What are you doing for Summer Solstice?

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I often have great ideas about how I will spend Summer Solstice but they rarely come to fruition. Some years it’s because everyone is busy, other years it rains, and last year I had been unwell and hadn’t the energy to do anything much. I rarely hold a ritual as even though I am studying as an Ovate with the OBOD I have never been fond of set ritual and so tend to avoid them. I probably should just do as I do at other times of the year, wait until the day, spend time connecting with my guides, the energy around the time of year and the spirits of the space I am spending it in and take it from there. Summer Solstice for me though always feels different for some reason.

This year at Bealtain I spent time in my stone circle, tidying, removing anything that had found its way there over the winter, knowing as I did that I was thinking that I would like to spend Summer Solstice amongst the stones. Then a few weeks ago I took delivery of a load of wood chip and so this was moved to refill the wood chip that had mulched down over the last twelve months. As I was refilling the circle I knew that I was preparing it for Summer Solstice and that the day would find me there.

Lunch with a friend I often work with, found that she too was free on 21st June. We had both been talking about the need to be still, to reconnect, to drum and to hold a fire ceremony and so plans were set.

Tomorrow we will meet, we will sit amongst the stones, tune in and connect with our guides and the spirits of the place, we will drum, we will probably make a Despacho to offer to the spirits, and we will have a fire ceremony. The weather this year is on our side with the forecast of a dry sunny day so we will be able to fully connect with the sun at midday. Fingers crossed that all of this will actually come to pass.

This all got me wondering what other people were doing for Summer Solstice so how are you spending it?

If you are looking for some ideas of what to do then this link will take you to some Ancient Celtic Traditions which might provide some inspiration.

Whatever you do, even if it is nothing, I wish you all Solstice Blessings.

 

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Osho Zen Tarot and Insight

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I don’t use cards very much and this is in fact the only tarot set that I own but it is a set that I am often drawn to when I really need insight into what is happening in my life.

I first came across the Osho Zen Tarot by Deva Padma, when I was receiving the Munay Ki rites. The tarot is nothing to do with Munay Ki but was used so each of us could gain insight into where we started and the shift that took place during the rites. I found the cards so powerful and insightful that I immediately set about getting hold of a set for myself.

At the moment I am going through a period of being still, of relaxing and enjoying what I have and where I am. When I say being still, what I really mean is helping spread many, many tons of gravel around our drive, house and patio, moving a load of wood chip from the front of the garden to the back so that I can top up the centre of my stone circle for the coming year and getting into a new work out regime after changing from Curves when it closed to an actual gym, somewhere I haven’t been for many years. Stillness and relaxation for me it seems simply means not seeing clients or teaching courses. It is so good to have the space to explore the physicality of my body through the gym and gardening, while the garden is also giving me chance to connect fully with nature in a way I haven’t for a while. Plus of course the amazing weather has made it a pleasure to be outside topping up my Vitamin D 🙂

This ‘time out’ is something I am really making the most of and which I am in no hurry to change in any way but nevertheless less it is still useful to know what this time is for so that I can consciously make the most of it and this is where the Osho Zen Tarot comes in.

For me one of the best ways of gaining insight is just to draw a single card and then reflect on it’s meaning. The other way is to use a Paradox spread and this is where I find the Osho Zen can be really insightful, giving as it does, the here and now, past life influences and of course the paradox.

Today I have done both and so have a clearer understanding of why I have been given this space, what is happening whilst I am ‘busy’ doing my own thing, and where it is leading me.

Rather than try and explain how the Osho Zen Tarot works and how it differs from normal tarot I have copied this extract from the write up on Amazon:

Osho Zen Tarot focuses ….on gaining an understanding of the here and now. It is a system based on the wisdom of Zen, a wisdom that says events in the outer world simply reflect in the outer world simply reflect our own thoughts and feelings, even though we ourselves might be unclear about what those thoughts and feelings are. So it helps us to turn our attention away from outside events so we can find a new clarity of understanding in our innermost hearts. The conditions and states of mind portrayed by the contemporary images on the cards are all shown as being essentially transitional and transformative.

Is it really Spring Equinox?

 

Yesterday it was snowing, today, a bank holiday, we have icicles outside the conservatory, the water in the water feature is frozen and we were going to go and have a walk on the beach but it’s sooooo cold brrrr. It really doesn’t feel like tomorrow is Spring Equinox.

As at Autumn Equinox tomorrow the light and dark will be in equal balance. Unlike at Autumn Equinox when the dark begins to take over, tomorrow it is the light that begins to return. I am hoping that along with the the light comes some much needed warmth.

It is not just me that is feeling the cold, the birds are eating us out of house and home having devoured a large drum of bird food in three days instead of the week to ten days it usually lasts. They have two bird feeders, a bird table and a feeder full of fat balls yet it still seems barely enough. Our daffodils are struggling, the furry shoots on the pussy willow seem to have gone into suspended animation and spring bulbs that would normally be showing signs of life are nowhere to be seen.

It is though much lighter than even a couple of weeks ago. There is a definite stretch in the day and on days when the sun appears there is beginning to be some warmth in it.

One of the things that it can be nice to do at Spring Equinox is to plant some seeds, often having spent time breathing plans and ideas for the months ahead into them with the idea that as they germinate and grow they will act as a reminder and a focus for your own plans. This year though if I am to do that I will need to plant them in a pot to be kept inside or in the greenhouse, as the ground is too hard and lacking in the warmth needed to germinate them.

For me, what is more important than doing anything specific, holding a ritual or ceremony, is to be aware of the turn of the wheel, the passing of time and the shift into a new part of the year. It may not feel like spring, nature may not be showing me it is, but the balance of light and dark will still be there tomorrow and this also gives me chance to stop and find the balance within myself if I give myself the time to do so.

The Holiday Tree

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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 🙂

Finding balance

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When I first started teaching courses and workshops I did what everyone else does and blocked in weekends where I felt it would all work. The problem I quickly found was that although the dates worked for me they didn’t work for others. I would advertise a Reiki 1 course for example and have one person book a place with four or five others interested but looking for different dates.

At first I tried to juggle this, attempting to adjust dates, connect people up etc but the more I did the more of a mess it became. Even my husband was asking me if I wouldn’t just be better waiting and letting it all sort itself out. Eventually I learnt that if I just handed it over to the Universe it all fell into place.

This was really hard for me to do though as being in control is what I was used to but somehow it worked and over time it did get easier. I also found the letting go of control spilled over into other areas of my life and I began to learn that sometimes it is best to just sit back and go with the flow.

Ever since then I have waited until I have enquiries and then arranged dates to suit everyone rather than planning things in advance. I never advertise unless I have spaces on a course or workshop that need to be filled. Recently though I became aware that my never having any courses or workshops arranged might sound a bit wishy washy to some prospective students and that I was maybe losing them. Perhaps they wouldn’t have been drawn to work with me or my energy anyway but there is never any harm in having a rethink. Maybe I have been going with the flow a little too much, after all there needs to be a balance in all things and I suspect I need to make a little effort too. Can’t leave everything to the Universe after all 🙂

Yesterday trying to be a little more proactive I advertised on Facebook that I am looking to arrange a Reiki 1 course. So far I have had several enquiries and have been able to send out information. I have no dates booked but as before I will arrange these with  people who are definitely interested.

It is far too soon to tell how this will work but it does feel a slightly better balance and allows me to put some energy out there, the energy of being willing and available to work. I am not really taking back control but just giving the Universe a bit of a push and maybe finding a better balance which now feels as if it should be a partnership.

Meditation

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I am not sure if I have mentioned this before or not but I don’t meditate. This is something that often comes as a surprise to people, especially my students when they first hear it.

I have a theory about it though and that theory is connected with my shamanic work. In shamanism when I shift into light or deep trance there is always a reason for it. I am always seeking insight or information or am carrying out a task of some kind in either ordinary or non ordinary reality. Were my intention to be to empty my mind and for it to stay that way then I would not  be able to do my work.

It’s not as if I haven’t tried. I can clearly remember when I was training  in Chios Energy Healing talking to my tutor about the difficulties I was having with the meditation. The meditation in Chios is an important part of the practice and in it the mind is cleared while the energy of the human body shifts to energetically become what is required of it. However, when I practiced when training my mind would fill with images, with scenes unfolding, information being imparted as they did so. I would push them away only for them to return almost immediately. Discussing this with my tutor I was told to just allow them to be, for they were there for a reason. And so I did and still do. None of this affects my ability to free my energy from its human bounds to allow it to be something else in any way.

What I do instead of meditating is I do Reiki. Through self treatments I am able to be still and even though I follow the energy, am aware of where it is working in me and yes sometime receive information and insight even when self treating it still brings me into that meditative state. Fortunately there have been studies that have shown practicing Reiki to have the same effect on the brain as meditation so I am completely content with what I do.

Writing can be hard work

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I am not at all sure I am a natural writer. Ideas do not pour out of me nor am I bursting with things that I need to get onto paper. At school I enjoyed creative writing but have never had a burning desire to write a whole fiction book. Non fiction is more my scene but hampered a bit by not really enjoying research. Not a lot going for me really is there 😦

The thing is that I actually enjoy writing when I get down to it and I loved somehow managing to produce a book that someone actually wanted to publish, but now I have a half finished manuscript that has been gathering dust and taking up space both physically and energetically. At the start of the year my guides gave me an ultimatum; either finish it or throw it away. No messing about there it seems yet three months in I have done neither.

This week though two things have happened that seem to have made a difference:

  1. A fellow author told me that they thought I was a good writer
  2. A friend who has written a book and has several publishers interested, keeps asking me if I have finished my book

Today I have pulled the draft manuscript off the bookshelf where it has been languishing since last October. I have blown the dust off, have deleted all other versions from my laptop so I am more focused and I am just about to read through and see how far I have got. On a word count I am about half way through so I know there is much more to do.

I may do no more than this today but that’s ok. My interest has been reawakened and the energy of the potential book stirred up. What I need to do now is keep this moving.

It has though got me wondering why the two things this week made so much difference and I think it’s because writers do not always get a lot of feedback. It’s hard to get people to take the time to write reviews on Amazon or on their blogs and I am as guilty of not doing this as everyone else is. As writers we also don’t often tell other writers what we think of their work and so we do not get real feedback from our peers. When we are creating we tend not to share what we are doing, holding our work close to our chest and nurturing it in private, so we may have no one to keep us going, no one showing any interest in where we are and what we are doing. Much of our feedback is in actual fact, based on book sales and if you write, as I have, for a small niche publisher, then getting sales, maintaining the drive to get your book seen and even better purchased, can be hard and it’s easy to run out of stream. When book sales are slow then confidence can quickly fall and it can be difficult to remember that this is a marketing issue and not a reflection on the quality of what we have produced.

So this is a plea:

  • If you have read something you like please write a review somewhere, anywhere.
  • If you can let an writer know that you like their work either by commenting on a blog, clicking the ‘like’ button, or in some other way please do.

Think of us writers as pet dogs or cats, sometimes we need stroking and by doing so you can  help encourage us to write more. It doesn’t take much 🙂