Magic awakens

autumn magic, Samhain

The wind is tangled in my hair and my bones are injected with the last sap of warm sunny days. I buzz with energy once again as we go deeper into autumn and Samhain gets nearer. I can feel myself touching other realms with my senses and ancient talk fills my ears. Communication with ancestors is made easier through a very sharp and clear mind and vision that allows me to see past the veil. I am surrounded by whispering energies and tingling sensations in my hands tell me magic is back. Magic is waking up from within me and ready to express itself in wild musings, deep ritual and spell work that makes everything in my life alive with energy and knowing. I cook, I walk, I dance and sing and read into the late hours of the morning. I am hungry for living and content with what it and who I am. This time of year is always grounding, safe, protective and wise. Autumn is an Earth element season for me and an open invitation to go deeper into my roots and into the layers of the underworld where darkness holds gold for me to treasure.

Image: Waterhouse, The Magic circle (one of my favourite paintings) 
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Addiction is a way of holding on

autumn and addiction

We are in autumn, a season perfectly aligned with the energies of taking stock, harvesting our gifts, desires, throwing away what is no longer needed and releasing through letting things go. It is reflected through trees unrobing their delicate bodies off foliage and exposing to the elements for better or for worse. It is a state of surrender and an act of acceptance in nature that always touches me deeply. What a perfect example of vulnerability and strength – a combination I admire so much.

Addiction, as a condition, is a way of holding on, keeping ourselves safe and hidden, partaking in activities that fill the void we feel inside, but scared to expose. It is a safe place and a defensive position against overwhelming feelings, life, connection to ourselves and others. It is an escape into seemingly blissful abyss, yet temporary. The pay-off is often high for that hiding that we adapt as a way to survive, a way to cope with what otherwise would feel unbearable. The price we pay for this way of trying to keep ourselves safe is always high and we pay with our bodies, minds and lives. Recovery requires tremendous courage. It asks us to wake up not just to becoming aware of our patterns of behaviour, but to our wounds that we are protecting with an addiction of our choice.

When is that time to wake up?

This year’s signature, as a goal for our growth, includes facing and dealing with our addictions. The year began with a clear sense that old ways no longer work. Our comfort zone is no longer comfortable, things don’t fit as they used to and patterns that we adopted started to show cracks in how we executed them. On one hand, one could panic and despair and begin searching for new replacements. On the other hand, it felt like an opportunity, a ‘no choice, but’ to start thinking of a potential change. What would that look like and feel like? The year progressed with addictions’ patterns and behaviour manifesting not just within us, but around us through people we care about, our loved ones. It began to open old wounds. Those behaviours that we had been in denial of in ourselves and others came in and slapped many into a full view of not just how ugly and unconscious it had become, but a fear of a potential outcome also hit hard.

Now, as autumn is at our door, I feel there is a chance to look at it again and become curious and open to the opportunity of release. I find vibrations of early autumn is similar to those in early spring, as with the new planting there is hope for potential, with dropping the old there is also a potential for something new coming. Purification (another signature for this year) is deeper in autumn though, because as we throw off our protective layers, surrender to the elements in our own way we are challenged to go through the ‘cold’ of winter and the bare state of the earth. We are challenged to withstand hardships to come out stronger on the other side.

Addiction recovery is no easy matter and very often a life-long process. What we are faced with this season is an opportunity to begin and this year’s signature for dropping the old, as something that no longer works. To give an example of that manifestation I would like to use the body. With addiction often it is the body that would have taken on years of abuse. The sign that addiction is, perhaps, has gone into dangerous territory and it is time to wake up would be body not coping with it, e.g. with smoking lungs become affected in a way of developing severe difficulties with breathing and your cough becoming chronic with discharge. The body begins to bark at us literary to stop. With food addiction a point to wake up would be when there is a degree of awareness that one can no longer ‘eat themselves better’, as the body has grown so much in size it is no longer functioning. We become hidden under flesh so much we no longer feel in touch with ourselves. We might as well be dead.

I feel deeply saddened writing about this, but I feel it is necessary to make that call to be brave, to be present and conscious and I understand that it is no easy task to ‘stand in the cold of winter with no clothes on’, just as we no longer rely on drugs or food for comfort. Exposing, painful and a lonely place to be, yet one must not forget that there is a fire that burns within each of us. That fire is called spirit. We are stronger than we think most of the time and trying to save yourself is an honourable task. Loving ourselves the way that we are, broken, is an act of heroism and immense growth. Imagine if you can do this, you can do anything. Imagine the potential life you can have if only we decide to stop hiding, escaping and facing that wintery wind with your bare skin, vulnerable yet so heroic.

What lies on the other side is freedom and it is always worth fighting for.

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Autumn’s breath

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Air fills with chilling promise of glorious explosion of moist spider webs in the morning and vibrant colours of the land. Its breath is fresh, slightly biting to the skin, similar to that in early spring, the time my soul also adores. Autumn is an Earth element season for me. It is the time when I feel profoundly grateful for all the bounty and abundance the earth provided us with. Its delicious produce carries a reminiscent flavour of hot summer days, in which fruit, berries and vegetables busked in ripening to their fullest. It reminds me that we sowed and we reaped, we sorted through the waste and abundance and took stock of what we are to carry forward with us into the darker part of the year. I feel autumn is the beginning of an introspection journey, incubation and cooking in the cauldron of psychic material and shadow work. I look forward to darkness, to me it is comforting. Cold air is not just refreshing to my senses it puts me in touch with my body and how freely and much more easily it can breathe with less sun.

I begin to burn oils carrying scents of cinnamon, frankincense and orange. It is woody, smoky and rich scents that take my preference at this time of the year. Candles are lit more frequently and my time at my altar increases, as my enthusiasm for life returns to my soul and body.

My eclectic spiritual path

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What is eclectic? The definition is ‘deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources’, i.e. my spiritual path is shaping up to be a collection of ideas, theories, philosophies and ways of practicing my connection with the spirit.

I started out many years ago on a path of Witchcraft. It is still strongly present in my work with the elements, herbalism, connecting with the Goddess and flowing with the moon cycles, although my spell crafting practice have reduced dramatically. I have always been an intuitive witch, followed by a kitchen and hedge orientation. This particular journey began when I first connected to a part of myself asleep for a long time. I experienced awakening within myself when someone on outside pointed out some qualities and abilities I had no name for. I was gifted a book of shadows, an athame and a deck of Tarot cards and when exploring the meaning of it all I came back to my own deep alignment to the path of witchcraft. It did feel like coming home, calm, peaceful and deeply knowing. Things began to open up for me, transform and manifest at a fast speed.

All my paths’ directions came to me through intuitive and meaningful coincidences, i.e. I was directed towards a particular way of exploring my relationship to spirit be it through personal encounters with people, programmes I watched, images that came to me or groups I connected with. All these events felt very natural and noticeably meaningful to my development on my own unique spiritual path.

Since last year Druidry started show itself in various forms inviting me to explore it further. I began to read a lot and experienced many feelings, positive and negative, making me unpick various meanings. In particular I began my work with ancestors of blood, place and spirit. My deep connection to Celtic lands was clear and I felt a need to bring my skills and experiences into the open, out into the community. At that point I felt my life purpose became to clarify more and more. I recently attended a Druid Grove’s Lammas ceremony and although it felt deeply familiar and holding it strikingly highlighted for me how solitary I am and how my preference is strongly for intuitive practice rather than an organised ritualistic practice. I seemed to have taken a step back, which then made me think more about my initial direction as a solitary witch. I am not sure at this point that the call to join a community is currently working. Perhaps, it was a way to test and adjust, for which I am grateful.

Buddhism has been strongly present for me in the last year or so and just as I felt my Transpersonal/spiritual 5th plane of consciousness self very deeply, the Buddha within me aligned with that vibration. The vibration of peace and serenity, by far, the most precious vibration for me. For as long as I lived all I have ever wanted was inner peace and saw it as something elusive and unattainable until a few years ago when my spiritual awakening happened and I saw and experienced my Buddha self. I am in love with the vibration and it comes to me in the most natural way when I work with my clients. In my day-to-day life, however, connecting to that energy has always been a challenge. I have struggled to connect spiritual and earthly and experienced the split, or rather a challenge to bring one into another and vice versa, but this is the biggest challenge for us all, they say and a life-long work. I have a deep understanding of what that means and continue working with various aspects of myself through psycho-spiritual and therapeutic practices. Buddhist ways of being away of the present moment, middle way and mindfulness are practices I don’t see abandoning any time soon, however, some elements of the path remind me too much of Christian commandments and that word alone puts me off. In fact I stopped reading a book recently as soon as the author made a comparison with that and rules and conditions. Who know I might go back to the back one day and see how I feel. Meditation also remains a challenge and I am still exploring a way that sits the best with me. Actually the way Druids describe it resonates better, they call it an active participation in the process rather than abandoning all thoughts. I am an engagement sort of person and journeying techniques, e.g. are the ones I am used to the most.

Nature reverence and worship, as well as, the Wheel of the year strongly remains at the centre of my spiritual path. This has been one constant and beautiful way of my connection to myself and spirit. It has been a confirmation of the wholeness and connectivity of all things. I continue working with the Elements, trees and spirit animals, as well as maintaining my very strong connection to the land. My relationship to sacred sites, stone circles and Celtic ancient lands remains continuous. Scotland is and will always be my spiritual home, but I am also deeply connected to the land of Wales and Ireland. Magic, enchantment and wonder of all things nature is in my heart daily and have been my saviour, sacred connection to love and gratitude.

I think I have always been an eclectic sort of person. I could never see myself following one way completely and utterly, as my mind is curious and constantly questioning and evolving. I remain in curiosity and wonder and for things to settle within me they must align and resonate with my deep experience of spirit. It needs to make my heart sing and produce ringing in my ears and a sweet song on my lips for me to call it my way. This reminds me, as an example, that when I work with herbs either in my kitchen or recently by a Scottish Loch, I suddenly started to sing in the voice I hardly ever hear within me. It felt flowing and natural and I went to a place that is my spiritual retreat, my soul connected with the energy of spirit in a way that could not be broken. I experience joy and complete balance in moments like that. It feels right, it feels like home and very familiar.

What am I? I am Pagan and I am Intuitive, for sure. I am a nature spirit, seer and a Crone at heart. My spiritual name is White Hart Rose.

If you are on a spiritual path and, perhaps, finding it challenging to pinpoint what your path is, I suggest you relax. Remain open, patient and take it as a life-long commitment to finding your way while connecting to the elements of whatever spiritual paths come your way, those elements that make your soul sing whether it is collecting herbs or meditating. You are not lost, you are collecting parts of yourself that might have been lost or hidden and resurrecting your own experience of spirit the way it has always been within you.

Much love and many blessings!

The Land of dreaming

Caingorms National park, Scotland
Upland spring by Loch Etchachan, Cairngorm National Park, Grampian Area. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

Am I asleep or am I dreaming? What is this feeling of all consuming something my heart struggles to hold yet wants so deeply? I am overjoyed yet bereft at the same time. I cry and laugh all in one moment of sheer madness when I lay my hands on the land. My feet touch the green softness moist with the promise of morning dew. I live, I die, I am in haven yet in pain.

My love affair with the land began a few years ago when I first experienced this strange merging with something. I came upon a place that had a certain smell, vibration where I felt I died and gone to heaven, where my body struggled to adjust to all that air, space and majestic wilderness. Did it touch upon my own sleepy wild heart? It made me cry mad words into the air and at others surrounding me. It made no sense to myself or anyone else yet I couldn’t stop screaming, crying and falling breathless on the grass of the earth seemingly sacred to my soul. It felt like reawakening of love of some kind, familiar yet new, scary yet exciting. Ever since the first step upon the land this dance of confusion carried on summer after summer.

Ambivalent, powerful pull like a voice that screams terrible words one minute and sings a soft lullaby the next. I hear it always yet the message is unclear. Come, go, stay, leave, dance, sit, scream, be quiet. Whatever it all means I find the unfolding of this relationship fascinating.

I am still searching for a settlement. It is alive in my mind, but reality is quite scary. Whenever I am in the land of my dreaming I feel hugely overwhelmed, bitter-sweet, can’t breathe it is too much air type of situation, total intoxication, grief at the thought of separation, yet a relief somewhat when away, but not for long, as the yearning of the heart returns just as strong to merge with it again and it continues like this year after year. I find myself quite confused about it all by now…

I love it so much it hurts

I love it so much it hurts. The land welcomes me this time with open arms and I feel nothing but warmth and nurture. I feel at home and I instantly recognise that familiar smell of the land, which I know well. It is raining and I am in my element of gentle water standing on a lake shore watching gentle giants mountains hugging the shore. I touch the water, it is clear and crispy cold and through my body pure joy spreads. It is a dance of recognition, which I feel a lot stronger this time round. While my husband looks nostalgic for hot weather and home, I am home. I tell him that most of my happiest memories took place either in rain or snow and I acknowledge that link and it makes sense.

Isle of Mull – lush and green with landscape showing off its mountains, valleys, lochs, forests and sea. It is such a mixture of the elements that makes it so rich. It is incredibly peaceful here like nowhere else I had felt in Scotland so far; well, perhaps, only the first time in Perthshire where my love for the land first stuck me. We are staying in the middle of nowhere and it feels so safe to me here. It feels like no one and nothing would find me here and if I was to stay I would be happy for the rest of my days. My heart begins to ache along with joy I cry inside for wanting to merge with the land forever. It hurts in my chest and with each breath I can’t seem to get enough. That feeling of safety is a new one, as previously while in Scotland I have always felt conflicted and often anxious, even scared. Not this time. Here I have come into myself somehow and the land here is so gentle in comparison with Northern Highlands or the Isle of Skye, e.g. Those places activated my shadow material and threw me into an emotional turmoil amidst some deeply spiritual experiences. The land there is fierce, wild, unforgiving and untouchable in its stunning beauty. It is majestic and independent. Here I am held, firmly and I can hear the land speaking to me. It is gentle and soothing. Vibration is of softness and it touches on places within me much lighter and happier. This reflects in our relational dynamics between the boys and me. Our trip was very different this time round like we all tapped into a gentler way of being with one another, there is less conflict and more recognition and acknowledgment of needs all around.

Standing in the garden I witness deer coming in closer grazing on lush green vegetation surrounding the house. It is a beautiful sight and they stop and stare at me in silent pause. God it is so peaceful here! Even deer is different here compared to imposing huge stags of the Highlands. These deer are gentler and smaller and devoid of antler crowns. My response to them is also strikingly different, less of knee shaking awe and worship-like way of witnessing them, it is quieter, softer and more ‘homely’ somewhat. As I lie in bed looking out of the window with views to die for I feel my heart beating with such love. It is intense and aching, as I already know how hard it will be leaving this land in a few days.