In the Eye of the Storm and the Aftermath

Ophelia

We weren’t actually in the eye of the storm, more a bit to the right of it but that didn’t sound so good as a heading ūüôā¬†Ophelia though was an experience which thankfully we have survived almost intact.

So how was it?

Well, we listened to all the advice and outside moved anything loose; plants, pots, wheelie bins and even the tiny stone dragon, and gargoyle as well as the ironic garden gnome. We filled buckets with water to weigh them down and also so we had some extra water even if it was a bit green and slimy and then we gave up as we didn’t know what else we could do. Later, in the dark we ventured out to do some last minute moving of a table and my tiny oak saplings.

Inside we cleared all the window sills, lowered blinds and drew curtains. I’m not quite sure what this was for but suspect it was in case the windows blew in. We also filled up water bottles, kettles, anything we could get our hands on really so that we had as much fresh water available as possible.

The Irish have a very laid back ‘sure it’ll be fine’ attitude towards weather warnings, mainly because we get so many, but the night before we watched the weather forecast and listened to the warning that this was not ‘the tail end of a hurricane’ this was an ACTUAL hurricane. This might it seemed, be serious, especially as half the country (the bit I am in) had a red warning, the other half orange.

The morning itself I woke around 4am and weirdly could physically feel the hurricane coming, something in me had changed. I had not expected this in any way that on a physical level it would make its presence known. By about 7am we were wide awake. It was incredibly warm for October and still relatively calm but by now I had a headache.

We had been given comprehensive information as to when the storm was expected to reach the various parts of the country and as we still had power we knew it had reached the far south west and was on its way. By this point the whole country had a red warning. We put out phones back on charge and being very first world, also the electric toothbrush, then settled down in the lounge, the farthest point from the south/south east winds as well as the furthest from our (glass) conservatory and watched the drama unfold online.

Durning the morning we were more and more aware of the wind, sneaking peeps out of the windows at odd times we saw trees down on our crossroads, leaves blowing outside and felt the temperature drop dramatically.

Somehow we held onto power all morning, watching reports from those with mobile internet that the power had gone all around us and then at 12.30pm during the peak of the storm for us, the power went.

We had been expecting to be in the band of fiercest winds, shown as dark purple on the map, but the hurricane had changed course, very, very slightly, and so the damaging gusts were not as bad as we’d been warned. Yes it was fierce but it didn’t seem to be gusting as much as we had expected. Despite an incredibly strong desire to go and see what was happening we stayed hunkered down listening to the odd and unexplained noise from outside

Eventually around 4pm my headache cleared and we felt the worst had been and gone so we ventured out. Three ridge tiles had blown off the roof and were laying on the ground in an empty space where the table we moved in the dark the night before had once been. Somehow these fell the right way and so luckily missed going through the roof of our conservatory. We had also lost a couple of outside lights and the fascia from a shed. Oh and the contents of the fridge and freezer which have now had to be thrown out of course.

That evening we listened to the wind change direction to come from the North West. This then hit the end of the house we were sheltering in but luckily had lost lot of  its strength.

The next day dawned calm with blue skies and sunshine. We chanced the roads into town where a supermarket with its own generator, cleaned up by providing take away coffees. The delight of a hot drink. The afternoon saw us first of all clearing up fallen branches in the garden and then walking on the beach still in the sunshine. We had been lucky. No roads blocked, none of our trees down, others though weren’t as lucky.

In the city over twenty ancient lime trees had fallen completely blocking a road, all around the south and south west of Ireland trees had fallen and are still falling, my husband’s golf course is closed for the foreseeable future due to damage and we know that means a large number of trees have been lost. Three people lost their lives in the storm, damage to property is widespread.

Today and tomorrow we have another weather front bringing heavy prolonged rain. Drains and ditches are blocked with leaves and debris causing flooding on roads. The road from our village to town was only just passable this morning.

Our power came back on last night, others will still be out over the weekend it seems, maybe even into next week. ¬†We have another storm on the way after the rain. It’s called Brian which sounds harmless enough, but has winds that we are being warned could do even more damage coming after Ophelia. Lets hope not.

The three days we had without power have taught us the following:

  • Not having any idea what is going on anywhere is incredibly isolating, we may now get mobile internet on one of the phones, just in case.
  • We should have bought some baby wipes and hand gel then might not have felt quite so grubby.
  • Pot noodles, just add water pasta meals, tinned tuna etc would be handy to have in the cupboard
  • The old camping stove that we eventually remembered we had and unearthed from the shed yesterday will be better kept in the house in the future
  • Food in the fridge is not edible once the power has been off a while

We were lucky. We are a little sheltered from south/south easterly winds, if the next winds from Brian come from the north/north west as forecast they will hit us straight on. In that direction we are exposed ūüė¶

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 14.58.48Meet Brian!

I would like to think the energetic protection I put in place helped keep us safe, that the overtures I made when journeying to Ophelia persuaded her to change her course slightly (although I clearly wasn’t persuasive enough that the storm missed Ireland, or even us, completely), that connecting with Huracan (thanks Laura Perry for the suggestion) which was easier once I had discovered his links to Quetzalcoatl whom I know from Munay Ki, may have made a difference. Who can know for sure. What I do know is that with Brian brewing up a storm I am off to reinforce our energetic protection ….just in case.

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iPagan – New E-Book Release

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iPagan

Edited by Trevor Greenfield

Available now from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

 

 

A long time ago, or so it seems such is the length of time it can take for anything to be published, 40 Moon Books authors, of whom I am one, got together to write iPagan, a collection of essays on a range of Pagan topics.

The collection covers Druidry, Shamanism, Goddess Spirituality, Witchcraft, and Paganism today. It is available only as an ebook and with 40 writers and 59 topics for such a tiny price that it represents unbelievable value.

It would be hard for me to write a review being as I have a piece on ‘Signs, Symbols and Messages’ ¬†published in the section on Shamanism, but I am so looking forward to reading the other entries being as they include essays from amongst others; Ross Heaven, Luke Eastwood, Elen Sentier, Graeme K Talboys, Robin Hearne, Nimue Brown, Brendan Myers, Jane Meredith, Rachel Patterson, Morgan Daimler and Lucya Starza.

Amazon has its look inside feature in operation for the ebook, so why not go and have look. What have you got to lose?

Grounding – 4 ways to ground yourself

 

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I have just been reading an article in the paper regarding grounding. It’s big news apparently because it features on Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Gloop’. Those of us who work with energy though, know exactly how important it is to ground ourselves and I for one love the summer when I can be bare foot and in contact with the earth 24/7 ūüôā In the winter I am also bare foot as often as possible even when it’s cold. There is nothing nicer nor better for your health than taking your shoes and socks off an walking bare foot on grass, earth, the beach, anywhere really.¬†It is Earth energy that feeds and nourishes our physical bodies, keeps us grounded, in touch with our bodies and which helps our physical bodies have what they need to heal.

Grounding is a practice that can also help us ‘get out of our heads’ and so is also beneficial for our mental health.

I also ground myself when I arrive in a new place when travelling. Connecting with the Earth energy of a new place or country can help to relieve jet lag and even altitude problems if arriving in a place where the altitude is high.

So how do we ground ourselves? Like anything else there is no one way that works for everyone so the best way is to experiment and find what works for you.

The following are some of the ways that I use myself and with my students. If you find it difficult to do these while you are reading you might like to get a friend to read them to you while you try them out or even record yourself in some way so you can listen and follow the steps.

 

Grounding 1

  • Go outside and find a quiet space with some grass, bare earth or beach, where you will be undisturbed.
  • Take your shoes off and walk barefoot on the grass, earth or sand.
  • With every step be aware of your foot and its connection with the surface you are walking on and with the Earth.
  • As you walk, breath in deeply imagining the breath coming up through the soles of your feet as you place each foot on the Earth.
  • Focus only on your breathing, the feel of the surface and the Earth energy as it flows into you.

 

Grounding  2

  • Sit quietly with your feet flat on the floor, without shoes is best, and make sure your spine is straight.
  • Close your eyes and imagine, sense or visualise, roots flowing from the soles of your feet into the Earth (Don’t worry if you are not on the ground floor this will still work).
  • Send the roots flowing down, spreading out beneath your feet, anchoring firmly into the Earth.
  • Now breathe in deeply imagining the breath coming up from the Earth into the soles of your feet, up your legs and into your body.
  • Continue this for a few minutes at least and with every breath feel the connection between the soles of your feet and the Earth becoming stronger as if a magnet is pulling you.

Grounding 3

  • Sit quietly with your feet flat on the floor, without shoes is best, and make sure your spine is straight.
  • Close your eyes and imagine, sense or visualise, a Lotus Flower opened out beneath you and yourself sat upon it.
  • Imagine, visualise, sense or simply know that the roots of the Lotus Flower flow deep into the Earth beneath you.
  • Now breathe in deeply imagining the breath coming up from the Earth into the base of your spine and into your body.
  • Continue this for a for as long as you wish and with every breath feel the Earth energy flowing up into your body, breathing the energy up into you as far as feels comfortable for you.

 

Grounding  4

  • Sit comfortably, your spine should be straight and your feet flat on the ground
  • Place your hands in your lap and relax
  • Take a few deep breaths and release anything on your mind
  • If you find thoughts coming into your mind, just let them go like passing clouds,¬† ¬† ¬†don’t attach yourself to them
  • Now bring your awareness to your feet and feel their connection with the earth
  • Breathe in deeply this time breathing in through the soles of your feet
  • Feel yourself connecting even more strongly with the earth.
  • You might like to sink some roots into the earth so that you are really anchored
  • Take a few more breaths through your feet and draw the energy as far up into your body as is comfortable for you
  • Now bring your awareness the base of your spine and imagine or visualise a thick taproot going from your spine into the Earth
  • Let the taproot flow down deep into the Earth connecting you even more strongly
  • Breathe in again knowing that you are breathing in all the nurturing energy of the Earth
  • Continue to breathe the Earth energy up into your body, up through your belly and up into your diaphragm under your ribs if it feels comfortable for you to do so.

Grounding

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IMHO grounding ourselves is one of the most important things for any of us to be doing every single day. The more grounded we are the more we are in contact with our bodies, our physical beings and the more we can deal with whatever comes at us in a practical and useful way.

When we are stressed and have lots of things running back and forth through our minds it is easy to get caught up in that headspace, grounding ourselves can help to bring us back into contact with our physical bodies and settle us. I am not saying for one minute that it will solve all of our problems but it can help. I often see clients who are stressed, anxious or depressed and almost always, helping to settle their thoughts by balancing their energy and bringing some back down from that head space and into their bodies can really make a difference. Grounding ourselves and our energy can do the same.

I always work with my students whether it be Reiki, Chios or Shamanism or something else that they are training in by making sure they all know how to ground themselves. When we are running energy, having energy caught in our higher chakras, or the upper part of the energy body, is a sure way of becoming unbalanced and even sick, grounding before we work can help stop this. That spacey, away with the faeries feeling can be lovely but is not good for any length of time, neither is it safe. The warning about not driving, operating machinery, making important decisions should apply to everyone who is running or working with energy but who is not grounding themselves regularly.

At the end of a treatment with clients I always ground them before finishing as this can stop them being light headed or dizzy when they sit or stand up.

There are many ways of grounding ourselves and on my website I have an article on Grounding  which has several ideas for how to do this and which you might like to explore but here I am sharing two simple ideas with you.

Grounding Exercise 1

Go outside and find a quiet space with some grass, where you will be undisturbed.
Take your shoes off and walk barefoot on the grass.
With every step be aware of your foot and its connection with the grass and the Earth.
As you walk, breath in deeply as you place each foot on the Earth.
Focus only on your breathing, the feel of the grass and the Earth energy as it flows into you.

Grounding Exercise 2

Sit quietly with your feet flat on the floor, without shoes is best, and make sure your spine is straight.
Close your eyes and imagine, sense or visualise, roots flowing from the soles of your feet into the Earth (Don’t worry if you are not on the ground floor this will still work).
Send the roots flowing down, spreading out beneath your feet, anchoring firmly into the Earth.
Now breathe in deeply imagining the breath coming up from the Earth into the soles of your feet, up your legs and into your body.
Continue this for a few minutes at least and with every breath feel the connection between the soles of your feet and the Earth becoming stronger as if a magnet is pulling you.

 

If you would like to delve back into the archives you can find my ‘G’ post from 2014

Brigid and Brigid’s Cross

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One of the first things that I learnt to do when I moved to Ireland was to make a St Brigid’s cross. I hadn’t heard of them at all before I moved and had to be taught not only how to make it but also what to do with it when it was made.

Describing how to make one is complicated without diagrams so having found this online today I thought I would share it in case anyone else is drawn to make one. This link includes a nice video if a child making one, it’s not difficult ūüôā I like that the instructions say to use straws or reeds for there are a special type of reed that grow in wetlands, used to make them here, a reed I recognise whenever I come across it, but the site of which I always forget¬†come February.

I was told that it was the tradition where I live, to make a new Brigid’s cross every year and to place it in the loft on a rafter to protect the house from fire, which used to be a common problem in old houses in Ireland. In old houses chimneys were left¬†unlined and any chimney fire¬†could easily escape and leap through the loft space taking the roof and very often the whole house. I have since discovered that they are also used to ward off evil but maybe I looked too innocent to be told that I might need to do this ūüôā It was a long time ago!

So who was Brigid?

Brigid was a Pre-Christian, Celtic goddess who was associated with smithcraft, poetry, healing, childbirth. She is sometimes spoken of as a Triple Goddess and is always closely associated with fire. In fact the fire associations are so strong that a perpetual fire was set at Kildare in her honour, a fire which still burns today. Brigid is also known of as  Brid, Bride, Brighid, Brigit, Brigantia, Briginda, and Brigdu.

In Irish mythology Brigid appears as a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann and was the daughter of the Dagda, wife of Bres and had a son named Ruadán. To the Catholic Church though she is known as Saint Brigid and spoken of only as sharing her name with the Celtic goddess. It is said that St Brigid was the child of  Brocca, a Christian woman baptized by Saint Patrick, and that her father was Dubthach, a Leinster chieftain. As Brocca was a slave, Brigid was born into slavery. Some stories say that Brigid was baptised by St Patrick, others that she grew up as his friend.

If you would like to read more about Brigid, the Celtic goddess though the OBOD have an article that can be accessed here and which contains a lot of additional information.

What is known is that the¬†the¬†pagan festival of Imbolc or Imbolg, is associated with the goddess Brigid. The festival marks the beginning of spring has been celebrated since ancient times. It is a Cross Quarter Day, midway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. ¬†It can actually fall anywhere between 2nd & 7th of February as it is calculated as the mid point between the astronomical Winter Solstice and the astronomical Spring Equinox, however it is often celebrated on 1st February, which is the same date as the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion celebrate St Brigid’s Day.

And what about Brigid’s crosses?

There are many stories her as to how the tradition of these crosses originated and this is just one of them:

There was an old pagan Chieftain who was on his¬†deathbed in Kildare when his servants summoned Brigid to his beside in the hope that the she might be able to¬†calm his restless spirit. Brigid is said to have sat by his bed, consoling and calming him . Whilst she was here she picked up some rushes from the floor and began weaving them into the distinctive cross pattern. As¬†she weaved, she explained the meaning of the cross to the sick Chieftain and it is thought her calming words brought peace to his soul and requested that he be baptised as a Christian ¬†before his passing. Ever since that day it has been customary on the eve of Brigid’s Feast Day on 1st February, to fashion a St Brigid’s Cross of straw or rushes and place it in the roof of the house over the door as a means of protecting the house.

Brigid has always been¬†held in high regard in Ireland, many wells in all parts of the country are named after her, the symbol of her¬†cross is to be found in many Irish designs and there is even a pilgrimage route that can be walked, known as an the Brigid’s Way an¬†Ancient Path between Sky and Earth

 

No Resolutions – Lots of Intention

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I never make New Year’s resolutions and in fact, never have. Growing up they were never part of my own experience as none of my family ever made them and the only time I was really aware of them being mentioned was by people discussing how quickly they had broken them, usually in connection to losing weight or giving up something they really enjoyed but felt others disapproved of. I guess I have never really seen the point of making a resolution that¬†I knew there was a high chance I was going to break or to make one that was to do with others opinions or judgements not something that was actually important to me.

This doesn’t mean though that I don’t do anything. I actually do quite a lot around this time of year and this year it has felt necessary to do more than most years for some reason. The reason why doesn’t matter, what matters is that I listened to the messages, the awareness, the gut instinct that what I did and continue to do now, is important in some way.

So what have I been doing?

Those of you who read my blog will know that I have been doing ¬†a lot of reflecting, looking back at what has been going on, looking at what needs to be left behind, changed in some way and what I want to hold on to. Part of the way I have been doing this, this year, ¬†is that I have¬†made a list of all that I do, the ways I go about my life, things I am happy with, things that I am not, things that I am not sure about and so on…..I’m sure you get the picture. I then made column of the pros and cons of each and then a final column for am I keeping them on not. This was a really interesting thing to do as it really helped me clarify my thinking and see what was happening. I have let it sit there for some days now and this again has given me space to reflect on my initial thoughts.

Today I was fortunate enough to¬†be able to go to a women’s circle which gave us all a few¬†hours of time for reflecting on the year gone and what we were stepping into, fire to release, to transform and water to help carry the flow of our intentions into the coming year. This was very much in line with what I had been feeling I¬†needed to do and also in line with what astrologers have been¬†saying about planetary alignments and the need to be clear about what we take forward into 2017. Also numerologicaly we are leaving a number 9 year which is the end of a cycle and entering a number 1 year which is new beginnings, so it really makes sense to have a good clear out before we go.

I had wanted to share a post about the planetary alignments but as so often happens couldn’t find what I was looking for but instead came across this……..

AT THE END OF THE YEAR

As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they become inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.

Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.

We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.

John O’Donohue

Excerpt from, ‘At the End of the Year’
BENEDICTUS (Europe) / TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US (US)

May our reflections bring us clarity and insight, may we recognise the many blessing that the past year has given us even if the lessons sometimes have been hard, and may we carry forward our dreams for the coming year in the knowledge that we create our own reality and dream our world into being.

Happy New Year and a blessed, peaceful and abundant 2017 everyone xx

Samhain non ritual, ritual

 

As a Bard with the OBOD I valiantly worked my way through the rituals associated with the eight festivals of the year. My own guides advised me to do this so that I whenever I went my own way, I did so from a place of understanding, which made complete sense and over the year and a bit, this gave me a much stronger connection to all the times when the wheel turns rather than just the ones that resonated with me most strongly. As an Ovate now I have completely let go of this practice and have reverted to going where I am guided or drawn, attempting to live the wheel of the year rather than focusing on the rituals.

Samhain, the end of one year and the beginning of another, again saw me doing my own thing which as a solitary practitioner is easy to do in a way that were I to mark the festivals with others would not be.

Originally I had thought that I might use the space on the 29th, when I had plenty of free time, to mark Samhain and had in mind working in some way within my stone circle. What actually happened was that on Saturday I spent the day in the garden cutting back some of our hedging, something that is very much part of clearing and tidying at the end of the year. The 30th then saw me on a forest walk, enjoying the crunch of leaves beneath my feet and the changing colours of the trees and plants around me.

The 31st, Samhain itself, again found me in the garden, continuing the clearing and tidying, planting bulbs for the spring and eventually in the stone circle lighting a Samhain fire. This gave me chance to work with my allies and the spirits of the place, to sit within the stones and mark the passing of the year by offering the fruits of the land, leaves, wood, herbs – Rosemary, Sage, Bay Leaves and the last of the Evening Primrose flowers to the ancestors.

This year, this is what felt and continues to feel absolutely right for me, this time next year