Every year I go into solstice with idea about how I might mark the occasion and every year it works out differently. Think I’d learn wouldn’t you.

I began this year thinking I might see if anyone was around to drum, then quickly realised everyone was working, then I thought I’d watch the live link from Newgrange and during the day make a Despacho, a form of prayer bundle which I could then offer to the spirits in a solstice fire in my stone circle. This way I could drum while the spirits consumed the bundle along. Did any of this happen? No!

Instead an incredibly dark solstice morning found me driving to the dentist as I had a niggly tooth and needed to get it checked out before Christmas. During the drive, feeling disappointed not to be watching the sun fail to rise and illuminate the passage at Newgrange (it was a dull misty, damp morning everywhere in Ireland) when I realised that just as I often do a sign and omen walk I could do the same whilst driving as long as I was careful to also pay attention to the road of course. So shifting my awareness I asked for signs and omens for the day that was in it. Sure enough I soon became aware of my focus being drawn first to the bare trunks of clusters of birch trees as I drove past, then my gaze lifting above the trees and hedgerow to the lightness beginning to grow in the sky in the distance and finally to the crow flying directly towards me. As crow is someone I work with and whom is around often I asked for confirmation and was rewarded with a second crow immediately flying from a tree across the road in front of me. As with all signs and omens the real comes later in interpreting these and so I held onto them until I could sit, journey, gain insight, reflect and make sense of what I had been given.

Returning home, tooth sorted I was again disappointed that the weather was even worse. I had driven home through thickening fog and miserable drizzly rain neither of which are conducive to drumming outside and fire ceremony. So a quick rethink found me in my log cabin where I was guided to select two cards from Ted Andrews, Nature Speak Cards. I thought I was drawing these for myself until I was guided to draw a third which was solely for me and realised the first two were also to share here.

The first card was drawn for the darkness and was: Tulip – Trust in your efforts

Sometimes we feel that we aren’t really getting anywhere, making any progress but our efforts are working and rewards are coming if we continue to stay focused on them and to discriminate as to how and where to use them.

The second card was drawn for the light and was: Garden – Time for nurturing

This is a reminder to nurture yourself and to do things that give you joy, to sow new seeds in your life and then watch them grow. Doing this will stimulate new energies around you.

I have a suspicion that the signs and omens I received on my drive were also meant to be shared hence this blog post but as with all shamanic work the interpretation of them for anyone other than me is not mine to make. Basically, without going into details, for me the three signs together show me what I need to release and what I need to grasp hold of and carry with me as the shift from darkness to light takes place.

Maybe the signs I was given resonate with you in which case do reflect on them and what they might mean to you, or maybe this might inspire you to do your own signs and omens drive or walk.

I did drum, but out of respect for my drum, in my log cabin and not in the rain in my stone circle.

Just an aside here as yesterday where I live it was a seriously dark day, no sky visible, absolutely no light to be seen. I was out last night and I have never experienced such a deep and dark night, total blackness everywhere. I really do think this was the darkest solstice I have ever seen. May the light come quickly and shine brightly on us all in the coming months.

 

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A Brief Encounter

(not my photo I wasn’t quick enough) 

This morning driving to the gym (I put that in to impress everyone 😂) I suddenly realised that a bird had swooped in front of the car. There it was flying at windscreen level, at my eye level, wings outstretched, wider wingspan than any bird that I usually see whilst driving.

I knew immediately that it was a bird of prey and although I have seen Kestrels from a distance , usually from underneath and up close sitting on our garden furniture and on the patio, I have never seen one flying that close to me and that low before so I wasn’t completely sure what it was…..until it settled in the tree by the side of the road that is.

Once it had stopped there was no mistaking it. It was a beautiful Kestrel.

I too stopped (quiet country road so no problem) opened my window slightly and for a moment we looked at each other. Then off it went swooping across the road in front of me, over the ditch and away into the field off to do whatever it had been doing when we met. 

A brief encounter but what an amazing start to the day 😊

It also made me reflect on how much the countryside where I live has improved in terms of wildlife. Farmers who had previously ripped out dry stone walls and cut hedges and verges during the summer therefore destroying habitat and food sources, are  starting to see the benefits of leaving hedges and verges to grow over the summer months, plus now it is the law to leave them uncut which helps. We still have pollution in the seas around us, the result of new houses,  lack of water treatment plants and run off from farm land, but Kestrels are a more familiar sight now, buzzards who fly overhead, calling to each other as they do, are nesting in the woods and birds , butterflies and bees are enjoying the wilder gardens and countryside that is now taking shape. A long way to go but several steps in the right direction it seems. 

When I get chance later this evening, I intend to journey and meet the spirit of Kestrel to see what message it has brought me, what it is asking me to be aware of. I could of course, look this up online or in a book, but then I’d get someone else’s interpretation of Kestrel and what I really want to know is why Kestrel came to me at this time and what I and not anyone else needs to learn from this encounter. I’m sure it will all be clear soon enough 😉

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 🙂

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 🙂

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

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

Three Days of Stillness

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Although many people seem to believe that once Winter Solstice is passed the days immediately get longer again this is far from true. Instead the sun  maintains its Solstice position, resting on the horizon, for a total of three days providing us with three days of stillness before we turn towards the light once more.

In what can be ‘crazy season’ even if we don’t buy into the enforced celebration of commercialism that Christmas can bring, three days of stillness sounds like magic. Three days in which we can rest, go within, gain insight, release, give thanks to Mother Earth, the sun, the moon, tune into and recognise the turn of the wheel and make plans for the new year ahead. How many of us though allow ourselves this ‘time out of time’?

I do always manage to stop and mark Winter Solstice itself in some way but three days? Not if I am being completely honest.

This year though is different as I really have no choice. Many times, being less than patient with myself, working through anything rather than giving in, this would be a problem, but at the moment I am strangely Ok with it all, perhaps because my own need to be still coincides with the Earth’s need to stop so we are in some way energetically empathic with each other at the moment. I know from past experience that being still and going into the void often brings me the greatest insights and so instead of being concerned that the house isn’t tidy and that I don’t know what the next meal will be I am just allowing myself to consciously take three days of stillness, admittedly on top of the several days I have already had.

I had begun this part of the year with the idea that I would do some serious reflecting aware that there was a lot that I was pushing myself to do that was maybe not completely right. I had intended to be journalling every step of this process so that I had a record of my decisions, I had decided I would weigh up the pros and cons of everything and then that I would release what I needed to into the fire at the ceremony I had arranged for today. Spirit though seems to have other ideas for I have not picked up pen and paper once but have slumbered in that ‘in between’, state, journeying to non ordinary reality and have thus done all of this there supported by my guides and allies, throwing away things that my guides have then been showing me that I need to reconsider and realising that I was not seeing things clearly. Then being shown how much I still have that does needs to be gone through and sifted out, things that in ordinary reality I might not have even identified. Not one word of this has gone onto paper but it is burnt deeply within me now, so much so that this morning I found myself thinking about whether my shamanic practice  could possibly fit what someone was looking for, before quickly realising that I wasn’t going to do that any more, that the only thing that mattered was what I actually did and not what anyone else was doing, that I didn’t care anymore. Total freedom.

I still have two more days of stillness to come and I am going to make the most of them, excited in many ways to see what other insights and understanding come to me when I completely surrender.

So what else could we use these three days of stillness for should we choose to take the time out to use them?

There are many ways to spend this time including giving thanks for and making offerings to our Earth Mother but these are a few simple ideas of ways to take some time to be still.

  • Sit by a window and spend time gently observing nature
  • Curl up and listen to music, allowing ourselves to receive healing from the sounds
  • Watch the sunrise and sunset
  • Hold a simple fire ceremony, writing down what we wish to release and then surrendering it to the element of fire
  • Sit in the darkness and spend time in reflection
  • Light a candle and welcome the light back in, perhaps thinking of our plans for the coming year, sowing the seeds that the light can germinate over the next months
  • Journey or undertake a guided meditation to meet our guides and ask for support or guidance
  • Journey or undertake a guided meditation to ask to be shown our soul’s purpose for the coming year
  • Make a vision board of your intentions or hopes for the new year

This is a symbolic time, a time of new beginnings, of setting intentions, of the light returning to shine in and push back the dark and lead us forward, so taking time out gives us chance to go into this consciously not blindly in the rush of it all. I for one am determined this year to make the most of it all, working in harness with the energy of the earth instead of running against it.

 

Tonight’s Supermoon

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It’s pouring with rain, overcast and dull so the chance of my seeing tonight’s Supermoon, the last of 2016, is extremely unlikely however that doesn’t stop me feeling its effects of knowing its there.

I’ve just been reading a post in relation to it which was basically saying that there is likely to be an energetic shift with this moon, especially with it being so close to next week’s Winter Solstice. The post was also saying that its good to stay positive through this time of yet more change.

This really resonates with me as I’ve been feeling a little sorry for myself as I’ve managed to pick up yet another bug of some kind. This one is the sore throat, loss of voice, raw chest, coughing a bit, type one 😦 I’ve had it since last Thursday and although its on its way out I’m still feeling more than a bit wiped out, although that may have more than a little to do with two meals out and a Christmas party in the last four days 🙂 My problem is that I am not at all used to being unwell and so am not good at it.

Anyway, in the spirit of releasing before the Supermoon I’ve been doing just that this morning by writing down everything I want to release and top of the list was being unwell. I’ve held a mini fire ceremony, burning the sheet of paper in a fire proof container, and despite the fact that its raining it burnt quickly and easily. This leaves me clear now (see positive already 🙂 )to be positive in my thinking and communication, enabling me to harness the power of the Supermoon tonight and ride the shift in energy, whatever it might bring.