Incoming Energy of 2021

At this time of year, I always like to pause and have a look at where we are on the astrological wheel, to see what broader influences might be there pulling at the stings of life.  These are ancient systems developed from looking at the star, planets and the energy of numbers.  I feel they are influences rather than prophetic forecasters.

White Ox

This year on 12th February we are leaving behind the year of the Rat, which is the start of the 12 year astrological cycle and are moving onto the second in the astrological calendar, the Ox.  It is the Silver Ox for this year.  Ox is a gentle yet powerful energy and in Taoist traditions is also associated with the beautiful feminine deity of Quan Yin.  Ox speaks of hard and steady work, there is a sense of; if unwilling to work?  Then don’t eat.  Which comes with Ox.  Ox can be stubborn and opinionated and so needs to temper this with tolerance and letting go to accept change.   Ox energy suggests a gentle and steady strong energy to the year, one where routine and steady work is supported and can bring the most benefits rather than more flash or faster energetic approaches.

The system of 9 Star Ki, brings this year to the year of Six, or Big Metal in Chinese 5 elements.  Metal is all about governance, management, leadership and insight.  In it’s brighter state it is about truth, honesty and integrity.  In it’s more dogmatic state it is about control and rules.  Looking at this in combination with the Silver Ox, it does suggest a year of what could easily become a lot of dogma, toil and rule following.  To lighten this, it is about tuning into the bright truth, integrity and with true insight staying centred and not allowing external influences to do anything other than inform and brighten one’s own knowledge.  There is an invitation to tap into the bright silver energy of the year, to reflect, and gain true insight, while maintaining as balanced a life as possible.

In Numerology 2021 is the year of 5.  This is a dynamic and creative number bringing an energy that is all about change and opportunity.  Perhaps looking at this in light of the current situation (pandemic) and in combination with the Chinese oracle systems it would suggest that it’s about embracing change and acceptance providing it is following a path of truth and integrity.  Opportunities are likely to be of a practical and very grounded nature and sometimes might seem small and insignificant but actually through due diligence and work can reap sound results which will support one in the future.

One phrase comes to mind to sum up.  “Steady as she goes!”

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An Empty Harvest? Take another look.

As I write we are experiencing a heat wave and the nearby fields have long since gone to brown grass and the long grasses have been cut and made into hay bales.   This time of year is of course associated with harvest, throughout August and September was and is all about gathering in the year’s harvests.

On a more ethereal level of course this can equally be applied to our year’s activities, whatever they may be.  Personally, for various reasons, some very obvious, I find my basket looking a little bare this year.  The silent and still, spring and summer is finally showing up in my harvest for the year.

wild flowwers of Fallow Land

This makes me reflect on the fallow land.  The land that is left fallow for year, where it has faithfully every year been used and produced a harvest and finally is set to rest for a season.  Often producing the most wonderful wild flowers and variety of plants that any peace of land could possible be expected to produce.

Of course the more disappointing and in many ways devastating is the land which was planted up and seeded and then failed.  The full on crop failure. Traditional practice is to burn off the stubble of the failed crop to bring new nutrients back into the soil. 

Personally at the moment I am not sure whether my harvest is that of the fallow land or the crop failure. Gladly I can find a few wild flowers that have flourished during this time of stillness and being fallow. The greatest fear is that it will not recover and come back from this. One thing is for sure is that each year produces a very different yield, they are always determined by the quality of the soil and the weather of the year.

You can’t always control the environment in which you find yourself but you can work on the soil in which you plant.  So if you too are looking at a strangely assorted harvest basket this year perhaps it’s time to nurture your soil.

The Mutterings of a Mad Cow who ate no Beef

lovers0001In September 2006 I went to a 3 day meditation in Glastonbury  all about Gaia.  It was a call from the heart to reconnect at a deeper level.  What I didn’t realise at the time was that it was going to be the first time I was going journey Shamanically with the rhythm of the drum.  I also didn’t realise what awakening of the spirit it would evoke within me.  It opened me to the greatest softness and profound beauty of creation and within a few days having to face the fact that I was extremely stressed and my body was not ready or trained to receive such floods of wisdom and insight.  It opened up an illness within that needed healing.  This was the start of my Shamanic Journey.  Over the next thirteen years it was to be a rich mixture of chaos, confusion, deep beauty and healing.  The story is not over but the last thirteen years are.  Last September, (2019), I came to a watershed moment where it was clear that my consulting practice needed to close it’s gates, at least for a while.  There were many things that needed addressing at home and internally.  Before the gate shut, 13 poetic writings came together, some from events and times during the 13 years and a number which just poured out over a couple of days.

Why is 13 so important?  The biggest healing that was needed and brought through my shamanic trail was my connection to the Earth, Mother Nature and to my own femininity.  13 is a sacred number of the Divine Feminine and of course we have 13 moons every year.  So of course a number of these poetic writing are heavily influenced by her presence and are in respect of her.

So here is this small offering, enjoy.

Available here free as an E-book.  As every effort deserves payment, please make a donation to one or more of the four charities linked below.

If you would like a signed hard copy please make paypal payment of £10 to pathwayfinder@mail.com. (including postage and packaging)

Most of all enjoy and  please read with a good pinch of gentle humour.

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New Beginnings …. 2019….

Many found 2018 very challenging and as the year drew to an end there seemed to be a lot of voices adding to the chorus; “thank goodness that year is over”.  Personally and thankfully the year had been, while in places challenging, full of growth, new adventures and as a result some great memories.  In the summer, I seemed to have a number of things finally come to conclusion or fruition that I had been waiting for, for a longtime.  This I have to say brought a sense of great relief in many ways.

However, by the Autumn and with the change of season, suddenly this shifted gear and I found many things either becoming very clear or ending or simply no longer working.  The Autumn, as those who follow the seasonal gestures know, is always about the harvest, and has much to do with the death cycle.  This can seem very depressing to many, even scarey.  Of course it does not always come sugar coated, the one profound thing that is always necessary though, through such a cycle is to remember that it is a clear out and it does mean there will be space for something new, providing as individuals we can come through the change, or clear out safely.  This of course does not mean necessarily unchanged.  2018 Was also a fire year within the 9 Star Ki Astrology, fire years while warming and joyous can also mean a lot of transforming energy or influences.

Personally I am always very grateful for the Winter Solstice and make as much as possible of using the dark nights to stay warm and rest up and even dream a little.

Of course now we find ourselves in the New Year.  Yippee we all cry – Happy New Year!!  …and of course it is the chance of a fresh start, or a renewing of commitments or a shift in gear.  Funny part is, it is still middle of winter and we all creek a bit in the dark and cold.  Again I turn to the seasonal gestures and associated elements….. in every beginning, there is a waiting, a planting, a dreaming, a renewal.  This allows for the stretch, the yawn, the warm up, the meditation, the freshening and preparation for the doing.

P1020061

So along with a Happy New Year …. I wish you a gentle easing into this new year of 2019.  It might also at this point be worth mentioning in the 9 Star Ki astrology in February we will be welcoming in the energy of an 8 Mountain year.  So definitely worth preparing a bit before rushing up that one!

March comes in with an Artic Lion’s Roar!

snowlionPinch punch first of the month!  With this March in the UK coming in with an Artic Lion no less, BRRR!  With this ‘Beast of the East’ it feels appropriate to take another look at the 9 start ki  elemental energies for this year.  Last month we welcomed in the year of the Earth Dog in the Chinese oracle, I also mentioned the Fire year of the 9 Start Ki or Flying Stars.    See table below.  For those of you who are not familiar with this system, every year the elements take a tour around the Bagua, this year they are in this formation.  The Bagua is orientated with the cardinal directions, so water is in the North and Fire in the South.  This means the mountain energy is in the North East and for this year the element of wood is orientated in this area, or Thunder, as shown in the table.  So what do you get when there is Thunder in the Mountains?  Storms, wind and most of all change.  The control element for this March is 4 Wood or also known as Wind and as you can see from the table, again we have a mountain influence in Wood Wind this year.  We certainly are welcoming  this month and the spring in with the cold mountain winds of the North East with spectacular stormy, wintery and windy conditions too.

4 – Wood Wind

Colour Green

8 – MOUNTAIN

 

 

9- Fire

Direction South

4 – WOOD

2 – Earth

6 – METAL 

3 – Thunder – Direction East

7 – MARSH

 

 

 

 

5- Tai Chi

9 – FIRE

7– Marsh

Direction West

2 – EARTH

 

8 – Mountain

3 – THUNDER

 

 

 

 

 

1 – Water

Direction North

5 – TAI CHI

6 – Metal

1 – WATER

 

 

So what is this telling us about the elemental influences of this year and this spring? 

These elements speak of change, the wind has a long association with spirit and listening to spirit, while mountain brings the stillness, the clarity of enlightenment and the challenge.  Mountain and Thunder in the IChing provide the hexigrams of ‘A Little Excess’ and ‘The Jaws’.  The message of these two are about finding the middle road and adopting the classic moto of ‘less is more’; while ‘The Jaws’  are open waiting to be filled which brings the danger of being devoured as well as the need for nourishment. The key here is about good nourishment which also takes effort rather than greedy guzzling or expecting things just to come to one without proper approach.

Question is, as this Fire year is being announced so clearly by this Artic Lion of March, what does it suggest about the quality of the Fire for the year ahead?

This suggests, the need to listen well to spirit, your own and divine. Changes are both needed and are coming, but when making them do not do them to excess, take the ‘middle road’ to ensure steady and sustainable change and when it comes to consuming, ensure it is what is needed, that it is nourishing and not greedily devoured, otherwise you may just find yourself in the jaws of something much larger.  Fire energy is warming, joyous but can also be destructive and erratic.  So just as the Thunder on the Mountain, while there may be times for a lot of noise, joyous or otherwise, watch out if it becomes excessive.  Always return to connect with the cool and enlightened centre of fire, which is in that deep centre of all of us, if we stop, breath and listen, which of course is the lessons of Wind and Mountain, we may avert disaster.

To help ride the waves of the seasons, I am building a seasonal selection of meditation available on line, Equinox to Follow soon, here is link to the Spring Stirrings Meditation. https://www.facebook.com/Pathwayfinder/videos/1146848008784284/

…and for those who wonder if there is such a thing as an Artic Lion there once was link to Artic Lion

Call to the Ancestors on Samhuin

fullmoongoddessp1000834Oh Great Spirit

Let me walk where my ancestors walked

So I may understand them better

Let me see their failings

So I can learn from them

Let me see their successes

So I can celebrate them and follow them

Let me see their sorrows

So I can comfort them

Let me see their joys

So I may know their love

Let me know my ancestors

So I may grow wise by them.

Tanya Adams – Pathwayfinder

Our Useful friends who deserve our Respect and Care.

 

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Trees lining a river

Recently I have sadly been the witness to a good many trees being felled.  These trees were not diseased or getting in the way of development or undermining existing housing.  They were trees which had stood for a good many years, approximately 60-80 years in some cases, in the same place with the same housing and gardens around them.  They provided many things, interest to an otherwise boring boundary, shade in the summer, screening, scenic and seasonal variety (as a number of them were indigenous deciduous species).  However, they were all in that bracket of “oh it’s just a tree”.   It’s just an ash, it’s just a poplar, it’s just a beech, it’s just a pine, it’s just a willow.  Or in the  bracket of “Ooooh you don’t want to encourage them, they are likely to take over.”  Frankly as we are talking about mature trees they had already “taken over”, they had done their territorial conquering and been enjoyed by many for a good many season.

Some of them provided boundary screening, some of them provided shoring up of banks, some of them provided water absorbency.  All of them provided oxygen, all of them provided homes to birds, insects, mosses and other ecologies, all of them helped ground stability and water management.

A couple of years ago there was a huge protest to a local development which involved a number of mature and valued trees being felled and disruption to what had been long standing park and pond areas.  Just recently with the heavy rainfall gardens which have never been known to flood are now flooding.  All because these ancient and valued species didn’t fit with the bottom of the developer’s balance sheet.

http://www.barnet-today.co.uk/article.cfm?id=108580&headline=Residents%20say%20%27I%20told%20you%20so%27%20over%20Cat%20Hill%20flooding&sectionIs=news&searchyear=2016

The loss of these seemingly “ordinary” species becomes even more sad when one delves deeper into what trees are about and realise what mighty living beings they truly are, what they do for us, the ecology and how much we need them to keep our environment in balance.  Yet there still seems to be a casualty to removing them, cutting them down.  To me trees are like friends.  I truely  understand that sometimes they need and even thrive by being coppiced or having professional surgery carried out.  Sometimes they are simply too old, too big, too dangerous, too diseased to stay.  After all we all come to the end of our lives, we all have our season.

What I don’t get is that too often there is an automatic default to, cut it out, get rid of it, it’s in the way.

They take time to grow, and fast growing replacements, often don’t have the same ecological or esthetical value, so you can’t replace as fast as it’s been removed.

Then there is a deeper level of the value of the tree, the medicinal one, even spiritual one.  Every tree has it’s own medicine, be it from bark, leaf, nut or blossom – they all carry their own medicine, in the form of tincture, oil, pulse or even active ingredients for a modern drug medication.

They are known to have a profound effect on our psyches, enabling better relaxation, destressing, grounding and even ideal space for meditation.  They have been the muses for poets, writers and artists.  For those who are sensitive enough to access the plant consciousness world they are truly living beings with their own spirits and guardians.  In many indigenous traditions they are our elders and teachers.  In Native American traditions they were the Standing People, with their roots deep in the ground, trunk bodies and limbs high into the skies, they form the connection between earth and sky and are in many ways our living breathing oxygen tent.

Eigg Trees

Community of trees,  Isle of Eigg

In our world of wastage, toxins and diseases, they are the true teachers in 0 waste product cycle.  They form their own seeds, support eco systems while alive, and return to the ground as mulch or fire wood at the end.  There service from sapling to mulch is faultless.

With this millennia of service, surely they can expect and should receive significantly more respect and care from us humans, than they generally appear to get in our day to day life.

The Wind in the Trees on the Isle of Eigg

In August I had the great joy of enjoying a few days on the Isle of Eigg in Hebrides and took of the 3 healers, silence, solitude and stillness.  Saying in a simply Boffy which was half in the woods, the native hazel woods, one day this just flowed out.  So here it is in time for a poetic offering for Autumn Equinox.

Community of trees

Hazel the wise,

Ash of the Grove,

We move with the wind,

We move and grow with spirit,

Spirit is in the wind.

It shapes and forms us and how we grow,

We bend and bow, gnarl and know,

We breathe and sigh,

This is not our lot,

From seed to fruit to log,

We serve, we are we give and we grow.

Oh tussled network below,

Tangled branches do play,

We stand tall, short, bent or gnarled,

However, best it is for us to grow.

Beneath our branches much does grow,

Between our toes much does flow,

We are between earth and air,

And are the cycle for these two.

Water feed us and makes us grow,

More for light and air we transmute

For all to breathe and grow with joy.

Water is the earth’s blood

And we are her lungs

The atmosphere her aura

Stones are her bones

Magnetism is her nervous system,

as she lives and breathes.

Every creature, every species

Dances and plays bring joy, movement,

Nourishment, illumination to her mighty body

‘Tis after all heaven on Earth!

Eigg sunset

Time to Wassail but what’s the point?

Just in case you think the only thing to do in January is to put your feet up and sleep for winter, or are feeling glum that there’s no more celebrating to be had until Spring, well you might be glad to hear that’s not really true.  It’s time to get out there and Wassail!  Wassailing is an ancient tradition, which has been performed through-out the centuries and kept alive particularly among cider growers.  Primary purpose of Wassailing is to hail and wake up the fruit trees from their winter slumber to get ready for spring and prepare for the time of fruiting.

WassailTraditionally, a group of “Wassaillers” will go out play music, bang pans, hang offerings (often toast and ribbons) on the “King” fruit tree of the orchard.  Homage is paid to the trees and the tree spirits by reciting poetry and singing songs to the trees.  It’s great fun and a great way to get out and about on a grey January day and becoming once more quite popular.  Also provides some with an excuse for a small tipple of Cider!  So is there anything in it except for anything other than a strange and eccentric old tradition?

The tradition obviously is a throw back to Pagan times and a time when there was a closer relationship, even a courtship between humans and nature.

It’s an age old question, do trees, nature, plants respond to sound, talking, music, nurturing or is it just mumbo jumbo?

We cannot deny that plants and trees are alive, they are living organisms and as any living organism they respond to weather, ecology and changes in the atmosphere.  However, since the 1970’s there has been a growing body of scientific investigation into the response reactions of plants and trees to pain, noise, even music.  It seems that now thanks to more sensitive computer technology, what we instinctively knew hundreds of years ago can now be graphically demonstrated and tracked by computers. Evidence is showing that plants, although devoid of a “nervous” system as such, do have electrical impulses as living beings, which respond to not just changes in weather but to noise, music and particularly the noise of predators chewing on leaves.  This activity can cause the plant to start to product chemicals which are natural pesticides against known predators.

This small selection of articles expand a bit more in detail on this, including scientific research in America and Germany.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGLABm7jJ-Y

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/can-plants-hear-study-finds-that-vibrations-prompt-some-to-boost-their-defenses/2014/07/06/8b2455ca-02e8-11e4-8fd0-3a663dfa68ac_story.html

http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/mythbusters-database/talking-to-plants/

http://www.viewzone.com/plants.html

Crystals, have also been found to aid the growth and protection of plants with their steady natural energy pulse.

In light of this, perhaps there is more to Wassailing than just a quaint old tradition.  So if you decide to indulge in a bit of Wassailing this January, make it joyous and tuneful you never know you might just wake up that tree, stimulate it’s immune system and help get those juicey fruits to grow this summer!   The word Wassail is an ancient term meaning “be you healthy!”

If you’re stuck for some verse, here are a couple of traditional ones to get you started!  …  and WASSAIL!!

“Old Apple tree, old apple tree;
We’ve come to wassail thee;
To bear and to bow apples enow;
Hats full, caps full, three bushel bags full;
Barn floors full and a little heap under the stairs.

 

“Wassail! wassail! all over the town,

Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;

Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;

With the wassailing bowl, we’ll drink to thee.”

Christmas Time and Loved Ones.

A small share, for those who might be struggling to face the Celebrations this Christmas.

17 years ago on this day, Christmas Eve, my mother died.  She passed away in the early hours of Christmas Eve around 6 am after a short spell in hospital.  She had collapsed on the 19th December after suffering a massive brain haemorrhage and was never to regain consciousness.  It’s a long time ago now, but of course those kinds of days one never forgets.  I remember waking early to a strange dream of a baby being born, and at the same time hearing the telephone ringing which was the hospital notifying us that she had passed away.  That Christmas Eve it rained, it rained hard all day.  I went with my father to the hospital in the morning to get papers and personal effects.  I remember staring out of the hospital window into this seeming less endless grey and was glad that it was raining.  It was like the skies were doing the crying I was, at that point, unable to do.  It was such an odd sense relief.  We went straight to the registrars before they shut at lunch-time, as it was Christmas Eve, to register the death.  By co-incidence the registrar who tended us, she too had lost a parent at Christmas and as she looked into our stunned eyes she just said, “It’s not easy, it won’t be for some time, particularly as it’s happened at Christmas, but it will get easier.  Each year it’ll get easier. “……And of course she was and is completely right.

It was what some term a complex grieving process, as my mother, while a dedicated and loving mother and incredibly creative person, she was frankly a difficult woman.  Her sharp edges though, were there from various bashes she had received in her own life which she had sadly never been given the compassionate and supportive environment to enable her to fully process or make peace with them and sadly as a result she had grown bitter and defensive in many ways.  For a number of years at Christmas after her death, while there was this shadow and grief hanging over the season for us, there was also just a little bit of guilty relief one didn’t have this difficult relative, to have to cope with.  It also totally changed the shape of Christmas arrangements for our family, which in some ways was a relief and in others just went to further emphasise she was no longer there.  There were a number of years when the Christmas parties were just simply painful and just told myself to  simply suck it up and get on with it.  Often, just as many people do, I ended up drinking far too much, drinking to forget, drinking to party and have a good time, drinking out of social inclusion and all of it would often result in me simply feeling emptier, more foolish, and having to not only control my unheard emotions in public but control them while drunk; never a good combination and all in the face of this unrelenting forced jollity.  There were some years when I would have quite happily dumped Christmas, the tree, spangles, sparklers and all in the skip and left town for the hills but out of a sense of duty and care to those around me, I didn’t.  Looking back, knowing now what I know, that would probably have been the wisest thing I could have done, at least for a couple of them.  Taken to the hills, gone for walks, good food, long sleeps was really what my spirit and my body needed.

However, in all of this, one thing that always remained with me, was the soft magic of Christmas.  Like a single candle flame in a dark room, this season with all it’s traditions, fun, frollicks, falseness, religion and ceremony, it has one thing at it’s core – heartiness.  Heartiness in the face of the darkest time of the year, bleakest, the coldest.  When you strip it back to that bare root, then you can once more hear the yule log crackle, the mulled wine bubble and you can once again be grateful for the warmth of the family or friends that you may find yourself (willingly or unwillingly) sharing it with.  Even if you are on your own, it still opens the door to the fire side warmth and the capacity of humans to care for each other.  It also invites us to be still, warmed by the fire side and listen, really listen to ourselves.  Perhaps that’s actually the bit we are really scared of?  Just as well we have the fire, warm cuppa or tree for company.

Oddly enough the person who showed me the soft subtle magic of Christmas was my mother, who was German, and sorry folks, but the Germans just do, do Christmas rather well.  She always loved the magic of it and frankly the year she went it was a gift for her to be released that day and not to go on and suffer.

So whatever you are facing this year, this Christmas – trust it will be ok – eventually if not right now and may the warmth of the yule log help to ease that pain whatever it is and if you need to have time out – have some time out!

Christmas Angel Blessings be with you!

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What does Achieving Goals, Manifesting Dreams and Sycamore Trees have in common?

Last year it seemed at the end of summer, there were masses and masses of acorns as if the oak trees had gone into extra production in light of the tree diseases which had been particularly virulent.  As anyone knows who works with or is an observer of nature, she adapts and shifts every year to retain balance, often resulting in certain plants, fruits or species having a particularly abundant year or a particularly sparse year.

This year, locally at least, we have been swamped with Sycamore seeds – they are everywhere!  Some days the car has been so covered in them we’ve actually had to brush them off the windows before driving.

Every plant and tree has it’s own “medicine”.  This can be through it’s chemical make up, through it’s gesture or legend and energy that it holds, but every one has something to teach us on some on some level.  To the Native American people the trees are “The Standing People” and the sycamore trees lesson was and is:

“…of how to reach our goals and make our dreams come true.”

So perhaps the Sycamore is telling us that 2014 is a great year to dream that dream,  plant those desires and help you reach your goal.  Below is a Sycamore Meditation to help you with that process.

Sit comfortably, turn off the phone, tv, pc, ipod, ipad, tablet etc….. go somewhere where you can be comfortable and relaxed for a good 15 – 30 minutes.  Perhaps light a candle, put on some soft music, burn some oil or incense what ever makes you feel most comfortable, safe and relaxed, making sure your back is well supported and feet with on the floor or sit cross-legged on the floor.

Breathing deeply, take some cleansing breaths – always breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.  Focus on your breath, easing out aches, pains, stresses, stiffness from you body and letting any thoughts go, just enjoying this space and time to listen to your breathing and your inner self.

When you are ready, visualise walking along a country path that brings you to a clearing and a large sycamore tree.  Allow yourself to enjoy this tree, taking in it’s branches and leaves, the bark and trunk.  When you are ready feel yourself sit down beneath it.  In front of where you have sat is a leaf and some sycamore seeds.  Take a moment to study the leaf with it’s 3 prominent points, how this echoes – the 3 – mind, body and spirit.  Take a moment to feel into your body giving thanks for all it does for you each day, take a moment to quiet the mind and enjoy that space, take a moment to center in your heart and let it speak.

sycamore

Let your heart speak of what you need to let go of and let it speak of what makes it sing with loving joy.  As these become clear to you become aware of the leaves on the tree turning brown and falling to the ground and as they fall and blow away and rot, turn to compost disintegrate and be transmuted by the earth.  Let the things you need to let go of or the hurts that have held you back go with each leaf to die off, to be transmuted by the earth.

Let your heart speak of your joys and desires and now allow each of these to take the shape of a sycamore seed, allow the wind to blow these seeds far and wide to fall on fertile ground.  The sycamore seed is shaped so that it is easily picked up by the breeze and blown far and wide.  Observe the twisting and spinning of the seeds as they are released by the wind, carrying with them your desires to be planted and to take root in fertile ground.

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You can revisit these seeds again and see how they are taking root and growing at a later date, to reconnect with growing your dreams.

When you are sure you have released what needed to be released for now and asked for your dreams to be carried by the seeds for planting, rise up from under the tree, return along the country path becoming aware of your breathing and your body.  Gently move your feet, hands, shoulders, ground or seat beneath you, be aware of the space you are in and open your eyes.

Don’t forget, sycamores have deep roots, they can grow to 65 feet tall if its a London Plane Tree variety of 100 feet tall it’s the one of the ones in US.  They can live up to 200 years old.  So just imagine how high and how far your dreams might travel!

The sycamore is also one of Biblical trees famous at the tree Zaccheus the tax collector climbed up to see Jesus preach when he came to Jericho.  Zaccheus was a short man so climbed a sycamore to be able to see above the crowds.  See link below if you would like to know more about that particular repentant tax collector!

Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/catholicbychoice/2011/02/living-our-lives-in-the-sycamore-tree-lessons-learned-from-zaccheus.html#ixzz3IJhTAYRs

The Wonder of Carnac and Celtic France

I love the word Awesome, but sometimes feel it gets used too much.  However, I have to use it in relation to the amaizing, ancient, and enormous site of standing stones at Carnac in France.  They are just Awesome!  The Alignments as they are referred to, are estimated to have been here since around 3,300 BC some even before 4,500 BC.  There estimated to be over 3,000 standing stones with numerous tumuli in the surrounding area.  Again they are of a similar blue stone to the stones at Stonehenge.

Mid section Carnac Western End of Carnac

To start off with they seem quite small, and curious all standing in lines, more or less following an east -west alignment.  Almost an anti-climax after such a long journey to see them.  Slowly though, as one walks along one begins to see how varied they are, how over time the weather has shaped each one individually till each one has their own character.  Some are almost cuddly and others certainly are not but together they certainly demand respect.

We were lucky that on one of the week-end days we were there the usually gated areas were opened.  During high season (April – October) the areas are generally gated off to reduce damage to ecoloday and stones.

Carnac biggy It was really once we were able to walk between the stones you begin to feel the very different scale of this site, how big, how ancient and how long this stone procession really is.

Carnac looking east Carnac mid section Carnac small clearing

 

There is much speculation about what they were for and what they were about.  For a long while they were lost to separate farm steads.  Much folk lore speculation had built up over time, including they were pagans turned to stone by St Cornelius who was a Christian missionary and established the Church in Carnac around 400AD or were the grave stones of the ancients.  Each site was steady reclaimed at the end of the 19th Century and beginning of 20th Century, and in some cases re siting some of the tumbled stones.  There is little doubt they, like most stone circles and megalithic sites, are orientated to mark out seasons, the solstices.  However, there is some evidence they also have a moon and Luna connection – however, our short visit and poor French could not quite get to the bottom of this.  One thing there certainly seems to be less information on this site about it’s ceremonial and society use than on sites such as Stonehenge or Avebury, even though it is just as large and of just as much significance as these sites in terms of age and construction.

Along the alignment there are Tumulie the most important now has St Michael’s Chapel on top of it to the south of the Alignments and to the north of Carnac town, and when excavated it revealed many treasures including an ornate blue crystal stone necklace which marked out it’s own are as someone of significant spiritual authority at the time.  The stones look almost like Turquoise but are thought to be a gemstone from Portugal, showing that this area has been liven in and trading far and wide for many millennia.  There is a burial site in the middle of the alignments situated towards the eastern part of the alignments:

Burial Chamber

 

But nothing quite compared to the Burial Chamber almost stumbled across to the south of the Alignments, in the forests, at Kercado.  Dated to before 4,500 this mega burial site for the chief of the time is on top of the highest ground of the area, although it’s prominence is not obvious being in the forest, marked out with a stone to the west beside it and a stone on top to the east, giving a definite feeling of the birth, life, death, rebirth progression.  The whole site was once surround with it’s own stone circle, some of the stones still in place.

Kercado

 

These alignments are not just about weather and death though there is a definite sense that it was just as much about life and a place for people to gather, perhaps even debate the issues of the time at the Quadrangle and marked out by the Grand Manio

Quadrangle Grand Manio

 

 

The Alignments stretch West to East for about 4 – 5 Km, which is easily walked in less than a day but to get to know them will take much, much longer!

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Astrological Observation

left rainbow

 

We have had our second full rainbow in the last 3 days.

Though today’s followed one of the loudest claps of thunder I have ever heard.  When it struck the ceiling light in my upstairs room glowed for just a moment.  Wow!

So I couldn’t help having a look at the symbolism of thunder in the Celtic and mythological traditions.

Out popped, straight away this little beauty on Wikepedia –

 

“A thunderbolt or lightning bolt is a symbolic representation of lightning when accompanied by a loud thunderclap. In ancient Hellenic and Roman religious traditions, the thunderbolt representsZeus or Jupiter (etymologically “Right Father”), thence the origin and ordaining pattern of the universe, as expressed in Heraclitus‘ fragment describing “the Thunderbolt that steers the course of all things”.

So it’s interesting given we have a meteor shower around the 5th May and the Planetary Cross where Pluto and Jupiter were at opposites, in a square formation with Mars and Uranus in April.   This alignment is something of a planetary biggy – in astrology among other things, symbolizing the pulls of structure and creativity translating into something of a watershed time for people, in which they may find they need to determine how to move forward and balance competing and at timright rainbowe opposing demands as they find their way.

I can’t help feeling the appearance of large rainbows and dramatic thunder claps are the “trio” in this period of big statement cosmology.

Personally I take it as a good reminder to have a good look at what’s to be continued and for is for keeps and what’s to be discarded and released.

A Sun and Moon Solstice

Happy Summer Solstice!

Officially it started last night around 11pm, here we are enjoying the longest day and this time it is a true mixture of sunshine, showers and sultry warmth.  Have I moved to the tropics, no but there is something very tropical about the air today.

The word Solstice actually means the day the sun stays still.  Or sun standing.  Or so some have interpreted it.  It does mark the pause in the solar cycle.  However, this year once again there is a full moon close on the coat tails of the sun.  Full moon being on Sunday (rising 1100 GMT).  This brings about a wonderful reflective quality to this year’s Summer Solstice.  This brings in a lovely energy of silver light which is one of the most cleansing and restorative light vibrations.

So it’s an invitation this year to not just party and enjoy the long day with all that “Yang” energy, but also allow for some restorative time.  A great time to reflect on what’s new and changing for you and what needs to be welcomed into your life.

With all this opening and shifting it’s also a great time to be with those who are “on the same page as you” and stay grounded in your reflections.  Good time to snuggle in with your loved one(s)!

sun and moon

Opening to Renewal

So we’ve had the coldest March since the 1960’s and we are all waiting for spring to start.  Of course in many ways it already has, the trees are budding, although the cold has slowed it right down, the clocks have changed and the days are now longer at least a little then the night.

In spring we feel the stirrings of new and awaited renewal of energy.  A huge surge as the day warms and the plants start to grow.  Even in a year such as this, we know it’s due and await it every year.  There is a sense of energy rising.

Nature teaches us constantly about the cycle of life, yet often as humans, we seem to think and much of the time run our lives on a linear basis, using an A to B approach.  This seems to be further demonstrated through our consumerism.  Buy-it, Consume-it, Throw it away.

Of course there’s a huge question about where “it” comes from and where “it goes”.  I suppose in some ways like us – where do we come from and where do we go?  Depending on your belief system and your own inner peace, this can be a daunting prospect, so no wonder we prefer to “buy-it”, “consume-it”, “throw it away” or rather, born, live as much as possible without consequences and  erm?

It does beg the question, particularly when looking at indigenous belief systems and ways of living, those closer to nature that perhaps if as a society, we once again worked more with the whole cycle of nature, in everything we did, rather than fight it, concur it or ignore it, we would find something very reassuring in the whole process rather than haunted by some scary or finite end point.  It’s been found in many cases that living more with nature or having an appreciation of cycles, often leads to more peace in ourselves and on a wider scale could translate into less pollution and destruction of the environment.

Recently I discovered that the word April actually is the Latin word for opening.  Which makes a lot of sense, as energy is rising and the spring cycle brings the opening up of life.   Although as a society our activities are no longer dictated so much by the seasons, still outdoor activities become more appealing, rising in the morning is not so difficult.

It’s a great time to open ourselves to the possibility of being more in touch with nature and it’s cycles and what it can teach us and be aware of what we use and how we use it, where it comes from and where it ends up.  In Chinese elements it’s the time of Wood, so a good place to start to observe this natural cycle are trees.   “From tiny acorns to might oaks, as the saying goes”.  Oaks are perhaps the most obvious example from a tiny acorn to in their adult stage supporting whole eco systems, or as wood being used for beams in houses and at one time to build ships,  to finally rotting wood that still is useful for either heating or homes for important insects and animals.

To open up to these concepts, can be a gradual process and as I heard in a talk recently, opening up to things can take a while, after all if we may have shut ourselves off for a long time there are a lot of “bricks to the wall”, so be patient with the process , nature and yourself.  But what better time then April to start to open up!

Shamanic Healing, often facilitates an opening to the rhythms and cycles of nature to live in better harmony and personal peace.  As a result it also aids transition between endings and renewals or new beginnings.

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Hallowe’en – Beyond Ghosts and Gouls

Did you ever wonder if there was more to Hallowe’en and it’s festivities then Ghosts, Gouls and trick or treat?

As part of two events “Pumpkin Pamper Party”, during the evenings of  pampering, beauty facial masks and massage, we explored the meanings behind Hallowe’en and some of the traditions associated with the festival and this time of year.  This included history of masks, how the change of season effects us and what it meant for our ancestors, along with some interesting curiosities associated with nature and trees.  The information has been pulled from various sources and experience, sources accredited.

Festival Masks

Masks for festive occasions are still commonly used today. Absurd, grotesque, or superficially horrible, festival masks are usually conducive to good-natured license, release from inhibitions, and ribaldry. These include the “Halloween” (England), “Mardi Gras” (France), or “masked ball” variety. The disguise is assumed to create a momentary, amusing character, often resulting in humorous confusions, or to achieve anonymity for the joker or ribald reveller. Throughout contemporary Europe and Latin America, masks are associated with folk festivals, especially those generated by seasonal changes or marking the beginning and end of the year. Among the most famous of the folk masks are the masks worn to symbolize the driving away of winter in parts of Austria and Switzerland. In Mexico and Guatemala, annual folk festivals employ masks for storytelling and caricature, such as for the “Dance of the Old Men” and the “Dance of the Moors” and the “Christians”. The Eskimo make masks with comic or satiric features that are worn at festivals of merrymaking, as do the members of the” Ibos” tribe of Nigeria.History of Masks

The Wearing of Masks

The mask is an object worn over or in front of the face to hide the identity of a person and by its own features to establish another being. This essential characteristic of hiding and revealing personalities or moods is common to all masks. As cultural objects they have been used throughout the world in all periods and have been as varied in appearance as in their use and symbolism.

Masks have been designed in innumerable varieties, from the simplest of crude “False Faces” held by a handle to complete head coverings with ingenious movable parts and hidden faces. Among the substances utilized are woods, metals, shells, fibbers, ivory, clay, horn, stone, feathers, leather, furs, paper, cloth, and cornhusks. With few exceptions, the morphological elements of the mask derive from natural forms. Masks with human features are classified as anthropomorphic and those with animal characteristics as theriomorphic. Masks usually represent supernatural beings, ancestors, and fanciful or imagined figures, and can also be portraits

There could be mentioned many examples from different civilizations where a variety of masks were used for social and religious reasons through centuries.  Including theatrical, to conceal identity, death mask, ritual mask, hunting mask.

Masks have played an important part in magical-religious rites to prevent and to cure disease. In some cultures, the masked members of secret societies could drive disease demons from entire villages and tribes. The best known of these groups was the “False Face Society” of the North American Iroquois Indians. These professional healers performed violent pantomimes to exorcise the dreaded “Gahadogoka gogosa” (demons who plagued the Iroquois). They wore grimacing, twisted masks with long wigs of horsehair. Metallic inserts were used around the eyes to catch the light of the campfire and the moon, emphasizing the grotesqueness of the mask. Other masks for protection from disease include the measle masks worn by Chinese children and the cholera masks worn during epidemics by the Chinese and Burmese. The disease mask is developed among the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), where 19 distinct “rakasa”, or disease devil masks, have been devised. These masks are of ferocious aspect, fanged, and with startling eyes. Gaudily coloured and sometimes having articulating jaws, they present a dragon-like appearance.

The wearer of a mask is considered to be in direct association with the spirit force of the mask and is consequently exposed to personal danger of being affected by it. For his protection, the wearer is required to follow certain sanctioned procedures in his use of the mask. He plays the role of an actor in cooperation or collaboration with the mask. Without his performing dance and posturing routines, which are often accompanied with music, the mask would remain a representation without a full life force. After putting on the mask, the wearer undergoes a psychic change and as in a trance assumes the spirit character depicted by the mask.

Source: http://www.kmop.gr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6&Itemid=0&lang=en

Significance of this time of year

Longer nights and therefore darker days, the light giving way to the dark.  Many ancient philosophies, including Chinese, they did not look at dark as bad and light as good, it was simply recognising the need for both, the role of both the balance of Yin and Yang.   Just like the need for male and female.  More darkness does of course, particularly pre-electricity, meant more confusion, shadow time.  Also dream time and therefore also sensed as a time that the “veil between this world and the next becomes thin”.  Hence the association with ghosts and gouls.  It has been shown in some studies that Pineal Gland has ability due to its function as neurohormone secretor has and ability to  receive and send subtle energy electromagnetic waves.  It is associated with the “third eye” and ability to receive information on a very subtle and possibly spiritual level.  It needs the dark to rejuvenate.   (It can be disrupted with our modern and electromagnetic world, effecting sleep patterns and production of melatonin).   So as it gets darker perhaps it is not so surprising that  traditionally this has been a time for celebrating and remembering and reconnecting with one’s ancestors.  History has shown that in the past much more reverence was given towards the ancestors as this was seen as they were seen to hold wisdom that the younger generations could learn from.  Even today, often when people trace their ancestry it provides context to their lives and sometimes even healing of emotional confusion.

Celts celebrated this time as Samhain, gaelic word, time where cattle were brought down from the high ground, even slaughtered for the winter.  It was seen as a time where “the boundaries” were removed between this world and the spirit world and would also allow the usual societal rules to break down for 3 days.  There would be huge festivities along side the ancestral honouring.  The ancestors would be invited to site at the feast table.  Partying, chaos, and even potential wife taking went on.  Apparently it was allowed that a couple could get together during this time without the permission of the tribe, if they lived and remained together for a year, the following year they could be married if they wished to then continue to remain together.  With the Celtic New Year starting 1st November, the start of winter.

The Christian calendar still echos of these times, as the first of November is celebrated as all Souls Day or All Saints Day where soulful prayer is sent to departed souls, either those in purgatory or give thanks to those “triumphant souls”.  Recognising a link between people in this world and the next.

The Ancients also saw the medicine in plants and trees around us, just as we today extract active ingredients from them for medicines and food today.  They also though respected their seasonality and the symbolism that went with them.  One part of this is the Tree Ogham.  Each month or time of the year has a tree whose symbolism, or “medicine” is particular to that time.  For the end of October – November it is the time of the Broom.  All parts of it have been used for medicinal purposes and it is a diurectic, also good for circulation and heart problems.  An intoxicating drink can be made from it and was in olden times which also induced hallucinations, it’s suggested that perhaps this is why the Witch flies on a Broom Stick!  But it’s the Blackthorn that’s really associated with Hallowe’en or Samhuin.  It is the “dark” version of it’s spring companion the Hawthorn, which is about growth and fertility, this one is about death and the old crone.  It comes to life in the dead of winter giving hope with it’s blossoms or spring to come.  The berries are of course Sloes.   Great for juice making and of course sloe gin. It is said to bring out the darker side of our characters and any one in olden days found with sticks of it or pricks from it were often burnt as a witch.  Which is perhaps a shame as the leaves and fruits are full of vitamin C just what one needs this time of year and is used to treat bladder, kidney and stomach disorders.

Message Beyond Gouls and Ghosts

  • Time for reflection on what we have; or can learn from those who have gone before us.  Respect for them.
  • Challenges us not to think just about dark – bad, light – good.  But see the balance of nature and how one balances the other.  Important in our very YANG world to remember the importance, and feel the benefit of a bit more YIN in our lives.  One example of this is how Nature provides fruits and leaves and vegetables full of the nutrients needed for the coming season.
  • Great time to finish off things or shed, let go of “stuff” that no longer serves us and will not carry us well through the winter and so we can transform for a successful new year.