Runes

With a challenging situation at home at present I am craving solid foundations.  As well as spending time outdoors as often as possible and enjoying working with crystals, I am also rediscovering the power and magic of runes.

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Tarot was my first divination tool and remains a huge passion but the energy of the runes is distinctly different.  There is a solidity in their messages which feels much older and more earthy.  They do not mess around with their advice and guidance.  It’s like going to a grumpy Grandma; one who will tell you straight because you need to know.  No sugar-coating.  No niceties.  Stop wasting your time, they say.  This is what you need to know, now get on with it.

I use runes in the same way that I use tarot, a daily pull can be helpful.  I like to draw the rune I’m working with (it’s soothing to practice, a kind of creative meditation).  Sometimes I combine them to create bindrunes to set intentions or work a little magic.  If I’m working with a specific rune I draw it on my skin, in oil or ink, to remind me of the message and also tie myself physically to the rune itself.  Practices I am learning involve chanting the rune names and creating my own runes (so far I’ve worked with beach pebbles).

For an excellent guide to working with runes I would highly recommend The Book of Runes by Ralph Blum, comprehensive information on using the runes as a tool for spiritual practice and personal growth.  For regular daily runes see my IG feed or, if you’d like a rune reading of your own, you can book in at my website.

Pressing pause

My body began its transition to cronehood about four years ago now.  I noticed it first with palpitations, cold sweats at night, lowered mood, irregular bleeding.

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That wasn’t very comfortable, but I could live with it.

What I am finding most trying at present is the complete confidence drain.  I vaguely remember (through the haze) being a confident woman; always a little over-reflective, always a deep thinker, but confident.

Aged eighteen I travelled across Europe by train on my own.  I trained in ministry, which involved regular public speaking and worship leading.  As a mum of two small children, needing to find work work which fitted around caring for them, I took two post-graduate teaching courses.  When I wanted to find a more balanced way of working after my stroke I spent four years training as a Dyselxia specialist and assessor.  I took on management roles with very little notice to cover for colleagues, I taught students from aged five to adult.

Later I planned a career change and trained as a complementary therapist, I continued to build a small practice despite marriage breakdown and teenage challenges (theirs, not mine 😉  I have taken on committee roles and run in council elections.

More recently I have embarked on a new relationship (now marriage) worked through burn-out, overcome further family challenges, packed up our entire home in order to move to support parents, and given up my education consultancy business to create space for more creative work and for family needs.

I like to see the options, the ways around or out of situations, rather than wallow in them, helpless.  But over the past two years I have found this more and more difficult.  The spark which used to inspire and drive me has gone.

I have in some ways lost faith with myself.

I pick over the evidence, like a forensic scientist, tweezers in hand.  I try to reassemble the skeleton of that life, but there is too much, and the time has warped the pieces, they no longer fit.  I cannot remember the reasons for it, and it feels like a photograph found in a thrift shop, of people you don’t know.

I cannot “see” the possibilities in the way I used to and this makes me afraid.  How can I jump, take the fool’s leap of faith, without this vision?  It would be like stepping into a void.

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Or is this, in fact the essence of faith?  Is this the crone’s teaching?  There will be darkness, and in this darkness you will be unmade.  Not just taken to pieces and laid out, bone by bone, but pushed into the fire where you will be transformed completely.

I have “tried” various fixes; books, spells, mantras, self-development.  They have their place.  But right now?  The words which come counsel me to stop.

Sit a while.  It was, they say, a different life.  It was, they say, the journey to now.

And now.  You have to give it up.  Open your tightened fist.  And throw it away.

All the while you hold it you cannot heal.  All the while you imagine that it is coming back you cannot move.  You are stuck here.  You have to will it gone.  Surrender. Choose your own unmaking.

From the shadows a bony finger beckons.

Stoned

At the time of writing I’m teaching a course about working with crystals.  This post grows out of that and was written to support the study group.

Find a stone or crystal.  This may be one you have at home, a stone from your garden or the beach or a river.  If you have standing stones or a stone circle near you (lucky!) then you could do this there instead.

Find a comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed for at least ten minutes.

Hold your stone in your non-dominant hand.  Allow your breathing to fall into a comfortable, wave-like rhythm, not forced, flowing.  If you’re with a standing stone rest your non-dominant hand on it, or even lean your hold body against it.

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Now listen.  You are listening with your energetic body and your intuition.  Send your attention down to your hand, feel the place where it contacts with the stone.  Reach out in your imagination into the spirit of the stone and send your greetings, respectfully.  This being is many millenia old.

Now ask if this stone has anything to teach you.  Wait to hear what this might be.

My own experiences with this exercise at a standing stone led me to an understanding of geological time.  I saw the stone rooted in the earth, ageless, here for time out of time. The stone showed me the seasons whirling past like a speeded up film, and people coming and going across the moor in costumes from time passed, quickly, moving like shadows or dreams.

My own life suddenly seemed less than a blink long, so fleeting, like the gossamer of a spider’s web or the seed of a thistle.  Glimpsed and then gone into the ether.  This was a huge comfort.  It gave me a sense of spaciousness, freedom and of perspective.  The weight of the world was no longer on my shoulders.  I could only do my best in the time given.

When you are ready,  you may want to journal about the messages or sensations you receive.

When finished thank your stone ally and ground yourself with some food and drink and a good body stretch.

 

Not that kind of priestess

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I sit in the cabin with a cup of tea and a needy cat.  I am deep in a confused conversation with my guides and guardians.

Suddenly a vision comes.  A temple. Sunlight is streaming through the windows pouring onto a group of white-robed priestesses. They are singing and dancing, faces lit with joy and ecstasy; some of them are people I know here.

I am standing at the doorway in this scene, looking in.

A voice says, very clearly, “you’re not that kind of priestess.”

And just like that it makes perfect sense.

I am not that kind of priestess.

I am a mud and blood priestess.  I will sit with you and hear your grief, the stories of lost dreams. I will sit with you and hold space for your pain and sadness. I will show you the ways to soothe the hurt places, and to tend the scars.  I will show the ways to listen to your body and hear the bone-deep wisdom of our ancestors.

I will walk with you through the night time and in the shadows wait with you while you heal.  I will hold a lamp for you when your own goes out.  I will help you breathe life pack into the dull embers of your inner fire.

And when all that is done and you wash the tears from your face I will help you find the pieces to gather together, I will show you the tools you can use and the secret places where your own magic lies.

With cards and runes, with herbs and stones, a lit candle and a knotted string.

I am that kind of priestess.

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Salt and pepper

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A little kitchen witchery for a weekday.

I wrote, about two years ago now, about using the tools we have at hand for our magic.  Etsy is a lot of fun and there is much loveliness, and it’s easy to get caught up with having that little trinket for the altar and the right kind of wand and so forth.  Nothing wrong with that but it isn’t the stuff on the outside which makes the witch, it’s the stuff you’re made of.

With that in mind a litte traditional folk magic goes a long way.  Protection magic is a good place to start, you make sure your doors and windows are locked, it makes sense to work some energetic protection too.

For this piece of work you will need:

Kitchen salt (rock salt or sea salt if possible)

Pepper corns

I take my salt grinder and my pepper grinder, one in each hand, and shake them, like maracas.

As I move my arms I’m shaking my intention into each hand and into the salt and pepper.  My intention that the home be safe, that no harm enter, that we are protected.  Then I take them outside (casual like) and I grind salt and pepper on the front step, and also at the edge of the property where our drive meets the pavement outside. As I do this I am imagining a shield of protection, an invisible line, drawn on the stone.

And that, dear ones, is that.  There are a whole load of other things you could do too, such as add mint, or essential oils to the mix, but for today this is it.

Mischief managed. So mote it be.

 

Faery magic

Looking back there have always been fairies.

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When I was a child the fairies came to put up the Christmas decorations.  We would go to bed and the next day the house would be decked, blue tinsel, hanging decorations, it was a real Santa’s grotto.  They worked so hard, those fairies.

In my Grandy’s rockery there was a tiny, red telephone box.  We would open the door and there were notes in there from Goblin.  Goblin came at Christmas too, he brought small gifts and left us chocolates during Advent.

I have always loved fairy lights, pixies, wild places in the garden.

But in my rational teens (and twenties, and thirties) this magic was forgotten, pushed to the edge and ignored because I had to be “grown-up”.  I was the mother of sons so no fairy-magic creeping in via the toybox or storybooks either.

Then one Halloween a fairy appeared at the bottom of the drive, along with a mini-Mars bar.  I ate the Mars bar but left the fairy.  I figured it was part of some neighbours celebrations and she would eventually be reclaimed.

She was still there several days later.  I began to feel bad for her.  I took her into the garden and sat here near a lavender plant, in my herb garden.  Over time I started to take her treats, small gifts of shells or feathers.  When I began to learn more about her kind I would leave cream or honey.

I began to read books; Good Fairies, Bad Fairies by Brian Froud and Your Faery Magic by Halo Quinn were helpful.

Working with the fae requires respect.  I am still learning.  They are our good neighbours and we do well to address them as such and to remember to express our thanks for their help.  They are the guardian spirits of our homes and gardens.  Fond of mischief they may misplace objects and if they feel the home is under threat make their concern felt in practical ways!  Speak kindly and reverently.  Never assume you have a right to their help, they are ancient ones, and wild.  You cannot tame them, they do not play by human rules of fairness or right.

flowers-599344__340As well as offering them beauty – a crystal, a flower, sweet treats – they will be pleased if you care for the earth; pick up litter, tend a garden, support wildlife. It is a way to honour them.

When we moved last year I brought the makings of my fairy garden with me.  It is hidden at the very end of the garden, behind the apple tree. The first fairy sits on an old mossy log, a few smaller ones around her among the cranesbill and forget-me-nots. The pieces of shells and crockery I found when out beachcombing decorate the space. At Beltane I took them honey, some morning I take some sweet-smelling incense.  I like to sit with them in the morning and ask that they will help us, and in return I say, I will do my best for them.

 

Living lightwork

For a long time I didn’t identify as a lightworker.  I suppose maybe I didn’t feel “good enough” or like I had enough years in the love and light tribe, the credentials to be “proper”.

More recently, however,  I have been thinking it’s one way to describe what I do and where I feel my soul’s calling lies; intuitive (psychic) readings, healing work with reflexology, Reiki and crystals, supporting others as they explore their own soul path, creating moments of everyday magic and healing through spellcraft and writing.

But something has still felt off.  I look out there, into the beautiful lilac and pink glow of the lightworker community, and I feel that what I’m doing isn’t quite right.  While I “shouldn’t” there’s a tendency to look at my peers and mentors and feel that what I’m doing isn’t quite shiny enough.  There’s the tendency to doubt myself, but maybe I really am doing it wrong?

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I went to my guides.  What, I said, is going on?  Why, I said, given the amount of time and effort and energy I’m putting in isn’t it like that?

Of course, you will most likely have guessed the answer.

Firstly, because it’s yours.  Your part of this work is not going to look like anyone else’s. There’s no template. When they made you they broke the mould.

Secondly, because you only see the 2D version of anyone else’s journey.  There is sound and vision, but it’s like a movie and you don’t get the rest.

In your own life you have the 360/ 4D experience with added emotion.  This means that when you’re preparing an offering you can hear the conversations taking place downstairs in the kitchen, or experience the frustration of cat-on-the-keyboard.  You have the itch behind the eyes of an interrupted night when you’re pulling your morning cards, or the concern about whether there’s enough bread for lunches while you’re taking your shower and saying prayers.  When you sit out in the studio, stealing an hour away, and prepare a candle spell with fresh flowers and herbs from the garden, you are accompanied by the fragrance of singed fur, after the cat got a little too close to the magic. When you’re feeling fragile and heartsore it colours the moments.  Which doesn’t mean they are not blessed, it means they are real.

And it dawned on me.  This is what it’s like.  Showing up everyday at your altar, even if it’s just a few minutes to pull a card and light a candle.  Talking to your guides and angels in the car on the way to work. Responding to emails, putting in time to create your content, making the time to take part in self-development work and study.  This is it.

And it doesn’t feel like an Instagram post with beautiful filters and atmospheric meditation music because it isn’t.  It’s real life.

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For you too.  Your journey, with it’s people and obligations and loved ones and pets and the need to buy groceries and do laundry and go to the dentist.  This is it.

So I am voting for cutting ourselves a little slice of grace and pouring a cup of compassion, for looking at where we did well (or even where we think we did O.K.) and celebrating the messy magic we live in the middle of.

Let’s start there.

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Conversations

It began before I was born. In the summer of 1972 my Dad was away, serving as infantry in Northern Ireland. She began speaking to me then, as I grew in the womb-dark waters.

She used to tell me the story of taking me out for tea when I was two and a half, and how I would sit and talk, like a grown-up. When Dad was away, I listened, heard her concerns, passed the tissues.  When I was confused by friendship issues at school or consumed by existential angst (ever the thinker) she would counsel. She was the first person I spoke to about the girl I was crushing on. She was the one I went to with all the questions. We used to talk for hours about everything.

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I married young, but we still spoke often, usually on the phone, or out for coffee. As I grew into my skin, I would find the closeness stifling and seek to create my own story, though the strands of our lives remained closely woven.

The ability to share your thoughts with another is a great gift, to have a secret-sharer. It wasn’t perfect, she had her own values and norms, and my own life didn’t always match those, sometimes I held back, but for the most part, for almost four decades we spoke often and deeply. She never had many friends and so I gave the same in return, hearing her story, sharing the journey.

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When I met my second husband, aged forty, there was a pause. My parents wanted to give us time to get to know each other. I am grateful for this.

While I was busy blending lives and families, something changed. So that when I emerged from courtship and wedding preparations, I found her different. I would ring to talk and, after a few minutes she would ring off, she no longer called and I assumed some offence was felt, though could not place the cause. I missed the space to share, the time to open my soul safely with another.

Her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, and subsequent dementia, began to puzzle the pieces together.

It is perhaps five years now since we talked freely. That conversation, forty years long, ended, and I didn’t notice the ending. The loss of it leaves me rudderless, compass-broken, North Star cloud-shrouded.  I find it interesting that, as I write, in the moment of realisation, I have lost my voice. It is as though my body is telling me truths my mind couldn’t grasp.

I am tearful, mourning the loss without realisation, the passing of this fundamental part of life while I was otherwise occupied. There is a void there, a foreshadowing of life when she is no longer here.

We continue to talk; minutiae, incidentals, the strangeness of cats and marvel of flowers. Small wonders.

I need time both to feel the loss and celebrate the gift of knowing true conversation. In the meantime, I stand at night and whisper secrets to the moon and stars, or, by the shore, and tell the sea my dreams.

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Mirror, mirror

Time is squeezing. Sometimes it opens up like a view from high hills. Right now it feels like a packed tube train in rush hour. It is upon me before I know it and then, for a while, I waste even more wishing for the open spaces back. My mum’s condition has worsened. As I write I’m on her bed keeping company while she settles to sleep…

This shift, coupled with a tendency to perfectionism, can stifle any kind of creativity. I am finding that what helps is doing something. Today’s something was a small and simple piece of mirror magic, which I thought you might enjoy too.

You will need:

1 small mirror pre-threaded (I found mine for £4 on Amazon)

A Sharpie or other marker

Optional: a sprig of fresh rosemary and tape

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This is a basic piece of mirror magic. When completed you will hang it in the porch or on your front door.

Take your mirror. With the Sharpie write on the back your intention or wish, for instance “only love may enter here”.

If you are using rosemary (a great herb ally for protection spells) tape it to the back of the mirror too.

Your mirror spell will send back or away anything you don’t want (negative energies) to whence it came

So mote it be. Mischief managed.

Happy witching ❤

Altared images

This post comes out of some work with a client and I thought it would be good to share it.

I’ve been creating altars for around five years now.  I didn’t really know they were altars to begin with, I would arrange stones or shells I’d collected, a few flowers or feathers, a jar of seeds, these were objects of reverence for me.

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When I began working with the wheel of the year I created seasonal altars linking to the Sabbats and the wheel.

For me an altar is a focal point for spiritual practise and also an aide memoire. I often use mine to place cards I am currently working with, or runes I’m studying.

I generally include representations of the four elements, for instance:

  • For earth – a stone, crystal, pot plant
  • For water – a small bowl of water, a shell
  • For air – a feather, bell, singing bowl
  • For fire – a candle or even a dried chilli

I like to have crystals I’m working with or a bowl of crystals for my current theme or area of development, so for instance if I’m working with creativity I would have orange crystals for the sacral chakra or clear quartz to aid vision.

I have some of Molly Remer’s story goddesses and they are lovely as a representation of the divine, you could also use a card deck for images of deity (Meggan Watterson has the Divine Feminine oracle for example if you are working currently mostly with the goddess, or Kyle Gray’s Keepers of the Light has some lovely images of both god/ goddess archetypes.)

My altar evolves as I do. I clean it regularly to keep the energy fresh. I have used altar cloths in the past (usually coloured scarves which I can pick up for a reasonable price at the market or in a thrift store) but as it’s accessible and at cat height this isn’t always a good idea!!

I also like to create a seasonal altar, or adapt my altars according to the seasons.  For example for Imbolc this year I used a green cloth, green and yellow crystals, a mandala I’d painted, a Brigid story goddess and had some fresh daffodils and a green candle.

I’ve created altar spaces outside or on small trays to tuck them onto bookshelves, and mini travel altars to take away on holiday with just a few small pieces as a reminder.

An altar is your sacred space, allow it to reflect your journey, provide a focal point, and a reminder of your daily practice…you can add pictures of loved ones, both here and in the after life, or a favourite pop icon (I have Carrie Fisher on mine).

Enjoy creating!

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