The Strangest of Times – Staying at Home Week 9

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I like siting in the garden and quite enjoy doing ‘big’ things like building a new bed, a path or a wall, but hate the fiddly stuff, so as a non gardener I am fascinated by the fact that this year I am lovingly nurturing lettuce. They were purchased, planted in small pots and have now been transplanted to larger ones so they have room to grow. The photo is an early one and some are now big enough for us to be taking leaves for our tea. Some lettuce plants are also in a small bed in the garden and I visit daily monitoring their growth and comparing the potted ones with the garden ones. Now it seems it’s not only lettuce I am growing. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with some friends online about growing coriander from supermarket seeds. We all took a different approach. Both of them bruised their seeds as recommended by his Indian father, one soaked hers and planted hers in a pot, the other planted his straight in the pot. I researched online and placed mine between sheets of wet kitchen towel and waited for them to sprout. After about two weeks of nothing happening I got fed up with watering mine and with nothing happening, threw them away. At the weekend I was sent pictures of both sets of coriander plants, tiny little shoots peaking above the earth. So I have now bruised seeds and have them planted out in pots. Three weeks time all being well I should have tiny shoots appearing. If I am still writing this blog by then I will let you know.

This week I actually managed to do a live online yoga class. Really gentle yoga that worked on the psoas muscle. I have had an ongoing abdominal injury for well over a year now. The ‘it settles, I do something and it goes again’ kind of injury. Nothing serious but annoying enough to stop me doing lots of things such as a lot of exercises in the gym and also now Zumba which I am really sad about. Anyway, the psoas muscle connects to the abdominal muscles and by the end of the session of slow stretching, the right side of my body which is where the injury is, had felt tight at the start had loosened a little. So far so good 🙂 I woke up the next day and was aware my ribs were sore, by the end of the day I could hardly move. I couldn’t get out of the chair, cough or laugh without it hurting. Not an injury but muscles that hadn’t been used for the last months being woken up. So much for slow gentle yoga! I am doing it again as soon as this settles enough for me to move 😉

We are now a few days into Phase 1 of easing the lockdown. Online there were pictures of queues at DIY shops and MacDonald’s which opened 6 of its drive throughs in Dublin. For me though the only difference it made was that the small garage in my village opened and I was able to get my car serviced and so keep the warrantee valid 🙂

I tried to do Yoga Nidra this week, something I usually love but found it hard to settle in to. I am used to doing it at the end of a yoga session and not as a stand alone so this may have been part of it, maybe it wasn’t right for me today, or maybe I am just too scattered to relax in to it at the moment. I’m going to let it go for now and come back to it another time, see how I feel then. Like everything at the moment it seems best to simply acknowledge it, let it go and move on.

On a positive note I have managed to read not one but two books recently which is a huge improvement on how I was a few weeks ago. My concentration seems to be improving as far as reading is concerned at least.

I am still working with Air which is the energy that connects to the mind and so governs the intellect, reasoning, memory, thoughts, knowledge and comprehension. It is interesting that I have now begun working with yoga which focuses a lot on the use of the breath, the inhalation, the exhalation and the sigh, the cleansing breath to release as the body is allowed to settle.

I’m not sure how long my Air phase will last but I am certainly less ‘scratchy’ than I was last week, a little calmer and feeling a bit more like myself.

 

Weathering the Storm by Moon Books

Weathering the Storm by Moon Books

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One of the things I have been involved in over the past weeks is writing a contribution for the latest Moon Books Collective ‘Weathering the Storm‘.

This is a collection of articles by over 20 Moon Books authors,all of whom have given their time freely, which we hope will help you to weather the storm we are currently experiencing. It is particularly aimed at those who are isolated or lonely but in fact has something for everyone.

It is available in e-book format only and the cost varies according to the country or outlet but on average is around one pound sterling.

You can download it from most outlets on Friday 15th May or by following this link 

So go on what are you waiting for?

Still undecided? Then just to give you a flavour of what is inside the ebook:

Weathering the Storm

Contents

Part 1 – Psychology Matters
Life in Crisis – Cat Treadwell
Cultivating Resilience in Dark Times – Irisanya Moon Anxiety and Paganism – Nimue Brown
Loneliness: a journey – Elen Sentier
Happy Birthday to Me – Melusine Draco
Transpersonal Therapy; Crisis and Growth – Natalia Clarke Bobbing in the Sea of Uncertainty – Frances Billinghurst Weathering Transformational Trauma – Kenn Day
Staying Strong in a Time of Crisis – Yvonne Ryves
Hall of Mirrors – Imelda Almqvist
Part 2 – Spirituality Matters
The Reconnection Point – Mabh Savage
Everyday Magic for Difficult Times: Healing Our Relationship to Nature, Self, & Our Natural Rhythms – Maria DeBlassie
Help from the Ancestors at times of crisis – Danu Forest
Energy Connection-Energy Healing – Chris Allaun
Spiritual Journaling in Difficult Times – Andrew Anderson
Guided Visualisation: Weathering the Storm – Lucya Starza
Finding Calm in the Chaos: Crystal Allies for Easing Anxiety – Robin Corak Blessings of Solitude – Dorothy Abrams
The Signs of Hope in Urban Nature – Lucya Starza
Part 3 – Practical Matters
In the Kitchen – Rachel Patterson
Plague Diary – Ellen Evert Hopman
Herb Magic – Alaric Albertsson
Growing Sacred Food in a Small Space – Luke Eastwood Soap Making and Self-Care Recipes – Rebecca Beattie Self-isolation Survival Kit – Scott Irvine
Upcycle / Recycle – Rachel Patterson
Internet Resources – Debi Gregory

Now what are you waiting for?

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 7

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I have mentioned in previous blogs that we are doing all of our shopping online and getting it delivered. We have just noticed that it takes us far less time to put away the shopping when it’s delivered than when we shop ourselves. So far we have not worked out why this is. When the shopping arrives it can either be loose in crates or inside a huge plastic bag in the crate. We either lift the bag out and return the crate to the doorstep or take the shopping out of the crate and put it on the floor so we can return the crate. It’s all very slick, no contact with the driver and although it is way more expensive than shopping ourselves in Aldi or Lidl it is safer or at least feels safer. Bit puzzling why putting it away should be quicker though.

The other thing about shopping online is that we do the order the day before the delivery, adding anything to the cart or removing it depending on what we need. What this means is that by the time the delivery arrives I have forgotten what we ordered. This plus the fact that there may be substitutions or missing items means every delivery is a surprise.

Since the start of the lockdown we have been blessed with dry sunny weather, not over warm most days but great for getting out in the fresh air in the garden or for a walk. The last two days though it has been cold and wet and I have realised that I do not feel like doing anything much. I know in theory that we feel better when the sun shines but this is the first time I have noticed the direct affect it has on how much I want to move around and do things.

Luckily the cold and wet didn’t last long and yes, the desire to move and do things returned with the sunshine and relative warmth. I have gone from someone who didn’t like getting soil on her hands and always wore gloves while gardening to someone who has had dirt under her nails. I should say here that that isn’t because I don’t like getting my hands dirty but because I don’t like slugs and worms. The new found dirt is only potting compost but it’s a start 🙂

Outside in my workspace I was drawn to pick up a set of Soul Coaching cards by Denise Linn. I rarely work with cards so when I am drawn to a pack then I know there is a good reason for it and the message is likely to be an important one. The card I drew was Simplicity. I was then guided to find the book Soul Coaching which is a 28 week course working with the elements, that I have worked through before and found useful. On opening it I found the first few weeks work are with Air and the first week’s work is on Simplicity 🙂 Reassessing, clearing out, simplifying things are the key messages so even though at the moment I am not planning to work through the whole course it seems there are clear messages for me about working with Air and doing some clearing out to simplify my life at the moment which in so many ways makes complete sense. It is after all a time where everything is stripped back and less complicated than it has been for a long time but it seems I still have more to do here which is completely ok.

Journeying this week found me burying something in a white box and I had the real sense that even though I couldn’t see what the box contained, I was burying a part of the past, a part I no longer needed which again would fit with the idea of clearing out and letting things go. This is a good thing, whatever it is I am to release as it makes space for something new to come in which is always exciting.

This week brought the beauty of the last Supermoon of the year and unlike during the previous one, one had fairly clear skies and a beautiful view of the moon both in the evening and at dawn the next day. By some miracle I woke for dawn and actually saw it for real. As always I went straight back to sleep but luckily my husband stayed awake and took pictures of the moon and the dawn. so I could experience it virtually  🙂

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We have eight more days of the present lockdown and then on 18th May things should relax a little more. Whether this happens or not depends on the number of cases in the next few days. Deaths are thankfully falling as are the number in ICU but unfortunately  each day brings large numbers of new cases still. The sooner testing the general population starts for real and some proper contract tracing happens the better. It’s the only way that a true picture of how we are doing will emerge.

Although I am walking and still working out a little with resistance bands and light weights, made from water bottles filled with stones, I am clearly  not doing as much as I was in the gym and at Zumba as I have noticed that I am losing muscle tone 😦 I guess this isn’t that much of a problem in the scheme of things but it is interesting how quickly muscle tone can go and maybe an indicator that when this is all over I will actually need to get myself back into the gym instead of playing at it here. Unless that is, by then I really won’t care. As I am writing this I am wondering if maybe this is what I need to let go of and leave behind after all I am not getting any younger and by the time I can safely get back into a gym I will be even older of course. I am sure with the help of Air I will discover this over the coming days or weeks now.

 

Deathwalking

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‘Deathwalking: helping them cross the bridge’ edited by Laura Perry and recently published by Moon Books is an anthology consisting of ten perspectives on the shamanic practice of deathwalking, or psychopomp as it is widely known, which is the guiding of souls to the next realm.

I have blogged about this important book before and I would normally be writing a review for this but as one of the contributors to Deathwalking this doesn’t really feel appropriate. Instead, now that you can actually pre order it ahead of its publication on 26th October 2018,  I will leave you with links to the book for UK  and USA so that you can read other people’s reviews and this tiny snippet from one endorsement:

‘…a rare opportunity to learn more about guiding souls and also about the compassionate people who perform this essential service.’ Evelyn C. Rysdyk, author of The Norse Shaman

Forest Bathing

 

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I haven’t written a blog here for a while but you can head over to my Moon Books Blog and read all about Forest Bathing if you’d like to.

There are loads of lovely blogs there by all kinds of pagan authors so why not go exploring and see what else you can find while you’re there.

Deathwalking

Deathwalking

 

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One of the things I love about being a Moon Books author is that sometimes we get to contribute to community books. The latest of these is the new Shaman Pathways book ‘Deathwalking: Helping them cross the bridge’ which due out in October 2018 is available to preorder now at a great price from Amazon UK and Amazon USA

Deathwalking, also known as psychopomp, is where someone helps a soul that has passed cross over, sometimes at the time of death and at others some time afterwards. It is one of those fascinating subjects that is often ignored as it can be difficult for people to talk about.

In the ‘Deathwalking’ anthology ten authors, myself included, have written about their experience or understanding of deathwalking.  All of us have different experiences, some very personal, some with souls outside of our immediate families, but together the ten essays give insight into and perspective on this area of shamanic practice.

I could wax lyrically about the content of the anthology but then I am biased. Instead I will leave you with an endorsement of ‘Deathwalking’ from Sandra Ingerman who has no connection with the book whatsoever.

Deathwalking is a brilliant and much-needed anthology on the topic of death. The collection of authors who work with different spiritual traditions provide multiple views on assisting deceased spirits return to Source. The collection of perspectives and ways of working to help the deceased are fascinating and educational. —Sandra Ingerman, author of Soul Retrieval

Ross Heaven, Shaman and Author

Yesterday morning I received the sad news that Ross Heaven, Shaman and author had sadly and unexpectedly passed away.

I never managed to meet Ross in person but he was kind enough to write a review of my book ‘Web of Life’ despite having no idea who I was and when I decided to do the distance work based on his excellent book ‘Medicine for the Soul’ he proved himself to be the most supportive teacher, guiding, challenging and generous in the sharing of his own experiences.

If you have never read any of Ross’ books you are missing a real treat. His works are wide ranging in their themes from his own early training with Adam, the Sin Eater he knew as a child in Wales in ‘The Sin Eater’s Last Confessions’, his own journey and changing relationships in ‘Drinking the Four Winds’, and his interest in working with plant spirits in both Plant Spirit Wisdom and his mini series on the teacher plants of Ayahuasca, San Pedro and Salvia. This is just a snippet of what Ross wrote so when you have finished reading this why not head away and see what else there is and if it speaks to you.

Many of us will miss Ross for all kinds of personal reasons as the post I am sharing from today’s Indie Shaman Blog will confirm.

Travel well Ross, I for one am very glad our paths crossed.

Yesterday we were shocked and saddened to hear of shaman and author Ross Heaven’s sudden passing from this world. Ross was one of a kind and will be long remembered by the many people whose lives he touched. As well as writing many books and running courses, Ross ‘had time’ for people – he inspired,…

via Ross Heaven – Shaman, Author, One of a Kind — Indie Shaman

The Holiday Tree

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This might look like a Christmas tree and most people who call to us would say that’s what it is but if they look closely they will see that it really isn’t.

Ok, we have lights, a few baubles and the odd Santa but almost all of the decorations on our tree have been brought home by us from holidays. We have for instance a koala from Australia, elephants from India, a Tibetan bell from Nepal, an orangutan from Borneo, palm fish from Cambodia, figures in national costume from Bhutan, a hummingbird from Costa Rica and most recently a maple leaf from Canada.

I love that this is how the tree is for every year when we unpack the box to decorate the tree we revive memories of the places we have visited through remembering where each decoration came from.

Our tree is always up before Winter Solstice which has far more meaning for me than Christmas does so the fact that it is more a holiday tree than anything else is absolutely perfect 🙂

In the Eye of the Storm and the Aftermath

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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 🙂 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 😦

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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.

Awaiting Ophelia

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Ophelia is the hurricane that is heading straight for us. Now if I lived in the Caribbean that sentence would make absolute sense but as I live in Ireland, not so much. We don’t get hurricanes, or at least we didn’t….until now that is.

Ok we get winds, sometimes very high winds, and we get the tail end of hurricanes that have begun their lives somewhere over the Caribbean in the warm waters there and which then blow themselves out as they travel over the cold waters of the Atlantic but not real hurricanes. Ophelia is a rare one, or so we keep being told, one that has formed down south of the Azores and which instead of blowing itself out has instead been getting stronger and stronger. She is now heading straight for us.

We have a red weather warning, the highest we can have, school buses have been cancelled and schools advised to close tomorrow when Ophelia is expected to make landfall. And we have been advised to take precautions! What precautions?????

Basically we are warned of possible power outages, flooding, falling/fallen trees, debris on the roads and the possibility of structural damage. I have seen suggestions ranging from picking up any loose items outside, putting away the wheelie bins, to charging phones, making sure there are torches ……..and packing a bag in case we need to evacuate. Again…What?????

I live on an island and not a big one at that. Where exactly do they think we will be able to go?

Plus I have seen photos of houses flattened by hurricanes, cars picked up and flipped like pancakes, trees uprooted and roads destroyed. I’m not going outside tomorrow!

I’m not sure that our attempt to make ourselves safe by picking up loose plant pots in the garden, laying the bird table down and collecting the apples from our trees (because we don’t want to lose them, nor because we think they will do any damage) is really going to make a lot of difference. There is in fact not much we can do.

Ophelia will not of course be a hurricane by the time she reaches us. We are told that she will be an ex hurricane or a post tropical storm. I’m not 100% sure that changing the name of what it is helps in any way. The winds are still likely to be stronger than anything else we have ever experienced. This is a complete unknown.

For us if we lose power it also means no water as we have our own well, and I suspect that at the very least we will be without power at some point, so I did of course go shopping yesterday. I picked up drinking water, ready made soups that can be heated on our wood burning stove, bread and some salady bits and bobs that don’t need cooking so we won’t starve. Plus of course we have tins of baked beans 🙂

I think most of us are still hoping Ophelia’s path veers a little so she rushes by either west or east and not over us, but time is running out for her to do this now. I did read something on Twitter earlier where someone was saying it was time we stopped the Father Ted attitude and started taking this seriously but I’m not sure there is really anything we can do apart from building a force field around Ireland or something.

And that in a way is what I have done. I have energetically placed the Munay Ki Bands of Power around Ireland and for double insurance around my house and garden for I’d like to keep the land of which I am caretaker, and all that resides here safe, as well as my house of course. For double, double insurance I have placed an energetic crystal pyramid over everything too. Oh and I have journeyed with my allie and one of my guides, to try and reason with Ophelia but she seemed desperately upset about something (I can’t think what Mother Earth could possibly have to be upset about) and at that point was showing no sign of calming down.

Will any of it help? I’ve no idea. If it does I’ll let you know, if it doesn’t I may be away for some time clearing up the aftermath of Ophelia.