Navigating Difficult Times    with the Web of Life

Navigating Difficult Times with the Web of Life

These last months have been difficult ones for all of us and it stuck me today exactly how many of the adverts popping up on Facebook are for Mindfulness courses and how much most of us are in need of support right now. Today I also read an article in an online paper relating to the growing popularity of Tarot and the fact that in these times of uncertainty people are turning to ancient practices both through therapy and as a form of practical advice and guidance as well as to provide support and comfort.

I have shared here before the Moon Books free ebook Weathering the Storm which is a great source of support but until I read about Tarot today, had completely overlooked suggesting my own Moon Books Publication Web of Life as a means of support in these challenging times.

Web of Life is a way of deepening your connection to the world around you, a modern way of accessing the ancient wisdom of the medicine wheel but one that is personal to you. Within the book are exercises that help you to understand how you connect to everything, plus where and how you can find guidance that is specific to you. There is also a way of making cards for yourself that can be used for insight, to plan a path or to see your way through a time in your life or even a project.

Working with the exercises in Web of Life will help you to learn more about yourself, how you connect to everything around you and can provide comfort through helping you to know exactly where you are and giving insight into what is happening.

I’m going to share a few reviews here to save you trawling back through posts to find them:

https://solitarypath.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/new-book-review-for-web-of-life/

https://solitarypath.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/shaman-pathways-web-of-life-review/

https://solitarypath.wordpress.com/2016/06/13/shamanic-web-of-life/

And of course if you feel drawn to work with Web of Life you can find it both as an ebook and paperback at Amazon UK and Amazon USA

Still Weathering the Storm

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I don’t know how it is where anyone reading this is living, but here in Ireland it’s not exactly getting any easier. At the beginning we knew where we were, the advice was clear, precise and easy to follow. Although we only had a caretaker government, I for one had faith that the decisions taken were considered ones. Just before the change in personnel though, the country skipped a stage of reopening, moving us forward quickly and this looking back is where many of the problems associated with reopening the country probably began.

We have had a new coalition government for some months now and things are going downhill fast. There seem to be conflicting views between officials about the way forward with the pandemic, fierce lobbying from interested parties such as airlines and ‘wet’ pubs to get everything opened faster and the numbers of Covid cases increasing everywhere with outbreaks in all kinds of places. The number of contacts everyone has has increased and contact tracing is also getting more complex it seems.

The upshot of all of this is that on one hand we are hearing that local lockdowns are the way forward and on the other being threatened with full lockdown if ‘we’ don’t get cases down. It no longer feels like collective responsibility and that we are ‘all in this together’.

A stressful situation is naturally being made worse by all of this, plus weekly announcements from everyone, where anything can happen it seems.

Not having had any kind of break we decided to look at booking short ‘staycations’ which has been an interesting experience as the first question has become not do we want to stay somewhere, but what is their cancellation policy. I know from talking with friends we are not alone in this but it is hard to know whether to chance it or not.

In amongst this uncertainty I am trying to listen to my own advice to live in the moment, one day at a time and so on but somethings do need to be planned in advance. Life even in a pandemic has to be lived otherwise it is just existing which is not the way things should be for any of us if we can help it.

So when we can’t do what we know we need to be doing and need new strategies to cope where can we go? I have mentioned this before and have no difficulty doing so again as it is something I am dipping in and out of; the free or almost free ebook (it depends where you download it from) Moon Books Collective ‘Weathering the Storm’

If you, like me need a bit of variety in your coping strategies as the situation changes and you haven’t yet got your copy yet, do go off and download it now.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Osho Zen Tarot and Insight

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I don’t use cards very much and this is in fact the only tarot set that I own but it is a set that I am often drawn to when I really need insight into what is happening in my life.

I first came across the Osho Zen Tarot by Deva Padma, when I was receiving the Munay Ki rites. The tarot is nothing to do with Munay Ki but was used so each of us could gain insight into where we started and the shift that took place during the rites. I found the cards so powerful and insightful that I immediately set about getting hold of a set for myself.

At the moment I am going through a period of being still, of relaxing and enjoying what I have and where I am. When I say being still, what I really mean is helping spread many, many tons of gravel around our drive, house and patio, moving a load of wood chip from the front of the garden to the back so that I can top up the centre of my stone circle for the coming year and getting into a new work out regime after changing from Curves when it closed to an actual gym, somewhere I haven’t been for many years. Stillness and relaxation for me it seems simply means not seeing clients or teaching courses. It is so good to have the space to explore the physicality of my body through the gym and gardening, while the garden is also giving me chance to connect fully with nature in a way I haven’t for a while. Plus of course the amazing weather has made it a pleasure to be outside topping up my Vitamin D 🙂

This ‘time out’ is something I am really making the most of and which I am in no hurry to change in any way but nevertheless less it is still useful to know what this time is for so that I can consciously make the most of it and this is where the Osho Zen Tarot comes in.

For me one of the best ways of gaining insight is just to draw a single card and then reflect on it’s meaning. The other way is to use a Paradox spread and this is where I find the Osho Zen can be really insightful, giving as it does, the here and now, past life influences and of course the paradox.

Today I have done both and so have a clearer understanding of why I have been given this space, what is happening whilst I am ‘busy’ doing my own thing, and where it is leading me.

Rather than try and explain how the Osho Zen Tarot works and how it differs from normal tarot I have copied this extract from the write up on Amazon:

Osho Zen Tarot focuses ….on gaining an understanding of the here and now. It is a system based on the wisdom of Zen, a wisdom that says events in the outer world simply reflect in the outer world simply reflect our own thoughts and feelings, even though we ourselves might be unclear about what those thoughts and feelings are. So it helps us to turn our attention away from outside events so we can find a new clarity of understanding in our innermost hearts. The conditions and states of mind portrayed by the contemporary images on the cards are all shown as being essentially transitional and transformative.

Is it really Spring Equinox?

 

Yesterday it was snowing, today, a bank holiday, we have icicles outside the conservatory, the water in the water feature is frozen and we were going to go and have a walk on the beach but it’s sooooo cold brrrr. It really doesn’t feel like tomorrow is Spring Equinox.

As at Autumn Equinox tomorrow the light and dark will be in equal balance. Unlike at Autumn Equinox when the dark begins to take over, tomorrow it is the light that begins to return. I am hoping that along with the the light comes some much needed warmth.

It is not just me that is feeling the cold, the birds are eating us out of house and home having devoured a large drum of bird food in three days instead of the week to ten days it usually lasts. They have two bird feeders, a bird table and a feeder full of fat balls yet it still seems barely enough. Our daffodils are struggling, the furry shoots on the pussy willow seem to have gone into suspended animation and spring bulbs that would normally be showing signs of life are nowhere to be seen.

It is though much lighter than even a couple of weeks ago. There is a definite stretch in the day and on days when the sun appears there is beginning to be some warmth in it.

One of the things that it can be nice to do at Spring Equinox is to plant some seeds, often having spent time breathing plans and ideas for the months ahead into them with the idea that as they germinate and grow they will act as a reminder and a focus for your own plans. This year though if I am to do that I will need to plant them in a pot to be kept inside or in the greenhouse, as the ground is too hard and lacking in the warmth needed to germinate them.

For me, what is more important than doing anything specific, holding a ritual or ceremony, is to be aware of the turn of the wheel, the passing of time and the shift into a new part of the year. It may not feel like spring, nature may not be showing me it is, but the balance of light and dark will still be there tomorrow and this also gives me chance to stop and find the balance within myself if I give myself the time to do so.

A Rare Snow Event

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I live in the south of Ireland and we really don’t get snow…..ever…..and if we do it never looks like this, it never lays on the ground and it never, ever stays. This though we are being told is only the start, tomorrow, tomorrow night and into the next day is going to be worse with blizzards caused by a storm coming up from the Bay of Biscay.

This may not look like anything for those of you who are used to it but for us it is so unusual we are not equipped for it. Schools, the doctors surgery, the gym and who knows what else are all closed. Roads are impassible and we are all advised to stay at home.

I’m tucked up in the kitchen with the fire roaring but only after making my way outside to the shed for wellies, an extra bird feeder, more bird food and a shovel to clear the snow off the coal bunker so I could get in coal for our two multi fuel burners.

If it stays sunny and safe a walk might be on the cards, after all it seems a shame to only watch this from inside 🙂

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You can just see part of my stone circle in the snow.

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My car is under here somewhere.

These photos were all taken first thing this morning and it’s snowed since then plus our orange weather warning has just been upgraded to red so it’s going to be interesting in the days ahead.

Interviewed by Nimue Brown

I was recently interviewed by Nimue Brown for the Moon Books Blog. This was an interesting process as although it wasn’t my first interview, it was the first time I had been interviewed by a fellow author and not by someone who was involved in the same areas of healing or shamanic work as me. Also being interviewed as an author, by someone from my own publishers, felt a whole lot different to being interviewed by other people for some reason.

If you would like to know more then clicking on this link will give you the transcript of the fill interview, it’s ok, it’s not too long I promise  🙂

http://moon-books.net/blogs/moonbooks/yvonne-ryves-interview/

 

Nimue Brown is the author of  many pagan books. Her most recent books ‘Spirituality Without Structure’ and ‘When a Pagan Prays’ are out now. Nimue can also be found writing regularly at

http://www.druidlife.wordpress.com