Monday, 31 December 2012

My 2012

My 2012
Clan Witney atop The Cairngorm Mountain 

So, as per usual, its been a while since my last blog. My blog is something I really want to try and keep going  again into I will try my hardest to keep on top of it better throughout 2013 :o)

Its been a funny old year....generally good I hasten to add....but very speedy with some funny areas. Now where shall I start? Family stuff I reckon!

Family Stuff

The biggest news being the addition of not one but two doggies into our family!!! Asha, a Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer, came to live with us in mid July. I had been wanting a dog for many years but the timing hadn't been right. I have grown up with German Shorthaired Pointers all my life, so had always wanted another Pointer, ideally a German Weirhaired Pointer....I had never heard of the Slovaks before but within a week of uttering those words we had found one (or she found us) and she came for a trial weekend on my birthday and hasn't left ;o) We'd met Hattie when we'd been to see Asha for the first time but she was only a few weeks old.....and I had no plans to have a Pointer (English) let alone two dogs....although Hattie stood out of the litter for me with her 'hat' spot right in the middle of her head. But we went home with Asha and onto settling her in. Asha settled in with us well....but was really missing being part of a pack (she'd lived in a multi dog household all her life) So after a couple of months we decided it would be best for Asha to get another dog and low and behold Hattie was still that sealed the deal ;o) But as Hattie was still so young, 4 months old, it wasn't wise to take her to Scotland with us. So she came to stay for a week, went back to Sue (her breeder) and then moved in with us after then!
Asha and I at the top of The Cairngorm Mountain
Hattie 4 months old
So the main photo of this blog was taken in our beloved Scotland. It had been an 18 month wait for us to get back there. I began to realise as October loomed that the reason my summer had been a bit emotionally odd for me was I hadn't had my High/Soul-land fix. I'm so lucky that we manage to get up here be honest if we didn't I'm not sure how I'd cope :o/

We decided to try a different area this time to our normal West Highlands. Seeing as we always head over to The Cairngorms to see the Reindeer, we thought we'd give that area a go. We booked a beautiful cottage just outside Aviemore...up a secluded private road that headed past the house and up the side of a mountain and woodland. As you can imagine Asha hated that walk everyday ;o) Badgers, Red Squirrels, Red Deer and masses of other wildlife right on our doorstep!

We visited the reindeer, a golden sanded Loch, Lily Loch, climbed The Cairngorm Mountian, heard the Red Stag rutting around our cottage, walked along the beautiful Findhorn Bay, honoured the ancestors at Clava Cairns and one of the most memorable parts for me....Seeing the Northern Lights!!!! AMAZING!!!!!
Our Cottage in the Cairngorms
Fynlay at Clava Cairns
Moody 'otherside' of Loch Ness

I've had the wonderful pleasure to run two Elen Retreats this year, firstly 'Immerse in Elen' in June and then the Clan Gathering 'Elen's Equinox Reunion' at Mabon in September. Plus I had the blessing to run a 'Sacred Scars' Workshop with the wonderful Suzi Goose!!!

I'm so blessed to be able to run these wonderful workshops and meet/gather such fantastic groups of folk! Junes 'Immerse in Elen' is a wonderful gathering, a time to bond with other like minded souls who journey or are starting to journey along Elen's Antlered Road. Time spent in meditation, ritual, crafting and out on the land....sleeping in Tipi's and sharing deeply!

Grandfather Oak

Releasing the Old


The wonderful gathering of the Clan that is 'Elen's Equinox Reunion' is a time when the previous attendees of the 'Immerse' Workshops are invited to gather as a deep connection and community. Not so organised and more about spending time together and partaking in some wonderfully facilitated workshops. This year we had the wonderful Blacksmith Nick bring along his Forge for us to create wonderful Copper loveliness and Herbwise Emma who led us on a herb walk within the local land and took us on a deep journey with Elder. 

Working at The Forge
Out on the Herb Walk

And here's a pic of the lovely Sacred Scars Girls 
Sacred Scars Girls


Its been a strange old year for me and my artwork. I had got to a point with taking my artwork to shows and festivals, where I wasn't enjoying it. Prices for pitches had raised and I felt I was putting too much pressure on covering costs and this took some of the pleasure out of it for me. I made the decision at the beginning of 2012 to not do so many shows and give myself a break. This worked positively in some ways but not in others ;o) I booked one show, Leaping Hare in Colchester, which was an AMAZING success....probably one of the best shows I've ever done in every-way shape and form! New work was debuted, commissions taken and generally spent time with amazing people and a huge part of the Elen Clan were there too! FAB DAY.

Aurora Hare debuted in March

I was SO blown away by how well 'Aurora Hare' was received. The Aurora Series is strictly Limited Edition to 15 and the first purchase was bought as a wedding gift for the lady's daughter. So grateful my work goes to such wonderful homes! I was FULL to the bring with gratitude  positivity and inspiration! But the downfall of not booking shows and festivals and taking a break from all that. Lead to complacency and lethargy ...I had all these ideas buzzing but no reason to do I didn't  It wasn't a great summer for my artwork :o( But, luckily, I got accepted onto The Maldon Art Trail this year....which took place in October...this gave me the much need kick up the arse I needed!!! The feedback was fantastic!!! The venue I was given couldn't have been better and it fired me up again!!! Off the back of the Art Trail success, plus another kick up the bum from a friend of mine, I booked my Open Studio event. I had never thought to open my 'studio/house' up before and so with four weeks preparation time, it was booked and I started advertising! The local paper gave me the most fantastic story and so many friends old and new came along!!! It also made me realise that I need DEADLINES I work so much better under pressure and with dates looming! Five new pieces were birthed within that four week time period.....all pieces had been on my 'to do' list this year but I hadn't had a reason to do them! So Aurora Hare, Reindeer, Polar Bears, Reindeers, Spirit of the Woods and the copper guild-ed 'Luna Fox' came into metal being. Once set up for the Open Studio I had such a proud moment....a realisation....I love what I do, sharing my art and Elen work with those that feel the same way! This is one of the main lessons I shall carry fourth into 2013......seeds are planted and most need their own story/blog. So as they fruit I will share! Especially the Temple of wouldn't do it justice to quickly add I will devote a blog to it soon!
Not a great picture....But Aurora Hare, Reindeer's and Polar Bears
Born into slate Reindeer

Born into slate Luna Hare

So I think for now I shall end this particular blog post.....thank you if your still reading! More than anything I wanted this post to get me back into the swing of things.....I want to tell you about Yule/Time spent at sunrise with my wonderful friends and my Gratitude Jar. My plans for 2013 and the Temple of Elen.....but there's probably at least two or three blog post there so it'd be a shame to squeeze it all in now wouldn't it ;o)

I'm not making a big deal out of New Years Eve....I'm working till 10pm but have a good one whatever your up too! My 'New Year' starts on the 7th January when the kids go back to school and we start getting back into a routine! So bye for now xxx


Friday, 9 March 2012

D is for Daily Practice

Still playing catch up on the Pagan Blog Project.......

But I have a question to put to all the lovely readers of my blog?

Do you have a Daily Practice within your Spiritual path???

Now, when I'm being REALLY good....I have a daily don't get me wrong....I have been on this Path a while, its a wonderful and mysterious and I'm ever learning. All I do with my work, life and faith is as a Priestess of Elen. So weather I'm creating my artwork, weaving words, washing clothes/dishes, helping to raise my kids etc etc Still at my very core is my Spirituality.

But I'm also an all or nothing gal.....a perfectionist about my work....and BUSY! *phew* So and definitely right now my daily practice, as I would like it to be in its 'ideal' form, is pretty rubbish! So would you like to hear what my ideal day sounds like??? Well and remember this is all ideal, and on a good day does happen.....

I wake at 6am, everyone in the house is still a sleep, I sneak downstairs. Kettle goes on and I make myself a Yogi Tea of choice (that current choice being Women's Tea) I then either go into my dining room, light incense and candles at my house altar or head to my workshop at the bottom of my garden and do the same (although in the winter its VERY cold for that). I'm then undisturbed for about 45mins to meditate, chant, sing, journal...whatever comes about that I wish to do, on a spiritual level. My day then starts lovely, I get the hubby off to work, the kids off to school and I then start to work. I have a few hours whilst the youngest is at Preschool and then its normal day stuff when he returns....lunch, cleaning, school run etc etc I would then finish my day by going up to my bedroom, lighting my Gratitude Candle and writing a few words in my Journal...all the things I'm grateful for and then sleep.....aahhhhh zzzzzzzzz.

When this day starts well, I'm set up for the day and generally less stressed. But just recently I cannot get into it.....its the getting up bit that's the prob....and the undisturbed bit four year old is an early riser! So I'm kinda feeling a bit guilty right now....cause it seems SO achievable but seems so far from it. Like I said I still do little things throughout the day, my nods to Elen and my Path. But ^^^ that is the ideal....

So I'd love to know......what do you do? If anything, as Daily Practice? Would love to hear how you start your day the Pagan Way????      

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

C is for Chalice Well the light of the Full Moon

I will start by apologising for the quality of the photo. At the time I really wanted to capture the atmosphere of the place, at night on the Full Moon......This is the main waterfall within the gardens, lit by candle become very aware of actually how red it is. 

Chalice Well is one of Britain's most ancient wells, nestling in the Vale of Avalon between the famous Glastonbury Tor and Chalice Hill. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and orchards it is a living sanctuary in which the visitor can experience the quiet healing of this sacred place. For over two thousand years this has been a place where people have gathered to drink the waters and find solace, peace and inspiration.
I have been a visitor and companion of Chalice Well for a number of years. Since I first went to Glastonbury, my heart was lost to this beautiful and peaceful place. Every time I go, I become aware of a new little corner I haven't spent time in or a new tree speaks to me and I spend time with it.

The most magical experiences I've ever had there have been at night and especially on the Full Moons. Having only visited the Well and Gardens in the daytime, before my first Full Moon experience. I wasn't prepared for the change it had at night. The gardens are gently lit by only natural light, candles, garden flares and lanterns. So from the moment you step in your senses are used on a different level. Rather then the sight of plants and flowers capturing your vision its their smell....gentle wafts of jasmin and honeysuckle especially hang in the summer evenings air. I found that no matter how well I knew my way around the garden in the day at night your bearings are not the really is like being transformed into another world.

So peaceful at the best of times but if you can, try and stay at their accommodation. This privilege also gives you special access to the Well and gardens 24 ours. Their are so little other people around at those times when you stay there and it really is personal time. especially again at night or dawn. 

The Chalice Well is among the best known and most loved holy wells in Britain. Many legends are attributed to its chalybeate waters, which flow ceaselessly at a steady rate and temperature that never varies. Not least among these is that they represent the blood of Christ miraculously springing forth from the ground when Joseph of Arimathea buried or washed the cup used at the Last Supper. For others the waters are acknowledged as the essence of life, the gift from Mother earth to sustain its living forms and so a continuous spring like Chalice Well is a direct expression of an unbounded life force.

I like to think of the waters as a direct link to the Mother aspect of the Goddess. the red flowing water of life that connects us all. Bathing, paddling and drinking the waters is a very special experience. I use the waters within so much of my magic and feel they bring a very unique element to my work. If you are ever in Glastonbury then I cannot express enough how important a place this is and what a deep experience you will have there.

Healing, Nurturing, Spiritual.........

Passages in italics are directly taken from the Chalice Well website.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Elen Prayer Flags

So if your a friend on Facebook you maybe bored of this blog already ;o) But for the last couple of weeks I've had my head down and been busily creating a new range of Prayer Flags and Goddess Banners dedicated to Elen of the ways.

What I thought might be nice, is to blog about them here and show each individual flag and what the symbols represent.  So the above picture is the whole set together, nine flags in all their Elen-y glory! I'll start with the central flag and work outwards.....

The Antlered Spiral Heart

Elen, Reindeer and Deer are related to Love and specifically the Heart Chakra. I use a lot of Heart Chakra opening with my workshops dedicated to Elen for this reason too. Nothing like Love to break down barriers! Spirals have always featured heavily and pretty much in every piece of artwork I've created, its one of my signatures. Spirals are the symbol of Life, in my opinion, and hence why they find their way into my animal works especially. This and the main Elen design are the symbols to me that encompass all that is Elen of the Trackways. Meditate upon this symbol to open your Heart Chakra.

The Spiral

As I just mentioned above, The Spiral is a symbol that appears throughout all of my workings. It’s the essence and energy of life, the ever Spiralling cycle of Mother Nature. Whenever I think of Life Esscence and energies in the land. I always see it as a Spiral, not sure why, just always have. Spirals and Labyrinths are of HUGE importance to me within my Spiritual Practise. Meditate upon this symbol to bring energy and vitality into your life.

Shed Antler and Tracks

A single shed Antler along the Path. A symbol of release, we all leave our marks/tracks along the road. The shed Antler shows how we all grow and release along our Life’s Journey. Female reindeer are the only antlered female deer. They also keep their antlers longer than the males before they shed them, so they can protect their offspring during winter from predators. A reindeers antler is akin to a fingerprint and they can be recognised by their shape and style, each year growing the same but bigger. I feel, that Elen's link with reindeer is natural because her being an Antlered Goddess and the female reindeer being antlered. That and deer/reindeer trackways, being repeatedly used over generations, it all links beautifully to Elen. Ancient reindeer trackways can be found deep with UK's land, migrational paths that have probably been present since a time before we became an island. Whenever I dwell on that it gives me goosebumps....Elen's prescence within my lands for all that time, yet so elusive and almost forgotten! Meditate upon this symbol for what needs releasing and what growth you can bring into your life. 

Circle within a Circle

This symbol was gifted to me at one of my Elen Retreats last Mabon. The lovely Phil and Lynne of Shamanic Druidry came along to lead everyone in a Rattle making workshop. We journeyed to receive symbols to henna onto our Rattles this was one (along with a Antlered Deer head) that I received. Circles are often seen as protective symbols. Standing within a circle shields a person from supernatural dangers or influences outside of the circle. Conversely, a circle can also be containing, keeping that which is inside from being released. Its also the symbol of the sacred hoop/ring, an integral part of the Sacred Drum. Meditate upon this symbol if you feel protection is needed in your life.   

Elen of the Track Ways 

This symbol is the embodiment of Elen. Lady of the Track ways, Guardian of your Pathway, Walker of the Antlered Road. Along Her pathway are a trail of stars, hearts and spirals. This is the symbol I have tattoo'd upon my wrist calling, passion and all I dedicate my works too. Call to Elen when direction along your Life’s Path is needed.

Elen of the Trackways Prayer Flags can be purchased here at Etsy

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

C is for Challenges Along the Road (and Cleansing)

Ok, so I'm late posting my pagan blog project post, and its also not what I originally wanted to post about either. But the title of this post says it all...this last 5 days has been all about Challenges. Challenges in life and boy has it been tough. I dont think the timing of the 'challenge' was great.....building up to the Full Moon and also my Moontime. So the emotional rollercoaster its brought in its wake has been crap :o( 

A cave is the only place I've wanted to be this last couple of days. Wallow is all I've wanted to do there. All the things I would normally do when such a challenge comes along went out the window. All I've wanted to do is cry....I've had to go into my normal day job and keep myself together. I've been going through my head on how we can over come this obstacle, how we can be ok and how to make it all right. I know we need to stay positive and that the universe (hopefully) has a grand plan in all this. I'm trying to trust and have faith. But sometimes its just plain tough!!! And, yes, actually all you wanna do is wave that magic wand or click those sparkley red shoes and make it all perfect. But hey this is normal life hey!

So I'm doing what I can it to make it ok....cutting back, saving pennies where I can, supporting, (and seaking support from my sisters for me).

Imbolc is still in the air, here in the UK, we're heavy with snow but the melt holds promise.

Last night we went out into the forest, we drummed, sang and cleansed. I cried and cleared. We sowed some ancient seeds and voiced our wishes. We sent healing and lit candles...light within the darkness. The forest was like Narnia, quiet, white and magical. We found deer tracks in the snow, always a welcome sign for me.

So how am I gonna move forward from this challenge, you might ask?

As the snow melts I shall start to physically and spiritually clean the house. I'm gonna move these negative vibes outta my house and outta of ours lives! they are not welcome here....nothing to see....move along!!! I'm gonna smudge my house and whisper positivity into all the corners. I'm gonna put some salt and rosemary by my front door, to catch those nasty negavibes, if they so much as sniff at my door they'll be absorbed! That metaphysical tree thats laid across our Path at the mo....well as they say with lemons and lemonade....well that tree will make great firewood!!!! 

Universe you can bring on that amazing new wonderfulness you have ahead for me and my family....we're making way for it....we'll be ready....

Friday, 3 February 2012


Last night I spent an amazing time amongst the ancestors. 

In a very unknown, unused ancient Temple of East Anglia, a site of great importance in days gone by. With excavations showing it to have been used in the Bronze Age and Iron Age, by Anglo Saxons, Celts and most obviously the Romans. I say most obviously because its the the Roman temple remains that stand out the most. An ancient rivers flows near by, a grand oak stands watch near (many a story to be told from that old man) and processions of people can be seen and felt amongst the land.

There was a feeling of great importance, of triangular energy, spirals and the stirring of ancestors been woken from their long sleep. A warriors breath on the back of your neck and the wiry, guarding energy of youth and protection. Shadows moved in the corner of your eye, but the residing feeling was that of peace and gratitude for people returning to honour those gone before us. Drum and voice were brought along, but no raucous celebration was needed. This was a place of rediscovery, quickening and awakenings, a gentle rebirth was all that was required. Imbolc being that ideal energy.

Above us the waxing lady moon was luminating bright with Cassiopeia, The Plough and Orion hanging in the inky sky, joining in the triangle of energy. At times you could stand at the Altar Stone, the pond barrow to your right, the celtic works to your left and Minerva's Temple in front and see the rippling of an ember coloured light surrounding the whole area. Almost acting as a  protection from the untoward energise that may seep from the modern industrial structures surrounding its outside edges.

We laid offerings upon the Altar Stone, our drums, swan feathers, cauldrons of incense, flowers and crosses of Brighid. The Ancestors knew we were there, you could almost feel them opening one eye from their sleep just to keep a check on us. But realising we had just come to give our Blessings to The Land.  They snuggled back down to rest again, waiting for that energy to keep burning brighter, waiting for the right time to fully awaken.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Small Ripples......

"The bottom line is......I believe I can make a difference. Not necessarily a big one, but a difference none the less. And if enough people like me make our little differences, one day we're going to wake up and find we really did manage to change the world!"

- a slightly re-worded passage, from a book of short stories by Charles de Lint.

We can all create small ripples of change! We are the difference!!! 

Friday, 27 January 2012

B is for Belly Blessing

After last weeks post on Blood Mysteries, I've been drawn to write about another magical journey along a Woman's Path. That which is the beautiful ceremony of a Belly Blessing.

Within Pagan, Goddess, Wild Woman's spirituality we often hear the terms Maiden, Mother, Crone, the Triple Goddess. Sometimes a fourth aspect, Lover, is added. Carolyn Hillyer has written about the eight phases of womanhood Girl Seed, Blood Flower, Fruit Mother, Spin Mother, Mid Woman, Earths Crone, Stone Crone, Bone. All very valid journey points through a girls/womans life and ones which I use a lot for chanting and honouring ceremonies.

Girl Seed - Our Pre Moontime Maiden Years
Blood Flower - Our Bleeding Maiden Years
Fruit Mother - Our Years of Creation (not always meaning a physical birth of child)
Spin Mother - Ours years of child/project rearing, 'the juggling' years lol
Mid Woman - Pre Menapouse
Earths Crone - Menapouse
Stone Crone - Elder/Wise Woman
Bone - The final journey of Death back to the earth.

So we bleed, then the wheel turns towards ovulation. The promise of fertility, that bright spark of life which stirs within us. The journey towards motherhood is a massive Path of change...changes in your emotions, your body, relationships, outlook, priorities you name it, it changes! But a great blessing and joy it is too!

For the first trimester, the first three months, a tiny seed has been brought into life. But from that small seed great trees grow, as the saying goes! To the on-lookers eye changes are small, subtle. You may feel the best you've ever felt, completely elated, but on the other hand you may feel as sick as a dog and constantly tired. I personally have been very lucky with both my pregnancies and wasnt too sick, I suffered with nauseau yes but wasnt puking all the time which was nice ;o) Come the second trimester around 12-15 weeks for me I would feel fairly normal and start to bloom. This is when I would start to think about my Belly Blessing.

If you've not experienced a Belly Blessing or have never heard of such a thing I can promise you after reading this you'll be wanting to convince the next pregnant friend you know to have one! In some ways it can be seen as a Spiritual Baby Shower.....but really its not. Its more about the coming together of your girls, and that can be friends, sisters, mothers, grandma's etc etc. A ritual celebration of your journey into Motherhood and the safe travel of you and your child during this enormous rite of passage. My first Belly Blessing was done at Summer Solstice 2003 and I was about 35 weeks pregnant. We camped in my friend Pam's family orchard (yes I camped that late in my pregnancy lol), we'd planned to see in the Solstice Sunrise and then do my Belly Blessing later in the day. I was throned in a lovely seat and crowned with a circlet of flowers. Stories were shared, prayers offered, spells of protection cast and I received wonderful gifts too.

My second Belly Blessing was preformed in 2007. Since my inital Belly Blessing we'd had a few other pregnancies within my circle and so had come up with a few new ideas to incorporate. As part of the celebration we now incorporated Belly Painting. Using safe Face Paints or Henna. Such good fun and all the girls present got involved and added a bit of their creative selves to the piece of art created on my Baby Belly. As you can see in this pic of the gorgeous Natalie, we painted her belly to match that of the Gaia statue she's holding. The other picture is from Lucy's Belly Blessing, we used Henna that time.  

As well as gathering together our sisters and girlfriends to show the circle of support you have through this transition. We normal share birth stories and aspirations on the kinda birth we hope to have. Old stories from different tribes and cultures about their creation tales are shared. On some occasions we've created birthing bracelets or necklaces. These are a beautiful way of drawing on the power and energy during labour. Each sister is asked to donate a specially chosen bead to make into the choice of jewellery. This bead has to have been picked out especially for its birthing journey. When everyone has gifted their bead the mum-to-be can then wear it during labour and know she can draw on her collective sisters energy to help her through the birth. Another lovely idea that Lucy did through her first pregnancy was give everyone who came to her Belly Blessing a small white candle to which she had painted a spiral bellied Goddess onto. Attached was a little label which said 'please light when I'm in labour'. A simple and powerful energy projection. As a group we tend to all pool our money and buy the mum to be some special gifts. For Pam and Nat we made some cute baskets, Pam was having a little girl and Nat was having a little boy. So we created gorgeous colour co-ordinated baskets full of muslin cloths, nappies, bottles, creams, teddies etc Plus  we gifted them some extra pampering goodies for mummy, bath oils, massage oils and the such like. I remember for my first birth Emma created a lovely birthing pouch for me. A small felt bag filled with crystals, herbs and charms for me to hold during the birth of my daughter.

I preformed a ritual some years ago for a lady and her husband. To mark her transition from Maiden to Mother. A very simple ceremony in their lounge with a small altar. We cast a circle and called in the elements and Lord & Lady. We used a dark sheet to represent the birth canal and I guided her through a meditation with the finale being her uncovered and re birthed as 'Mother'.

A Belly Blessing can be as great or small as you desire. Its also something which you can honour on your own or with your partner. Hopefully I've given you a few ideas on how you can honour another part of your or another Wild Woman's journey! Then once the lovely baby is born you can look to planning the baby Naming!!! Tee~Hee!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Walking the Antlered Road

Walking the Antlered Road

By Mother Earth
And Father Sky.
By Raging Waters
And Mountain High.
By Ancient Landscape
And Ancestral Birth.
By Blood and Bones
And Clan Fire Hearth.
By Wolf Packs Song
And Owls' Silent Wing.
By Deer Trodden path
And Crows' Raucous Ding.
I Walk The Antlered Road, 
Strong and True.
With Respect For Me and Respect for All of You.

Today I have purchased my new website name and domain. A further commitment to My Path and Journey along The Antlered Road. Its all very exciting!!! Nothing there at the mo...but there will be soon. Its a Road for my artwork, my workshops and retreats, my word weaving and my Elen Priestess-ing. Watch the Journey unfold! 

Friday, 20 January 2012

B is for Blood Mysteries

                                                    Transformation Mysteries by Judith Barr

Blood Mysteries, I feel as a woman, is a very personal, powerful and magical journey, that not enough magical women embrace! Some will definitely see this as a very yukky subject but actually one that I feel should be covered more and tried at least once in some way shape or form! The very basic form of this is starting to be more positive about your 'moontime' (periods). We are fed SO many negative adverts and expressions about our Moontime, that its not surprising its a unwanted and painful time. 'The Curse', 'Bloody Axe Wound', 'On the Rag' are all terms I've heard it referred too, how can it been seen as a blessing when people deem it in those terms? Our Moontime shows us to be fertile and the creatrix of our world! Its should be embraced and seen only as a positive!

I understand that for some women its isn't a positive time, but I don't believe it can be when we're constantly being told to "Have a happy period" or make our lives better by using chemical laced products internally. Which can sometimes contain chemicals that dry you out and draw on you, actually making you bleed heavier. Therefore making you have a more painful period than you should.

 Within tribal communities women are revered, and feared, men think their power and magic is most potent at this time. Women within tribes and close communities often bleed together, synchronised and also follow the cycle of the moon bleeding at Full or Dark moons. Having their own spaces or 'Red Tents' where they can take themselves away, nourish and support each other during their 3 or 4 day cycles. Emerging energised and refreshed ready to take on whatever the rest of the month will bring them. Ideal as this all is, within our very busy western society its not so easy. But more and more wild women are reclaiming their 'Moontime' and seeing it in a much more positive light. 'Red Tent' is becoming a more recognised term within magical circles with groups forming in communities, to gather once a month and offer nourishment and support for one another. 

So whats an easy way, a small way, that you could start honouring your 'Moontime'? Maybe you could start by using a Mooncup or other such natural, reusable menstrual cup (something on this years 'to do' list for myself). Research has shown that by switching to one of these, your Moontime becomes shorter, lighter and less painful. Ladies I know, that already use one of these, swear by them and I've heard wonderful stories of their sacred blood being used in magical workings. Women using their sacred blood in their art, painted onto their drums or given back to the earth in a ritualistic way. I'm sure there are many out there that find this a very touchy subject or are even repulsed by it. But I must admit, its VERY, VERY empowering, once you start to honour yourself and see your Moontime as a positive and empowering time you'll be amazed at how you view those days within a month. You could start by just taking some YOU time on the first day. Drawing a large bubble bath, pampering yourself in some way, having an indulgent treat or wearing red knickers for those days. Just some small way to acknowledge this powerful time, having a special candle and lighting it over the course of your bleeding time or even find out if you have a local Red Tent Group in your area.

                                     First Bleeding Moon by Suzi Goose  

Another form of blood magic, to me, is ritual tattooing. I'm not going to go into this subject massively because its something I will go into in more detail in another blog. But as a wild, witchy, tattoo'd woman, it cannot be mentioned! The act of ritual, sacred tattooing, the choosing of a design to be carved onto your skin, chant, drumming, sometimes with sisters, sometimes alone, always in reverence...a very deep spiritual experience. I'm lucky enough to know the amazing Suzi Goose, a ritual tattooist (and Elen Sister) here in the UK. I have my needles,and blood art (the first clean of my tattoo's absorbed onto paper) to work whatever powerful magic I wish with them. I know of a lovely lady who has weaved her needle into the strings on the back of her drum, mine are hidden with my Journal. As far as I'm concerned there isn't a more powerful way to acknowledge significant moments along your Path, than by getting a tattoo to represent that. All but one of my Tattoo's have a story behind them and a reason for getting them done....and I have 6 in all. Like I say though I will do a more in-depth blog on Sacred Tattoo's in the future.

Friday, 13 January 2012

A - Art is part of my Spiritual Journey

                                      Hare of the Moon                                                      Luna Fox
                                       Luna Stag

This is my second post for the pagan blog project and I'm realising that they're going to be quite personal and I hope that's ok?

So for my second focus on the letter 'A' I've chosen Art. As a Pagan and an Artist, art is a very important part of my spirituality. My inspiration and influences generally come from my Faith and the Land around me. Be it our moonlit skies, dawn horizons and mostly our Sacred Animals. I use a very unusual medium though, as well as paint, which the backgrounds of my canvases are painted with. I use Mother of Pearl, Pewter and other gemstones. The Moon's that feature within my work are all created from Mother of Pearl and the Animals Pewter. They're then married together upon canvas.

My first solo exhibition was titled 'By The Light of The Moon' the Moon is a very important part of my spiritual practise and a fantastic inspiration. From the breathtaking way, on a Full Moon, She hangs in the sky lighting the land and creating moon shadows. To the dark limitless sky when She's hidden away, till the evening you catch that first tiny sliver in the sky and I generally exclaim "look, the first crescent!!!" She's a fantastic muse indeed! My other big draws, no pun intended, are our Sacred Animals and Gods and Goddess....although I have tended to focus more on the beasties. Within my titles you'll find Hares, Stags, Crows/Ravens, Wolves, Horses, Bee's....a real menagerie! Mainly British beasts so far....but this years focus will be looking at more far off lands, the snowy places to be more precise and the haunting, dream filled sky that the Aurora Borealis creates. Very much looking forward to what that adventure in art brings!

                                                  Luna Hare

My images come to me within my dream states and meditations (but sometimes also doing the most mundane jobs too). I then tend to sit and draw, working out the proportions and placements of Spirals. Spirals...another big influence for me...but that's another story ;o) Spirals are, in my opinion, Life Force, the very essence of our beings and every piece of my work contains them, because its the depth of our very being...The Spiral of Life. I then start to work the animal into pewter. I use a very special, soft sheet pewter that has taken me many years to source. No presses or moulds are used to produce the pewter beasties, just tiny wooden tools and many hours of work. Sometimes eyes of haematite are added depending on the profile. The pewter process is the most fluid and relaxing part of the process, the painting the most joyful and passionate. In the end its a work of balance as well as a work of art. 

                                       Luna Corvid

This is just a small taster of what my art and spirituality combined mean to me. Pagan artwork, like the Pagan pathway is such a personal journey for each and every artist and art lover a like. Its a very exciting field to work within, with so many wonderful and inspiring people creating within it. Its always wonderful seeing through each artists eyes how they see the moon, stars and sun. How a Sacred Hare may come to them or how Brighid may present herself. Beauty and Spirituality all rolled into one creative piece!

You can find more of my work available in Etsy The Antlered Road Shop

Friday, 6 January 2012

A is for Altar and About Myself

I have many Altars/Shrines in my house. I love them and find them a brilliant focus for living your spiritual path daily. Whenever I catch a glimpse of one of mine it makes me smile, think about my chosen deity, give thanks or repeat an affirmation or mantra to myself. I think these small daily connections are really important. The pictures above are of my main house Altar. Its dedicated to 'Elen of the Ways' the Goddess with whom I'm Priestess too.

I have been walking my Path for nearly 20 years (scary!) I first started to explore other spiritualities in my late teens being drawn to Native American philosophies and alternative healing. I eventually took my Reiki 1 & 2, which opened up a whole bunch of doorways much clearer than when I'd previously looked through their cracks. I began walking my Pagan Path much stronger, working closely with the Green Man and a Lady who used to come with him but never gave me a name. Her vision was always so clear, an autumnal woodland full of ancient oaks, a carpet of browns, gold’s and coppers. Her dress of autumn oak leaves an amber acorn at Her throat, cascading flame red hair and a pair of antlers crowned Her head. Now the Green Man use to appear to me a lot....and sometimes he was antlered and sometimes he wasn't. But my Lady always had antlers! When I tried to find out any details in books or on the internet I would always draw a blank and still She never gave me Her name. I knew my Lady wasn't Cerridwen, Brighid or Rhiannon (to name but a few) so I carried on my practices just refering to Her as My Lady. Two or Three years down the Path of working with Her I attended a Pagan Federation Conference in London  Whilst there I stumbled across an art card depicting an antlered female wearing a dress of green leaves and a greyhound at her side. Although I knew this wasn't ‘my’ Lady it was the first piece of art I’d ever seen with a horned Goddess and I bought it immediately! That was ‘Elen – by Judith Page’ this was my first encounter with Elen that day, what I didn’t realise was that it wouldn't be my last! I continued wandering around and ended up in an exhibition by the British Visionary Artists. As I came towards the end of the wonderful displays, I came face to face with the most amazing vision. There in the corner was a portrait of my Lady!!! I couldn't believe it! How someone could paint that which I had ‘seen’ for so many years. I asked the artist who it was? His simple reply was “May I introduce you to Elen?” I burst into tears!!! That artist was Iain Lowe and his painting and teaching helped me deepen my Path with Elen, My Lady.

My workings with Elen have come along way since then and She has guided me to some wonderful adventures. I have been running wonderful workshops and weekend retreats devoted to Her for the last three years and Her community is growing! I was lucky enough to walk a part of Her sacred track-way 'Sarn Elen' in Wales last year and I have some amazing adventures planned for this year!!! But I digress.....

My next little Altar is in my Kitchen. I was so blessed a couple of years ago to receive one of the gorgeous 'Source' Goddess statues from my Goddess Girlfriends :o) I was so chuffed!!! I couldn't believe it I'd wanted one for SO long! I don't know why but She has always lived in my kitchen since. I bought Her the beautiful slate bowl to sit in and filled it with Rose Petals, to represent love, and whenever I'm in my kitchen or cooking a meal I light a candle inside Her and let Her energies fill my workings. A small but very powerful gesture, I promise!

This is my little Altar/Shrine in my Hallway. I was drawn to the Buddha head and there's a guy that knows a few things about Spirituality and Life Style huh ;o) Next to him sits my beautiful, bountiful annointing oil Goddess. Her dish has been especially glazed for me so I can use it to hold my Elen Annointing Oil. Whenever I walk passed Her I can just dip my finger in then dab my third eye or rub it through my hands and  brush it energetically over my aura. 

My final little Altar is in my bedroom. I've always had a little eclectic altar, normally devoted to Love, in there. But I've just recently decided to change it over to a Peace/Gratitude Altar. One of my lovely Goddess Girls bought me this gorgeous Peace Candle and the white silver bowl on the right (actually she has bought me all three of the bowls, at different points) as a Yule gift. The bowls each contain water from the Red and White Springs in Glastonbury and I've placed the Peace candle in the other. I wanted to use the candle for something really special and decided to use it as a gratitude candle. Lighting it each evening as I write in my Journal my gratitudes for the day. I feel that by giving thanks daily I show my appreciation for all the wonderful things that come into my life.

Altars are such a wonderful tool for honouring your Spiritual Path and Journey and mine often change depending on where I am on the Path or what is influencing me at that specific time. Mine also change and reflect during the Wheel of the Year and the changing of the seasons. At the moment they're quite minimal (except the main house one) but that's more because I'm in a place where I need to de-clutter, procrastinate less and focus more right now.

In case you might be interested my Goddesses (except the Elen one that was handmade for me) and Peace Candle came from this fab shop in Glastonbury.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Winter Solstice 22/12/2011

The days leading up to the Winter Solstice had been so clear and bright here in Essex. This always leaves you wondering, if the day itself will be like that, or whether sods law will deal its hand.

Luckily, upon waking at 6am, there was no rain and very little cloud. Once two of our five had arrived we made our way to the Sea Wall. The Pre Dawn was spectacular! The silver, crescent lady hanging in the midnight blue sky and lower on the horizon we could see the bright twinkle of Mercury. Two more of our group arrived and our number was complete. One of our girls could only make a brief appearance so we sat on the wall together holding hands, taking in the glory of our view. Enjoying the peace and tranquillity.

When our number returned to four we headed on further round the Sea Wall until we came to the causeway that leads to Osea Island. We didn’t have to wait very long for the Sun to rise. Directly on the Sea, Sky horizon the flame orange orb made its rebirth onto the skyline. Marsh birds alike sang and chattered as the sphere grew. It had to be one of the most stunning sunrises I’ve seen in a long while! Although (I have to admit) when I make the effort to watch it rise, it never cesses to take my breath away.

I lit some Yule Incense….Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh and Mistletoe and smudged us all, clearing ourselves for the new period ahead. We sat discussing all that we wanted to release. Those that no longer serve us a purpose and made our way down to the causeway to release our little paper boats. As they sailed away, so did that which holds us back.

We had then planned to release a lantern of wishes….unfortunately the lantern had other ideas! The lantern was damaged and try as we might, it had no intention of lifting…no matter how much laughter we filled it with either!!! So we gave up and headed back to my house for a yummy Yuletide brekkie and gift exchange.  Its mornings like these that make me truly blessed for wonderful times and great friendships!