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My spiritual and magical life has always been very much tied to the land. I’m very fortunate to have been able to explore some wonderful truly wild places, and to have made pilgrimages a great many times to a large proportion of Britain and Irelands sacred megalithic sites. These sacred monuments and enclosures were constructed thousands of years ago by our Neolithic, bronze age and later Iron age ancestors. Visiting and taking extended vigils at some of our most revered as well as some of our lesser known sacred ancestral sites has been central to my magical and spiritual training since I was a teenager.  To me, working and communing with the powers of place, the spiritual guardians of these places, has provided the most potent aspects of my instruction and I feel I have built up a close relationship with many ancient sites that are as personal and dear to my heart as my relationships with my fellow humans. Many of these places are small, lesser known sites well off the beaten track, but I’ve also been fortunate enough to foster a deep relationship with some of our better known and even famous megalithic sites, having spent time there and held ceremony within their enclosures for many years now. One of the most often misunderstood of these is also the most famous- Stonehenge.  I’ve been fortunate to have been able to have private access to Stonehenge a few times a year for quite a long time, more often than I have ever visited as a tourist. I feel blessed that it is so. During the heady days around the summer solstice I might well visit the stones more than once, and this year when the site is closed, I’m feeling a real sadness that my regular pilgrimage cannot take place. Visiting when you have private access is very different than the huge open public solstice gatherings, that are so famous, when thousands of party goers get to climb all over the stones and unfortunately leave a lot of rubbish behind. Equally, when visiting as a tourist, one is lead around a circular path and are able to only see the stones from afar, as it if were a circus attraction, or a paining in a gallery. Sadly, these two extremes are how many people see Stonehenge; as a place of wild revelry, from a distance on a paid tour, or saddest of all, from the window of a car on the A303 road, stuck in traffic, choking the air of this sacred place with petrol fumes.   

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We have all had times where the challenges that life brings to us feel overwhelming. For the most part, hopefully, these are brief times of illness or misfortune, but it is a fact that each of us will have to come to terms less often with times of real challenge and even with death. As we journey through our lives, we seldom find these things occur at convenient moments, when we feel strong and equipped to endure. At such times we realise that all our lives are constantly navigated through realms of unpredictability and the chaos of a multitude of lives and circumstances co-existing and intersecting with our own. How much power we have over our fate is often woefully small. Yet there is to be found, even at such times, a wellspring of resources within us and around us, if not to cure, then certainly to provide a balm for our distress.  

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs


                                     Dressing the Crone

“To sew is to pray. Men don't understand this. They see the whole but they don't see the stitches. They don't see the speech of the creator in the work of the needle. We mend. We women turn things inside out and set things right. We salvage what we can of human garments and piece the rest into blankets. Sometimes our stitches stutter and slow. Only a woman's eyes can tell. Other times, the tension in the stitches might be too tight because of tears, but only we know what emotion went into the making. Only women can hear the prayer.”                                                            ― Louise Erdrich, Four Souls. 


I couldn't sleep last night. As I got into bed and closed my eyes I suddenly saw the moonlight illuminating a milk offering on the Gruagach stone on the Isle of Colonsay. I had visited this little island off the west coast of Scotland this summer and had sat with the stone a couple of times. There is a long and entangled history of the Gruagach which takes us back to ancient pre-Celtic figures (but that is a story for another time).  

In my vision I sat with the stone and could clearly see the rope-like geological features on the surface of the stone, I could reach out and touch them. Then I saw the same moonlight reflected in a little pool of water on the stones on the top of Carman Hill (above Loch Lomond).  I watched the moon's light reflect off sandy beaches on far islands and in the faces of those who stood in their gardens and peered upwards towards her. Even as I fell asleep I traveled with her, looking down onto the scenes she illuminated. 

The night felt like a prayer between the moon and the earth, honored and felt by all who turn their heads upwards to bathe in her awe.  This feeling of prayer stayed with me as I awoke. As the morning's light changed through various layers of grey the rain turned to snow and the temperature plummeted. Today is going to be a cold day with tonight's temperatures plummeting still down to -12oc. I work from home so there is no need to go anywhere - just feed dogs and chickens and make some soup. 

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Autumn is here and winter will be here soon... As the wheel turns its good too to set our energetic houses in order, in preparation for the new season. Equally there are times in life when the next stage, the next move to make in life is unclear. Stress, worry, negative energy can come into our lives in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons, and sometimes the only thing to do is be prepared to wade through some deep dark waters for a while- or even dive deeper trusting in the journey that in time you will come through to easier times. However, while struggle, and even a lack of clarity is all part of the rhythm of life from time to time, there are always pro-active things that can be done to help re-set and re-connect with the navigating forces in our lives once more. Whether its illness, depression, money worries, politics or a whole host of other challenges, there is always something we can do, to just make a small shift, that may set up some positive ripples in our energy.

 

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We Are Entering the Magical Month of Hazel

Following the wheel of the year through the Celtic tree calendar, August 5th begins the time of the hazel tree and its ogham character Coll. While the tree calendar is a modern construct, it holds meaning because of the concepts it has come to symbolize and the significance it has for twenty-first century magic, ritual, and everyday life.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Keening for Myself

A Keening for Myself

Slowly I find myself leaving. I take last walks to say goodbye to certain places which is a ritual I carried out all my life. I am woven together with threads of this place, my body holds her water and blood and my bones are made from her bedrock. Then slowly, without any movement, I shift between places. One foot is here while the other has crossed the ocean onto another continent. I am back to encompassing both worlds. Leaving is painful. It’s not muted by knowing I can return at any time. It’s an awareness which brings into focus the pain of those who left and knew they’d never return. Violently uprooted and ripped from the land. To be born of generations upon generations who lived and died on this soil to then be cleared away, eradicated as if they were vermin, swept aside to make way for the more profitable sheep.  

 

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I’ve always been a night owl, loving the moon and stars, and the secret ways the world changes when everyone is sleeping…walking the lanes around Glastonbury Tor in nights so dark you couldn’t  see your feet upon the path, trusting those other senses; listening, feeling, smelling the air, that innate sense of presence you can get when you are in balance with your animal wild self and all the land around you to guide your way. I love the night for magic, weaving with the spirits, the night seems to allow a space for you to stretch into, bringing change where the rational mind of the day would not allow. But these days I’m feeling a subtle shift, and a new thread has come to my magical tapestry. Increasingly now I sense the best time for magic is not the night, but the dawn…or rather pre-dawn, as the first light finds its way across the trees and fields, bringing change to the world yet again, I find that magic can find a place to manifest…and catching the wave as the first golden light stretches like rosey honey across my beloved land my magic can carry on the first birdsong, on the unfurling of flowers, on raising of dawn mist and the stirring of the new day, to unfurl across the waking world and into manifestation as easily as the world turning… moon magic on one hand and sun magic on the other…and the time to wield it, is that wonderful tipping space betwixt and between…      

 

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