I thought I’d start the year with a podcast about oaths and resolutions 🙂 I’ve made this one available on my YouTube channel, but to have an opportunity to listen to all episodes (23 so far!) please visit my Bandcamp page 🙂
It’s been about a year since I’ve properly danced, and I’m a little rusty. I am not a professional dancer, by any means. I just love to dance; I always have. These videos are to encourage you to dance, in whatever capacity you can manage, to express yourself and to move your body, getting in touch with nature and with your own nature.
When I was a teenager, I would figure skate every night at the local rink (which was free, and outdoors, which was very cold). I was self-taught, watching the competitions on the television every Saturday. I would have loved to have had lessons, and also dancing lessons, but we were on a very tight budget. In later years, I started doing Flamenco, but after a month the teacher moved back to Spain! I then began belly dancing, and continued for 13 years. Now, as my arthritis is kicking in, I’m finding belly dancing hard on my hips, and so I’ve returned to dance in a freeform style. I love being outside, dancing to what I see around me, allowing the songs of nature to blend in with the music.
This piece seemed a fitting end to 2020, as there is hope in the world with the start of the worldwide vaccination programs, changes in government and the lengthening of sunlight during these cold winter months. It’s also a story of a personal journey through 2020. I hope you like it.
Music: “Moving Towards Fine”, by Amaranth Cove, via Epidemic Sound.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has walked down the forest path with me over this year. It’s been a difficult and trying year for so many, and I feel hope that so many have pulled together, lighting the darkness so that others can see, guiding them through the dark night of the soul.
This year, I’m no exception to the many who have slogged their way through personal pain. Physical illness and surgery, isolation and separation from family (and not knowing when I’ll be able to return to Canada to see them), and now a recent death in the family and more have all laid their burden upon my soul. But I take heart that the days will soon begin to lengthen, and find hope in the darkest of days. There is a long way to go for most of us, and the trials and tribulations of winter still lie ahead. But have courage, and remember the good moments, the times of joy and celebration, for they will come around again.
We must all accept personal responsibility for getting out of this pandemic. Stay safe, stay well, and look after your loved ones appropriately. I wish you all the best in the coming year, and I’ll be back here once again after a little time off during the holidays.
Blessings of the solstice season, to you all. xoxo
This week’s beautiful fog just screamed at me to get my camera and my butt out onto the heath. Here is the result 🙂
A new video has just been uploaded onto my YouTube channel, about how to beat the winter blues. I hope you enjoy it! xoxo
The rut is now over, and the heath is quiet. The deer are, of course, still there, but the stags are no longer calling in the twilight hours. The mists have crept in, the air is chill, and the days are short. And yet, there is beauty all around.
This summer, as I recovered from major surgery, as soon as I was able I stood outside every morning and honoured my Lady and the day. I honoured and praised my Lady with her many associations, and I also used an adapted version of Sigdrifa’s Prayer that I came up with:
Hail to the Day, and Day’s sons
Farewell to Night and Her Daughters
With loving eyes look upon us here
And grant peace to those living here
All to the Gods, Hail to the Ancestors
Hail to the mighty fecund earth
Eloquence and native wit bestow upon us here
And healing hands while we live
But these last few weeks I haven’t said this prayer, and instead simply stood outside and felt the wind upon my skin, listening to the sounds and smelling the air. No words. My life is filled with words, and I guess I needed to stop with the words, for they were empty after a while. I needed to feel, from deep within, reaching for the silence first and then feeling the connection, rather than trying to state it as happening when it wasn’t. Too many words.
And so, now that I have my new seasonal altar set up, I sit and meditate at it every day and call to my Lady in my mind, feeling her inside my heart like a warm amber glow that spreads slowly into my awareness. I reach down with my energy into the earth and call to the earth, whose dark and rich energy comes up with my breath through my spine. I get out into the forest and onto the heath several times a week, with the action of walking as my prayer. And I am often blessed with wonderful sightings of the deer, the low-flying hawk, a falcon, a badger’s den or a robin in full song within arm’s length. Some of these moments I have captured on camera, but they will always reside deep within my heart.
I have changed, since my surgery. I had a hysterectomy at the end of June, due to a uterus full of fibroids and a very large ovarian cyst. I am only now coming to terms with the aftermath: living a mostly pain-free life is wonderful, but there is an emotional tsunami of pain and suffering that looms on the horizon every minute of the day. I call to my Lady to help me, woman to woman, for it seems that all the pain I’ve ever had in my life is now just below the surface of my skin, and the slightest bump sets it loose in a torrent of tears. I want to scream, to sob with abandon, to be held in the arms of my mother. I call to the earth, the Mother of All, and find myself supported on her green and dark bosom.
I found myself leaving all my old pathways of being, I floated for a couple of months, not doing anything except healing. I did not do full moon rituals, though I knew the cycles each and every day. I did a very short blot to Freyr at Lammas. I walked for the autumn equinox. Instead, I meditated, walked the land, and began to find my place within it once more, changed, different.
I felt like I was between the worlds, between a child and a middle-aged woman. I felt separated from myself. My detached self looked down with pity at the sad little girl, at the sad woman dealing with her life’s pain. Perhaps this was my Lady, taking me up to a higher point of view, to see myself from this other perspective, to keep me functioning in day to day business.
“Are you having having a bad day? You are not. You are a Bad Bitch. Continue. Is your depression weighing you down? I know. Continue. You can keep going. You can do this. Continue. You are fighter. You are strong. You are smart. And you are wonderfully made. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Keep going. Keep going. Continue.“
– @playcheerleader on Instagram, sent to me very timely by an old friend
I have to let my Lady’s love of life fill my soul again. The earth supports me with warmth and strength, even as she turns colder and falls back into rest. With mind and body numbed from the trauma, I now have to dance in the woods with the elves once again. I remember that time. It was nearly thirty-odd years ago, and more in other lifetimes, but it is still there, they are there, waiting.
My Lady, fill my soul with your golden light, to guide me through the darkest night and find my way back to those woods, and back home to my soul.
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It’s finally complete: the entire audiobook of The Hedge Druid’s Craft. Thank you so much to my Bandcamp followers and subscribers for sticking with me throughout this one, as I had a couple months off due to surgery. I hope you enjoy this audiobook. Narrating is hard work, as is editing, maintaining the website, etc. But I’m proud that I’ve been able to do it, and of the finished work.
Now, to write another book!