativity or amiability, cheerfulness or insight. No, people are much more complex and wonderful than that. And in Olivia’s case, the “more” is that she is also a true not to mention brilliant mystic, and a woman I suspect has made heart rendering sacrifices to serve the community.

At the time of this writing, I have not seen Olivia for maybe three years. And I will get to be with her again in a week. During her last few visits to the States, I had to be at different conferences than she was at. I hated it but, you see, to use the old, trite, but so apt expression, duty called. I am a priestess and must go where Goddess sends me.

So this chance to see her face again, to tell her how much she means to me once again, and to pay homage in any way I can is exciting. I do not use the word homage as a sycophant; for I, too, am one who can proclaim her own magnificence. I have no false humility. But in my struggle to be a community servant, in the day-to-day fierceness of battling for a better world, I, warrior, lift my sword in salute, paying homage to my comrades in arms. To those who walk beside me, believing in greatness, sacrificing far too much for the good fight—you know, there’s no other way to fight the good fight except to sacrifice far too much —, I say, “I could not continue this battle, this terribly difficult work, without you by my side. Even if I never see you, simply knowing that somewhere you are doing the work that needs to be done allows me to keep doing it myself.” And I look up to the spiritual servants, though I am one myself. Lady Olivia Robertson, one warrior and lady to another, blessings on your magnificent soul.”

Professional Shaman. World Tree Resurrection

Eagle with Iris in Great Darkness, OutlawBunny.

Eagle with Iris in Great Darkness, OutlawBunny.

This post is roughly-written, but felt important to post stat, for my personal growth. Spent the morning pouring my heart out in this, I hope you read it.

My commitment to being a professional shaman must be made daily.

Today is Feb 5. The World Tree resurrects today. It is a day to plant.

Ancient MetsoaAmerican merchants traded in sacred good, items of great mystic worth.

From an anthropological view, if you don’t charge for it, it ain’t shamanism. (I support all definitions of shamanism. I mention the anthropological one contextually.)

I tell myself, “Come into the market place, again, today. Do not be stopped by those with dubious claims to power, who brag about alliance with death.”

Francesca De Grandis, May 2012

Francesca De Grandis, May 2012

I tell myself, “Yes, they hurt my feelings and make it hard for people to understand my work enough to know it might really help them. Yes, this immense pain makes my tears appropriate. Cry, do cry. But remember that anyone wrongly claiming they belong to a fierce god of war or death or the underworld is a deluded pawn of the evil bastardization of such a god. They don’t just cause harm, they too suffer. (I’m not referring to an innocently mistaken choice of a patron deity, but an arrogant choice.)

I tell myself, “They’re children playing at grown up, teenagers claiming selves in loud clothes. Like foolish adolescents, they careen in magic cars, injuring or killing themselves and others. But there is nothing I can do, until they know they need help. Move on. Some day, they’ll know better. Then they’ll be attacked and have to learn to cleave to honest paths despite. Ultimately, we are all in this together.”

I leave behind my fantasy of telling them, “Ancient MesoaAmerican football was sacred, the losing team was beheaded, you are not up to that game.” They would not understand. Which makes me utterly frustrated. I leave behind my frustration.

I admit and honor my powerlessness. I focus on me, tell myself, “Honor your healing magic by selling it. Honor your ability as a shamanic guide by selling it. Make beauty with your magic and sell it. Become part of the market.”

Today, I remind myself today, “Every Mayan king was a shaman. Yes, admit in your gut that you’re attacked by those trapped in the modern american division of sacred and profane, market and magic. Admit in your gut how badly they treat you and how hard they make it for you. Then take time for self-compassion. Then stop thinking about finding self, heck, stop trying to find self. Go sell self. Only in service do we find self and fully heal self.

People attack me instead of facing that they’re not willing to get into the game of life and marketplace. My preoccupation with them is my way of avoiding life and marketplace. :-)What a self-perpetuating cycle of avoidance! So I focus on my own failings and on being of service. I focus on today!

EagleWithIrisDetailI pray, “Hermes, Mercury, Exu, open the road and gate to my profession today, that I may serve.Open the road and gate within my heart today, that I may serve. Open the road and gate, today, for the person whose needs and goals are well met by my particular shamanic skill set. Guide my day in the divine marketplace, today. Help me be a sacred merchant, today. Help me try and try and try, today, for to be a professional shaman who is well-serving community means to ever be resurrected, both in my private life and daily in my commitment to the market place.” (I support all definitions of shamanism. This paragraph is specific to a moment in time.)

I post this today, because my heart needs to touch someone who will understand my pain, my commitment, my happiness in my work, and in hopes the post will help them. Please tell me if you understand and/or if this post helps.

———————
Here’s a description of my shamanic counseling sessions. And you can schedule online. http://www.outlawbunny.com/pastoral-counseling/

A Faerie Retreat, Created Especially for You

imageNeed renewal and pampering, but can’t get away? Want to sit with a shaman to increase your mystic skills, but travel not an option?

Would you like a private, guided “astral retreat,” right where you live?

Receive a three-week shamanic ritual intensive, tailored to you. Your needs and wishes tended to. Your “astral retreat” consists of:

1) Two one-hour private phone sessions a week, for three weeks. The only time you need to take is our meetings—and huge shifts occur. You will be hoodooed: I channel six experiences to nourish and empower your unique spirit more than some people will believe possible. Sessions also help manifest your mystical, business-related, or other goals.

2) Direct spiritual transmissions five days a week, without you doing a thing. Go about your business, I’ll do the work for you. Note: I don’t decide what kind of energy you receive. I am a conduit, the Divine sends what suits you, whether that is physical healing, removal of blocks to prosperity, intensification of your shamanic skill, all of these, or something else.

3) If you want assignments (to do between sessions), I tailor them to your needs and schedule. Examples: gentle nurturing acts that are easy to fit into your day; or challenging rituals that increase shamanic power. If you don’t want assignments, I tailor our sessions to accommodate that.

Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Visit me in my astral home, we will travel. Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Individually, services included in the retreat would cost $1350:
– Six private sessions, $750.
– Three weeks of transmissions, $600

In appreciation of your making self-care a priority, your total cost is $1000.

Questions? Prefer payment plan? Call 814-337-2490.

I can create personalized retreats for a limited number of folks. I cleared my schedule to help the retreat fits into yours; other work may dominate my schedule soon. Choose one of the three-week periods below. After payment, if you live in the U,S., I’ll call you to schedule appointments. If you live outside the U.S., call me to schedule appointments: 814-337-2490.

Fine print:
* After registering, if a crisis requires you delay, I give you six weeks to complete your six phone sessions, but cannot refund.
* If you must change an appointment time, I need 24 hours’ notice, or you lose that appointment.

You can do our appointments on a lunch break or with child in your lap. I take care of you. Scroll down to pick your three weeks.


Choose one of the three-week periods below.