Dear Little One, the Earth is waking up, can you feel it?

We have arrived here, at Imbolc, also known as Candlemas. The Goddess Brigid pronounced “Breed” governs this time of year. She is a triple goddess, so we honour her in all 3 of her phases: Maiden, Mother and Crone. We celebrate each archetype’s qualities present within ourselves. It is the first day of spring, it may not feel like it, what with all the snow we’ve had. Did you get out in it and play? It’s enough to make adults embrace their inner child once more. This is what this festival is all about – feeling young at heart! We celebrate the Life Force, it’s a powerful thing. Have you noticed some plants are flowering at the moment? Snow drops are beautiful and delicate and always bring me such joy at this time of year, they remind me of pure starlight. Other flowers to look for are crocus’ and my personal favourite – Winter Jasmin. A beautiful reminder that the days are getting longer. We are now halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Soon light will equal dark, we will get there. For now let’s focus on Imbolc….

 

IMG_2924There’s a tendency after Yule and the new year for people to push forwards, to introduce new routines, plans, projects. The craving for the spring often makes us push forwards harder than we should at this time of year. Yes, its a time for action but not in a frantic way, all in good time, little one.  Let’s rest some more, patiently wait for the energy of the year to build. Use it to fuel us. We can start using all the wisdom we gained during the winter and begin to bring it into the more active part of the year. Instead of pushing outwards, it is best to prepare inwards first. Write down your aspirations, your ideas, your dreams. Some of these you may have planted seeds for at Yule, are they germinating? Pushing upwards? Water them, nurture them, help them grow. You can start to plant more seeds for your next set of ideas and dreams. Begin to think about how you might achieve them. Lay the groundwork, prepare the soil, water the seedlings. I’m speaking in metaphors of course, but sometimes it is lovely to plant actual seeds whilst thinking of your plans, setting your intentions. I went to visit Tamsin the other morning at Bosley Patch, it had snowed the night before and it was quite cold in the polytunnels, we had a lovely coffee break in front of the fire, in the barn before venturing out again. It got quite warm in there once the sun had risen higher in the sky. I planted some sweet peas. I look forward to seeing how they grow in the coming months!

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For me this year so far, I am really trying to leave behind habits and thought processes that no longer serve me. It’s tricky sometimes, but I find taking a deep breath and pausing helps a lot. Instead of reacting, I am trying to act. I am finding that if I feel anxious or worried, I need to sieve through all the surface emotion I tend to create, down to the root of it all. That’s where the truth is. From here you can really begin to understand yourself more, which helps others understand you too. Now you can articulate your emotions in a clear way. To gather myself and nurture myself like a little seed through this process I often:

  • Put the kettle on – most things can be thought through with a hot drink in your hand
  • Run a bath (and get in) – soaking away the tension and meditating helps too.
  • Long hot showers – they wash the thoughts that get caught up in your hair away. This is especially important for people with long hair. Washing your hair in wild water is best – but its a bit cold for that right now!
  • Writing – my creative outlet is to write, I write it all down, clearing it from my mind  – seeing it all on paper often helps you sieve through it all and make more sense.
  • Nurturing myself with organic wholefoods – I love cooking from scratch and I feel like I am loving my body in the highest way.

And like many people across the nation, I have also been watching Marie Kondo, following the KonMari method I have reaffirmed everything I wish to keep and said thank you to the things I no longer need. They are parcelled up ready for someone else to enjoy them.

What kind of things will you do to help yourself grow?

 

I often find when we are leaving the old us behind and stepping into the new, there’s a tendency for us to sometimes get a bit ill. Ever had a growth spurt and then got a cold or needed to sleep loads? Or seen a baby with a cold and their parents say “oh they’re teething” – it’s because they are pushing out of themselves and growing. See if your mamma has any Echinacea in the house, I find it is perfect for growth. The reasoning is explained beautifully here, better than I could ever articulate it!

So little one, whilst we have locked ourselves away for winter, now is the time to emerge like a little shoot pushing out of a seed, ready to grow and change with the turn of the year…. let it breathe. 

“There’s a room inside my heart that no-one ever goes. It’s been boarded up and locked for years and everything is gone. Then you come along and cut yourself a key. Swept the floors and opened a window, said ‘baby let it breathe”

Imbolc Blessings

Sarah

 

 

Dear Little One, The Longest Night Shall Pass

Winter has drawn it’s thick veil around us. How wonderful to be here all snug with the fire lit. It’s the time for story telling by candlelight and big mugs of steaming hot chocolate.

Once again, there’s something I’d like to tell you about this time of year, the longest night shall pass.

“In the depths of winter I finally found in me there was an invincible summer” ~ Albert Camus.

And the Sun rises. From here on the days will start to lengthen and the nights will shorten. This is the Winter Solstice – the shortest day and the longest night of the year. You may have noticed people all huddled and wrapped up rushing here and there getting ready for Christmas. When really this time year is all about slowing down and hibernating. Why all the rushing?

Are you aware that the people you love appear more stressed and a little frazzled. They may be frowning more, that’s a sure sign they’re feeling a little over run. Is there any way you can help? I know you’re only little, but it’s always in the little things – they make the big things happen! And you have the most beautiful way of seeing the world. Now is a great time to start new, positive habits and routines. You see, often adults get caught up in the “should’s” and all they feel they are expected to do, maybe following traditions that no longer serve them. Even though we are grown up we rarely give ourselves permission to stop. Sometimes we need a gentle reminder to take a slower pace and to try something new.

Alternatives to rushing:

Have a moment to sit and think about all you hope for the coming year. The short days are often filled “real and fast”. What will you aspire to achieve? Now is a grand time to plant seeds – how will you make them grow? How will you accomplish all you set out to do and be? What would that look like? Have heart that all your intentions will serve you as you grow and change through this life. Whatever you hold in your heart and commit to will grow.

Spending time with family away from technology might help you really feel into the spirit of this time of year. Lighting candles or even turning on the festive lights together can be a lovely reminder that even on the darkest, longest nights  and the darkest most difficult times  – there is Always Light. Making wreaths of evergreen can help us see that even in the deepest midwinter there is Life Everlasting, Evergreen. 

Do you want to know something even more special about this particular winter solstice 2018? It is also a full moon! So the darkest longest night this year will be bathed in the silvery glow of Grandmother Moon and she will share all her wisdom for the coming year with us on this night. We just need to be still and listen. 

Hold your loved ones close little one, give thanks and see the good in all our traditions and rituals. There is so much to be thankful for.

And The Wheel Turns.

Blessed Be

Sarah

 

 

Dear Little One, Summer is a coming in!

It may not feel quite like it at the moment, but summer really is a coming in. This is the end of the hardships of winter.

This is Beltane.

Beltane means “Bright Fire” and it is celebrated on 30th April into May 1st. At this time, spring is in full flow and we welcome the first days of Summer. Fire is central to this festival – maybe you and your family could light a bonfire and sit outside for the evening? There are lots of activities you can do together…

toa-heftiba-362196-unsplashTraditionally people would ‘jump the fire’, however this may not be suitable for you to do just yet, little one. They would do this for healing, transformation and to increase fertility in all its forms. The Earth is at its most fertile and so are our dreams and ideas. Whatever you give your focus to will grow. Move with boldness and clear intention. Stand next to the fire and imagine the side that you are on represents all that you wish to leave behind and the opposite side is all you wish to focus on – everything – even your wildest dreams – start now! If the fire is too big to jump over, you can write your thoughts down, burn them, walk around to the other side and do the same again. Find a way that works for you and most importantly be safe! You could even have a boogie to this song too..

“We jump the fire for kicks and for feelings” 

Have you noticed how the Earth is covered in lush green? The leaves, the grass, the hedgerows and woodlands. You can honour the Earth, the abundance and the growth by wearing green.

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This time of year is all about union, traditionally there would be greenwood marriages at Beltane. We can celebrate our partners but also our family and friends. Maybe you’d like to make a card or a little present for the special people in your life to show your gratitude. Or simply let them know how much they mean to you. Speak from your heart centre, filling yourself with love so that you may give openly and generously.

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In the celtic tree calendar the Willow is the tree for Beltane. Willow weaving is a great activity – you can make crowns, dreamcatchers or wands. Or you can simply sit with a nearby willow tree and think about its properties and the teachings it has for you. Willow can increase our intuitive powers and allow our dreams to be more vivid and open to interpretation. It is a feminine tree ruled by the Moon and has an affinity to water. How fitting there is full moon this Beltane! Our emotions are able to move more freely with Willow and we learn to surrender to them so that they may be released. From Willow we gain the power to move forwards, to be confident and to trust ourselves.

As I mentioned earlier this is a time when what we focus on grows abundantly. If you are unable to have a bonfire, you can find a tree – one that you can walk easily around. Or collect a branch and bring it into the home. As you walk, imagine your dreams and plans as if they are already so. As you do, tie a ribbon for each dream to the branches of the tree – when you have finished you have created your wishing tree.

This really is one of my favourite festivals and I have many traditions for this time of year. Growing up I remember reluctantly shuffling off to bed on May Eve, Mamma would be downstairs laughing with her friends, staying up all night, ready to go to dance the sun up and the summer in. Finally, around the age of 15, I was allowed to go with her. We didn’t stay up all night in those days but I did go and see the sunrise. I grew up around Morris Dancers and this was my favourite of our traditions. We would arrive in the dark and dance… until we saw a glimmer of sunlight on the horizon, then we would pause and stare in wonder. Once the sun had risen we would sing ‘Hal an Tow’ and the horn would be blown to all four corners of the horizon to wake everyone up. Summer is here! We’d go for breakfast in the local ‘greasy spoon’ and on returning home, I would wash my face in the may morning dew – why both me and my sister have been blessed with great skin!

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Years later, my cousin and I, found ourselves in the same county again for the first time since we were little. She was studying in Oxford and the students there have a great May tradition – albeit a little more ‘modern’ and maybe, little one, one that you should save until you’re 18 to partake in. They basically go out dancing and drinking all night and then congregate for 6am in the street outside Magdalen Tower and listen to the Magdalen College Choir sing the May in. I remember cycling in the cool May morning through the streets of Oxford and feeling once more like a total Witch.

Beltane is all about Life, Love and all things good. This year I have celebrated by seeing my dear friends and setting intentions for my future plans. Blessed be for all that I have….

And the Wheel Turns

Sarah

x

Dear Little One, I’d like to tell you about this time of year…

Dear Little One,

I’d like to tell you about this time of year

It’s probably the word used the most at the moment, have you heard it?

Halloween.

Do you know what it’s all about?

Well, the word itself comes from the name “All Hallows Eve”. It starts at sunset on 31st October and lasts all the way to midnight on 1st November. The Celtic name for this festival is Samhain – you may see this spelled many ways  – Samhuinn is another way. It’s pronounced Sow-ane.

This is my favourite time of year and when your mum mentioned to me that she wanted to find out more about the deeper meaning of this festival, I felt called to help. You see, as with many festivals throughout the year, the people that run the shops like to try and make as much money as possible from it. That’s okay, I guess, as long as the deeper meaning isn’t lost. Sometimes I feel it might be. But I feel a lot better when people, like your mum, start seeking and asking questions.

So, Samhain, falls very closely to the Feast of All Saints and All Souls, this is a Christian festival that takes place on 1st November. The two share many similarities.

This festival marks the beginning of winter, it is both an ending and a beginning. There can sometimes be a lot of sadness around this time of year, we remember those we have lost, but we also celebrate the beautiful lives they lived. It has been said that the veil or the boundary between the worlds is thin. The living world, the world you see before you and the shadow world, the world of spirit you can feel around you are very close to each other and on this festival, the energy that separates them thins out. One thing I love to do is to light a candle on 31st and on 1st, to light a way for the spirits, so they can find their way home, if they want to. Some people also set an extra place at their dinner table, to remember the people that may have once sat with them.

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Whilst the candle is lit, you may want to look back over the year you’ve just had and also look forwards to the year ahead. Have a think about all your achievements – your harvest. Now you can start thinking about the ways you can use them to enrich your life. Some people also light a bonfire and whilst sat in the warmth, write down all the things they would like to let go of. They then throw the piece of paper in the fire and those things are released.

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We are entering into the darker part of the year, but without this there can be no light. Without winter there can be no spring. Without death there can be no life. With every end there is a beginning. This is a time for planning and preparation, quiet contemplation and meditation. This will prepare us for what comes our way in the future, when the time is right.

Some of your friends, or the older children you know, might be going trick or treating, or generally being mischievous. This is the time of year for mischief, thats for sure! A long time ago, the poor children of the villages would go around the houses begging for money or food to take back to their family, winter was a hard time of year and food was often in short supply. This was called “Souling” and the children would be given “Soul cakes”. Nowadays, lots of children go trick or treating  and its not so much about needing the treats, but wanting them. If children come to your door, you could make them some soul cakes, or something else seasonal, like pumpkin biscuits.

You may see lots of scary figures around, monsters and Witches. On Witches, I think your mum may have taught you about them before. I’d listen to her. She’s got it right. At this time of year the earth has wound down and is at the ‘end’ of its life, harvest has been brought in and it is resting. In the same way, the Goddess is approaching the end of her life, ready for rebirth.

suhyeon-choi-104926We say she is in her ‘Crone’ aspect. Imagine a wise, older woman, with long silver hair, weathered features and a wide, knowing smile. This woman, the crone, is a very powerful woman. She uses her power, only for good. As with many powerful people, we have been taught to fear them. So, the image of this warm friendly wise woman was changed, so she looked scary and ugly. Teaching us to fear witches. Let me say one thing. You will one day grow up to be a strong, wise, powerful young woman, you’ve already started. I see the fire in your eyes. People may fear you, but they are more likely to try and make you fear yourself. Don’t let them. For you will meet wise, powerful women such as your mum and many of her friends and they will stand beside you, walk with you, as your sisters, as your good witches. They will be there, doing good, trying not to scare anyone! Growing old together!

At this time of year there is an abundance on pumpkins and apples. You could carve a face into a pumpkin, or simply turn it into a lantern. Apples, you’ve probably seen them cut vertically. There’s a certain type of magic that happens when you instead, halve them horizontally. Try it. You’ll see a five pointed star in the middle. Carefully pick the seeds out and count them. Each seed can represent a choice or a pathway you will be presented with over the coming year. There may only be one, or several or none. If there is one, you might be focussing your attention on one big project, if there are several you might have to split your time and energy between each of them. If your apple doesn’t have any seeds in it, it might mean that there is a project from the previous year, that still needs focus.

You’ve probably noticed the leaves are changing colour and falling to the ground, isn’t it beautiful! This can be quite symbolic too. What do you think it symbolises?

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The following are songs I like to listen to and books I like to read at this time of year.

Songs:

This playlist by Witch Cabinet

This song by Tanya Davis

Books:

“The Wheel of the Wiccan Year” [Gail Duff]

“The Earth’s Cycle of Celebration” [Glennie Kindred]

“Elements of Change” [Glennie Kindred]

I’ve also, over the years written extensively in my journal, so some things I pull from that too! Maybe I will read you a snippet one day.

So Little One

I hope you feel a little bit more connected to our heritage. I know writing this has helped me too! Now….

“I’m going to celebrate this new year with all the good witches, little chocolate bars are for little kids, I want a cauldron and the nourishment that comes with it.”

All my love

Sarah

x

Mabon ~ Autumn Equinox

For those of you that know me, I live very closely to the Earth and the Season’s change. Growing up, I was always described as being sensitive. It’s true, I am. There are days when the wind blows a certain way and it makes me think “there’s something going on out there” and there will be, or there will be a pressure in the air that gives me a storming headache, which only clears when it rains.

I was sat with some friends in the kitchen yesterday talking about my recent achievements and tears of pride rose in my eyes, we then continued to speak about how I ‘well up’ at some pretty strange things. For example, I pulled some carrots from the ground the other day and the smell of them brought back such strong memories of when, at age 19, I volunteered on Organic farms in the UK. I travelled around by train with a pretty heavy backpack, covering a lot of distance. Such fond memories and how far I’ve come since then – I couldn’t stop the tears rising! I know, I know, carrots?! We all had a good giggle, you totally can too.

My entire family is like this, maybe not crying at the smell of carrots, but get us together after any length of time apart and we will be laughing so hard we cry and sometimes crying so hard we laugh. Something, it would appear I do a lot in other people’s kitchens! Either way, emotions flow freely in my family!

So at this time of year, when daylight hours equal the hours of darkness, we are in a space of balance. This time of year has often been called Harvest Home. Now, not all of you will be working the land and reaping an agricultural harvest, but you do have your own landscape. The landscape of your life and your journey, as you move through the year. So, take this time to pause and potentially adjust a little, pretty soon you’ll be making plans and preparations, now that, dare I say it, ‘winter is coming’. Look over all your achievements and everything you have learned so far ~ your harvest. Give thanks for all that you have. From all of this, new projects will grow in the future, if you just plant those little seeds!

If you view emotions as I do as ‘energy in motion’, you will see that everything you feel, has the potential to influence your journey ahead. What emotions are rising in you at the moment and where might they carry you? Glennie Kindred writes, in her book “Elements of Change” that you should “Let your feelings flow. The energy of release  brings clarity and opens the way for a new part of your journey.” 

For me, I will go back and look at the intentions I set at the end of July, give thanks for my achievements and potentially re-evaluate all that didn’t quite get completed. I will have a think about how to move forward from here. I will also be carving out some time to rest, times of balance are perfect opportunities to do just that!

Rest Well Dear Earthlings

Sarah

x

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash