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Deep in the Womb of Winter

Deep in the womb of winter; this is where I find myself.

January, with its icy, howling wind blowing in a damp, raw air that chills me to the bone. The dark, heavy skies give an ominous air that draws me to surrender to its presence, while patiently I wait for snow. For when it snows, the air is milder, the energy lighter and the noise is muffled under the Cailleach’s cloak in a metaphorical coziness that invites both childlike fun outdoors and coorying in indoors.

In these dark days and weeks of winter, I relish the time to just be. I don’t bounce straight into New Year New Me; that’s just not my style. Instead, I light more candles and embrace the slow pace, the space and the very deliberate lack of routine, for as long as I can. A big fat pause on life to properly rest and reset. This year, more so than ever before, I feel the need to withdraw and sit in the stillness by myself. And for once, I’m listening and paying attention. I want no company, no distraction ( I see you and hear you social media and you know exactly how to draw me in! You are my WIP!), to be able to eat, sleep and walk in the woods as I please, no timescales, no expectation, just my simple rituals, pencil and fire (and soup!!). But of course, I live in the real 21st century world with a family, home and business, so while I can dream of this existence, the reality is more the taking of little bits of it at a time and make the ideal come true in the inbetween spaces of everyday living. Baby steps.

This is my time for planning and dreaming. My head is burlin’ with ideas and wants and desires for the coming year but none of them are yet in action or even anything other than a list on paper or swimming in my imagination. I have not the energy nor the strength to even attempt to put into action currently. Perish the thought!

We are approaching the first full moon of 2020 (7.21pm GMT Friday 10th January), also known as the Wolf Moon, Snow Moon, Cold Moon or Birch Moon, alongside the lunar eclipse. The energy is rising as the moon waxes to her full size and strength, yet for me, my cycle is in direct contrast. My energy is waning and am drawing inwards towards my dark moon phase, my inner winter. My mood and my energy perfectly in sync with the season and myself, with where I need to be.

How are you feeling this winter?

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Hearth: Word of the Year 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Word Of The Year for 2020 is Hearth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lissa xx

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What is Yule?

What is Yule? Are you familiar with the word but unsure of it’s meaning? Or know a bit about Yule but unsure as to how to celebrate the festival or of the meaning behind the celebration?

Yule is the time in the calendar also known as Winter Solstice or Midwinter. It is the pre-christian, pagan celebration of the return of the sun. The precursor to the modern day, christian celebration of Christmas. It was honoured and celebrated across much of northern Europe, particularly in Celtic, Scandinavian/Nordic and Germanic cultures (known as Jul).

Here in the northern hemisphere, this time of year is very dark with only a little sun light each day, but on the Solstice, the shortest day of the year, some places see no sun light at all. To get through these dark times, people came together to feast and make merry; to make offerings to the Great Mother (Mother Nature/Gaia/Goddess / local deities) and to honour the sun to ensure its return once more. With the sun’s rebirth comes lighter and warmer weather to farm, grow food and livestock thus enabling their very survival. The welcome and vital sunrise was celebrated as a festival as it was believed to truly be a miracle and people rejoiced that they had been blessed by the light once more. The festivities lasted many days and more recently have been referred to as the 12 days or nights of Yule/Yuletide which gave forth to the 12 days of Christmas.

Living in tune with nature, the cycles of the earth and seasons of the land, the people of the day were at the mercy of the weather and of the Great Mother and would ensure they pleased Her with their offerings, in both thanks for what they harvested and in hope for success for the next year coming. The best of the produce would be served at these revelries and the rest would have to keep families going throughout the winter, lest they starve until the new crops began to grow and the new animals were of an age for slaughter. Spring was a lean season for eating, but a good successful harvest secured a hearty and abundant winter and a pleased Mother.

As well as a time of celebration, Yule was also a time of peace and quiet contemplation of the lessons learned. Gratitude and joy was shared for the year just gone and hope was encouraged for the year to come. The festivities were steeped in observed rituals and reverence as well as helping lift the communities through the bleak midwinter lull in work and idle hands. Instead of working the land, evergreens were gathered and brought inside, the branches, boughs and trees or bushes (Christmas tress and garlands by today’s understanding) were adorned with candles, lit to to give encouragement to the vegetation to grow and thrive in the coming year, and remind the sun to grow bright and strong, as well as to keep any fae, housed in the boughs, warm during this cold dark time.

Many traditions from the ancient ways are still in practice today, some have been modified to accommodate modern living but the essence remains true. This is not a commercial festival, with the business of busyness, but rather a meaningful time to make like nature and find the stillness in the dark to turn inwards in contemplation of what has gone before; give thanks and release what no longer serves or has expired, to say farewell to those souls who have departed this earthly plane in the past solar cycle and to also create, plan and make space for what is to come in the following cycle. It’s cold outside so connecting with kith and kin hearthside, round the Yule log, sharing in communal ritual and togetherness, gift giving and feasting is as important today as it was way back when.

So how do modern day pagans celebrate this important time in our Wheel of the Year (calendar)?

I can’t speak for anyone else but thought I would give you an insight into what yule looks like rounds at mine. A quick pinterest search will open to millions of pins of ways people across the globe are honouring the sun’s return. In the Northern hemisphere, December 21st (approx) is Winter Solstice, but in the Southern hemisphere, it is Summer Solstice that parties with Christmas, while their Winter festival is in June.

Our Yuletide celebrations begin at sunset of the evening of December 20th, Mother’s Night (Modranecht ). I say “our” celebrations, but I really mean mine! I’m the only pagan in the house, but my family share in some of the celebrations with me which is beautiful and has become traditional in our own wee family. All work must be complete by this evening, there is no “work” during Yuletide. This night is not too dissimilar to Samhuinn in that it is time for me to acknowledge and honour the Mothers who have come before me, my motherline ancestral thread. I have names for these women now, but in years gone by I didn’t so my ritual was more a prayer/blessing to all Mothers, and Mother-like women I know, knew and respected. I like to take time for myself and dedicate this time to meditation and a small ritual involving naming my ancestors and giving thanks.

The day of Solstice or Yule will fall on 20th or 21st or 22nd December. This year our shortest day is 22nd and the light will be reborn at sunrise on 23rd. We have a special meal – ALWAYS Nigella’s Christmas Ham (her Christmas cook book is the only bible I ever owned – it comes out every year without fail since I bought it in 2008) eaten by candle light, we have a small gift exchange – the gift has to be crafted (usually food! Once again thanking the Goddess that is Nigella) or be a second hand purchase or books – books are the best gift in my opinion, and if second hand then even better, especially if they are old and have an inscription in the inside cover. My copy of Little Women that my husband gave me for yule about 10 years ago, has an inscription from Elsie to Alice in pencil from April 1911 – who were Elsie and Alice?? Anyways, I digress. We watch the sunset into the longest night of the year, exchange a small gift and give thanks for the year gone and make a wish for the year to come. It’s such a cozy evening with just the twinkly tree lights and candles. This year, weather depending we are hoping to get the fire going and can sit outside for a bit as the sun goes down and burn our wishes and a makeshift yule log (as well as enjoying the chocolate variety for pudding). In ancestral times, the fires were extinguished and hearths were cleaned out. The communal village Yule log was lit from a taper saved from the previous year’s log to continue the luck and good fortune into the new year, and then each household’s new fire was lit from a flame from the blazing communal log. The following morning I will witness the sunrise, as it returns in welcome to join it as we dance its next dance.

A traditional Scottish Blessing for Solstice’s returning sun :

I welcome you,

sun of the seasons,

as you travel the skies aloft;

your steps are strong

on the wing of the heavens,

you are the glorious

mother of the stars.

A modern twist on the rejoicing the light is when my son and I jump in the car (usually the evening of 22nd or 23rd) and drive round all the local villages and look at all the lights people have decorated their homes and garden with, and bring along hot chocolate for our nighttime road trip. Over the course of the next couple of days, including Christmas day, the time is spent with family and friends celebrating the season, eating and feasting and laughing and enjoying (and stressing and arguing and eye rolling but there is always mulled wine and/or rum!) which is tempered by quiet moments of time to myself each evening (sometimes, especially on 24th or the 4th night of Yuletide, that quiet time is literally 5 mins before bed!).

But it’s the betwixt days between Christmas and New Year that are my favourite; lots of time for contemplation, working out the kinks and plans for next year, eating leftovers and rich foods, sleeping and resting, not keeping any routine or “normal hours”, seeing friends, getting outside into nature and cleansing (redding) the house ready for 12th Night, Hogmanay. The festivities all leading up to “The Bells” and steak pie and the traditions that come with this night. I prefer to have the tree down and the decorations away before The Bells, so as to welcome the new year in fresh and clean but I know I am in the minority for that.

Some other ways to honour the 12 nights of Yuletide could be to spend each of the 12 nights reflecting on a month of the year just gone i.e. first night, what lessons did January hold, 2nd night for February so on and so forth. Welcoming the sunrise with yoga sun salutation. Baking and sharing sun bread. Having a potted tree or an evergreen tree in your garden that you can decorate with birdseed, nuts and berry garlands and icicles for our feathered friends. I’m sure you have plenty of ideas that suit your needs/beliefs/wishes.

I love Yule and actually would happily fore-go Christmas in favour of yule but that would take some explaining to the family and result in hurt feelings and misunderstandings that quite frankly just aren’t worth the hassle – who needs more stress in December? So I will continue to celebrate both and maybe my 9yo will develop my same love for a low key Yule over the extravagant Xmas as he grows up but for now he is still all about Santa and the excess of the season. To him it’s magical and when I was his age, it was pure magic for me too.

Solstice Blessings to you

Lissa xx

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12 Nights of Yuletide

On the first night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, my Motherline ancestry.

On the second night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, evergreen trees and my Motherline ancestry.

On the third night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, the returning sun, evergreen trees and my Motherline ancestry.

On the fourth night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me a flaming log, the returning sun …

On the fifth night on Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, time with family …

On the sixth night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, feasting and laughter …

On the seventh night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, a bunch of mistletoe …

On the eighth night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, quiet contemplation …

On the ninth night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, sacred solitude …

On the tenth night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, cleansing energy …

On the eleventh night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, love in abundance …

On the twelveth night of Yuletide Great Mother gave to me, the turning of the wheel, love in abundance, cleansing energy, sacred solitude, quiet contemplation, a bunch of mistletoe, feasting and laughter, time with family, a flaming log, the returning sun, evergreen trees and my Motherline ancestry.

Sing along to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas. These are the 12 nights that best suit and reflect MY yuletide – what would yours look like?

With love & blessings

Lissa xx

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Dear Winter

Every year I look forward to your dark embrace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for this time of quiet and slow reflection.

With love, blessings and gratitude

Lissa

xx

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

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Into The Deep

In the midst of the pre-festive revelry, Christmas trees going up and homes being festooned with an assortment of lights, I am in a contemplative mood. I’m being pulled into the deep thinking state of mind that normally accompanies the betwixt days of late December rather than the before the festivities have even properly begun!

Assessing 2018 and thinking about 2019 is occupying my mind.  As Winter Solstice draws closer, I begin to journey inwards, feeling the draw go deep and hibernate. I feel very protective of my truth and want to keep it hidden, private and away from others. It’s such a fine line between connecting with others and owning our power/sovereignty. Choosing with whom to share and spend my time, is crucial. The busy, exciting merriment of the season MUST be balanced with the quiet solitude I need to process, recharge and unwind.

My Word of 2018 was Change. And that was something I certainly embraced this year with a milestone birthday and moving house. Two big changes as well as several minor ones.  It’s been quite a big year in terms of change; personal growth and for my wider sphere of life. Changes that continue to evolve as I do, some that have long lasting effects and far reaching ripples.

This has tied in with my receiving of  Susannah Conway’s rather timely email regarding her Unravel Your Year workbook.  I decided to follow my instinct and start the work, which has been interesting.  I’m almost at the point of burning this year’s journal.  Does anyone else do that ( burn or destroy completed journals) or do you keep them for years? I have no journals from before the start of 2018.  I prefer to focus on going forward rather than holding on to the past.  Although sometimes I think it might be nice to look back to see how far I have come (if at all in some instances).

It is the changes that have helped shape the form of my word for 2019: Depth.

Once I had decided upon Depth, I happened upon this article on raptitude.com called Go Deeper, Not Wider . This  is exactly the direction I was planning in my head. 

The guiding philosophy is “Go deeper, not wider.” Drill down for value and enrichment instead of fanning out. You turn to the wealth of options already in your house, literally and figuratively…By taking a whole year to go deeper instead of wider, you end up with a rich but carefully curated collection of personal interests, rather than the hoard of mostly-dormant infatuations that happens so easily in post-industrial society.

There are books on my shelves I want to read, projects I want to finish and business plans I want to focus on and give my full attention to, without the distractions of the new shiny thing that catches my eye. Of course being the professional procrastinator that I am, means I have my work cut out to ensure that I do actually do all the things that I want to do.  I figure that if I get to this time next year with the same unread pages, incomplete projects and no further forward in my work, then it will have either been a waste of a year, or perhaps  a realisation that my priorities are not what I think they are!

I am keen to get cracking and see how 2019 unfolds, to see what is uncovered and discover what has outstayed its welcome. But first, I have my tree to decorate and Yule and Christmas to celebrate with friends and family .

The very best of the Seasons Greetings to you

L x

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Imbolc

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 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

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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

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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

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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.

leaves

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.

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

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