Celtic Tag - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! http://witchesandpagans.com/latest.html Mon, 22 May 2017 14:24:20 -0700 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Imbolc and Brighid's blessing http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/danu-s-cauldron/imbolc-and-brighid-s-blessing.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/danu-s-cauldron/imbolc-and-brighid-s-blessing.html

 

Imbolc blessings to you! 

Tonight I shall be welcoming the goddess Brighid into my home, and laying out a traditional bed for her that she may bless the house and family. I  shall also be laying out a white blanket on the thorn trees by my house....this is a traditional practice called the Brat Bhríde, or Brighid's cloak, which is said to be blessed by her passing by and can be used to comfort the sick or for the protection of children. This is such a simple thing to do, but to have a specific magical cloth to lave a feverish forehead, or to wrap up a child is goddess magic at its best- eminently practical and compassionate.  

Now is the traditional time for house blessings and cleansings, especially using prayers to Brighid such as the reciting of her genealogy, as recorded in the Carmina Gadelica. I tend to edit out the Christian references. 

SLOINNEADH na Ban-naomh Bride,
Lasair dhealrach oir,
Bride nighinn Dughaill duinn,
Mhic Aoidh, mhic Airt, nitric Cuinn,
Mhic Crearair, mhic Cis, mhic Carmaig, mhic Carruinn.

Gach la agus gach oidhche
Ni mi sloinntireachd air Bride,
Cha mharbhar mi, cha spuillear mi,
Cha charcar mi, cha chiurar mi,

Cha loisg teine, grian, no gealach mi,
Cha bhath luin, li, no sala mi,
Cha reub saighid sithich, no sibhich mi,
Is mi fo chomaraig mo chaomh mhuime Bride.

 

THE genealogy of the holy maiden Bride,
Radiant flame of gold, Bride the daughter of Dugall the brown,
Son of Aodh, son of Art, son of Conn,
Son of Crearar, son of Cis, son of Carina, son of Carruin.

Every day and every night
That I say the genealogy of Bride,
I shall not be killed, I shall not be harried,
I shall not be put in cell, I shall not be, wounded,

No fire, no sun, no moon shall burn me,
No lake, no water, nor sea shall drown me,
No arrow of fairy nor dart of fay shall wound me,
And I under the protection of my
beloved Bride.

 The wheel has turned! Blessed be! 

 

©danuforest.co.uk 

www.danuforest.co.uk

 

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danu@danuforest.co.uk (Danu Forest) SageWoman Blogs Tue, 31 Jan 2017 11:43:54 -0800
Faerie Enchantments http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/faerie-enchantments.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/faerie-enchantments.html

Magic is the science and art of causing effect to occur in conformity with our will. This will has to be focused and expressed creatively, through images, symbols, ritual, art or music - anything that connects us to the flow of Awen. The Faerie Enchantment cards are designed with these ideas in mind. -- Ian Daniels

I love it when I find beautiful, useful oracles on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. It seems that this is the golden age of publishing for the bold, the innovative, the avant garde--especially for those who create and produce independently (i.e. without the strictures and interference of traditional publishers). 

Yesterday, I came across Faerie Enchantments on Kickstarter--a Celtic-influenced oracular set for use in spell casting, visualization, manifestation and divination. 

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What is Faerie Enchantments? According to artist/author Ian Daniels (creator of the magnificent Tarot of the Vampyres):

  • A magical system for creating personal enchantments, based on ancient Celtic magic and symbolism.
  • An exquisite fine art collection to adorn your living space or altar, featuring Goddesses and Faerie Queens from Celtic mythology.
  • Over 3000 uniquely created magic spells, using various natural and elemental essences, magical ingredients and symbolism.
  • A Wiccan codex for the creation and development for your own Book of Shadows, charms, runes and enchantments, incorporating elements of Tarot and astrology.
  • An illumination of many Faerie Goddesses, their particular magical energies, and how to harness those energies through enchantment and visualization 

The Faerie Enchantment box set looks gorgeous and created with loving care but, more importantly, appears well-researched--especially with the correlations between Welsh/Celtic/Druidic mythos, Astrology, Tarot, gemstones and more.

Visit Ian's Kickstarter page here to view his stunning artwork (prints are available as a part of the rewards, too) and to back his new project.

-- Janetb2ap3_thumbnail_faerie-goddesses.jpg


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Sun, 21 Aug 2016 18:45:18 -0700
Honouring the Sun Goddess, a Gaelic prayer for the solstice. http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/danu-s-cauldron/honouring-the-sun-goddess-a-gaelic-prayer-for-the-solstice.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/danu-s-cauldron/honouring-the-sun-goddess-a-gaelic-prayer-for-the-solstice.html In the Celtic tradition, the Sun is female, a divine light and life bringer, so the Summer Solstice honours this season as a time of great fruitful goddess energy, but also a time of great power. In Celtic times summer solstice fires would be lit on beacon hills and high places to honour the sun and ward away evil, as this is a time when the veil between the worlds is said to be thin, encouraging interchange between the world and the spirit realm.

Sacred hills such as Cnoc Áine in Limerick, Ireland, named after the sun goddess Áine, were places of great ceremony in Celtic times, with fires lit there until at least 1879. Áine was also known as a Queen of the Faeries, the Sidhe, and one tale tells of how she emerged from the hill to ask the revellers to head home early so her people could come out for their own celebrations.  Her sister is the Goddess Griéne, meaning 'Sun' is associated with Cnoc Griéne , also in Limerick. It's likely that both these hills were once beacons hills with Fires lit to honour the solstice since ancient times. 

On the Isle of Man summer solstice traditions included putting out bales of grass to please the god of the island, Manannan mac Lir, the Celtic god of the sea and the husband of Áine. He was said to have visited the island in the form of a heron, to court the local ladies. This tradition continued well into the 19th century and has since been revived.

This summer solstice also falls at the time of the full moon. While the moon was sometimes considered male - the god Nuada is connected to lunar energy and lore, in Scots Gaelic culture she is also considered female- the full moon being called 'the swollen womb' - so this year the solstice will be particularly powerful. This year I shall be honoring both of them in my prayers. 

I especially love this Gaelic prayer to honour the sun:

Fàilte ort féin, a ghrian nan tràth,

‘S tu siubhail ard nan speur;

Do cheumaibh treun air sgéith nan ard,

‘S tu màthair àigh nan reul.

Thu laighe sìos an cuan na dìth

Gun dìobhail is gun sgàth,

Thu ‘g éirigh suas air stuagh na sìth, 

Mar rìoghain òg fo bhlàth.

Hail to you, O sun of the seasons,

As you travel the skies aloft;

Your steps are strong on the wing of the heavens,

You are the glorious mother of the stars.

You lie down in the destructive ocean

Without impairment and without fear;

You rise up on the peaceful wave-crest

Like a youthful queen in bloom.

 

Blessed Be! 

 

 

©danuforest.co.uk

www.danuforest.co.uk

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danu@danuforest.co.uk (Danu Forest) SageWoman Blogs Sun, 19 Jun 2016 14:04:33 -0700
Trees and the hill of Tara, reclaiming our soul sovereignty. http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/danu-s-cauldron/trees-and-the-hill-of-tara-reclaiming-our-soul-sovereignty.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/danu-s-cauldron/trees-and-the-hill-of-tara-reclaiming-our-soul-sovereignty.html
This May I was blessed to be asked to teach at a wonderful event at Dunderry Park in County Meath in Ireland. 'Animystics' was a two day event that wove together various Celtic traditions and earth based practices to really deepen our connection to the earth and our own souls. My session was all about connecting with tree spirits, and the tradition of the Bile, or sacred tree, clan totem and representative of the world tree in the Celtic Traditions. Standing there, in a field on a beautiful May morning, I was struck again by how such simple acts as breathing and being present to nature can restore our balance, and by extension our connection to our own sovereignty, our own souls, and the soul of the earth Herself. Dunderry is just a few miles from the hill of Tara, said to be the ancient seat of the semi- mythical high kings of Ireland, and I felt the ancient ancestors, with their passionate love of the land reach out to us, to remember, and honour Her again as a way to restore ourselves in these often troubled times.

Tara is such a special place, a wide green hill that overlooks a vast and verdant landscape. On a clear day it is said you can see all of Ireland from it's summit. Once an Iron Age hill fort, it is also home to a Neolithic burial mound, 'the mound of the hostages', granting access to the womb of the earth, the realm of the sidhe, and the Lia Fáil, or Stone of Destiny, said to have been brought from the otherworldly city of Falias by the Tuatha de Danann, the Irish gods. The Lia Fáil is said to cry out when the rightful king stands upon it. Once it stood beside the mound, but now it stands sentry a little further off, overlooking the wide plains below. Whether this solitary monolith was truly the ancient mythical stone will always be up for debate, but standing there touching its weathered grey sides, sensing the endless generations that have come here, and used this as the touchstone, the still and central point to anchor their spiritual and earthly selves together, to find that link to sovereignty in a world that tries to take so much soul and so much power from us, is always a healing and humbling moment.

To touch even fleetingly the potent core of life, from which all healing may spring, is a sacred act. To reclaim, to touch upon our sovereignty is to bring life back to the dried out parts of our lives, to the places where hope or love is lost, to bring spring back to where winter has withered our dreams. In this way the Lia Fáil is much like the Bile, the sacred trees of old; an umbilicus connecting us to our core, the earth and the many worlds, simultaneously. Dancing between the self and the infinite, to carry that connection, even as a memory, means to carry a little of that power within us, with the determination to let it germinate and grow in the fertile soil of our hearts.

Just as the Lia Fáil stands near the 'mound of the hostages'- the entrance to the underworld, the realms of the sidhe, so we cannot access our own sovereignty without knowing what power lies within us, and facing the challenges our own fertile darkness presents us with. In the Irish tradition, a hostage was an honoured guest, a royal cousin, raised as foster family to build good relations and bonds between kingdoms. Freeing those hostages, releasing all that they have learnt during their stay, to bring their knowledge into the world again is to bring treasure from the depths of our own being.To return to our centre, to reclaim that sovereignty, to be king within our own lives, is not easily won, but is a far smaller challenge than enduring the sorrows and pale shadows of living a life without it. 

©danuforest2016

www.danuforest.co.uk

 

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danu@danuforest.co.uk (Danu Forest) SageWoman Blogs Sun, 05 Jun 2016 08:52:37 -0700
On Wings of Song - The Many Faces of Rhiannon http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/the-cauldron-born/on-wings-of-song-the-many-faces-of-rhiannon.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/the-cauldron-born/on-wings-of-song-the-many-faces-of-rhiannon.html

On Wings of Song

The many faces of Rhiannon

 

A fe fyddwch yn ciniawa yn Harlech am saith mlynedd ac Adar Rhiannon yn canu ichwi…..Ac yna fe gyrchasant hwy I Harlech a dechreuasant eistedd a fe ddechreuwyd eu digoni eu hunain o fwyd a diod. Cyn gynted ag y dechreuasant hwytha I fwyta ac yfed, death tri aderyn a dechreu canu rhyw gerdd iddynt, ac o’r cerddi a glywesant erioed yr oedd pob un yn anhyfryd o’I cymharu a hi. A rhaid oedd iddynt syllu ymhell allan uwch ben y weilgi I’w gweld. Ac yr oedynt mor amlwg iddynt hwy a phe byddent gyda hwy. Ac ar y cinio hwnnw y buont am saith mlynedd. (Pedeir Keinc y Mabinogi, Williams)

And you will respite in Harlech for 7 years and the Birds of Rhiannon will sing to thee….They went to Harlech, and they sat down and began to regale themselves with meat and drink, and even as they began to eat and drink there came three birds and began to sing to them a certain song, and of all of the songs they had ever heard each one was unlovely compared with that. And far they must look to see them out over the ocean deep, yet it was as clear to them as if they were close by them, and at that feasting they were 7 years.

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This blog post will attempt to address the subtle attributes of Rhiannon, those that may initially be overlooked and lost in translation. The Birds of Rhiannon, note the capitalisation, which in itself appears in the Diplomatic Texts, have a quality that belies Rhiannon’s nature, not only as the Queen, the Sovereign representative of the land, but also of her Otherworldly, Annwfn attributes. She is simultaneously an Andedion (A deity not of our world) and a land based deity. She appears as a complex paradox and her nature can easily be discovered by looking at the various jigsaw pieces of myth that make up her tale. However the tethers which hold her fast to Annwfn are continuously reiterated throughout the Branches, if we know where to look.  

It is important to remind you at this point of the non-linear, non-sequential nature of the 4 branches. Before this discourse continues any further it is essential that you consider this – it is not 4 individual branches that we are working with here, but rather one Mabinogi with 4 branches. They are interconnected, they share the same trunk, exist upon the same tree and cannot be entirely separated, and the contradictions and paradoxes demonstrate this.

Consider this, the above segment of the Mabinogi is told in the 2nd Branch, Branwen the Daughter of Llŷr. The 7 survivors of the war in Ireland have returned, but note that 2 of the party are intimately connected to Rhiannon, Pryderi her son and Manawydan her husband. It is easy to become trapped in linear thinking here, and consider that the marriage between Rhiannon and Manawydan has yet to take place, but note also another intentional contradiction in the tale. Pendaran Dyfed, Pryderi’s foster father in the 1st Branch, in the 2nd is described as a young lad, a juvenile. This would seem to defy logic, which indeed the Branches do so well. They are not sequential stories but a rendition of YOUR inner mythological landscape.

Rhiannon in popular neo-pagan thinking is generally associated with sexual independence and power, a quality which is apparent on the surface. But, as with all the archetypes of the Branches, we cannot take them at surface value, for they all emulate the qualities of the dwfn – the deep. To understand them better and their function in our lives we must scratch at their surface.

Now look to the Welsh version above, and you will note the 3rd sentence from the end says – “A rhaid oedd iddynt syllu ymhell allan uwch ben y weilgi I’w gweld.” (And far they must look to see them out over the ocean deep). Now take note of the word weilgi, commonly translated as sea or ocean, the direction from which the bird song is emanating. However, the term weilgi is not the common Welsh designation for sea nor ocean, which would be Môr, it is derived from Gweilgi, which is an old Welsh word pertaining to the deep, the dwfn. With this in mind, the direction of the birdsong, is not coming from above the sea at Harlech, but from above the deep. Rhiannon’s original home is the dwfn, the deep, she originated in Annwfn, making her an Andedion, an otherworldly Goddess/archetype. Her depthness and Annwfn’nes (if there even is such a word) are continuously reiterated throughout the Branches. The subtle use of uncommon words to describe something ordinary is not unusual, and is possibly indicative of the bard’s ability to disguise the mystery, people rarely see what is under the noses unless it is pointed out. However throw in the fickleness of translation and the magic is lost.

Consider Pryderi’s imprisonment in Annwfn, reiterated again in the 3rd Branch when he and his mother Rhiannon both vanish in a fort, by a cauldron, in a puff of mist, heralded by a white animal. Consider also the function of the Birds of Rhiannon as noted in the 9th Century tale Culhwch ac Olwen as being able to wake the dead and soothe the living to a restful sleep. But even here the buggeration of translation comes into play, for the word used to describe their quality as that of causing sleep is huno as opposed to cwsg. Huno is akin to falling into a death like sleep rather than simple slumber. Death, or rather the state of death and its mystery are central to this entire sequence. Look a little further afield to the Irish saga, and one will discover more magical birds that echo the qualities of the Otherworld. In the Mabinogi, they are evidently the necessary function for opening the doors to an otherworldly reality where the 7 survivors are soothed of their pains and scars of war, and whilst the initial period lasts for 7 years (7 years, 7 survivors….go figure), the primary Otherworldly encounter lasts for a whopping 80 years, initiated by the quality of Rhiannon and her Birds. For the Otherworld to be engaged with, it is apparent that animals who are imbued with either physical oddities or supernatural powers are employed to ‘open the doors’ as it were. This is not uncommon in Celtic mythology, for often animals and trees are the initiators of mystery, this wold require further discourse and exploration beyond the scope of this essay.

According to Mabinogi scholar Will Parker, the appearance of the Birds is a manifestation of the passage between the worlds of the living and the dead. The Birds of Rhiannon are equated with the mystery of the dwfn, the deep by proxy of Ocean, sea, a quality that can be seen to be symbolic of high mystery, of singularity and origination. She marries the sea by proxy of Manawydan, and she is intimately associated with Teyrnon, who himself is attributed a tidal, sea-like quality.  The name Terynon Twryf Liant, can be translated as 'Great King/Monarch of the tumultuous current/sea'. A rather fitting counterpart to Rhiannon's name meaning - Great Queen. He is associated with the horse, and a liminal time, Calan Mai (Beltane).Now consider where he lives, Gwent ys Coed, the usk and Severn valley, consider also that thwrf, derived from twryf/twrf, is an old word for a bore or eagre, as in the 'Severn Bore'. The waves of the bore, and of the sea are often referred to as 'horses'.

Academics immediately, without discourse, abandon the meaning of Liant as Lliant meaning current of the sea, simply because it does not seem to fit with the function of the 1st Branch. Ok, so it's not entirely their fault, to a degree they follow their predecessors like little sheep. But, we have another weapon in our arsenal of God bothering.....the visionary. In the 3rd Branch, Rhiannon, after her utter humanisation in the 1st Branch, marries the sea (Manawydan). She returns to that undifferentiated unconsciousness that she originated from - Annwfn. And yet, the 1st Branch links her by name and nature to the ever present magic and mystery of the sea - in this case, when the sea actually mingles and mixes with fresh water - Teyrnon.

Whilst Rhiannon’s physical presence does not appear in the 2nd Branch, her quality as Psychopomp is quite apparent.

With this in mind, we can discern that the entire sequence of events within the final part of the 2nd Branch is indicative of retreat, withdrawal and assimilation, the psychic retreat after the shamanic wound if you like. This process of catharsis is essential for us to attain an understanding of the mystery contained within the 4th Branch, where the entire Branches are magically assimilated into actual experience. To all sense and purposes the 7 survivors are in a liminal state between life and death, one which requires the attributes of Rhiannon to initiate. By the time the process of assimilation is a necessity for further transformation to ensue, the adept has journeyed a perplexing, cathartic and oft traumatic road.

However, I must pause here and return to a word that has been thrown about this discourse and raised little if no alarm in the readers mind. Survivor. In this treatment it is referring to the seven who return from Ireland. The power of words are wont to be elusive, for in the original text we do not see the Welsh word for survivor = goroeswyr. Instead we find the old Welsh world dihengis, rendered in modern Welsh as dihangdod, both of which mean – “Ymgais new duedd I ffoi o ran y meddwl a’r dychymyg oddiwrth ddiflastod ac undonedd bywyd fel y mae” (Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru - Dictionay of the Welsh language) which translate as – “The effort or attempt by means of mind and imagination to fly from the tedium and monotony of life as it is”. In fact the seven are retreating to a place between the worlds, they are not simple survivors, but willing participants in an Otherworldly sojourn.  We can glean several insights from the assembly of the Wondrous Head on the isle of Gwales, between the worlds, separated from time and space and all sorrows until the door is opened onto the world we inhabit.

If we consider the above, it becomes apparent that a sequence of retreat, of assimilation, of understanding the mystery of liminality, of death and return is essential to the mysteries contained within the 4 Branches. And one of the first archetypes we meet who assists us in assimilating this quandary is Rhiannon. Arawn, Pwyll and Hafgan introduce us to the reality of the dwfn, the deep, but it is the connection and experience of Rhiannon that brings it to actualisation and to a deeper sense of knowing.

Rhiannon is multi-faceted, and one of the first Psychopomps we encounter, she is so much more than a sexually assertive woman. All religions and spiritual traditions serve to make sense of mankind’s most perplexing paradigm, what happens to us when we die. In my mind it make a whole lot of sense that one of the initial archetypes we encounter serves to provide us with answers to the big questions, thus enabling us to move on, to experience the branches without the crippling fears of existential anxiety. 

In her form as Queen, as Rigatona, she is the potential within us all, and knowable as the sovereignty within the land, she invokes want and lust, she stirs the heart to love. As calumniated wife she is the vulnerability and expression of deep human emotions and the power of loss, surrender and assimilation. As horse she is the symbol of the animistic spirit hid within the land, our bridge to be one with the land. As bird she is the door to the passageway between the worlds, and the return to the deep. We are not limited to working with one aspect or the other, but can connect and call and work with her in technicolour splendour and be moved to understand the mysteries, not as a cerebral exercise but one which moves the heart, mind and spirit.  

 

 


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angleseydruids@hotmail.com (Kristoffer Hughes) Paths Blogs Sat, 26 Mar 2016 15:56:57 -0700
The Magic of the Autumn Equinox; part 2. http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/danu-s-cauldron/the-magic-of-the-autumn-equinox-part-2.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/danu-s-cauldron/the-magic-of-the-autumn-equinox-part-2.html The equinoxes have been marked across the British Isles since the earliest times as agricultural markers, revealing the times of seed sowing and crop reaping as well as honouring the patterns of growth and decrease in our lives. In Ireland the Neolithic burial complex at Loughcrew known as Sliabh na Callighe of  'the hills of the veiled one' contains many astronomical alignments, and the interior of one of its structures, known as Cairn T is illuminated by the equinox sunrise, revealing spectacular designs carved into the rock over five thousand of years ago.  Archaeology reveals that Loughcrew has been a place of ritual and ceremony at the equinoxes for much of that time, a tradition that has been revived enthusiastically in the modern era, the footsteps of the pilgrims today walking the same paths as the ancestors thousands of years ago.

Another lesser known ancient place aligned to the equinoxes is West Kennet Longbarrow, part of the Avebury sacred complex, now a UNESCO world heritage site. I've spent many a night here, in communion with the ancestors, and to me this is a place where the barrow forms a recumbent goddess, receiving the spirits of the dead to return their spirits to life in the spring. 

There is a silence here, a sense of infinite time that suits the feel of the season as summer draws to a close. Above, the pleiades begin to be seen once more glimmering in the predawn sky. They will grow in brightness until at Samhain they are clearly visible in the deep dark of the night sky. In the Celtic tradition these are associated with mourning and grief, and to me these 'seven sisters' act like priestesses, attending to the earth goddess as she descends into the sleeping earth for the winter. 

I give thanks for these last days of summer, and the fiery abundance of autumn when the forests turn to gold. I give thanks to the earth goddess for her beauty, abundance and her sacrifice with every seed I gather from the garden, with every berry and fruit I turn to potions and preserves. Now is the time to get out into the sunlight, feel the seasons turn, and revel in the last of summers glory while we can. Soak it all in, hold it in your heart like golden treasure to shine bright inside you as winter comes. Like those rays of sun touching the rock walls of the tombs, now the light must go within, but we can hold it, and nurture it, just like the earth, and see its return when spring comes renewed.   

Blessed Be! 

 

©danuforest2015 www.danuforest.co.uk

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danu@danuforest.co.uk (Danu Forest) SageWoman Blogs Wed, 16 Sep 2015 10:19:18 -0700
The Magic of the Autumn Equinox; part 1. http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/danu-s-cauldron/the-magic-of-the-autumn-equinox-part-1.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/danu-s-cauldron/the-magic-of-the-autumn-equinox-part-1.html
As the last of the summer fades away I always look forward to the autumn ahead as a time of real sensual delight. In this the first of a series of blogs from me celebrating my favourite season I look at how to make it relevant to you, no matter where you live, and whatever your spiritual path.   

Autumn is a time of rich abundance. The freshening air after a long summer can reinvigorate us, and encourage a more wistful, reflective state of mind that can help us develop our awareness to a deeper level. The scents of wood smoke and ripe apples waft over the countryside. The leaves begin to turn from green to golden, and the berries ripen on the branches in purples and scarlet making this a delicious, sensual time of year. A good opportunity to tune in to our wisdom of our bodies.

The Autumn Equinox, when the day and night are of equal length, falls this year on the 23rd of September. This traditionally marks the last of the harvest; the last of the grain gathered in and the preparations for the winter ahead reaching a hectic conclusion. September so often brings a calm, business like feel to our lives, the new season bringing a chance to adjust our sails. This is the time to take stock and consider the idea of harvest in a different way. Where are we going? Are our lives reflecting our highest dreams and potential? How do we navigate our way to a better life?  Consider the metaphorical seeds we have sown in our past. Have they born fruit? Is our life now, our harvest, reflecting our needs and desires or do we need to change tactics for the future, sow different seeds, attend to the growth of our plans in a different way?

Here are some ideas to help you mark the autumn equinox in a way that works for you...

1) Take some time out in nature. The last of the warm days are a precious treasure now to be savoured so find the time to go for a good walk and notice the turning leaves in all their autumn splendour. Get as much sunshine as you can in preparation for the winter ahead. This is also a good opportunity to have some fun with amateur photography when natures paint box is at its most vivid and dramatic.

2) Try setting up a simple seasonal altar to honour natures turning wheel, perhaps by your fireplace or on a shelf with a candle and a wooden bowl of nuts and autumn leaves to evoke the feel of the season. Use your imagination to create something simple and beautiful. Letting nature inside our homes, even in this small way is a great way to keep in tune with the seasons no matter where or how we live.

3)Look out for seasonal local food and produce and prepare a delicious autumn feast. Now the weather is growing colder and the nights are drawing in our appetites naturally change too. Now is the season for wild mushrooms (bought at farmers markets or carefully identified first- some can be deadly poisonous!) to make tasty autumn stews and soups.

4) Try a little foraging and look out for wild foods you can safely pick yourself, like sloes and blackberries. Both these berries are easily identified ( check online) and can be steeped in vodka or gin for a month or two for a delicious winter tipple. Blackberries are the perfect accompaniment to locally grown apples for a warming crumble- perfect after a long day.

5) Look within. The equinox is the perfect opportunity to just sit quietly and take stock of your life for a while. Equinox means equal night- when the dark and light are of equal balance. Consider the balance in your own life between these two extremes- when and where are we most active, conscious, clear and aware? And what is the dark fertile space of our subconscious, our inner feelings, intuition and dreams trying to tell us? What do we give to life, and what do we receive? Where do we feel abundant and strong and where do we feel stretched and worn? Taking the time to become aware of our inner balance is deeply fruitful, especially when we align to natures rhythms to help us.          

6) Give back to nature. If you've a garden or any outdoor space now is a great time to put a few things in place to give nature a helping hand. Leave a pile of wood or fallen leaves in a corner somewhere as a home for hedgehogs and other small animals and insects to shelter over the winter. Hang up birdfeeders and if you can grow ivy and autumn flowering plants to provide precious last minute nectar for the bees and butterflies.

However you choose to celebrate the autumn equinox, take a moment to really feel all the love and abundance that surrounds us all at this time. The world is a beautiful place, try to breathe it all in and fill your heart with gratitude for all its blessings.

©danuforest2015   www.danuforest.co.uk 

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danu@danuforest.co.uk (Danu Forest) SageWoman Blogs Sun, 13 Sep 2015 08:56:22 -0700