Things that are making my heart sing

 

  1. my foster hedgehogs waking up and putting on weight well
  2. leaf burst on the hawthorn*
  3. geese returning
  4. the birds getting all excited and flitting about in pairs
  5. corvids nesting*
  6. the wild primroses
  7. the shoots of my black tulips
  8. the small leaves on my roses
  9. the gorgeous sunrises
  10. toads hopping in my garden
  11. bumble bees bumbling
  12. the robins nesting in the ivy
  13. gorgeous flowers on my epic rosemary plant

*a month later than usual!!!

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Brrrrrrrr

There’s a folk saying that I usually take notice of:

If Candlemas day be fair and bright, 

Winter will have another flight,

But if Candlemas day be wind and rain, winter has gone

and won’t be back again!

Now for the life of me I can’t remember what the weather was like on Candlemas, but I presume it was fair and bright, as this is the coldest February I have known in a LONG time. We have had glorious days that tell of Spring, but they have all disappeared this week haven’t they? Brrr!

There is other weather lore that one can follow. I’m not sure why I was so distracted this year, but I shall be sure to follow it next – and I’m going to research what applies for the rest of the year too.

If you note down the weather for the last 12 days of January, its meant to indicate the weather for the next 12 months, and the same for the last 3 days indicating the weather for Spring. I have to say its always been pretty accurate when I’ve observed it. If you have any memories of weather from that time, take note and add it to the relevant month.

This week we are cold. I have made public one of the meditations from the online subscription service for us all to share this week. Its a body scan to relax the body and clear it of any tension, and then goes into a very simplified microcosmic orbit breath to generate some internal warmth. I hope you enjoy it and it helps you to through this cold snap. ( I keep talking like this week is IT, cause I’m sending positive energy to Spring so it hopefully happens sooner rather than later! If its any comfort, I observed that the Summer following the last long harsh winter that we had was a scorcher.) It talks of the darkest of weeks, cause as you can see it was for January – so ignore that detail and enjoy the rest.

Loads of love xxx

 

The Occult Conference 2018

The thing that you can always say about The Occult Conference, held in Glastonbury every February, is that its an experience. This year was no exception. I’m actually wondering if I left my brain in the hotel – ’cause return to normality seems impossible. But I think that has more to do with personal feelings than the ghosts at The George and Pilgrim stealing my body parts.

This years theme was Death and the Lovers and it never felt very far away, even when the talk seemed unrelated – reflecting the omnipresence of such themes in magickal practice, appearing even when uninvited, weaving a constant through all of life.

As usual the talks and workshops were an eclectic blend, but first we had the Friday party to attend. First Paul Weston spoke about his new book with an energy that reminded me of Julian Cope. It sounds fascinating and every one who is reading it is having an amazing time. I wish I’d bought a copy, but that is easily remedied. Then came the talent that is comedian magician Danny Buckler. I found myself childlike and in awe of him being able to change a card from one thing to another BEFORE OUR VERY EYES. It could have been an amazing set, but he sang some Les Miserables. 😉 I enjoy these Friday evenings, as it gives you a chance to see the faces of the weekend – attendees and speakers – and form that unspoken bond for the next couple of days. Friendships old are rekindled, and new are made.

Then came Saturday and the event began proper! The lectures and workshops were diverse and informative. My list of books to purchase is far too long to achieve. By the end of the day you feel like you’ve been to a two day event already as you’ve crammed so much in, and the speakers have been so brilliant. As well as other talks and workshops, we learnt about Sound and Symbol, with James North, making beautiful energy with our voices, and then Sex and Death Magick in Ancient Egypt from Mogg Morgan. The days closing ritual was simple and elegant, and I was privileged enough to be a very tiny part of the team who were hosting it, the Liferites team. It was a very beautiful thing to be part of, written by a friend I hold very dear, highlighting the importance of light and dark, in contrast and balance.

Saturday party! Goth dancing ahoy. Love it.

Sunday -what another day??? The day continued with life changing experiences and Divine intervention, and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same. I attended my first Gnostic Mass, and later learnt all about connected breathwork –  research into breathing differently is something I hold dear as a meditation group leader – in a workshop with David Lee.  It was life changing -part of me died, part of me loved. The whole day and event finished with an energetic ritual of chaos magick hosted by The Illuminates of Thanateros- again contrasting so much with other experiences of the weekend – and it felt like a perfect burst of energy and togetherness to be sent home with.

The themes and actions of Death or the Lovers can be uncomfortable and uninvited, or thrilling and exciting. By simply by attending you’re inviting life altering experiences and knowledge. The Occult Conference this year has certainly delivered.

Just as a postscript I have to share a funny moment of the weekend. As I said we stayed in the George and Pilgrim which was very nice indeed. Our room had a little square window up high in the wall, whitewashed for privacy and to dull the light from the corridor. This provided a comforting little nightlight for townie me, and an irritant for my country dwelling companion. Just as I was going to sleep I heard her chunter

” Its like bloody haunted PlaySchool!”

HA! Just don’t call her Hamble.

Meditation for Candlemas

Close your eyes

take a deep breath in……and release

and move your awareness down to the Earth beneath you

down and down

and tune in to Her energy

This time is known as Candlemas, or Imbolc

It is the time of the first stirrings

the first glimpse of Spring

Tap into that energy

The myth of Persephone and Demeter speaks of Persephone being the Queen of the Underworld through the Winter.

And it is Winter because her Mother Demeter will not let anything grow while her daughter is away…

and will only sleep.

So see now that although Demeter is still sleeping

we can sense that she is stirring in her sleep

preparing to wake at Spring Equinox to greet her daughter Persephone as she returns from the Underworld

So as she stirs

her breath touches the catkins on the hazel

and the branches of the pussy willow

and as she turns in her sleep , her movement brings forth the snowdrops and the crocusses

Feel that energy beneath you

and all around you in the breeze that is suddenly warm

and the sunshine that is suddenly brighter

and the days are longer

feel the energy around you and below you

Imbolc is one name for this time, and another is Candlemas

the single flame

representing the energy, the light

that will grow and grow

until  the bonfires at Beltane blaze

Feel that candle flame

feel that breath from Demeter

Let it reassure you

and strengthen you

and connect you to the changes going on all around you

take a deep breath in

release

and open your eyes

 

The First Stirrings

Its a beautiful morning here. The Sun has risen a bit earlier this morning and the light is bright. It sort of feels different. In fact, this whole week has felt different – even with the gale force winds and torrential rain, the energy difference has been palpable. Its almost like there is something in the air.

There is -its Spring! Although we have a while to wait, and February can be ruthless, we can feel safe in the knowledge that it’s on the way.

This time of year is known to some as Candlemas. Another name for it is Imbolc, which apparently means Ewe’s milk. Not growing up in a rural setting, that name doesn’t resonate with me personally, and for me the lamb is always associated with Spring Equinox. But the imagery of the single candle flame resonates deeply. The first small warming of the Earth, the first small brightening of the sky, the single candle flame reflecting the start of the fires to come later.

There is an official date for Candlemas / Imbolc and its Feb 1/2. I always feel it as a more general time than a specific moment. To honour it though, the beginning of Feb is a good time. I always look for the first snowdrops as a sign – ethereal in their beauty and full of promise.

We also have another Full Moon at the end of January – making it a Blue Moon. A blue moon is when there are two Full Moons in one calendar month – and a blue Moon is a wishing moon. Perfect to combine with the energy of Candlemas. New beginnings, the first stirrings, emergence – what will you wish for?

Meditation Magic

One of my favourite writers is Elizabeth Gilbert. I first heard of her from the TED playlist about creativity – I absolutely loved her talk about the tortured genius and the creative process so I looked her up. I discovered that she was most famous for her book Eat, Pray Love, which I still haven’t read. But I have read another two of hers – well I say “read” – I have listened to the audio books whilst travelling and painting.

One was The Signature of All Things, a truly amazing novel,  and the other was Big Magic.

A couple of the stories from her TED talk were also in Big Magic, but so was so much more. Its an amazing discussion of the creative process – and the magic that’s contained within. The one story that has always stayed with me though, was the one about the poet Ruth Stone.

The story goes that she would see poems racing across the landscape towards her and she’d have to run indoors to grab a pen and pencil to capture them in time. She captured most of them, some escaped to be captured by another poet , and some came in backwards as had just been caught ” by the tail”

It all just felt so incredible. I’m not sure I’ve ever forgotten this story, and mused upon it often.

It was pretty special moment when I realised that the meditations that I work with every week, be it in recordings or in person at our group, come to me in a similar way. Luckily they don’t dash ahead of me on the road, or make me chase them around the garden – but they come a long and sit, sometimes a bit like gremlins, inside my head until I let them out again. They often simply sit in the way of any other ideas or concepts, absolutely insisting that they’re this weeks focus.  However much I may want to change what meditations I’m delivering, they always tell me whats what – and it always works out far better than I could have ever imagined. The energy created is incredible – and often members say how much it meant to them , or that it was just what they needed. Those creative powers that be know what they’re doing – and part of my role is to simply trust in their wisdom.  It feels good to realise that your part in your work is part of your magic, and that your magic can also be big ❤

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes….

Untitled design

Autumn is such a beautiful time of year. That liminal time between the Summer and Winter, when the energy changes. Changes that are similar to those of Spring, but in reverse. Those energies are creating, these are destroying. This is the time of storms and winds, of leaves dancing around your feet as you walk and the imposing fogs late at night engulfing all in a veil of death. The first frosts and the birdsong fading. A time of transition as we head into the dark, cold, stillness of Winter.

I always see this time as a time of endings , but also of beginnings. It is said that the reason for the phrase fortnight, is because a new day was begun at dusk. Contained within Spring and Autumn are the points of balance of the two Equinox’s, the equal days and nights,  which reflect the focus of nights in their name. Using this reasoning I can see how it fits that Samhain, also known as Halloween, is seen as New Year. A view to rest and recuperate across Winter while the plans are made for the active , outdoors time of year.

So changes are afoot at HedgeRose. I am , for the first time in my quite long life, embarking on a degree. I am at University! That’s not something that I ever thought I’d be saying. It exciting and daunting in equal measure. A voyage of self discover too , as I’m taking a degree in counselling and as everybody knows, if you haven’t worked on your own stuff, you can’t begin to help another. Hard work academically and personally – bring it on!

More excitement comes in the form of official studio space at HazleHurst Studios in Runcorn. I am sharing with Claire the Doodologist and flower wrangler at CR Pitt designs. She even shares her coffee with me sometimes which is really saying something. I can think of no one else I’d rather share a room with. More artwork is heading Etsy’s way soon!

And, because that’s just not enough to be taking on board, I am also launching my online meditation group at Samhain. It is New Year after all! It struck me that a lot of people just can not physically get to a meditation group – and those are people who may be in need of it. Carers, Parents, people in stressful jobs with long hours, maybe away from home. They could all benefit from online recordings to listen to at a time that suits them, and an online group for support. I’m currently testing it out with a very helpful and lovely group of volunteers, so we will be ready for launch soon. 🙂