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, 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

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