New Moon in Aquarius

Wild Sister Rising (2)

Tonight the moon disappears from view completely in the sky. The Dark Moon phase. The Crone. The Dark Moon is the period where the moon is 100% invisible, moving into the New Moon phase only with that first tiny slither of crescent gently glowing through the inky depths of space. For the majority of people and all the printed or online calendars, the dark and new are one and the same phase. So, tonight, (21.04 GMT) the moon descends to her lowest ebb, hidden and hibernating in the winter of her cycle, greeting the death of the last cycle and awaiting the rebirth of the next.

Last Full Moon saw a Lunar Eclipse and this New Moon sees a Solar Eclipse which  concentrates the energy surrounding this new cycle. This is the perfect opportunity for letting go and making both changes and space, for new growth; a bit like pruning a tree.

The moon is moving through the sign of Aquarius currently, which is an air sign. This is a social sign and one of humanity. It is also the most detached of the zodiac. What does this mean? Well, use this energy to gather your friends and loved ones, get conversations rolling around topics such as politics and philosophy as this is ideal timing for sharing ideas and points of view rather than being right versus wrong. The times we are living in, since 2012, is the age of Aquarius – moving towards equality and harmony, having left behind blood-thirsty, war-loving masculine Mars, and the war on women. Use this Aquarian phase to walk your talk and be true to you; who you are and what you stand for. Be detached enough to let go of what is not serving you, make your changes and shake things up to the better.

This moon cycle is in the month of Ash, Nuin, and known as the Moon of Waters.  The waters refer to our feelings and specifically those around love.  Love of self, love for our partners, family and friends. That Valentine’s Day was yesterday, is a lovely segue into this period. Enjoy playful romance with your partner (this is definitely more a playful time rather than overly intimate one).

So go for it, feel the feels, enjoy the company of our loved ones, be open to discussions, make changes, release and let go and make your intentions to create the life you want.  The plans you make now, in the first new cycle since the season shifted towards Spring (Imbolc) will be realised in the months to come as they grow, fruit and come to harvest.

The best time to make New Moon plans and intentions is within the first 8 hours of the darkest point (from 21.04 GMT this evening) as the energy is strongest, decreasing as it gets further away towards the waxing crescent moon.

My own New Moon ritual involves meditation, setting intentions, tarot spreads and a mini vision board – what does yours look like?

Lx

Imbolc

Imbolc (1)

The Wheel of the Year turns once more and now we, in the Northern Hemisphere, are awakening to the first rustlings of Spring and the Sabbat of Imbolc.

As the light lengthens, so the cold strengthens

Depending upon your point of view, Imbolc represents the start of Spring, the inbetween-ey time between Winter and Spring, or consider it be to very much a  Winter festival with Spring still a while off yet.

Regardless of how the Sabbat is considered, it remains one of the least celebrated of the 8 seasonal markers, to be honoured in the natural year. This is possibly due to people not understanding its significance or unsure of the associations with milk! So what on earth is Imbolc?

Imbolc, or Imbolg or Oimelc depending on your Celtic heritage, generally means “in the belly” or “ewe’s milk” – the ewe’s are lactating, we have milk once more and deep in the belly of mother nature, life is stirring and awakening. This is a festival of renewal and purification and as such, a far more appropriate time for making and sticking to new resolutions and goals. January is still very much a time of hibernation, darkness and heavy soul nourishing food not about diets and lack, but February with its longer and lightening evenings has a more spritely feel; a lighter feel both in the sky and in mood.

We are familiar with the solar festivals which quarter the year into the seasons : Spring / Autumn Equinoxes and Summer / Winter Solstices, but there are 4 cross quarter fire festivals which complete the 8 Sabbats on the Wheel Of The Year: Imbolc / Beltane / Lammas / Samhain. The solar markers are masculine energies while the fire festivals are very much feminine. Imbolc has an incredibly feminine feel to me. All that is happening on and around Imbolc is happening down here on and in the earth; Mother Nature, Gaia, Earth Mother.  It is also the first festival in the cycle where the Maiden aspect of the triple Goddess is honoured. She is also known as Brigid, Bride, Brig and is associated with poetry, healing, fertility, fire energy (and skills relating to fire home hearth  or forge), inspiration and muse.

Imbolc is absolutely a time for women; mothers & daughters, friends, female family members spending time together, perhaps learning a new skill or just enjoying being in one another’s company, outwith the daily chores of home.  Last night after the sun was down and the moon was high (made all the more magnificent by the fact she was a super blue full moon) I gathered with 3 other women for an evening of Ecstatic Dance, a new experience for me and one which I will definitely be repeating.

There are many ways to honour this sacred time, whether you celebrate it as I do from sunset on 31st January, or the 1/2 Feb or around the lunar Imbolc or just when you feel the season start to shift, the actual calendar date is not important, there is no dogma dictating set times for the cross quarters, just what feels right for you. Alternatively you may not consider Imbolc at all, and look upon Candlemass as a marker in your year, or may not have anything at all and the start of February is the start of a new month as per any other. But if you wish to celebrate Imbolc you may wish to stock up on the candles (symbolic of the returning light, plus it is a fire festival), gather your girlfriends or relatives for a meal or a sacred circle, go out into nature (even if that just means your garden) and observe it; what do you notice, smell, hear, feel? Begin the purification of your home and by that I mean Spring Clean!! But go gently, a little at a time, just like nature, not a full on KonMari over one weekend or scrub the place from top to bottom until it stinks of bleach, easy does it (and hold back on the bleach, not good for nature or for you). Cultivate your own rituals and practices that you can revisit each year and reflect on the previous one. I have a bag of snow in the freezer that I collected the other week when it was lying thick in the ground. I will place this in a bowl with a candle to gently melt, taking with it the last of winter as the heat and light of the sun returns. I also make my own butter at Imbolc and use the butter milk to make scones.  If you want to see my previous Imbolc celebrations, you can here.

I hope you have a wonderful Imbolc, Imbolg or Pinch Punch First of the Month.

White Rabbits White Rabbit White Rabbits.

Lissa

x

The Power Of Circle

Wild SisterRising

The power of Circle is in its structure; its completeness and wholeness. It is the vessel that holds all the juices of life that each person within that Circle brings. The joy, the tears, the laughter, the love, the truths, the challenges, all held and contained within the Circle. There is its power and strength.

Circle mantra is always What’s shared in Circle stays in Circle.

If you have already read my previous blog post about Circles or have attended Circles yourself you will already know what I am talking about. But if this is new to you, a Women’s Circle or Sacred Sister Circle (or any other name given to it) is a dedicated space for women to come together, to share in each other’s lives with their stories, truths, real feelings, to be heard and supported but not judged. Its a place to learn from one another, to grow, to know (yourself) and just take some time out for you, to reflect, be inspired and develop friendships.

Women gathering in circle is a tradition as old as time, but a tradition destroyed over the many years by the Patriarchy, who succeeded in their mission to turn women against each other in competition rather than supporting each other as previous generations had done, where daughters learned from their mothers, aunts, older friends and grandmothers. Wisdom was passed down though generations, about what it was to be a woman; menstruation, birth, raising children, being a wife as well as a sovereign being. Skills shared and learned. This was the village. Women were respected, the elder women revered. They had knowledge, abilities and each other;  they held the community together. There is an old Native American saying that states :

To destroy a village, destroy the moon lodge.

The moon lodge was the women’s sacred Circle, their menstrual lodge, where they gathered. Not a menstrual hut where the women were cast out of the community until their dirty bleed was over, as per what happens in some countries today, but honoured as a special and sacred time. Time to rest, eat well, and restore themselves for the following month ahead. During a women’s bleeding time, it was believed that she was closer to the Divine and therefore was powerful and wise.

Thankfully circles are enjoying a resurgence and are currently back in vogue, where I hope they will remain. There are so many different types of Circles popping up and taking place regularly, especially in the West. I have been to a general Women’s Circle where the women present spanned the generations of maiden / mother /crone and the discussion was rich because of it. A Mother’s Circle where it was incredibly healing to know that we as mothers, while we may have different styles of parenting, all share so many similar experiences and emotions. It was a real tonic for those mothering wobbles we rarely admit to with others. A Full Moon Circle where we were letting go of what no longer served us – it was incredibly cathartic and whilst we met with our shadow (hidden) selves it was such a joyful experience.

Other types of circles taking place are New Moon Circles, Mother~Daughter Circles, Sacred Sister Circles, Monthly Circles, Weekly Circles, Red Tent and Moon Lodge Circles, Covens even, plus a wheen more. You may think you have never been to a circle before, but have you ever been to a baby shower – sharing your own birth experience or parenting tips with the Mother-to-be? A hen night – sharing and celebrating stories of marriage with its ups and downs, passing on advice and lived experience? Sat around a campfire chatting and telling stories? A group meeting where generally discussion happens in the round? These too, are Circles of a sort. Granted, not a  gathering whose purpose is for going soul deep, but a deliberate coming together nonetheless.

fire

You might wonder whether you need to go to a circle or what the point of going would be when you have already found your “tribe”, so to speak. You already have close knit circle of friends who offer support, solidarity, advice, fun and friendship spanning years of shared experiences. Great, that’s wonderful and something that many people don’t actually have, or at least not on that level. But consider how else a regular Circle may enrich your life? There is a reason that Circles are having their moment now. There is a soul deep longing for the village, for cross generation wisdom and teachings and relearning, for connection with community and like minds, for confidence in rising up and reclaiming our place in society out from the shadows of the Patriacrchy,  and being authentic and true to who we are/want to be rather than who are supposed to be. For some people that is scary and they need the sisterhood.

Circles are the AntiBitch

I have been told that Circle’s cant work as women are too bitchy / catty / competitive / judgemental / name another label that keeps pitting women against women. THIS in itself is a reason FOR Circles. Circles are the AntiBitch.  They foster belonging, connection and nourishment (for the soul and the body – tea and chocolate anyone?).  Friendships founded in a shared bond, respect, understanding and being honest, raw, seen, heard and held. Not everyone has to like everyone else, as is the way in life, but there remains a connection, the belonging to and understanding the Circle and its members. The power of Circle.

If you feel excited to Circle with women, either your mates or looking for like minded women but not sure where to find them, either set up your own Circle or find one in your town or city, I guarantee there will be Circle’s happening in local community centres or more probably in people’s living rooms (where all the circles I have attended or hosted have taken place).

The power and strength of a regular Circle is so restorative and I’d say, vital, to our health and well being that I will be hosting more Circle’s this year. If you are not able to join in person, I also have the online circle on Facebook (its a closed group so keeping with the “What’s shared in Circle stays in Circle” ethos – click to join and I will approve your request) where you can join the conversations or start new ones.

Circle of Women

Blessings

Lx

With The End Comes A New Beginning

Wild Sister Rising (22)

Hogmanay 2017.

Out with the old, in with the new.

This year is coming to its close as we await, almost impatiently, the dawn of 2018. Well, not so much dawn, but midnight (close enough).  The ringing of the bells, heralding the New Year’s arrival. Celebrations across the globe as 2018 greets each time zone in turn, with its promise of better to come. Renewed hope to be, to achieve, to have, to do, better.

There’s that old adage that makes in annual presence known : New Year New Me! *cue the eye roll and audible groan*

Who has made their resolutions? A list of things that will make us thinner, fitter, healthier, richer and will never see the light of 5th January but are made to make us “better” than the person we are right now. Nah, me either. Don’t believe in them. At best they are half arsed attempts at bettering ourselves where we feel we are not enough. No thanks. While the ever so trite “New Year New Me” is all bollocks in  my opinion, I do set goals and intentions, make plans and dabble in some cosmic ordering. It’s totally different…it is!

Before we get all tied up in the revels and the countdown to midnight, I’d like to take a moment to ponder the year we are leaving behind.  It really has been a quite a defining year, globally and personally.

The world is a mess, this we know. 2017 confirmed it; Trump, politics, terrorism, white supremacy, natural disasters induced by climate change…need I go on?

BUT!!

2017 has been a phenomenal  year for a great many positive and wonderful things.  Standing up, being seen, having a voice and using it too has been a major thread running through 2017. People have had enough and coming together to stand up against injustice and inequality. The #MeToo campaign which showed Hollywood and the patriarchy at large that abuse, assault, rape and the overall degradation of women by both powerful men and your average Joe are no longer accepted as an open secret or (from the women’s perspective) shrouded in shame, nor are these men protected . Women EVERYWHERE have stood up and voiced their solidarity, sharing their own experiences. We don’t need to go into the details, the simple #MeToo was powerful enough to highlight the sheer scale of the problem that women face daily just going about their business.

Times, they are a changin’.

On a personal level, 2017 has generally been a good’un.  I’m fortunate and grateful. The move from Always Learning Forever Growing to Wild Sister Rising with the addition of my shop and hosting the Sacred Sister Circle was a real achievement of which I am very proud.  My word of the year was Purpose (see blog post from 1st January ’17), and I think it’s fair to say that I found my purpose this year. I have been reading, learning and absorbing so much information in an effort to understand, awaken, and embrace my new found purpose.  It, unbeknown to me but with hindsight I see the evolution, has been a work in progress and a journey that has spanned a decade but been more concentrated in the past two years. This journey is far from over as I will continue to evolve, develop and grow, and live on purpose! And that requires a certain amount of change. I can feel the change in the air; it is most definitely afoot. The seeds of which have already been sown and are growing strong. Change is good, change enables growth rather stagnation and opens the mind, challenges point of view and offers the opportunity of lived/learned experience. It’s life. In the style of the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race, only that here, there is no race. Some changes are long term, the fruits of which may not even see 2018.

With that in mind,  Change is my word for 2018.  I played around with Truth, Focus, Clarity and Connect, but kept coming back to Change. Plus I’m turning 40 in 6 months time! That’s a a big change in itself; a whole new era to be explored and I for one am super excited.

Whatever this New Year holds for you, I hope it offers love, health, peace, happiness and magic. I say, when the bell tolls, raise a glass to 2018 and to your fucking fabulous and magnificent self. Let your light shine bright tonight and every night (resolutions are not required).

Aw the best when it comes.

Slainte

Lx

Daily Journal Prompts

Daily Journal Prompts with Wild Sister Rising

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.

Journalling 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 (of which Pinterest, of course, has a gazillion of) to be helpful for jump starting my thoughts and getting me thinking and creating again.

I figure I cant be the only one (certainly judging by the volume of journal prompts available on line, to which I am now adding) that finds these prompts helpful. For the past moon cycle, I have posted a Daily Journal Prompt in my Facebook Group, Circle Of The Wild Sister Rising, where the women in the group have responded with their thoughts and have challenged themselves with the questions.

So her are those daily prompts that we have worked with last moon.  If you would like to try journalling or are in need of a wee push to get going again, maybe you will find something below that sparks that notion to pick up a pen and a notebook and reconnect with who you are, or maybe you would like to challenge yourself to take each prompt in turn for this full cycle (or start of the month – when ever feels right).

Enjoy

Lx

The Betwixt After Christmas

Wild Sister Rising (21)

And all through the house,

No-one was working

Except for my spouse.

 

And we are done!!! Christmas had been and gone. All the effort and planning and preparation and baking and making and shopping; sayonara. Adios. Cheerio. Mission accomplished. Only 307 days until I start planning the next one.

I am belly full and steeped in Baileys. The floors are covered in glitter from that bloody wrapping paper from Tesco that will probably still be there in 3 Christmases time. Call The Midwife Christmas episode has been watched and bawled over (this year’s was a particular doozy and had me in floods of tears) and today was the day I spent in my pj’s eating a random assortment of left overs, reading my new books and magazines, drinking tea and dreaming about taking all the decorations down.

Sadly my Husband missed this luxuriously slothful day as he works in retail and is back at work. His employers don’t do family time, just bottom line.

I don’t feel guilty for my day where I barely removed my arse from the couch (other than to replenish an empty tea cup) as this past month and a half have been a tad busy. According to the slew of memes and essays/articles, the prep for Christmas is essentially “women’s work”. The men folk wouldn’t have a clue how to put together a perfect and magical festive, apparently. Really? Nah, not buying it. For years, Hubby and I did Christmas pretty equally, apart from pressies and cards, he excels in the thoughtful gift department. It’s only in the past couple of years that it has fallen to me to “arrange” Christmas. All of it. But I’m not complaining, I LOVE it. It is easier for us to work it like this as Hubby’s shifts are anti-social and completely impractical for making good on much of the prep. However, once Boxing Day is here, I’m done. Over it until next year.

I wasn’t as organised this year as I usually am, but you know what? It all came together anyway. No stress, no pressure to make it “magical” or “perfect”. I tried one year to make it all magical and memorable for (A) when he was little, and it wasn’t magical, I was stressed to fuck as was he! And he hardly remembers it!!! Now we just do a couple of things we enjoy, keep it pretty low key, and focus on good food and spending time with those we want to. It becomes memorable when you do what you enjoy and if there’s no stress then its fun and therefore magical in itself without the manufactured fake nonsense and social media pressure. What more do we need?

Truth be told, I’d happily forgo Christmas and all its fuss and mania and just have Yule; the calm, relaxed, simple celebration a few days previous.  We celebrate both in our home – Yule for me and Christmas for the traditions of our families, which we have each grown up with and have brought to our wee family too.  I can just see the horror upon the face of my folks if I said we weren’t doing Crimbo. And on my husband’s and (A)’s too, come to think of it! Although neither of us or our families are religious, Christmas is a big deal!

But now, that’s all in the past. Having been glued to Christmas24 movie channel on Virgin Media since November, I can’t watch anymore of the Hallmark, made-for- TV Christmas movies. We are now in the betwixt. That limbo of not knowing what day it is, the lull between the indulgence of Christmas and the excitement of New Year.

Most people will return to work for the few days inbetween. These people probably don’t get to experience the full extent of the betwixt as I am guessing they will at least have a handle on what day it is. But if you are lucky enough not to be punching your card, enjoy this down time. Perfect, almost medicinal, for the introverted to have this time; to recharge, to chill out, to contemplate the year ending and plan the coming one, or if you’re like me – take down your decorations and tree! I like to bring the New Year in, into a clean house. I cherish the almost solitude that these few days provide. They are necessary.

We won’t be venturing far (other than to my sister’s a day), we will get outside though, to brace the cold cleansing winds, to clear the mind and banish the cabin fever that is starting to build. My 7yo will run and play and explore and have fun.  I just take in the stark beauty of winter and the delight of the kettle when we return home. The gentle pace of the week is welcome as I start to prepare both the house and myself  for 2018 (and ensure we get our steak pie in for New Year’s dinner).

Cordelia

The Goddess Oracle card I pulled this evening. Truth if ever there was.

I hope you have had a great festive period, however or if,  you celebrate, and enjoy the coming days before we bid farewell to 2017.

Lx

Spirituality: What does it mean?

Spirituality

Spirituality. What does it mean? Seriously! What does it mean to be ‘spiritual’?

What do you think it means? I’m not being sarcastic, but really asking, what do you genuinely think, when you hear the words Spiritual and Spirituality?

I think it means different things to different people.

Spirituality has become one of those terms used and, at times, over used and not always with clarity, but rather an air of mystique or pretension; there is an element of wankery attached to the word as it is banded about to express ones enlightened state of being (see what I mean about the wankery?).  But it also a sincere description of what some people experience or believe whether instead of or alongside their religion.

Is that any clearer? I’m not actually convinced that it is.

I had a friend tell me years ago that neither she nor her husband were religious people, but they were spiritual; I remember at the time thinking “what the fuck does that mean?” but not wanting to look ignorant, I just accepted the statement.

Only recently have I given the word any pause for thought. It hasn’t ever been  part of my consciousness when considering my path and beliefs, until I started hearing and seeing it used more and more on social media.

From a personal perspective, I do not consider myself ‘religious’ (I was christened as a baby into the Church Of Scotland, but at 8 weeks old, that choice was not mine to make. I have never felt any affinity with the church and haven’t attended a service other than for weddings or funerals since I left school). I don’t believe in God. I can accept that Jesus was a real man but that his miracles were more symbolic rather than literal. I don’t believe in heaven and hell other than that they were man-made constructs created to instil fear, compliance and obedience.  I do however believe that we are all part of something greater than just this existence on this one planet. There has to be life elsewhere, space is MAHOOSIVE!  We cannot possibly be the only creatures. I also believe in the Law of Attraction, energy, ghosts, reincarnation and that we are souls inhabiting a human body. Oh and I celebrate Christmas as it is a time with and for family.

Since high school I have identified as atheist, although at a guess I would say that that 2001 census has me down as CoS as I lived with my parents and they completed the form. However in the 2011 census I listed my religious beliefs as Pagan.

Pagan Wheel Of The Year

For 9 of the last 10 years, if I had to attach a religious label to myself, it would have been as Atheist Pagan. I follow the Wheel of the Year, the cycles of nature and the moon. I listen to my intuition and use divination tools and meditation for guidance.

I have had a life long love of witches and astrology, have visited various mediums (spooky wives) during my 20’s, but I never called myself, or considered myself to be spiritual.  

The past couple of years has seen my journey take a turn down the path of self development and exploration. This has lead me this year, to the Divine Feminine and Goddess / Priestess culture; Herstory if you will.  It’s fascinating and I can’t quench that thirst for more knowledge. Once I have read one book am ready to dive into the next and the next. The Goddesses or the Divine Feminine resonate with me, not as a woman up in the sky like the Big Man with the white beard, but as an energy that lives within each of us. She is always present, we just need to find her.  The use of Goddess Archetypes is helpful in doing this, to assist channelling the energy required.

This may read like utter bullshit and that’s perfectly fine. Not everyone will be on board with this line of thinking or belief. Each path or journey is as unique as the individual travelling it.

So, in answer to my question : Spirituality, what does it mean? I think it means whatever you understand it to be, in relation to your personal belief set.

Is it just semantics? Am I a spiritual person? Are you? Does it even matter? Probably not in all honesty, it’s just another label, but surely it’s down to personal opinion and what feels right?

I would love to know your thoughts on the subject if this is something you have an opinion on.

Lx

November Feels

 

Ahh, November. Welcome ye in.

It’s a funny old month, a betwixt of sorts. Caught between the gorgeous autumnalness (it’s a word!) of October and the glittery crazy of December.

Depending which calendar * you follow, we are only at the half way point in the season. The cold, arse-end of Autumn is only just starting and has not yet bit, despite the many proclamations of “Winter’s here” as soon as the mercury fell into single digits after sundown.

Samhain has come and gone, bringing with it the New Year of the old Celtic/Pagan Wheel of the Year and the reign of the Cailleach; the Queen of Winter.leaves

This half of the season is all about bedding down and coorying in. The trees have almost completely shed their leaves, and in following nature’s cycle, November is about turning inwards and settling in, getting our Hygge on. This month is hygge embodied. It’s the full embrace of Autumn and the knowing that winter is coming and we take to lighting the fire, if we are so lucky as to have one…radiators aren’t quite the same…I dream of the day I have a fire and hearth again…any way I digress…home and hearth is where it’s at. And candles! Lots and lots of candles.

For the majority of the month we are also in the Celtic Tree month of Reed (Ngetal). The importance of Reed was in its uses be that as fuel  for the fire or as used in materials for the home – rush mats on the floor or thatching for the roof or as musical instruments. It creates a very haunting sound as a wind instrument – very spooky at this time.

The chill in the air increases as the darkness deepens and the days shorten.  A perfect time to let go of what does not serve you any longer, and a time of awakening to what does, as well as taking this time for introspection and finding order. This month focus on loving your home and those you welcome in here.

coffee

November is full of feminine energy, which tied in beautifully with the first Circle Of The Wild Sister Rising sacred women’s circle I hosted on the 1st November. Our theme was healing the sisterhood wound which was perfectly timed for November as Topaz is the jewel/ birth stone of the month whose corresponding meaning is the stone of true friendship .  How timely.  I love synchronicity.

The Goddesses symbolic of this time are :
Hestia – Greek Goddess, ruler of hearth and home who sacrificed her place as an Olympian to guard the fire and maintain a happy home.
Vesta – Roman equivalent to Hestia
Cailleach – the Celtic Old Hag or Crone, essentially the Winter Goddess who comes out to play and preside over Winter until she dies at Imbolc when the maiden aspect of the triple goddess takes over.

fire

So, as I mentioned at the top of the post, November is a betwixt month, but that doesn’t mean it’s bland or boring.  Once both Samhain and our wedding anniversary (2nd Nov) have passed, it’s fair game round ours for Yule & Christmas preparations; getting the lists made and starting the  planning of the next 6 or 7 weeks.  My Christmas Cake is baked and sitting all wrapped in the cupboard awaiting its next brandy injection before it gets its marzipan and icing coat.

But there’s no hurry, plenty of time to get organised – although not according to the check out operator in Morrison’s yesterday :

C/out op : That you all organised for Christmas then?

Me : NO!

C/out op : Ah, you like me and leaving it all to the last minute?

Me : It’s November!

And with that in mind, I’m going to enjoy the rest of the month, winding down, embrace the chilled air (especially if there is also a fire), and coory in before the festive season kicks in and covers everything in glitter.  How about you?

 

Lx

*CALENDAR (2)

Fall Into Autumn

fall into autumn

Time for the seasons to hear the call,
The Wheel of the Year turns from Summer to Fall.
Green to orange, gold and rust,
The leaves are turning, and fall they must.

Up in the trees, squirrels go bonkers,
Gathering what they can; nuts, acorns, conkers.
Up in the sky, the migration of the geese,
Recognisable, honking through the evening peace.

Its time for stews, soups and roasts,
Pumpkin pie and cinnamon toasts.
Toffee apples and fruit crumble puds,
Hot chocolate with mallows, enjoyed in the woods.

A dazzling sun, descending to ‘die’,
A bright Harvest Moon, lighting the dark sky.
The stunning scenery and magnificent views,
The first frost and glittery morning dews.

All 5 senses are heightened and alive,
Each dancing excitedly like some Autumnal jive.
Nothing can compare to the sights, scents and sounds,
The flavours and feelings, know no bounds.

The witches and ghouls of Hallow’een
Are a truly scary sight too be seen,
As they go guising through the streets
Performing their piece in exchange for treats.

As the season draws to a close,
Everyone wraps up warm and goes
To one of the season’s key features,
(remembering to look out for wee creatures).

Guy Fawkes, fireworks, bonfire night
With sparklers and rockets, give animals a fright.
They go about their business readying to bed down for next next season,
Its time for us too, to coory-in with those dear, not that we really need a reason.

Lissa Orr, 2014

Rest & Recharge: Self Care 101

wildsisterrising rest & recharge
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When it comes to self-care, the number 1 priority is learning how to making sure we sufficiently rest and recharge.

Restore. Revitalise. Relax. Recover. Replenish. Renew. Revive. Refresh.  It doesn’t matter what you call it, just make sure you refilleth thy cup!

In my last Self Care blog post I listed the barriers to self care and why it is essential that we make time for it. Today I want to look at the different ways we can ensure we make the effort, and if need be, create the time and space for that all important self care, starting with getting enough rest inorder to recharge our batteries, thus being able to live our desired life.

Do you ever have that gnawing feeling eating away at you with a never ending list of “shoulds” that need tending to before you are allowed to do something for yourself? You are hastily added to the bottom of said list, as an after thought, as another should, but the one that is perpetually just out of reach. If by some miracle you achieve the holy grail of “me time”, you are greeted by good ole’ guilt. How dare you be so lazy or self indulgent. Surely I can’t be only one to experience this?

But. I am getting better, much better, at saying Fuck It! I can’t be my best me if I am tired and running on empty. Trust me on that one…

Self Care 101

Making the shift to incorporating even the tiniest of changes to prioritising self care is vital. Baby steps are good, they are a start and moving in the right direction.

So , back to actively achieving the goal of getting our required rest : here are my top tips for shooshing those “shoulds” that plague our thoughts and giving guilt the old heave ho.

Sleep

wildsisterrising full moon

1.  No shit Sherlock! But seriously – how many of us get the recommended 8 hours per night? Nope, I thought not. Squeezing some “me time” in after the kids go to bed, and/or getting up super early before the rest of the household to grab an hour before the to-do list kicks in. Sound familiar? When I read Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life by Arianna Huffington earlier this year, she recommended scheduling bed time. Actually putting bedtime in your planner or on your calendar alongside dental appointments, work commitments, kids sports activities etc. It makes perfect sense. We wouldn’t be late for any of our other appointments, and our sleep is definitely one which we don’t want to miss. As practical an idea as it is, it is still a work of discipline to ensure the time is met.

2.  Take a nap. Toddlers are proof that a nap is necessary to refresh and revive oneself.  While we are obviously not toddlers, a quick 10-20 minute power nap has been proven, by science, to be incredibly beneficial to our well being, creativity and productivity.

3. Ditch the alarm clock, even just once a week (if you have kids and a partner, let your significant other get on with the breakfast routine and morning shenanigans) and rise with the sun. This sounds more appealing in the darker winter months, but what I am driving at, is to say, let your body wake naturally when it is ready, and therefore had enough rest.

4. If using your alarm, don’t snooze it. This may seem counter intuitive, as the more snoozes means the more rest, right? Nope, it’s a fallacy. The more you snooze, the more unrested you become, cue that groggy discombobulated feeling we get. The constant re-waking of the brain confuses it and makes us feel worse.  *confession – I am a serial snoozer, sometimes every 5 minutes for up to an hour at a time!!!!!*

Ritual

wildsisterrising ritual

Oh yes, I love rituals. Some are sacred and others are probably more “routine” but ritual is far more pleasing a word.

1.  First things first; making that first cuppa of the day. Morning routine – light a candle and make the act of preparing your cuppa, or preferred beverage, a daily ritual. Deliberate and conscious rather than just going through the motions – the candle helps here rather than the big light, especially in the dark mornings. Take time to enjoy the hot drink, savour the flavour (and the aroma if its coffee). Some folk may think this sounds a bit pretentious, but try it, it’s not and creates a really  gentle start to your day.

2. Creating and having a meditation ritual takes practice but it soooo worth it.

3. Not all self care practices are solo efforts. One of the most powerful forms of  replenishing my cup with restorative energy I have experienced was in circle. A women’s gathering/circle where the purpose it to bring us together, to support and encourage and share. Incredibly uplifting.

4. Personal rituals spread throughout the year and during each of the months in turn can make this element of self care so much easier. Living in sync with your own personal rhythm of your menstrual cycle. Charting it to learn and become familiar with where you are on your cycle and how you are likely to feel on certain days etc. My post here explains this process more fully.

Rituals for the New and Full Moon each month and/or the changing seasons help us to align with what is happening in nature and within ourselves.

5.  Journalling – who didn’t keep a diary as a teenager? As an adult, journalling is a prominent feature in my life. I keep all sorts of journals : morning pages, daily planner, tarot card readings, dream journal, one specifically for when I am on my period, blog ideas and one even for notes on every life occurences as I observe them, to name a few. Having dedicated journal time allows me to plan and review, to brain dump everything, get thoughts paper before I forget or to track certain things at certain times. Journalling is a process which allows for calm and rest, it’s thoughtful and  allows for reflection.

6. Affirmations. A great many people love affirmations and find them useful and inspired. Often affirmations are used each morning, looking in the mirror and reciting your affirmation to your self, selecting new affirmations at the New or Full moon, or on a particular day or at a particular time. Personally, I have not found them to work for me, I don’t feel comfortable or authentic reciting them, but that is purely my own take on them.  The late Louise Hay has a phenomenal collection of affirmations, and in her book You Can Heal Your Life she shares many more within each of the chapters.

Time-out

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1.  This may be a step too far for some people, but the thought of a pyjama day certainly has its appeal. One of the benefits of being a home educating parent, is the joy of a day of having nothing planned apart from a pj day. Total bliss. When I was working though, I threw the odd sickie for this very purpose. In hindsight I was really just looking after myself to recharge before going back to work the very next day. Not convinced my employers would have agreed though.

2. My preferred timeout has to be a long soak in the bath with a good book, wine and candles (lots of candles required if reading). Depending on my mood or when in the day I’m bathing, will determine if I am having a luxurious bath with gorgeously scented oil, such as my favourite NYR Organic Rose & Pomegranate Bath Oil or a fun bath bomb in a sweet nostalgic fragrance. The time in the tub can range from 15 mins to over an hour; that time is sacred and uninterrupted.

3. In my opinion, time out to escape can rarely be found anywhere else other than between the pages of a good book, but then I am a book worm. Magazines, brochures, comics, graphic novels, newspapers and blog posts, are perfect to pick up and dive into to have a little time out – be it on the commute to work if using public transport, in bed before going to sleep instead of reading scrolling Facebook or Instagram, with a cuppa on the couch or in the park while your children play – this is one of my favourite place to read. My son is now at an age where I don’t  have to be watching him every second, so can actually sit and enjoy my book while he burns off all that energy.

4. Music is another time out beauty that ticks all the boxes, whether you are listening to or playing an instrument. Getting lost in the music as it surrounds you. Music, is extremely evocative. Let go and dance or sing  and join in in which ever way the music calls to you.

5.  If TV is your jam, or you decide on having a pyjama day, if there are no distractions (such as kids requiring your attention) settle in  for a binge fest of your favourite Netflix series. No guilt. It has something of a splendid indulgence to it. Some will tell you it’s a waste of a day off, but if you feel rested and have enjoyed the day watching Gilmore Girls, the naysayers can bugger off. This is your time out to do as you please.

6. Pamper yourself. Go on, you deserve it. It needn’t cost a fortune, you can do it yourself at home with ingredients from the fridge  or with your best smellies. Give yourself a facial and a cleansing mask, a deep condition treatment for your hair, paint your nails, what ever you fancy **Note to self: remembering to take make up off at the end of the day and apply moisturiser is also considered self care!!** or treat your self at a salon for a professional massage or any other treatment that sounds like an hour of delicious down time. Get those essential oils burning and create a relaxing haven.

7. Hygge. Need I say more? Is there anything else quite complete for ensuring rest and relaxation than Hygge? If you are new to Hygge – check out my post from last year, I suggest you grab a cuppa before you start.

8. A time out can often mean saying NO and meaning it. When you say yes to all the stuff you are surrounded with day in day out and people are depending on you, it can be tough to say no. But saying NO, you must. The world will not collapse because you are finishing the chapter of your book or sitting in meditation

9. Edited to add : Remember when you were a kid and the simple joy that colouring in brought? Or the satisfaction from crafting “something”?  I love just zoning out and creating something colourful for no other reason than “I like it”.  If crafting is more your bag, I am going to suggest you take a look at Molly and Mouse for your crafting needs.

 

Switch off

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1. Quite literally, switch off and disconnect from all electronic media devices. Even if it is only for an hour or 2. This includes mobile phones, TV , laptop/tablet,  especially switch off from social media and (work) email.  I like to do a social media detox from time to time with a week long break. I once tried 30 days cold turkey, it did not end well – I ended up lurking without commenting, so it looked like I was on a break but I was only fooling myself.  A day or 2 is much more manageable and beneficial. I don’t feel as though the world has ended or that I am too out the loop, particularly because I use FB daily for Home Education meets and discussions.  A full week is truly refreshing but sadly no longer really practical for me. (Hmm, I must find a way round this).

2.  Ditch the drama – real life or TV. We don’t need the stress of other folk’s dramas or being brought into arguments or getting all fired up about what happened on Celebrity Big Brother. Switch it off.  Trashy TV does have its place if this is something you enjoy inorder to zone out and chill for a bit. Choose your drama wisely…its not restorative if you end up agitated or wired following an episode.

3. When we switch off the white noise and bustle to slow down, we reconnect with out senses. We notice more, feel more and appreciate more – put it to good use and go for a  walk in nature, dance in the rain (preferably barefoot), tend to your garden or house plants,  buy or pick flowers  for your home or try some wild foraging  and bake or cook with your bounty when you get home.

wildsisterrising rest & restore

If looking at the list and thinking ” ahh, that would be nice / chance would be a fine thing”, I’m here to tell you that it is not only nice and it is indeed a fine thing, when the opportunity to do so is created or diarised. I’m also here to tell you that if you don’t make your own rest important, no-one else will. You don’t need anyone’s permission to stop, sit down and do something, anything, for yourself. If you still feel like you need permission to SLOW DOWN and chill without the guilts or nagging reminders that this, this and this has still to be done, I am giving you that permission. There, done!

Please remember that as women, we are cyclic creatures, just like nature itself. We are not built to keep going like a Duracell Bunny, in a constant linear fashion, or just like the bunny, we will eventually run out of juice. Burnout is not something to aspire to. Having been there and done that, I can attest that it’s not a badge of honour. Neither too is the stress, frustration and resulting resentment riding shotgun on the journey. Instead, we respect the ebbs and flows of our cycle through the month, and we rest, recharge and replenish as we need, be it daily weekly or monthly, or when YOU decided.

Now, please excuse me whilst I take myself off for a bubble bath and an early night (with no phone…who am I kidding? But I will endeavour NOT to check Facebook just before I go to sleep. I promise.)

Lx