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 ūüė¶

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 ūüôā

Every Day Magic

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Moon Books, who are my publishers, have been working on a new community book ‘Every Day Magic: A Pagan Book of Days’ which is due to be published in the Autumn.

This is going to be a brilliant book, a dip into book, a perpetual calendar of activities, meditations, visualisations and more, something for every day in fact. Let’s face it, who doesn’t need magic every day.

Lucya Starza who is the editor has blogged about the book on her blog and you can read a little about it by following this link: Every Day Magic

Eggs in Shamanic Healing

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One of my first blog posts for the Pagan Blog Project when it was running and when I first began this blog, was about Eggs. I am not going to rewrite the post again but am going to give you the link here as I do believe it is worth revisiting.

Eggs

I really should have titled the post Eggs in Shamanic Healing as that is where my interest and fascination lay and still lies if I am being honest.

I love the idea that something we use in our kitchens can also be a tool in our healing. We often think of things in the garden, that which we find in nature such as stones, plants, or feathers in this way but not necessarily an item of food.

Since I first discovered how to make use of eggs in my shamanic healing work they have become a useful tool and one that I use whenever it is needed. I am still fascinated by the way in which an egg rolled over the body can pick up information about the state of the body and which can then impart that knowledge to me through my interpretation of what it shows me. I have carried out some insightful and powerful healing thanks to eggs and hope to continue to do so as long as they are happy to work with me in this way.

If you haven’t looked at the link yet but are now intrigued…here it is again Eggs¬† Enjoy ūüôā

Divination, Insight and Guidance

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Usually by this time of the year I have taken a pack of cards, most often Ted Andrews Nature Speak ones which I always find scarily accurate, and carried out a spread for the coming year. This year though this seems to have been overlooked and although I was aware that it remained undone as it were, until today I was unaware of why. Talking with my guides this morning I had the overwhelming desire to draw one of Denise Linn’s Soul Coaching cards and the one I drew was ‘Simplicity’. Never one to use anyone else’s explanation I spoke further with my guides and by the end of it both the card and the reason why I had, on one level anyway, decided not to do a year’s spread became clear to me.

I rarely use cards for divination, although I am more likely to draw a single card as I did today for guidance. Despite having many sets of cards I am, for example, far more likely to pick up a pendulum to ask a question, undertake a shamanic journey for insight, take myself out on a signs and omens walk with a clear intention, or simply chat with my guides. I don’t believe it matters at all what we do to divine answers, or how we seek insight or guidance as long as we are clear about what we are doing and why. In other words as long as we use whatever we have carefully, with common sense and discernment.

Many years ago at an early stage in this part of my journey I was in a small local shop looking for a pendulum. The person who owned the shop allowed me to play with one that I was drawn to and watched me for a while before telling me that sometimes she refused to sell them to people. She was, she told me, very cautious about the way in which people were going to use them. If she had someone whom she felt was going to use the pendulum to decide what to have for their tea, or choose between tea or coffee for example, she would gently persuade them that it was maybe not the right thing for them to be working with.

At the time I didn’t really understand this. Why, I felt, could people not do whatever they wanted with them? Now though I completely understand. We have many, many tools available to us, some work beautifully with us, others less so depending on our own abilities, I for example, despite being a natural dowser, cannot map dowse to save my life, some work better in some circumstances than others, like us they all have their uses, strengths and weaknesses and it is important we recognise that, know which tool to use when and when to use nothing at all. What we also have is ourselves, our own intellegence, knowledge, skills and intuition and sometimes what we need to be doing is trust in ourselves and what we know or what we feel instinctively. We do not need to be second guessing ourselves all the time and we should never become dependent on any tool, in any way, or for any reason. This is what the woman in the shop meant and she was quite right.

The understanding I received today came not from the cards or from my guides, although talking to them helped me gain clarity. It had everything to do with my looking at what had happened over the past year and seeing how little I used the yearly spread, how seldom I referred to it once it was done, or even remembered it was there. It had shifted from being a useful tool to being a habit, one I no longer needed. The card ‘Simplicity’ merely highlighted the need to strip things away, to simplify things and not complicate them by doing something that I didn’t need to using tools that served no purpose in this particular way at this particular time. I do not need to divine my future, I have no need or desire to know now what the year ahead might hold. This morning put the tools back in perspective and allowed me to set aside a habitual practice. Insight and guidance, and yes divination, will come as the year unfolds but not for me at this time.

And yes I do have a crystal ball tucked away on a shelf, covered with a silk cloth.

 

Cleansing and Purifcation

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I have blogged before about how I used to really dislike the month of February, how after the Winter Solstice, the seasonal¬†celebrations, the period of recovery, of getting back to normal, it always felt a bit flat, a bit nothing in particular and that I was always relieved when it was over. I then discovered that historically February was the month of cleansing and purification and it all felt a bit¬†better. Yet¬†here I am on Imbolc itself, the first day of spring with the wind howling and the rain lashing, if ever it felt a time for closing down and hibernating, today, and if the forecast is right, the next couple of days are it, never mind a spring clean and a purification of home and of body. This is a good reminder for me of why I am usually delighted and not a small bit relieved for it to be March with its promise of better things to come. Mind I have until 15th February before the historical period of Purification began so there is still time…..she says hopefully.

This does seem a good time for me to share two of my past blogs which contain information about February, pagan rituals and ideas for cleansing and purification, again this should save you trawling back through the archives for them:

Cleansing 

Spring Cleaning 

This year, on the whole so far, the winter¬†has been mild, the winds often slack and our windows have been wide open more than they have been closed so the need I usually have to open them wide and allow the element of air to move through and do its work is needed less than usual it seems. The garden is not covered in bits of windfall from the ash and hawthorn and so I have no need to go gathering kindling, at the moment anyway. So unless anything changes as the month unfolds, this February my cleansing and purification is going to focus on ME ūüôā

Since the summer I have been working in a gym again, the first time for six of seven years. I am discovering muscles I hadn’t seen for a long time and a physical strength that I had thought was lost forever. My 2017 cleansing and purification rituals then are going to be used to get to¬†know it again, how it is now, to deeply cleanse by spending time with it rather than the quick in and out of the shower it is used to. The purification will be¬†through what I eat¬†which will be as healthy and light as I can make it during the winter. So lots of fresh fish, vegetables, salads, meals made from scratch and of course the odd bar of chocolate and glass of wine ūüôā

 

 

Sowing Seeds


With Imbolc almost upon us, although many rituals are about purification for me it is the perfect time to think about sowing seeds, the seeds that will then have chance to germinate as we move through the spring and this gives everything a head start.  

I am of course not talking about actual seeds in the garden, as the earth is too cold for us to do that still, at least it is where I live, but the seeds of ideas, plans, intentions for the things that we would like to bring in during the coming year.

If, like me, you have been using the past weeks to reflect and let go of whatever is no longer needed, then space has been cleared for the new to come in, if not then there is still time to do this, no one says this can only be done once a year or only during the winter. The more space there is in our lives the more we can co-create, without space it is a bit like piling more and more in the wardrobe without moving anything out, something I am  unfortunalty very guilty of. Fortunately in the rest of my life I am much better at having a regular clear out ūüôā 

As an OBOD Ovate I have plenty of access to rituals, but as a shamanic and energy healer I much prefer to use my intuition, listen to my guides and allies and work with the energy of both the place I am holding my ritual in and of course the day itself. Consequently I have no idea what type of ritual or ceremony I will have for Imbolc yet.

These are just two ways that could be used to sow seeds at Imbolc though :

1. Planting Actual Seeds

  • Prepare a pot with soil and have a handful of seeds ready. 
  • Take one seed and hold it in your hand, focus on ONE thing you want to bring in and breathe this into the seed
  • Plant the seed in the pot 
  • Repeat with one seed for each idea
  • Water the seeds and place the pot where you will see it regularly 
  • Every time you see the pot, every time you water the seeds think of all the things you are growing 

2. Working with the Elements Fire and Air

  • Take a sheet of paper and cut it into strips
  • On each strip write one idea, plan or intention 
  • Find a safe place to have a small fire, or use a burning bowl, 
  • Taking one piece of paper at a time read what you have written there.
  •  Do this twice, once internally for your heart and once out loud using your voice and the air of your breath to give your intention power.
  • Place this piece of paper into the flame so the element of fire can transform the energy of your idea. 
  • Repeat with each piece of paper
  • When the fire has dies down and the ashes are cool, blow or throw them into the air doe the element Air can breathe life into your ideas. 

Getting Back On Track – Ancestors

The year I began my blog there was a Pagan Blog Project running where each week the organisers would post the letter for the week along with some suggestions of what we could write about. There was even a Facebook group for us to share our blogs in. This project was a real blessing as it made me write and helped me to blog regularly. Following this I found a group for Monday Musings which also helped me to keep blogging but sadly both of these ended and ever since I have found it harder to ensure I am blogging regularly. So this year I have made a decision:)

I am not going to pressurise myself by promising I am going to post every week, sometimes it may be more, sometimes less, but what I am going to do is go back through the alphabet and start again at A. I have decided that I will do two things.

1) I will write a new blog using a different word for my letter of the week

2) I will add a link to any Pagan Blog Projects or Monday Musings that are for the same letter

This way some weeks you will get two blogs for the price of one without having to search back through the archives.

So¬†here we go ūüôā

A is for Ancestors

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When I think about my ancestors there are two strands to my thoughts. One of these is ¬†my family and the other ‘all that exists’.

If I take my family first ¬†don’t know a lot about my ancestors, only my immediate family, as far back as my grandparents. I know stories and snippets of memories beyond this but no hard facts and my pathetic efforts at tracing my family ground to a resounding halt.

Some things I do know, such as the fact that my maternal grandmother was one of, I believe seven,¬†but they were¬†spread out between various places in the United Kingdom and U.S.A. and¬†contact between them became intermittent. I know that I have relatives¬†in USA some of whom are of Italian/American decent.¬† I also know that my paternal great grandparents were Irish but with family records being lost after my father passed I don’t know their names or where they were from. Like many things, by the time I was interested those who could have told me were no longer with us.

Growing up we were never a family who had photographs of ancestors, or of anything else on display and despite being an avid photographer, like my father was, it is scenery and animals that I take photos of, not people, and again none are on display. This is in stark contrast to those who might not only have photographs or paintings of their ancestors around the house but also on their altars as a sign of respect and constant remembrance. Just think about stately homes with large paintings depicting generations of ancestors, a constant reminder of those who have walked this path before. How far away from this some of us, myself included have moved.

In shamanism though I am very fortunate for I can journey to meet and spend time with my ancestors even if I do not know who or what they were. I am still able to make and develop connections. Quite early on my shamanic path I was journeying to meet my ancestors and can still remember my surprise at being able to meet and connect with generations of ancestors despite having no information on them or knowledge of them. I have walked back in time in shamanic dance workshops, connecting with my ancestral past as I have travelled, I have sat with ancestors deep in conversation and am fortunate enough to have a past life ancestor as one of my guides, someone whom I count as one of the biggest influences on my shamanic path.

It is though the sense of being one with everything which gives me my greatest connection to my ancestors and again it was early on my shamanic path that I was shown this. During a shamanic journey working with my ancestors I found myself becoming pure energy and in that energetic state was flew around becoming one with animals, birds, trees, plants, earth, sand, sea, sky, stars and in this realised the truth of my ancestors and I being part of all that exists and that all that exists are my ancestors.

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My original post for A was on Altars and if you click here you can read about them too