Re-Living, Re-Visioning your Craft

Whether you’ve been practising your spiritual path for 30 years or 3 years, you will need to shake things up every now and again. Nature doesn’t stay the same. Nature changes, each and every day. As I look out my window, things have changed, sometimes minutely, sometimes drastically, but I can see and feel the change. When I’m out and walking the landscape, I see the wider changes happening, beyond my own little hearth and home. By spending time noticing these changes, I become used change, and so I am also able to transform what I need to in my own life.

My spiritual path does not remain an unvarying constant. It is ever shifting, changing, flowing in and out with the seasons and the cycles. With my many, many, many (oh so many, where did the years go?) years of experience that I have in following my own tradition, I can honestly say that no two years have ever been alike. My interests, my environment, my circumstances lead me down different routes that inform and re-energise my current modus operandi. I am not the same person I was twenty years ago, and nor would I want to be.

Anything that is alive, changes. We often forget that in our day to day existence. We often relive past experiences, but these are done and gone; what we need to do is re-live, to truly live once again in the present moment. Accepting change and circumstances and experience that should, hopefully, lead to wisdom.

Some days are harder than others, for sure. Some days our Craft might seem to take a backseat in our lives, as we try to deal with the hardships and grievances, the pain and the struggles that come from being on this planet at this moment in time. But it is always there, waiting for us to tap back into it, to bring it back to life.

What if your rituals no longer bring you joy? Do something different! Instead of casting a circle, invoking the gods, etc. why not simply go out and walk the land? Whether you are in the countryside or in a city, find a place where there are green and growing things, and be out there in it. Sense the energies, the time of year, the season and the cycle. Feel that deep within your soul, feel your soul reflecting this back out into the world. Let this invigorate you, and take you out of your rut. Let the change flow into you.

Now re-charged, take some time for re-visioning. See how you would like your Craft to be, not how it has always been. Make the changes that you desire, try new things. If they don’t work, put them aside and try new ones. Take some time to visualise the person you want to be, and then go out and be that person. It won’t happen without a little time and effort expended into the process.

Be the change.

In a happy and inspiring place 🙂

Happy Holidays!

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

The Holly and the Ivy video

Name Change Successful!

We have successfully changed the blog name and URL, and it would appear from the statistics that everyone came along with us for the ride – woo hoo! We’re pleased as punch over here.

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We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our followers and subscribers who have been along with us for this wonderful journey – long may it continue!


Happy New Year from Octopus Dance!

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. Thank you all so much for your support with this blog – it has truly stunned me to see all the comments, views and other blogs posts shared here.

In 2013, Octopus dance had over 18,000 views, from 92 different countries.  Thank you so much for sharing your creativity, for being the awen, and for allowing me to share mine.

Quotes from Mary Oliver come to mind:

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
Mary Oliver 


“to live in this world
you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1


“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”
Mary Oliver


Many, many blessings to each and every one of you, and may your journey in 2013 be filled with the wonder that is truly living life, and filled with the awen. Remember – don’t just go with the flow – be the flow itself. x

Spiritually Ill

At Samhain, by sunset I was in bed, the world was spinning.  I had just gotten off the phone to cancel the evening’s ritual. I had doggedly worked through the previous two days with a headache that just wouldn’t go away, and an all over body ache that I attributed to overdoing it in yoga.  Now nausea took over; I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. This was something different.

My blood boiled and the fever took over, running for the next three days.  Then blisters began to appear, and I knew – I had chicken pox.  I had managed to elude it for 39 years, and it finally caught up with me. My immune system was already weakened from a previous virus and an unrelaxing but still enjoyable holiday.

Halfway through the night we had to get up to change the sheets.  The fire in my body was trying to be quenched with sweat. The pounding in my head was almost unbearable.  As I dragged my aching body back into bed and into the blessed darkness, I wondered how I could deal with this illness on a spiritual level.

Using meditation techniques to calm the body and ease the headache, it was pretty easy at first. But then the rash came out, and all thoughts of coping with meditation flew out the window.  The fever comes and goes, a rush of fire through the body and that is quite easy to follow along, feeling it along my body and in my bones, through my hair and rising off my body.  It’s the stillness that is difficult in these circumstances.  I thought my Zen and meditation training would help to ease this. I was wrong.

It was impossible to sit still.  It was impossible to sleep. It still is.  Lying down, you feel all the nerves reacting to the virus, sending sharp little elf shots throughout the body and into the blisters.  You twitch. Even now, the twitching doesn’t stop.  The mind is doing all it can to get away from the pain, from the discomfort. Trying to type these words and form a cohesive thought pattern is a real challenge.

So what to do? How to deal with the chicken pox virus spiritually as well as physically? I’ve found that my skin is soothed outside, by sitting in the backyard, letting the sun and the wind ease the pain.  It doesn’t last for long – when I go back inside again it returns, but I am reminded of the moments of normalcy, of nature all around me, continuing on even as the fires rage within my body.  It is a reminder that the world is bigger than you are – when we are ill, we can so easily become despondent, self-absorbed ( I know – writing a blog about this is a tad on the solipsism side, but bear with me).

I look at my cat, who has been fighting with a stomach infection for months now.  She doesn’t seem terribly bothered by it – animals deal with pain and illness, death and dying so much better than most humans. They have an innate grace when it comes to it, all things considered.  And so I take inspiration from nature to help me combat the mental and physical challenges that lie ahead this week.

I let the awen flow.

I also hit the bottle of calamine lotion, and take some white willow bark.

I feel that this is also a turning point – the Celtic New Year has begun.  My body is undergoing some serious trials right now, and I feel that at the end of this journey I will have learned something valuable.  I was not able to perform any Samhain rituals, but did light a candle for the ancestors and leave it in the front and rear windows of the home, like I do every year, to guide the dead on their journey.  A couple of days later I was able to sit in my altar room and, after trying and giving up on meditation I turned to my oldest set of cards for inspiration.  What did I need to learn from this, I asked? The card I drew was Initiation.

And so, I feel that this is telling me to stop, to slow down even, to see the new phase in my life.  To literally do nothing. To deal with pain.  To deal with suffering.  To get on and be inspired by life.  To let go of all concepts related to my looks.  To let go of all thoughts of the future. To enjoy the moment. To simply be.  There is nothing like pain to get you in the present moment, if you truly open yourself up to it.

It has showed me that even though I talk about slowing down, and not taking on so many commitments, that I need to walk the talk.  I have talked about slowing down for months now, and yet keep accepting new work, birthing new ideas and letting the awen flow.  What I need to do is to retreat, to stop for a bit, to perhaps stem the flow of awen pouring out, and focus on it pouring back in.

This illness has really highlighted that for me.  Exchange, relationship. I talk about this a lot, and yet now see how unbalanced I was in it.  And so, learning from this episode in my life, I start the new year unable to do much except sit and read, or watch the birds as the sun sets a little closer each evening.  There are books to read, sacred places to visit.  A retreat from the world in order to better engage with it – this is what the monastic tradition is all about.  It’s calling to me at the moment. Time to ponder on thoughts of the self, to chop wood and carry water.  The cool breeze from the open window beside me is so delicious on my hot and blistered skin.

Is this how to deal with illness as a Druid? Maybe – each person’s journey is different, and sacred. May yours be walked in balance and harmony, in darkness and in light with equal joy and yes, pain.


New book contract accepted!

So, the manuscript for my second book with Moon Books, Dancing with Nemetona: A Druid’s Exploration of the Goddess of Sanctuary and the Sacred Grove, was handed in two days ago.  As well, I have just received a contract for my fourth book with my publishers – The Awen Alone: The Path of the Solitary Druid.

I’m very excited about this new piece.  It will focus on the beginner’s path in Druidry, walking it alone.  Though aimed at the beginner on the journey, anyone may find this work interesting, and of worth.  It’s halfway through being written already, and should be out next year.

Thank you for all your support, dear readers, and blessings of the new Celtic year!