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 2019 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.
Images from the Diary and Calendar are displayed at the top, writing is displayed below the images.
Meadowsweet © Fiona Owen
Mr Fox © Shirelle Young
Her Soft Power © Jules Horn
Signpost © Sue Bolshaw
Beltane Bluebell Pathway © Philip Day
Raven & Robin Drum © Sharyn Turner
Temple of the Stars © Sue Wookey
Nine Ladies Stone Circle © Lisa Green
Budle Bay Sunset © Sue Bolshaw
Mwnt New Year © Marc Treanor
At the Top of the Garden © Glennie Kindred
On Solsbury Hill © Lynne Sawyer
Threshold of Light © Dorrie Joy
First Stirrings © Emma Tuzzio
Reflection © Wayne Bailey
Oak’s Hut © Uther Miraiam
Hawthorn Dance © Gilly Hopson
Imbolc © Avalana Levemark
Rooks Building High © Angie Rooke
Nettle Seed Blessing © Jacqueline Durban
Unfurling into Being
© Emma Tuzzio Star Magnolia © Caroline Quigley Moon Kite © Nicola Gibbs Wild Painting © Fiona Owen Guardian © Jaine Rose Spring Meadow
© Julie Fowkes Sacred Union © Emma Tuzzio Deer Medicine
© Kate Monkman That Yellow Field © Liz Salter Strawbale House
© Rachel Shiamh
(photo © Stephen Taylor) Strawbale House © Rachel Shiamh Switherland Woods
© Julie Fowkes Tenby Mandala © Marc Treanor Sun to Shore © Brian Boothby Infinite Radiance © Emma Tuzzio Magical Fairy Tree © Annie b Jurassic Coast Solar Eclipse © Judith Pollock Bog Cotton Ladies © Thea Prothero Bog Cotton Ladies © Thea Prothero Call of the Waiting © Fi Takács Low Tide © Ela Rogers Reaping Reward © Emma Tuzzio Stop Splash © Ali Walters Dandelion Clocks © Ela Rogers Ty Canol Wood © Gary Liggett From Monsal Head II © Steve Carr Awakened © Wayne Bailey Dream of Three Salmon © Dorrie Joy Sun Rising © Angie Rooke The Descent © Emma Tuzzio October Hedgerow © Siân Boissevain Harlequin Apple Tree © Lynne Sawyer Autumn Glow © Gilly Hopson The Bowl ©
Anna Fauzy-Ackroyd Out of the Ashes © Emma Tuzzio Hardcastle Crags
© Gary Liggett Welcome Home © Tass Bell Spirit Tree © Susan Hickey Reflection © Lisa Green Oak Spirits
© Glennie Kindred Gaia, Mother of the
Earth © Rosa Davis The Pregnant Pause
© Emma Tuzzio Midwinter © Debra Hall Solstice Dreamer
© Hannah Willow January © Brian Boothby February © Brian Boothby March © Brian Boothby April © Brian Boothby May © Brian Boothby June © Brian Boothby July © Brian Boothby August © Brian Boothby September © Brian Boothby October © Brian Boothby November © Brian Boothby December © Brian Boothby Euphoria Bee © Caroline Quigley Swim © Rachel Bailey Autumn Gifts © Eleni Matangi Deer in the Woods © Faye Greening The Glory of the Garden
(detail) © Ann Bates All Knowing Hare © Shirelle Young Late Summer © Debbie Crooks Dancing in Rolleston Woods © Ruth Gray Autumn Moon Gazer © Helen Cowans Heart of the Yew © Sue Wookey Memories of a Blustery
Day © Lucy Pendrick Between Two Trees
© Karen Davis A Woodland Walk © Karina Goodman Climbing Ivy © Julie Bond Epona © Dorrie Joy Shamanic Bee © Peter Yankowski Blodeuwedd © Fiona Owen In the Arms of Mother
Ocean © Wendy Andrew Full Moon September
© Sian Boissevian Quercus © Tom Genders Luna and Flo © Caroline Salter Midwinter Journey © Karon Harcom Evolutionary Landscape © Judith Pollock
If you are interested in working with the Moon in your life and your projects, then knowing about these quiet times of lunar phase is essential. As the Moon travels to the end of a Zodiac sign, if she makes no significant relationship to another planet we regard her path, her ‘course’, as void for those hours – until she enters the field of the next Zodiac sign. For this period there will be little planetary energy pulsing through to Earth, little to bless new initiatives. However, this can also be used to your advantage! Slipping through the gaps we can avoid confrontation with something we consider too demanding or disadvantageous. Atunement to this period can be an interesting experience of space, which then enriches the rhythm and depth of our lives. For instance, like a pause, a side step in a dance, like the space between words in a poem, we take a breath.
From our perspective on Earth it seems the planets sometimes stop and travel backwards in their wanderings. This sees them revisiting points in the Zodiac they had already passed. The lived experience of this indicates time for reflection on their particular influence and teachings.
Retrograde Mercury: On a practical level ensure your bicycles, computers, cars and phones are serviced in preparation for this time. Check your travel plans. On an interpersonal level be more patient and up for listening to others. We can meet mixed up transmissions with tolerance. Within your own self you will probably be called to be mindful of your own voice. It’s a perfect time to be open to stilling the mind, to reflect and receive a reorientation of thought. March 5th - 28th 2019, July 7th - August 2nd 2019, October 31st - November 19th 2019
Retrograde Jupiter: To be honest, this retrograde chunk in the middle of the year might be a good thing, as it will probably help steady the ideals and help anchor the meaning of the time. As it dovetails with a period of Mercury retrograde and they are both wisdom planets, it suggests a reflective energy in the summer. Excellent for academic and spiritual pursuits, though physical adventures may require more planning and preparation. April 10th 2019 – August 11th 2019
The Moon articulates the signs of the Zodiac differently from the Sun. Rather than a striving for the spiritual purpose of the sign, the Moon translates a more subjective experience of the energy to us earthly inhabitants.
♈︎ Moon in Aries: A time for contacting your individuality. Desire is inflamed! What are you prepared to fight for? This is the time to assert your self: to begin, to act and birth out into the world.
♉︎ Moon in Taurus: A time for getting in touch with your body and the Nature kingdom. Appreciate the material and sensual life and what you need in order to build your own security.
♊︎ Moon in Gemini: Time to communicate and learn. A time to mentally and socially embrace the intermingling of all forces and be alive to diversity. Time for the messenger and networking.
♋︎ Moon in Cancer: A good time for nourishment of the home, soul and senses. Very much linked with the past and family. Cooking, eating, caring, touching, intimacy, plants and the seashore. Feather your nest.
♌︎ Moon in Leo: Now is the time to shine! Play and creativity for its own sake. Power, drama, leadership, performance, playfulness, love and pleasure. Time for the Heart!
♍︎ Moon in Virgo: The radiance of Leo settles into the wisdom of the need to serve. These practical energies see the sacred nature of work. This is a good time to sift and sort, making improvements in life.
♎︎ Moon in Libra: A good time to enjoy art and culture. A time to communicate democratically. Libran energy teaches us that there is no ‘me’ without ‘you’. A harmonising and civilising force to work with. Do your books balance?
♏︎ Moon in Scorpio: The lunar energies are challenged and deepened here. A difficult expression but potent. A good time to face shared difficulties, move beyond power-plays and let go. A good time to check on shared finances and resources.
♐︎ Moon in Sagittarius: Energy is much freer now. The invitation is to expand, to seek for truth of the spirit, to discover cosmic laws in our life. A good time for special journeys and a pursuit of special knowledge.
♑︎ Moon in Capricorn: A time for tough love and facing practicalities, obligations and duties. This is a good time for economising and managing resources with your greater goals in mind. Good for business and family.
♒︎ Moon in Aquarius: The strength of this time comes through friendship and group pursuits. Light and impersonal, the Moon works best here with ideals, social connection and group creativity with a shared goal in mind.
♓︎ Moon in Pisces: A return to dreaming, the Moon in Pisces feels all. This time suits the imagination, compassion and spirituality. We may turn from the world and its suffering or open our Hearts to healing.
The Moon is our supreme translator of the Light of creation. Rather than being subsidiary to the glorious Sun, her role is actually to bring forth creation on Earth like the Mother she is, for she is the necessary intermediary between the Sun, stars and the developing Earth consciousness. The lunar energy both brings form into the world and oversees its demise. She works with the etheric level of life. She works with Form and Time and so she shapes the patterning of the world around us. We can mark the lunar power through the phases of the Moon:
The New Moon: The beginning of a new cycle attuned to the energies of the sign the Sun and Moon are in. A seed time, a dream time, a good time to set intentions quietly in your inner space.
The Crescent Moon: We begin to see the thin sharp sickle of moonlight. Energy begins to gather. Subtle signs of growth and form appear.
The Waxing Quarter Moon: The upward surge of energy meets with resistance. A time when we can encounter conflicts and blocks that shape the growth of our intention. Be prepared to make concessions and compromise, for that is what will take you forward.
The Gibbous Moon: Now the challenges are overcome and there is nothing to impede the inevitable growth. This is a harmonious time, where we attract allies and create together.
The Full Moon: The power of the initial intention and inspiration are gloriously blossoming in our lives. The seed, the dream, is manifested and blessed. There is a magic and a madness to the bright energy.
The Disseminating Moon: Now, what was grown can be shared. What has ripened can be eaten and enjoyed. A teaching Moon.
The Waning Quarter Moon: The energy must break down, the project must change. Here we have the challenge of admitting the necessity of change, the challenge of admitting imperfection. An excellent time for serious review as we face having to let go.
The 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.
If you are interested in furthering your effectiveness in working with Lunar lore then I suggest two clear paths you could try. During the day the Earth’s ionosphere forms an extra shield around her as protection from the harshness of the Sun’s rays. At night frequency changes and so the ionosphere is softened. The rays of the Moon and stars can now permeate Earth, carry out their transmissions and be absorbed by Nature. So, spending time outside at night is a great way to open to the Moon and more fully send her your love and receive her gifts. This way is more embodied and suits the growth of an intuitive and inspirational path. A more intellectual and strategic way to work with lunar energies is to synthesise the phase of the Moon with the sign it’s in. This way we can make more informed choices in our lives. We can also hone our observation of the lunar effect on life around us.
Astrology writing for 2019 © Ruth Brocklehurst 2018
Hear the call for us to shift the belief that the Great Turning will take too long and that we might not be able to do it in time, before the Great Unravelling takes hold. Instead let us fully inhabit the belief and act with the conviction that we have the capacity to make the Great Turning and it could happen very swiftly and convincingly if we are effective, collaborative and supportive. When we look at life through the lens of the Great Turning we are choosing to believe that solutions are possible and that we will find them. We are choosing to hope for the best outcomes and to put our life force behind actions that will bring them into being.
Now is the time for trust and connection and for widening our circles of care. This is the time to bring ourselves together with such unity and sense of purpose that we know we will succeed in emerging a new culture that brings balance and care for all beings.
We are many.
A Swift Great Turning © Looby Macnamara
It is a day to walk in the woods
To wander between the cold trees
As leafless branches clack their songs
To hear the wild
Trip the ancient strings of life to humming
Dripping boughs, grey bark and birdsong
There is bounty in that which seems bare
There is clarity, space
Room for hope to spring
Storms shed both shadow and light
Rain runs to root as life to its next beginning
Like seasons never ceasing
Our cyclic steps sound on
From a textual art piece, ‘Of Rain and Root’ © Ciara Mulkerrins 2015
This old land is stirring: the first fingers of daybreak touch the crystal frost as it whispers high amongst the bone-like branches of the blackthorn. Soft rose light breaks the mist which is woven like a story, a deep murmur, painting the edges with gold as a robin gladdens the landscape with his hope-filled song, rousing the heart to quest the beauty in every step, eyes full of dreaming and a soul song ancient and yet timeless. The geese, winter pilgrims, return to the land that gives way to mirrored soul pools, pale light carried on soft down; a hush cuts the air, a feather caught and dancing on an icy breeze, slowly drifting. A talisman to the land of crystal and frost, ivy-wrapped and blood-berry bright, I leave my offering, hidden among the bramble thorns and faded leaves of silver birch, that I might know this place more, that I might call it home. I turn my face, basked for the briefest of moments in that warm honey of pale sun. At my feet sleek and with the iridescence of storm-blessed skies lies the feather of the crow; my voice has been heard as I slip quietly amongst the day.
Winter Light © Laura Bos 2017
I wanted the healing without the pain.
The release without the feeling of dying,
The rebirth without the death,
Transformation without dissolution.
The process of healing so vast and terrifying,
And yet within it is such exquisite beauty:
The seeing with soul eyes for a moment
Of what is real. Enduring. True.
Bigger than the pain, is the love,
Finally being able to settle into my soul,
And be gently held.
Gently Held © Lucy H. Pearce
The lengthening days are obvious now, and hazel catkins shake their golden pollen in the wind, while snowdrops peep through the chilly soil. Traditionally, Imbolc was celebrated when the first sheep and cows gave birth and milk could be drawn off to supplement meagre winter rations. Yet spring is still very precarious, and winter can quickly sweep back again. Imbolc is a good time to plan, to sketch out those changes we want to make, to allow stirrings of excitement as we create new possibilities in our lives. It’s a good time to plant bushes and trees.
Personally: What seeds do you want to sow this year? What projects do you want to breathe life into as the sun warms and strengthens?
Spiritually: This time is associated with Bridget, the ancient goddess of springs and wells, poetry, healing and craft. Is there a well or bubbling spring nearby you might visit to honour the source, giving thanks to Mother Earth for her endless generosity? Might you also seek from Bridget guidance and blessing on your own new projects and seeds?
Community Celebration: You could bring along some plant pots, compost and grit, packets of sweet pea seeds, and share them out. As people mix compost, hold the seeds, sow and water, they can speak out their plans for the coming year, then take their pots home to grow on as a reminder of the commitments they made.
Imbolc: Light Returning © Rosemary Blenkinsop 2018
When the moon and stars are veiled and the cold hours before dawn are before me, I am alone.
But not this night.
This night, we gather. Over the lands we come, seeking a glint in the darkness. By the fire’s light, we find our path.
Our first prayer is for the voiceless, whichever cloak they wear – fur, skin, scale or earth. May they know that someone speaks for them. We pray for release, for peace and for absolute love.
We whisper too, a prayer for the closed, the hurt-full. May they find a better path and awaken in light and love.
As our ritual closes, our final thought goes to you.
With the greatest respect and most genuine thanks we honour you and the spark that you add to this fire of hope.
Long may we all tend it.
From a fire reading, ‘Prayer in the Darkness’ © Ciara Mulkerrins 2017
In 2014, I entered a three-year retreat deep in the woods of West Wales, stepping quite fully out of modernity and into a more paradise way of being. During these years I built a simple round hut using natural materials and lived there without electricity, mains water, fossil fuels, digital technology or the internet. It was a radical journey of descent and re-connection to the earth in her raw elemental aliveness and beauty... It was a process of purification... It was an arduous struggle at times, to step so far outside the comforts and cultural norms of the modern western society in which I grew up... And it was incredibly healing and empowering, to detox from the technological matrix, the mainstream media and the consumer nightmare and to plug back in to sources of natural inspiration, wellbeing and abundance.
Many times I dropped into a paradise state, feeling profound wonder and joy at simply being alive and part of the miracle of life on earth. This experience has shown me that it’s not only possible to choose to return to a life lived very simply upon the earth, but that this choice is also deeply healing, nourishing, and wildly magical.
Choosing Paradise © Uther Miraiam (Oak)
Sitting in the sun -
my face is burnished gold
and the world a hum:
I hear the songs of birds
and the breeze shaking out dry leaves
on the bush behind me.
Like bones, that bush
rattles its dead wood;
left by autumn
and forgotten by winter,
it is the skeleton of last year.
All around the pregnant earth is murmuring.
I hear in the sunlight
the voice of spring
and I feel in the golden warmth
the birth of new life.
The beginnings are singing,
and the joy of life is bursting
fresh upon my senses.
February © Hannah Fries
I find Her in the psalm of sun on skin,
in turning my face towards the light in early spring,
in the honeybees who worship at the altar of our cherry tree,
in crow’s dark wing against the vivid blue of sky and sea.
It’s then I know that prayer is in my bones,
in my cells dividing, quickening, allowing space
for the never-ending wilding song of grace that breaks through winter’s frozen state
and sets my bloodsongs free to sound and shine.
I know that sister starling prays Her better still than I
with whirr and click that cleaves the day to life,
her feathers gone to stars, and yet I try
to find the words for how it feels
to see the first petals against snow
and what that means to light,
to fall in love with what wind means to wings,
and peace to night.
And this black ink I use to write is whispering cormorants
I wonder just how deeply I can dive...
Becoming Prayer © Jacqueline Durban 2017
I want to spray a whole field with my love,
So that in spring ten thousand wild flowers appear
and shake their seeds.
And so every spring,
until one hundred years from now this whole valley
will remember my love,
though I am gone.
One Hundred Years © Hannah Fries
Just outside my door there is a large, unruly community of nettles. Sometimes they sting the postman, and sometimes me. Sometimes neighbours mutter about ‘untidy’ gardens, but I bask in their good company every day, grieve when they die back as the year turns to dark, rejoice on their return in the spring, and consider them friends. This year alone, I have been woken from winter hibernation by the heat of their young leaves as a tonic in tea, pesto, and soup, watched sunlight through vibrant summer-green leaves; spent happy moments gathering and drying nettle seeds to bless my autumn cooking (they are lovely added to homemade oatcakes). I have felt my aching joints relax from daily nettle stings, long recommended as a relief from arthritis, and delighted in the nursery of baby snails who seek shelter amongst their stalks, and in the tiny wrens who briefly settle there. Nettles are one of the Anglo-Saxons’ nine sacred herbs. For the Celts they suggested that fairies lived close by. Once valued for the making of thread, yarn, and cloth, their juice curdled the milk needed to make cheese; their wild medicine increases natural immunity and protects from infection. They are full of much needed iron and vitamin C. The relationship between humankind and nettles is long. It reminds us that sacred space can grow itself just outside our door.
On the Blessing of Nettles © Jacqueline Durban
The hours of daylight are much longer now ~ as long as the hours of night. Early flowers cover the woodland floor, seizing their chance to flower before the leafy canopy closes over them. Our ancestors would have scoured the hedgerows for welcome nutrients in the form of herbs and young fresh leaves at this time. It’s a good time to forage for tasty green leaves like wild garlic, and to plant seeds and perennials.
Personally: Take time to go for a walk in the woods and celebrate the beauties of early spring. Make a conscious effort to listen to the birds singing, whether in the city or the countryside.
Spiritually: Eostre was the Saxon goddess of fertility, associated with hares, rabbits and birds’ eggs. What ideas or projects do you want to fertilise with the power of your life force?
Community Celebration: Make a cake and decorate it with little chocolate or marzipan eggs. You could put more chocolate eggs in a nest woven from the supple twigs of willow. Share the cake with your community and speak out your thanks for the renewal of life, or your hopes for the summer ahead.
Spring Equinox: Time of Balance © Rosemary Blenkinsop
Like all great things, gardening is multilayered and complex. Superficially, it’s good for us – exercise and fresh air – but go deeper and we find peace, restoration and tranquility; and beyond that even, we can find connection, immersion, flow and healing. For some, it’s an enjoyable hobby, for others a chore: for me, it is balance, connection and inspiration. At its best it is a spiritual experience and I find I often lapse, unknowingly and unconsciously, into a sort of meditative state when gardening; my thoughts flow freely, ideas come unbidden and unforced, and trains of thought lead anywhere and everywhere, random and unfettered. The ability to be completely absorbed and satisfied – physically, mentally and emotionally – by performing a simple manual task in a small patch of earth just outside your door, is immeasurably beneficial in a world of complex, instant, virtual living. It fosters a respect for real time, not quick-fix instant time where fast equals good and faster equals better; but an actual understanding of the eternal and unchanging cycle of birth, growth, death and re-birth. Nature can’t be hurried, and if we are wise enough to accept this central truth we can feel the pressure fall from our shoulders. The forces of magic which will make our seedlings appear are not within our power to control, but what we can do is to enjoy the basic, uncomplicated, deeply-rooted love of simply working the soil and growing things.
In Praise of Gardening © Sally Ann Wardroper
Adapted from her book “Beyond the Bindweed”
To focus on healing in this climate is an act of powerful, political rebellion. It is an act of spiritual revolution. To heal is to be a conscientious objector to the culture of war we inhabit as normality. To heal is to bring more life force to our planet. To deepen your understanding of our connection to the earth and other people. To inhabit your body more fully. To look life and death squarely in the eye. To get out of the denial and silence and shame and invisibility that you have been taught makes you good. To embody the feminine more fully and reject the right of toxic masculinity to dominate. This is anything but selfish. To heal is to offer a profound act of service – one which will ripple up and down your family lineage, out into your community and into the world beyond you.
Healing Revolution © Lucy H. Pearce
I found a feather patterned map-like with the currents of the air. Following an old path through a dusky meadow, enriched by spring orchids and garlic mustard, a crown fit for the hive queen, a dilly dance of the bumble bee. To be a seeker of green places, a deep yearning, lost among the hawthorn blossom dancing, spinning and drifting like pollen upon this glad breeze. My sight awakens, senses sharp as the brown hare rising stag-like in the green barley meadow, the smell of sweet rain upon the air.
I trace the outline of the labyrinth, measured steps on paw print paths, totem beasts and ancestors guiding, their voices caught in the rustle of poplar leaves shimmering moon-like in those faded edges. The soil, loamy and rich, guides my roots down so I might draw up this shining land medicine, draw it up to my heart which drums with passion for all that I behold. A thorn scratch becomes an initiation, scarlet drops on dark earth and twisted bark ravaged by elements of harsh tides driven inland by the wild east wind, as she howls banshee-voiced into the hollows. I take my rest here, fern and ivy a place for my head as my soul begins to dream.
The Seeker © Laura Bos 2017
It is not only the double helix spiral of our genes that informs our particular shape, the creation that is you and me. That bright spiral has a dark twin, dwelling in the spaces and the shadows within the serpentine twist. This is the space into which creation flows like a mighty river, stellar tides inrushing. These two, the form and the space, are ever dancing, ever whirling together.
Tend the empty spaces within and all around you for they are precious and holy. Demarcate their boundaries with your fierceness, for it will take all you have while the world around you clamours for your productivity, your visibility, the marks of your belonging. While the world around you lurches in its addiction to brightness, to fire, to the certainty only of form, to simply give yourself over to emptiness is an act of rebellion and a medicine for these times.
Intentionally un-belong. Allow a delicious falling into the in-between spaces. Practise invisibility, don it like a costume and allow it to release you into a different shape. Knowing the deep belonging of your being here, on this planet at this time, what is it that calls you in that wide dark space, in the freedom of a chosen exile for a while?
Tend the Empty Spaces © Catherine Pawson 2017
A slow walk: steps forget to measure the path, stop beating time, begin to wander, dawdle and play.
A noticing walk: the kestrel hovers, rich brown against blue; fields ripple and sparkle; a bee settles on rose-pink clover.
A listening walk: branches sway and creak, a beetle rattles past, there is rustling and cawing and a gently breathing breeze.
A sensing walk: damp soil scent, yesterday’s rain rising in today’s sunshine. Green-smelling grass, musty twigs, freshness of moss, and the baby-fingered blessing of cool air on skin.
A sinking walk, sinking through layers of thought and sense and time to arrive at this season, this moment, this feeling.
Slow Walk © Liz Proctor
Hawthorn is beginning to blossom along the roadsides and in the hedgerows. Birdsong can be heard throughout the day. Most wild creatures are busy reproducing, and you are likely to see the first ducklings paddling fast in ponds or rivers, following their parents. The summer visiting birds will be arriving or have arrived, so swallows will be making their nests of mud and darting after the insects. Almost all the trees are now leafing up. Our ancestors would have been very busy at this time, up early to drive their cattle up to the high summer pastures, making cheese with the plentiful spring milk, and weeding the fast-growing crops.
Personally: Will you let yourself connect with the power of Nature at this time? Do you dare to go out into the woods, to rattle, drum or sing under the unfurling leaves? Sit by a stream and let the sound of the water wash through you.
Spiritually: This is the time of the Green Man, of Pan, the god of raw nature. However you express your own sexual desires, honour the gifts of the body. Dance to some wild music.
Community Celebration: Each take three pieces of ribbon, or make some garlands out of twigs and string, and hang them on a special tree. As you tie them on speak out your blessings and hopes for yourself, your community and the world.
Beltane: Time of May Blossom © Rosemary Blenkinsop 2018
I have great hope for the potential future of humanity. We have in our hands an enormous opportunity. In times of crisis we can work so well together. The generations who lived through the World Wars experienced what we can achieve when we have to unite against a common enemy. The greatest enemy now is within. It is our apathy and sense of disempowerment, our despair, lack of courage and self-belief. It is so true that we fear our own power. We cannot afford to do so any longer. We face the greatest environmental crisis in human history. Yet all around me I see visions of hope, inspiration, compassion, courageous action, scientific discovery and inventiveness. We have the creative potential to live the most awesome lives of abundance and fulfilment, in harmony with the earth and with each other. I truly believe it. Only our fear holds us back. Communities of like-minded individuals can unite to inspire each other and act together. Let’s seize this opportunity. Let’s write a new story. It’s time to wake up, wise up and rise up!
A Message of Hope © Janey Colbourne
When I was part of setting up Landmatters Permaculture Community fifteen years ago, I was motivated by the desire to reduce my ecological footprint to a level that would be sustainable on this planet. Against the odds we won our planning battles, met many challenges and persevered. I learned that it is possible to manifest my dream. I live in a low-impact dwelling, grow food in good soil, generate electricity from the sun and the wind, harvest firewood from the trees and collect water from the rain and from an underground well. My off-grid lifestyle is as simple and satisfying as it’s easy on the earth. But more than anything, living like this for the last twelve years has given me a direct connection with the natural world. It has helped me to appreciate the four elements around me in a very tangible way and it had a profoundly healing impact on me to come to realise, in an experiential way, that I am part of nature. We can’t survive without the four elements – earth, air, fire and water – but we have become so disconnected from nature that we forget about this. I now make some time every morning to consciously feel the elements around and inside of me and let myself be filled with immense gratitude and appreciation for the gifts of life!
Going Elemental © Maren Freeland
In 2003, after being granted permission for a self sustainable build, I began to create a straw bale home. I hired Barbara Jones, a pioneering straw bale builder to help oversee the project, and she encouraged me to self-build it with her support. A local stonemason showed us how to work with lime, and with a group of women from the village, on our knees, bowing to the earth, we began to build the stone base for our home. We ran courses to raise the straw walls and to clay and lime plaster the house, and over three years hosted around two hundred volunteers there.
Many women joined in and it was an empowering experience to build with women alongside the men. There was often an intuitive way of working naturally and cooperatively together. Straw bale is a joyful and forgiving material to build with as well as being one of the most highly insulating and low impact materials available. It was to be the first two- storey loadbearing straw bale home in the UK. We found the curves and softness of the materials lent themselves to an ease and harmony in building and made it more accessible and attractive for children, women and older folk to join in.
On completion Penwhilwr ~ The Quiet Earth Eco Retreat ~ was created as a place for people to come and experience sustainable and conscious living. In 2008 it was voted by the public as Eco Home of the Year on Grand Designs; a testament for a house built with Love.
Straw Bale House Build © Rachel Shiamh
Permaculture has three ethics: Earth care, people care and a third, fair shares or limits to growth. Now there is an impulse to redefine the third ethic to Future Care. Future care integrates limits to growth, the recognition that we live on a finite planet with finite resources. It also understands that in order to create equitable, healthy futures the sharing of those finite resources has to be ‘fair’. When resources are not fairly managed, history shows us that we destabilise whole nations and cultures. When we think inter-generationally – considering those who have gone before us and the seven generations who will live in our futures – we understand that we cannot design our lives, environment or culture in terms of sustaining what is. We must take the longer view and focus on the results of our actions in the future, designing with future generations in mind. Our decisions, designs and actions need to be regenerative rather than purely sustainable. We humans have already depleted our resources, laid waste to many of our ecosystems, and destabilised the Earth’s climate. To ensure a safe future for the next generations, we have to engage in what is a huge shift in our thinking, governance and design frameworks. When we do this we begin to live lives that merge the deep wonder and love in our hearts for the Earth and the natural world, with our daily actions. We unify the inner and outer edges into a deep inter-being and our journey towards wholeness takes another significant step.
Future Care © Maddy Harland
The theme of impermanence is never more clearly expressed than in these large-scale beach mandalas. Each one can be up to eighty metres wide and exists until the returning tide washes the sand clean. The tools are simply string and rake but the end result can be complex and precise and sometimes incorporates different shadings for added depth and perspective. I started drawing in the sand as a way of entertaining my children on holiday and was influenced by my fascination with crop circles in the early 2000s. Since then I have taken many commissions across the UK and abroad, and create annual community events in my home of West Wales. It is always a joy to create something on a beautiful beach, something that will be seen perhaps by just a handful of people, and then to watch it be reabsorbed by the sea. This sense of transience is perhaps the defining aspect of the work.
Sand Circles © Marc Treanor
Turn the seasons one by one
Trace your hand across the sun
Hold your arms up to the sky
Let the stars kiss the tears in your eyes
Dance to the beat of your wild heart,
Feel your feet on the bare ground
Catch the breath of a new dawning day,
Whisper the words that say
This is what it is to be human,
This is what it is to be here on the Earth,
This is what it is to be connected,
This is what it is to be living our lives
Eye to eye, hand to hand,
Heart to heart we live we stand
We are the power that catches the wave
That turns the slave inside us all
Into a wild, wild heart in a deep red sea
Rage red raw, crashing free
There are strong hands holding me
Strong hands holding me
This is what it is to be human
We wake, we sleep, we love, we try
We cry, we run, we live, we die
We work, we rest, we give, we take
We learn, we teach, we love, we make
We change, we dig, we weave, we unite
We plant, we eat, we stand, we fight
One heart, One hand, One sea, One land
One skin, One bone, One Earth, One home
This is what it is to be human.
Connected © Shannon Smy
The trees are at their most green and leafy, the roadsides and hedgerows bursting with wildflowers ~ a wonderful time for walking. The long hours of daylight gave our ancestors more time to get on with their tasks, so that they also had more time for play and travel further afield. For us too it can be a time to soak up the sun, to visit friends and to attend festivals.
Personally: We feel the sun, our nearest star, to be at the very height of its power. How comfortable do you feel with your own power? Try standing strong under the Midsummer sun and embracing the notion of your personal power. Do you need to retrieve your power?
Spiritually: This can be a good time to visit stone circles or long barrows, those marvelously enduring creations of our ancient ancestors, so carefully aligned to the sun’s rising and setting at particular times of the year.
Community Celebration: Pick scented roses from the garden, and strawberries, and put them in the nicest glass jug you can find. Cover them with fizzy water, lemonade or elderflower champagne. Pour each person a glass and as you each enjoy the bubbles, and the fruit, speak out your gratitude for Earth’s abundance.
Midsummer Solstice: The Longest Day and Shortest Night © Rosemary Blenkinsop
When did you last feel it? That tingling on the very edge of perception? The touch that reminds you to look beyond your everyday, into something older, deeper, wiser.
Throughout many of the traditions practised in this world, there is an almost unanimous belief that an enlightened state of peace exists. That a certain ‘oneness’ can be achieved: a perfect balance between mind, body and spirit. To forge a seamless flow between our waking mind, our unconscious mind and our spiritual form, we must look beneath the surface and work on our connection to what came before.
Life – before, during and after – exudes a consciousness that pulses on, even when the body returns to the earth. Imagine the wealth of wisdom held within this ancient pool of consciousness. Were we to follow that small tug that sparks our curiosity, might we find the answers we’ve been searching for?
Excerpt from a blog post, ‘Getting to Know Your Higher Self’ © Ciara Mulkerrins 2017
Shore line, the edge of one reality betwixt the merging of the dreaming tides with this shining land, ever changing. A soft whisper of shifting sands, kelp-edged and silver-spun to a roaring fury, twisting like an enchanted mare in the wake of winter’s high tide, plunging and diving, spitting foam into the east wind. Waters dark and hissing, a folly even for the brave.
I felt your pull, stepped into your waters on a summer’s day, when the sun as bright as barley, beat from a noonday sky. I was surrounded by pebbles, glossy after your wake, their shapes taking on tales and stories, as words they filled my head and salt touched my lips. As gulls wheeled above your undulating currents, their feathers cast and drifting to find their place amongst the flotsam and shore tangles, tales of old fishermen and wise sea beasts preserved in your salty shallows and whispered to those who gather on shingle under a dancing moon, eyes wide and hearts open to your ways, to seek the sand, polished like a mirror’s surface, deep and smooth, full of reflections, a divination for the soulful scryer before you claim back your shore.
Shore © Laura Bos 2017
Somewhere I read the quote that bogs are hard to love, and you might think I would agree, especially upon my maiden trip, when I sank to knee depth and stared in dismay as my turf-cutters’ path suddenly disappeared on a bleak twilight expedition to visit a passage tomb in Orkney recently. It was hard to imagine how anyone could like, or go as far as to love, these seemingly empty, bleak and gloopy places. Bogs, I discovered on my next experience – a beautiful summer’s day, when sunlight glinted on dark waters – are worth getting to know though, and contain an outstanding abundance of wildlife, flora and fauna that you simply don’t find in many places, other than, well, bogs.
As you may gather, I am now a bog lover, (albeit a cautious one!). I am wholeheartedly enthused for all their hidden treasures. The most famous are the ominous and mysterious bog bodies, and other offerings that were cast into the black depths to placate the portentous gods of old. My new bog muse, however, is much less ostentatious, but equally exquisite, especially from May to August in Scotland, when she waves her wispy mane of powder-puff silken locks, standing tall and proud yet totally unpretentious in all her delicate glory. I am sure she has saved many a weary person by effectively marking potential foot or leg soaking areas. She cannot fail to lift the spirits of any willing passer-by. Bog Cotton is worthy of my love, even now as I sit typing on my keyboard, in my comparatively sterile, nine to five life, when I can only gaze at my pin-up girl and dream.
Bog Cotton - A New Love Story © Thea Prothero
The mare’s head is lowered, sleepy eyes. Peaceful. Sharing her space and gentle energy with her companion. Graciously they allow us to join them. A brief acknowledgement of our presence, barely breaking from their relaxed state. We become still, lower our energy. Open our heartspace. Connect, let them know they are safe. You have a safe space with us. We are listening. The mare is fidgeting, as if she wants to move towards me. Due to past trauma she is not sure – should I trust her? – she wonders. A fragile, beautiful energy surrounds her. I yearn to open my arms and welcome her into my heartspace. Come rest in my heartspace and let go. Unconditional. Pure. More fidgeting from the mare, still unsure. The horses sigh, yawn, their tummies rumble. Releasing.My yearning is stronger now, but I am also unsure whether to move forward. Trying to make sense of what I am feeling. The rest of the herd are now gathering around us, keen to share this pure gentle energy. More yawning. Jostling each other to get closer to us. Itching and twitching. More releasing. We thank them for allowing us into their space and sharing their energy.
Later I realise I have experienced what it is to feel my heartspace fully open and to have unconditional love for another being. It has taken a long time for you to trust humans. I am honoured and humbled that you shared that with me. Thank you Missy.
Sharing Heartspace © Catherine Smith 2017
Under these sands lie ancient forests, speaking of damp solidity.
The land remembers you, softly.
You are an elemental being:
a buzzard’s cry
liquid sun running down your back.
Gather yourself in now – the first harvest
Re–placing limbs and organs
Do not let the shifting sand keep you – wrench your feet from its sticky hold.
Dance on the shoreline
Feel the drum of your heels beating out your edges like a warrior’s call.
You are a being elemental
Ask yourself, audaciously, where your roots are – where you want your roots to be.
Listen to your soul’s song.
Dance barefoot, though the sharp stones may cut you; saltwater heals.
You have the strength of the rocks in your spine:
Use it – and let the wild waves carry you.
On the Beach at Lammas © Jenny Barton 2017
Many flowers have now set seed or fruit. Young animals or birds born or hatched in spring are now nearly adult. The arable fields will be golden and farmers will be gathering in the grain. Our ancestors would also have started to gather in the harvest. Without fossil fuel it would have been a gigantic labour, which needed to be done as speedily as possible so everyone had to take part. It would have been a time when family members, old friends and neighbours met up to work, drink and socialise. It can be a good time for us to go and meet friends old and new.
Personally: Gather some golden grasses from the fields and put them in a vase, or weave a plait with three strands of them. What are you harvesting in your life at this time? What are you leaving behind as chaff?
Spiritually: This is a time associated with the ancient grain goddess, Ceres, Demeter, Ker or Kernel. It is a time to celebrate the great generosity of Mother Earth, who year after year produces such abundance in this great alchemy of sun, rain and soil, and to remember we are her children.
Community Celebration: Make some bread and craft a pattern on the top of the loaf before baking. Once cooked, pass around the loaf in your group; each person tears off a piece to eat, then as they pass it on, says to the next person, “May you never hunger.”
Lammas/ Lughnasagh: First Harvest © Rosemary Blenkinsop
Soil is a living organism. In healthy soils you can expect to find around ten billion bacteria, one million fungi and hundreds of thousands of protozoa in a small handful. I find that totally incredible: more lifeforms in one handful of soil than the entire human population of the whole planet!
Each time pesticides and fungicides are applied to crops the incredible ecosystem brimming with life that is healthy soil takes a hit. In effect, where soils are subjected to conventional farming they become lifeless. If it were humans, that would be genocide; if it were visible plant and animal life we would all be chaining ourselves to the remaining trees to honour them and attempting to publicise our campaign and save them.
Who knows what far-reaching effects extinguishing all these simple microscopic lives without a second thought is having and will have, how it will impact on our future generations? So, what can we do? First and foremost of course is to insist on organic produce. When possible grow your own using organic seed. Feed the soil with home made compost. Mulch any bare patches of soil with straw, manure and cardboard. Add seaweed to the soil, as this serves as food for bacteria.
Love your soil and its micro-organisms; like bees and trees we cannot live without them. And like every other living being on this planet they have a right to be here, living in conditions in which they can thrive.
Care for the Soil © Rachel Corby 2017
The Natural Rhythm of Life flows through all things ... the seasons of the year, the phases of the moon, our human life cycles, the pattern of day and night. This rhythm is a natural part of us, and we are a part of it.
It flows through us on an inner level too ... in the functioning of our body’s systems, our learning process, our creativity and projects, our life changes and transformations, our stories, and our urges to connect with others or to be alone. It is a constant reminder of our interconnection with everything.
When we know its pattern, we can live our lives with greater wellbeing and wholeness. We can flow more easily with the changes in our lives and in our world. We can trust the bigger picture and our place within it. We can remind ourselves that each phase will flow to the next in its own time ... that worry, fear or forcing only drains our energy. We can learn to bring presence, attention and care to what is needed here and now. We can learn to transform our anger and frustration into positive action for what we love. We can learn to balance ourselves, feel more centred, more alive, and gift ourselves pauses to listen more deeply. This is good medicine for our times. This is nature showing us how to live.
The Natural Rhythm of Life © Eleni Matangi 2017
When I got together with friends to buy a small piece of woodland, I was often asked what we would ‘do with it’ now that we ‘owned’ it. I realised that this attitude had led human beings in dangerous directions. Instead I see myself as being responsible for safeguarding the future of the wood, until it can rejoin the ‘Commons’, land stolen from us all by the Enclosure Acts. So I make these vows to Robin Wood:
~ I will not trudge along your paths talking and texting, but will open all my senses to you.
~ I will devote myself to getting to know you better. If people ask me whether I talk to trees I will answer that first I listen to them.
~ We will be mindful of what we harvest and take away, always considering the long-term effects of what we do.
~ I know we’ll make mistakes but we’ll make sure we learn from them.
~ For me you will be both temple and playground, a place to sit around campfires, on tree platforms, and in hammocks, to use mirrors and magnifiers to help us to see things through new eyes and new perspectives, to laugh with joy and swing with abandon.
~ We vow to make this woodland a place for celebration and dedication, for co-operation and a real sense of belonging which links us to everything, everywhere.
A Playground and a Temple © Marion McCartney
My bones long for rock, as my blood responds to the whispering sea or the pulsating flow of the river. Deep in my marrow curve my ancestral stories, seeking echo in the ancient rocks that shape my sweet land of hill and mountain. Those ancient bone stories are a sonar homing call which booms way below the frequency of daily life, benevolently tethering me when the busyness of that life would unseat me.
From time to time I drop and hear the response call, the call from chalk or granite that confirms a belonging beyond my comprehension, a fitting into the long arc of time and place. When I turn to snuggle into rock’s response, every disparate dissonance of my skeleton is sung whole by a mother’s lullaby, the first lullaby, reaching my ears in those moments to remind me whose daughter I eternally am.
Bone Song © Catherine Pawson 2017
At present, the law permits dangerous industrial activity which we know is harmful, while criminalising those who stand up to protect the earth and their communities. To disrupt this cycle of harm requires a new law to be put in place.
Polly Higgins, lawyer, and Ecocide Law expert, has been campaigning to expand the remit of the International Criminal Court to include Ecocide as an international crime (to stand alongside genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression). This will ensure global governance and protection when nation states and corporates cause or fail to prevent climate disasters as well as other ecological catastrophes. Her new project is the creation of the Earth Protectors Trust Fund, enabling those gifting funds from anywhere in the world to become legal trustees of the Earth or Earth Protectors in law. The Trust Fund will be used to finance the costs of small nation states who wish to advance ecocide law at the International Criminal Court.
Furthermore, because this Trust document is legally valid across the globe, activists can, if needed, present it in court as a part of their defence. They can speak out about ecocide and why they choose to stand up to it as a conscientious protector. The document creates an opportunity for judges to make use of it as grounds to acquit. When this starts happening, the Earth Protector’s Defence has a precedent and a new life- force is unleashed. Sign up and become a Trustee of the Earth at www.missionlifeforce.org
Ecocide and Earth Protectors © Maddy Harland
What I would have given
to slip my skin and join them,
the fish known by their shadows
in the amber of the sun-skipping river.
Sleek skinned, lovely still and coldly graced,
neither disturbed by nor disturbing
the restless light
and uncertain depths.
Cwm Gwaun © Kate Keogan
Looking out from the doorway of the Equinox, all is shadow and bright gilded edges. The tree line is losing its stuffing and the creatures – feathered, furred and all – are layering up to wait, impatiently, for the return of the endless days of warmth, growth and light.
The turbulent weather hustles us into our jumpers and scarves, our homes and hearths, where we draw up company and contemplation like a warm blanket. Reaching out occasionally for sips of solitude and celebration, we search for that ephemeral inspiration needed to survive these dark nights and to dream our way into a new year.
Poised on this edge, flush with the fruits of our cycle’s labour, we might glimpse the potential for all that can be. Past and future press close as lovers in a moment of perfect balance. Then, a blustery gust returns us to motion, reminds us to step through the doorway and back into the dance of life and death, growth and loss, day and night, once more.
So, look to the Earth. For She, as always, is leading the way.
The Doorway © Keli Tomlin 2017
This is a time when bright berries shine in the hedgerows; crab apples, conkers and hazelnuts start to fall from the trees, and apples ripen in the gardens and orchards. Our ancestors would have been busy working to get in the rest of the harvest such as root crops, drying herbs, making cider, and preserving seeds for next year.
Personally: A good time to take stock in order to prepare for winter and bring your life back into balance. What do you need to do more of, and what do you need to do less of?
Spiritually: This is a time associated with Pomona, goddess of apples and of plenty. Pick a delicious ripe apple from the tree and cut it in half crossways. You will see the pips inside as a five pointed star. As you eat the apple cherish your summer harvest ~ then extract the pips from the core and plant them in a pot or in your garden; they could represent your hopes and intentions for the winter months.
Community Celebration: Visit or organise an Apple Day, discover and taste many different varieties of apples and pears. Make a big apple pie, or crush some apples for juice, and share it. Honour the Apple, the Pear and the Blackberry; they are all the fruits of both the Earth and countless fruit breeders carefully working over many years to select the best qualities.
Autumn Equinox: Time of Balance © Rosemary Blenkinsop
Basket in hand, walking
through centuries, searching,
spotting, sniffing, testing,
gently pressing, checking
for ripeness, for rot,
for other tiny diners.
Eyes pick out morsels, hands
deftly gather, lips
pucker at sweet-sharp
rolls the taste:
through the centuries, knowing,
absorbing the land.
Absorbed © Liz Proctor
Listen. For the hills do. Saying:
‘Not this, no... Ah yes, this - now... Now, that...’
The trees creak in appreciation, buzzards circle shrieking: ‘We see, we see.’
What shape does the pattern make?
How can I tell you what this is
A moment to the next. A field.
A clearing in which to rest, to leap forth into something
Spinning out of nothing we know yet -
Doorways whisper: ‘Enter’
Hearts sing: ‘Now’
Feet channel ancestors below, each step and mis-step finds its place;
The spinning, wild spinning knows its centre...
Our weaving begins.
Come in, come in! With all it took to get here...
Come in, come in: what did you leave behind?
There is a place for it here.
Settle down, listen in: what’s stirring?
What’s longing... to stay; to break; to create?
What night owls and morning dawns?
Come in. Sit with me.
Spinning, Wild Spinning © Nell Aurelia 2017
Today a tumult of autumnal leaves tumbled, hundreds of them lying golden as bright spilt coins on the dark rain-soaked lane I walk along. Each year, this leaf-tumble day arrives, a day when nature seems to me to decisively shift her mood from summer to autumn, and I wonder at the timing of it. As I wonder, I find myself tracking the ancestral lines of those golden leaves in the lane. From their windblown backs I drift upward, backward from earth to twig. From twig tip inward, my senses seeking sap lines running towards ancient heartwood. I hear songs of the mother tree, her myriad of stories heard and whispered to the winds through the centuries, a hypnotic rising and falling of lives and loves and seasons ever turning.
A glimpse, an acorn lying glossy in a wood long ago, in an autumn long past. Enfolded within its tiny package lie kaleidoscopic unfurlings of grace and might and beauty. Lost in this acorn’s nut-brown dreaming I stumble upon this very moment, this moment of my standing and wondering. Behind this moment, an infinity of seasonal doorways, each opening on to another, of long-ago autumns, of feathery frosts and wild rains birthing ancient springtimes, the changing of each circling season impeccably wrapped in an earlier turning. This circular songline is both unfathomable to my quicktime mind, grasping for the definition of endings and beginnings, and deeply kindred to my own beating heart.
Autumnal Tumbling © Catherine Pawson
Settled in a new place, at last with my own kitchen windowsill covered in pot herbs (rosemary, basil, mint, thyme), and a little garden of bramble, cherry, rowan and nettle, I have begun to explore cooking, the beating heart of home, and to reclaim sacred connection with food and the deeper meanings of true nourishment. This year, for the first time, I made soul cakes for Samhain. These delicious cakes, many recipes dating back to the Middle Ages, were once given out on Samhain night, or All Hallows Eve. Often gifted to the poor in return for prayers being made for the dead, they represented ‘alms-giving as exchange’, something which is rooted in our winter traditions, so many of which allowed sharing with the vulnerable in ways that afford dignity. Our land has community and justice knitted into its very bones, if we only listen to the earth under our feet. And so these little soul cakes, longing to fill our homes with the smell of spices and the wild prayer of stirring, offer so much more than it might seem: reconnection to our bellies, to the seasonal rhythms of our ancestors, to our beloved dead again being held in a warm swaddle of communal prayer. There is a reason why we are encouraged by the speed of life not to cook. There is so much to be gained by taking time to stir the pot.
On Soul Cakes & Reclaiming the Sacred Heart of the Kitchen © Jacqueline Durban
This is a time when the trees are losing or have lost their leaves: there is still much bright autumn colour in the woodlands, but most grasses and flowers have ‘gone over’ and look dead. Our ancestors would have stored away the harvest and would be slaughtering excess livestock that they could not keep over winter, salting and smoking the meat, boiling hams in the cauldron. This is a time to remember our dead.
Personally: Get out a picture or photo of one of your ancestors, or make a shrine to your ancestors, with mementos. Light a candle by it. What would those ancestors that love you be saying to you?
Spiritually: This is a time associated with Hecate, the ancient Crone who lives in the dark Cave, and can give advice and guidance. What deep inner wisdom do you need to seek?
Community Celebration: This is a great time to plant bulbs. Bring along a large pack of bulbs and a bag of compost and find some containers. The act of planting bulbs is a great act of faith. The green shoots of spring will emerge but they need a time of darkness first.
Samhain: Endings and Beginnings © Rosemary Blenkinsop
‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The second best time is now’ - Chinese Proverb.
Last night I slept in a small wooden cabin surrounded by trees I helped to plant twenty years ago. This is my idea of bliss. Camas Centre is an outdoor centre on the island of Mull in Scotland. The groups that visit are mainly vulnerable young people. They come for a week in community and to experience nature. On a freezing New Year’s Day we planted 250 native trees. The air was nipping our skin but with joy we saw rowan, hazel, ash, alder and more go into the ground. With each tree I planted, I placed my hands on the earth and said a short prayer - a blessing for protection and growth. The landscape of Mull shows the scars of the brutal Highland Clearances when people, communities and trees made way for sheep and landowners. Planting these trees was a small but sacred act of hope, a way of re-membering what was lost.
To revisit them now they are grown is a beautiful experience. Each one has an individual character, texture and colour. Light and shade flicker and bounce through leaves and branches. Notably there are now chaffinches and tits and sparrows and birdsong. Many people at Camas have planted more trees, and the current staff will be planting more in the coming months after a donation by the Woodland Trust.
The Best Time to Plant a Tree © Rachel McCann 2017
Our Earth Mother deeply longs for her people to return to live on her, to reconnect with her and to love her. She still feels the pain and the trauma of the families torn from her, when our land was enclosed and taken from our ancestors. Sometimes, as I stand, feet planted on the earth, I feel this yearning rising through my roots and up into my heart. I wonder how many hundreds, perhaps thousands of other souls, living now, also wish to dwell sustainably, in subtle communication with our Earth Mother, breathing in her magic, revelling in her abundance. How can this simple right be denied to us? Surely this is a human right worth pursuing, a matter of conscientious choice, and a belief system as strong as any religion? Conscientious objectors have successfully stood up for their right not to go to war. Women have stood up for their right to equality and the vote. I feel the time has come to stand up for our right to live sustainably on this precious land of ours.
If anyone out there is longing to live on the land, or has been prevented from doing so, please get in touch with me. You are not alone. Let’s see what we can do to create change...
Loving the Land © Tass Bell
For many years I dreaded the approach of Winter. I associated this with the loss of light that begins to set in soon after September draws to a close, in spite of the trees displaying their beautiful colours of yellow, orange through to the most amazing tints of red.
One foggy Autumn morning as I climbed the hilly path above my cottage, my dogs racing ahead of me, I stopped to view the Ash trees on the slope below me, stripped bare of their leaves. I had read that trees withdraw their energy when Winter approaches and this knowledge simply added to the dip in my own energy as I spiralled slowly down towards my own inner hibernation. But as I clambered down to stand closer to these beautiful trees, I felt a familiar healing sensation surround and uplift me.
Trees never switch off their healing support no matter what time of year it is. Tree spirits don’t melt into the trunk of the tree and simply wait until Spring to share their wonderful vibrational energy with those needing to recharge their inner light. They are always there waiting for us to ask, to link in, to be awakened to all that is around us. Nature in all its forms is willing to support us when we are ready to ask, no matter what the season is.
Nature’s Healing Support © Thea Holly
Let it fall away.
Be the agent of your own unravelling.
All that which no longer serves you,
Which your heart is no longer in service to,
Set it free.
Step in, unclothed,
To the waiting void, the warm, falling dark.
Become the earth and seeds of your own discovery;
Birth your heart anew into the tender unknown,
Set it free.
Dive in, gather
Threads of wind and flame, of sea and stone.
Sing them into the copper river of your blood;
Find the lost wishes, and wounds obstructing the flow:
Set them free.
Fine tune your ears.
The bare-branched trees are calling for pause,
For still-gathering, showing us how to curl in and unfold,
Listen to the whispered dream of the worlds below,
Set it free...
Set it Free © Nell Aurelia
This 500 year old oak has lived through many eras: war, rebellions, the Corn Laws, Enclosure, famine, the Apollo Landings, 9/11... Let’s be as steady as the tree and wage peace. Be in nature. Ignore mainstream and social media on days when hysteria and hype are the dominant forms of communication. Switch off the weapon of mass distraction. Be kind to people. Swim in the opposite direction of greed, intolerance and ignorance. Inhabit our stature. Hold the Dream. Mediate. Meditate. Love.
Oak Tree © Maddy Harland
We need a deep, radical revolution that leaves no one behind. Comprehensively activating our innate sense of belonging and potential. Let’s birth and name and give power and strength to this global transformation. Let’s unify and diversify to surface our gifts and root our resolve. Let’s become the voices of the silent, the repressed and the scared, and be the voice of peace, justice and friendship. Let’s be the voice of Gaia calling us home. Let’s create the conditions for cultural emergence, opening to radical shifts in perspective to tip us into balance and into the realm of probability of succeeding in creating global harmony. Let’s become a global family destined for greatness in our ability to share and connect. The time is now! Let’s make the commitment.
We need a Deep, Radical Revolution © Looby Macnamara
This dark time is when the evergreens come into their own; see how the holly shines in the pale winter sun. Our ancestors celebrated this time of the shortest days with feasts and gatherings by the hearth fire. The lengthening of the days first visible after December the twenty fifth, which meant new life would return, must have seemed so infinitely precious in a world without electric lights. Despite the rush, glitz and stress that often accompanies the modern commercially-driven versions of Yule, we can also benefit by resting by the hearth fire, slowing down, taking more rest and having simple gatherings with friends and family where we share food together.
Personally: This is a time of year that can be very hard for many people, so it can be good to donate any spare money or time to charities of your choice. It is a good time to pay attention to our own self-care. Am I having enough quiet space? Enough nourishment and exercise? Have I enough true friends?
Spiritually: This can be a time to go within, by meditating, doing craftwork or spending quiet time alone, yet also to make space for those supportive relationships that help get us through the hard times of winter.
Community Celebration: Making winter garlands together can be enjoyable. Bind hay or straw into circles with thin wire, then insert stems of holly, pine, ivy, pine cones, and bundles of cinnamon sticks, and decorate them with coloured ribbon.
Midwinter Solstice: The Sun is Reborn © Rosemary Blenkinsop
in quiet darkness,
darkest of darkness,
a pause, a stilling, the end of a breath,
life lies beneath the earth,
resting in darkness.
Awaiting the sun’s return
together on this dawn hill
anything is possible
Joyful, the sun returns
over the dawn hill
everything is possible
everything is Love.
Winter Solstice Song © Debra Hall
This is the time of the mothering dark,
the crow black mantle of earth in winter.
She is withdrawing her flame to the centre,
holding it close like a secret treasure.
The meadows are white and the last leaves are tumbling.
Small birds flock together for forage is scarce.
The way now is down, waking each to a kindling,
kindling of love in the fire of the heart.
The Mothering Dark © Jehanne Mehta
When the Great Sun Himself
begins, slowly, to turn
towards the land you belong to.
When the first birds' voice
announces with absolute
and sublime clarity
that life really is worth living.
When the first breath
enters your lungs
that you join in
The body changes;
the sap inside rises, too,
and greets this crucial news
with equal and appropriate expectation.
The definitive moment
of Spring's arrival
can be missed
when we remain
too far down.
This definitive moment
is ours to embody,
and has waited for us
through the darkness
of our Winter dreaming.
This well-earned opportunity,
is the fundamental knowing in our cells,
that life really does
Ours to Embody © Rebecca Card
Let us go in search of the rain fall. To find it bouncing off leaf and cobblestone, scattering scent of lavender to the wind.
In sunlit fields, the rainbow haze lifts hares from their dozing and sets them to the run.
With a swift sunset, the shower slows and stars peep out. Wood smoke swirls across our skin and we watch the last glistening drops sparkle into flame.
Words from a textual art piece, ‘Rain Fall’ © Ciara Mulkerrins
Early morning, the air thick with the promise of a hot and sticky day. Some of the horses are grazing, one lying down. My boots are wet from the dew as I follow their human guardian across the field. Arriving at the ancient oak tree we sit down, the earth damp beneath us and the bark knobbly against our backs, it’s a little cooler under the leaf laden branches.
We sit quietly, listening to the rustle of the leaves above us, the birdsong around us. The herd come to us, we feel their warm breath across our faces, their whiskers tickling as they brush their muzzles across us, checking us out. Some pass by, pausing for a brief sniff before moving on, the remainder stand in a semi circle facing us. Their heads start to relax and drop, their eyelids begin to lower, nostrils and bottom lips relax. We all bask in the gentle energy that surrounds us. An occasional sigh, a stretch, a shuffle forward closer to us. The big gelding’s face is almost touching my own now. Gentle despite his size. I look down and see my top is smeared with dirt from inquisitive muzzles.
All have troubled backgrounds, but thanks to the provision of unconditional love, healing and the space to recover by their guardian, they have chosen to open their big hearts to us, to trust humans again. I am humbled.
The marks on my top will fade but today will remain in my heart forever.
The Gentle Herd © Catherine Smith
The Midsummer Sun -
not crowing, though Cock-of-the-Hill -
gazes as the top of the Earth nods
ever so wryly before tilting away,
and he showers a parting gift
from his basket of fire.
A gift of days so long and light
you can’t believe in ice or rime,
or puffy coats, or central heating,
days filled with dandelions and cut grass,
slow sheepish clouds and bees.
Take them with you,
he says, smiling his unchanging smile,
and hold them though the long nights
like a blanket.
And whenever I can
I’ll bounce my love over to you
off the shield of the Moon.
Sun Love © Sue Wookey
The little sticks that guard my heart have snapped
and something raw is quivering there.
This I place in your hands
this is how I trust you
you are the river that leads my aloneness to the ocean,
you are the song that brings me into the choir.
And turned outward from its hiding place
that shameful thing,
which did seem to be my failing,
is nothing more
than the pattern of a longing to be whole.
Friendship © Hannah Malhotra
Quiet, damp, fullness surrounds me.
Soft underfoot, protected above.
Feeling unseen eyes watching.
Fresh, sharp-clean air at my nostrils.
Vibrant life filling my lungs with each breath.
Such deep contentment.
The trees welcome me.
I have come home.
In The Forest © Stella Tomlinson
Weak winter-slanted sunlight
On a frosty November morning
Picks out each striped field furrow
Every humped grass hussock
Throwing elongated shadows across the ground
So that giant trees, cows, birds
Inhabit an uneven monochrome landscape
Like an image by Dali.
Chris Auger © Winter Sunlight
Sit and empty your pockets
Of all that does not serve you.
Let the stillness of your heart
Silently guide you towards a
True path that spirals
Invisibly outward once again.
Create space for abundance.
Enlace your intentions with love.
Solstice © Polly Hall
Today I created a New Moon Earth Healing Ceremony.... I started each Call to the Element by expressing grief before celebrating its qualities- for Earth sorrow at the destruction of soil caused by Agrochemical madness , for Air, grief at the extinction of three-quarters of insects in the last quarter century ; for Fire sadness at drought caused by climate change, for Water pain at the bleaching of the coral & for Spirit- sorrow for the disconnection from the healing powers of Nature especially among the young. It felt so right to make space for mourning , as well as love and joy. I welcomed the Ancestors in their Stone age aspect, honouring the way they walked the globe, constantly adapting to different climates and challenges, the Descendants, who will only exist at all if we now start to make better choices,then the goddess KALI , she who is both creation and destruction.
I took a wand of ashwood, and some Fairtrade twine. As I bound the twine one way, I visualised Fossil fuel Companies shareprice plummeting, Fracking rigs collapsing , vegetation breaking through their concrete bases. As I tied it the other way, I visualised Renewable Energy providers blossoming, and Blessings on Earth healers everywhere.
The chant I sang was written by Starhawk;
"We are the rising of the Moon,
We are the shifting of the ground,
We are the seed that takes root
When we bring the fortress down."
I finished my wand by tying on a buzzard feather for far-sightedness . I take it with me when I go to actions on behalf of the Earth .
New Moon Earth Healing Ceremony © Rosemary Blenkinsop