Leaping Hare and Mind, Body Spirit

This weekend was a busy but fab weekend spent at two lovely events – the Leaping Hare Pagan Convention and the Woodbridge Mind Body Spirit Festival.

Leaping Hare was a packed day-long event on Saturday, 2 April in Colchester, Essex.  It began with Derek Starkswood’s talk Paganism in the Old Testament, which was rather enlightening. Then followed Robin Herne’s brilliant Celtic Poetry and Magic, delivered with his usual flair and wit that had the whole room engaged.  Robin also ran a Celtic Poetry workshop  and Samantha Elen Marks did her drumming workshop, which is always a high point for me each year.  We then had Oscar Kolkowski talk about Finnish mythology and poetry based on the Kalevala, looking at shamanism, magic and the art of storytelling.  Though I missed it, it was then followed by Nick Ford’s talk On the Death of the Gods.

The stalls were really good this year, with great diversity. Mike Carrington’s King of Cups stall had a busy trade, and he assured me that he had brought extra mead so as not to run out this year!  There was also a lovely soap stall that was new, by Bewitched Botanicals. Hedingham Fair were there as well, alongside a number of old and new faces trading second hand books, hand-crafted items and more.

It was a great day, made even more special by all the people that came up to me to congratulate me on my work, sharing their stories of how it has influenced their lives. I am so thankful to everyone for their continuing support, and I am humbled by the vast changes that people are able to make to their lives thanks to the sharing of inspiration. May we be the awen!

Sunday 3 April was the Woodbridge Mind Body Spirit Festival, which was a huge success thanks to the many people who pitched in when Chris Cozens, the organiser, was unable to attend due to health difficulties. He managed to come by on Saturday and was so delighted to see how everyone stepped up to the plate; it truly shows what people can do when they put their minds to it! We all wish Chris a speedy recovery.

The workshops on the Sunday were brilliant: I attended Secrets of Sound, Spelling and the Mind, which looked at words as spells: words do have power.  It was about healing your world and learning to use sound towards ‘heal-thy-living”. It was then followed by Greenstead Living Foods‘ workshop on how to turn your vegetables into probiotics to benefit the whole family, complete with demonstration. I’m now going to go through my fridge and find the old veg to prep for some yummy delights next week! Rami showed us some instruments for healing in the next workshop, and after trying a Sansula I just had to get one! After four hours spent in workshops and roaming the many stalls (including the Chakra Project, do check them out!) it was time to head home and flop on the sofa in the conservatory for a nice cup of tea and some time out.




Extract from “Nemetona: Boundaries and Edges”

Here is an extract from the talk that I will be presenting on 28 March at Leaping Hare in Colchester, Essex.  It further explores the goddess Nemetona in her aspect of Lady of Boundaries and Edges as described in my second book, Dancing With Nemetona, and which goes deeper into how we work with edges and where we find the greatest potential.

When we are rooted in our selves, finding our place in the environment, working with our edges we understand where we came from. With that understanding, we can reach out to others, where soul meets soul, when boundaries and edges touch. In that touch there is relationship and inspiration. In Druidry we call that awen, where soul touches soul and the spark of inspiration occurs. Where the seeds lands on the soil, where those edges meet, something wonderful happens and new life occurs. When we meet another human being with honesty and compassion, utterly awake and aware to the connection around us we are inspired. If we are aware of where we come from, aware of our ancestors, the land upon which we live, we can work from a place of deep connection. As the Tao Te Ching states, “Stay at the centre of the circle and let all things take their course”.

But it doesn’t stop at the self. Self-improvement is not the goal in Druidry. Nemetona teaches us to root and find our edges in the sacred grove, but then nudges us to go and seek out those edges in the wider world, where we can truly be inspired. Self-focused creativity is not as inspiring as that which is connected to the whole. Getting the self out of the way is key in this learning, of learning to live in service. We need to find out how and what we can give in order to have sustainable relationship.

Giving is essential in a culture and lifestyle that takes so much. We live in a consumer culture. We need to balance consumerism with the inspiration we receive from nature, where if we take too much it dies. If one creature starts to take too much the whole ecosystem is affected, and is at risk. As homo sapiens, the beings that are supposedly aware, we still take too much. We can look to nature to find out how to work better in and with the world. The curse of self-awareness means that we are often so focused on our selves that we do not see the wider world. We are so busy looking inwards that we forget to look outwards. We forget that what benefits us may not benefit the whole, and we are a part of that whole, therefore selfishness can be so detrimental – if only we are able to look beyond the self (and we are). Relationships require a give and take. We cannot always give nor can we always take. We are honour bound to give back for what we have received if we are working from a place of deep connection. Nature shows us how. Otherwise it is simply not sustainable. A forest is able to sustain itself without any human interaction. The sacred grove in the forest, where the edges of woodland meet open space are filled with potential, able to sustain itself with integrity…