Early Winter’s Light

This time of year, the frosty mornings give us such a beautiful display of light and shadow, of magic and mystery. And the fact that the sun doesn’t rise until 8am right now means you can have a relatively decent lie-in on a Saturday morning, and still get out pre-dawn for some great shots 🙂

Pre-dawn's light

The freshness in the air, the silence and most of all, the solitude is just wonderful. It’s as if you are the only person in the world, and are completely at one with all nature.

A Frosty Contemplation

The hard ground underfoot, which is usually so soft (it’s all sand on the heath) makes a nice change.  It’s different, and though we don’t get much snow here so close to the sea, you can feel it still underfoot, and hear it whispering in the early morning’s light: the Song of Winter.

The Song of Winter

It’s there in the beams of sunlight that play through the branches and dance in the clouds. It’s there in your soul, waiting to be heard.

Greeting the Sun

And so we stop, and take a moment to listen to our own hearts.

Listen to your Heart

And we know that a world of wonder awaits us, if we just open our eyes to see the beauty that lies all around us.

The Awen (Inspiration)

And we carry that memory with us, though the road be long, though the nights are dark, though the shadows creep in.

The Frosty Path to Dawn

Here is where we find ourselves, in the stillness of the year. When the fields lie fallow, and the birdsong is muted, we take a moment to hear our own souls.

The Fallow Field

And we know that we are truly blessed.

The Magic of Melting Frost

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please do consider becoming a Patron on my Patreon Page. I’m hoping to get better camera equipment for photography and video next year, and hopefully a drone that will enable me to get beautiful overheads of the North Sea Coast and the heathland where I live. I’m already dreaming of the photos and videos that I can put together with this! x

A Day in the Life…

Hi everyone! I hope you like this video, and I’ve got more coming up in the next few weeks. I plan to have a Heathenry/Northern Tradition video soon, as I’ve had enquiries for more information on that subject. Thank you all so much for your support, and please do check out my Patreon page!

Huge love.

J. x

Winter’s Reflection

xmas 2015 2This time of year always makes me think of my family: my relatives, my extended family, and my ancestors. It’s a difficult time of year to be separate from them, as during this season it is all about being with family. As I won’t be going back to Canada for the holidays this year (I was back in the summer, and will be going back next summer for a big wedding anniversary) this winter will be a hard one, mentally and emotionally. Thank goodness for the blessings of Skype!

So how do I cope? Well, first and foremost, if I can’t be with my blood family, I’ll be with my chosen family: my friends. We’re organising a Yule ritual and feast, and it will be good to be with others, laughing and sharing food and drink, a warm fire and toasting the past year, and looking forward to the coming year.

Winter 1As always at this time of year, my spiritual path shifts to honour my ancestors. My practice takes on more of a Heathen focus, working with the old ways of Germanic customs, deities, ethics and lore. If I can’t be out walking the snow-covered hills and deep, silent forests of my native Canada, then I will work with the ancestors and spirits of place here in England that still remember and resonate with a similar landscape from their past, and also a similar ideal. It runs through my veins, the yearning to be with family, to deepen those bonds with gifts and storytelling, to be out in the winter air and honouring the world around me.

I feel a close connection to Frigge, the Allmother, especially during the winter months. She is the lady of right order, a lady of sovereignty, she who sees the wyrd of all. She is a great weaver, and she knows the bonds of friendship and family are the strongest ones we can have  in our lives. I say a daily prayer to her every morning, and light a candle in her name.

Winter 2There is also a special place in my heart for Ullr, who is mostly associated with hunting but, as with all the northern traditions’ deities, they cannot be pigeon-holed into a specific “god of such and such” for their functions, their talents, their skills and their passions often overlap, just as ours do here in Midgarth. I also honour the Etin-bride Skadhi, she of the snowshoes, an independent and strong warrior woman who is not afraid to ask for what she wants in life. If I can’t be out on my cross-country skis back in Canada, then I can still feel the presence of the gods in the awesome winter skies of East Anglia, with frost on the ground and the deer in their large winter herds before me on the heath.

I honour Freya (who may or may not be separate from Frigga – the debate still rages) as a lady of seidr, the magic and trancework of the northern peoples. With my staff I sit, indoors or out, and connect to my guides, singing the songs that take me between the worlds.

I also have a great love and respect for Tyr, who befriended Fenris the Wolf who will slay many at the end of days, at Ragnarok. When Fenris came to live with the gods, Tyr was kind enough to take care of him, to feed him and keep him company. When the gods decided that Fenris should be bound, in an attempt to stop the aforementioned fate from coming to pass, the wolf knew something was up, and demanded that someone’s hand be put in his mouth while the magical fetter was being laid upon him. No god or goddess was willing to do so, apart from Tyr, who knew his duty, both to the wolf and the gods and goddesses of Asgard. And so he lost his hand when Fenris bit down after realising he had been tricked. Tyr knows the price to be paid, as well as duty and the kindness that is compassion.

I work with the runes, and am studying them in more depth this year. I’m also going to be part of a study group with a kindred that lives a few rivers down the coast, who have kindly invited me to several blots over this past year (rituals where blessings are offered and given). There is the special sumble (ritual where words are spoken over the ritual cup/horn, to fall into the well of wyrd) near the winter solstice, and of course, the entire festival of Yule which I will celebrate, spanning the 12 days of Christmas in the modern calendar.

P1010980All in all, this winter will be a quiet one, where I turn to my ancestors and work with my heritage, learning new things and becoming a student once again. I’m very much looking forward to it, and to the new discoveries along the way. May the blessings of winter’s might and reflection be with you all!

Glastonbury Pilgrimage Preview

What a trip! Had a brilliant time, and looking forward already to next year. I’ll be doing more pilgrimages to various sites over the next year, so please consider becoming a Patron to support my work! https://www.patreon.com/joannavanderhoeven