Spring Equinox – Riding the Energies

Tomorrow is the Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere, the time when the days become longer than the nights, when the sun crosses the celestial equator. It’s a tipping point in the cycle, where new energies come into play. This crossover, this shifting of energies happens over and over again, in a never-ending cycle of the seasons, the play and dance of the sun across our planet’s sphere. How do we work with these energies?

Right now our world is in imbalance, and we see that reflected in everything around us. It can be devastating when one follows an earth-based tradition. The rampant destruction of nature, our capitalistic, over-consumption culture and the degradation of cohesive and compassionate communities is at an all-time high. We are seeing the effects each and every day, on the news and social media, an influx of information 24/7 that our brains aren’t wired to handle, which only leads to more stress and fear.

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As followers of an earth-based tradition, how do we cope with all this? We watch our consumption, we give back, we do the ecologically and socially responsible things. But we still have to cope with the stress, the fear, the despair sometimes. When it all gets too much, what can we do? For me, there are two answers. Watching funny David Bowie interviews (really, that man was not only a genius, but exceptionally funny!) and getting out in nature.

Getting outdoors is perhaps the best medicine we have, if we are able to get outside into the fresh air and sunlight, feeling the wind on our faces or looking at the vast expanse of stars overhead. For those who are not mobile, I know that this can present a problem, and we have to work with this as best we can, even if it is to sit by an open window for five minutes (close the doors to the room so you don’t lose all the heat in your home). If you live in a city, try to get out to a park (if you aren’t in quarantine). Any way you can, try to commune with nature, to refresh those bonds in our hearts and minds, to remind us of the beauty, power and strength that lies all around us, all the time. If you’re lucky enough to live in the countryside, so much the better.

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We can also work for ourselves, to strengthen our hearts and bodies, to connect with nature, our gods, the ancestors, the spirits of place, the fey folk. We can use the inspiration of nature. There is magic all around us, in the water that comes from our taps, in the air that we breathe, in the candle’s flame and in the earth beneath our feet. We can work with these energies to help us physically, mentally and spiritually. We are a creative bunch. There are no limits for the work that we can do with nature all around us. If we use the energies of the Spring Equinox on top of all these other energies, we are making good use of the time and tides of our lives.

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Tap into the energies of the growing light if you live in the northern hemisphere (or the energies of the growing darkness in the southern hemisphere) for your work. Pray, do magic, meditate, commune, establish your own personal connection to these energies. Work with the flow, not against it. Listen to the voices of the gods and goddesses, the ancestors, the Fair Folk. What do they have to tell you about right now? What advice can they give, and what can you do, for yourself and the world around you, to make it a better place? How can you be a better functioning part of your ecosystem? How can you ride the tide of this very special time, to do the work that you need to do?

As a suggestion, in the northern hemisphere, at the equinox we can do work to increase health, compassion, love, holistic living,  and peace using these energies. In the southern hemisphere, we can work with the energies to decrease panic, war, anger, ill-health and so on. It can be difficult to ride these incredible waves of energy at this time of year. Everything is thrown up in the air, and it only settles come the next holiday, whether that be Beltane or Samhain, depending on where you live. That is the time when we begin to see the manifestation of the energies, the reality of the situation. At the equinoxes, the energy is ethereal and wild, like the wind. But we can harness that energy, with a little imagination, courage and determination. We are the practitioners of the magical arts. We are the Dreamweavers and the Shamans, the Druids, the Witches, the Wiccans and everything else. We are the earth itself, she is us and we are Her. We only have to remember that, in order to live in balance and right relationship.

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Let’s use our hearts, our minds, our imagination. Let’s work for the benefit of all. Let’s take care of each other, and be the example that we want to see in the world. Things are difficult for most, yes, but we can help each other. We are not alone, we live with everything else on this planet. Our interconnectedness is what makes us strong, and our forgetfulness of this relationship is our downfall. Do what you can to make your environment strong and healthy, for everyone concerned, human and hon-human. Work your magic, pray by the moon, use the energies of the equinox to bring about change. Remember the Old Ways and the Old Ones, use the brilliance of current technology combined with the magic of herbs and stones. Use the gifts that lie all around us, and give back to the earth and each other. Take great care of each other.

Blessings of the equinox to you all.

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Reblog: In the summertime…

Here’s a taster of my latest blog post at SageWoman Magazine’s site, to read the full post click HERE!

P1060324 (1024x768)I love the summer. The heat of the sun, the long days, the unending twilight at this time of year – it’s a brilliant time to be alive. I find at this time of year there is nowhere to hide: you must face what the light shines on you or try to hide in air-conditioned rooms with recycled air, breathing in that stale, same old, same old.

It’s a time when the layers come off, physically and metaphorically. As we expose some skin to the wonderful sunlight (with proper protection) so too do we expose our souls to the light, shining it in all the corners of our psyche. Summer is a time for exploration, for rejuvenation, for relaxation. It’s time to let your hair down and get a bit sweaty.

Many within the pagan tradition see Samhain as the time to face demons, your monsters that can take over and lead you into unacceptable behaviour. But for me it is summer, where I can lay them out on the lawn and watch them wriggle in the full light of the sun – that is where I find the denouement, the closure in my life’s little episodes.

Summer is a time when I have to face certain things head on: my body for one…

To read full article, click HERE.

Visiting Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground

The car park was empty as we pulled in, closing the gate behind us. The weather all weekend had been typically variable, with bright sunshine and threatening clouds scattered across the horizon. We went to the office to see if anyone was there, and found it empty and closed. The wind carried the scent of rain and wet newly mown hay.

We made our way to the main path that lead to the roundhouse, which stood beautiful and serene, blending in with the landscape, made as it was of natural materials and covered in climbing roses that offered a delicious, soft scent in the late afternoon breeze. Around the structure were graves that were covered in wildflowers, with trees planted on the right-hand section where, in time, a little wooded area would grow. The view was simply breath-taking, allowing the eye to roam for miles across the gently rolling countryside, settling on the far hills in the distance with the songs of life and death and the continuous cycle carried between them in their undulating energy.

The calm energy and serenity of the place filled the soul with such exquisite delight, showing that in death there is beauty, as in life. The living and the dead, in the constant process of change, of transition, their songs blending in with one another, were held in each other’s embrace Clearly this is place where ancestors are honoured, not only those who lie newly buried in its soil, but also those who worked the land for thousands of years before, and those ancestors of tradition who uphold the sacredness of their duties to the land, their gods and the ancestors.

There was a war memorial off to one side, and at the bottom of the first field a newly built pond, which was filling up nicely, long grasses waving in the wind and the late afternoon sunlight sparkling upon the water’s surface. The bees in the apiary were hard at work not far away, providing honey for their young and also a small income through the excess for the burial ground itself.

We said our prayers for the dead and for the living, held within that sacred space and honouring all that there is with all that we were. It was so heartening, so inspiring to see what a few dedicated people could do, in a life utterly devoted to their principles and their gods, the ancestors and the world in which they live. It was simplicity and truth, shaped in the landscape that holds those in their new transformation, their new reality within the rich soil of this land, and inspiring those who still walk upon it. It was pure awen.

Read SunRising’s blog HERE

Visit SunRising’s website HERE


Everyday Spirituality

How can we incorporate more spirituality into our everyday lives? By truly living our religion, our spirituality, our calling.

A religion or spirituality cannot be read about, or simply thought about – it must be experienced. Like life, it is in the doing that counts.  Yes, we must think – carefully and deeply, about what we do as human beings. We must also act upon that thinking with full awareness, otherwise the opportunity to really live slips us by.

There are so many ways we can bring more awareness and more spirituality into our daily routines.  For instance, a prayer upon awakening is a brilliant way to start the day. Whether you believe in the gods, or spirits of place, the ancestors or nature itself or all of the above is a matter for your own path.  But coming to an awareness of them physically, emotionally – through living your meditations can make all the difference.  Saying a prayer, either aloud or in your head first thing in the morning can put you in the right frame of mind to be mindfully spiritual for the rest of the day.  You can pray in all kinds of ways – prayers of thanks for a new day, prayers of peace and love, prayers of love for those in need.  It matters not what type of prayer; what matters most is that it is done, in a way that best suits you to get into a spiritual frame of mind.

When we then get up and perform our ablutions, we are already aware of the sanctity of life.  We can say a prayer of thanks to the goddess of the waters, the local water source, to the oceans of the world as we run the tap to wash our face.  We create an awareness of the sanctity of water.

When we make our breakfast, or pour a cup of tea, we give thanks to gods, the spirits, to the earth for her abundance.  We take time to acknowledge where our food and drink comes from, and in that acknowledgement continue in a sacred manner.  We are establishing a strong relationship with the world around us by doing so.  A prayer that I like to use before I eat is simple:

“I give my thanks for the food I am about to eat. To the spirits of land, sea and sky, know that you are honoured”. 

I not only say the words, but honour the lands that the food and drink came from, the blessings of sunshine and rain, the people who worked to bring it food to my table.  Seeing the bigger picture allows me to truly be grateful for all that I have.

I can say a prayer or chant a charm when I am about to drive my car somewhere. Equally, I can say a prayer of thanks for hearing the blackbird’s song of Spring, or upon seeing the sunshine after months of rain.  Seeing the moon, or a particular constellation in the sky evokes spontaneous prayers within me, said either aloud or in my mind.  Prayers to the rising and setting sun, to the rising and setting moon are said, as well as prayers before bed. Even getting into the bathtub can become spiritual, with an honouring of clean, hot water, or a pentagram or symbol of awen drawn on the water’s surface to acknowledge the sacredness. Gardening, working with others, before or after meditation – these are all good times for a quick prayer as well.

Certain times of day might be better for those who like a stricter routine. A set time in the morning, noon, afternoon and evening might be more suitable for those who can follow a tighter regime. It is all about personal choice.

It is not only prayer, but short rituals we can use – a bow to the sun or moon, the lighting of a candle upon awakening, offering of incense or food at the end of each day.  Taking the time is what is most important – taking the time to connect with the spiritual world around you. We are never alone; we cannot be separate. We all live together on this planet side by side. Seeing this connection is pure awen.

Create songs for the sunrise, or write new chants for the full moon.  Sing something improvisational when you see the first blackthorn in flower, or raise your arms to honour the sun dog’s myriad colours in the sky.  The secular world may try to make us feel silly about doing so – but just try it. You may just find that your soul opens in response.

For more ideas on how to incorporate spirituality and devotion in your everyday life, I am holding a retreat weekend in the sacred Chalice Well Gardens in Glastonbury from 11 – 13 April.  This weekend, entitled The Little Pagan Monastery, will be a weekend filled with prayer, devotion and ritual, visits to sacred sites, as well as discussion, meditation, and personal time to incorporate ideas into your life.  For more information, see the Retreat Weekends on this site.