Every year I go into solstice with idea about how I might mark the occasion and every year it works out differently. Think I’d learn wouldn’t you.

I began this year thinking I might see if anyone was around to drum, then quickly realised everyone was working, then I thought I’d watch the live link from Newgrange and during the day make a Despacho, a form of prayer bundle which I could then offer to the spirits in a solstice fire in my stone circle. This way I could drum while the spirits consumed the bundle along. Did any of this happen? No!

Instead an incredibly dark solstice morning found me driving to the dentist as I had a niggly tooth and needed to get it checked out before Christmas. During the drive, feeling disappointed not to be watching the sun fail to rise and illuminate the passage at Newgrange (it was a dull misty, damp morning everywhere in Ireland) when I realised that just as I often do a sign and omen walk I could do the same whilst driving as long as I was careful to also pay attention to the road of course. So shifting my awareness I asked for signs and omens for the day that was in it. Sure enough I soon became aware of my focus being drawn first to the bare trunks of clusters of birch trees as I drove past, then my gaze lifting above the trees and hedgerow to the lightness beginning to grow in the sky in the distance and finally to the crow flying directly towards me. As crow is someone I work with and whom is around often I asked for confirmation and was rewarded with a second crow immediately flying from a tree across the road in front of me. As with all signs and omens the real comes later in interpreting these and so I held onto them until I could sit, journey, gain insight, reflect and make sense of what I had been given.

Returning home, tooth sorted I was again disappointed that the weather was even worse. I had driven home through thickening fog and miserable drizzly rain neither of which are conducive to drumming outside and fire ceremony. So a quick rethink found me in my log cabin where I was guided to select two cards from Ted Andrews, Nature Speak Cards. I thought I was drawing these for myself until I was guided to draw a third which was solely for me and realised the first two were also to share here.

The first card was drawn for the darkness and was: Tulip – Trust in your efforts

Sometimes we feel that we aren’t really getting anywhere, making any progress but our efforts are working and rewards are coming if we continue to stay focused on them and to discriminate as to how and where to use them.

The second card was drawn for the light and was: Garden – Time for nurturing

This is a reminder to nurture yourself and to do things that give you joy, to sow new seeds in your life and then watch them grow. Doing this will stimulate new energies around you.

I have a suspicion that the signs and omens I received on my drive were also meant to be shared hence this blog post but as with all shamanic work the interpretation of them for anyone other than me is not mine to make. Basically, without going into details, for me the three signs together show me what I need to release and what I need to grasp hold of and carry with me as the shift from darkness to light takes place.

Maybe the signs I was given resonate with you in which case do reflect on them and what they might mean to you, or maybe this might inspire you to do your own signs and omens drive or walk.

I did drum, but out of respect for my drum, in my log cabin and not in the rain in my stone circle.

Just an aside here as yesterday where I live it was a seriously dark day, no sky visible, absolutely no light to be seen. I was out last night and I have never experienced such a deep and dark night, total blackness everywhere. I really do think this was the darkest solstice I have ever seen. May the light come quickly and shine brightly on us all in the coming months.



Winter Solstice at Newgrange

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Although I live in Ireland I am sadly the other end of the country from the Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange where hundreds gather for the sunrise of Winter Solstice. Those few lucky people enough to be able to enter the tomb gather in the darkness to await the rays of the sun which light up the passage.

In the past I have been able to watch this online via a video link but the last couple of years this stopped. This year though it is not only back but is being broadcast worldwide for the first time ever.

So if it is a clear boring on either 20th or 21st December this year we will all be able to join the lucky few and watch the sun light up the passage tomb by tuning into Ireland’s Ancient East YouTube channel





The Holiday Tree


This might look like a Christmas tree and most people who call to us would say that’s what it is but if they look closely they will see that it really isn’t.

Ok, we have lights, a few baubles and the odd Santa but almost all of the decorations on our tree have been brought home by us from holidays. We have for instance a koala from Australia, elephants from India, a Tibetan bell from Nepal, an orangutan from Borneo, palm fish from Cambodia, figures in national costume from Bhutan, a hummingbird from Costa Rica and most recently a maple leaf from Canada.

I love that this is how the tree is for every year when we unpack the box to decorate the tree we revive memories of the places we have visited through remembering where each decoration came from.

Our tree is always up before Winter Solstice which has far more meaning for me than Christmas does so the fact that it is more a holiday tree than anything else is absolutely perfect 🙂