Winter stories

The darkest night, oh how rich and comforting your gifts

Like the darkest depth of the earth it contains our sorrows and joys

Care taking all potential

It keeps it, churns it and later

We emerge as new towards the light

We stretch into the sun seeking transformation

~RawNatureSpirit~

Three wishes for Yule

Winter Solstice

Mind is our biggest ‘prison’. There is nothing more our mind wants is to be stuck on the same track over and over, go in one direction. It doesn’t like change, it doesn’t like upgrading, it is in that sense primitive and when questioned will rebel in strong ways. However, we all want to be free, flowing, silent and not-attaching to anything that brings us worries and restlessness. Freeing yourself from thinking patterns is a way towards reclaiming some of our freedom. Thinking also causes our feelings and if you don’t like feeling a certain way and get trapped in a cycle, attend to your thinking. Challenge it, avoid engagement, refuse to listen, give yourself more than just following what the mind says. Remember, the mind doesn’t know any better, only what had been programmed and practiced, it is its familiar territory and until the course is changed, it will continue on the same track. Thoughts and feelings are entwined. If you believe or choose to think something, as it comes, you will feel a certain way every single time as a result of that thought. As you become aware of some of the ways you think, you can then choose how to proceed. Particularly with things that are ‘historical’, i.e. past-created patterns of thinking, you must be careful not to keep repeating the same way of thinking, as it will only bring the same way of feeling.

Ever since I was I was a child I remember wanting nothing more than a peace of mind.  I knew on a physical level that it is my thinking that had been causing a lot of things, yes I had to wait to become an adult to figure it out. As an adult through years of practice and healing I have understood what it does and why and have explored ways of reconciling with it, making it work for me. It has not been easy. The reason why I love Buddhism is because it shows us not just what the mind does, but how to become skilful in working with its patterns through observation and letting it be, choosing not to engage at all times. Read my post of my findings related to this Lessons from today’s meditation

The reason why I love earth-based spirituality is because it involves working and being with ‘the whole’. It includes our physical bodies, emotions and spirit and mind becomes a supportive vessel for all the other parts and vice versa. There is less struggle. Mind is not alone and other senses have great value.

This Yule I am wishing for three things:

  • A peace of mind
  • A clarity of mind
  • A quietude of mind

It is possible to ‘master’ your own thinking and there is a distinct sense of satisfaction and control when it is successful. Even if it might often be temporary the fact that it was once possible provides hope for all future attempts. Practice makes perfect. When a change in thinking is introduced, the edge is taken off patterns and beliefs. They no longer rule over everything. One way of thinking that helps is understanding that some things can’t be controlled and any worry or overthinking is futile and, for me, anything that becomes heavy to carry or be with is pointless, as it only adds to the overall hardship of existence and a state of things life often presents. We must quieten does, lighten the load and connect more often through other senses cultivating a sense of peace. Effort is always met with reward in my experience. Continuous striving is what life is and we must never give up on ourselves. We can always choose what we think and what we focus on remembering not to make it ‘heavy’, but make it easier wherever possible.

I am off to find a Yule log this week and will bear my three wishes in mind when being with the log, decorating it and then burning it for next year.

I hope you too will become aware of things you want to come more into your life during this celebratory time of welcoming back the light and go on to manifest your goals with authenticity, passion and integrity.

Blesses Yule, everyone!

To Love, Friendship and Unity

Beltain

After two hours of working the plot and communing with the soil I felt compelled to relay the energies of today. It is all very new, fresh and to many it will be unknown, but do go with it, embrace it and lessons will be great.

Beltain 2019 is upon us and today is a portal day, which feels like a new opening, a true shift, a push into a slot previously unoccupied. I could feel it at the back of my head and my fingers this morning and it felt good. It was not explosive or buzzing with noise, but subtle and strong like a regular heart beat one might say. The words that I heard were ‘Love, Friendship and Unity in all things’. The spiritual today does seek peace and surrender to a place softer and brighter. It wants connection and true relating for everything and everyone. Even amidst the world’s darkness, fears and wounds today it felt like there is still an invitation to step into your own ‘new’, take a path you haven’t travelled before. The message also was that whatever one chooses to do it doesn’t even have to be big, small steps remaining curious all the way.

Beltain is traditionally a Fire festival of the two joining together and energies rising to bless a forthcoming bounty of the earth and pray for its gifts yet to come. It is the night of dancing, laughter and dropping inhibitions, things that no longer lit our spark and had gone dull. I felt the element of today, however, was Air. Interesting how things shift without having to explain themselves, something we can all take away as a lesson. Hence my altar naturally did not have any candles on this morning or flowers and only incense representing ‘airing things out’ of a space, life, consciousness, etc. It always makes sense to me. However, what I feel will happen later on this week the effect of this year’s Beltain will grow stronger and that is where Fire element will come in, more towards the weekend. I do plan a Fire celebration with friends and family to show love and embrace good, genuine friendships and allow myself be united with everything that this earthly realm can offer. Most of all unity within is an important aspect. Why do we often fight ourselves, hate on ourselves, blame and criticise ourselves – that has to go, as those are obvious blockers to what is possible. Meet your needs, apply self-compassion daily, rest your mind and soul and nourish your body.

Hope everyone has a beautiful Beltain full of renewal energy.

Many blessings!

The night before Easter Sunday

 

The night I felt like praying was the night before Easter Sunday 2017. We were in North Wales, Snowdonia.

I am feeling out of sorts with flare ups of anger and that moaning voice talking harshly to me and all those around me. It feels unpleasant and I find myself unable to control it coming out. This is not unfamiliar to me and I often feel at a loss when this happens. I have experienced this voice over and over again for many years and it comes as quickly as it leaves. I am yet to work through whether this is something within me that continues to manifest as unhealed or is this a past-life memory, vibration or personality trait mine or someone else’s.  I might say it feels like a possession of some sort when something from within is desperate to be heard and the voice of pain, bitter disappointment and cruel criticism would not be silent. It feels slightly ‘out of body’ when I can hear and see myself yet I am unable to have any say over what happens or gets said. Post-episode I always feel deep sadness and yesterday I also felt incredible guilt. What happened and what was expressed felt wrong and hurtful and I knew it wasn’t my intention. I felt shame, wanting to atone, a deep sense of feeling sorry for those around me. It was a real genuine sense of wanting to say ‘I am sorry’. It had a mixture of love in it, deep love and compassion.  I saw myself going on my knees at the edge of my bed wanting to pray, ask for forgiveness and release and the idea of God was very present. As a pagan this puzzled me but I remained opened to whatever was coming up. Pagan, of course, pray too in various ways, but this felt different to me. It was God I wanted. Something strong and new was being born in order to aid me with my troubles. I realised something within was uncontainable and I needed to be contained, held and understood. I felt confused and alone. I suggested to my husband I went to church the following day and I felt even more confused as if another part of me, the lost, loving one was seeking resolution and release of the pain caused by a cruel, angry side. I fell into mini-despair about it all and almost froze into a sleep, which was restless and broken.

The morning didn’t seem to bring much relief yet I felt stronger and more intent on understanding what was happening. It also felt joyful and light somewhat and I delighted in beautiful pictures that my parents sent me of Easter eggs and their celebratory table full of traditional food of the season. It felt warm, contained, simple and knowing. It felt like another ‘home’, my mother. The theme of Home was coming through in the mix of it all. I realised that even though I grew up in a non-religious family one holiday that was always celebrated in a traditional way was Easter. I glanced back into my past and remembered gatherings around a table full of pies and baked deliciousness with colourful eggs (real ones) prepared by my mother with the whole family partaking in a celebration I never really understood. No one ever explained its meaning or told me things I needed to do, I simply followed what others did like knocking eggs together to see whose would break first. It was like a game. We did that with each member of the family and ate a lot of eggs that day, we all loved eggs. I always felt there was something quite complete and versatile about eggs.

We decided to go to the forest for some fresh air. Magnificent old pines looked inviting bowing in their knowledge and welcome as I stepped on the path. It felt homely, fresh yet wild and still uncontained. I realised how nature can overwhelm me often and I don’t always feel safe in the space in a way I need necessarily. The idea of a church hadn’t left me still this morning. After spending a few hours wondering through the beautiful forest breathing in fresh spring air we ended up in a village and sat outside next to a church. I was drawn to it instantly and realised this Easter Sunday I must go in, I am being called into a church of a different making to stand at the altar, which is not a forest floor or the altar in my home. I went through the old door decorated in spring flowers and it hit me. I began vibrating all over with shivering sensations spreading throughout my body. I was all alone in this beautiful old church facing the altar. God is Risen! I smiled as this felt like my spirit or the spirit that I know well recognised the spirit present in this place. I knew it is one spirit, it is all the same thing, something spiritual that we all possess and know deep down and that alignment felt instantly soothing and the church felt welcoming. Another feeling I did receive was of that containment. I truly know and understand the meaning of a church being a refuge for so many, it is such a container of people’s troubles, prayers and joys. I get it. I felt contained and held, something I needed more than anything since last night. I lit a candle in honour of everyone that had passed and asked for health and happiness for all my loved ones. I walked away from it lighter, much lighter.

Altar, container, church are all various forms of sitting with the Divine whether it is one God, Goddess, Nature, Spirit or the Source, whatever it might be it is all off the same root, off the same home and it doesn’t have to have a name, face, physical form or a particular way of being. It is a feeling, an emotion, an experience.  It is recognisable when it is present in the atmosphere around whether it is in a forest or in an old village church. Spirit is present everywhere and more potent in places of worship, energy is simply more concentrated, as many desires, wishes and prayers are shared in these places and potent rituals had been performed there for centuries. Places hold that vibration. It occurred to me that whatever is being called force in any given moment, following it with curiosity and an open heart can lead to discoveries not so new, perhaps, yet surprising may be. I felt in union with all and asked for peace within myself and religions around the world whether you are pagan, Christian, Muslin or Hindu. That Spirit that unites all spiritual paths has the same message of love, the same feeling of peace and sacredness whatever religious variations in how worshipping is done. It can be in a church, in a corner of your bedroom, in the sea, on the forest floor or on top of the mountain. It is all about working with energies unseen, but deeply felt and allowing it to touch us in ways that are healing and soothing. It is about asking for guidance and seeking answers when we are at a loss and knowing we are not alone. We all come from spirit and to spirit we will return just like seasons come and go, the wheel of the year keeps on turning we continue on our journey through cycles of life and today is the day of renewal, light coming back and celebrating spring.

I remain curious to exploring my connection to Easter, some Christian elements and what it all means for my spiritual path. I remain open and allowing. It is valid and important to give it space and consideration and allow experiences touch me. This year, as I go through the cycles in nature I am even more intent to explore what each season, cycle, festival mean to me and  I am already beginning to see some elements, that will be included in my future, which hadn’t been considered before. I am creating my own version of the wheel of the year, if you like, and it feels exciting and very personal. I am also grateful for these spiritual experiences and new insights that happen when I am travelling away from home in lands steeped in history and stunning landscape. I love how the Land never fails to facilitate my growth.

Will I be praying again and asking for forgiveness and restoration of peace within? I am pretty sure I will. This experience felt deeply important on the night before Easter, divine timing, one might say, and the feeling afterwards was even more profound. Who will I be praying to and in what form? Will it be in the forest, my bedroom or the church, who knows, but whatever I am called I will follow. It is a fascinating journey of piecing things together, it seems. Another thing to remember, of course, is that there is a constant change, an evolution that occurs. I found nothing is completely static in a spiritual practice and that is what is wonderful about this personal journey. It is like reading a book, which offers more and more possibilities with a promise of always adding mystery and wonderment to my experience.

 

Altar work and Water element ritual

I tapped into my intuition this morning, which produced a gift of awareness of what was needed for me today and over the last few weeks. I have become aware of the need to acknowledge Water element in me. I realised I have been trying to get going engaging my Fire, yet this year my alignment with the season is different and it feels more Water than Fire for the first time in years.

Intuitive ritual set-up:

  • I was drawn to two ‘vessels’, which I reached out for, filled them up with water and placed them both on my altar.
  • I switched my red candles for blue ones
  • I put a feminine/Water element essential oil of Ylang Ylang in my oil burner and also in both cups
  • I put my favourite blue crystal as well as sacred stone back on my altar.

I can say the feeling within me and in the room instantly changed. It felt more flowing, but also grounded. This is why I really love my altar, it is such an evolving, shifting space, which offers an opportunity to tap into what is needed and represent it visually and physically, which then directly affects everything around. It is creative and intuitive and incredibly supportive and holding. Altar work is an integral part of my spiritual practice and I find the work powerful. My altar is a living being travelling through seasons and actions and emotions they evoke in me. Through reflecting my feeling and mental states back to me it serves as a therapist or a mother, whose messages like a mirror reflected back get internalised by my being and shifts occur. I get to see myself through my altar. 

My intuition didn’t stop there and as soon as I acknowledged my struggle with this month (POST HERE), insights began to flow. I am now called to travel to my Nemeton towards a stream running through it and make an offering to the Goddess, to Water element. I am yet to find out what offering I am going to make, but being told to leave it till I am in the woods. It will come then.

Sacred space/altar – nature spirituality and ritual

Nemetona
Nemetona, the Celtic Goddess of the Sacred Grove

Looking back at the year I would like to share images of my altar arrangements through the seasons, as I grow and celebrate each pagan holiday and Sabbat.

My sacred place is normally in my bedroom, but some of them are outside, as you will see. You can intuitively pick a place, which suits you.

Nemetona is the Celtic Goddess associated with the sacred grove, so if you feel so inclined you can have a conversation with her to ask for help and guidance with finding and creating your sacred space. I find it very holding, super creative, joyous and wonderful experience.

Here is an extract from my e-guide INTUITIVE SPELL WORKING on creating your sacred space

FINDING YOUR SACRED SPACE:

Explore your house energetically looking for places you feel most relaxed, comfortable and joyous in. It might be the whole room or a particular corner in a room or a house/flat. Explore the energy of the space when you come across it, raise that vibration within yourself and attune to it. Sit still in the space absorbing vibrations. Once you find that special place you might then want to create an altar or simply visualise a circle where you see yourself working your magic. You can do as much or as little as you like, entirely up to you and what your vibration is tuning into in the space that you choose. You will have an answer about what you need to do once you find that space – trust me. If you receive a message to create an altar, you will also have a feeling for what sort of items you might want to display on it, e.g. candles, flowers, crystals, tree bark or leaves, jewellery, Tarot cards, anything you like.

Imbolc altar
Imbolc Altar 2015
Imbolc
Imbolc altar 2014
Ostara altar
Ostara altar 2015
Beltane altar
Beltane altar 2015

For Litha/Summer Solstice I often do a ritual outside as everything is so abundant and I find all of my surroundings are my Altar

Lammas altar
Lammas altar 2015
Autumn Equinox
Mabon altar 2015
Samhain altar
Samhain altar 2014
Yule altar
Yule altar 2015

Yule Logs through the years

Yule log one
Yule log 2013
Yule log
Yule log burning

Yule log 2

Yule log 3

I hope you enjoyed looking through these images of my altars and feel inspired to begin creating your own beautiful sacred spaces

Much love & many Blessings!