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 ūüôā
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.

14 Reasons Why It Is Important to Ground Yourself 


As a follow up to my post the other day about how to ground yourself I thought it was worth a quick look at why it is so important to be grounded.

1. If you are always in your head rather than connected with your body it is not good for your mental health and contributes greatly to stress and anxiety.

2. Being disconnected from your physical body can also make you unbalanced and even physically ill.

3. If you are working with energy, or developing your spiritual self for example, and not grounding yourself it is very easy to become unbalanced, which you’ve probably guessed, can make you physically ill.

4. If you are drawing energy down from the Universe via your crown, no matter what that energy is or how you are working, if you are not grounding yourself then you can become quite spaced out, which as I remind my students, may feel lovely, but isn’t very practical.

5. We need both Spirit or Universal energy to feed and nourish our souls/spirits but we also need Earth energy to feed and nourish our physical bodies. This sometimes gets overlooked or forgotten and again can make us unbalanced and eventually sick.

In addition: 

6. Grounding yourself boosts your immune system.

7. Grounding yourself helps to allieviate physical.

8. Grounding yourself helps to reduce stress and anxiety.

9. Grounding yourself can improve your sleep.

10. Grounding yourself can improve your circulation. 

11. Grounding yourself can increase your energy levels.

12. Grounding yourself can reduce the effects of jet lag.

13. Grounding yourself can reduce the effects of acclimatising to altitude. 

14. Grounding yourself can help you ‘feel at home’ when you arrive in a new place.

Don’t take my word for it, get out here, take your shoes off and try it. 

You will probably find more benefits than I’ve suggested here, as I said this is just a quick look………and if you do please post them in the comments so others may know them too. 

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. 

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

Summer Solstice

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Summer Solstice is usually one of my favourite times of the year. I love the balance of day and night and coming as it does in the midst of summer, celebrating outside is often not only possible but enjoyable. Summer Solstice is the one time of year I really look forward to marking by some kind of ritual, sometimes with friends and sometimes as a solitary.

This year though, for some reason it is different. Time has somehow got away from me and was only a day or two ago that I actually realised Solstice was creeping up on me, for one moment I even thought I had missed it completely. This came as quite a shock for even though I don’t religiously follow the ritual of a wheel of the year, I do, in my own way, acknowledge the passing of time and the turning of the wheel.

This year as part of my Ovate training with the OBOD I have been trying to live the wheel by ¬†observing changes in the world around me so that I am always aware of where and when I am. Because it has been warm, dry and sunny I have been outside a lot, in the garden, working with plants, tidying, planting and just generally enjoying the natural world around me. Perhaps it is because it’s been such amazing weather (not always the case where I live),¬†¬†that I somehow hadn’t noticed the passing of time, or perhaps I have just so been caught up in the enjoyment of a dry, warm spell that I haven’t been aware of where in the year I am. Whatever has happened Summer Solstice is tapping on my shoulder and at the moment I have no plans.

In many ways I am pleased about this for it gives me complete freedom to work with my intuition, my guides, allies and the¬†spirits of place, on the day of Summer Solstice itself, ¬†to mark the time in whatever way I am guided. I actually prefer this way of creating ceremony or ritual to using anything anyone else has constructed or which can be found in a book and of course if I am¬†alone I don’t have to take into account anyone else’s energy or wishes.

I am almost expecting that solstice this year will be different anyway, the energy higher perhaps as with the full moon just a few hours before the Summer Solstice sunrise it can hardly fail to have some effect. I am though being patient and with a few days to spare I still have time to sow the seeds of Summer Solstice, to wait to see how they germinate, what grows from them and what form the ritual takes this year.

Do you keep a journal for your experiences?

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The good thing about doing a challenge that no one knows I’m doing is that I can pick and choose what I do ūüôā For the last couple of weeks I haven’t really felt like writing, plus there has been lots of other things to do, more important things, like cutting the hedges before the birds start nesting and getting the area of garden prepared and sown with wild flowers to attract butterflies but with all of that done I’m back…for now at least….

Having found my way back the next questions on the challenge, questions 7 and 8, didn’t appeal to me at all.Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 10.49.22

So because I can do what I want I am skipping ahead to number 9, ‘Do you keep a journal for your experiences?’ because this I do.

At the beginning I resisted keeping one even though my Reiki Master apprenticeship asked that I did. When younger I had never kept, nor wanted to keep, a diary so didn’t see why I should start doing so as a mature adult. Reluctantly and under no small amount of pressure I eventually gave in and resorted to loose leaf paper in a ring binder on the grounds I could take pages out and destroy them should I so choose. Needless to say I never did.

I soon realised how the keeping of a journal helped me to see what was going on, to find patterns, tease out threads and understand the process I was going through, to connect the dots as it were. Without my journal I would never have made connections between events or experiences several months or even years apart, nor would I have had a clear picture of my own development.

I still keep a journal only now its a spiral bound book, nothing fancy, just a normal A4 notebook, and I don’t use it every day, just when something feels significant, when I chat to my guides or when I take a shamanic journey for myself. I also have more than one journal, the one I have described plus smaller A5 ones that are my journey through the Order of the Bards, Ovates and Druids, first as a Bard and now as an Ovate. These are smaller as they sometimes go out and about with me. At the moment I have two of these plus a book of rituals as they each serve a different purpose.

When I’m teaching, be it Reiki or Shamanism, I always suggest students keep a journal for without one I have no idea how you can go back and make sense of things e.g. by seeing patterns or by finding the deeper, sometimes hidden, meaning in a journey. No matter how intelligent we believe we are, nor how good our memories, we cannot possibly hold all of our experiences any other way and if we wish to see how far we have come and know where we need to go next our journals can show us the way.