15 August 2017

August



I'm spending as much time as I can outside during these last days of summer. Between rainy spells that last for days we still get the odd bright, hot day. They fill me up.

In the garden I'm cutting back the long grass. I have to, to preserve the lawn (that isn't ours - we rent), and I think it does benefit in the long term but ack...it's hard work! And it looks so bare. Also, the garden is mostly one big ants' nest. I'm fascinated by ants so I work slowly. Stopping to watch perhaps more often than is actually useful.

The wood pigeon nest I spotted - that was probably Biscuit's birthplace - with two very young squabs being lovingly cared for by their parents, has failed. One day all was well, the next it was abandoned, with no sign of the babies anywhere. I'll admit it's cracked my heart a little. I know it happens; I know there are literally hundreds of happy wood pigeons here, but it makes me sad.

Meanwhile the jackdaws in the chimney - the Jimley Jackdaws - have thrived this year, as have all the small songbirds. Our feeder needs refilling twice a day at the moment. I saw two kingfishers dart past my shoulder this morning, on their way to the moat, while I sat after meditation, drinking my juice. Their colour and speed was amazing! There have been a pair of collared doves nesting nearby this year - they're still visiting - and a single dove who really doesn't leave our garden. She'll sit on our roof or on the wall, dropping down into the kitchen garden to pick up the seed that's fallen from the feeder. I've named her Opal and she's soothing my lost-pigeon-feelings.

We're off to Wales for a week, in four weeks. I can't wait to be near the sea again, even if the weather is not good. And there's a tiny chance that I may have booked accommodation for our holiday in October 18! I like to have something to look forward to. In this case it's a trip back to Australia (the bonus of being old is that next year I get to cash in a tiny second pension I took out, in complete ignorance [or was it?], 30 years ago). I've managed, with some crafty moves, to book the exact apartment I stayed in last time. Evie and I both loved it so I'm super excited to go back, see family, and explore the Sunshine Coast a bit more this time.

This eclipse period, meanwhile, has been powerful for me. I was already deep in a period of development and discovery and that has continued in wonderful ways. I'm thinking that perhaps this stuff is better suited to personal journalling than here because it's ever evolving, changing and shifting. Where I am today will of course not be where I am tomorrow because nothing stays the same. If you're lucky, it grows and you learn, for all of your days, and I am lucky. Putting my thoughts down here almost seems to stick them in a moment and they must, by nature, move on. So yes...that. The deep inner stuff, the inner conversation and experimentation, that can stay with me because no one else needs or wants to hear it! I may decide to unpublish some posts...I don't know. It's not really important with so few people reading.

The sun is shining and I'm off back outside with the plants, the birds, the bees and the warmth. It does these animal bones so much good. I hope you're finding such nourishment your self.


x

9 August 2017

In support of the out-of-place



You may...
have a family that doesn't get you,
have a partner who doesn't believe,
be older (or younger) than most of people you relate to.

You may...
not relate to anyone,
feel it's 'time to grow up',
think you're in the wrong life,
feel you were so scared, that you missed your chance.

You may feel like a fool.

Ha.

"You may ask yourself,
How do I work this?"

Perhaps you feel in some way 'Otherwise' or perhaps, 'Other Wise', and have never felt at home, or brave enough to stand up and say who you are. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we can support someone of our 'clan', however far apart we are geographically. It's what I've always loved about the old www and I feel it now as much as ever. Maybe more.

I'm just having a moment, that's all.

x













26 July 2017

On the breeze



At dusk, about 9pm these days, I'm standing in the garden watching bats - big bats, bigger than our usual bats, maybe Noctules or Serotine (those names are so beautiful) - fly over my head. Last night as the sun set, a heron flew low, north to south, to the moat next door. There was a light breeze rustling the trees, the rooks and jackdaws had finally settled in the woods behind us, and the last of the woodpigeons had called it a night.

The dew was already under my bare feet and there's something about wet grass...something about the water that conducts energy for me, between me and the earth. I feel it so much more strongly if there's water between us.

All day I'd been thinking, in a relaxed, leisurely way as my body worked with the dirt and the plants, about how Nature is central to everything I am. How that connection makes me strong. How other women, other people, would benefit too but may not realise it, and how exactly I can use what I'm learning about flower remedies and oils, and herbs. What use my experience with spirits of plants, animals and good ol' Earth might be for others.

As the sun dipped, a breeze blew into and through me. I closed my eyes and felt, "Stop. Heal yourself. Look after yourself and you'll learn more than you can imagine. That's your work here and now."

Putting me first is what my former boss used to refer to as A Paradigm Shift. Probably one that needed to be pulled up a flag pole, or flung into the long grass or something equally, um, metaphoric. But I know that the voice in the breeze is right. That's my work here and now.

Of course I'm thinking of flower essences to support the shift. Centaury, Walnut, Larch. Always Star of Bethlehem because Scar Clan; fully paid up member here. And Clematis, to ground me here and not off in some imagined future. Who knows what that will look like? This witch is working at her hearth. Feeding the earth beneath her feet in preparation for abundance.


x


21 July 2017

Listening

This is not the same rosemary and lavender. These two are thriving outside my kitchen.


Most mornings I take my juice and sit outside while I drink it. It's become one of my favourite habits. I get that little window of time to just sit and be with plants, inside and out.

There's conversation. I've said some things, asked some things, promised some things. It was after our conversation this morning that I sat under our porch, wrapped in a blanket would you believe, watching the willow trees move against the grey, windswept sky. It was one of those moments when you actually are 'in the now'. Seeing the leaves dance, I was almost in tears at how beautiful it all was. My emotions are very close to the surface at the moment - floating on an ocean of flower remedies! - but they're clean and clear.

I found myself thinking,"There's a rosemary, in a pot, up by the beetroot. Bring it down to the house with these other pots." So I went and found it. Such has my immersion into pigeon-y things been this last few weeks that all but the basics of garden care have been forgotten, and this poor plant had virtually disappeared under the triffid-y buddleia. I dragged her out and found that the container she's in hadn't been draining properly and the soil was completely sodden. She was drowning and it showed. This is not a healthy looking herb.

Quickly, I transferred her to a new pot with dry compost and carried her down to sit beside my chair under the porch. Pulled over a little lavender baby to sit next to her.

I'd just said to the plant spirits that I was eager to learn; that I'd listen and observe and be open to anything they wanted to show me. That I'd happily share anything they wanted to know about being human. I had no reason of my own to suddenly think about that rosemary, quietly dying at the other end of the garden. I'm so glad that I found her.

x

26 June 2017

Turning point


I've been fortunate in my life never to have been a victim, or even a recipient, of physical abuse or violence. My parents were great for a while, before life led the family down the path of (mostly) benign neglect. I've had mediocre relationships, bad relationships and finally, a great relationship built on commitment, love and bloody hard work. My physical health has been largely excellent.

I consider this privilege. None of it happened as the result of someone else losing out, but it's still a privilege denied to many. My M.O. in the face of difficulty has always been, ultimately, to dust myself off and carry on. My family is very much, 'Don't make a fuss unless your leg's actually hanging off and/or you're dead' and, to be honest, I think there's a lot to be said for that attitude when you're deep in privilege.

However.

In preparation for the next part of my flower essence training next month, I'm asked to use the remedies regularly and keep a diary of thoughts and responses. I felt drawn to use Star of Bethlehem - it will help to rebalance the effects of trauma of any kind, right back to birth and some believe further than that. 'But what trauma?', I thought. 'Just take it," said that Inner Voice. So I did, and kind of forgot that I was taking it. After three or so days I realised that, when I wake up in the morning and feel my way into the day, I'm remembering things. Not remembering because I'd forgotten - I couldn't - but just looking again at events, with more kindness and a certain sympathy towards myself at those times. It's a gentle, comforting feeling, free from,'Oh well...it is what it is...press on!'.

I thought about emotionally abusive relationships, including five years of supreme gas-lighting that, among many horrors, led me to allow quite extreme trauma to my body, mind and soul not once, but twice. I thought about relatively minor medical procedures - Victorian, local anaesthetic, knee-in-chest, wisdom teeth removal, anyone? - that had me collapsing in a hospital corridor, having been pushed out with a nod and a handshake, then driving home because what point is there in making a fuss? Over the years things like this mount up. The carpet beneath which they are swept begins to resemble a small hill. They are hidden, but they are still there. Still shocking. Still dismissed. Still manifesting as physical and emotional blocks. Still leaking out as self-sabotage.

Using this gentle, powerful form of plant medicine is helping, as long as I pay attention. As long as I listen, and play my part. The healing is essential if I'm to move forward free from the baggage that I've been clinging to all my adult life because I thought it was me. All the 'fresh starts' and endless changes I've gone through; all hindered by the old stuff that meant none of it was fresh and none of it was different. I'm truly ready to let go now. I've lost a few things recently that I wouldn't have chosen to lose but I've not only survived, I've grown to appreciate the space. I want more.

Plant medicine, spirit work, soul retrieval (of a sort), prayer and ritual. All these things are my here and now, preparing for clarity and healing. I felt a sense of relief as we passed the summer solstice, connected I think to my perception that the second half of the calendar year turns back inwards. It feels more conducive to my particular style of witchery. All about quiet connection with plants and trees, animals and weather, spirits and other worlds. Quiet but powerful.

Whatever season you're in, literally or figuratively, I hope you're in touch with your power.

x

P.S. I wrote this and then before I hit publish, Asia Suler posted this. I wish I had her eloquence and I'm grateful for the way she uses it. Beautiful, resonant words.

21 June 2017

Solstice


Summer Solstice has many rituals connected to it. Some belong to a particular tribe or community, others are deeply subjective. Some are based on imagined ceremonies from thousands of years past, while others involve tech-y magic. Maybe both.

I've often gone through and past Solstice with no thought to anything but, 'Hey...the turning of the light. Cool.' because I'm dead eloquent like that. This year it feels a little bit different.

Maybe it's because of the crazy heatwave we've had this week with temperatures into the 30s/90s. As a nation, we're not ready for it or equipped for it. We love/hate it. One thing's for sure, it shakes us up.

We hadn't needed much shaking. There's been so much pain, sorrow, tragedy and violence happening on this little island that we were all pretty shaken up anyway. Perhaps that's another reason I'm feeling the need to put an X on this spot; mark this time, these feelings, my intentions to step into my future. Decide what I'm taking with me, and what I'm leaving behind with thanks. Life in these bodies is short and precious.

Thanks to my two oars, I'm happily travelling forwards. To port, more on behalf of animals who need protection and support on a here-and-now-this-minute basis. To starboard, it's all about the hedgewitchery. Hedgewitchery insofar as I do what I do, and believe what I believe, in an organic way, building on my personal relationship with Nature. With great respect for how others may practice, I don't need or want a coven or a circle (although I have many witches of many kinds among my dearest friends). I find myself even more connected to the cycle of the Earth now that my primary physical cycle has opened and released me. I listen a lot more, decide a lot less.

Recently I've been searching for women in their 50s who have an aura of 'something' around them. They exist but they are rare creatures. More visible are the powerful beauties in their 70s and I'm fascinated to see that many of them speak of lost hope in their 50s, feeling that 'it's downhill from here', or 'I'm so old, what's the point'. But by their 70s they have found and claimed their sovereignty, and now they glow with the magic. Inspired by them, I'm planning on speeding up the process because I don't want to wait 16+ years to feel powerful. I am taking a leap of faith and claiming it now.

I want more conversations with flower spirits and tree devas. I want to keep hearing the earth dancing, the moon singing and foxes laughing, and now I'm going to admit to all of it. I'm the kind of witch who climbs into oaks for a chat, and adores her iPhone. Who is learning to speak pigeon, and cries at a tv show. Who wears jeans 360 days out of 365, and calls in the Directions on every one of them. Who swears like a trooper and prays like a saint. Because no one gets to tell me I can't. Not even me.

x

19 June 2017

The flora and fauna



It started when I went into the woods to take pictures of the Star of Bethlehem. It's the wild, spiked variety that grows in the verges and woodlands in this area, and our local wood is thick with it in late spring/early summer. Star of Bethlehem is, for me, the most magical of the Bach flower remedies and I was feeling the pull to go and be around it. I took some photos and decided it was a good time to have a chat. As you do. I told all the plants in the wood, including the trees, how wonderful it was to be among them. How I'd been feeling that my learning about flower essences was a way for me to honour them and work for them, if they'd have me. How, if they wanted me to do something, just to ask.

At that moment a young fawn trotted past me, no more than eight feet away. I could almost touch her! I see deer here all the time but this is the first time I've even been lucky enough to see a baby. I quietly turned around and left the woods. That was the first thing.

I thought about that fawn for a couple of days and then, on an afternoon walk with Digby in a field full of wildflowers, I repeated my thought that I could work on behalf of the plants and welcomed guidance. That evening, Biscuit Tiberius Woodpigeon arrived.

Forty eight hours later, Evie and I took the dogs for a walk in 'The Long Field' as we call it. There have been no sheep in there this spring and as a result, the grass is up over my knees. We go in here because it's private, contained, and all three dogs can be off-lead for a run. As Digby and Zoey ran ahead, Dooley wandered off to the other side. I noticed his head go down and thought, 'Oh crap, he's going to roll in something stinky' and headed over. As I got to him, he literally jumped all four paws into the air and started doing his 'play bark', shoving his nose at something in the grass, and behaving like an overgrown pup with a new toy. Only it wasn't a toy, it was a little baby badger. A little baby badger who wasn't taking any of his nonsense and would probably have had Doo's nose off if I hadn't told him to back off. Which, bless him, he did. (Dooley, not the badger. 'Oi BADGER! BACK OFF!') With a disappointed 'Why won't the stripey puppy play with me?' look on his face. The little one turned around and casually mooched off towards the hedge and the stream. We got all three dogs back on their leads and went home.

Now. It's spring. In the countryside. There are babies everywhere. But aside from our garden full of teeny fledglings screaming to be fed, we never usually get to see any of them. Three babies in a week is very special.

Then on Saturday as I sat in the garden reading because I was the only human home for the first time in too long to remember, I looked up to see a racing pigeon on our roof. In our second and third summers here (2010 and 2011) we were visited by a racing pigeon who would feed in our garden, make us fall in love with her, and then leave after three or four days. We've often wished she'd come back but she never did. We called her Pidge, and seeing She Who Could Be Pidge up there on the roof, days after we'd taken in Biscuit, felt like a little nod from the pigeon universe. She sat up there for a few hours, rested and realigned with her route home, and left.

There is a lot coming out of this week for me. I'm not quite there with words for it all but I know it has to do with realigning with my route. Getting fully back in touch with what it is to be an animal among animals. The timing is good; I'd already set out on this path and I'm ready for the next step.

x