February brings us new shoots and new learning - moon phase, medicine and meaning...

We’re beginning to see the early signs of Spring here in Dorset. Snowdrops hanging bravely in the frosty verges, bright green leaves of the Daffodils slowly awakening and reaching for the sun.

Spring is in the air...

It seems like Spring is the most refreshing time of the year and although soup and scarves are still factors, I love to get outside and feel nature stirring. The fuzzy buds on the tips of branches always make me smile as I consider how much of a risk, they take by reaching out and how it is their nature to do so. The natural cycles bring pleasure and learning and this year I will move deeper into them.

Moon, fire and the power of ceremony...

For over a decade I have worked with the energy of the Full Moon and for the last year the New Moon as well. Building and watching the flames of a sacred fire is such a deeply cleansing experience. Handing over prayers to flames, that the gods may receive my smoke signals and offer clarity and guidance… this is medicine.

Each month an ever-growing group of individuals, in their own homes and gardens, join together, create an energetic connection and perform ceremony in line with the current astrology. We work with shared intent for the Earth, the collective consciousness and do our personal work with spirit. We call this, ‘Connecting in Ceremony’ and share our experience in a group on-line. Although we work alone, there’s a reassuring feeling of connection. We are sharing the same prayers at the same time and therefore, creating community

Some may argue that, ‘this is not the way ceremony ought to be done’, I argue, ‘we are energetic beings and it is our intent that creates our realities.

Becoming 'Moon Wise'...

Recently on social media I was sharing thoughts of working more closely with the Moon and nature cycles, and how tribes are now spread across the world. In response I received a message the lovely Awen Clement (Author, Celebrant and life-long Pagan) asking if I would like a copy of her recently published book, ‘Moon Wise’. With a big grin on my face, I eagerly accepted.

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Over many years, Awen has discovered that the phase of the Moon we are born under has a significant effect on us and how we work with the Moon cycles. I’d never considered this, but after reading her diligently constructed argument, this of course made complete sense. Similarly, other aspects of the heavens affect us as individuals; our zodiac, sun and moon signs, so it makes sense that the moon phase contributes too. ‘Moon Wise’ is easy to follow, leading you through the months and moons of the year, is packed with folklore. For,me Awen has answered a few questions and for that reason I'm now working on combining this new knowledge of the personal lunar phase with my existing Moon practice.

it’s early days but somehow this new understanding brings a little more meaning.

Weaving a life we want...

As ever, I’m keen on the practical application of spiritual ideas and ideals, because sitting around, as my father would say, ‘contemplating my navel’ doesn't change anything without action. I wish to learn how, daily, this new knowledge can be practiced, implement and woven into being. Yes, knowledge is power, but it is action that creates change.

As a result of recently completing a Small Holders course, I’m building a kitchen garden. The perfect place to learn of the cycles first hand and therefore, the obvious choice for me, was bio-dynamic gardening; pruning, planting, sowing, saving and harvesting, all guided by the phases of the moon and the zodiacal sign that she sits within. I’m excited to see how things develop and how this positively affects and informs my living closer to the cycles…. It’s a little bit of ‘watch this space’!

Using personal power to help change the world...

The main motivation I find for working with the cycles is two-fold. First of all, I'm a lover of the ancient ways, a believer in the power of ceremony and an advocate for ‘the natural path’. Also, it’s no secret that the earth is a mess: out of balance and shouting for us to engage with her in a different way. I believe that it is humans disconnection from Gaia that allows for our mistreatment of her. By nature, we do not care for that which we do not love.

By reconnecting with the cycles, seasons and phases of the earth and surrounding cosmos we can gain a better, truer, deeper understanding of Gaia, her places in the heavens and the roles that we each serve on her belly. From this place of knowledge, love and informed action, change will naturally occur.

Connecting in ceremony...

Connecting in ceremony - If you’d like to get involved, work more closely with the cycles and contribute your personal pinch of power to the collective, you are welcome to join myself and Awen in getting to know your personal moon phase and bringing this knowledge to ceremony, for the earth, the collective consciousness and for yourself.  Community is a mind-set and activism is balancing the fight within.  

People are looking for change, yet when change comes the same individual responds with fear. Change is often overwhelming; re-scripting the inner dialogue, establishing and following through with new wished for behaviour, and then remaining consistent. Changing our lives and habits is a big job, firstly for the mind and then for the rest of us. Yet, change is a natural part of life.

Change can look a bit like this- The New Year’s resolution, all good intentions, post-holiday demands of life setting in, backed up by ingrained beliefs followed by the inevitable, “I’ll do it tomorrow” the thought which willingly hammers the first nail in the proverbial coffin!

I’ve done this so many times! But, 2019 was a year of deep thinking her in Dorset. My family are leaving the nest (one down, one to go) and this left wondering me “what’s next for me?” It’s such a huge change now that my time is not filled with full-time parenting. I was intent on not being a total pain in the arse for my kids due to my own feelings of loss or becoming stagnant through inaction.

“Is this good for me?”

I mused on the following;

“What is that I really enjoy?”

“What do I actually want?” This one was tough.

What is it that I really love?”

“What am I passionate about?”

 and “What contribution do I or could I make?”

At first, I was a bit stumped. The last 20 odd years have been so filled with the need of the, now grown, boys, that I’d lost sight a little of what I am about. Actually, if I’m totally honest, I’d lost me completely. Not the Mum me or the Shamanic and Spiritual me but the ME me.

Honestly this was quite a shock and took time, tears, healing and some hard-core ceremony to find my personal ground again. Fear was the main character that I was facing. Fear of going it alone without excuses to hide behind and fear that if things don’t work out, I have full responsibility. Eek! This was a leveller that led me to the aforementioned questions!

Whenever an answer popped up, I followed it with, “Is this good for me?”

Discovery

I realised I’d been suffering even more from empty nest since I released Corvey Crow back into the wild in late spring last year; this release however galvanised my intent and set me wholly on the current journey. His release brought home all manner of things that had been bubbling under the surface and it was time to look at them… but more about the quick succession of powerful lesson another time. (When the bloody book is finally written!)

The essence of my musings and the subsequent answer were as follows:

  • A deepened love of Nature but was hardly ever out there.
  • A rediscovered sense of justice and no way to enact it.
  • The realisation of an ingrained streak of cobweb gathering laziness.
  • Butterfly mind and magpies’ heart (flitting from one thing to the next and easily excited and distracted by shinny things!)
  • An evaluation of my skills and abilities. This I was quite pleased with. The study of Spirituality since my late teens and working Shamanically for over a decade does pay dividends. These are my passions or maybe obsessions but either way this is my path, and I am working a little each day to weave this calling deeper into my actions and assisting clients to do the same.
  • I got honest with myself about various health irritations and above all the realisation that I’ve worked bloody hard to become the woman I am (and constantly discovering), even among the dramas of life, and I was damn well going to live the way I wanted to!
  • The rest? A work in progress.

Action taken.

Health first. I had a host of test both allopathic and traditional/alternative. Bloods, Kinesiology, VEDA testing, massage and reintroduction of yoga. (Gaia TV is fab for the yoga and other things) I got clear on what was missing and causing discomfort, and this was really important part. Otherwise butterfly and magpie would have been flitting here and there and achieving bugger all! Predominantly though, I took responsibility, adjusted the diet a bit at a time and slowly began to feel a rise in energy.

Then nature. I love a walk, but energy had been sorely lacking and I was only getting out maybe every ten days or so to watch a sunset and stretch the legs. Although I was working with the plants (indoors)most days in the form of loose smudges, Palo Santo, bay leaves and herbal teas to ease the aches it was mainly in ceremony, before and after healing and mentoring sessions. I knew this had to stop, so I began tackling the garden which had been unloved for a good few years.

Beginning to pursue the dream.

I’ve always had a romantic idea of owning land, become largely self-sufficient and inviting people to stay for a while and work through their spiritual process when life’s thrown them a mega curve ball. A place to heal, gently and slowly, through working the land, honouring the journey and spending time in ceremony.

As a medicine woman who wished to practice more of what I preach, I put my money where my mouth is and enrolled on a Small Holders course at the Kingston Mauward Agricultural College. This was supported by a deep calling to live more in line with natural cycles and on reflection is helping with that cobwebby lazy streak. Nature, like the Tax Office, wait for no woman!

Wow! What an absolute delight! Tractor driving first day! Followed by all thing livestock, foul, planting (inside and out) land management, slaughter, butchery, soil and crop rotation. I have loved every minute of it, even the torrential rain and scary bits.

Pig are big, powerful and took a real fancy to me (250kg of pig amour is nothing to trifle with!) Cows are beautiful, strong and intelligent. There are various types of grass and sheep can blow up like balloons if fed the wrong stuff! Who knew? Well to be fair, probably thousand of people but not me.

This process has tested my nerve, I’ve had to seriously get over myself, speak with the fears and allay and acknowledge its concerns. The main thing that sticks out and that is I really, not only think I can do the whole Small Holder thing but KNOW that I can. It’s a real source of enjoyment and packed with rewards. This means that I am a big step closer to living on my terms and providing something of value to others. Realistically the work has just begun but I’m up for it!

We all have dreams and one small step at a time we can realise them.

Now I know that this lifestyle is not the ideal life for many, but I do know that you have an ideal life living inside you somewhere and it’s totally possible to live it!

When our dreams, wishes, goals and choices have meaning I believe they are more likely to realise themselves. When we know our ‘why’, clarity remains. When things get tough, meaning helps us stay motivated. When we are asking what is good for us (and listening to the answer) we can’t go far wrong. It is when we are led by fad, fancy and predominately wounds that when the shit hits the fan.

We are told by outdated core beliefs, dogma and salacious media click-bait that we are not okay and this plays into feeling of uncertainty, at times manifesting as paralysis. “Lose weight yet have a round arse, have straight hair yet natural curls are beautiful, be vegan save the world, yet mono-culture soya crops are destroying the jungle… The list is endless, it’s blah and confusing.

Only we can really decide what is good for us or not. Only we know our inner desires. Only we know our purpose and our passion. And we can, if we take inventory, move towards our dreams one step at a time. A trick I’ve found is to start where I am. Assess what I have. Gather what is available to me and be grateful for it all.

Living the practice…

My spiritual/shamanic practice helps me to navigate the often-strong feelings that come hand-in-hand with change. From the boys leaving home, through working with the lazy streak, to remaining focused and knowing that I can meet whatever the future holds.  I take it all to ceremony, either as an altar to honour how things are or perhaps a fire to burn off some of the old. My favoured and most revealing process is the shamanic journey for gaining insights where I struggle to accept certain realities or resist what I know to be true.

This spiritual lark is not just about ‘church’ on Sunday or the odd workshop where we come home glowing, only to feel shitty again come Tuesday. It’s about weaving your truth deeply into your daily life - "Being the change". Bringing meaning to the mundane and knowing internally that you have all that is required to live and walk your passion and purpose, even if you’re not quite there yet. Plus, all things happen in divine time….

This year, I will live closer to the cycles. I’m building a ‘Tiny Holding’ in my back garden and preparing the ground for the coming year. I’m clearing, digging, lifting, building and recycling so that one sunny evening in August I can sit outside, eat a salad that I have grown, pick warm strawberries from the plant, sip medicinal teas blended from herbs in the flower bed and know that all is right with world… all the while, learning about more about myself as each moon passes.

We can all find the truth, the time and the inclination if our hearts are in it. When we put in the work the Universe really does unfurl in front of us and with the digit 2020 firmly grounded, I’m excited about the adventure and the change!

If you’d like to follow my journey you are very welcome, if you’d like to find out more about some of the topics covered I’d love to hear from you plus a bit of accountability never goes a miss. ?

Years ago, having a spiritual interest, I set an intention that, 'This time I'm doing 'IT!' not knowing what 'IT' was....I would not undertake another incarnation, get to the end and think, 'Shit! shoulda, woulda, coulda'....I was aware of previous incarnations where, things were cut short!....not this time!!! I was 100% committed!

The motivation behind this?

I'd reached my early twenties and to be honest, I'd already had enough of being on this planet. I knew enough however, that if I were to jump ship, I be spun round on the wheel of Karma and promptly spat back in! I resigned to the fact that I'd chosen to come here and in order to survive it I had to find and live my purpose.

Some may think this brave, some, stupid, but hey, that was the message that I sent out. "I'm here, I'm committed, please show me what I'm supposed to be doing here this time around".

I had a couple of 'no thank yous'....I would not lose my children, I would not go to jail and I would not become consume by an addiction......funny though, I've come very close on a couple of the 'no thank yous'... one more thing.....I never wanted to be an 'if only' person, sitting on a sofa all middle-aged, thinking the guy next to me is a dick, watching some shitty soap thinking, if only.......!!! There had to be adventure.....

The unknown 'it', the purpose this life-time turned out to be the Shamanic Way.....How? WTF? Really? you're joking right? ...eye rolling, despair and or laughter, however it turned out that adventure was included!

Social Expectations

Committing to my purpose was all well and good......a shock came for me when I met people and they asked the standard question, "What is it that you do?".

This, "What do you do?" helps the person to establish a few things.

One 'where you fit' within consensual reality.

Two, where you are subsequently categorised in their own 'roller deck' of life.

When the questioner is presented with '"I'm a shaman" their heads often tilt to one side, social-worker fashion, (fruitlessly flicking through the internal roller-deck), attempting, unsuccessfully to hide their confusion  ...mentioning terms like 'Witch Doctor', Native Americans and a documentary they may have watched on Discovery Chanel, and then it comes....."But, what actually is it that you do?"

I've taken to stating the following....It's somewhere between counselor, teacher and priest. That tends to satisfy most. Occasionally there are those who genuinely would like to know more.

So, for those who would like to know more, here goes....

Traditionally the Shaman would be the spiritual guide for the village and it's tribe....from birth, everything that happens in between, to death and beyond.  These days our networks are often global, those in our 'village' are varied and dispersed...our tribes look very different to how they once did.  The role of the Shaman however is much the same....Births, Deaths and everything in between.

The ability to commune with the unseen brings a little something to most situations, working with nature is a free resource available to all and the combination of the two is just magic.

Many who work shamanically are guided or choose to specialise in specific areas.....some choose to pass on the knowledge in the form of training others, some are drawn to the darker end of human existence and have an aptitude for working with the shadow, others work with delicious rich plant medicines, others walk the dying over to the next world, and some welcome souls back in, some work with the land alone lifting patterns of times past, some work with those who are trapped between the worlds, many simply 'be', finding themselves always in the right place at the right time. Many however, do it all.

I find this way of life to be the most diverse, challenging, rewarding, perpetually eye-opening learning cycle, that I have ever had the regret and privilege to walk into. This way of being has changed my life from the core out and that of others too.

Purpose 

It can be odd to find that your purpose has no 'roller-deck' section but these days I kinda like it... our purpose is exactly that, ours....it isn't for anyone else to approve of, undertake or understand. We each have a unique set of gifts and talents and our own special way of using them.....let us not be limited by other peoples or even our own ideas of what life 'shoulda, woulda, coulda' be/been like'.....for me true happiness came from being myself, following my own inner voice, doing what feels right contrary to popular opinion, speak my truth and doing the work that I'm on this planet to do. This is the true path of freedom.....paved with many commitments.

Big loves

C x