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Journal Prompts

Do you keep a journal?

I have for years, since I was about 12 and received my first leather 5 year diary with a little clasp at the front. Some years I have been very detailed in my entries and others, well, to describe my written entries as “sparse” would be generous. Certainly in the past 5 years, daily journaling has been not only my ritual in self care but also my medicine.

Journaling is a very therapeutic exercise for me personally, where I find it easier to offload onto paper than out loud to another person. Once my thoughts are out, I can let them go. Once they are on the page I can begin to work through them like a puzzle to solve or an idea to develop and grow. It is an incredibly freeing and private way to collect myself.

But sometimes a block can come up and the ideas dry up or something happens that causes a phase of second guessing myself or challenges a previous view. In these times I have found journal prompts to be helpful for jump starting my thoughts and getting me thinking and creating again.

So, I am sharing some journal prompts that I have used recently and some that may help or assist you as we navigate these uncertain times, to ease any anxiety or think about the future.

Journal Prompts

  • How am I feeling, right now?
  • Where in my body am I feeling and holding my emotions?
  • What is one thing I can do today to ease any anxiety or tension?
  • What am I grateful for right now?
  • What 10 things am I grateful for today?
  • Where is the silver lining in my situation?
  • If I could live my ideal day tomorrow, what would that look like?
  • What are my non negotiable values?
  • Why are my values, my values – where did I learn and accept them as such?
  • How have I changed in the past 2 weeks?
  • What have I learned in the past month?
  • If I could change one thing in my life what would it be?
  • What single task could I tackle today that would effect that change (from above prompt)?
  • What habit would I most like to start and why?
  • Who or what am I most inspired by?
  • One thing I will never regret is … because …
  • What do I to forgive myself for?
  • What am I excited about?
  • What am I looking forward to most once this period of Social Distancing is over?
  • What am I learning about myself in this period of Social Distancing?
  • If I could imagine a different world, what would it look like?
  • What one thing could I do it make or be the change I would like to see in the new world?

Let me know if you have found these useful or if you want to share your own prompts in the comments below.

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Social Connection from Afar

Social Distancing – the catchphrase of the past week, especially over the past weekend! A seemingly straight forward construct but incredibly difficult to enforce and adhere to. Staying away from family members and friends, missing out on social gatherings such as birthday parties and Mother’s Day, schools and colleges closed indefinitely with looked-forwards-to graduations no longer taking place, holidays been cancelled and pubs, cinemas, restaurants also closing their doors. Small businesses closing down, sporting events cancelled and any gatherings where we can’t be more than 2m away from the next person are no a no-go situation.

For the introvert in me, this is not a chore but a unique period of time where I can indulge my need for solitude without the guilt. BUT for many people this enforced isolation is not a happy place to be and can have a real detrimental affect on their mental health and general well being. And what about members of our communities who are already living at a distance from others, such as elderly or vulnerable people?

From the powers of the interwebs, I have noticed a number of people are already bored (!) having to find stuff to do at home. Being content in our own homes is not an easy ask for all. So, I have some ideas to help ease the boredom and help us to stay connected despite the distance.

Telephone

  • Who remembers being in school all day but still spending 2 hours on the phone in the evening chatting to friends? Not texting or face-timing but proper lengthy telephone conversations. Go old school and get on the phone, lying sprawled out on the floor, 1990’s stylee if you want, but this time the calls are free from our mobile rather and we won’t get shouted at from mum to get off the phone and running up the bill!
  • If just chatting is too “last century, darling” then get connected with WhatsApp, Skype, Facetime and stay intouch that way – the key thing is keeping in contact with those you don’t live with. Make technology work for you.
  • If your older family members can use their smart phone, ask the grandparents to read your kids their bed time story using facetime or even just reading it down the phone.

Letters/Writing

  • Go proper old old school and write letters – 2 fold, eases boredom and keep you connected! Plus, how lovely is it to receive a letter that isn’t a bill!? I used to have loads of penpals as a teenager and loved it. Encourage your kids to write to their grandparents, or make cards and send them. Even make your own envelopes and decorate them too. Explore your creativity and then share it with someone you love and make their day.
  • If your kids are bored, create secret code and leave messages for each other round the house on Post-its.

Old fashioned but fun

  • If your kid’s pals are in reach (ie in the same street) use walkie talkies to chat or Morse Code by torch light from their windows. (I might be getting all Famous Five on myself here!!)
  • If and when you are out – travelling to work or collecting essential food items/medicine, you don’t have to ignore people, a smile or a nod is far reaching, a small acknowledgement of the other person in a respectful non-virus spreading way

Internet

  • If Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp are your choice of communicaion, set up group chats / video and have a bookclub, a virtual come dine with me (you can work out the logistics yourself on that one), an at home pub quiz, pick a season on Netflix or Prime and discuss the episodes together each week ie Outlander (not diggin series 5, sorry folks…), if you play an instrument, set up a group with other musicians and create a jammin session or orchestra.

At home

  • In some homes, the people who live there are not always communicating and connecting, with different people having different routines and timescales; (re)introduce family dinning, and set the table, eat and chat together, get to know each other again.
  • Perhaps do a puzzle together – you never truly know someone until you try to do a jigsaw with them! If a puzzle is going to get you thrown in jail, maybe a board game or cards or dominoes is more family friendly.
  • Connect with your younger self and get out your old cds or LPs and listen to them start to finish and enjoy them. Look at, read and appreciate the artwork on the sleeves and remember what it was like before we could stream all the music all the time.

What I’m suggesting is only the start – there are endless ways of staying in touch and amused during the crises we face. And on the matter of boredom, if your kids are bored, GOOD!! Boredom is the best place to spark creativity – let the kids be bored because only they can get “unbored” by themselves; it’s a life skill lost to many adults and young people alike in this modern instant gratification world.

Stay well, stay healthy and stay in touch with each other.

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Dawn of a New Future

This Spring Equinox sees us standing at the dawn of a new future. The season of rebirth, new beginnings, hope, optimism and enthusiasm after a long winter and latterly a very dark winter (looking at you coronavirus!). We have yet to reach “Peak Corona”, but already changes are evident. Positive change that shows just how delicate the balance is on our planet, between nature and human. Nature is reclaiming her rightful place.

Satellite imagery is showing massive patches of visible sky above areas previously densely blanketed in air pollution over China, Italy and parts of the US. In Venice there are swans and dolphins and fish in the canals which are clearer now than they have been in living memory. In a very short period of time, since we, the humans, have had to stop and change how we live, ie the plundering of the earth for resources to manufacture disposable stuff and commute using fossil fuels to work in industries to either manufacture or to earn money to buy said disposable stuffs, when we stop that, nature has the chance to restore the balance. I’m interested to see what happens post Coronafest, when Covid-19’s world tour has played its last venue. Will people and industry return to the ways of life B.C. (before coronavirus) or will we, the collective, finally sit up and realise that that life was not sustainable?

Mother Nature will continue to spin on her axis, pandemics will continue to happen as mankind pushes into the natural world for “growth” aka greed, releasing bacteria we can’t cope with, which needs to stay within its natural habitat. Wide spread forest fires, floods and freak weather systems become the new norm. New catastrophe following the last one. Lessons need to be learned but how many times? Because at the end of the day, we all live in Mother Nature’s house and the house always wins.

This is our chance to make the necessary changes, it’s not too late, infact the proof of the benefits of making changes is happening now. We can do more and we can do better. I don’t have answers as to all the hows, this is a complex beast we have created that now needs disassembling, but I have ideas and I know I’m not the only one.

Communities are pulling together, in every country, helping one another now. We are realising what we want versus what we need and are being forced to (re)view our priorities and values. I think it’s time government and big business start doing likewise. We are being shown the way , being given the opportunity to make the necessary changes. We are being challenged in this new dawn; which path to take? The challenge is ours should we choose to accept it.

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Morning Ritual

Do you have a morning routine? A ritual, a practice, a rhythm? A way to set yourself up for the day ahead?

Or are you more of a fly by the seat of your breeks kinda gal?

Morning routines are very trendy right now, YouTube has millions of videos demonstrating such (I would possibly record one too but that level of videoing, faffing and editing goes way beyond my capabilities!).

Perhaps you have a pattern you flow through daily but never thought to call it a “morning routine” because it’s just life and has no need for a label.

Personally, I do have a morning ritual, and it is sacred (and is so, because I said so). I need this time because it gives me time to think, to prepare myself mentally for the day ahead and just give me space before the chaos that is my life commences. I am very much a morning person but absolutely NOT a morning people person. We live in a multi generational household with a distinct lack of inner monologues and filters, that the need for my ritual is a very deliberate act of self care.

Why do I refer to my morning tasks as a ritual rather than routine? Because it is a conscious and deliberate practice. It is carried out with intention and focus. I sometimes mix it up depending on how I’m feeling or whether my husband is at home or still at work (he works nights shift). It is not done out of duty or on auto pilot or without careful consideration. I am not wish washy or half arsed. Having a shower then brushing my teeth and getting dressed is routine. Prepping the coffee machine and organising my vitamins is routine. Getting down to the actuals of what forms my daily practice is ritual. This time is personal, private and unapologetically mine.

So what does it look like?

My routine begins the evening before, prepping the coffee machine to come on 5 mins before my alarm is due to go off means that I won’t hit the snooze button – I can’t/won’t waste coffee plus it smells glorious. I also take a flask of warm water upstairs to my room with a glass and my vitamins for the morning. (This is routine, over ritual. I’m not the person who finds peace, calm and gratitude in doing the menial and mundane.)

Before bed I check my planner for tomorrow’s To-Do List, add to or make changes to it as necessary, and review my oracle pull from the morning.

When the alarm goes off (more often than not I’m awake before it rings), I light the candle beside my bed, fill my glass with the water from the flask and pop in the soluble vitamin. While its fizzing I’ll go and pour my coffee and head back to bed. From there I have my Travellers Notebook housing different journals, the first being my menstrual tracker (in here I note where I am in my cycle, my sleep, feelings, and any other pertinent information) next is my morning pages journal ( free flow stream of consciousness writing – a brain dump for everything in my head, from the drivel to the inspired and general day to day goings-ins in between; everything goes in here and nothing is censored.) From there I will draw my daily tarot card and note it, an oracle card and note it, meditate and more recently started incorporating EFT (tapping). Once all this is done, my coffee is done and so too the vitamins. All in, takes about and hour to an hour and a half.

Next up I would love to say is yoga or stretching, but no, it is breakfast. My breakfast doesn’t differ, it’s always porridge, topped with fruit, seeds, nuts and berries, a fully loaded bowl, practically a meal! The yoga is one of those things I would love to incorporate into my morning, but in all honesty, it’s not going to happen, despite having saved (more than I care to admit) videos on YouTube of Yoga with Adriene. I’ve watched the videos just not physically followed along… During breakfast, I light a candle and sit and enjoy the peace and stillness of each nourishing spoonful. I turn on my laptop and usually watch Youtube. Today, I took to the couch, porridge bowl in hand and devoured the first episode of Series 5 of Outlander. Droughtlander be gone!!! This is still ritual rather than routine as I don’t watch any random videos, but choose specific ones and relevant to my ongoing learning and growth.

Then the morning routine kicks in: breakfast dishes cleared, first load (or only load) of washing in the machine and the airer striped of yesterdays clean clothes and put away, shower and I’m ready to face the family.

As you can see, my pattern is part ritual part routine and together they form the rhythm of my morning. This is how the vast majority of my mornings go, but sometimes I have to adapt and sometimes I miss out everything altogether, but when I do, I feel a bit discombobulated and on a back foot for the whole day. I miss the clarity and the breathing space on my own. As an introvert (yes an introvert, I’m a gobby introvert!) I need this to recharge, to be able to give the best of me to me, my family, to their needs and to live this life the best I can.

Maybe a morning routine/ritual doesn’t work with your current situation and the evening is more appropriate (especially if got young children), or perhaps life is generally busy with balancing 2 jobs, or work and college or caring for elderly relations, or in poor health yourself, physically or mentally. We all have different circumstance and responsibilities that dictate what time we have to take to give to ourselves. But I will say, please try to carve out a space in your schedule that is just for you to do what you need to do to get some head space and clarity for what you want and how you can achieve it. I know you have goals and dreams, and you deserve to make them your reality, no matter how small or grand they may be.

All life is a cycle of phases, moving from one to next to the next. Mornings suit me perfectly just now, and I cant see that changing in the near future, but if and when the time comes that mornings don’t work, my ritual will evolve to accommodate the new circumstance. Also the content of my ritual time has changed and evolved over time, adjusting to what it is I need and and want from it. I have been making my ritual practice such a priority in my life for so long now that to let it go would be detrimental to my mental health and well being.

The solitude and me-time is compulsory and non-negotiable. It is self care, practice and sacred. . . and very much a ritual.

Do you have daily ritual(s)?

Lx

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Hearth: Word of the Year 2020

Do you choose a Word of the Year? Or do you prefer resolutions? Or both?

I’ve consciously selected a Word of the Year for the past 5 years, with words such as “Simplicity”, “Joy”, 2018’s was “Change” and 2019’s was “Depth”. 2018 lived up to its word that year, and while it wasn’t an awful year, it wasn’t truthfully, all that great. Many but not all “changes” and situations that came up could be considered #firstworldproblems however I refuse to diminish them in this way as each has been equally valid in shaping that year gone.

Knowing what was to come, in part in 2019, I prepared for another challenging year ahead. With the foresight and the lived experience of 2018, my choice of “Depth” was perfectly suited to the work I needed to do. It was time to get out the shallows and go deep; to face what lurked below the surface in whatever form that took.

There was a lot of toxicity in my surroundings and negativity was strong. Death was also waiting close at hand; too close.

2019 has taught me to grieve and to look at death in a different light; not to fear it but to accept it as part of the whole experience. Regardless of how painful and ugly the reality is. It has also forced me to confront parts of my personality I’d rather not, such as dealing with confrontation and toxic situations. Being able to accept personal responsibility for my own actions and see the greater picture and to view this from a place of knowing my values and what is important, where my boundaries are and respecting said boundaries.

A major lesson I have learned has been a rather surprising one that made me re-evaluate a relationship and see to understand why a particular person is the way they are (or at least my interpretation of their why). This has made significant inroads into repairing a damaged relationship that was spiraling in the negative funk that enveloped it in an ever increasing dense fog – I have been shown a mirror and the projections I put out were reflecting back at me and I did not like what I saw for what my potential future could look like!

Descending to the depths to get real and raw and truthful with myself has been an awakening of sorts, awakening to who I am and who I want to be, what I value, who I value and my why. It has been emotional, eye opening, exciting, exhilirating and soul destroying; what I previously thought or expected was not at all the reality. But that is a good thing because now I know where I am and where I’m going and with whom.

I’ve not gone into specifics as the details are irrelevant, but the process and the work done was necessary and I want to share that. The woman that walked into the murkiness that was 2019 is not the woman who is walking out the other side. I’m casting off and shedding this year, this decade, like a skin. A symbolic death of what has gone before, consigned to my herstory, ready for the next phase, next decade, 2020.

My Word Of The Year for 2020 is Hearth.

What does that mean? Well, to me, Hearth is 3-fold. The actual hearth of my home, my travelling hearth of my business and my internal hearth of my soul.

This year I am turning my attention and focus on our home. The house we live in doesn’t feel like home, it’s merely bricks ‘n’ mortar and central heating, where I make the tea and sleep. That needs to, has to, change. And it changes with me – only I can affect the changes necessary to make our house our home; a cozy, safe, sanctuary that nourishes and enriches our well being and the relationships under this roof.

My travelling hearth with its rituals and community is a sacred space for me. I welcome those called to share it with me and celebrate what it means to be authentic, sovereign women, rising to our greatest potential. Last year saw my blog evolve further into creating a proper community and connecting with beautiful souls who are also feeling the pull of the global awakening; our time is now and for some it is scary but it doesn’t have to be. We are in this together, helping and supporting one another. The tag line of Wild Sister Rising has been “Awaken your Wild You” since I birthed WSR into being almost 3 years ago – 2020 is the year to step into this fully and embody it!

The inner hearth, where my inner cauldron is held. The source of my power, wisdom, intuition, knowing, creativity and blood. I am tending to myself. I am a priority; I cannot give to my family the home the deserve, or to my clients the service and support they deserve, if I don’t give to myself. My focus here is on my spiritual practice and craft, properly devoting my time to doing the work, knowing that not only will I reap the benefits, but so too will those who depend on me. I start my Priestess training in February which I am enormously excited for (especially as it means I will be able to officiate at weddings, baby blessings and funerals once I have completed the work) and again, welcome this at my hearth, knowing it will deepen my practice and what I offer to others.

The hearth holds the fire, the fire burns with heat, with passion, with ferocity, with light, with power to transform (or destroy), it dances, it glows, it is contained in the solid and safe structure of the hearth and held with love.

If you are looking for me, you’ll find me hearthside, come join me and share a pot of tea.

Lissa xx

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Dear Winter

Every year I look forward to your dark embrace.

Your stark, barren chill brings a wild clarity where the shadow is invited into the light, hearth side.

As I await the Cailleach’s freshly laundered cloak of white to spread out across these lands, I quietly settle into slowing down and coorying in, into your season.

While I eagerly anticipate you annual arrival, I am well aware of the sense of dread your appearance brings to others. Those without shelter, food, comfort, their health or the love of kith or kin. You make their very existence a challenge for survival.

In contrast to the poverty lived by many, the polar opposite also bears witness to showcase wealth, abundance and for some, greed; much of which will lead to the aforementioned poverty in the spirit of keeping up appearances.

There is no hiding in your season, where everything is raw and exposed; branches bare and wind unforgiving. You are relentless in your pursuit of truth, forcing the pause of hibernation to turn inwards to seek our heart’s desire or assess our current situaion, for good or othewise; mentally and physically clearing the path of the old to make way for the new growth.

I crave the simplicity of life that you so beautifully demonstrate in the earth around me. Peaceful, resting, hibernating, going deep to renew once again in Spring. To appreciate what has gone before and to prepare for what is to come with a healthy dose of self care and preservation, feeding my body simple but nourishing foods and loving those around me hard.

Thank you for this time of quiet and slow reflection.

With love, blessings and gratitude

Lissa

xx

(Inspired to write this by Carrie-Anne Moss, of Annapurnaliving.com and her book Fierce Grace)

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Remembering Our Ancestors

October is my month, Autumn is my season; the season of the witch, of transformation, a transition period, of evolution, of turning inward. It’s dark and it’s energy contemplative, shadowy, truth seeking, quiet, nourishing and soulful. This is the time before the pause, I’m in my home and nesting, tending the hearth, coorying down prepping for hibernation; I look forward to this point of the year, each and every year – you can keep your spring and summer, I’ll keep my late autumn.

Late October is also, associated with Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve, followed by Hallowmas, All Hallows Day, All Saints Day on 1st November then All Souls Day on the 2nd. In times gone by, the whole affair was known in Celtic traditions as Samhain/Samhuinn. In time before the Gregorian or Julian calendars with set dates and days, the passage of time was measured by the solar and lunar cycles. Much simpler, much more intune with what was happening naturally. The rituals of this fire festival were respected and revered on and around the dark moon, and that wouldn’t necessarily have been 31st October (because 31st October didn’t exist). The darkest sky at this time of year was considered to the be the gateway into the winter months and the point where the veil between the worlds was at its thinnest, allowing our ancestors to move between their world and ours. Of course, that also meant that any malevolent spirits could also traverse the veil, hence the need to ward them off with charms such as skulls (evolving into the jack o’lantern of today).

Honouring our ancestors and deceased loved ones, whether by telling and retelling their stories, looking at photographs, visiting their graves or by some other means of remembrance, is a long held tradition of keeping their memory alive in the now and carrying forth into the future.

Why is that important? People only stay “alive” for as long as we remember them and continue to tell their stories. Our ancestors make us who we are – we here because of them, whether they be someone to honour and love or are ashamed or embarrassed by, what ever horrors they lived through or were involved in, whether they were “good people” but “of their time”, whether their beliefs and values mirrored ours or not, which ever path they walked, how they lived, loved and breathed, we are here today thanks to them.

Our ancestral DNA is imprinted in our very fabric of existence. What magic and memories are you holding at a cellular level? How do you weave their story into you yours? We create and tell our own stories, but what can we learn from the past for today and moving forward.

I ask you, do you know who your ancestors are? If so, how far back and from where do they hail? Do you know your Red Thread, who your female ancestors are? A beautiful way to honour your ancestry is to trace it, see where your lineage lies and from where. Embrace your roots and learn your heritage. You may end up surprised or it may lead to conversations with relatives you’ve lost contact with and sharing of yet more stories or old photos, with names and people and places.

And looking to the future, we are the ancestors of tomorrow; whats (y)our legacy?

This year, the dark moon is Sunday evening, 27th October (actual 0% lunar visibility falls at 03.38GMT on Monday 28th) so celebrating and honouring our loved ones and the festival this weekend is perfectly appropriate. Samhuinn, the 13th New Moon of this year and the Celtic New Year all rolled into one celebration. So get your pumpkin ( or tumshie as per my household preference) carved, prepare, serve and enjoy a favourite meal of your loved one no longer earth-side, dook for apples and divine the future. Make merry and have a blessed Samhuinn.

Love Lissa

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Help! My period isn’t synched with the moon.

Come, gather with me by my hearth. Let’s sort this out.

Close your eyes and visualise in your mind’s eye, the moon, in all her luminous beauty.

Take a deep, womb deep, breath in.

Open your eyes and give the best eye roll that you can.

And exhale through your mouth with a roar, releasing all the frustration surrounding the un-synched-ness of your cycle to the lunar cycle.

Now, repeat after me :

FUCK

THAT

SHIT!”

Feel better now? Confused?

It is a very popular myth that women’s menstrual cycles are governed by the lunar cycle. Yes the moon controls the Earth’s waters and we are made up of about 60% water (I actually though it was 70% but a quick google search told me different). Yes our menstrual cycles are cyclic and the phases of our cycles can be described in the same manner as the moon’s. The associated energy of the moon’s effect on earth is mirrored in our moods and own energy levels, BUT there endeth the story. The tales that tell how all women in ancient times bled together under the dark and new moon, then ovulated under the full, are unfounded. They are lovely stories and it would be beautiful if true. I mean, that’s exactly how it would have happened some of the time but not all the time, not every month. It makes sense to live in harmony with the natural world in a time and place before electric light, modern medicine and endocrine disruptors but all it is is another stick with which to bash us with, another standard we’re to aspire to and meet or feel inadequate when we fail.

Unless your own cycle is 29.5 days long every month, you won’t ever be “in sync” with the moon, menstrually. Let’s take my cycle for instance, this month I am bleeding on/with the dark moon. I haven’t done this for almost a year. Last month I started 3 days after the new moon. For most of the this year I have been bleeding either side of the full moon, but have actually travelled through and bled with all phases. Why? Because my own cycle varies each month and ranges between 27-31 days long and the other month it was only 24 days! I’m not a robot. Here’s the thing – your body IS in sync…with itself! The only time your cycle isn’t “in sync” with your own natural rhythms, ebbs and flows of your ovaries is when you are taking the contraceptive pill (or have the injecion/implant) which suppresses/stops your cycle, or when you are pregnant, undergoing medical treatment such as chemotherapy or are post menopause. At these times it maybe useful or beneficial to follow the lunar cycle but when we are following our own cycle please know that you are in sync with your own body and that’s who you’re supposed to be in sync with!

This whole red moon/white moon bleeding with paricular phases of the moon is something that at one time I bought into it too! However, I’m sick to my ovaries of this new New Age expectation of how to and when we are supposed to menstruate. Again, repeat after me:

“FUCK

THAT

SHIT!”

The lunar energy is powerful. I can feel it, but it doesn’t mean that I ignore my own inner energy and being; self first lunar second. This month I am aligned (not synched) with the dark moon and my own moods are deep rooted in need to rest, in solitude, pretty much hibernate, my inner winter phase , in the same way the moon does when it is invisible in the nights sky. It won’t be next month and that’s how it goes.

As always, I’m interested in your thoughts – what is your take on menstrual/lunar cycle synchronicity?

Am I tuned to the moon? Absofuckinglutely! I love the moon and how it’s connected to our planet and her energy and beauty.

Is my menstrual cycle? Nope! It’s my period and I’ll bleed when I need to.

L xx

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Old Ways in the New Age

I was born in the new age. But I have definitely been born with an old soul and a knowing of the old ways. As result I am a bit of a mash up of both the old and new, both spiritually and now come to think about it, literally too (like every one my age, we enjoyed the bliss of the analogue childhood and adolescence with the convenience and connectivity of the digital adulthood).

But what were the old ways? What does “New Age” mean?

When I think of the Old Ways, I think of the pre-christian times, in the matriarchal goddess worshiping times. Nature ruled. A simple time in terms of what was required to be done, how people went about their lives, meeting their needs individually and collectively for the family/community. A small yet hard life, living off the land and at the mercy of the elements and their understanding/observations of the natural world for which they were a part of. Honouring the changing seasons by observing the seasons rather than by a fixed calendar. Honouring revered deities or the Mother Goddess with love rather than fear. The village mentality and way of life, living in sync with the cycles of nature speaks to me of the old ways. The people were of their land. This is merely my interpretation, yours may be completely different.

Contrast this with the New Age and my inner feeling changes from slow, steady and at peace, to a buzz of energy and a feeling of “whoosh”, psychedelic madness and woowoo. What comes immediately to my mind upon hearing New Age is a plethora of images and labels : new-age-hippie-dippy-claptrap, crystals, The West, burning sage bundles, cultural appropriation, ancestry – e.g. 1% Viking/Native American/Irish Celt! The universe, energy, chakras, Cacoa Ceremony, Bali, retreats, coconut oil, essential oil, meditation, yoga, homeopathy, love’n’light, spiritual bypass, the moon, light workers, peace man, tarot cards, a goddess for everything from all parts of the globe, free spirit, earthing, grounding, vegetarian/vegan, the list goes on, feel free to insert your own interpretations . Some of it makes me uncomfortable, some of it is given a cursory eye-roll and other bits I really connect with and practice.

So why do I think I have an old soul and a knowing of the old ways? And how do I marry that remembering with the new fangled New Age?

I feel a very real connection to history, domestic history of the island inwhich I live. For instance, I have an unexplained physical reaction to the city of Edinburgh when I am there. I have never lived there but when I used to work in Wales, my train home would have me arrive at Haymarket Station, Edinburgh, to then get my connection for the last 30 miles home. Standing in Haymarket, breathing in the smell of hops on a cold Autumnal evening, I always felt “I’m home” plus, any night out in Edinburgh over the years always felt like home – I feel safe in this city yet never have the same feelings or notions in Glasgow or any other city I’ve visited. I have always been fascinated with herbs and herbal healing (not really done anything with this fascination but its always been there), my curiosity around the moon, the changing seasons, and witchcraft. Once I started tracing my family tree ( went back to my 4th Great Grandmother in my Mother’s line) much of what I discovered about my family makes so much sense to the person I am and the interests I have long held. Much of the reading, research and practice I have been actively seeking and learning from over the years felt more like “YES” moments and an awakening of things I already knew, deep down, coupled with an insatiable thirst for more knowledge. And yes, I know how crazy and loopy that sounds. That’ll be why I have never shared that before!

Combining these base feelings and knowings/rememberings with the modern world has been for the most part fairly straight forward with a few stumbles along the way. I have real issues around cultural appropriation and people claiming indigenous ritual or ceremony for their own when they have no connection to that culture, save for an ancestry test that identified 1% popular ethnicity – I truly believe that our own cultures where we live/ have grown etc are rich in their own history, traditions, folklore and language that cherry picking the cool bits from another’s is not OK. Here’s the sore point, I have been using Native American tarot cards (which are beautiful in their design) for the past 23 years, yet I have no connection to that culture at all other than studying it in my 6th yer of high school and finding their history appalling and their culture fascinating. In using these cards, is that appropriation or appreciation? I don’t know! ( I have however, bought a new deck, the Green Witch cards which are also beautiful but are more connected to my Pagan path and personal journey).

I’m nosy and am curious as to how other people merge the two ways, if indeed they do – it certainly isn’t necessary or a requirement. People who follow their version of a New Age spiritual practice or path may only be familiar with modern day practices or not feel the need to look back to go forward. Similarly some people may shudder at all things New Age and prefer to keep the fires of the Old Ways burning. Tell me – I’d love to know!

I have found that getting outside as often as possible to walk the local woods or to sit in my garden, letting my bare feet touch the earth or grass has been the most simple and effective way to connect. My calendar follows the lunar cycle, I follow the seasons of the environment and my own cycle. I am of this land, of this place, in the modern “new age” whilst reconnecting to, remembering and honouring the old ways. The best of both? I think so, but as with all things learning , growing and evolving, nothing is certain, including my opinion.

L xx

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This Is Forty One

16th June. Another year older and more the wiser. We often joke about being another year older and none the wiser, but this is certainly not the case for me. The first year of my forties has most definitely been a doozy and I’ve not come out of it unscarred.

The lessons have been plentiful and at times painful and brutal as well as joyful.

So what have I learned this past sunwise cycle? Read on…

Life truly does begin at 40! I had a beautiful welcome into this decade. The big celebration within a circle of beautiful souls. Intentions for the coming times were set and the emotions from experiences held from previous decades were released. It was a metamorphosis in action.

Life continues to evolve, as do friendships. The friends I began this decade with will never sit in circle all together again. This is in part to the unfair and untimely death of one of my dearest friends, who at my birthday celebration hadn’t yet had her diagnosis and a year later she is no longer with us. The evolution of friendships means that over time people move on in different directions following their own path, some bonds are strengthened and form more solid friendships with deeper connections, some break off altogether and some new friendships develop. And so it goes. It is all OK. The saying that we have 3 types of friends in life : for a reason, a season or a lifetime is a truism if ever there was.

Time is finite and life is lost. Grief doesn’t so much heal the loss felt, as it does shift into a new way of living and continuing on. Losing a close friend is no different to losing a member of one’s family, and it brings thoughts of my own mortality up front – get those niggles or concerns checked out by the GP!

Moving house is stressful and you never know someone until you live with them. We extended our wee family of 3 this past year by 1 and we share our home with my Mother in Law. Oh the lessons coming back at me to learn are untold and abundant. Yes, I regularly have to check my sanity (as well as my tongue, for blisters).

Self care is non negotiable. I don’t mean bubble baths, I mean looking after me, all of me; mind, body and spirit. My priority is solitude – I NEED time on my own to recharge. No noise, no chatter, no drama, no tongue biting, nothing. Whether that’s being up early before the rest of the household to have my coffee or take a walk in the woods on my own, the need to be alone is primal and absolute.

Perimenopause. This is something I was not prepared for or expecting so early into my forties. Actively tracking my menstrual cycle and being aware and conscious of my body and what it is telling me has been key in identifying what is going on on he inside. My body is changing and aging, ready or not.

I am LOVING the aging process. I am firmly anti anti-aging. My grey hairs are joyous (not just because they are wavy and I have always wanted wavy/curly hair having lived 40 years with poker straight locks), my wrinkles are well earned, particularly those laughter lines, my lived experiences grant me wisdom and I do not wish to be 20 again, far less look it! I feel privileged to have had an analogue childhood/adolescence and digital adulthood. It is the perfect combination for this life, I don’t think I could do or would even want to do my teens or twenties online *shudders*. I am “acting my age” (what ever that means), 41, as I live and breathe it – I don’t know how else to do it!

Acceptance comes in a variety of guises. Acceptance of self, of others, of situations and circumstance. I know who I am (I think). This year I have been swimming deep in the waters of my shadow uncovering and exposing the bits I’d rather not face; my shadow. There are parts of my physical body I like and dislike, there are parts of my character I like and dislike, but I accept that these are the parts that make me me. Of course I am a work in progress, trying, failing, succeeding, learning, trying again, growing and evolving. Its a never ending process. And it starts with accepting who I am.

Values. With acceptance of who I am and who others are, I have stopped reduced comparing myself, positively or negatively, because it is irrelevant, and live instead, according to my own values. The values I deem most important may or may not be the same as those of another, but they are mine and I am living to honor these to the best I can to ensure I live my best life.

I’m sure there are other things I’ve learned or perhaps unlearned, in this past year, but I feel these are the main points. The general thread running through seems to be regarding self awareness, but not from a naval gazing stance (I hope), more from the view that this is who I am, this is my life, these are my needs and boundaries, take me as I am or keep walking. And so this is where I begin 41, and am keen to see what unfolds before 42.