Winter’s breath

Intense craving for quietude and emptiness is present within me in winter. My body exhales with delight releasing all the debris that is heavy, stuck and rubbing on the edges of my experience. I read somewhere yesterday the words, which rang true that described new year resolutions as major triggers and unnecessary demands on our minds, bodies and hearts even. I agree. It is not the time to add more in, but rather continue simplifying, becoming quieter and more inwards until at least the first signs of spring. We are in mid-winter still and winter is here for a quiet inactivity, or at least not too much of it. Hibernation is the way, as for all the creatures and nature at large. We are no different and oh, it can benefit us greatly to sit quietly with life experience, insights and weaving days in slow motions with the intention of resting fully preparing for a time when we are ready to emerge.

Winter is like the element of Air to me, although generally active and busy networking, in winter it is of misty clouds and foggy coverings on the earth. It is there, but not seen fully, sleepy and slow in its reveal, if at all. When snow comes and dresses nature is a white canvas it is virginal, new, clear, and not to be disturbed till it is ready to melt into streams and soil. The reason it all feels covered is because it is meant to be only visible on the inside where we brew the new dishes of insight and weave new ideas of intention, which when the time is right will be manifested. But not yet, not now, not in January or even February.

Although with Imbolc, the 2nd February celebration of Candle Mass, the earth begins to stir, it is mostly within the realm of the very edges of our awareness and with a slight touch of spring-like approaching. We might begin to see some life peeping through the earth, but barely there. To me, the time between Imbolc and Spring Equinox is the time to start awakening to what one wants to bring into being for the coming year, not before, not yet… Leave resolutions, intentions, goals and all such things till then and enjoy the space and environment winter offers so eagerly to us with every passing year. In its silence things promise to be born that, if looked after, will bring much fruition and bounty in the months to come.

Here is wishing all folk a restful winter flow in its slow and quiet ways that once embraced feels so very comfortable, cosy and nourishing!

Happy New calendar year of 2021

If the Sun was a god… and walking in all weather

The Sun is a solar deity in nature-based spiritual practice. It is both of the Fire and Air/sky elements. Worshiping the Sun God or following its cycles, manifestations, presentations and cycles means it is looked upon as sacred energy of the earth, which plays an active role in the life of the natural world and our own.

On my walk in the rain this morning I got thinking about the Sun, as a god, and Yule celebrations that are coming up. How do we look upon the Sun when it is not shining and in darkness? How do we think of it, speak of it? Notice the language we use around darkness and no so bright weather. There are many parallels between the decline of the Sun, it being hidden, the darkness and human psyche. The main element is that we are in denial of it whether we are aware of it or not. Rejection of the darkness is an old thing, as old as humanity, but I always wonder if it has to continue quite the way it had done. The work of psychotherapy throws a lot of light on what human shadow really is, personally and collectively, and it is my strong belief that the work of integrating your darkness can be one most valuable, if not the most vital, part of the personal journey. Until one becomes of aware, first, then accepting of his/her own dark materials, not a lot will change and projections, judgements, victimhood, blaming, pretending will carry on impeding relationships, progression, understanding and acceptance of things as they are. This is where nature is the most wise, I have always believed. It is all light and all darkness naturally.

Why do we deny rain, sleet, strong winds, floods and fires? They represent emotions within ourselves, very strong ones, the ones we had always been told to fear, reject, suppress, etc. I believe this has been the biggest wounding on earth to humans via humans. Again nature is one such source that can reconnect you back to your humility and heart. It can help reawaken and let the lost emotional parts of yourself be accepted back into the whole. We are meant to be whole, both, logic and feeling, mind and heart with the body holding it all together.

The language we use around weather is a good example of yet another rejection seemingly external, but it is very much internal. Dreary, bleak, dark, miserable – are the words we hear every day whenever the sun is not shining outside. If it is not bright and warm it is not worth ‘worshiping’, yet even the Sun needs recharging, like a battery, like any of us, in order to shine bright again in a few months’ time. We continue to judge it for not shining, leaving us in darkness, nevertheless. This, I believe, is due to lack of understanding, valuing and accepting our own inner darkness.

This phenomenon, please notice, can also happen in reverse when the Sun is scolded for shining too much, instead of too little. It is the rejection of light instead of the darkness. Emotions of ecstasy, mania and depression come to mind and depending on what your experience is with mental health you will understand what I mean. We all heard of chronic clinical depression, but no one has of chronic clinical happiness. It is more complex than that, of course, but ‘happiness’ can be a warning sign, always wanting, moving, needing, asking for the light or pretending to be that way, can bring serious consequences to psyche when not in balance. Nature is the key to bringing things together, to demonstrate to us through weather, seasons, and elemental presentations how to be with it all without judgement.

In nature-based spirituality folk welcome both the Summer Solstice and the Winter Solstice. There is an understanding of the value of both points in nature and in life. We welcome equally the point when the Sun is at its peak and we also celebrate the Sun’s return and acknowledgement of where it has been during darkness.

I saw deer playing and chasing each other in the bush as I walked passed the hedgerows with trees up on a hill. I would not have been able to witness that was it not quiet, empty and winter time. That’s a blessing to me!

Going back to those ‘negative’ adjectives the opposite for me would be when I walk in all weather is raw, fresh, renewing and completely natural. There is no life without the rain and there is no light without the darkness. It really is simple. The rainy landscape offers refreshing perspectives, new insights. I get inspired by wintery silhouettes and transparency and vulnerability of the land. At this time of year everything is exposed and paths are clear to walk to ponder over the bare branches and bones of the natural world. The clarity of mind for me during this time is like at no other time of the year. I love vulnerability and openness in nature and internally during darker winter months.


The darkness is the conservation of energy so it can shine brighter in months to come. Yet we are in denial of any validity of the darkness externally and within while wishing for the light to shine brighter. Want it here, now, in this way and that without considering how things become one way or another or where they roots from. There’s a cycle, a very wise one, the wisest. Nature is not here to please or pacify. It does what it must and what it has always done regardless of collective preconceptions, personal projections and human storytelling.


Yule is such a time and opportunity to reflect of the meaning of light and warmth and the Sun as a God, a spiritual, astrological, seasonal phenomenon that has been here since the beginning of time and every year offers lessons for reflection and potential change of views and perspective.

Yule Blessings, everyone!

Foreboding – The future of wild places

Jonna Jinton – the hostess in my dream

I had a dream last night and it went like this.

I opened my eyes and met hers. She was looking at me with piercing blue like a frost-covered morning on a bright day. I smiled. She turned her face away, as if not wanting to be there.

I was aware of the best sleep I had in ages and also knew that I travelled a long distance to be here in this place, with her.

A white linen dress clang to her slender body and she moved as lightly as a ghost would sliding from one room to another. I followed her and came into a room full of people and noise. They seemed to have been preparing for some kind of expedition. She asked me to join them, which took me by surprise and I felt a sharp sensation deep within that screamed, “Why would I go anywhere else when there is all this, here, with her?” I looked out of the window. We were in some kind of cabin, which was spacious with many rooms and I felt the warmth of the fire coming from next door. “Where is everyone going?” I said to her, as she approached me by the window. “Paris,” she said lowering her head to the ground again. She was hiding something. She didn’t look displeased dealing with the visitors to what I knew was her house, but she felt detached, not all present. “No Paris, I said. Not for me”. Groups of people crowded outside waiting for transport. They seemed impatient to get out of the place, but why would they come in the first place, I wondered. She looked over in their direction with some relief, I thought. Her body displayed anxiety and I saw an emerging smile at the prospect of them leaving.

I began to cry sitting by the window looking outside on to a wintery wilderness. A frozen lake, deep, luscious snow and tree tops in crowns of white. My heart was exploding recognising the wild within. She looked bewildered at me as if not letting herself remember or believing my feelings.

“Why all these people? What happened to your homestead? I remember it being just you here.”

She looked at me with the saddest eyes, but averted it quickly not wanting to show emotion.

“We are showing people the last wilderness.”

I knew she didn’t want to, she was forced into it. I grabbed her hand trying to show her I understood and asked if we could go outside. She didn’t move away from me and said, “Later.”

When crowds dispersed I was glad of some silence and empty places I could go and check. The rooms in the house were furnished with simple furniture, but very old. Figurines and wooden carved animals were on shelves and by bedsides. Everything was basic. I remember hearing complaints earlier from the crowd of girls, “How are we supposed to cope with these facilities. There isn’t even a toilet and we have to sleep on the floor. Did you see what we had to eat?” Dissatisfied voices echoed in me and I realised that this is the future of the wilderness tourism; people coming to see the most remote, wild places, yet wanting to be away from it from the moment they arrived. The sadness in my hostess filled me up and I went to look for her. She was already outside clearing some snow and I could see the black earth underneath. I bent down and scooped some icy blackness bringing it to my nose to smell. She smiled slightly at me and carried on in her own now lost world, in a place no longer hers.

Signed Author copies

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Soul Land review

Signed Paperback copies of Soul Land available from the author

RAW NATURE SPIRIT

From a Druid, writer and poet, Nimue Brown, the author of many wonderful books on nature-based spirituality, comes a review of my poetry collection. I am so pleased she enjoyed it.

I love how she framed them as Bardic songs, letters. So interesting, which makes it even more significant for me.

https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2020/07/19/soul-land-a-review/

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Rising

I can see women rising from under the earth stretching their arms towards the sky. Those are not the Faye women or some mystical vision of goddesses unknown. Those women are the ones buried long before; those, whose voices were stolen and whose lives were taken branding them dangerous, sexual and raw. They are rising like a birch forest to proclaim a new life.

They are not to declare war or revenge they are to be in a way that is impossible to ignore or enslave. Golden, auburn, jet black hair tangling up trees as they rise up with rivers increasing in flow all around them and with a full power of a waterfall smash it back into the earth. Cloud part and close up in a dance of light and dark, an incoming storm and sunshine.

What do they want? A new manifestation without hatred or punishment but magic, intuition, nourishment to the bone and a voice as deep and old as a soul, lost previously but never again. This time it won’t be possible as the light these women bring is blinding in a way that it transforms not destroys. It affects and unites, it invites and welcomes everything and everyone. They rise up with bodies establishing the rule of prime, a sense of pride in every cell they embody. The flesh is pulsating and nourishing, giving and receiving. No one is excluded from the new dance they get ready to perform.

Rise up the women of forgotten centuries. Rise up the female of the lost. The time is now. The world has always meant to be female from the beginning of time and space. She urged to be from the start and with the lost sisters of the dead but rising she will be again without ruling or battling but in her being she will be enough and more.

I am whole…

Isle of Mull, Scotland

An open view as far as the eye can see. I can even feel beyond that. For the first time in many years the picture is complete with every mountain sketch, rock, shoreline and bird in the sky in full view. The sun is high yet gentle and blues and greens are in perfect harmony with a splash of purple and pink in corners and edges of the land. We are approaching. A castle stands proud above the cliffs that shelter a sheer drop. It is still here. I delight in that reassurance.

When a view opens up from a living room window it is vast. You can see and feel the mountains breathe into the sea and exhales come as waves and splashes that freshen everything up. Everything is injected with life. It is overwhelming trying to take it all in. It feels like I can’t decide if there’s too much air or not enough of it. It is a sensation of possession by raw instinct that makes you want to take your shoes off and run to the edge of the vista that sprawls open in front. The end of the earth is there. Senses are both sharpened and relaxed. It is intoxicating to a point of wanting never to sober up. Silence is otherworldly.

I sit at a large kitchen table surrounded by lush green landscape with rowan and gorse, ash and oak in faithful surround. Those trees know the land intimately, they know they belong. I can’t take my eyes away from large windows in front of me, which makes it impossible to work. It takes a few days to be able to fit into this pristine environment and realise where I come from and where I am. The contrast is shockingly stark. It is a process of bedding in, acclimatising slowly and steady or you might just suffocate.

I decide to go for a walk, something I have been looking forward to for a whole year. My beloved walks in nature and here I find everything. It all is just as I left it last time. I find it reassuring and comforting. It is all here, still. When I am away I often wonder if things change when I am not there to see it, will it all still be there? Will I have another chance to live it? One never knows. Every time I find it is just as I left it and it is a relief and something beyond beautiful and soothing to know it will outlive everyone and everything.

I walk along a path and silence wraps me up in a cloud of peace. It is palpable, ethereal like nothing else on earth for me, the most precious commodity and a gift. I cherish it with every land’s breath, every leaf movement and rain drop that makes up the silent chorus that is nature being. My heart is in my mouth and I am deeply happy. There’s nothing else I need or want in that moment and if it was to be the last that would be a glorious end. I always feel that way here in those moments when there’s no past or future and the present is so perfect and complete that nothing else is needed or matters.

I continue on the path but not for long as I am a habitual off-the-path walker. I always need to go in where wild resides. I need to get close to it and it makes itself known by making scratches on my legs, sticking things to my clothes and dipping my feet in mud. I fee feral and ecstatic. Makes me feel I belong that little bit more. It is the unknown yet feels like home. I scramble up a wooded hill and it is like my own invisible circle – a place where magic is the law not just a possibility. It is all so simple and fresh. It is always there and doing its thing. It knows itself as much as anything on earth can ever know. This is a true nature of things. I want to be that way if only I never had to leave or having to do things or even think. Humans are limited through complicating things. It is never simple in our minds and we dwell in those self-imposed prisons without realising it, by habit automatically. Awareness comes not easy to us.

I wrap my arms around a silver birch trunk, wet and earth-smelling. Its smooth bark is like a touch of a loved one. My grandmother comes to mind and memories of walking in silverbirch forests in my childhood flood in. Every touch here means something, every smell is a reminder how entwined I am with nature in my body and spirit. I lose track of time. There is no time here, only life, only what you see and feel.

I am having to drag myself out back on to the path. Deer to my left startled and frozen as they pick up my scent. They look right at me before fleeting, cautious and on guard always. I smile. Fresh and clean air hits every inch of my body and I could almost be floating I feel so uplifted as happiness spreads through me. I let my hair loose and stand catching every bit of the breeze that is sweet and the most soothing thing I could ask for. I stand still for a minute hungry for more, taking each breath and there’s more coming. I can’t get enough there’s so much on offer.

I get moving again and come across some cottages by a loch-side. I always wonder what it must be like to live in such a place. I used to get envious to a point of passing out but since have learnt a lot more. At this point I am under no illusion that it is easy. My initial idealised vision has truly been grounded in reality of life on an island, in a land so wild, raw and free that one has to work at belonging. Every cottage makes me think and wonder of a possibility of a compromise. It is a symbol of a relationship between a human and nature. It offers a possibility of finding out if one is brave enough.

Stroking a thick coat of a highland coo I touch something primal. Animals bring a sense of kinship to my instinctual animalistic self. I am in love every time I touch an animal. They are warm, looking right at me with their black eyes and there is a connection no doubt. A lot can be learnt from the beasts of that land. Birds of pray are everywhere here, they are noisy one minute and gliding silently the next, barely there.

Time to turn back. I am so happy, utterly at peace and content. My body feels satisfied like it’s had the most nourishing meal. Nothing else needed. Nothing needs to be added or taken away. It is complete. I am whole.