Do you keep a journal for your experiences?

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The good thing about doing a challenge that no one knows I’m doing is that I can pick and choose what I do 🙂 For the last couple of weeks I haven’t really felt like writing, plus there has been lots of other things to do, more important things, like cutting the hedges before the birds start nesting and getting the area of garden prepared and sown with wild flowers to attract butterflies but with all of that done I’m back…for now at least….

Having found my way back the next questions on the challenge, questions 7 and 8, didn’t appeal to me at all.Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 10.49.22

So because I can do what I want I am skipping ahead to number 9, ‘Do you keep a journal for your experiences?’ because this I do.

At the beginning I resisted keeping one even though my Reiki Master apprenticeship asked that I did. When younger I had never kept, nor wanted to keep, a diary so didn’t see why I should start doing so as a mature adult. Reluctantly and under no small amount of pressure I eventually gave in and resorted to loose leaf paper in a ring binder on the grounds I could take pages out and destroy them should I so choose. Needless to say I never did.

I soon realised how the keeping of a journal helped me to see what was going on, to find patterns, tease out threads and understand the process I was going through, to connect the dots as it were. Without my journal I would never have made connections between events or experiences several months or even years apart, nor would I have had a clear picture of my own development.

I still keep a journal only now its a spiral bound book, nothing fancy, just a normal A4 notebook, and I don’t use it every day, just when something feels significant, when I chat to my guides or when I take a shamanic journey for myself. I also have more than one journal, the one I have described plus smaller A5 ones that are my journey through the Order of the Bards, Ovates and Druids, first as a Bard and now as an Ovate. These are smaller as they sometimes go out and about with me. At the moment I have two of these plus a book of rituals as they each serve a different purpose.

When I’m teaching, be it Reiki or Shamanism, I always suggest students keep a journal for without one I have no idea how you can go back and make sense of things e.g. by seeing patterns or by finding the deeper, sometimes hidden, meaning in a journey. No matter how intelligent we believe we are, nor how good our memories, we cannot possibly hold all of our experiences any other way and if we wish to see how far we have come and know where we need to go next our journals can show us the way.

 

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What are your cultural influences?

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Mmm the question ‘What are your cultural influences?’ is the 7th in the challenge I decided to do to help me keep blogging this year. While I am not slavishly sticking to it, nor feeling the pressure to blog every week come what may, I am trying not to skip questions just because they are not the easiest thing to write about. To be honest I’m not really sure what this even means but I’m going to have a go.

I was born in England in the mid 50’s and growing up in the 60’s exposed me to both ‘flower power’ as well as ‘mods and rockers’. I spent my teenage years dressed in long flowing Indian cotton dresses, necklaces of tiny bells that jingled when I walked, looking longingly after those who were a little older, lusting after the freedom they had to travel, hang out at festivals and so on. With a short flurry into cropped hair and mohair suits, it didn’t last long but you do need to experiment don’t you, the ‘hippy’ era probably influenced me are than anything else. Living less than an hour outside London forays into Carnaby Street, Kings Road, Knightsbridge with Biba and Harrods, where at the time you really could buy anything, was the norm. Live music was so accessible, with the Kursaal in Southend providing a weekly, and affordable place to hang out and see bands and I still like loose, flowing clothes, long velvet skirts and going to live gigs 🙂

Travelling as an adult, something I do as often as possible, has opened my eyes to other cultures, many of which have links to some of the work I do as an energy and shamanic healer. I know that every place I visit impacts on me in some way and that I carry the energy of many of them with me.

I live now in Ireland  and despite the rise and subsequent demise of the Celtic Tiger, we are still  relatively free from the busy and materialistic world. It is here that I found my way into the work I do now, discovered the delights of stone circles and standing stones, ring forts and labyrinths and the energy and spirit of place. It is here that I learnt to connect with and work with the land, here where the culture allows this all to happen naturally. So just as the culture of 60’s England influenced by early years so is Ireland now influencing the latter ones.

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Book Review – Secret Medicines from your Garden

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Secret Medicines from your Garden

Ellen Evert Hopman

ISBN 978-1-62055-557-6

Every now and again I come across a book which I know will become favourite resource, one that will live on my bookcase, one I will reach out for on numerous occasions, one that will never be leant out to anyone in case I were to lose it. Such a book is Hopman’s ‘Secret Medicines from your Garden’.

This is not a traditional herbal encyclopaedia by any means, for unlike others this is topic based. Plants frequently appear in one section of the book only to pop up again in another, showing us a different side to them, one that may be overlooked by others. Sections of the book teach us about working with the signatures of plant, seasonal herbs, the invisible dimensions of the plant world and ways we can make use of plants in our own lives. Throughout her book Hopman provides us with a real treasure chest of information, wisdom, both modern and traditional, recipes, remedies, potions, tinctures, teas and more besides.

Ellen Evert Hopman is someone with an eclectic background, interested in many things who is both a herbalist and a Druid . In Secret Medicine from your Garden we benefit from this diverseness, for because of it, she is able to open up the world of plants to us in both a practical and very spiritual way.