A Blessed Samhain and Happy Hallowe’en

Wishing you all the best this Samhain! Here are some of our dances from our performance last weekend at the East Anglian Enchanted Ball – we had such a great time! Broomsticks and belly dance, what more could a girl ask for? 🙂

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Fairy Tales

I attended a lovely make-up and photography workshop run by Leanne of Mystic Belly Dance earlier this month, and when it came time to be photographed, my friend Michelle and I decided to try out a Fairy Tale theme with the photographer, Roger Dewsbery. Here are the results, which I’m very pleased with! I can see possible future book covers and more… 🙂

 

Be healthy.

A89A0650BMI (body/mass index) is only one thread in the tapestry that is your overall health. I had my NHS health check today, and scored a BMI of 29. This puts me in the “overweight” category. Obese is anything over 30. The NHS Health Check is a health check-up for adults in England aged 40-74. It’s designed to spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes or dementia. It looks at a range of possible health issues, with weight simply being one of them. They enter all the criteria into a form which calculates your overall risk for the above. Anything less than 10% means that you are at low risk. I scored 0.82%.

We can focus far too much on weight, as opposed to overall health. I will never be as thin as I was in my 20’s, and that’s fine. Overall, despite the arthritis, my body is in pretty good condition, and for that I am so very thankful. Being healthy is what matters most, not a number on a scale. Besides, most BMI testing does not factor in muscle/fat ratio. I was told by the nurse (who was stunned, as she rarely sees anything less than 1%) to keep doing what I was doing, because it was very good.

Yes, I have a rounded belly, bum and hips. Yes, I am classed as “overweight” according to the weight equivalent of standardised testing. But I’m still damn fine, fierce and healthy. THAT’s what matters most!

Photos of me by Graham Haynes, from “Beauty and the Belly” workshop June 2017 hosted by Mystic Belly Dance

Rescuing the Druid

Reblog from my channel at SageWoman

We all have our ups and downs in life, and these can certainly vary dependent upon many factors: genetics, environment, disposition, culture, upbringing and more. The Druid faces the same challenges as many others do in their journey through life; being a Druid is no different in what the world throws at you.

What is different is how you deal with what comes your way. That doesn’t mean as a Druid you won’t suffer from depression, or heartbreak, grief or anxiety. But the methods that we use to face these challenges helps us to understand ourselves, and each other, a little better, and learn where we fit in the holistic scheme of things.

I’ve faced many challenges in my life, and still continue to do so on a daily basis. One challenge that I faced over this winter was my love and enthusiasm for dance had gone. For the last six months, I was seriously considering quitting dancing altogether. For over a year the question of my love for it had been rolling around in my brain. Over the winter holiday period, I was this close to giving it up completely. In fact, I had made up my mind that upon my return to England, I would inform my dance class.

And then I heard a song. A beautiful song, played on the harp by a talented Canadian harpist, Sharlene Wallace. My mother had the television on a “New Age” radio station, and I was reading in the living room, with one ear on the music. I heard a song, and liked it, looking up a the screen and seeing the artist’s name and the album it was from. I went online to find out more, and bought the album.

Sitting in my room later, after purchasing and downloading the album, I watched the snow fall outside the window and let the music enter into my soul, enchanting my being. And then one particular song came on, “Habanera Gris”.

This song instantly ignited my love and passion for dance once again. Hearing, it, I could see how movement would flow through the melody, how it could be expressed through dance. It was beautiful, haunting, soothing and simple. I HAD to dance to this song.

And so, when I returned home to England after visiting my family in Canada, I began choreographing a dance to this song. The ladies in my dance class loved the music, and though at first it was challenging (as it was quite different from other things we had done before) we soon fell into the rhythm and now it is one of our best-loved dances.

And to top it all off, we performed it this past May Day weekend for the first time. We put the video up on YouTube, and today I was absolutely delighted to be contacted by the composer of “Habanera Gris”, Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, who said: “”Thank you for dancing to my composition HABANERA GRIS. I love to see the many interpretations of my music by musicians and dancers. I hope you will continue enjoying my music for a very long time.”

It was an honour to have him comment on our video, and I shared the fact that I had nearly given up on my dancing before I heard his song.

When we are at our lowest, as Druids, we need to go and seek out the awen, the inspiration. Listen to music. Go for a walk in nature and allow nature to inspire you. Look deeply into nature. Go and look at art, or better yet, create your own. Be inspired by others, because often when we are at our lowest, it is because we need that re-injection, that re-fuelling of inspiration. Often we have given out all we have to give, and not replenished it appropriately.

The cycle of Awen is one of give and take, of inspiring others and being inspired in return. It’s beautiful. Thank you, Alfredo Rolando Ortiz. Thank you so very, very much.

When we’re bad, we’re better…

Last night a few ladies from my dance company and I performed at a charity fundraiser put on by Mystic Belly Dance, entitled “Disney: A Dream is a Wish”. We’re raising money for St Elizabeth Hospice and the Cats Protection League. With our predilection for all things dark, we decided to portray our favourite Disney characters: the villains!  Well done, ladies; I have the most amazing students and the most amazing people in my life.