Blessings of the First Harvest

As Lugh pledged to honour his foster-mother, Tailtu with games in her honour every year, what pledge will you make to the land? Let this vow strengthen your resolve through the cycles of the seasons. Lammas/Lughnasadh blessings to you all. x

Lughnasadh

Reblog: Lughnasadh and the State of Grace

Here is a reblog of my post on SageWoman’s channel at Pagan Square. Blessings of the first harvest to you all! (To see the full original post, click HERE.)

_MG_9378 Lughnasadh is upon us, and the farmers are anxiously looking to the skies for a few clear hours when they can harvest their crops of wheat in my area. It has been a hot, dry summer, and of course, just when the harvest is due to come in we get changeable weather with rain showers every day; not ideal when you need to gather in a crop like wheat totally dry, or else it will rot. So just like our ancestors, we look up and hope and pray for some dry weather, and for the farmers, that they’ve rented the combine harvesters on the best day for it, and not when it’s going to dump it down halfway through their work.

Things are unpredictable in life. It’s just something that we have to accept. With a little grace, we can face the problems and triumphs, the highs and the lows with equanimity. Grace is a word that is little used today, but one which I think is important, and one that I’ve been trying to live each and every day.

It’s not easy, to live with grace. Acceptance does not come easily when things don’t go your way, or when people don’t behave the way you think they should, or the weather turns unexpectedly, or you suddenly find out that you need a root canal, but hey, that’s a good thing, at least they can save the tooth and not have to extract it. (Yes, I’m undergoing quite a bit of dentistry this past month, having cracked a tooth at Gatwick airport on my way to a three-week visit to my family in Canada last month. Not ideal.)

So how do we deal with life’s upsets with grace? By being open to change, to what comes, and not to dwell too much on how we think things should be. Because however much we think we know what’s best, or that we have total control over a situation, the simple fact is that we just don’t; we are viewing life through a single lens of perception, and we have absolutely no control over external influences in our lives. Living as we do alongside myriad other beings, we have some control (I would hope) over ourselves and our reactions and intentions, but very little when it comes to others. And this is a good thing.

Grace is all about working with the concept of freedom and acceptance.

People are free to do what they will, so long as they are not breaking laws or harming others. Live and let live. We as individuals fall into that category, and when we can allow others to be themselves, whether they’re rude and obnoxious, lovely and charming, or everything in between then we are living with grace. We focus on our own self, but without becoming self-obsessed. We are awake and aware to all aspects of ourselves, from the light and the shadow, from the conscious and what lies hidden beneath layers and layers of past experience and trauma.

Grace is often equated with beauty and elegance of form, and when we decide to allow life to happen as it happens, we find that we actually do move through it with less struggle, with less flailing. That doesn’t mean that we will suffer any less, but that we deal with the suffering and the struggle in a manner that is calm, peaceful and accepting. This isn’t easy to do in the slightest. It takes a lot of practice, and is not something that happens overnight. Grace is also synonymous with favour, and we may just find that when we are more accepting of what life throws our way, our luck may change, or at least our perception of it, and we are able to move through the currents with more ease. We are going with the flow of the tide, not against it.

So this harvest season, I am going to remind myself (often) of that single word: grace. When I am flailing, when I am struggling, when I am angry or upset, when I am in the dentist’s chair again next week, I am going to stop, take a moment, see the beauty, feel the pain, and accept. And then I am going to work if I can to change it, and if I can’t then so be it. Just as the wheat in the field awaits a dry, sunny day for harvesting, so too can I work with patience and the tides and times of life, for nature is not in any hurry, and yet all things get done.

Druid Camp 2016

Druid Camp 2016

I’m so very much looking forward to Druid Camp this year, seeing old friends and having a brilliant, transformative, heart-warming time!  If you’ve never been, it’s a five-day event (though you can buy single day tickets) that celebrates the songs of our land. There are workshops, talks, music, ritual, healing area and more, as well as evening entertainment, lovely veggie food, hot showers, sauna and lots of other wonderful things to delight!

An Aldeburgh Musicircus!

We did it – we made it possible, with over 1,000 performers sharing their creativity all at the same time, for two hours along Aldeburgh seafront and High Street, in pubs, in gardens, from balconies and rooftops at An Aldeburgh Musicircus as part of the 67th Aldeburgh Festival. Well done everyone! It was AMAZING!!!

Here is a short video and some photographs of our dance troupe, Gypsy Dreams Belly Dance, performing at the event.  What a wild ride, the awen flowing with the crazy serpent energies of midsummer!

There is a 5 star review in the Financial Times HERE.

Another 5 star review in The Times – though they called us flamenco dancers!

Musicircus Times

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Reblog: Beltane and the Singleton

This is a reblog from my post at SageWoman Magazine’s blog channel on Witches and Pagans.

Jo Bluebell-063smallBeltane is fast upon us – here in Suffolk, the hawthorn is in bloom already, and I have heard the first cuckoo of summer. The oak leaves are just coming out, and the beech and ash are lagging behind, sluggish after their long sleep. The garden is abloom, and the forest is filled with bluebells, their soft energy shimmering in the sunlight. It is, indeed, Beltane.

Beltane is a pagan festival that relates to fertility and sexuality. It is a celebration of passion, of the fire within the blood and the rising sap within nature and in our own bodies. Yet for the single woman, what does Beltane mean to her? To the pagan without a partner, they can often feel left out during this holiday, this celebration of sexuality, where it is often depicted as the Goddess and God coming together to create new life. What of those women who have no significant other in their life at this time?

Beltane can be celebrated by the singleton as much as with a partner. In Druidry, we take inspiration from the natural world around us, the gods and our ancestors. We know that we are all connected, therefore we can never truly be alone. We take this sense of connection and work with it in everything that we do.

At this time of year, we can work with the energies of flowing, of fire and creativity. We don’t have to just celebrate sex and the act of sexual union – that is only one facet of this festival. It is a fire festival, and so we can take inspiration from the flames and work that into our own lives…

To see the whole post, click HERE.