The Diary is A5 in size and spiral bound, with 146 full-colour pages. View sample pages here.
The showcase gallery for contributors to the 2016 Earth Pathways Diary is below.
Click on any piece of work (image or text) to open the creator's individual contributor showcase page where you can view more of their work.
Images from the Diary are displayed at the top, writing is displayed below the images.
Earth Magic. Primroses and
Celandines © Sarah Vivian Returning to Avalon
© Amanda Rawling We are the Creator
© Poppy Palin Blackbird and Baby Blackbird
© Sarah Halstead A Celtic Dreaming © Jules Horn The Wheel of the Year © Glennie Kindred The Dream. Event at Portheras Cove,
West Penwith © Sarah Vivian Beings Of Love © Jules Horn Footprints © Casey Jon After the Wassail
© Meraylah Allwood Moon Drummer 1
© Sue Wookey In The Heart The Woodland Wakes © Virginia Lee Hellebores © Caroline A Salter Imbolc Wild Flower Mandala
© Maria Silmon The Awakening
© Sharyn Turner Prayers In The Wind
© Meraylah Allwood Twisty Tree
© Sarah Halstead Daisy Flower Essence - Spring Equinox © Karen Lawton Spring Equinox Wild Flower
Mandala © Maria Silmon Spring Mandala © Fiona Owen Spring Blossom
© Caroline Salter Badger (detail) © Casey Jon The Muse of Nature
© Tiana Marie Beacon Hill © Gwendolyn Ball Beltane Wild Flower
Mandala © Maria Silmon Bluebells © Fiona Owen Wise Eye © Alice Thomas Nature's Cycle © Virginia Lee Wild Medicine © Jaine Rose Lisa's Cob House © Ingrid Crawford Meg And Charlie's Roundhouse - Lammas © Ingrid Crawford Saxon Shoreline Sunset © RavenCrone Summer Solstice Wild Flower
Mandala © Maria Silmon Family © annie b Form to Field © Meredith Owen Summer Meadow Moon
© Hannah Willow Ocean Mandala
© Anne Thomas Goddess Conference High Street Procession © Ingrid Crawford Lammas Wild Flower
Mandala © Maria Silmon Poppy Seedheads © Jane Birdsell Mugwort 2 © Fiona Owen A Passage Through
Time © Viveka Bowry Sacred Earth © Meraylah Allwood Cobweb Dew Twinkle Shadow © Brian Boothby Ancient Hands © RavenCrone Autumn Equinox Wild Flower
Mandala © Maria Silmon Sunflowers © Lucy Quinnell Dew Mini World © Gabriel Vahed Tree of Blessings
© Jules Horn Thornberries at Sunset, Ding Dong
Mine from Mulfra © Sarah Vivan Samhain Wild Flower
Mandala © Maria Silmon Tidal Lands © RavenCrone Ephemera © Katerina Tara Keogan Winter Evening © Caroline A Salter Sunlit Pebbles © Gwendolyn Ball In the Twilight
© Alice Thomas Winter Solstice Wild Flower
Mandala Maria Silmon Chalice © Fiona Owen Skies of Wonder © Tamsin Abbott Scorhill Sky, Dartmoor © Ali Walters Hooded Crow © Sarah Halstead White Winter © Owain Parri Autumn Leaves (Wild Edges)
© Glennie Kindred Forest Spirit
© Matthew Bristow The Sun's Firelight © Tiana Marie
In our busy modern world the eight Celtic Earth Festivals offer us the opportunity to take pause, to reflect on our lives and to re-discover our true home in nature. We can align ourselves with these auspicious moments in the annual journey by gently opening our awareness to the forces at work within the Earth’s rhythms. Perhaps we might also conduct a small personal ritual to help us access what is pertinent to our own unfolding journey and to mark each transition. These rituals can be done alone, with special loved ones, or in an open community celebration (or of course all three!)
I invite you to celebrate this year of Solstices, Equinoxes and Cross Quarter Fire festivals by engaging with your heart. Each festival page will guide you to connect with the qualities of that time of year through your heart energy at the centre of your being. There will be suggestions for you to consolidate your individual journey of continual evolution – I will ask what you wish to nurture, to bless and to invoke in your own heart. I offer you the chance to converse with yourself using practices from the Dru Yoga tradition. I wish you well on your path with heart.
© Lula Garner 2014
Moon in Aries activates fiery passion and self-motivation, especially when initiating new projects. Ruled by dynamic Mars, this is a red-hot-yang heroic, courageous Moon, with a cause to champion.
Moon in Taurus gifts the growing of food and flowers, as well as the stability of loving relationship, all of which nourishes both body and soul. Ruled by sensuous Venus, this earthy, yin Moon highlights simple but treasured pleasures.
Moon in Gemini stimulates an open mind and transparent communication. Ruled by messenger Mercury, information can be quickly transmitted and easily absorbed during this yang airy Moon. Good for day trips and exploring community.
Moon in Cancer invokes memories and tender feelings. Ruled by the sensitive Moon, emotions can ebb and flow during this yin, water sign Moon, which accents security, home, and compassion to nurture all beings, including yourself.
Moon in Leo arouses playfulness, drama, and artistic expression. Ruled by the life-giving Sun, creativity is heightened - as is LOVE and romance. This fiery, yang Moon sign opens the heart and is most convivial for social gatherings.
Moon in Virgo assists when healing and creating order. Ruled by Mercury, this earthy, yin Moon promotes perfection in mind and body through wholesome routine and diet, which enables one to be more effective, and of greater practical service to humanity.
Moon in Libra inspires peaceful and harmonious relationships, in love, as well as business. This yang, air-sign Moon is ruled by Venus, bestowing an appreciation of art, beauty, and both sides of any given situation, where compromise is vital.
Moon in Scorpio deepens intense emotions that can lead to powerful transformation. Ruled by Pluto, this yin water sign moon has a profound psychic quality, accenting intimacy and shared financial ventures that yield strong results.
Moon in Sagittarius fosters optimism, faith and freedom. Dynamic and yang in nature, this happy-go-lucky Moon sign is ruled by far-sighted Jupiter, enabling you to see the bigger picture and remain true to your beliefs.
Moon in Capricorn solidifies the potential to achieve lasting results by accepting responsibility. Ruled by the wise Lord of Karma, Saturn, this earthy Moon sign accents the cosmic law of cause and effect. Discipline, combined with positive action, yields greater recognition.
Moon in Aquarius encourages team work and co-operation. Ruled by eccentric Uranus, this moon is airy and yang, rousing individuality amongst kindred spirits. Inspired by humanitarian altruism, doing what is best for others also provides rewards for oneself.
Moon in Pisces encourages deep sensitivity, compassion, and loving kindness. Ruled by Neptune, feelings can be oceanic and the imagination phantasmagorical; there is an urge to merge with the Divine within, through spiritual service, music and dance, prayer and yoga.
© Laura Boomer-Trent 2015
Moon phase rhyme:
Horns in the East and we’re in for a feast.
Horns in the West and we shall have a rest!
A Moon cycle, as it circles through all twelve signs of the zodiac, begins at the New Moon – when Luna conjuncts the Sun. This cycle of the ‘Lights’, or ‘Luminaries’, is called ‘a lunation’; each lunation is approximately 29 days, depending upon the speed of the Moon’s motion, which can vary throughout the seasons. Every Moon cycle presents eight very definite windows of opportunity to regularly open every month; the lunar portals act as markers for significant passages in our lives. It is with the Moon that we note times to sow the seeds of intention, to grow, cut back, and celebrate a harvest. Each lunation is also divided into two: from New to Full Moon, the Moon is waxing, dynamic and yang in energy, culminating as compassion in action, and seen rising in the right hand side of the sky; from Full to Dark Moon it is waning, receptive and yin, replete with wisdom and awareness, rising in the left-hand side of the sky.
The New Moon, when Sun conjuncts Luna we cannot see the Moon; it is a powerful time of hidden potency and below-the-surface germination. Setting an intention and starting projects infuses determination to innovate and develop, culminate and give good yield.
The Crescent Moon reflects Sun’s light pointing horns into the East. Seeds planted at the Dark/New Moon begin to reveal tender tips. During this moon phase it is essential to assess the environment, to establish strength and stability and regular access to one’s needs.
The First Quarter Moon is a time to quickly make any adjustments required to maintain a sense of accomplishment. This is a critical phase. Applying remedies and overcoming obstacles are best done by remaining on centre, i.e. eat well, sleep well, and be well.
The Gibbous Moon provides clarity and direction for the heart-mind to remain on course, playfully, lightly, and in good humour, radiating strength towards raising the good and positive: a most auspicious Moon phase for helpful action and rational logic.
The Full Moon heightens the senses, exciting emotion. At Full Moon the cyclic dance between the Luminaries peaks, reflecting Sol’s rays; moon shines the brightest, creativity culminates and plants bloom. (Check this year’s Summer Solstice Full Moon, for instance!)
The Disseminating Moon sees the light in the night sky begin to wane. A time of reflection beckons. This is the last chance to actively harvest the rest of that which culminated at the Full Moon, before settling into the darker, more contemplative, feminine half of the lunation.
The Last Quarter Moon is a time of clearing space, and tidying away that which is no longer necessary. Under waning moonlight, changes can also be physical: disease symptoms and pain can disappear – a reminder that suffering can be released back into the void from whence it came.
The Dark Balsamic Moon emits the most powerful feminine yin; resting, reflecting and extracting the essence of the lunation’s feelings, events and situations, digesting where we have come from, all the while gently preparing for and/or planting the seed for the next New Moon.
© Laura Boomer-Trent 2015
Retrograde planets are not really planets going backwards in the solar system, but because of Earth’s faster speed it looks as though they are - like when you’re overtaking a car and its wheels seem to be going in reverse. As such, these are times in which the energies of the retrograde come into a sharper focus. We may be moving too fast and need to revise, retreat or resolve. During an apparent retrograde motion any word with a ‘re’ at the beginning can be called for, such as reappraise, re-wire, redo, reapply, re-join, rework, review, repair.
Mercury Retrograde happens three times a year and is the most infamous and tricky. In 2016 these retrogrades take place in Earth Signs. Mercury rules the mind, our intelligence and communication. During Mercury retrograde all kinds of information, data and facts needs to be re-checked and often re-worked, and triple-checked when signing documents. In Earth signs, Mercury accents information about the environment, financial conditions, and occupation.
© Laura Boomer-Trent 2015
The ‘Void Of Course’ Moon (vc) is a term used to describe a phase between the Moon changing signs, as it moves from one sign to the next. The vc marks the end of traditional aspects the Moon makes to another planet, before making another aspect from its new sign. This means every couple of days there is a period when the Moon makes no major connections to other planets. This ‘time-out’ varies, sometimes lasting for hours or even days; though vc’s influence varies, starting projects with the Void-of-Course Moon can mean intentions are thwarted, or even that problems momentarily disappear!
© Laura Boomer-Trent 2015
Gather together various natural items, such as seeds, berries, nuts and fruits etc, which symbolise harvest and fulfilment. Find a spot in the garden, where you can sit on the ground facing these specimens arrayed in front of you as a makeshift altar. Add any extra seasonal offerings, and perhaps a bowl, or other receptacle, to symbolise reaping and gathering. Be aware of the presence of other creatures around you, who in their own way may be celebrating their own particular harvest. Sense your kinship with them. Look closely at these items, taking time to dwell on each one. See them not just as the culmination of the cycle of growth, but also as its continuation. Give thanks to our mother, the Earth, for all of her gifts to us.
Now close your eyes, and bring your awareness to your breath, follow its rhythm with attention. Be aware too of your posture, and of the solidity of the ground upon which you sit.
Listen closely to any sounds you may hear, beginning with the loudest, and gradually focussing on the quietest. Sense the presence of the living, vibrant world all around you.
Imagine yourself as one of your ancestors giving thanks to the Earth for her abundance. Go further and further back in time, in your mind, to the earliest days of humanity on this precious planet, and connect with the peoples of that land. Recognize that there really is no distance in time and space between you. All of history happens in the flash of the present moment. They live within you, as you live within them. Feel the kinship. Pause a while within this realisation.
When you are ready, and using your breath as an anchor, gradually bring your attention back to your place in the garden, and gently open your eyes.
Being aware of your body’s movements slowly stand up, and with palms together, bow to your altar in thankfulness, and smile.
An Ancestral Meditation on Abundance © Ark Redwood
This is an urgent message from the future and it's a message for you.
We are the as yet unborn and we’re asking you not to give up on us.
We’re not clear what happens in the first half of your 21st century but what we do know is that your actions, your choices, your beliefs, play a crucial role in the direction of the Earth's history. We tell stories about you and people like you who refused to give up on the future, about individuals, groups and communities who held on to their visions of a better world in spite of all apparent evidence to the contrary. We ask you to be part of those stories. We ask you to encourage each other, to be aware of how devastating a discouraging attitude can be at key moments in any movement for change. We ask you to support each other in small ways as well as grand ones. We ask you to inspire each other with the value and importance of what you are all doing. We ask you to spread news of inventions, projects, ideas which give people an idea how good it would be to live not on a different planet but in a different world. You are our ancestors and we call on you to play your part, to recognise your responsibilities and to rise to the occasion. Hold on to hope as we do. Our hope lies in you.
Message Relayed © Marion McCartney
Tranquility at Dusk
Late low sun breaking cover
On a rain-ridden day
Haiku © Jean Dark 2014
‘The Red Tent’, a concept based on the book of the same name by Anita Daimant, is a safe place for women to meet and share using many different modalities. One of these is song and chanting. Chanting is an important tool used by people everywhere to quieten their minds and bring the sacred into their lives. Chanting releases stress, connects us with the Divine and helps us bring peace to our beings and to our world. The chants are chosen based on the astrological energy of the day, and are designed to lead you into a deep space where you can best utilise these energies for empowerment and inner peace. It isn’t necessary to be able to sing. It’s about simply allowing yourself to join in. It is empowering, unifying, uplifting and healing. Sharing with divination cards is a tool to reflect what is going on in the outer and inner worlds and helps us to access our own inner wisdom. We’ll sing chants of Mother Earth, songs of the Divine Feminine, the Moon and Stars and the Goddess. Sharing songs of the land and the sky helps us to remember our story, herstory.
The Red Tent © Aline MacInnes 2014
The People Between travel on liquid golden light.
From the four directions shimmering, singing they come.
They move betwixt and between,
Mending, weaving, pouring liquid colour through the cracks.
They are the Twilight Folk and Bringers of the Dawn,
Standing at the edges where land and water meet.
Blessings of healing, mending and creating they bring.
Weaving light and life through the infinitesimal spaces,
And the silence between each breath.
The People Between © Lucinda Robinson 2013
I am immersed in deep ritual twice a week. It is an alchemy, a co-creation of earth, fire, water, air and the mystery that is my mood, my attention, my spirit at the moments of creation. It is a manifestation of rhythm, of time and of the containing intimacy of routine, repetition.
I was never one for routine, nor repetition. But this has me, this deeply domestic spell. For this ritual carries ancestry, a trace of lineage down through my motherline, though for sure they had their own ways in this tradition.
It’s not a secret, this alchemical entrancement of elements. And yet it does breathe of mystery, for sometimes the results are just as I imagined them to be, and other times, well let’s say they perfectly reflect my distraction, my impatience, my inattention. Just like any other magic.
And so again I reach for an old pot. Inside is a greyish cold gloop; you’d not guess it held a spark. I empty it into a larger pot and I add rye flour and warmed spring water and a little song. I cover it and leave it in the dark to gestate. In the morning it’s alive, bubbling, already growing. I take a little out, to return to the old pot, and then I add other flours, seeds, herbs and water. My wet hands slide the dough into tins which contain its fermentation, and covering it again I know it will work its magic, slowly rising till just perfectly ready to meet the flame of the oven.
Two hours later I sit, cup of tea and a crust of new-baked sourdough bread in hand, at a sunny window. It’s the most fulfilling, deep down domestic enchantment I know.
Sensual Spell © Cathi Pawson 2014
Bring your awareness to your heart. Maybe it helps to place your hand over the place in your body where the physical heart sits, and focus your mind on your breath for a few moments to still your thoughts so as to allow your inner wisdom the space to speak. Notice, in this quiet place, how your heart invisibly sustains your life with its every beat and give thanks for this life-giving endurance.
Imbolc is the time to ask what you wish to awaken in opening this dialogue with your heart. What needs to germinate in your heart to bring greater health and wellbeing? Pay attention to what inspires you and take note of how you can cultivate more of this quality for yourself. What do you wish to invoke thanks for? What would you like to receive in your heart this year? Give light to your blessings and wishes by floating them down a stream in a handmade paper boat with a lit candle.
Imbolc © Lula Garner 2015
I dream of dark, cold soil as my bed,
Sinking deep for winter’s rest.
Let fibrous roots weave through my bones,
Fed by rot and feeble light,
‘Til warming earth and blackthorn’s lace
Stir me to awake.
Regeneration © Nerissa Shaw 2014
We buried him in the Spring, next to a badger path in a clearing where the deer go to give birth. We buried him on a wooded hill facing the sunset and overlooking the sacred landscape of Stonehenge. We buried him in a grave of sea-spray white chalk on the very farm where, without our realising it before the decision was made, the Battle of the Beanfield unfolded almost 30 years before at a time when he had been travelling with the Peace Convoy, and when he and his friends were forced from the land that they loved. Like so many, he was a man of the land, always looking for a place to belong. On that spring day the land took him home and on that day the land taught us the meaning of 'laying to rest'. Here was a man who needed to rest in the earth and who changed my mind about what burial means. As we lowered him into the earth and silently began to offer flowers and prayers, stars of ivy and willow, and to take up spades to cover him, a deep peace descended on us all. In the twilight, we began to light candles and plant wild flowers: primroses, bluebells, foxgloves, snakes head fritillary, snowdrops, narcissus, and black knapweed. It felt very old. On that day the land called an ancestor home and it was good.
In memory of Will Greenwood, 13th June 1959 to 10th February 2014.
The Day We Planted a Greenwood © Jacqui Woodward-Smith
I am the daughter of the stones, the singers of horizons.
I am the daughter of the trees, the standing still dancing ones.
I am the daughter of the fire hearted mountains, the moor found,
Sun lined gateways
Where music can be heard and the rolling mist
At dawn snakes round but does not pass through
I am a daughter of the trees, the life givers,
Guardians of the motherless, so gentle in their strength,
Outlined in goddess hand stretching, bridging,
Nursing between land and sky.
I am a daughter to those wise beings, spreading, caressing,
Sustaining life, unfurling my deep roots
In the dark, warm earth
Where grandmothers drum
And doorways are shown, where we dream the world into wholeness:
I am a daughter of the trees.
I am a daughter of life, the wild ones rise and ebb in the lunar tides
Of my being.
Daughter © Nell Aurelia Admiral 2015
Faced with the unenviable task of commissioning a ‘remembering stone’ for my daughter, Georgia, it seemed fitting to design a memorial which would blend sympathetically into the Nature Reserve still used as a children’s cemetery, provide a safe haven for the cemetery’s small animal inhabitants, act as a physical vehicle for ‘communication’ between us and her, and to symbolise a bigger, universal spiritual connection between all those living here on Earth and all the loved ones no longer with us.
The result is a stunning dragonfly sculpture. Holes strategically placed within the stone both shelter small animals and allow the insertion of rolled-up paper scrolls upon which we write messages, wishes and blessings. An inscription from my favourite poem reminds me that the pain of loss does pass and love is all around us. And overall the stone serves as an ‘interactive’ tribute, a piece to engage with whilst acknowledging that the cycle of birth, death and rebirth is inevitable, necessary and part of our connection to loved ones departed and those yet to be born.
The stone was lovingly carved by Ann-Margreth Bohl. See annmargrethbohl.com for commissions and information.
© Debs Milverton 2014
Life is full of beauties; not just those vast expanses of landscape or emotion that force us to notice, but those tiny, seemingly mundane, flashes of intimacy that might often pass us by. Life moves quickly and somehow we lose sight of moments and glimpses of what is good and bright and might warm our 'hearth'. For several years I have been creating, and sharing, a daily list of 'small beauties'; things that have caught my eye, kindnesses and moments of connection experienced, happenings that have made me smile, all of which have opened my heart just a little bit wider to the beauty that surrounds us all...
There are days when I really don’t feel like noticing; days when I feel heavy or cracked open, days when I am just too tired. These are the days when small beauties matter most of all and, when I do go back over the day, often the balance tips and I find that it was sweet after all. I have found that it is all about where I choose to put my attention. What the daily small beauties might be doesn’t matter, and they will be different for each of us. What does matter is that they are always there and there will always be more. Life and the land are constantly offering us honey for the soul.
On Small Beauties © Jacqui Woodward Smith
At Spring Equinox sunlight falls on the earth in perfect balance, with day and night of equal length, heralding light’s burgeoning strength bringing growth to all living things. Green shoots are emerging from every nook and cranny. Be we plant, animal, human, in this time of blossoming we shake off the last vestiges of Winter and turn our faces to Springtime’s wind, rain and promise.
You can reach into your heart space with this simple heart alignment breath – as you breathe in, visualise white light streaming in through the top of your head down to your heart. Breathe out and see the light emerging from your heart to the space in front of you. The next inbreath takes the light back into your heart and the out-breath takes this light from the heart down through your feet into the earth. Reverse the pattern of light with the next set of breaths (earth through feet to heart, heart to front of body, front to heart, heart to sky through crown).
Equinox is a chance to tend to what needs balancing in your life. What speaks from your heart to lighten or give weight to achieve harmony? What blessings have blossomed to be grateful for? Reach for new intentions now with the generative energies at your disposal. Plant them using seeds as a token of your intent, and set a lit candle in the earth above them.
Spring Equinox © Lula Garner 2014
Sometime, on a bright and sunny day, perhaps in mid-March, stand and pause a while in the garden in order to revel in this energetic dance of cellular enlightenment.
Find a tree, shrub, newly-arising perennial or spring bulb and regard it closely, attempting to visualise the process of photosynthesis, in whichever way makes sense to you, and marvel at it. Try to find a large enough leaf, freshly green, to place between your eye and the Sun and observe its network of veins. Feel the vibrant delight of the plant as it gratefully soaks up the solar energy suffusing it from every direction. Recognise that any apparent separation between it and the Sun is actually an illusion. All is One. There is just the dance, the cosmic dance, playing out before our eyes. Sometimes, if we can put aside our preconceptions, it is possible to lose ourselves in this realisation, and a sort of rapture envelops us. Our awareness expands to include all that is. We experience a joyful, yet curiously familiar, recognition that there is only the thinnest of veils between our ordinary everyday consciousness and this universal awareness. Our Buddha nature laid bare. And all this from a simple meditation on a leaf!
Leaf Contemplation © Ark Redwood
The sun has slipped below the horizon, the end of a gardening day. I straighten my back and brush soil from my hands. Distant mature ashes and limes are printed inky black against a last glow of daylight as it dips into ochre dusk. A damp coolness rises up from the earth. A blackbird calls out his nightly watch and I stack my gardening tools away for the night.
Shadows thicken as I put the kettle on to boil and I gaze deep into the growing twilight of the garden, until the gloom seems to ebb and flow with crepusculous speckles that I can barely sense, between the bat that flickers around my periphery vision, and the still silhouette of my cat on a garden wall.
In the settled pause of twilit teatime, I make my brew and wait, watching the garden unfurl in the gloaming, exhaling, filling it's own space, and spreading out in the dusk.
Nightfall © Jean Dark 2014
I see my own eyes looking back;
from a mirror which stays silent.
Inside I hear you all,
in my head, my heart, my soul.
As I walk I leave my print,
on earth that hears our voice as one
and deeper still,
I keep listening.
You are my spirit.
© Jude Shaw 2008
I want to write about risk: the choices we make that keep us moving forward. The path of heading out further beyond what we believe is possible, is not a fearless one at all. Sometimes it’s full of those tingles of terror, served up with double helpings of doubt. Yet to move past being afraid and into action brings some of the most life-affirming and life-expanding experiences I know. Risk brings real rewards.
In order to move towards what matters most, we have to hold those fears in heart - to let them have their say - listen, reflect, respond and then maybe move onwards anyway, diverting our attention back to action that takes us in the direction of our desires. Action is actually where it’s all at. Dreaming is one thing, daring to do is quite another. We have to choose to take a chance. Sure, sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. We must develop the resources to reassure ourselves through those uncomfortable periods of uncertainty.
We do only have one wild and precious life, time is ticking, this moment does matter. So, go out and risk something that substantially scares you, let yourself be alive, feel that fear, move on through, and find out if you can let the grand and great adventure of it all bring you what you most long for. Let yourself live and love a little (or even a lot) more. Make a move today towards that which matters most to you....
© Tess Howell 2014
Beltane’s energy is wild and rampant – all of life rushes forth. The swallows swoop in, the hares are leaping, newborn of all kinds spring forth. Green things shoot hither and thither with great abundance. The world is full and fertile and we would do well to foster a sense of awe and wonder at her bounty, to align with the clarion call to growth and transformation.
Connect with your heart’s adventurous spirit by lying prone with your breast on the earth, hands cupped together palms uppermost, holding your forehead, legs wide apart with heels falling inwards comfortably. With each out-breath imagine your belly and heart sinking deeper into the ground, so you feel more and more held in the ground beneath you. Rest here awhile, and affirm your union with the life force within and beneath your body.
Beltane’s expansiveness can breed a playful spirit – with whom or what does your heart desire to frolic? Do you have a wild dance growing within that might lead you into a change of heart? What possibilities does your imagination tempt you into voicing? This is the time to dream your visions into form. What thanks do you hold for what has manifested in your life? Make a wish for yourself, one for your community, one for the world. Collect dew at dawn and anoint yourself and loved ones.
© Lula Garner 2014
Ecokin. It’s a word I coined to denote all living beings, for I feel all of them are my relations. This is my belief, and while I’m not here to impose my ideas on you, I’m sure many of you feel this as closely as I do. All other living beings are my ecokin and yours. That’s what I believe.
For me, a large component of consciousness is intelligence. All cells are imbued with intelligence – how else would they know what to be? Deepak Chopra has dealt with this subject in detail and has convincing arguments for this to be the case. He says: “It is….obvious that no-one is ever going to find a particle, however minute, that nature has labelled ‘intelligence’. This is all the more apparent when we realise that all the matter on our bodies, large or small, has been designed with intelligence as a built-in feature.”
You’ve heard of people who claim that their houseplants respond to them when they speak to them – well, all our outdoors relations do, as well. After all, if Masaru Emoto can charge water with an idea and thereby change its molecular structure, we can do the same for a living plant. Cup your hands around a Daisy, or lay your palm on the trunk of a tree and send it Love and Gratitude for enhancing your life, and in return you will enhance those lives you’ve blessed with your caring words.
Our Ecokin and Us © Judith Hoad
It is hard to put into words what we all felt, as we rolled out mile upon mile of hand knitted pink peace scarf between Aldermaston and Burghfield, one blue skied day in the Summer of 2014. It turned out to be way more than 7 miles, but no one is quite sure how long it actually was in the end! Every metre had a story, and this beautiful vision of peace and activism represented thousands of hours of knitting as it snaked its way over the countryside. We joined together in solidarity, because we believe that more nuclear weapons in the world don’t create security or invest in people or move us towards a safe, peaceful, equitable world. We have voices, and knitting hands, and we used them. Everyone smiled and shone as we rolled out a truly beautiful symbol of our need for change, for Love, without boundary or border.
And the scarf lives on! It has been lovingly unjoined, and repurposed into blankets, that have been sent to Syria and Tanzania, and other places in the world where they are needed.
Wool Against Weapons, pink and purposeful, people and Peace.
© Jaine Rose 2015
Sleeping out, under the stars, is a great tool for re-engaging your wild self.
To get the most from the experience I recommend taking no tent, no tarp, just yourself and a blanket. There is something very cosmic about doing this, watching as the stars seem to progress overhead in a track (yet it is you on the spinning Earth that is doing the moving). Watching stars appear to set on the distant horizon, wow. It makes you feel small, as if your problems don't matter so much, and as if there is something out there bigger than you, which feels comforting.
The moon and the phase it is in will have a great influence on what happens if you choose to sleep out. Full moon is the perfect opportunity for a bit of moonbathing, (although of course much less ideal for star gazing). How often do you get to lie out and absorb the lunar brightness? It is possibly the pièce de résistance when it comes to sleeping out. I will say no more. Wait for a full moon in summer when it is warm and comfortable enough to sleep out and give it a go.
Sleeping Under The Stars © Rachel Corby 2014
Today, the heat was flame,
a Shakti dance of sun and breath
And I, made slow as snails,
flow out in spirals across familiar green
and dream of rain,
seek shelter in the shadow of the cherry tree
and lie with baby bindweeds,
let salt sweat trace its tendrils on my skin
as we, as one, breathe out, breathe in...
In the Shelter of the Cherry Tree © Jacqueline Woodward-Smith 2014
Meg and Charlie’s Roundhouse is on the boundary of the Lammas Eco Project in Pembrokeshire, Wales. They built a beautiful little hobbit house on family property. They made homes for the little folk in the garden. It is a magical house, the envy of any small children I'm sure, constructed with cob and timber and an earth roof, with a stunning handcrafted interior.
Lisa’s house is located in the south west of England, in a family garden, this is a tiny little cob house with exquisite spirals decorating the outside walls.
Words to go with images © Ingrid Crawford
Out of Sunsets
Such as these
Saxons rowed from Sheppy Isle
And landed here,
In this place.
Beaches of smoothed flint
Home of Curlews, Wagtails and Tern.
That birthed in Russian Highlands
Blast this Landscape.
But for now
A Glory of a Sunset
One Midsummer's Eve.
Saxon Shoreline Sunset (one Midsummer Eve) © RavenCrone 2013
At Summer Solstice, nature’s growth has gone way beyond abundant to rampant – she is at the peak of her powers. Green is in full flush, painted with the many hues of grasses, leaves, wildflowers and plumage. Bird and beast are rounded with sustenance. Yet now, already so soon it seems, the cycle turns to its waning phase and we must go with it into darkening days.
Investigate your heart’s purpose using this standing heaven-earth stretch as a meditation. Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands in prayer position with palms pressed together, thumbs resting on breastbone. Breathe slowly, focusing on your heart and elongating your spine. Breathe in: simultaneously lift your right hand up to full stretch above your head whilst your left hand travels down to stretch toward the ground resting just below your hip. Turn your right palm to the sky and your left palm parallel with the ground. Breathe out: reverse the movement so your left hand ends up with the palm stretched to the sky and your right ends up with the palm towards the ground. Repeat for as long as you wish.
Declare thanks for what has gladdened your heart, so you enter the darkening cycle with contentment. Invite your heart to take a leap of faith to realise your most daring dreams. But stay grounded - keep your power in check, measured by a wider meaning than your own selfhood. Smudge with sage incense and watch the rising sun.
Summer Solstice © Lula Garner 2014
There is magic in every moment, in every being, in every thing.
By choosing to celebrate this magic I hope to draw some of its power and potency into me.
What Life then does with that power I do not try to control.
I trust that simply by loving and celebrating and honouring I will change and grow.
Silently, inevitably; like rivers, mountains and tall trees.
Transformation is not something that happens because of me, but in spite of me.
My role is to allow it, accept it and explore it with gratitude, curiosity and trust.
Personal Transformation © Keli Tomlin
“For the Earth, with all her Fruits... was made to be a common Store-house of Livelihood to all Mankinde, friend, and foe, without exception...”
These words, by Gerrard Winstanley in 1649, sum up the spirit of Love Life & Liberty – a words and music project that seeks to recover our lost legacy of radical thought and writing. From the monk Gildas in the 6th century, through Winstanley, Shelley, William Morris, John Ruskin, Edward Carpenter, to our own times there has always been a dream that we can build a world in which truth and beauty and social justice go hand in hand; a world in which the Earth is honoured and respected as the foundation of all that we have; a world in which the built environment that we create is a beautiful and an inspiring one; where the connectedness of an idea is valued more than its potential for profit.
Most of all what inspires me about these thinkers is that they were faced with a society much more hostile to change than anything we face: few of the democratic channels that we take for granted were available to them and yet they thought and fought and dreamed and sang towards the same vision of a just and beautiful world that we now also strive for and they never gave up. They inspire us to use all our powers of love and intelligence, of art and science, to dig in this fertile soil of now and to dare to make the world anew in this time...
Love, Life and Liberty © Chris Ellis 2015
Let your heart unfold as the stirring of the eve beckons the moon to rise to her chambers that she may grace this eve, oh sweet the blackbirds’ song,
As leaves fall in the stillness, so the mantle throws deepness and mist upon the oak, as slowly he stirs to catch the stars in his branches,
And all around is shifting, its form altered by the changing light.
For all is beginning in this woven place, threads of night pulling together with pearls of starlight between the stitches, new colours of landscapes, the ebb of tides graces the flow of the loom, a never ending tale spun with secrets and new stories and those yet to be heard.
Weaver of shadows, caster of dreams, fashioner of connections, spin me a tale that I too may share of your words,
Deep within, birthing the night,
Bringing together at the time of shadows.
The Place of Hidden Memory Part 2. © Laura Bos 2014
It's here in between
In the seen and the unseen
In the sky up above
And the Earth that we love
The flow it is flowing
Through knowing and not knowing
A wave in the ocean
Of energy in motion
© Celeste Lovick 2013 From the song 'Energy in Motion', written for the book 'Medicine Song' by Celeste Lovick.
we are barefooted women, hair unbound
ringed in shadows soft, dancing,
we have found those sounds
which call honey to the heart..
we are clothed once more
in our original fierceness of beauty,
lit by moon and fire,
our beautiful storyteller skin
to truest wild patterned form,
healed by the fingertip prayers of our sisters.
with drum and rattle, belly and voice,
with warrior stamp and light deer step
with soft shuffle tread and grateful, graceful spirit
we kiss the earth;
with our feet-hips-womb-heart-breasts-mouth
and outstretched hands
we drink her in..
we sway and spiral, heal and rejoice
in the sweet, sweet mystery
of our mama.
We Kiss the Earth © Nell Aurelia Admiral 2014
At Lammas we celebrate the abundant harvest as the grain kingdoms grant us their plenty. The soft green of vibrant growth is giving way to the ochres of hayfield architecture. Small mammals are busy squirrelling away stores for the long winter months, as should we. We hear the owls a-wing on the hunt – their call a signal to celebrate what we have brought in from our summer quests; as did our ancestors at their magnificent Lammas fairs.
Tend now to the heart’s ease by spending time breathing strength into it. Aligning the rhythm of your breath with a simple visualisation is a powerful way to slow down thoughts and enter a more meditative state of mind. Sit comfortably (back against a tree can be magical) and as you breathe in, see white or gold light (or whatever colour you like) enter your heart space. As you breathe out, see the colour of the light become more vibrant. With each breath you can expand the size and strength of the light.
Lammas signposts the shift to a slower time. Now we consider what we wish to store from our outbound adventures. Express what has ripened within your heart and gather it in, to sustain you on your inward journey. What has grown strong and steady and what has fallen away? Make a garland, wreath or headdress from corn heads and bestow on an altar or loved one.
Lammas © Lula Garner 2014
May rainbows arch over your skies
May you walk through waves on the shore
May you feel the cool shade of the forest
May you be filled with wonder at sunset
May you gaze upwards at the stars
May you pause often to enjoy the view
May your friends be special
May music move you from the inside
May you make friends with your fears
May all shadows be made by bright sunshine
May your dreams fill you with passion
May you find peace within yourself
May love touch your soul
Blessing for Eva © Eleni Palánzas 2003
Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) is a powerful yet elusive herb. Often herb books miss her out entirely. Yet many people, including me, hold her in esteem as one of their greatest teachers. She taught me the art of courting. She showed me that my previous approaches to plants, though I felt them to be slow, careful and respectful, were brashness and indifference to her. There is a mystery at her heart that cannot be unlocked easily, and it was more than five years from my first meeting to my first glimmerings of real understanding of this beautiful native. In the Lacunga Manuscript, one of a small number of old English herbals dating from the 10th Century, the author writes adoringly of Mugwort as the first of the ‘Nine Herbs Charm’: “Remember, Mugwort, what you revealed, what you set out in might revelation. ‘Una’ you are called, eldest of plants, you have might against three and against thirty, you have might against poison and ill wind, you have might against the evil that travels around the land.”
Mugwort’s power lies in her ability to challenge our limited and blinkered perception. We all live within limited bubbles of consciousness, yet can easily fall into the illusion that all that we perceive is all that there is. When our ego and sense of self becomes overly calcified, closing us off from new growth, Mugwort may have wisdom for us.
Extract: Mugwort © Nathaniel Hughes.
Full chapter: www.intuitiveherbalism.org.uk
In the streambed below the waterfall at Ladygrove, I start to build a structure with Didi, my co-worker and assistant. It is a corridor of stones, a conduit for the frothing, chaotic water. We build two rows of stones in parallel lines so that a channel forms down the centre of the streambed. This passageway will carry us down to the Winter Solstice and then up toward the growing light of Imbolc. Three days into this project heavy rains come, falling every day for a week. Water levels grow high and the stones remain standing. A further two days of rain, and the stones collapse. We wait until water levels subside again, and then we reconstruct, finding stronger footholds for each of our statues.
In the meantime, I am planting connecting stones on the land round about. I place one on the North side of Stanton Moor, and as I walk the perimeters of this sacred site I plant a second and third stone, building a connective, energetic network with the work in progress at Ladygrove. I continue with this action until such a time when the weather allows us to complete our original structure. On 2nd February we finish the channel. All around us water is turbulent, fast and bubbling. Our passageway provides a calm path – the water flowing into it becomes smooth with gentle ripples on its surface like silk. Nearly three years later and this piece still stands. I can repair it when necessary as it is near my home.
A Passage Through Time © Viveka Bowry
The hedgerows are broadcasting the abundance of harvest-time, laden with hips and haws, sloes and blackberries. Yet the whirr of my wheels as I pedal along, and the grasshoppers in the long grass, still sing of lazy summer days. The sun paints a wash of late summer haze over the already-harvested fields, tinged with the unmistakable slant of autumn. Bronze, gold and brown mingle with the fading greens in the treetops.
Summer does not end. It slides into autumn, or autumn slides into it, subtly, without you noticing, until the crisp mornings become cold and the sunshine weakens and loses its warmth.
This isn’t the setting for a story.
This is the beautiful story.
Autumn Beauty © Liz Proctor 2014
It feels vital to me to live our homeschooling life in harmony with the Earth, moving with the seasons and learning from the land. We are privileged in belonging to a weekly Natural Learning group at Embercombe, a local sustainable community rooted in a desire to inspire social and environmental change. The Natural Learning Group creates a space for parents to breathe together and share the support of others following similar paths as the children grow and learn in Nature. What may look like play is, in reality, the developing of socially skilled, diverse young minds. Knowledge of biodynamic gardening is passed on as we plant, harvest and eat the organic produce the community thrives on, and lifelong skills are developed as we explore green woodworking, sustainable forestry and fire cooking.
As a mother, I am humbled to see my children delight in feeling the sun on their faces, eating hedgerow fruit and laughing in the rain. Freedom comes in many forms within our society, but the chance to live in respectful harmony with the world around us is the epitome of freedom itself. I am honoured to witness the gifts and knowledge freely given by the staff at Embercombe, enabling our children on their journey to become a new generation of empowered and enlightened adults. As we learn on and from the land, we build connections that enrich our daily lives and nourish our souls. My heart sings.
Natural Learning © Claire Arnold 2014
At Harvest time we gathered at Merripit Farm for a festival to honour Whitehorse Hill Woman. Amongst the many events to enjoy and participate in, were the Ancient Hands Workshops.
I was joined by a wonderful circle of women to teach Weaving using methods so old that a bonnet woven in STRANG Weaving has been found in a Bog Burial dated 3500BC.
We used Gypsy Spindles carved and smoothed, harvested from willows in the marsh.
We used lap looms, weaving sticks and a beautiful Dartmoor Floor Loom.
All crafted from wood, a transient material, all made from native trees.
But here is the magic: the deep remembering, as fingers wove wool and the soft tears that flowed in this reclaiming of Ancient skills.
The stories told and songs sung, as weft and warp twisted and flexed.
In these times of instant consumerism, where the tapping of a key can purchase, in a virtual store, so much undervalued clothing and accessories, we felt elation and wonder amongst those Weaving Circles. Skills were learnt that will last a lifetime, by men and women both, as they discovered the true value of crafting a unique and timeless item.
RivenStone Festival, Merripit, Autumn 2014
Ancient Hands © RavenCrone
As the leaves begin their downward dance we spiral into the Autumn Equinox, seeking balance as day and night reach equal length. Hedge fruits abound and our orchards give generously, encouraging us to connect with this moment of poise between giving and receiving, acting and perceiving, outward and inward. Laying down stores with preserves of all kinds is a timely way to honour nature’s bounty and reflect on our particularly blessed place in the cycle of life.
Anahata’s breath (the Sanskrit name for the heart chakra) can help when the turbulence of being pulled into balance needs our cleared intention. Stand strong with feet hip-width apart and become still with hands pressed together in prayer position. Feel your feet solid upon the ground, earthing you. As you breathe out, gently push your hands away from your body with palms facing outward and bend your knees slightly. Breathing in, turn your palms to face your body and bring them back towards your chest. Repeat for several breaths, calling in what you wish to beckon into your heart as you breathe in, and releasing what you wish to reconcile as you breathe out.
Equinox’s fulcrum invites us to centre our heart’s discourse – what do you need to find equilibrium in? Which transitions do you wish to weave into your heart’s response? Give thanks for your abundance by creating and blessing a basket of harvest fare.
Autumn Equinox © Lula Garner 2014
My son and I harvest sunflowers, in the light of a warm, September afternoon. Excited by the layers of treasure nature provides from this beautiful flower we planted in the springtime. The cycles of the seasons, held within our hands as we gently lift the future seeds for next years glory safely into a tissue.
“Wow, I think my sunflowers have grown again”, exclaimed the enthusiastic toddlers voice every day he was greeted by the majestic golden faces in our garden. Bees danced around them with joy and stopped to nestle among the pollen heavy heads. As we watched them every day, it was clear to see that bees loved them as much as we did.
So the wheel of nature brings us around to autumn and it is time for the birds to enjoy the bounty. The abundance of sunflower heads are now food to carry them through the colder months. We weave flower heads into branches in the Damson tree, where we have seen a family of blue-tits visiting through the year since fledging.
My son takes some individual seeds and places them with great care, into an old spiders web between branches of a small fir tree, just about his height. Backwards and forwards for more seeds, one at a time, he talks about how happy the birds will be to eat all of the delicious seeds and I smile at the beauty and generosity I witness, both within future generations and from Mother Nature herself.
Plant Sunflowers © Lucy Quinnell 2014
One rainy October evening, I finished reading a book by Masaru Emoto, in which he wrote about the high proportion of water in our bodies and also, a fact he kept emphasising, that the most consistently beautiful crystal he and his technicians ever saw, from repeated experiments, was from water that had been exposed to the idea of Love and Gratitude. The morning after I had finished the book, I had to go out. When I got out of the car to open the gate, I glanced back along my unkempt lane and saw the jewels of water glinting in the early morning sunshine on the seedheads of the reeds bordering the lane and felt a wave of Love and Gratitude wash over me. As I turned again to get into the car, it occurred to me that I could send Love and Gratitude to all the water in my body for the Gift of Life. I closed my eyes and stood for a minute or two and did just that. The sense of well-being was so powerful, I decided then and there to tell as many people as I could about the experience. I’d like you to experience it too. Please close your eyes and send Love and Gratitude to all the water in your body, for the Gift of Life…… and extend that to all your Ecokin, by sending Love and Gratitude to all the water in their bodies, for the Gift of their Lives……………
© Judith Hoad
I look to the trees every day remembering why - in Autumn - they are my greatest teachers. Their beauty is unblemished by the change in temperature with some still resolutely summer-green and yet their energy, the very feel of them, tells another story. I ponder, reach out and taste this difference, wondering what has changed that I can’t yet see. Slowly I begin to realise that they have begun to draw deep into themselves, into their root hearts, retreating from the busy World above. They have accepted the turn of the Wheel with silent grace and accepted its encouragement to sleep, to dream. They have let go.
Their canopies are still full of leaves but those leaves are mere shadows of what they were scant weeks earlier. No longer do they hold the vibrancy and energy of life, growth and regeneration. They are empty, hollow. They embody the memory of what has been. Soon those leaves will fall away; quickly or slowly, gripped by wind or winding through air but always they will fall with gratitude and with grace. And the tree will mourn their passing but will not be weighed down with grief, regret or fear of the supposed emptiness that lies ahead. Instead the tree will accept – with its timeless wisdom and ease – the need to release all that has been. It will accept this even before its leaves have started to fall.
We won’t always recognise the exact moment of letting go. We achieve it in our soul before we see the result of it in the World. When we finally realise the process is complete we will find ourselves standing, strong and certain, in our new skin. This is the lesson I learnt from the trees.
Letting Go © Keli Tomlin
Extraordinary is definitely a word that can truly be said to describe the Yew. Although ALL trees are, of course, important and vital in their own ways, nonetheless it cannot be denied that the Yew is something biologically, culturally and visually exceptional. On the Facebook page for Yews which I created (www.facebook.com/yewtreesbritain) the ethos is to let the Yew ‘speak for itself’ as far as possible through a wide variety of images with some small pieces of writing throwing in little snippets of information and curiosities for additional interest. It also serves as another little string to the bow in raising awareness of Yews; not just their extraordinariness but also letting people see what we will lose if we are not careful about protecting what is a Noah’s Ark of ancient and sacred Yews in Britain – a Yew heritage which is the envy of Europe. I am also anxious to dispel the often quoted fallacy that Yews are 'gloomy' or 'funereal' trees. They are not, as anyone who has spent time with any and/or photographed them know all too well. I encourage people to not just spend time with Yews but in that time to look more closely at them, to let some of their detail be a spur to the imagination and take folk away from their toils and troubles for a little while.
The Yew Tree © Paul Greenwood 2015
Up through a hillside of mossy trees, fallen and standing, through gorse and bramble, to emerge onto the wide open hilltop just as the sun breaks through the clouds and drenches our faces. I lay down on the grassy earth and watched the ever changing sky and thought of all that was lost and missed and felt the peace of acceptance sink gently into my core. And from that rises a deeper appreciation of this gift of living, the rediscovery of an on-going miracle I had somehow forgotten or ignored. To breathe and know that simply in that act - in the fact that I am alive, on a planet that gives me life - I am wanted and supported. Earth, sea, sun and moon all together saying: 'we support you'. Air, water, food, warmth, seasons, endless beauty - so much beauty! - all combining… I breathe deeply and choose to feel wanted, blessed, held.
Choosing to Feel Blessed © Nell Aurelia Admiral
Samhain’s gift is evident in the easy release trees effect at this time, building their own renewal through letting go the canopy’s furniture to make fresh soil at their feet. Darkness holds more and more sway; bird and beast sally forth to feed, then hurry home to hibernate in nest and burrow.
Scrying is an ancient tradition, and can be used to drop beneath our superficial selves into the depths of our heart’s inner wisdom. Collect a bowlful of spring water or use filtered water cleansed overnight in moonlight. Sit quietly, hold the bowl in your hands resting in your lap. Drop your gaze to the surface of the water and soften your focus. Make a link to your heart centre by seeing the bowl of water as a metaphor for your own inner pool, and breathe into it steadily. Simply sit, stare, take in air, be there.
Our ancestors believed All Hallows’ Eve to be the ‘day between the years’, when the veil between the corporeal and non-corporeal worlds was thinner, allowing them to speak more directly with those who had passed. What or who might your heart need to enshrine in remembrance? Samhain is a perfect time to release all grudges and channel forgiveness to our dustiest corners. Align yourself with all that needs to disintegrate now to allow new possibilities to emerge by burning a sacred fire and scattering its ashes.
Samhain © Lula Garner 2014
Don’t touch me.
Don’t pat me down.
Nor soothe me, nor lay any part of your sympathetic arms around me
Because I will growl, and more. I will snarl.
This sob-wrenching grief for lands and waters poisoned
Hearts broken and losses shattering
Will not be contained. Cannot be borne in proximity with another.
This wild wild grief needs to raise its ear-piercing screams to the hills,
Needs to reach the grandmothers
who have known loss of children and land all their long lives .
This woman will not be silenced, nor prettied into comfort
She is hag-hung with snot and salt tears, wailing and keening into the mud.
Uncaring unfeeling of her body because
if she does not keen then she will not live.
If she does not mourn the dead and dying, the wounded and poisoned
Then she herself dies and with that a clamour of grandmothers grows cold,
If all her relations cannot come to the party then come none at all.
So she brings the torn and broken ones,
The hopeless and whimpering ones,
The pleading and hollow-eyed ones.
Don’t smother their wailing with your love,
Stand with this woman and hear with all you have.
And if this breaks open your own dam of grief
Then we will wail together as women will.
Leave the peacemaking now, leave the talking
And tend to this tide of grief or it will drown us all.
You were born to breathe in salt water.
Dive deep for your lives.
Wild grief © Cathi Pawson 2014
Betwixt Sea and Shore
This place of mystery,
Both land and water.
Sunsets are lauded,
Viewed over mighty oceans.
But this place
Shrouded by silent Mist
Holds a mute beauty.
Not even the lap of gentle waves!
Instead, glass smooth waters
Creep up the estuary
And reclaim tidal sands.
As we take our leave,
The cry of a lone Tern
Bids us Farewell,
And we weave a careful path,
Not a word spoken to
Shatter this perfect Peace.
Tidal Lands © RavenCrone 2013
I have been down to the woods again, away from all the work-related and household tasks etc., away from all the worries and fears that clamour ceaselessly for my attention and threaten to crowd me out and push me to the margins of my own existence. Stopping to listen to the sound of leaves falling through the canopy, breath held, I stood as still as the trees, leaning into their whispering as they spoke in unhurried, unharried tones of gently inevitably falling, of letting go. I would have envied them their grace, but in that moment I was too much present within it to think outside it.
The leaves at my feet were already turning to skeleton lace, soon to be gone altogether. I took a photograph. Only afterwards did I notice that one of my new white hairs (that are gradually replacing the brown) had got into the frame. Truly I am part of the texture of this ephemera.
Not a hand's-breadth away was a chunk of sandstone, with a fossil shell preserved within it. What do I make of this, the chance preservation of this small thing from countless millennia ago amongst this year's decaying leaves? What I literally made was two photographs, to stick in my journal. I keep this book, these bound leaves, as a way of pulling myself more surely into this world; I have a lifelong ambivalence towards being here. My journal is not so much about affirming my existence by making my mark: it is more a record (a celebration, even) of those things, so easily overlooked, that leave their mark upon me.
Ephemera © Katerina Tara Keogan 2014
Whenever I still
my mind each cell resonates
with stone bird leaf hill.
When I still my mind
an inner kinship wells with
bird, stone and leaf kind.
My mind stills, my cells
call out to earth’s riven kind -
growing kinship swells.
Kinship © Debbie Collins 2012
Today, I have opened every window wide.
I have burnt sage,
I have wrapped the smoke around me
In thankful, cleansing embrace.
I have taken the moon after full -
Caught in a blue-glass jar -
And drawn a prayer
Upon my skin.
I have brought home a shore-found stone
And filled it with intent;
I have held it closely in my palm
And listened to its shape.
I have pinched my spices, salt and pepper;
I have danced a little extra love
Into this stew
For the daily nourishment of my line.
I have worn, as my shield, flowing umber
Lines of dress,
Textures many and deep.
I have given out a call
To receive the gift within the learning;
I have torn up my stories of old.
Today, I have swallowed the sky
With soul feeding eyes
To re member my vastness of being…
Drawn a Prayer Upon My Skin © Nell Aurelia Admiral 2014
By day I’ll rise on wings of hawk and I shall dance upon the air, I’ll weave amongst the tree line, through thorn and oak at sharp speeds in the blink of an eye.
I’ll dive into murky river waters and let the cold sweep my scale skin, I will follow the flow and swim through tangles of weed and seek the source of my birth.
I shall pad lightly across the meadow on paws of silk and follow the scent of mouse upon the noon day breeze. Here I shall sit and unwind my amber stare, sharpen my claws for the thrill of the hunt to come.
By night’s shadow embrace I’ll take to the air once more, on pale ghost wings to trace the path of the stars. With eyes as black as darkest pools I’ll see the beauty of the moon in all her crescent glory and feel at one with all those who live in the shadows.
I’ll change again and don the coat of fur the shade of rust, give my voice to the night with a bark and yelp. I’ll journey close to the shaped and changing land, hunt for those that are unaware and let their minds drift and fall for my cunning charms. I’ll slip beneath the earth as the sun’s rays return in the beginning of the dawn and dream of sacred connections with every beat of my heart.
Shape Shifter © Laura Bos 2014
At Midwinter’s still point we live through the shortest day and longest night of the year, hopeful of the eventual return of light and warmth. Be the sky cloudy or clear, we reflect on the returning power of the sun as our Earth tilts back in its favour. This is a particularly potent day to watch sunrise or sunset from a high place. Lace traced trees stand stark having shed all trappings, bar the precious evergreens we gather now to honour and bring indoors.
As beyond, so within: lay down the old gnarled pathways of the heart and allow rebirth. Find inner quiet through walking a small pilgrimage in a special place. On the way there keep silent and alert for what offerings you can gather for marking your intent (perhaps a bunch of seed heads or spray of pinecones). Choose a sacred pattern and walk it with deep attention on each step, around a favourite tree or bush (a spiral or flower or what you will).
Reflect as you walk, on the holy conversation you have held with your heart this year – how has this nourished you and yours? What has deepened in you across the seasons? What resolutions will serve the world as we work together to make it a lovelier place? Pause this day to give thanks for the path trodden and to lift your eyes to the trail yet to come. Blessed Be.
Winter Solstice © Lula Garner 2014