Fire in the stones; full moon and lunar eclipse


I’m not big on rituals simply for the sake of them. Even after spending time as an OBOD bard working my way carefully and methodically through the rituals and ceremonies I happily abandoned them again as soon as I began working as an Ovate and felt it was right to do so. For me it’s much more important to work shamanically, connecting with the energies around me, the spirits of wherever I am, with myself and also with my allies and then to work spontaneously following any guidance I’m being given. In this way any ritual takes place as and when it feels right or necessary and not just because it is a particular time of the year or turn of the wheel.

Even though it is nearly a year since my stone circle was created during which time I have worked within it and held fires, since filling the space with wood chip and so ‘finishing it’, it has taken me a while to be ready to really work there again. Last month though, at full moon I at last was called there and also drawn to work with fire.

I set my fire pit in the stone lined area I had created in the centre of my stone circle, laid bundles of garden sage and rosemary amongst the flames and then I spent some time there working with the energy of the circle and the spirits of the place, releasing both into the fire and into the energy of the full moon. As this was my first fire there since placing the wood chip around the stones and I was more than a little concerned about setting light to the wood chip but I was careful of sparks and all was ok 🙂
Tonight is both a full moon and a lunar eclipse, just the kind of evening where it would be brilliant to light another fire in the fire pit and spend some time within the stones once again but today it has been raining and is expected to continue to do so. The sky is very overcast so I suspect the chances of seeing either moon or eclipse tonight are pretty much none existent. This though does not negate the power of either the moon nor the lunar eclipse.

I have not been drawn to visit and sit with fire in my stone circle tonight but this does not mean that I am not mindful of the energies around me, nor of the need to be aware of their effects. As with any full moon I will be aware of what I am ready to give up, what has come to an end and what I can release to make space for something new but tonight I will be doing so in a gentler way than when I work with the powerful transformative energy of fire and to balance the strong energies around at this particular full moon, will be working with the energy of water instead.

New Experiences

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I am just back from holiday and like all holidays it has been full of new experiences. This can be something as simple as trying a new cocktail but in my case included seeing an Ocelot on a night drive, mastering how to stand up on a paddle board and making tamales and tortillas with a women’s co-operative in a Mayan village.

I really do appreciate I am very lucky to be able to travel and I have come back home full of enthusiasm for trying new things whenever I can.

I am also very lucky in my work as every new client or student brings me new opportunities to grow, develop and learn as I work. This is the nature of shamanic work and of teaching anything.

I make no apologies at all for highlighting how important new experiences are to us.

New experiences help to:

  • keep our brains functioning
  • slow down the appearance of time passing quickly – our brains take longer to process new information
  • stop us being bored
  • help to alleviate fear and build courage
  • open up new possibilities
  • help us to grow
  • develop new skills
  • keep us up-to-date
  •  enhance self esteem
  • feed creativity
  • breaks us out of ruts
  • provides new perspectives

So how can we gain new experiences on an overcast day at home when we have empty pockets?

These are just some of the things that come immediately to mind

  • walk a different way when you go out
  • turn left instead of right
  • pick up a different type of book when you go to the library
  • talk to a stranger
  • try drawing/singing/painting/dancing/skipping/something you don’t usually do – do it when no one else is around
  • write with your left/right hand, the one you don’t usually use
  • walk to somewhere you don’t usually go
  • write a book/an article/a letter/anything

I was going to keep going but if this has wet your appetite Tiny Buddha has 50 ways to Open Your World to New Possibilities 

Go, experience and enjoy, I certainly will be.

 

Taking time

 


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much we rush around nowadays and how little time we all seem to have for anything. We only have to look at over the counter pharmacuetical products to see how this lack is reflected in what we are being fed by companies too. Everything is express this, faster acting that, delivered yesterday or at worst in a few minutes.

It has taken a summer of being unwell to make me stop and take time. Firstly I had allergy asthma that progressed to bronchitis. This required three lots of antibiotics each one progressively stronger and each wiping out my body and immune system as fast as they were ‘curing’ me. I had no choice but to take these as without them my lungs and heart are seriously compromised but this doesn’t mean I liked doing it. Anyway, a few weeks after recovering I picked up a viral sinus infection which had vertigo like symptoms. It was, according to the Dr I saw, a mild version although it didn’t feel that way. She put it down to the effects of the antibiotics and I learnt then that it takes the body six weeks to overcome one lot of antibiotics so I can only imagine what three lots had done to me! This virus again cleared up only to return with a vengeance.

As a result of all this I decided to give myself what I clearly needed which was time. I stopped rushing around, I made space, once I felt well enough to go I allowed myself to wake up properly before going to the gym and to sit and have coffee and food afterwards. I have done things in small bites rather than all at once, and yes this is taking longer but so what.

I also made time to go for a massage and the conversation with my therapist reinforced my thinking. We were talking about the changes in my body, seven years after a car accident, lots of physio, Reiki,  Chi Kung and Tai Chi, massage, Bowen treatments, sound healing, cranio sacral work, and finally five months  (minus the time I’ve been unwell) in my local Curves gym. My muscles are different, stronger, my back tightens but lets go now rather than holds on and my body feels different now to both her and me. This has all happened because I allowed time, time to heal, time to recover, I listened to my body and what it needed, I paid attention to when things weren’t working, like yoga and Pilates, worked out why and then sorted out what might work. It’s been a long journey and it’s not over yet for there are still things I can’t do and which need more time.

This has all helped me to realise that we need to allow ourselves time to heal all the time and not just when something drastic happens to us. We should stop expect quick fixes where our health is concerned and give ourselves the gift we really need, we should be patient and allow ourselves to heal. We are and our bodies are immensely powerful but only if we give ourselves permission to take time and give ourselves what we need.

So heading into the winter I am doing what I can to build up and support my immune system, feeding and nourishing myself and I am going to continue to be patient with myself and allow myself to take time.

My body is in charge

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Well I am now at the end of my second week of feeling decidedly rubbish 😦 Unusually for me I had just given in and rolled with this which means I am at the end of my second week of doing …….. nothing very much.

I have been listening to my body and my body is screaming at me ‘rest’ even when my mind is saying I really should be doing something. Listening to my body and allowing it to be in charge, hard though it is, is actually making this all much easier than had I been fighting it.

When my mind is in charge it tries to make me do things, makes me feel bad when I am not doing anything, makes me eat even if I am not feeling hungry, makes me move about, makes me try and work through being unwell because that’s what we do isn’t it. We tell ourselves we do not have time to be ill and we push ourselves on.

The problem is that when we do that, when we push ourselves, when we ignore the messages our body is giving us, we can end up being worse than we would have been if we had stopped and given ourselves chance to recover. I have done this many, many times before now, sometimes because I am too busy to be ill, sometimes because I feel, incorrectly I might add, that I am too indispensable to stop, sometimes just because I can.

I have a book in my workspace ‘The Secret Language of Your Body’ by Ina Segal which is all about the messages our bodies try to get to us by not being ok in some way. I talk to my students and clients about how important it is to be paying attention so that we don’t end up really sick or so we can help ourselves to heal. Perhaps if I had been paying more attention before I was unwell I might not have reached this point, the pulled muscle in my side and torn muscle in my arm might, had I been aware enough, have been signs to stop or at least slow down, but rather than give myself a hard time over this I can at least allow my body to be in charge now so that I do not make myself worse.

So I have been paying attention and I really have been listening. When my mind tells me that it is two weeks since I was in the gym but my body reminds me that I barely have the energy to make a cup of tea I am sitting down and resting and when my mind says I should get up and do something but my body is struggling to hold itself upright I am staying put. Hopefully my body will take pity on me and recover quickly now as I am reaching that dangerous stage of beginning to feel a little better. I just hope I can continue to listen and allow my body to be in control.

The wanderer returns

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I’m back! I’m not sure if anyone missed me but I have been travelling for the last few weeks, firstly to Panama City and then on to Costa Rica and if there is one thing to sum up Costa Rica it’s the wild life, hence the photo of the Capuchin Monkey 🙂

I honestly think it is the country where the experiences I had couldn’t have been bought for any amount but relied on an adventurous spirit and the willingness to be still, connect with nature and wait.

The adventurous spirit came in handy when white water rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding and zip lining. I would add canopy walking but I already loved that and so it would be disingenuous to do so.

A few years ago I was in a car accident and received severe soft tissue and muscle damage to my upper back and damaged my left shoulder and neck. Through the years I have had Bowen treatments, lots of massage and Reiki and more recently Cranial sacral therapy and Scenar. I have also worked on myself a lot including regression to re-program my body at cellular level. I went back to yoga in the winter but had to stop, as using my arms a lot, or holding my arms up above my head (downward dog for example) is difficult and creates longer term problems that I then have to undo. I am only mentioning this because all the activities I listed, apart from the canopy walking, meant I had to use my arms way more than is comfortable and in ways I would usually avoid. Short of missing out, what was I to do other than dive in and see what happened. What happened was that my body amazed me in its ability to cope. The more I did the more I could do. Some of this may of course have been to do with the warm weather and high humidity but deep down I believe that it is also about allowing my body to move, so I am soon to try out pilates and see if that works for me plus I plan to re-introduce chi kung and tai chi to my life.

The willingness to be still, connect with nature and wait, resulted in many amazing encounters such as standing in the humming bird garden whilst the tiny bullet like creatures zoomed, buzzed and dived at and around me, watching Capuchin monkeys playing, rolling over each other and sliding down the palm roofs of the lodge, seeing how what looked like a tiny green leaf unfolded to become a green frog with red and orange legs, standing on the river bank and watching Jesus Christ lizards run across the water, and having been calling on and connecting to the spirit of the Quetzal, finally seeing it then being quiet so it wasn’t spooked away. There is of course so much more, way too much to list in this blog but I’m sure you get the idea.

Yes I appreciate that money was needed to get to Costa Rica but once there if I hadn’t been willing to have a go and to spend time being at one with nature my experience would have been a very different one.

And before I go I will share with you both a humming bird and the Resplendent Quetzal 🙂

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A ‘New’ Challenge :)

I need something to keep me blogging otherwise I have a tendency to drift. The challenge I found the first year worked brilliantly as it was flexible enough for me to always find something to write about. It was simple and used the alphabet, so week one was a post beginning with A and so on. I also had a Facebook group in which to share my blog which I also liked. Last year the only challenge I found didn’t suit me at all. I actually found the pressure of searching for something to say about things that were outside my experience quite stressful so I stopped and consequently so did my blog 😦

I thought I had found a challenge for this year but its mainly about tarot which I don’t use but today I discovered this:

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I’m not sure where its from as I couldn’t find the Facebook group when I searched but that doesn’t matter. I have 52 headings that I can use for blog prompts, if it doesn’t link to anywhere I am under no pressure to write when I don’t have anything to say and both of those points make it flexible enough for me this year 🙂

So I am going to start with the first prompt and sometime during the week will be back with a new post.Lets see if I can keep this one up.

On not meditating

Meditation came up in discussion with one of my blog followers recently and I was saying that I don’t meditate at all. I find that this often causes people to be surprised for there is a common assumption that anyone who is in any way spiritual must meditate.

It is known that practicing meditation brings great benefits. The studies that have taken place on the effects meditation has on the brain and therefore on mental health all support the benefit of daily meditation. I have no idea on a personal level though as I have never been able to meditate at all.

Instead of meditation I practice Reiki. Studies have also shown that Reiki has a similar effect on the brain to meditation but although it makes me be still and focused I am aware that it is not actually meditation. I also spend time in light trance when working with clients which in itself is a way of finding stillness but again it is not meditation. Likewise when I undergo shamanic journeying, I am still, I am in a trance like state, and sometimes may appear to be asleep but again I am not meditating, far from it.

The practices I work with are in fact the opposite to meditation. In most forms of meditation the aim I believe is to clear and empty the mind or focus on one thing like a mantra for example. In Reiki, most of the time, my mind even though at rest is aware of the energy, paying attention and receiving information. In light trance with clients I am receiving information constantly and then acting on that information. When journeying I am again gathering information, making decisions and choices and, as before, although I appear at rest and my mind relaxed it is still in some way, active. Rather than emptying my mind the practices I work with fill it but not in the same way that the Ordinary Reality that is everyday life does. Probably the nearest I get is when I go for a meditative walk, focusing as I place my feet upon the earth, the feel of it beneath me and the Earth energy I breathe in with each step that I take.

In the past I have tried to meditate but because I can shift into trance at will it is easy for me to do so and the space that others use to meditate I use to journey. When I first began training in Chios Energy Healing I worked very hard to practice the Orange-Red Ball Meditation that is part of Chios but had to contact my teacher for help as whenever I did this I would end up, not where I was supposed to be, but journeying. Yet I am most of the time, quite relaxed, my mental health is good, my mindfulness and being in the moment is part of what I try to do as I move through my day. I fully believe that for some people, like me, meditation is not a prerequisite for being able to walk a spiritual path in any way.

I also believe it is important to find the way that works for you and only you can know this, whether it be meditation or anything else. As with everything is it also important not to feel pressurised by anyone or anything to do something that doesn’t fit, nor be led to believe that what you do is any less because it is not the norm. When working with students I always explain this to them, that what many of us offer are suggestions, possible tools but their job is to decide which ones work, which ones sit well with them and which ones they wish to make part of their life or practice, knowing that everything else will be there if and when they need to make use of it.