The Diary is A5 in size and spiral bound, with 146 full-colour pages. View sample pages here.
The Calendar is A4 in size, with 32 full-colour pages. View sample pages here.
The showcase gallery for contributors to the 2017 Earth Pathways Diary and Calendar 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.
Painting the Blossom © Ruth Gray
Angel © Sue Allanson
Crow Mandala © Bridgette Nutt
Worth Her Weight © Meraylah Allwood
Detail from La Baleine © Olivier Leger
Writing by the Moon © Alexi Francis
Pathfinder © Jules Horn
Moon Dance © Sue Wookey
Equinox Sunrise © Tim Knock
Honour the Earth, Honour
Thyself © Annie b Rise of the Divine
Feminine © Alex Florschutz Crow © Jaine Rose Winter Trees
© Caroline Salter Ainsdale Sunset © Jason Smalley Dreaming Bowl © Casey Jon Snowdrops © Anne Thomas Hare and Leveret © Bridgette Nutt Heart’s Love © Casey Jon Singing up the Stars © Rowan Taliesin Transformation © Jaine Rose In the Hawthorn Thicket
© Glennie Kindred Iona Seascape © Ushka Davies Celandines and Violets © Anne Thomas Spring Hare © Shirelle Young Kite Flying at Wigwell Nook Farm © Kate Bellis Submerged © Lisa Green Rainbow Bird © Paula J Dibb Cross that Bridge © Dorrie Joy May © Anne Thomas Sea of Bluebells © Sarah Sweet Apple Tree © Rowan Taliesin Ivy Softpot
© Annie Austen-Meek Ladybird Softpot
© Annie Austen-Meek Entangled © Sharyn Turner Red Moon Hare © Dorrie Joy Driftwood Heart © Sarah E Wilson Midsummer © Anne Thomas A Solstice Gathering © Jules Horn Cow Parsley © Lisa Green Swift Storm ©
Shirelle Young Prince of the Heath © Lucy Pendrick Whale Song © Olivier Leger The Gift of the Grain © Anne Thomas Lammas Fox © Alice Thomas River Wife © Alexi Francis Sennen to Lands End
© Sarah Sweet Willow Hare Pair © Nicola McLean Partial Solar Eclipse
© Bryony Whistlecraft Heart Labyrinth © Juniper Returning © Anne Thomas Weaving © Gaia Redgrave Autumnal Delights © Karen Lawton Wild Alliums © Lisa Green Golden Dreams © Lucy Pendrick Spiders’ Silk © Ali Walters Full Moon © Anne Thomas Persephone, Queen of the
Underworld © Linda Hill This Day © Sue Bolshaw Whatstandwell © Ruth Gray Hawthorn Tree and
Mistletoe © Caroline Salter The Way of the Buzzard - Deer Skin Drum
© Nicola Smalley and Jason Smalley On the Forest Floor
© Helen Cowans Affirmation © Anne Thomas May All Beings Be Well
© Anabel Symington January © Annie b February © Annie b March © Annie b April © Annie b May © Annie b June © Annie b July © Annie b August © Annie b September © Annie b October © Annie b November © Annie b December © Annie b Womb Heart © Charlotte Dean Full Moon Owl © Pixie Made Wild Garlic in the Woods © Janey Colbourne Capricorn © Sarah E Wilson Celtic Tree Necklace © Geoff King Circle of Light © Sue Allanson Crossing Field to Forest © Nicola McLean Summer Meadow © Sarah Sweet Holding the Net of Life © Sue Wookey
♈︎ Moon in Aries calls us into life to take action. Activating and initiating, this Moon in cardinal fire engenders motivation and drive for our projects and plans. A time for will and intention.
♉︎ Moon in Taurus connects us to nature. Sensual and earthy, this Moon in fixed earth attunes us to the rhythms of life, enables us to slow down, ground and take delight in the physical realm. A time for embodiment.
♊︎ Moon in Gemini revels in the multiplicity of life. Busy and always on the go, this Moon in mutable air takes pleasure in the realm of the mind, in social contact and conversation. A time for sharing ideas and making connections.
♋︎ Moon in Cancer nourishes the inner life. Soulful and home- loving, this Moon in cardinal water enriches through contact with the imaginal world and the feeling dimension of life. A time for emotional nourishment.
♌︎ Moon in Leo evokes the creative spark. Exuberant, dramatic and spirited, this Moon in fixed fire joys in self-expression and takes delight in the process of self-discovery as the world lights up and we come alive. A time for play.
♍︎ Moon in Virgo works with care. Skilful and capable, this Moon in mutable earth takes satisfaction in bringing order to daily life with gentleness and a willingness to be useful. A time for attending to life’s practicalities.
♎︎ Moon in Libra finds pleasure in the other. Responsive and reflective, this Moon in cardinal air joys in the pleasure of sharing and co-operating and seeks out company for dialogue and exchange. A time for relationship.
♏︎ Moon in Scorpio explores the emotional depths. Powerful, determined and courageous, this Moon in fixed water operates beneath the surface of life, travelling through the emotional undercurrents and into the inner worlds. A time to attune to the inner life.
♐︎ Moon in Sagittarius seeks adventure. Freedom loving and expansive, this Moon in mutable fire journeys to expand horizons and explores the vision of how life might be. A time for taking a wider perspective of life.
♑︎ Moon in Capricorn brings into manifestation. Pragmatic and dependable, this Moon in cardinal earth understands the nature of matter where planning, effort and time are needed to bring ideas to fruition. A time for building through hard work.
♒︎ Moon in Aquarius understands what it means to be different. Alternative, unique and independent minded, this Moon in fixed air recognises other ways of being in the world and knows the value of exploring this in the group. A time for community.
♓︎ Moon in Pisces yearns for oneness. Sensitive, dreamy and imaginative, this Moon in mutable water is attuned to the intangibles of life, absorbing divine inspiration from the wider cosmos. A time to dream.
The Moon, the Queen of the Night, the celestial embodiment of the Divine Feminine, is both ever-changing and eternal. As she moves through her phases in the monthly drama enacted across the night sky, she shows us the mystery of life, the perennial cycle of birth and death, and the promise of rebirth. We recognise that life on earth reflects these patterns of the heavens, as we discover that all aspects of life are cyclical. From the fruitfulness of the earth and women’s fertility cycles to our creativity, relationships and work, all life ebbs and flows. Life and time are cyclical and reflect the lunar cycle of birth, culmination, death and rebirth. As we connect to the cycles of nature and the heavens, we can recognise our own inner and outer cycles and seek to align our activities with the larger cyclical patterns of life.
New Moon is the seed moment of the cycle and the time of the dark moon when the moon conjuncts the sun. This is the period of introspection and contemplation when we can pay attention to what is beneath the surface and seed intentions into the fertile soil of the inner world to awake with the increase of light. A time for contemplation and introspection.
Crescent Moon is the time of the visible new moon when the young crescent moon sets just after sunset. This is the time of new beginnings and a time to initiate new plans as this fresh growing moon brings the ideas and experiences seeded in the dark to life. A time for new beginnings.
First Quarter is a time of adjustment or challenge when the moon stands square to the sun and we can test our resolve or steady ourselves to overcome obstacles. A time of action, expression and organisation.
Gibbous Moon is a time of increasing light when the moon waxes bright and growth flourishes as this swelling tide brings greater consciousness and awareness. A time for growth and development.
Full Moon at the full moon we reach a peak of expansion. This is the time of maximum illumination when our capacity for reflection and our sensitivity is at its height and events and experiences come to culmination. A time for realisation and fulfilment.
Disseminating Moon is the beginning of the waning phase as the light begins to diminish and we move to a period of sharing and sending out the fruits of our plans and experiences which were realised at the full moon. A time for sharing and distributing.
Last Quarter is a further testing time when the waning square brings reorientation and evaluation. This is a period when we can reorganise and clear out what is no longer useful. A time for realignment and revision.
Balsamic Moon This time calls us to surrender all that was dreamt, all that was made real. The greater mysteries of creation see the destruction of what was manifest in order to re-enter the cycle of creation anew. This perfects the intention and holds the dream of our rebirth as co-creators in life.
From our earth-centred perspective anchored in the land, at times the planets appear to move backwards against the stars. These periods offer us the opportunity for introspection, reflection, revisiting and reworking.
Mercury Retrograde may evoke some confusion or misunderstanding in our communications and plans such that we might want to double check our diaries or our travel arrangements, yet at these times he can offer us the opportunity to revisit conversations or ideas, or support periods of meditation or reflection on our projects and plans.
Mercury’s retrograde periods in 2017 are as follows: beginning of the year to 8th Jan; 10th April to 3rd May; 13th August to 5th September; 3rd December to 23rd December.
Venus Retrograde may engender some turbulence in our relationships or creative work, yet at these times she can offer us the opportunity to rework aspects of our relationships and can support new creative currents to emerge. Venus’ retrograde period in 2017 is 4th March to 15th April.
The Moon, travelling on her monthly path through the heavens, makes connections to the other planets by aspect as she journeys around the whole zodiac in this time. The void of course period (v/c) is a time when she makes no further traditional aspects to the planets before changing sign. This can be a fallow time when new actions or plans may fail to initiate or events pause. At times this is welcome, when resting, doing nothing or when no further action can be the best option or outcome!
Astrology writing for 2017 © Cat Cox 2016
We are living in incredible times, when a new wave is surging, washing over and through the old paradigm. No area of life is left untouched. Rising within this wave is the voice of the feminine. That which has been quieted, shut down and ignored is now awakening. Rumblings from the Earth mother’s belly herself, calling us to stand up and speak from our hearts. Women are rising, remembering our sacred innate connection to the Earth, reclaiming our shared voice and power as we gather in circles, round fires, in fields, woods, village halls and sitting rooms.
Together we are an undeniable force, a power as ancient as the Earth herself, together there is nothing our hearts will not achieve. Together we are changing and challenging the face of Politics, Law, Education, Community, Family life and Celebration; helping to bring the connected heart back into our world: Girls and Women across cultures rising up, speaking out and calling for change. Each voice is an inspiration and a support to our own. We believe in each other, help each other with that next step and through each woman’s unique story is reflected the true power and beauty of woman. We are weaving the threads of these voices and strengthening our web in the creation of a just new world.
Celebrating Women’s Voices © Isabella Lazlo
Go outside! Go outside! Whatever the day brings, it will be better outside. You were made to breathe the open air, feel the sun on your skin and taste the rain on your face. It doesn’t matter where you go, how far you travel, who you’re with, or how the weather behaves. When you don’t know where to turn, when everything is too much, when you feel a yearning for a nameless something you can’t identify – you need the wide sky and the wild world. Four walls can never give you the space your heart needs to soar. Go outside!
Go outside! © Liz Proctor
By sunset the snowfall had smoothed out the meadow and in the strange lucid twilight I quickly found the fire basket. Once it was free of snow, and the fire laid, the paper and kindling caught quickly and brightly, flickering sudden orange shadows leaping across the snowy drifts piled up around the hedges. I watch as slowly the logs catch, smouldering then glowing through. The small vigorous fire flickering burnished light across the frozen swathes of firm ice-crusted snow. The hard granular surface of the snow, the result of a single sudden February snowstorm followed by daytime thawing and clear night-time freezing, looks like sand; light, crisp, cold, fragile sand. As the evening progresses we feed the fire with dry logs, which begins to melt the snow beneath the fire basket in a blackened oval-shape. The full moon rises above the rooftops and the snowdrifts beyond the fire’s orange-light circle are cast in aquamarine moonlight reflections, catching crystalline ice-sparkles in sharp blueness. The full moon night is twinkling clear cold, colder than it’s been all winter and brighter than it’s been all month, glowing in harmony with our Imbolc fire.
Snow Moon Fire © Jean Dark 2015
Forty years ago in 1977 two Voyager space probes were launched, heading for interstellar space. On board each of them was a message intended to communicate to extraterrestrials a story of the world of humans on Earth. This took the form of golden records (like the LPs of the time). The US president at the time, Jimmy Carter, wrote: “This is a present from a small distant world, a token of our sounds, science, images, music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours.” It felt like putting a message into a bottle and sending it into the cosmic ocean.
Do find out more about Voyager and the Golden Records on Wikipedia. If we were to send out a new version, what pictures and sounds from our world would you include? What message would you send? What if this is the year that, against all the odds, a faint radio signal is picked up here on Earth...
If you feel inspired to write something, do send it to us so that we can put it on the website, or even include it in next year’s diary.
Voyagers © Marion McCartney 2015
‘Shamanka’ - I recently learnt this word, meaning a female shaman or medicine woman. What a relief to have a word for a powerful woman that’s free of the associations of ‘witch’. Tuning into the vibration of this word, this archetype, I wrote a song:
Shamanka, Woman of Power, Shamanka, Woman of Vision, Shamanka, Magical Woman,Wise One, Wild One, Shamanka.
As the words came through, I became aware of an ambiguity. Was I singing to Her or was She singing to me?
Shamanka, deep in your body, Shamanka, deep in your bone, Shamanka, deep in your blood, you know me, Wise One, Wild One, Shamanka.
By the last verse I tingled with a new understanding. This is how the longed-for wise woman can return to earth. When we are willing to embody her. As we call Her in, so we become Her.
Shamanka, My hands are your hands, Shamanka, My heart is your heart, Shamanka, My voice is yours, Shamanka, Wise One, Wild One, Shamanka
Shamanka © Jackie Singer 2015
Sunlight grows stronger. Spring’s first stirrings can be felt as rising sap, throbbing through the land. Blackthorn blooms, ramsons emerge, lambing season begins, trees bud and birch blood begins to flow. Life quietly builds in the cold fresh light. Now is the perfect time to refresh our internal and external environments. Dust off the cobwebs, take stock of your chattels, diet and health. Gracefully shed what no longer serves and clear space for nourishing growth. The steady, building energy of Imbolc helps new projects and good intentions to manifest. Tidy up potted herbs. Dead leaves and seed heads are valued by birds and bugs, but make some space for fresh green foliage to emerge. Welcome green life back to your world.
At Imbolc, try to walk barefoot in nature. Visit local water sources: babbling brooks, wells, springs, ponds. Light fires and welcome the return of heat.
Spring greens – Aim to eat nourishing local greens daily. Cook them or enjoy raw in smoothies, juices and salads. Nettles, cleavers, chickweed, bramble leaf, birch, hairy bittercress and ramsons are wonderful spring tonics. Enrich your soups with bittercress and chickweed leaves. Float fresh, organic pansies or violets atop. Bathe your cells in spring green nourishment. Taste your land!
Imbolc – Rising Sap © Lynn Shore 2016
Life loves itself, grows
out of nothing, into more
and more flowering.
Like spring’s rise (sap in the trees and the birds
dancing in the open skies), like the bird’s
wing opening, from the beating heart.
Deep in the earth, a bulb
splits, sends forth its roots,
yearning, into the spring.
Our hearts break open
beyond what we thought
we were, and we fly.
Full Moon History © Bryony Rogers 2013
May I return always to my birthright of joy.
May I know I am love,
May all beings know they are too.
May we return to knowing oneness,
To rising, diving, spiralling in unity.
May the sun light our hearts
And may our dreams be true.
May we know simply:
We are love - and anything is possible.
Extract from Prayer For Love © Nell Aurelia Admiral 2014
I shift about in my harness and peer over the edge of my tree platform. It’s nestled high in the boughs and moves easily in the cold February wind. I try to adjust to the motion and to forget that the sides drop away to nothingness below.
I am part of the Rising Up land protest that brought together a local community. We moved into unknown territory together, as we considered the outcomes of the Metrobus road development. Most of us were not seasoned activists. Many of us were nervous of what was to come. What bound us together was a sense that we were acting as a voice for the land, protecting precious soil, wildlife habitats and food-growing space. If we didn’t step up then who would? There was never a point when I felt ready. I just gave it a go. Acting locally, collectively and with a non-violent ethos made us strong. Offering only as much as we were able, to avoid burnout, kept us well. A weekly community circle held our stories and honoured the land.
Eventually we were evicted and now we are waiting to hear about potential long-term protection from development for the land surrounding our site. We have also contributed to the emergent groundbreaking Bristol Soil Declaration. We want Bristol’s green spaces to be valued by those in power for ourselves and for future generations.
Rising Up for the Land © Melanie West 2015
Through recognising ourselves as part of systems that influence other systems, and that each system on the planet is connected, we move from thinking that what we do doesn’t matter, to realising that our actions have consequences and are meaningful. Many of the ripples of our actions are beyond our awareness. Systems act through their parts, as in starling murmurations, where each bird is contributing to the whole system. Each small action we take is part of a bigger story, we are part of a bigger story. Whenever we do something or act in a certain way we can ask ourselves what is it a part of? What am I part of? What flow am I contributing to?
We don’t know where the tipping points are with climate change. We don’t know what disasters might emerge from the combined effects of all the stresses we are placing on ecosystems. Equally though, we don’t know the tipping points for Earth recovery. We don’t know how our actions when combined together can bring about positive change. The words emergency and emergence have the same Latin root ‘emergere’ meaning to arise out of; so perhaps the emergencies we face will give rise to opportunities for emergence. As individuals there are limits to how much we can achieve. There can be a trap of thinking I can’t, but with emergence we can shift this to the potential of working together and we can.
Opening Up to Thinking in Systems © Looby Macnamara
We are interwoven with the wild, always. The untapped edges of ourselves creep into the underside of our consciousness. Brambles and goosegrass, sticky with unstoppable affection, tendrils of clematis, bryony and sweet honeysuckle, entangle in the unmapped reaches of our souls, where the Earth speaks in green whispers of the deeplight we have forgotten. Opening the ears of our hearts we hear the melodies of flowers and know the golden palms of the sun behind the sun, dispensing blessings on our upturned faces.
There is an endless sky beyond the sky, roots reaching deeper than rocks, where luminous seeds are awakening, and a wild laughter, encoiled around the spindle of our spines.
We are the garden where the deeplight emerges laughing, hand in hand with the wild edges of the world.
Wild Edges © Jehanne Mehta 2015
I’ve been collecting people’s dreams of a better, fairer world, because we need to put these visions into words. Please help me reach my target of 1001 by sending yours to me at dreamthefuture.org.uk and the Earth Pathways website – They can be of any length, but here I’ve chosen a few of the shorter ones:
I dream of a world . . .
. . .where all human beings respect one another and the natural environment, and seek happiness in experiences, relationships and sharing.
. . . where in both easy times and hard times people turn to each other, not against each other.
. . . where everyone has so much spirit that they choose calm over conflict.
. . . where people have stopped being what they think they should be and find joy love and freedom in being who they really are.
. . . where everyone lives together in peace, abundance and self-awareness. . . . where we no longer look towards material possessions for happiness and find it within ourselves and each other.
. . . where the love of our beautiful planet is at the heart of what we do and the decisions we make.
Dream the Future © Marion McCartney
Daylight balances darkness. Nature appears youthful, verdant, bright and light. Now is the time to quietly nurture growing life. Keep your energy in balance. Nourish yourself, enjoy bright spring days and prepare for the coming active months. This is a good time to crystalise personal goals and plant seeds of intention, in your soul and in the soil. Germinating seeds reflect our ambitions, emerging, rooting, growing, adapting. Start a necklace from found natural objects, threading intentions with each.
Foraging – As edible wild plants become more obvious, the urge to forage builds. Get acquainted with local regulations, rare and poisonous plants and the cleanest places to harvest. Hone your ID skills and start a map of your foraging finds. You may notice tasty treats such as lemonbalm, dandelion, garlic mustard, ramsons, winter purslane, deadnettles, ground elder, stinging nettle, and young leaves of hawthorn and lime trees.
Spring Herb Mojo – Try this runny, spicy Mojo dip and make foraged leaves last for several meals. Blend a small handful of fresh edible leaves with 250ml of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic and the juice of half a lemon. Store in clean glassware and use to spice up grilled cheese, meat, tofu etc.
Spring Equinox - Balance © Lynn Shore 2016
Sometimes I dream of home, a wild place with restless hills, with grass that drags at my ankles as if to pull me into that rich soil song. A place whose thorn trees whisper to my unfolding dreams, of twirling winds that chase at meadow sweet and cast up that magic to the rose dawn sky. I slip amongst the turned pasture, of ridgeway and hollow hills, forgotten dances remembered in my awakening step. As larks sing mellow lights to the ancient land, as butterflies drink of fading blooms windswept and tangled, all is remembered in the shadows of this wild and haunted place.
Dusk: it is carried on soft night-bird wings; the courtship of the silver lady of the sky begins once more. The hush of that tween place felt by those who drink deep of the turning year, who sink into the stones, the bones of this earth. If I fall by the wayside, forget who I am, I shall seek out my travel pouch and find within the treasure of hedgerow woven into the talisman of sloe and haw. As the gorse greets this summer’s kiss, let it be a blessing of joyful love enriching the blessed journey for those seekers of pilgrimages, the hermits and wild, wild women, those different folk, our forgotten family. Hear the vixen’s call, tread softly on the way, look deep within the dark pools and feel the stirrings in your heart. Let the ancient voice call you.... Home.
Sometimes I Dream of Home © Laura Bos 2015
“Who are you and where do you belong?”
“What positive habits are you bringing with you from childhood?”
“How will you help your friends and family now you are older?”
My son had just turned 7 years old. I watched my boy make the transition to bigger ideas, new understandings, capabilities and confidence. A chance conversation with other mothers showed that they too noticed this change and also longed to mark this special life milestone in our children’s lives. We came to the conclusion that we would love an outdoor, nature-oriented, collective, child-centred ceremony. A new event.
Our Children’s Milestones were celebrated in mid Spring outdoors in a beautiful garden. Families and friends provided song, bubbles, harp music, home-made bunting, food and a camp fire. The ceremony centred around each child walking with a chosen adult through 3 willow arches which we had built earlier that day. As they passed through each arch, each child proudly answered the questions above, reflecting on their identity, achievements and hopes for the future. Our children were then presented with gifts they had prepared (a power pouch and letter to their 14 year old selves). Welcome to the bigger world. Oh the places you’ll go! (Dr Seuss)
Celebrating our Children’s Milestones © Louise Harrington
If you want to connect with Nature Spirits it is good to just offer love at first, wanting nothing in return. After doing this for some time they will sense that you come in love and will start to trust you. To connect with them, ask them to make themselves known in some way, and eventually they will come forward so that you can sense their presence. You may like to ask if they have anything they want to share. I find it is best to listen at first before asking questions. The main message I have received from spirit is that with all the pollution in the physical realm the spirit beings are struggling to do all they need to do in the astral realms. They are having to work harder to cleanse, purify and manifest in the physical. I was told that if we send love and appreciation to them it feeds them and helps them to do their work. They are a bit cautious of humans, which is understandable if you think about what we have done to the planet. So the best way to connect with them is through love: send them love and appreciation for all that they do.
How to Connect to Nature Spirits © Faye Greening 2015
That evening in the garden,
as every evening, our blackbird
in his plum tree
repeated his theme for the summer.
The precisely-weighted net of his five notes
was thrown over the garden
and hung there, waiting
to be hauled in again, cast further next time.
He blew song as if it were bubbles of immaculate glass
and always followed it immediately with a trill of the scale
like a little self-deprecating laugh,
but the call was out there, holding its place
in the emerging green:
I am here, here, here.
Late Spring © Joanna Guthrie
Ready to hold ourselves and each other
Through holding each other
We are held
With our unity we light the world with love
With our love we understand
With our understanding we take responsibility
With our responsibility we are brave
Brave to dream of the world we want
Brave to speak our dreams
With our bravery comes action
The bold and the everyday actions that change our world
And bring hope to our souls
Hope we can breathe in deeply
Hope to wake us from our slumbers
To fill every corner of our awareness
With the knowing
All is possible.
Empowered People © Looby Macnamara
Cold weather is past and summer scents tease the air. Walk barefoot at dawn to a hawthorn or oak tree. Give thanks for its beauty, strength and gifts whilst caressing your skin with its leaf dew. Beltane energy invigorates and empowers. Make merriment with friends. Weave willow garlands and then thread with edible flowers such as dandelion and daisy. Either toss them into flowing water with a wish, or dry the blooms and brew in teas. Adopt a tree as your Maypole. Braid paper ribbons around it whilst picturing dreams becoming reality.
Foraging – Enliven the tastes of salads and sandwiches with lime and hawthorn leaves. Many plants are in their prime, ready to pick and use, such as ground ivy, sage, chickweed, garlic mustard, dandelion, nettles, wild geraniums and cleavers.
A ‘May Bowl’ is the fragrant result of infusing sweet woodruff, lemon zest and white wine, overnight. It is perfect for Beltane gatherings, tasting of hay and summer flowers. Rumtopf, another gift from Germany, is made as berries progressively ripen. Toss leftover fruit, a splash of rum and honey into a clean jar or crock. Cap loosely and add extra berries when available. By Yule, a rich fruity ferment will result, delicious with winter desserts.
Beltane – Green Abundance © Lynn Shore 2016
We meet in a local wood covered in Beltane’s bounty, that herald of Mayday mayhem: bluebells, sited somewhere between azure and amethyst. Longtime companions in crafting ceremony to mark our passage through earthly festivals, we have travelled time together turning on nature’s wheel. We begin our honouring sat back against back. Thus supported we call in directions to describe sacred space within which to breathe in awareness a while. Amidst our delight at Beech’s lime green silken petticoats weaving a lacelike canopy, we are still and silent in contemplation of what lies before us. Rooted, we absorb each other’s heart-full presence: resonating gently, solid in the years we have shared, nourished by this mutual validation of our way of being, we turn and speak out bright blessings, naming gratitudes from our lives, tumbling one over the other, ending with a prayer framed as a wish. Blessed be to Beltane’s promise of the rising tides of light, warmth, growth, and thanks to all that be; for thee, daring, darling, soul sister and me.
Ceremonial Companions (Lula Garner & Viveka Bowry) © Lula Garner 2015
The birches are trembling in leaf now
and this morning the apple blossom
was thrilling to humming wings.
For a moment I shared their faith:
each leaf a tongue, each flower a throat
for the vital word, unspoken, unheard
if not through them.
For a moment I shared their trust,
leaf-tender and petal-delicate,
fragile-strong upon the riotous air;
a willingness to blossom,
trusting the fruit to come,
to be something we can bear.
A Willingness to Blossom © Katerina Tara Keogan 2015
‘Softpots’ are a new form of garden craft. It is the art of making beautiful fabric containers for all plants, indoors or out. These lovely ‘fat-bottomed girls’ have such individual and endearing, organic forms - they are plant-pots with personality! Once made, they feel like good friends, making you smile to see them! Each one is a joyous collusion between the earth, the plant and your own creative spirit. There is something of the sacred about them. There is magic in their random decor and the final transformation created is always a delightful surprise! You can grow every sort of plant, tree, herb or bush in a ‘Softpot’. They are strong, durable and kinder to plants than conventional rigid pots as they gently cradle the roots, allowing them to breathe and grow normally. They are kinder to the planet too, because they can involve all sorts of recycled materials, such as jewelry and glittery bits. It’s good for everyone of all ages. Try it for yourself - you’ll be so glad you did!
The Art of Making Softpots © Annie Austen-Meek
Several botanical names of our plants derive from Greek and Roman myths. The goddess Diana was the huntress. In Greek her name is Artemis, the moon goddess. It is probably this characteristic that is referred to in the plant name Artemisia, as many of the species are covered with fine down giving them a silvery cast and a semblance of moon glow. We also have Marshmallow with her botanical name Althea after the Greek goddess of Healing. Yarrow is also known as Achillea millefolium named after Achilles the Great Warrior, who gave Yarrow to his soldiers to stop the bleeding from their wounds. It is a ‘styptic’, meaning it is used to staunch the flow of blood.
By personifying the plants and giving them recognisable characteristics, people can connect on deeper levels and remember aspects in clearer ways, forming relations in a novel fashion. Plants are like people, each with their very own individual personality traits. Some you like, some you don’t, some you absolutely fall in love with and some you fear. Recognising these emotions, one can draw parallels with friends and family members and start to see how certain types of people resemble certain types of plants....
Plant Stories in Folklore © Karen Lawton
This eve is unfolding, spinning tales of honey sweetness upon this departing day. The air of hush washes clean the importance of feathered squabbles and the fleeting dance of brimstone’s wing. It sinks deep, deep within the splendid richness of this soil’s song. How that stillness speaks! It seems to drape its trappings amongst the pines, blurring and fading the edges. My eyes awaken, the wildness stirs my soul. I cast off all that I thought I knew, and drink deep of this shadowy mystery as the wind of this eve stirs the forgotten places, the tread of ancestors cast amongst the shadows, a pathway beckons to my pilgrim’s roused heartbeat.
Paths of night ripple across barley fields, moving almost ocean- like, deep emerald they roll in on winds that whisper with a chill that cuts a shiver to my pale warm skin. Words seem to rise up on the wings of owl, they fill my thoughts and the sweet song of the earth mother is a taste upon my lips. My being is swept along with this eve song. Every nerve in my body is full of this energy, my heart is overflowing with the sense of sacredness of this land beneath my bare feet. I look up to the heavens, as stars mark out stories of beast and bird. So it is within me that I awaken to myself once more.
Spinning the Eve © Laura Bos 2015
We can all find our own source of spiritual nourishment that grounds us. For some it may be a directly obvious spiritual practice, such as prayer, meditation or divination. However, spirituality and experiencing wholeness of self are not constrained to specialised practices. Activities such as walking in nature, cookery, art, craft, reading, singing and myriad others, can be personally meaningful and bring us into a connected state of mind. It is the conscious intent and focus with which we do these things that makes the difference, and the meaning we put into it. If we immerse ourselves in the experience with all our senses and attention, being as fully present in the moment as we can, our minds and hearts can be refreshed. Returning to this regularly and consistently, with a focus on conscious connection, we can build up our inner peace and strength. Eventually we can maintain the connection and sense of being grounded and centred in other areas of our lives and in challenging situations. It is most beneficial if we remain gentle, patient and compassionate with ourselves as we develop this skill. Our attitudes and behaviours can be transformed, given time and patience, and through this our interactions, the lives of our family and friends and those we meet. In this way, with small steps, we can change the world.
Small Steps Change the World © Janey Colbourne 2015
Flowers are laden with nectar and bees buzz around town. Sup on fragrant air, bathe your skin in sunbeams, and infuse your cells with this heady Midsummer energy. Run your hands through tall herbs, laze in flower meadows and gaze up at the sky. Relax beside glistening streams. Drink teas of lime blossom and vervain. Let the sun warm your heart and the moon cool your mind. The year will now start to wane.
Honeydew Harvest – Many herbs reach their peak at Midsummer. Mugwort, motherwort, St John’s wort, vervain, horehound and yarrow can all be picked, before their energies spiral from leaf to seed and soil. Elderflower bursts into bloom, roses hang heavy and lime trees drip with honeydew. Spend a day harvesting, drying herbs on willow racks and making vinegars and tinctures. Start collecting early seed from garlic mustard and ramsons. Add some to your food and the rest to your seed tin.
Preserved Sunshine – Steep fresh elderflowers in honey to make an exquisitely fragrant syrup. Simply fill a jar with flower heads, fill again with runny honey and poke with a chopstick to release trapped air. Bitter-sweet Dandelion and Burdock can also be made in this way. Add honey to 20-30 clean dandelion heads and a small vibrant burdock leaf. Allow to mellow for at least two days before enjoying in drinks and on toast.
Midsummer – The Pinnacle of the Year © Lynn Shore 2016
This place is ancient, a place where the roads meet,
Showing lines in the landscape that were laid down by stars.
The wisdom the earth has been holding in secret
Begins to be known again as the years pass.
This place is ancient, a place where the trees grew;
The groves of great yew trees and later of oak,
Where creation was honoured by the old ones, the wise ones
And this place still remembers the words that they spoke.
This place is ancient: great stones mark the sunrise,
The moonrise and star-rise, the cycles of time,
Where the land holds the key to the wide cosmic dance
And we learn where we came from and how to return.
But this place here is new, it is under construction -
Far stronger than stone is the love that we share.
This place is inward. It points to the future.
This place is a temple because we meet here.
This Place (song lyric) © Jehanne Mehta 2009
We were long-limbed and smooth-skinned children
guided by some kind of primitive knowing
that kept us crouching knee-deep in the summer grass,
threading daisies, making our offerings for the trees.
On our yellow sun-baked square of earth
we heard nothing of the city coiling deafly around us,
the cars droning north, east, south and west.
City children on a stamp patch of Eden,
we danced a slow sylph dance on thin brown legs,
circling the slender trunks of the silver birch trees,
caressing the leaves in our sapling fingers..
Watched only by the shadow forms of our adult selves,
stirring inside us, unknown,
we wrapped our daisy chains
and sang words from some ancient unwritten human ache.
Tree Dance © Hannah Malhotra
I step outside, recoiling from the usual morning noise: rush hour traffic, kids hollering, ambulances screaming “Emergency! Emergency!” I sigh. Here we go again.
I walk to the birches I planted at the end of the garden. They have become dear friends and confidants; one is a particular favourite. The urgent whisper of wind and rain in their leaves unlocks an openness within me. I begin my morning practice, a combined prayerfulness and moving meditation through which I seek to be present to the different worlds in which I walk: the workaday human world, the natural world, the world of spirit. I become still and listen.
The blackbird sings from the top of next door’s cypress. Birch leaves flicker in the breeze. Suddenly a brightly liquid trill surprises and delights me; my heart dances after it, too happy in the seeking to wish to find the wren that made it. I wonder about the goldcrest that, two months ago, I greeted daily as it daintily picked bugs from the bare twigs of my tree. The corner of my eye picks up a movement high up in the branches. The goldcrest? No. The wren, now silent, has found me. Later, as I eat breakfast by the window, a flock of swifts slashes the sky and a faded blue begins to show at the frayed grey edge. Later still, the rain returns. It is just another ordinary day. It is good.
Morning Practice © Katerina Tara Keogan
I round a corner on the Bury
On a mid-week, mid-afternoon walk
And come across a pair of hunting kestrels
Hovering just above eye level, only metres away.
Silently held aloft on the breeze,
Each head completely fixed on a single point,
The wind ruffling their feathers as they dipped sideways
Following the course of the wind, or their prey.
I stand transfixed by their silent dance
Trying to make myself just as motionless
Until as one they abandon their search
And with their departure I take my chance to slip away.
Further along I hear the distinctive song of skylarks
Floating towards me on the breeze,
Rippling through the air like water in a fountain.
A magical sound, immediately recognisable.
I scan the sky, looking for the tiny birds
But they give no sign of where they might be,
Their voices getting quieter, luring me after them
Away from their nest, hidden in the grass.
How wonderful, first the sight then the sound
Of these two very different species of bird,
One seen and not heard,
One heard but not seen.
Sound and Vision © Chris Auger
This is a time of bounty and fading beauty, when plants grow heavy and gilded with fruit and seed. Take time to reflect on how your inner projects have developed since the spring as you weave dollies from tall herb stems. Fresh plantain spikes weave beautifully. Their nutty seeds can be added to porridge and rice during cooking or planted in sheltered spots. To help ensure new life next spring, save seed from favourite plants and store in labeled paper bags. Stock your herbal larder with necessities, ready for the quiet times ahead.
Bounty – Some herbs are over by this time but many are resplendent in the late summer sun. Selfheal, mint, nasturtium, wild geranium and deadnettle make wonderful Lughnasadh salads. Elderberries, blackberries, apples and rowanberries offer themselves up for syrups, Rumtopf, pies and jellies. Preserve your harvest well.
Acid extracts – Herb vinegars can be mixed with oils to make nourishing salad dressings. They can also be added whilst cooking, to help draw minerals from deep green vegetables. Make them by adding chopped fresh herbs to organic vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar. Leave for up to 6 weeks before straining. Mugwort, chickweed and nettle make delicious herb vinegars as do familiar aromatics such as rosemary, tarragon and lavender.
Lughnasadh/Lammas – Green to Gold © Lynne Shore 2016
It was to be a ceremony of gratitude. Earlier that day, out amongst the wildflower meadows and limestone pavements we had crafted grain mothers out of corn and braid, reflecting on what we had each achieved since the spring.
As we walked up to the Lammas fire beneath the Ash and Sycamore, we heard the first thunder roll. The wind picked up, swirling around us, and as the sun set on the horizon we each placed our grain mothers on the fire with thanks.
As we each spoke our words we were serenaded by erupting thunder clashes, and as the last person finished, the rain fell. Delicious warm rain poured in from the sky above, soaking us through. We stood there firmly in the eye of the storm laughing, drumming and singing, warmed by the flames, steaming in our transformational wet lodge with a theatre of thunder and lightning all around us. Fire and Water. As above, so below.
As it passed we settled for the night, sleeping out under the stars, piles of wet clothes abandoned beside us, cosy in our sleeping bags. It was a wild camp indeed.
The Lammas Wet Lodge © Nicola Smalley
I love the taste of fresh cool spring water gushing and spiralling straight from the earth. When I drink such water I always sing from my heart with love and gratitude. Conversely, when the water available to drink comes from a tap, I feel dislike as I drink; it tastes horrible. Purchased spring water that has been trapped in a plastic bottle and lost its swirling spiralling vitality still manages to taste better than what comes from the tap. But I abhor the waste of resources, the plastic container itself and fossil fuels burnt to get that bottle to the shop.
Recently, something has changed in me. I have remembered how water carries energetic imprint as well as nutrients to our blood and pollution to our seas. I have remembered how I feel when I drink straight from the earth; how I bow and bless the water with gratitude and love. I have begun to do the same when I drink from a tap. I feel gratitude as the water travels down my throat and infuses into my cells. I talk to the water that resides in and moves through my body and thank it,love it, ask it to help me remain healthy. What a difference. Thanking and loving water changes the taste. Imagine what change could become manifest if, each time we see a dirty river, a plastic-littered pond, or an oil-streaked puddle, we not only do all we can to remove the physical objects polluting the water, but we also take time to acknowledge the water, to thank it, to love it. This is a game-changer for me.
Water © Rachel Corby 2015
A woman walks alone holding a bag of shells which she will empty into the water. Each one’s immaculate, a white ribbed breast, hollow as a votive cup, a little home for mouths. The waves convulse along the shore, gripping then releasing spray in handfuls. She walks alone, the dot-dash-dot of her footsteps dissolving in the sand, no-one following. Her life a hallway, a long exhaled breath which builds particles in front of her; they crystallise out of vapour as she moves along, so she has something to step on to; the shells in her bag are all the different days in which she’s lived, and she stops just here - empties them all out at once. They toil out into the air then down on the water like a rain of seeds, plinking with brief individual music. The bag is light again - this was its last job for her. She has posted her letters to longitude and latitude and now resumes her work: embroidering seaweeds across her quilts, over hearths she’s raised at the backs of beaches. Her stitches are like uneven signings of love, as thoughtless and constant as breathing.
What The Sea Eats © Joanna Guthrie
‘Holding space’ is an important empathy skill. When someone begins to trust that they are being heard, they will explore more of their emotions. Some elements of it are:
* Trusting that the person or people speaking have the wisdom to solve their own problems. (Try to avoid making suggestions or giving advice.)
* Listening without your own stories getting in the way. If the person you are speaking to has lost a job, don’t say, “Oh yes, that happened to me,” and then proceed to tell that story.
* Not asking too many questions as this will shift the focus away from the person speaking and onto your request for information.
* Remembering this metaphor of the cello. There are two cellos, one being played, one not. The cello not being played will begin to resonate, producing a sustaining overtone that amplifies and expands the frequencies of the original note. When we listen empathically, our bodies are like the resonating chamber of the second cello, allowing the first cello to fully experience the sound they are making. We all know how to do this.
On Holding Space for Each Other © Ceridwen Buckmaster
We are stardust and clouds
Primeval atoms hurled
Into the cauldron of chance
Ancient in newness,
Fragile as bird bones and glass
Connecting threads in a universal cloth.
Cosmic recycling, we
Have been galaxies, trees,
Other people, otherness
Dark matter, the light
Past, present, future
Part of a greater order
We are everything and
It is us
No more, no less.
Cosmic Recycling © Izzy Robertson
Peace is Active ~ Peace is a Choice!
Peace is not passive ~ Peace is Dynamic!
Peace in our hearts; Peace in our minds;
Peace with ourselves; Peace with each other;
Peace with our neighbours, our family, our friends;
Peace in our community; Peace in all our relationships;
Peace with all forms of life;
Peace with the Earth.
Bowls of rainbow ribbons are passed round. Everyone chooses a ribbon and takes a moment to contemplate the many different ways to bring more Peace into their lives. Each then gently ties their ribbon onto a tree with an intention to create more Peace... through all that we say, think and do.....
This was our community peace ceremony one year.
World Peace Day is on the 21st of September, every year.
For more ideas and ways to join in:
Peace is Active ~ Peace is a Choice © Glennie Kindred
Ripe fruit, flowers and leaves grow beside seed spikes and decaying plants. Day and night are equal. Bid summer farewell and welcome glorious autumn crispness and creeping darkness. Life looks in on itself, seeds bide their time and tap roots thicken. Notice how your plans are developing. Which ones need to brew until spring? Which have already fruited? Walk mindfully outdoors, allowing yourself to merge with nature and autumn to infuse within you. Grow new elder trees by taking forearm-length cuttings from established trees. Drive them half way into pots of earth or directly into hedgerow gaps. Come spring they should burst into leaf. Many wild seeds fall and germinate in autumn. Try sowing half your seed stocks now and plant the rest mid-spring.
Wild food – Brambles, hips, haws and nuts abound. Search for local edible street trees, such as Turkish hazel. Harvest only what you need and save some for the wildlife. There are plenty of wild greens to be gathered, such as chickweed, gallant soldiers, hops, fat hen, dandelion, mugwort, chives, calendula and rocket.
Sweet and Sour Balance – Oxymels are an interesting way to make bitter or pungent herbs more palatable. Simply mix the herbs with honey and apple cider vinegar, or mix honey with herb-infused vinegars. I prefer 5 parts honey to 1 part vinegar. Store in clean glass jars with non-metallic lids.
Autumn Equinox – Harvest © Lynn Shore 2016
Weaving is akin to our lives. As life develops, we weave a fabric of our experiences, each person’s with a different texture, colour and feel. If we are fortunate, we create a fabric of beauty, warm and fine, worthy of high regard. If we are less fortunate, we may have rucks and wrinkles, some colours that don’t match, or even jar with each other. However, colour and texture are subject to personal taste and choices. There is no right and wrong, just a desire to be. These traits and sometimes oddities, can cause trouble or despair. However, with them, we have a richer and more learned experience than if our fabric of life was perfect. Saori and mindful weaving embody this theory. They teach us that we are innately creative, and to be valued as human beings, with all our perceived flaws, and that they too can be things of beauty. Saori and mindful weaving teaches us to look inwards, to see the beauty within and work step by step, to enjoy the process without worry. Weaving is truly about creating from the heart, making use of all our senses, and as in life, connecting to the world around us whilst being open to all possibilities and opportunities.
The Symbolic Act of Weaving © Gaia Redgrave
Abundance and appreciation go hand in hand. When we can feel gratitude for what we have and what is around us we open to feelings of satisfaction, awe and harmony. We can celebrate our harvests. We can even celebrate the learning that we gain from our mistakes and congratulate ourselves for the efforts made. We can celebrate what we have done rather than focusing on what we still have left to do. Gratitude starts with appreciation of ourselves. Within each of us is a store of skills, talents, purpose, passion, energy and enthusiasm.
The lens of abundance thinking is most influential when we use it first to reflect our internal landscape, to shed light on our inner abundance. When we are in touch with our inner resources we are more able to see clearly the abundances around us. It is through internal discovery that we are able to make the greatest changes and unearth the most valuable gems. It is through acknowledging and celebrating ourselves that we find a fulfilling world around us.
The frame of gratitude is a potent frame for change. From the viewpoint of gratitude we can feel excitement, resilience, confidence and flow.
Abundance and Appreciation © Looby Macnamara
In Southwark, one of the oldest, poorest, and dirtiest parts of London, an extraordinary thing is happening. Where before there was only concrete, a wild garden is blooming, its roots threaded through the bones of the dead. Here, in this most sacred of earth, lie the remains of paupers and prostitutes who the church refused to bury in consecrated ground. From at least the 14th Century until 1853, when the graveyard was closed and forgotten, 15,000 people were buried there in unmarked graves; approximately 9,000 of them children. And then in the 1990s workmen digging the Jubilee Line extension on the London Underground began to unearth bones and a deep healing of the dead, the living, and the land, began. Since 2004, on the 23rd of every month we have gathered at the gates at 7pm to hold a vigil; to tie ribbons, offer songs and poems, and to remember those who lie just beneath the surface of what had become a temporary car park. A people’s shrine has been created at the gates of the site and many have campaigned for a permanent memorial to the ‘Outcast Dead’. We dreamed of a garden and sang to the Greenman of future children who might play there. It seemed that it would never happen; the ground was just worth too much to developers; but then there was wild magic! Crossbones began to be marked on official maps and now we have been offered the land for three years to create a ‘Meanwhile Garden’. Hawthorn, crab apples, mistletoe, mugwort, foxgloves, hollyhocks, and thyme grow there. Dragonflies, honeybees, bright-eyed mice, curious rats, and tiny, fierce wrens have made it their home. The wild land was always there just beneath the concrete. We should never underestimate its power to break through.
On Crossbones Graveyard © Jacqui Woodward-Smith 2015
A silence in the wood,
Rot-scented and ember-leaved.
I alone make offerings
Of lichen and feathers.
Singed with Autumn fire,
A slow steady stripping of summer.
In the strange stillness,
In the bird-less heart of the wood
A quiet gateway hangs open,
Air suspended; seeping otherness.
The Autumn wraiths drift in
Lurking, mist-limbed, dumb,
A perishing in their wake,
Gifts of ice and death to come.
October © Nerissa Shaw 2015
the deep faraway,
clean the palate on the moist and smell of far-off snow.
Gentle the eyes on moss-top autumn trees
and whistle in the winterbird from the patchwork stars.
through the veils of living,
deadline tangle, shoulds and must-haves
from whatever dulls and disenchants.
Whispering like a spinning wheel,
threading one year to the next
aspen a-shimmer through the deep soft faraway;
weaving through the whistling constellations;
through the veil and silk of snow
and also .......... bright in the being,
Right here, right now.
Samhainstory © Brian Boothby
We stand at the twilight between summer and winter when the worlds of the living and the spirits easily intertwine. Storms often tear through city streets; majestic trees fall, buildings are damaged and change arrives. What may seem irreparable allows new beginnings to emerge. This is a good time to honour ancestors and seek their guidance. Planting spring flower bulbs whilst visiting graves helps us reflect on the good qualities of the dead and express thanks for their gifts. Increasing darkness seduces nature towards sleep. Our attention instinctively turns within. Many plants die back and many animals prepare to hibernate. Help wildlife to fatten up and build warm nests by offering refuges of sticks and leaves in quiet corners; allow access through garden fences and grow diverse winter nectar plants such as Ivy and Mahonia.
Forage Lightly – as wildlife depends on autumn’s gifts. Apples, rosehips and berries remain in hedgerows. Mushrooms abound. Nuts from hazel and gingko tumble from street trees. Haws are ready for the pot. Leaves of feverfew, chickweed, burdock, dandelion and ground ivy remain verdant in parks, gardens and containers. Dry plantain seed spikes in paper bags, ready to enrich winter soups and porridge.
Sweet Treats – Bread of the Dead provides food for thought. Enrich simple bread dough with a handful of grated apple, soaked raisins or chopped rosehip flesh. Shape, bake and share memories with family and friends.
Samhain – Death and Life © Lynn Shore 2016
Bless me, grandmothers, for I am a seed of hope...
Bless me, grandfathers, for I am a seed of promise...
Bless me, dear ancestors, for I am a seed of possibility...
Bless me as I grow...
This is the time to fill your cup, my sisters,
Fill your cup ready for what’s to come...
We have pressed rose red apples,
Gifts from the tree to sweeten your senses
And carry you onward into the dark
Where we all must go.
So each of you fill your cup, dear sisters,
Fill your cup in tender care for body and spirit,
Know even a moment spent in deep resting silence
Will set spirit dancing long with delight.
Fill your cup, oh beloved sisters,
Fill your cup full of nourishment for the cycle ahead.
In the stillness of the circle, as all realms draw near
Dance a welcome for your ancestors,
Let your heart hear them say:
You are so blessed by all who came before,
And free to go forward
With only that which is yours.
I am a seed of dreaming, with a heritage of thousands:
I will choose well how I grow.
I Am a Seed of Hope © Nell Aurelia Admiral 2015
So unpromising and grey,
Veiled in mist
and steeped in
This Day © Sue Sturt-Bolshaw
As our autumnal forest catches sorts light long wavelengths from short, where leaves still cluster they lazily reject turmeric, rust, copper; golden spun sugar flung onto the blackened knees of those branches.
Death is so Beautiful © Lucille Valentine
The wood brings together
time past and time to come,
the hour-glass pivot-point
of shifting sand;
this moment where I stand
eyes closed, letting time fuse.
A meeting place of roots and feet
where Autumn roars its fury,
drowning out all sound
save for itself and the hoarse
kaahr, kaahr of rooks;
black rags that swirl and dive
and make the wind their own.
I am caught in this apex,
crossed-road of time and space
where all things meet and meld
where all befores and afters disappear,
become this now, this moment,
this herein of being.
Being © Jane Harland
Nature is calling the women, and we hear her birth cries. We are ready. We hold the torches, we circle. Life-giving flames to burn away what is no longer needed, what is unjust.
We burn from the inside. The feminine inflammation, a conflagration of sisters, burning away the bitter past and lighting the way to the future. It is time. Will you join us?
These are burning times. And they call for burning women. Women embodied in their passion. Women feeling in their bodies. Creative women. Courageous women.
Gather the women. Gather the men. Let Burning Women and Burning Men come together in ecstatic creative partnership, blazing trails into new ways of being in this beautiful world.
Nature Is Calling © Lucy Pearce 2015
About 15 years ago I did an exercise to find out what I really wanted to do with my life. I had to swiftly answer the question (and I recommend trying this), “If I died in 5 years, what would I be most sorry not to have done?” My answer surprised me. It was about sharing with girls and young women my discovery that, contrary to prevailing cultural messages, our bodies are good, trustworthy powerhouses of wisdom, intuition and joy.
Fast forward to today, and I have two young girls of my own, and am in the second year of running a mentoring circle with a group of 12 – 13 year old girls. We meet once a month, either outdoors, or in a local community centre, and we go on a weekend camp once a year. I, and a fellow mentor, feed them stories and songs, give them space to speak and be listened to, offer them time in nature, and creative materials. They call themselves ‘The Wolf Clan’, and we find wolf packs a great metaphor and inspiration for our own wild nature.
Of all the things I have done, this work fills me with most hope for the future. There are only 12 girls in our circle (we have plans to start more circles when time allows), and our time each month feels short. Yet, we are planting the seeds of a whole tribe of women who recognise and trust their inner voice. In the process, we as mentors find healing, connection and meaning in our own lives.
The Wolf Clan © Jackie Singer 2015
This morning, the sky hung impossible
midsummer blue above the hoar-frost ground.
The blackbird sang a lament for the year,
The blackthorn sent out a long, wounding wand.
This night, the Fears come crawling and scratching
Yet still themselves if offered a gentle seat.
This night, a fire will burn, invisible.
Deep down in soil in mud a heart will beat.
Under Brigid’s cloak the complete Dark will fall,
Swamp mire will rise, cloying around our hearth.
Yet, dawn will come, quiet and whispering,
Gradually gathering the coming out-breath.
Mother hold me, rock me, through this long night.
My Sun stands still, suspended, out of Time.
Sonnet for Winter Solstice © Jenny Barton 2014
Cold, brittle darkness envelops us. Trust in the regenerative powers of night. Invoke nature spirits and the returning sun by bedecking your home with evergreen boughs, candles and crystals. Nourish your soul with rest and make time for quiet reflection. Try to connect directly with the earth at midwinter. Stand with bare feet on the ground, your roots descending through the soil, intertwining with those of the trees. Can you feel transformation taking place? Leaves decay, worms digest, seeds stratify and ideas brighten within darkness. Wild birds may need extra food and water. Pinecones dipped in melted lard, seed and chickweed can be strung from trees and fences, serving as food and outdoor decoration. Offer shallow water bowls when natural sources freeze. Wildlife shelters, such as leaf piles and dense ivy-clad walls remain undisturbed.
Midwinter Foraging – Rest and regeneration is essential for many plants so tread softly through nature. Enjoy dried, pickled, tinctured and honeyed preserves. Ground ivy, chickweed, rocket, rosemary, parsley and bittercress are available to harvest, if you must. Trickle cider or wine around cherished fruit trees. Wassailing awakens their spirits and encourages rich harvests next year.
Wild Salads – Assemble small nourishing salads when you find herbs growing plentifully in clean locations. Chickweed and rocket are especially tasty, dressed with apple cider vinegar and olive oil. The Rumtopf has transformed foraged summer fruits. They are now fermented and deliciously boozy. Pour over festive desserts and add to sparkling wine to warm winter hearts.
Winter Solstice – Regeneration © Lynn Shore 2016