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It’s not you, it’s me

***Breaking News ***

It has been a long time coming and much to-ing and fro-ing but from Tuesday 16th June 2020 , I will be logging off and out of Facebook (including messenger) and Instagram for the next year.

I won’t bore you with the reasons (unless you really want to know) as there are many reasons that I want to do this and have been gradually working towards it for quite some time now, from deleting my twitter account last year, and removing my personal Facebook account, only using it for work, but since we have been in lock down for these past 3 months, I have found the social platforms a place of pain rather than peace.

Wild Sister Rising will continue to function as a blog and shop site, with new avenues for sharing my work currently a work-in-progress, which I will share in due course on both the website and via the Wild Sister Rising newsletter; I suggest you subscribe (for free and get a free oracle reading when you do) if you haven’t done so already. Of course, email is available if you wish to get in touch with me and I haven’t made my mind up yet about youtube…

I would like to say thank you to all of you who have been following, liking, sharing and commenting on my social pages. Who knows what will happen in the coming year, perhaps I will come back to these platforms but for now, they are not the spaces for me.

The call of a more analogue world is strong; ditching the digital is allowing the wild to awaken and rise.

With blessings

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Re-emergence

It’s been a wee while since I last wrote a blog post or a pithy meme for social media. Truth be told I had nothing to say or, more accurately, wanted to share. I effectively vanished from the internet (unless you’ve read my mini musings blog posts ) and started closing down my Facebook groups. So here’s what’s been going on behind the scenes:

As I sat in the dark of the moon last month, I was deep in contemplation; absorbing all the messages that I had received during my meditations, the intuitive nudges, the piecing together the seemingly random thoughts and scattered emotions into a tidy, connected and completed puzzle.

The previous lunar cycle to that there last one, had witnessed the release of that which needed to be freed, as well as allowing for the feeling of the sea of emotions that were involved in the process, the ebbs and flows, highs
and lows, deep lows.

It also brought great clarity and vision, interspersed between deep depths of anxiety and loneliness, real feelings of sorrow, self pity and grief, much of which comes when we go within to do the work of the shadow. I made decisions and changes for my long term and immediate future, set wheels in motion and made a commitment to myself which I have only been able to do since I’ve had the time and space to get honest with my truth. And it felt good, it felt right, and only a little scary but that fear was coming from my ego so it got sent packing because it was neither helpful or necessary.

The past month saw me stepping away from the distraction and noise of the online world, I deleted all social apps from my phone and from my desktop so had to log in on the laptop to even use messenger! Why? Because the internet held very little interest for me; I was so  uninspired by it, learning nothing new, and I found it utterly draining and pretty suffocating, depleting my energy levels in an instant.

I’ve used this time to further the growth of my passions, my creativity, my path and journey, deepening of my practice and embracing my values and priorities, living them fully. And none of it has been for the public domain, none of it has been shared, all of what I have been experiencing these past weeks/months has been private.

And I have to confess, I have not missed the interwebs. Sorry, not sorry. And it has lead me to ponder; has this been my lesson in this global pause? Privacy? The need to hold and cherish that which I hold dear, having re-assessed my priorities and direction and purpose?  The fact that I need to always be taking social media sabbaticals recently after spending 13 years on Facebook and 8 on IG dabbling with Twitter inbetween and blogging for 6 years; I have lived on line, publicly, sharing, oversharing, cringing, having ah-ha moments and more.  And the answer is yes, I think I’m done with it, exhausted, spent. (If I’m being honest, this hasn’t been a great surprise to my system.) And in this digital age of global connectivity, I think, for me personally, leaving social media is quite possibly the wildest thing I could do!!!

Will I do it though? That, I’m not 100% sure of. I mean, how can businesses survive, thrive and grow without that connection, plus I have made many a friend/aquaintance via the web, but this lockdown has shown, proven and reminded me that there are ways of connecting that don’t involve a smart phone. Plus the freedom it gives when unplugged has been a medicine to me. 

So in a rather large nutshell, that’s where I’ve been, not online, not holding online circles and not holding space for others; I’ve been unplugged and taking care of and holding space for me and my family.

Where does Wild Sister Rising go from here? The answer is that I don’t quite know!!! Blogging is not as popular as it once was, by a country mile, but its a process I enjoy; do I want to keep all my writing private? Should I delete all social platforms or just use them as the marketing tools they have essential become (I HATE the hustle!). I can’t hold circles until lockdown is lifted and have no desire to hold them online yet, if ever, which had been the initial plan. So I guess I will be figuring this out on the fly and will see what emerges…

In the mean time, I wish you all the health and blessings for you and your family as we each look to the new future and the potential of what it holds for all of us.

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What’s Your Name and Where Do You Come From?

Straight up, I’m a nosy bugger. Actually, I’m not nosy, I’m inquisitive, and that’s healthy (which is EXACTLY what I used to say when I was young and was called nosy, lol). In all seriousness though, I find people fascinating creatures; no two stories or experiences are the same, everyone’s perspective is different even if only slightly.

Discovering how we are who we are and why we do what we do is an unlimitless source of fodder for my curiosity. Do you think you are an interesting person with a unique story to tell? You are! And I want to know it, so will you share?

Come on, tell me: what’s your name and where do you come from and indulge my nosiness and imagination by sharing 7 things about yourself that others might not know about you.

If you are feeling shy, I’ll go first :

Hi, my name is Lissa and I’m from Falkirk! Woo hoo!

1. I used to play the violin…badly! I only took it up as the music teacher at my primary said that kids were joining some fancy pants orchestra and were travelling through Europe – how cool does that sound to 11 year old ears? (Actually it sounds really cool to 41 year old ears, but hey). My violin teacher was weird, I didn’t like him and now each time I watch Grease 2 (some say its a terrible film, but I say boo to that, its better than Grease! Where else do you get songs about reproduction and  the cool guys (despite not one of them being attractive) all smoke and ride motorbikes?), Mr Spears (the teacher that had the nervous breakdown) reminds me of him…..not good! I lasted one term of tuition before I left the violin in the music room with a note sellotaped to the case telling him I quit.

2. In 2002, I did a tandem 10,000ft parachute jump for charity. Loved the jump out the plane and the free fall, but could not wait to get my feet back on the ground and unharnessed from my instructor; his behaviour in the plane, under the guise of keeping me calm, was very much in the #metoo category. It did not keep me calm, just thoroughly pissed me off but kinda couldn’t do anything being as I was attached to him and about to jump 10,000ft. Total dirty bastard. I was about to launch myself out a plane as I had volunteered to do, I was pretty calm initially, but very excited about the experience and needed no interference, although it was clear he was more excited than me.

3. I have an irrational loathing for letters that are addressed/signed off incorrectly. When I say irrational, it actually makes angry. When I picked my subjects at school for my Highers, I was advised to take Secretarial Studies because “it is a really useful skill set to have and something you can always fall back on”.  I can honestly say hand on heart I would be an awful secretary, (pretty much because I am disoragnised and suck at paper work) however I came away with a B, and a major pet peeve which was something I had to work with, particularly over the 10 years I was employed in an HR office when staff members sent letters that did not meet my standards. The irk was real.

4. I am obsessed with homes, interiors and how other people live (it’s that inquisitive thing again). My ultimate dream home is either a canal narrowboat or a proper old school gypsy vardo (complete with outdoor tripod cooking pot) out in the wilderness. My fantasy of living my gypsy bohemian dream on a narrow boat or in a vardo, I think, stems from my need for independence and desire to travel when I was younger. I never did travel other than package holidays to the Med (always had a ‘secure’ job then a mortgage at a young age). I went to university close to home, where it never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t leave home to move into halls. As it happened I “wasn’t allowed to move out” and then it was too late to pick a uni outwith a reasonable commuting distance. I dropped out of university as hated course and didn’t know what I wanted to do so got a stop gap job in an insurance call centre. I was desperate to leave my comfortable family home to strike out on my own, so I got better jobs with good salaries, jobs bigger than my maturity level/capability, but allowed me to be financially independent and achieve my long yearned for flat.  Of course, not going to halls or living in student digs meant that I did all my daft-living-on-my-own stuff once I was an adult, and as such learned a very valuable lesson in finance. There is a very good reason why I am so frugal now. Actually there are thousands of good reasons why…
Until I can convince my husband that living in boat or caravan is a good idea, I live vicariously through Pinterest and reminiscing about the gorgeous wall papers I had and how I had styled our old home (think boho paradise – I had orange paisley patterned wall paper in the living room!). We can’t decorate our current home (other than our bedroom) so my actual obsession is on a bit of a back burner for the forseeable.

5. As a teenager I always thought it would be cool to be arrested – but for something good and worthy, like at an anti nuclear protest. (I have never been arrested). Growing up I was known as the ‘sensible one’ and my sister the ‘wilder one’ – this was not strictly true in reality, but we all have our parts to play in family dynamics. I don’t think getting arrested (regardless of cause) would be deemed very sensible… but you never know, it’s never too late and Extinct Rebellion have previous with their protests to arrests ratio….

6. When we got engaged, Hubby and I considered eloping – I think there is something very romantic about that. We considered it as an option because we wanted to get married, not for the big show. But as we all know weddings are rarely just about the couple…and are really for the family – neither of us would ever have been forgiven if we had indeed eloped . . Here’s that independent streak again – desire to fuck it and just do it. But alas, the parent pleaser in me maked me a wuss, and I didn’t dare.

7. I can wiggle my ears, and flare my nostrils, cross my eyes (skills, I know!) and kinda roll my tongue, but I absolutely cannot, but really really want to be able to, raise 1 eyebrow. One of my best friends at school could do it and it was an incredible thing. She needed no words to shut someone down or deliver a killer look; one eyebrow, arched. Boom! I spent a long time practicing and failing. I really wish I could do this. Life Skill Fail!

Ok, your turn – GO!

L x


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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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Priestess or Witch?

Priestess or Witch?

The titles of both Priestess and Witch are being widely (re)claimed and becoming increasingly common in new age parlance as people identify with either or both in their spiritual practice or journey.

Are they the same or different? What are the differences? Can you be both*?

Certainly, they both require a calling of sorts. You don’t wake up one day and decide I’m a witch or I’m a Priestess. Both take dedication and work to learn the teachings, from books and lived experience, from cycling with nature again and again, season after season, year after year. There is no end point, it’s a continual path of learning, evolution, experimentation, mishap, mistakes, unlearning, intuition, blood, tears, loss, joy, grace, understanding, confusion, soul deep exploration, rejection, connection, unearthing, grounding, discovering and listening. It’s ownership of, and a choice to pursue, this path. And I’ve just scratched the surface. All the while carrying on with the day job and probably in the safety of the broom closet.

Unless of course the “calling” is from instagram and the current interest and trend for all things witchy is making you a few bob as a “spiritual influencer” looking ethereal in floaty frocks wafting smokey materials on certain days of the year…

Both Priestess and Witches work with rituals, sacred days/times/seasons. Some may cast circles before commencing rituals or work, some may not. Both understand the nature of balance and the cycle of life. Important point to note is that here is not devil worship in either case.

What is a Priestess?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary she is a female priest of a non-Christian religion. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a Priestess as (i) a woman authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion and (ii) a woman regarded as a leader (as of a movement)

My own meaning of what a Priestess is, can be described as but not restricted to a woman in service to those who need her (her community) and to the Great Mother, Divine Feminine. She has usually undertaken some formal training. Training in counselling and spiritual coaching has to learned properly and will cost. There are many different types of Priestess too : High, initiated, earth, shamanic, women’s spiritual leader, oracle, medicine woman, ritual leader, ceremonial leader, wise one, ancient, modern-day, in-training and more.

Ancient Priestesses across the globe in matriarchal societies prayed to and were devoted to the Great Mother. They were revered by their communities for their wisdom, their experience, their leadership and their connection to the Divine. They lived by nature’s cycles and performed and facilitated rites and rituals. They both lead and served.

Modern day Priestesses are reclaiming and remembering the Goddess, bringing back the understood or interpreted ancient teachings as best they can and making them relevant to modern times. A Priestess today is not living in seclusion on an isle shrouded in mists (although that does sound immensely appealing), she could be your kid’s teacher, the checkout operator at the supermarket, your dentist! There is an association with the role of the Priestess that she must be holier-than-tho in that nice/lovely/glittery/good-girl bubble of saccharine, when in fact she may be hated or distrusted because the woman has unshakable boundaries. A Priestess is compassionate, respectful and strong because of her boundaries.

Regardless of the time, a Priestess is continually doing the work, exploring the depths of herself and who she is in order to serve the Goddess – be it Gaia, The Great Mother, or any number of deities from the world over, from any number of pantheons or the Goddess that resides within all – as well as both serving and leading her community.

What is a Witch?

We all know what a Witch is, right? The Oxford Dictionary is pretty succinct in that she is a woman thought to have magic powers, especially evil ones, popularly depicted as wearing a black cloak and pointed hat and flying on a broomstick. And Merriam Webster similarly states one that is credited with usually malignant supernatural powers especially a woman practicing usually black witchcraft often with the aid of a devil or familiar . Yep, evil, magical hags not to be trusted, rather than wise women with skills and knowledge in the healing arts, midwifery or in gardening. Patriarchy and the church did a sterling job demonising women they saw as a threat and persecuting many innocent, mainly women, for “crimes” they did not commit. We all know of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-93 in Massachusetts , where 200 people were accused and 20 people executed as witches. In Scotland, our shameful history is far greater with 4,000-6,000 accusations and 1500 recorded executions during the burning times of the Witch Trials. The Scottish numbers were 5 times higher than the rest of Europe, such was the pure hatred and fear fuelled by the kirk.

A witch by my definition is a woman (or a man) who is in service to no-one unless she chooses to be and who practices witchcraft. It is a craft like any other and has to be practiced and developed over time. The craft can include an array of specialisations from divination, spellwork and herb and plant work to intuitive guidance, life coaching and healing via complimentary or traditional medicine. It is not an exhaustive list, just like the list of types of witches is not exhaustive either. The main types of Witches are : Green, solitary, garden, kitchen, moon/lunar, Pagan, Wiccan, coven, hedge, hereditary, traditional, faery, sea, grey, elemental, crystal, eclectic, hearth, weather, energy, artist, magical, forest, urban, healing, spiritual, nature, new/apprentice, new-age, you get the drift! I have probably left our more types than I can remember.

To be a Witch does not automatically mean she is Wiccan or Pagan. Not all witches are Wiccan, not all Pagans are witches!

Unless a witch is part of a coven, there is no formal training that has to be completed before being able to call oneself a Witch. It is not a title that one ought to take lightly however. There are courses a plenty online for how to be or how to practice, but getting outside and attuning to nature is as worthy a teacher as any course. Books and blogs for guidance are helpful but not vital (I am happy to recommend many books I have read over the years if anyone is interested and wants to know). The costumery of witchcraft is not necessary either – wear a hat or cloak, don’t wear a hat or cloak, have a broom, don’t have a broom, have a black cat, don’t have a black cat ( have a dog or a gold fish or a chicken or no pets coz allergies- it doesn’t matter!) Fun yes, necessary no.

I haven’t claimed the label of witch for myself but have been assigned it by others. I never claimed it as it is a powerful word and one that when I hear it, still makes me a little uneasy, despite my life long love of “witches” and decades of personal practice. This is in part to perception, the old fears and hatred of witches deliberately driven by the kirk have been replaced with scorn and ridicule by the general populous. In the modern world where, for the most part, the fear of being burnt at the stake is a thing of the past, in certain company it is easy to discuss openly the hidden world of witches and priestesses but not really generally and not always comfortably, and caution is exercised as there is still much of the foregone stigma heavily attached to either word, though predominantly on the Witch word. I feel as I am moving into a Priestess-type role in my work though I don’t call myself a Priestess. I am completely self taught through experience and books, but am looking into more formal training. I am serving others in circles, priestessing women through rites of passage ceremony and ritual. I honour and revere the Divine Feminine, the Great Mother in all her aspects, channeling her energy as required. I chose to call myself at this time, a Flame Keeper – stoking the fires of the mysteries, protecting and remembering who we are and inviting you to reclaim your soul truth and essence, igniting the spark of curiosity to aid you on your journey to yourself.

Does this answer the question: Priestess or Witch? Or muddy the waters further? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this, being as this is purely my own ponderings and observations on the matter.

Lissa xx

*Yes I believe you can

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Trust

Trust. What does the mean to you? How important is it to you? How do you feel when there is no trust or when a previous bond of trust has been broken?

What is trust? Is it a feeling, an emotion? Is it an instinct? It is certainly built up over time and through experience. It can be a split second decision to throw caution to the wind and decide to trust or place blind faith in something greater ie religion. Trust is something we place in others, in ourselves and in situations. It is earned yet can be lost in a single moment. It can be taken for granted. Can it ever be regained once broken or will it always have fracture lines?

Recently I have come to question trust in my own life, both in myself and in others. A mutual bond of trust has broken. It broke due to the disparities in our expectations of each other and the values we hold, which, had they been communicated, may have gone some way to remedying a situation before the house came down. Sadly, it is the way of life though isn’t it? We each have core values and beliefs that we hold as truths. They are ours and ours alone. We cannot expect anyone else to adhere to these as they will have their own set of values. There may be a cross over and similarities, but just as each person is unique, so too are their truths, their perception of the truth and their trust in their own truth. When they don’t align, relationships and friendships may come to an impasse and dissolve.

Trust and truth are words and instincts I have been wrangling with. We all want people to be honest and truthful. We see post after post all across the interwebs on every platform about living in our truth, standing in our truth, trusting our intuition, trusting ourselves, but the truth of the matter is that that is scary! It can be deeply unpleaseant to the point of ugly – what if you don’t like or agree with the truth? Can you trust it? Can you trust yourself to handle the truth? Do you trust yourself to honour your truth when all around are in opposition or don’t understand? Can you trust the person delivering the truth; yourself or another? To take that leap of faith and be bold and trust, whatever it is you need to trust is to be brave and vulnerable.

The essence of trust is in the vulnerability. You allow yourself to be vulnerable with another and trust them with that. I’m hearing Brene Brown’s voice in my head as I type, without vulnerability there is no trust! And I think, that that is why once trust has been damaged it is sooo hard to repair it because we allowed ourselves to open and let our guard down therefore it hurts so much when we feel we have been disregarded or betrayed.

I think the biggest trust we have to have is in ourselves. I don’t see that we can fully trust another without fully trusting and believing in ourselves – despite what we might think! Being honest and truthful with ourselves first; to know who we are and what our values are will hold us steady when these are challenged or crossed. A truth for me is the desire to shy away from [avoid] confrontation as I don’t like to hurt other people, but I have learned that not trusting myself to face a situation from a point of honesty has not protected another from hurt but rather hurt both of us.

As scary as it is, I have resolved within myself to trust myself and speak my truth no matter what, because anything less is simply not respecting me, my boundaries, my health. I’m not going to violate the trust I’ve placed in myself to make others feel better about themselves. Other people’s reactions are not my responsibility. I have trust that each person I come across will be accountable and responsible for their own actions, thoughts and opinions. And that’s a truth!

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Magic Rewilding

Magic Rewilding

Do you believe in magic?

You don’t have to; its all around you. YOU are magic.

Do you believe me? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t. All around us we are told we need to do this or have that inorder to “make magic” (whatever that means to you). The internet and some chain stores have caught on to the current trend for all things witchcraft, paganism, spirituality, and a hotch potch of all things appropriated from oppressed cultures and you can buy all manner of accoutrements and paraphernalia to “do it right”.

When did it all get so complicated and prescribed?

In the capitalist age, the next big thing is always on the horizon. Some fads come and go with their 1 minute of fame while others have the longevity. Right now, the New Age is in vogue. And there is a money to be made. Money is magic, right? Nope!

Shop bought magic isn’t YOUR magic.

In my humble opinion, we need to simplify spirituality and rewild magic not commercialise it.

I invite you to question and be honest with yourself. Figure out what you believe [in] and why. Are your beliefs something you’ve been told or something you’ve been drawn or called to? Did you connect with something because you read about it were told about it or were informed that this is the right way?

How often do you go outside? To be barefoot and touch the earth, taste fresh produce, dance in the rain, talk to the wind, smell the flowers and hug a tree? When was the last time you moon bathed, star gazed or howled into the night? Rose with the sun and slept with the moon, disregarded the Gregorian calendar to live by the lunar cycle, new moon to dark moon? Were still or ran free along the beach at the waters edge, or through the woods, open hillside or city parkland?

We are nature; we are a part of nature not apart from nature!

Do we need to buy that particular stone because it holds a particular energy, or do we see a stone on the ground and appreciate its beauty and how it feels in our hand, so take it home instead? Do we need to buy that bunch of flowers with the right colour of petals or candle in that certain colour? Or would using what we have found in nature or what we already have in the home work just as well? Does that spell kit with the candle and the “smudge stick” (stolen from Native American heritage) and the prescribed “spell” have more power than the words spelled, written or spoken, by the person setting those intentions, which are imbued with their energy and feelings? Which leads me on to correspondences.

There are prescribed correspondences for EVERYTHING! Certain colours, crystals, essential oils, incense, candles, ribbons, herbs, flowers, foods, animals, times of the day, days of the week, seasons, numbers, weather conditions, elements, trees, astrological placement of the planets, etc et that NEED to be adhered to for “magic” to work, to do it right. Bollocks to that! Why? Because like with nearly everything else in life, magic has been caught and caged for capitalism. To need most of this stuff means to buy it. But do you know what you can’t buy? Intuition. You cannot buy intuition because, that, my friend is not for sale! And nothing is more potent that trusting personal intuition; it’s the most valuable tool you have at your disposal. It needs to be worked and exercised and above all, trusted and listened to. Everything else is fluff and fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a bit of fluff and fun – of course I have a cauldron! Yes, I divine using tarot and oracle decks. All I am saying is that we don’t need it .

Do I think our ancestors needed to have the right correspondences to work? Nope, I believe they used what they had, a cauldron was an actual cooking receptacle and followed intuition. No need to over complicate for what is essentially the essence of the New Age; Social Media and our audience. That is not real.

People new or exploring a different path may find what others have done, a useful insight to what may work for them, and I will always recommend reading books, books and more books, but above all, I would tell everyone to trust themselves, question everything and keep it simple. And it shouldn’t cost you a small fortune either!

My word for 2019 is Depth, and part of the work I’ve been doing has been around questioning why I do what I do, including my spiritual practice. Over the many years I have been walking this path I have tried various ways of doing and shoe-horning other people’s way into my way, its very much been trial and error. I resisted the Divine Feminine for a number of years as had been atheist since about 12 years years old. What I have come to realise and appreciate is that if something is presented to me and it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t get to stay, equally, as I grow and learn and explore, if something no longer fits, it is released to leave space. William Morris’ famous quote:

“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

is very relevant here and therefore my cauldron stays, it being both beautiful and useful – and fun! I prefer to go with my feelings and mood at any particular time rather than what someone else has decreed as the right way or right “correspondence”. Symbolism is personal too, how I interpret the meaning or feeling attached to whatever I am working with or on.

I’ve also chucked the need to follow set rituals including my own. At the last full moon I went dancing instead of doing what I would normally with meditation and tarot and journal. Mixing it up and going with what I’m feeling and called to do instead of self imposed rituals has been a form of rewilding my own magic and simplifying my spirituality.

I don’t live my path to only pick it up to perform rituals at New and Full Moon time with all sorts of paraphernalia. I just need myself, my intuition and calling it in and living it daily. Magic is already in me, in you, in us; in all our uniqueness. No rules are needed to be told how to use it or for why, it just needs to be allowed to be felt, to be released, to be rewilded.

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Perimenopause. WTF?

I’m tired, so tired. Most of the time. I can count on one hand the number of nights in the past few months where I have gotten a fully rested night’s sleep without waking for no apparent reason – and that’s once I actually get to sleep. My bed is too warm despite sleeping with the window open. I keep getting headaches even though I have upped my water intake to ensure I am drinking at least 2ltrs per day which of course just exacerbates my granny bladder. My already dry eyes feel like swollen bouncy balls in my sandpaper sockets as they dry further. I am generally happy to go with the flow of the day to day, but push my button and I WILL explode without warning (this is your warning!). I have zero tolerance for bullshit, drama and other folk’s nonsense. My patience is limited and my time precious; when and with whom I chose to spend it is carefully decided. I am easily distracted and find it hard to focus on anything or anyone for any length of time. I am changing. My body is changing. I feel heavy and bloated (I’m actually the heaviest I’ve ever been outwith pregnancy). I am becoming and growing into myself, into the real me. I crave more and more time alone; peace and solitude are my holy grail. I’m done with striving, with pleasing others at my own expense or judging myself or being judges by other people’s standards. And this is just the start.

Hello Perimenopause!

Did I mention that I am also only 40? I didn’t think I’d have to think about this stuff for another 8 year or so. That was part of my ignorance about menopause and perimenopause. Hell, until 3 years ago I had never even HEARD of perimenopause until a woman I know mentioned that she had been perimenopausal for 8 years as she was approaching her 50th birthday. WTF?

I KNOW I am not alone in what was menopausal ignorance. How do I know this? BECAUSE IT’S NEVER DISCUSSED! We are only just coming around to openly discussing menstruation without using code words and hiding tampons. There was still a minor hoo-ha when an advert showed red rather then blue menstruation blood on the TV last year.

But this is a big fucking deal – it , like menstruation, will affect half the bloody population! Where is all the chat from our elder women about The Change?

There are some women now starting to use their voices and internet platforms to share their own experiences, but the over arching theme in all of them, this one included, the the sheer lack of information about menopause, specifically perimenopause in our general knowledge about our own bodies.

What do you know about menopause? Before I started looking specifically into it last year, my knowledge was thus : menopause means the end of periods, happens between ages 48-52, you get hot flushes and sweaty restless nights, mood swings and for some people, depression too. Oh and HRT of course. There. That was my understanding and extremely scant knowledge of what was to come in my menstrual future.

It is NOT ok for us to be so poorly prepared.

As someone who considers themselves fairly well versed in the workings of the womb and menstrual health, having had pre-cancerous cells removed from my cervix at 30, a miscarriage at 32 and a run of tests taken last year, I take the health of my lady parts seriously. Early 2018 I started experiencing changes however. I had constant nausea (this wasn’t new, I’ve had intermittent periods of persistent nausea for a few years), feeling full after just starting my meals, constantly needing to pee, bloating, disturbed sleep, less cramping just before my bleed was due (when I used to have awful cramps) which moved to awful cramping at ovulation instead, lots of headaches and an unpredictable temperament. The Dr ran blood tests and sent me for a scan of my ovaries. All bloods “came back fine” just needed to up my iron (again, nothing new there) and scan showed “nothing out the ordinary”. Ok, so I am functioning normally, and there’s nothing to worry about (I was just glad that it wasn’t ovarian cancer as my symptoms were pointing in that direction after some internet investigation or early menopause), so WHAT was causing the shift? Nothing more from GP was said, I got my iron pills and carried on with life. Of course, not all the changes in my body stopped, some in the past year have increased! Through my own research I have come to discover that while my GP told me that the UK average for women going through the menopause was 48-52 ( there is a younger and older range to the spectrum, as required in order to ascertain the average), she at no point mentioned perimenopause and that the start of this phase is perfectly normal for women my age! Seriously??

Why is Menopuase not a hot topic of conversation? Why aren’t we discussing it with our mothers or aunties or friends? Why aren’t our Drs discussing it with us when we present our symptoms? Why is it, when it is in conversation, regarded with doom and gloom and scorn? Why is HRT to immediate go-to cure? Why do people think it needs a cure? Why is it to be hidden? Yet another taboo of the female form!

So, let’s chat.

First of all, the word symptoms. I’m not down with calling my experiences “symptoms” and here’s why:

  • Oxford Dictionary : ” (i) a physical or mental feature which is regarded as indicating a condition of disease, and (ii) an indication of the existence of something, especially of an undesirable situation”
  • Cambridge Dictionary : ” (i) any feeling of illness or physical or mental change that is caused by a particular disease and (ii) any single problem that is caused by and shows a more serious general problem”

Do you see my point? Perimenopause and menopause is NOT a disease nor a health problem! Language is important. Frame this big event in our lives as an “undesirable situation” and your frame the societal attitude and engender the shame and need for taboo. It devalues women, in particular our mental health and emotional strength and belittles what our bodies are experiencing; effectively our second puberty! What it doesn’t do is celebrate that this is our time!!! Instead of “symptoms” how about just naming the changes as that, “changes” or “experiences”? Symptoms also has a very medical/clinical energy around the word for a stage in our life that is not medical but a transition as we progress through the cycle of life.

There is a power behind “The Change”; a casting off of the fucks given, a determination to be true and feeling whole. Or at least it ought to be. Instead we may find crippling insecurity and anxiety, long unexpressed and suppressed rage and tension working its way to the surface accompanied by tears. We NEED to feel this stuff, accept it and let it go – WITHOUT being told we are depressed or “hormonal” and given multiple prescriptions for anti depressants and HRT. Yes, we are hormonal but not in a bad way, and yes, some people are actually depressed but how many woman are told they are when all they are truly feeling is the release of toxicity that they had held since their maiden years, bursting its way through? It’s not allowed, it has to remain contained and hidden, you crazy lady. Oh, really?

I have already been told that HRT is the way to go by elder women. “It’ll make you feel better with the mood swings.” “It helped keep my emotions in check” etc etc. Personally, I don’t care about keeping my emotions in check. I want to feel what my body is experiencing not numb it out and effectively be punished by being silenced for it. If people around me are uncomfortable with the metamorphosis into the woman I am becoming, that’s not my problem. This is a rebirth, one I am not stifling to accommodate the delicate expectations of those who are uncomfortable with a woman in her power. Resting bitch face? Nope, regular face where every wrinkle has earned its right to be there, where aging has its own beauty and is a privilege. Not tolerating bullshit or annoyances I would have in the past does not mean I’m grumpy, it means I am honouring myself and my boundaries as opposed to pandering to make someone else feel good. If however, my experiences cause me issues and problems in myself, then I will seek advice from my GP so will not rule out HRT altogether at this point – who knows what the coming decade holds!

So, going back to what I said further up about my knowledge being, at best, scant, is that the actual menopause isn’t recognised until we have had a full 12 months with out a menstrual bleed. Only then are we considered to have reached menopause. (UK average is 51 years old) We are no longer fertile. 1 in 100 women experience it before the age of 40! All the perimenopausal changes we experience leading up to the menopause can start in our 30s! Once the body has gone through the menopause, the changes can still be experienced for a further 4 years or so, when we are then referred to as post menopausal.

A good read for facts about the physical changes and what to expect are

I have self diagnosed myself through my research as perimenopausal, but am going to see GP to make sure (and to rule out anything else untoward, just incase). I feel this is the most sensible approach to take particularly due to my age being in the younger end of the spectrum.

What are your thought and experiences with perimenopause? I’d love to find out and get a conversation going. There are not enough conversations and discussions around this – sharing the good and the bad, empowering and debilitating and educating the next wave of women and men and future generations in what it is to experience this transition as best prepared as possible.

Lissa x

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I Want To Break Free

I want to break free!

Free from rules, shoulds, judgement (including self imposed), standards and expectations in my day to day life, my online life and in my spiritual practice.

To be fair, I have cast off many of the shackles holding me down and back, but I still feel stifled, suffocated, stressed and overwhelmed.

I have written before about the need to simplify and slow down. In my efforts to do so I seem to have picked up other rules and must dos to replace what I let go!

FFS!!

Having moved house in the summer I wondered if the feels and energy lack were to do with that.  However, I have come to realise that it’s much more; runs much deeper.  My brain and being are saturated with images (including my own) , books, recommendations, advice and how-tos on EVERYTHING.  So instead of waiting for my digital detox and life assessment in January, I’m spending the remainder of the year unpacking what serves and what doesn’t. I’m checking in with all that sees its way into my life; how I am spending each of the 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, even 365 days a year. In no particular order, under the microscope so far are:

  • Morning Routine – why do I do what I do, when I do. How does it make me feel? Could I change it, would it make a difference, does it need to?
  • Home/ Family – our settling in period has passed, what’s working, what isn’t and why? Balancing family needs and my own (not currently in balance, but is that elusive balance the new Holy Grail?)
  • Fulfillment – what makes me feel fulfilled? What do I need inorder to feel fulfilled? Where is the lack? How do I address this?
  • Values – what are my true values? How am I recognising and therefore honouring them, or not as the case may be?
  • Priorities – I have so many plates spinning – what are my priorities and why?  Where are my top priorities sitting in my to-do lists currently?
  • Spiritual practice/path – why do I look outside of myself for the answers rather than seeking from within? What am I seeking? Why do I deem external knowledge, particularly printed or internet wisdom as more important than my own – espcially when in conflict with my own experience or opinion?
  • Time / Calendar –  how do I use and measure time?What system(s) work best for me? Are arbitrary dates causing more unrest? Is it possible to rise with the sun and sleep with the moon in this day and age?

This list is not finite and I may add more as I see fit. For instance, the coming full moon I will be holding a private ritual, but I don’t know yet what that will look like – will feel into it at the time and see what comes up; without the use of astrology or new age/spiritual prescription.

I know what I want, what I crave.

Simplicity.

Simplify my practice, just going with my internal calling and needs. Heeding our intuition is a super power!  I love learning and seeking out new information to enhance and grow my own knowledge, but I don’t like being told or preached to, preferring to feel into what I trust and what I accept. But more and more I feel so much of the knowledge and purported wisdom is heavy and laden with the ‘right way’ or cultural appropriation, which goes against my personal ethos.

I want to break free, let go of it all and start a-new, with clarity, purpose and a healthy dose of realism inorder to be the best version of myself for me and my family (because currently I know I am not!)  rather than constantly trying to silencing my inner voice which is screaming to be heard and released!

I know I need rewilding and freedom to just be, whatever the fuck that means!

Earlier today a friend sent me the quote below which summed up exactly how she was feeling. Talk about synchronicity!

simple
Image and quote uncredited from Pinterest

What do you need to break free from?

Lx

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If you could turn back time, would you?

If you could turn back time, would you?

The clocks went back at the weekend and so too did my mind and imagination!  An old friend sent me a couple of photos from when we were at school (the first being my 17th birthday and they surprised me with cake in English class, the second being our last day at high school). How young we were, just at the threshold of life.

I posted the photo to my instagram account and was asked

“Curious…if you could share anything about the journey of growing up with the girl in this pic now, what would it be?”

which got me thinking about what would I say to the girl in that picture.  I replied with the following :

“I’ve always wondered what I’d do differently if I had my time again (answer = most of it!) but been giving your qu some thought and through all the mistakes and wrong decisions and poor behaviour and choices, I keep coming back to the same thing: Stay true to you, don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t, you don’t have to overcompensate, you are enough and make the best decisions for the right reasons when you remember that 🙏💖 oh and the world is there to be seen and experienced so go and do both!!! ✨”

I’ve been think about this question ever since.  If I could have my time again what would I do differently; answer is pretty much everything! It was then that I realised that conclusion was was a pretty sad state of affairs, because the my choices have led me to where I am now.

Remembering back to when I was 17, who I was and what I wanted, and reflecting on the path that has led me to today, I can see that very little of what I have done and achieved has really been in line with that girl.

I didn’t want to marry or have children. I wanted to travel.  Up until I was 17 I wanted to go to Glasgow School of Art and from age 10 I wanted to be an interior designer, but then self doubt made its presence known along with the comparison to other people. From then I wanted to be a woman with power and authority. I craved independence and the desire to “fly the nest” so sought out university courses which would lead to high flying careers (of course I picked the wrong university, the wrong course and so dropped out).  I also harboured dreams of being arrested(!) but for something worthy and for a good cause, like protesting or doing something radical for Greenpeace.  I remember striving for approval, yet wanting and needing to be “different”. I hated societal confines and knew there had to be more; I was capable of more, but more of what?? I loved most things alternative but was chained to convention, a chain that took years to finally break. It took several bouts of illness and a permanent health condition and numerous well paid but highly stressful  to finally stop and reassess. I spent years in the barren lands chasing dreams that weren’t really mine, repeating the same mistakes over and over again, instead of years in the wilderness following my truth.

Now forty and I am once again taking stock and reassessing where and who I am.  It’s like I’m back at the start of knowing and understanding who I am but with the lived experience behind me.  No I don’t still want to go to Glasgow School of Art and become an interior designer, but I am still creative and need to express that. I know what I want to do, am just finding the confidence to push past the inposter complex to achieve my dreams.

Instead of being sad and melancholy over what ifs or shoulds, I am grateful for the experiences I have had and the lessons learned as I am sat here, a woman who has lived, loved, lost and laughed. A lot! I am who I am because of me. I can’t change my past, but I can learn from it and grow from there.  This second half of life will be all the richer for it.

Looking back, while I strayed way off course from my true north and made highly questionable choices, I can say that no, I wouldn’t change it.  I like love me and who I am today, and I love my family. Who is to say I would be that lucky if I had taken a different route.

1995

Now it’s my turn to ask you: If you could turn back time, would you?