cooking up a tasty life

Crossing boundaries

We urgently need to do things differently. The industrial growth society we have built is destroying the natural world. It is no longer tenable. We need to build a new world in the shadow of the old.

There are many people across the globe building aspects of that new world. People are rediscovering or reaffirming was of living meaningfully with each other and the natural world rather than living parallel lives next to each other, cut off from the wonders of nature.girl-535251_640

I’m slowly finding my own way there. As a Druid, I’ve already come a long way. My spiritual practice helps me see myself as a part of the living world. I am finding magical connections, deeply rooted in the place where I live.

But I want to go further. I want to build real alliances with the people who live around me and the spirits I share my space with. And that’s more difficult for me than you might imagine.

I tend to be quite goal driven when I get out into the garden, or work on the Westacre renovation project. I just go and forget to notice that I am not doing this on my own.

I am always in partnership with something. The soil. The spirits of grass and moss. The mechanical spirit of lawn mower or the personality of the house itself. If I can give myself time and space to just become aware of these relationships, my life will be richer.

When it comes to making relationships with actual people, it’s even worse. I’m no leader when it comes to making social contacts. I tend to stay well inside my shell until it feels safe to come out. And that can take quite some doing. Yet I am aware that in this changing world we may soon all need each other.

These two kinds of relationship have quite a lot in common. It’s all about boundaries. Boundaries with strong defences that I have built up over many years. Walls I have thrown up and shells I have grown to protect my vulnerable ego self.

We all have these boundaries. And they are very necessary and useful things. They are there to keep us safe in a challenging world. But when the boundaries become limitations or even burdens, it’s time to do something about it. However useful our boundaries, we can’t actually survive alone.

I have learned over the last few years that there is absolutely no point forcing myself to break down those boundaries. Making myself do things that trigger the fear of my vulnerable child-self just brings more stress followed by guilt and feelings of inadequacy.

What I can do, is be gentle with myself. I can work to accept and love the me who is scared of initiating social contact. Heaping shame and punishment on top of fear really doesn’t work. Lots of hand holding and baby steps often does.

So I will start my quest for closer alliances in my comfort zone: my own house and garden. I know that I will simply forget to appreciate the connections that I already have. I’m bound to attack the next job without even noticing the first pale cream rose blooming.

The first thing to do is to stop as soon as I notice I’m trying to do something alone. I need to make a habit out of taking a breath and see who I am working with. To give them the gift of my attention. To receive the gift of their beauty. That is the kind of magical world I want to live in: one where connections are conscious and meaningful.

Our new neighbours up the lane have given me a convenient gift as well. They are having a house warming party next weekend. They have given me a great excuse to talk to neighbours I haven’t met yet and maybe meet some new friends. They are doing what I haven’t had the mental space our courage to do for myself. So I’ll be gratefully making use of the opportunity.

Gentle little steps are the only way to change emotionally based habits of a lifetime. No use scaring my inner child back into her shell. But she might just be glad of an invitation to come out and play.

(Image by Skitterphoto on Pixabay)


Celebration: fertile soil for a flourishing world

For several weeks now, I’ve been working closely with soil. I have given it the mulch and fertiliser it needs to thrive. I’ve sown seeds in it and watched baby plants grow. And I have relished eating the first fresh greens.

I witnessed very closely how important a good, healthy soil is. As a Druid, used to reading the Book of Nature and applying it to life, that made me wonder how we can build the soil for a better world.

Let me be very clear about this. Our civilisation, our wealthy society of perpetual growth, is doomed and it is dooming our planet to a future of extreme upheaval.

In some places, that upheaval is a daily fact of people’s lives already. Right here, in the green heart of England, things still seem to carry on as they always did. We need to use this time of relative calm to build better ways of living together, right from the bottom up. Right from the soil.

I asked my guiding spirits how we can build the soil of a flourishing world. The answer surprised me at first. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it makes.

The fertile soil we need to build is celebration.

Yes, that means having parties. Doing the three things that make up a celebration:
* getting people together
* saying a few words to remind everyone what is being celebrated
* sharing – food and stories and jokes and the warmth of an outdoor fire into the evening.

partyCan you imagine the effect of actually getting your neighbours together? The industrial growth society has driven us all into our family units, surrounding ourselves with our possessions, and barely speaking to the people next door. Just getting together a few times a year and getting to know each other as friends is a revolutionary first step towards a stronger community.

There is no need to have a solemn or big sounding reason for your celebration. People do notice and are uplifted by the return of the vibrant green. That is enough of a reason for a party. The first harvest of strawberries even more so.

And soon you’ll find yourself finding out about people’s passions and skills. About local resources and deep reserves of kindness. Mixing all those together, like earth worms mix nutrients into soil, is exactly what is needed. Being able to call on the skills and resources of a wider group makes it possible to stand strong as the upheaval spreads our way.

I’m looking at my vegetable bed. Yesterday’s rain has made it visibly grow. Fresh, nurturing, vibrantly alive. Just like the connections we build with each other. And what better way to make them magical than with a good party?


(image by Richard Dorrell on geograph)


A Council of the Wildwood

Sitting in a sacred circle, we listened intently. The spirits of the Wildwood spoke. Each in turn they gifted us with their wisdom, their warnings, their love.

Three of us created and held a safe space where people could explore their relationship with a spirit of the Wildwood. Nine others took the journey, staying close to the spirit who chose them for three days.

We adapted the concept from Joanna Macy‘s Work That Reconnects. With her, I believe it is important for us to listen once again to the beings with whom we share our world. To give voice to the voiceless.

As soon as humans and spirits made contact, creativity started to flow. People couldn’t wait to give shape and expression to the spirits they were listening to. From very simple craft materials, card, cardboard, a bit of paint, and natural materials, masks were made. It was wonderful to see them come to vivid life.barnowls

On the second day the spirits spoke. Dragonfly and butterfly. Ash, alder and dandelion. Owl, eagle and horse. They spoke of their different ways of seeing and hearing. They reminded us to be still, so we can perceive the world like they do. They expressed their connection to the great Cycle of Being. They told us that they are everywhere: in the forest, in the city, in our humanity. And, most surprisingly, they told us that they love us.

Dancing around the Maypole on the third day, the Wildwood added a sense of otherness to the usual duality of male and female. The presence of the spirits was heart-opening and comforting. It filled our community’s circle with the power of the green world, that joyful sense of renewal that flows through Nature at this time of Beltane.

For three days, we gifted the spirits of the Wildwood with our bodies, our creativity and our voices. In return, they gifted us with much wisdom and undeserved, unconditional love. May each of us disperse those gifts now, into a world that greatly needs them.

(Image by Airwolfhound on flickr – licensed for reuse)

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Giving gifts to the soil

Working on my raised vegetable bed, I’m learning once again that soil is alive. Every time I dig into the earth, I meet beetles, worms and centipedes. Apart from those, the soil is teeming with micro-organisms and fungi and all sorts of things that you can’t even see with the naked eye. All of them work together to keep the soil fertile. And to keep us in food.

Without good, fertile soil, we simply can’t survive. It gives us nearly all of the food we eat. And via the plants that grow in the crumbly fertile earth, we take in the soil’s nutrients and minerals that allow us to grow and thrive.

We are soil. It’s where we come from.

Sadly, as with so many things that sustain life on this embattled planet of ours, the news on soil is not good. In the UK alone, industrial farming methods are responsible for the loss of 2.2 million tons of topsoil a year. That’s 2,200,000,000 kg of the stuff that keeps us alive. Every year.

Deep ploughing breaks up the structure of the soil, disturbing the habitats of her creatures. The earth becomes exposed to the elements and is eroded away. Pesticides kill even more beneficial organisms, and artificial fertilisers do nothing to restore the organic matter in the soil. The stuff we are made of is washed into rivers and carried off in the wind.

This is what happens when we take for granted the gifts we are given. For our greed, for profit, for an ever growing population, we demand more bounty from the soil than she is able to give.

And we forget to give her gifts in return.compost

It doesn’t need to be this way. If we learn how to give to the soil in exchange for her bounty, in thanksgiving for our lives, we can restore the quality of the land and secure our future. All it takes is for us to respect the soil and allow it to do what it does best. We can learn how from looking at what happens on the forest floor.

I had the good fortune of spending an afternoon in the woods just a few days ago. Spring is at its peak now, and the forest was flushing green, dotted with celandines, wood anemones and the first bluebells. Its beauty alone is life-giving.

Nobody has dug up the forest floor to make these things grow. The prolific plant growth is sustained by a deep layer of hummus: dying plant matter from previous seasons, some of it straight from the trees, some of it first passed through herbivores that live there. And all of it mixed up underground by worms and all those other beneficial creatures that live in healthy soil.

So that’s what I’m doing with my vegetable bed. In gratitude for everything the soil has given me all my life, I have gifted it with horse manure, compost, and friable top soil dug up in our building works. All of that is now being mixed together by my friends the worms, ready to feed the vegetables I sowed. Ready to feed me.

Consciously giving to the soil is magic making of the most essential kind.

(image from pixabay)


Making magical connections against the coming storm

“We urgently need to do — and I mean actually do — something radical to avert global catastrophe. But I don’t think we will. I think we’re fucked.” – Stephen Emmott, 10 Billion

Those aren’t easy words to read. They’re harder still to take in. Even though I have intellectually known this for years, seeing it put so starkly is still a shock.

We have known that we are heading for destructive climate change for as long as I have been alive. 45 years or so. And nothing substantial has been done. We are still living in a world dominated by the Western industrial growth society that runs on fossil fuels.

We urgently need to do something radical. But the wheels of politics are turning very slowly and are being kept on the same old track by the financial interests of corporations and the fossil fuel industry.

My conclusion is that we need to do it ourselves. Many people across the globe are already doing it. Permaculture gardeners are working out how to feed the land so it can feed us. Intentional communities are working together so they can live more lightly on the Earth.

My husband and I are doing something radical as well. We have given up our jobs and are renovating our house to a high energy-efficient standard. We’re doing it to make our lives more resilient, and to reduce our impact on the Earth’s climate.

But the industrial growth society is not just the factories and fracking pads you can see. It’s an insidious thing that has convinced so many of us that we are not good enough if we haven’t bought the right things. That we have no power to change anything. That we are essentially alone.hummel-482585_640

But we are good enough, and powerful. By virtue of being alive on this planet, we give our gifts to the world and receive abundantly in return. With every breath, you give carbon dioxide to the trees, who photosynthesise it into carbon for their growth and oxygen for you to breathe. Each and every one of us is part of the great cycle of gift giving. We are never alone.

Thinking of ourselves in this way is a radical act. Claiming our place in the web of interconnected, interdependent life is an act of resistance. Nurturing our relationships with everything – soil, air, water – that keeps us alive is an act of rebellion against a society that seems hell bent on killing us.

We need to make real connections with the matrix of life that gave rise to human beings and our neighbours on this planet. It starts by becoming conscious of the gifts that pass between us.

Take a moment to consider what you are receiving each day. Air to breathe. Food to eat. The blue of the sky and the refreshing power of rain. The light of the sun that reveals every colour.

Consider what you give in return. The carbon you breathe out. The fertilising waste products of your kitchen and your body. Time to appreciate the beauty around you. Creatively using colours to create a cosy home.

As human beings, we have the capacity to use our gifts to the world to increase its abundance. We can add fertility to soil so more plants can grow and more wildlife flourish. We can give our full attention to trees and landscapes that have been neglected. We can add creativity to the gifts of common humanity we give each other.

When we begin to pay conscious attention to the gifts we give and receive, we start a chain reaction of magic that confirms us in our inner worth and helps our immediate surroundings to flourish.

Making magical connections in our lives is a radical act that makes a start at averting that global tragedy. And it may just give us the resilient communities we need to survive the coming storm.


Worth, value, and the cycle of gift giving

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been considering some new ideas for the Westacre Spiritual Centre. I am developing a programme of one-to-one mentoring for younger or less experienced Pagans. The question, as always, is how to charge for that.

The whole issue has brought up a host of other thoughts about my worth, the value of what I give to the world, and the cycle of gift giving that keeps all of us alive.

Despite the insecurities we human beings so easily burden ourselves with, we each have our own intrinsic and inalienable worth. It simply comes from being alive on this planet. Everything that lives (and I have a pretty wide definition for what I would consider ‘alive’) is worthy of respect and of the freedom to flourish in its own way. Nothing can take that away from us.

From that intrinsic worth, all beings give uncountable gifts to the world. We are all part of the great cycle of gift giving that encompasses every exchange between beings in our ecosystem. You breathe out carbon dioxide, which plants photosynthesise so they can use the carbon for growing and the oxygen to give in return. That’s just a very simple example. We are all intimately interconnected in a never ending cycle of giving and

As humans we also have a special ability to add value to the gifts we give each other. We can create beautiful and useful things that other people can use or appreciate or benefit from in some way. Our mutual gift giving adds wealth to our lives.

When it comes to selling my courses though, it’s hard to work out what exactly the value of my work is. I always put my heart into what I create, and do my best to make my offerings beautiful and useful to people. But what monetary value could I put on the time I spend mentoring someone?

Should I make my service cheap and accessible, by charging the living wage? Should I charge something equivalent to what I used to get for teaching Dutch in London? Or should I go to the other end of the spectrum and charge life coaching prices?

The truth lies somewhere in that range, but I have no idea how that monetary value compares to the value people get from my teaching and what they can afford.

There is this alternative that I have been considering for some time. It’s called ‘Pay What It’s Worth’. It would give my students the freedom to decide for themselves what value they get from my teaching. That way, I can freely give what I have to offer, and they can freely give in return, not necessarily with money. Our exchange would be a continuation of the great cycle of gift giving that we all belong to.

I really love this idea. I’ll probably give it a go. But first, I need to test out this mentoring idea. I’ll be offering it for free (yes, completely free) to the readers of the Westacre Newsletter. In exchange, I’ll simply be asking for feedback. If you fancy that idea, sign up for The Magic of Connection*.

*If you have already signed up for The Magic of Connection, but have not received a Newsletter recently, have a look in your spam box. They sometimes end up in there.


In love with life

Every so often, I fall in love with life again. Suddenly, everything feels fresh and new, and I get excited just taking it all in.

This is one of those times. I don’t know what it is. The time of year is helping, with Westacre’s drifts of snowdrops promising Spring. But this could happen just as easily in the heat of Summer, or when the leaves take on glorious colours.

It might have something to do with it being my birthday. I like new beginnings. There is all of the potential and none of the disappointment. New beginnings make me feel positive.


And it’s that positive feeling that gives me new eyes. Now, I can watch a patch of snowdrops as the sun hits them in the morning. As the frost melts on their green leaves and stems, they straighten themselves up and let their delicate heads bob in the slightest breeze. I can see fire caves in the stove, as the flames leave jewelled passages of glowing embers among the wood.

Taking time to notice and really see these things feels a little like making love. I take down some of my defences and let another being in. I let the essence of snowdrop and of fire touch me. I believe they feel my touch in return. These moments are filled with joy.

Just like being in love, this feeling won’t last. I’ve had it often enough to know that it will fade into the ordinariness of everyday. I will still take time to notice and see life happening around me. My love for it never fades. But that frisson of excitement comes and goes. I will savour every moment while it is here.


Hatching a new life

Something significant appears to be happening. It has kind of come out of nowhere. Or perhaps I should have been expecting it. A lot of strands in my life are coming together and it feels as though something new is about to be born. Something that hasn’t quite ever been before.

It dawned on me, for instance, that if I was going to engage people in a meaningful conversation about making magical connections with the world around them, I had better start making some of those connections myself. I committed to doing so more consistently and tell the story.

I volunteered to do some writing work for The Warrior’s Call, my community of Pagans united against fracking. One piece is done and was well received. It will appear as a chapter in a book in the near future. Yet to come is a larger project that will help The Warrior’s Call connect more meaningfully with people who want to get involved with what we do.

My spiritual community has asked me to take on a major space holding role for the next camp. This is an opportunity for me to do some of the things I feel called to do with my life. And an opportunity to give some other people the space to shine in their own right.

A week or so ago, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. My life is already quite full as it is, and these new demands were adding to my stress level. I couldn’t quite figure out how I was going to fit it all in my head, let alone into my limited time.alien_egg_by_dhumeir-d4i60m8

Then, one night, I had a dream. It featured a stone egg I had acquired from the stall at a meeting for The Warrior’s Call. So the next morning I took the egg into meditation with me. My guides showed me how to put everything that was on my mind into that egg. Doing so instantly brought me some peace.

I have continued to work with the egg, letting it hold worries and stressful thoughts for me. The egg is holding all of my life, the responsibilities I already had as well as these new commitments. My task now is to incubate it, to nurture and hold it. And to see what will be born.

It’s exciting. I feel held and supported by the Earth – she is filled to the brim with life now, waiting to burst out at the first sign of warmer weather. I feel a new life coalescing inside that egg as I hold it. It won’t be long before it hatches. It won’t be long before I see its face.

(Image: Alien Egg by dhumeir on deviantart)


Who does the Grail serve? An Imbolc healing

I feel immensely grateful and privileged to be part of a very special spiritual community. We are a pretty random and ever-evolving group of Druids who camp together four times a year, at the major festivals. Every camp is different, but each one offers challenges and opportunities for healing.

This time, I went to camp with a flood of woes dammed up inside me. It was my intention to find willing ears to pour it all into. On arrival, I told everyone I was not OK. And I wasn’t.

The Westacre project is a wonderful thing. It teaches me so much and I am proud of how much we are doing to reduce our impact on the Earth. But it’s also very challenging. Large projects like this never go the way you planned them, and this one is no different. Sometimes I fight the everyday reality of it. Sometimes it’s stressful and frustrating.

Meanwhile, I am putting my heart and soul out on the internet, hoping to engage people. I am having a very hard time getting them to talk back to me. It’s like slinging my heart over a big blank wall and waiting for something – anything – to come back. It rarely does.

To add insult to injury, my chronic tummy problem got quite a bit worse just before camp. Usually, I manage to ignore it. Not so much now. It’s asking for attention. It’s reminding me that life is unpredictable and cannot be controlled. Another source of stress.

Before I even had the time to find people willing to listen to my rant, the magic of Camp happened. Ana Adnan took us on a Grail Quest in a guided meditation and it instantly cured me. I was given the answer to my frustrations and a way to proceed.

To start with, the journey gave me the things that build an ego: a career, a lover, a coveted possession. But like Perceval, when I came to the Grail Castle, I was so full of myself, talking so much about my own adventures and concerns, that I forgot to ask the crucial questions that would have brought healing.Grail

On our return, we were each offered a drink from a cup and asked another question: who do you serve?

My realisation was instant: the building project, my struggle to build a business, my very life. None of these are about me. What I need to do is ask questions, make relationships, find out how I can serve. My answer was: I serve the intricate web of connections that makes up life.

And so I am taking my first steps on a path I should have been travelling for some time now. I am listening to the spirits of my home as I wash up and clean. I am asking questions of my social media followers and get to know them personally. I am listening to my heart to see which connections are calling to be given extra magic.

It’s not about me. It’s not about what label I give myself. My life, all our lives, are about the blessings we can give to the web of connections that keeps all of us alive. We are called to serve every expression of life so it may thrive and flourish.

Held securely by that spiritual family, transformations like this are common. Supported by a tribe, we can find the courage to shift our centre outside ourselves and find a life of service.

(Picture: The Damsel of the Sanct Grael by Dante Gabriel Rosetti – Wikimedia commons)

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The place beyond emotion

Over the years, I have come to accept that my spiritual life goes on a break when I’m visiting my mum in Belgium. Even when I manage to carve out some time for meditation, it never really works there, for whatever reason.

So it’s good to get back home and pick up the thread again. For the first few days my body and mind have to get back into the routine. But soon enough I find myself completely present in my garden, aware of the frosty air, of the song of birds, and of my breath coming and going.

Meditation takes me to a place of stillness. I put my awareness, as steadily as I can, at the bottom of my breath. In that quiet space between breathing out and breathing in again. It is a natural pause, a place of rest.

Finding that stillness is lovely. It’s like coming home, touching the place where all things are one. When I have that connection, I am able to observe my own reactions to life. I can go to a place beyond the emotions that come with everyday life.birch-270234_640

On a good day, I can mother myself from there. We all have our vulnerabilities, childlike parts of ourselves that carry old wounds. When I manage to stay with the place of stillness, I can gently accept and hold all of those emotions. Feeling them and loving them without identifying with them.

On other days, I forget that being in that place beyond emotions does not mean that I can ignore them. It doesn’t mean hanging on to peace for dear life while resisting the stresses and upsets that come my way. On those days, my muscles tense and my jaw clenches. It is the opposite of peace.

Which is why it is good for me to return to meditation a couple of times a day. So I can remember. In meditation, I have some time to notice where I am holding on too tightly. And to listen to those emotions as they pass.

It would be great if one day the place of stillness became second nature. But, as great meditation teachers say, that is not the point of meditation. The point is to return to the place of quiet awareness, to the bottom of the breath, again and again and again.

(photo from


A holiday for the mind

We’ve had a well-deserved break at Westacre. We worked very hard last year, with very few breaks. So we enjoyed ten days of doing not very much except sitting by the fire and imitating the stillness of Nature.

Not having to get up early, my meditation practice moved from the darkness well before dawn to mid-morning. And what mornings they were. Crystalline frost covered the grass with coarse white fur. Where the frost diamonds caught the light, their little prisms shimmered with silent colour.frostonthegrass

Sitting on my blanket on the frozen grass, I went to a place of silence within. That stillness at the bottom of the breath. That pause of nothingness before a new breath arises.

It hasn’t been long since I re-committed to meditating with my breath. My mind produces a multitude of distractions. I’m practising just labelling them as ‘thoughts’ and letting them go, returning to my breath.

I found that ‘thoughts’ is the right label for me. If I label them as ‘thinking’ I instantly react as though I have been judged. ‘You are thinking! Bad girl! Stop it!’ Simply saying to myself: ‘thoughts’ is like saying ‘clouds’. You can’t stop thoughts from arising any more than you can stop the weather. So there’s no use beating yourself up about it.

And so I return to the pause between two breaths. And as I remain there, I find myself travelling to a place that is everywhere and nowhere. The source of the breath. The ground of existence. The centre of the dance of life. When my mediation ends, I know that I have been home.

I welcome and appreciate this chance to rest in the stillness beyond thoughts. It’s like a little midwinter holiday for the mind. A chance to return to myself between the activities of everyday life.

Do you have a meditation practice? How do you take holidays for the mind?


Back to the bones – essential spiritual practice

Midwinter. The darkest of dark. The day passes so quickly it is barely there. Our days have turned into night.

And yet in the heart of that velvet black, we reach a turning point. Right there in the shadows, a new light is sparked.

This night, three such turning points come very close together. Less than an hour before midnight, the Sun will enter the sign of Capricorn and mark the Winter Solstice. Midnight will bring the promise of a new day ahead. And at 1:36 am, the Moon will reach the darkest point in her cycle.

Three moments of deepest dark. Three promises of new life to come. It seems like a good time to ponder what gives us deep rest. And what sparks new life in us.

For me, the spark of my life, the thing that keeps me sane and is the centre point of my life is meditation. Without my two moments of meditation each day, strange things begin to happen to me. I forget where the home of my soul is. The world wobbles. I need my times of stillness and open listening.SolsticeMeditation

So this Solstice I recommit to my meditation practice. Simpler even than the meditation of The Magic of Connection, I intend to return to my breath. To the very bones of meditation. To the stillness of this time of year.

This simple practice takes me home. Sitting with my body and my breath, I learn how to be attentive to my own experience of being alive. I make a magical connection with myself.

When we are at home with ourselves, our awareness gently opens to the world around. In that stillness, we are at the heart of the great community of all beings. We are where we belong.

What is the essence of your spiritual practice? How does it take you home?


Pagan New Year: Samhain or Yule?

New on my Tumblr blog.

Many Pagans regard Samhain (31 October/1 November) as the New Year. My own experience, and some historical insights, guide me to celebrate new beginnings at the Winter Solstice, or Yule.


Divination: speaking with the gods


7 steps to meeting your spirit guide

Sitting on the Hag’s Chair at her temple, I could feel the power of the land rising through the hill beneath me. The power of the place enveloped me and flowed through me. And in that moment I heard her whisper in the wind: “I am your bones.”

The Goddess who guides me is ancient. More than 5000 years ago, people built a temple complex on the tops of two adjacent hills in Ireland. The best preserved of their passage cairns is aligned to the sunrise on the Equinoxes. We cannot know what gods they honoured. All that is left is the site and the clue in the name the later Celtic people gave the place: Slieve na Caillaigh.

I know, in my soul, that this Goddess chose me that day. She has been walking with me ever since. She is old as stones. She made the hills. She holds the dance of the heavenly bodies within the darkness of her womb. She is too old to have a name, though sometimes I call her after the name of that place: Cailleach.


As an animist and shamanic practitioner, I see the gods as powerful spirits of Nature. These spirits are simply the spiritual side of the natural world. If we learn how to listen, how to open our physical and subtle senses to that reality, they become an abundant source of guidance and inspiration.

As I listen, the goddess of Slieve na Caillaigh teaches me. She is one of my spirit guides. When I open my heart and ask sincerely, my small council of guides and teachers will give advice on anything from major life questions to what to eat for lunch.

In my council, there are spirits who present themselves as human, and others who present themselves as animals. Some of them are vast as the Night Sky, others are ostensibly tiny, but full of power none the less. All of them have come to me through experiences like the one I had in Ireland, or through shamanic journeys in the world of spirit.

You don’t have to be very experienced to make a magical connection with your own spirit guides. Just follow these seven steps:

1. Sit down in meditation. Take a few deep breaths, and then let your breath return to its normal rhythm. Pay attention to your breath for a while, just as it is.

2. When you feel calm and centred, imagine yourself in a place in nature. Make it a place that you have visited in real life, and where you felt safe and comfortable. Take your time to really become present there. What does it sound, smell, feel and look like?

3. When you have a clear sense of the place, call to your spirit guide. Ask sincerely that you may meet your spirit guide. Wait and see who turns up. It might be that nobody shows the first time. If that happens, just enjoy being in that place and finish your meditation. You can try again another time.

4. If a being, in whatever shape, does turn up, ask them if they are your spirit guide. This is a crucial step that shamans call ‘spirit discernment’. If you ask, they will answer clearly. They will either show you recogniAsk sincerely that you may meet your spirit guidetion, or move on.

5. When you have met your spirit guide, spend some time with them. Ask them what they would like to do. Play, dance, talk, collect autumn leaves. Just get to know this spirit.

6. When you feel ready to leave, thank your spirit guide and the spirits of the place where you have spent time together. Then gently let the images subside and return back to your body, back to your place of meditation.

7. Ground your experience by writing it down in your journal. Meditations like this can be powerful, but they are also ephemeral as dreams. It’s good to make a record. Eat something, or do something physical if you still feel ungrounded.

You can go back to that place in nature as often as you like. Spend time with your spirit guide. Ask them what you can do for them, and how you can make them a part of your daily life. Build trust gently and slowly, as you would with any new friend.

And as you would with any new friend, don’t give away your power. You are a divine soul in your own right, and if your spirit’s advice doesn’t agree with your personal ethics, you don’t have to follow it. You can talk about this with your spirit guide and come to a compromise that works for both of you.

Magical connections with the world of spirit are crucial. The spiritual aspect of our world has much to teach us about how to live together with all forms of life. They even have teachings about how to undo some of the harm that we have done. Together with our guiding spirits, we stand for the flourishing of all beings.

I hope your relationship with your spirits is long and fruitful. Do please share your experiences in the comments section.

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The washing machine of change

I’m having a washing machine kind of time. You know, when lots of impressions and ideas and thoughts and plans just churn around and are jumbled together like clothes in a washing machine. It feels quite unsettling.

It’s all to do with trying to get some traction for the Westacre Spiritual Centre as a business. I have been playing with ideas about formulating my core message (see image) and engaging my audience with it.

While I was playing with that core message, I felt like I knew what I was doing. That I was really on to something. But when I tried it out on my audience, just a couple of whispers came back*. And then silence. And I felt frustrated. Now what?

It seems obvious that I have been talking to the wrong people. My friends don’t need my help with their spiritual path. They’re pretty well settled and know what they’re doing. I need a way to communicate with people who are still trying to find their way.

I had a moan at a friend. He was very supportive and came up with some ideas I would never have considered on my own.

One of those ideas was selling online coaching. The idea would be to help a younger generation of Pagans find their path and their practice, for an affordable monthly fee. I like that idea. I’ll be sure to let you know when that is launched.

He also encouraged me to start a Tumblr blog. I had heard of Tumblr, but I had no idea what it did. So I have set up an account and have been playing around. It would appear I have a Tumblr blog now.

Jumbled together in my brain’s washing machine, those two things soon got linked. If I start answering young pagans’ questions on Tumblr, I can start building a presence and a reputation. And when that happens, I can launch my coaching.

That sounds like a plan, doesn’t it? But unfortunately, those are not the only items in the washing machine.


I’m still stuck on my core message. I liked it. It really contains my heart and soul. It is what I want to say to the world. I’ve put some work into developing it already. But I doubt it would appeal to the Tumblr audience. What do I have to say to them? And to a large extent that will depend on what I find they are asking. Will I have to change it all?

Was all that time I spent re-writing the front page of the Westacre Spiritual Centre web site wasted? Have I got the wrong end of the stick? Where am I going and, fundamentally, who am I?

When it goes all the way to questions of identity, I know I have to slow down and come back down to basics. I need some sage advice.

And I know where that is to be found. I’ve known for a long time, but it seems strange to ask. For the first time, I am involving the Spirits who guide me into the nitty gritty of business development.

They have given me guidelines on how to motivate myself:

“Just bloody well take care of yourself, woman!”

On what to do with that new front page:

“It needs more love, is what it needs.”

On what to do with Tumblr as I grope around in an unfamiliar space:

“Just let yourself play.”

They’re wise, those Spirit Guides of mine. I have always talked to them about the broad sweeps of my life. Their guidance has been invaluable. But I’ve never asked them about social media before…

Well, a month or so ago I blogged about developing my trust. This is how you do it. Step by little step. Asking for guidance and implementing it, however small it may seem. And that way, change feels manageable.

The washing machine is still going. I’m not looking forward to the spin cycle. But eventually the wash will end and something beautifully fresh and clean will come out.

I’m off to play on Tumblr now. Come by and visit if you fancy.

*Thank you, whisperers. You know who you are. I am considering framing your reactions and putting them on the wall. ;o)


Rooted in trust – five easy steps

At the Autumn Equinox, I committed to creating and nurturing community in my life. I strongly believe that remembering our communality with each other and the natural world is what will make all the difference as old certainties crumble.

Back then, I promised before my gods: “I commit to taking the steps that will grow my communities. I commit to making the rituals that will support me in doing so. I commit to sharing this journey with you.”

This was never going to be easy. I grew up as an only child, and I’m naturally an introvert. Reaching out to people doesn’t come naturally. It feels very vulnerable to make connections outside my comfort zone. This is something I’m going to have to learn how to do.

My first task is to strengthen my trust. Trust that all will be well. That I will be held. That I can survive rejection.

The Earth Herself is the obvious place to start. I can be absolutely certain that the Earth will hold me. She doesn’t reject any of her children. She nurtures and feeds all of us, gives us all that we need. She holds all of us, from birth to death and beyond. That is objectively true, as well as emotionally reassuring.

To strengthen this bond with the Mother Earth, I have returned to my core practice of putting down roots. In meditation, I imagine my roots reaching deep and wide into the Earth like a tree’s.

The connection comes alive when I send love and blessings for the Earth down my roots. And when I listen for an answer, I feel a reassuring strength rising through me. It is a magical connection, vibrant with life force.

As it happens, trust, truth, and trees have a lot to do with each other. The etymological roots of all these words are related.

Trust is derived from Proto-Germanic *treuwaz-, “to believe, trust”. Trust comes down to believing that something or someone is true and has integrity.

True comes from the same source, which traces back to the Proto Indo-European root *deru-/*dreu- “be firm, solid, steadfast”. This root also has the more specialised meaning of “wood, tree”.

So learning how to trust by mimicking a tree makes a lot of sense. I know that in the days since I re-committed to that practice, I have been feeling much calmer about my life and its challenges.

If you would like to try it, here are five easy steps:earth roots

1) Sit down, preferably outside, and notice your breathing. Just pay attention to how your breath moves in and out of your body. How it stretches muscles with each in-breath and lets them relax on the out-breath.

2) Notice where your body touches the Earth and imagine roots growing from the base of your spine into the soil beneath you. Feel touch of your weight on the ground. With each out-breath, let yourself relax into the Earth. Feel yourself sinking your roots deeper as you breathe out.

3) Send your love and appreciation for the Earth down your roots. Send blessings with every breath. Do this for a while, until you feel a clear flow of love into the Earth.

4) Listen for the Earth’s response to your presence and your blessings. Just become aware of the feelings and impressions that come back to you. Don’t second guess yourself. Allow the feelings to flow without resistance. Stay with them for as long as you like.

5) When you are ready to return to your daily life, bring your attention back to your breathing. Feel the breath entering and leaving your body. Feel yourself separate from the patch of soil you were sitting on, but always connected to the Mother Earth. Move gently back into your life.

This connection to the Earth is your birthright as a human being. It is a great source of strength and support. Where could you use some extra support? Could the Mother’s strength help you?

I’m very curious about your experiences with this practice. Please let me know how it works for you.

For more suggestions about growing roots and mimicking a tree, sign up for my free course, The Magic of Connection.

photo by Mike Quinn – creative commons

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Making magical connections

We all need more magical connections.

By connection I mean any link or relationship you have with the world around you. With other people, of course, but also with the other living beings and objects around you. All these connections keep you alive and make you the person you are.

These connections become magical when you feel life flowing through them. They are the connections that make your heart sing. They give you strength and the joy of living. They keep you resilient in a world full of challenges.

Whenever you feel depleted, angry, or overwhelmed by the sorrows of this world, what you need is to turn towards another living being and become mindful of your connection with them. Send it your love and blessings, and you will feel your connection come alive. When you take time to open your senses and to listen, that relationship will feed you, body and soul. It’s magical.

At the heart of the word ‘connection‘ is the Latin ‘nexus’, which means ‘that which binds together’. Although in our Western civilisation we have forgotten it, we are bound to each other – humans and other-than-human beings – by a million million threads. The more vibrant and alive we keep those threads, the more resilient we are.

The threads of connection make us part of the community of life. That community is our birthright as human beings, as children of the Earth. With the strength of that wide community behind us, we can take a stand against the destructive forces of our civilisation. We stand together for the flourishing of all beings.

To help you explore the threads that bind you to the natural world, I created The Magic of Connection, my free nine-part meditation course. This practice has seen me through some rough times, and I return to it again and again.

Over time, I will create more courses, rituals and meditations to help you deepen the magic of your connections. You can also explore my collection of practices to sustain and inspire you.

Will you make this magic with me?


Harvesting the strength of community

What a year it has been. As I contemplate my year’s harvest at the Autumn Equinox, I give thanks for what Alex and I have achieved. For the fact that the weather has mostly been very kind. For the continued health of our bodies and our relationship.

But the thing that strikes me most is how much I have learned about myself. When I look at myself now, I see a woman who is so much more capable and courageous than I ever gave myself credit for.

I am so much stronger. Some of that is muscle that I have grown over a year of working hard. And by that I mean emotional and spiritual muscle as well as arms that hold me onto ladders more securely. But some of it is strength that I always had but never recognised.

Through the year, I have also learned much about what we need to survive the coming storm of our civilisation in crisis. Al lot of what I have done outside Westacre has been achieved with my Warrior’s Call family of like-minded souls. The campaign against fracking teaches me constantly that we need to re-discover our human communities.

The monster that is the civilisation we have created has separated us from each other. People have become little cogs in a great machine that is rapidly consuming our planet. Each day, we work hard to earn the money that we need to keep a roof over our heads. When we come home, each to our individual houses, we only have energy left to collapse in front of a screen to be fed the values of the same society that enslaves us.

Generally, we don’t have any time left to nurture the connections and the communities that sustain us and deepen our humanity. We weren’t made to be alone – or isolated in tiny family units. We were meant to live together in deeply interwoven communities the size of a village. Alone, we feel powerless against the great monster. Together, we know who we truly are: trees in a forest, bees in a hive, individuals in community.

I am harvesting a new human being – new to us who have grown up in this crazy civilisation. I am harvesting a connected, communal being. It’s been growing for some time. It is the new me I see working away at a sustainable life and a sustainable future. And it is my vision for all of us.

It’ll take some cultivating. It’s not what comes naturally to me. I am a bit of an introvert by nature. Stepping out of myself and making connections with neighbours and people I hardly know is not easy.

It’s not what comes naturally to many of us in the West. We still, fundamentally, think that we are alone. So many people think that they, as individuals, need to do things to change our world. ‘What can I do about it?’ is a question I still hear too often.

Learning to live in community at a Druid camp

Learning to live in community at a Druid camp

We don’t have to do it alone. We are a community. We stand together against the monster. The monster wishes to keep us small and isolated, but we can’t afford to let it any longer. We are together. We are many. We are strong. Our power as individuals comes from the connections that feed us.

It’s time for us to learn how to live in community again. It’s time to work out how it’s done and put our power into practice. It is time to share that vision with the world.

This is my year’s harvest. This was my ritual gateway into the dark half of the year. I committed to moving from human isolation (we’ve had more than enough) to human communality (we have forgotten it so much it barely exists). In my sacred circle, I committed to nurturing every little bit of community that comes my way. Because our lives literally depend on it. Our survival in the next decades depends on it.

I commit to taking the steps that will grow my communities. I commit to making the rituals that will support me in doing so. I commit to sharing this journey with you.

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A safe space for dangerous emotions

“Ritual. It’s an interesting word. It has a certain flavour to it, heady and dangerous.” - from Ritual Toolkit

Our culture, and as a consequence most of us, are a bit funny about emotions. We don’t quite know what to do with them. We are afraid of them, scared that they will get someone hurt. So we end up hiding them, denying them, and trying to escape from them. We seem to never learn that they will catch up with us eventually.

Negative emotions are definitely taboo. We’re not allowed to be angry, sad, or anxious in public. Even in sacred circles, among like minded souls, I’ve witnessed people routinely apologise for having a negative emotion. And expressing them is something that is definitely relegated to very close relationships – and even then. In my family, anger is so taboo I didn’t know I ever felt it until I was nearly 40.

At the moment, history seems to be taking daily turns for the worse. Extremist factions are perpetrating horrible atrocities in the Middle East. One European country is doing everything short of invading another. Fossil fuel corporations are poisoning the land beneath our feet and the water we need to live. The list goes on. We all feel these stresses of our planet and our fellow humans. They come on top of our own life challenges. Just coping day by day seems to get harder all the time for so many of my friends.

Positive emotions can be awkward too. How many people do you genuinely love? And how many of those would you be comfortable expressing that love to? We tend to feel that the expression of love comes with a huge backpack of demands and vulnerabilities that we would rather avoid.

In our culture, emotions are dangerous things. So many of us constantly live on the edge of being overwhelmed by them. And because we are so bad at handling them on a day to day basis, they tend to pop up at the most inconvenient moments. I know that I can get stressed and anxious. I also know that often I won’t notice that it’s happening until I burst into tears about next to nothing. Surely there is a better way?

Creating sacred space

In the security of the sacred circle, you can learn to work with youremotions constructively. Within its protective embrace, you are free to express yourself any way you like. Here, you can rage and howl, shout and weep as much as you like. And when the wave of your emotion subsides – as it always does – it is the ideal place to look for new hope and a new way of relating to the issue that triggered it.

Over the years, I have done this in a few different ways. Within a formally cast circle, I have sat still and just allowed the emotion to flow through me, following their sensations in my body. At other times, I have walked with my emotions around the circle, letting them lead me to the various directions and their associations with the cycles of life, death, and rebirth. And when I feel like it, I take my rattles into the circle with me and go on a chanting journey, travelling through otherworldly landscapes with my emotions and my guides.

I can’t claim any of these processes are comfortable. Sometimes they do have a sense of danger. You never know where exactly they may lead. But in the end, they take me towards clarity about what I am feeling and open gateways to new possibilities of living and relating.

This is the beauty of ritual. Securely held in the save space between the casting and the unwinding of the circle, anything can happen. You are held. You can drum under the stars or fall asleep in the healing sight of the Sun. You can safely travel to the edge of your emotion and meet it face to face. You can do battle with it and learn what it is you are battling. But at all times you are protected.

If you would like to work with your emotions in this way, here are a few suggestions.

Your body is a map of the world

Allowing yourself to feel

Let your sorrow flow into creativity

My new course, Ritual Toolkit, teaches the basic procedures of ritual. It comes from a Druid perspective, but it is open to people from any spiritual path. Putting it together, I drew from my 20 years of experience as a qualified teacher in adult education.
The Magic of Connection, my free meditation course, is a perfect introduction to my way of working and my teaching. People who stick with it to the end also get substantial discounts on my other courses.


Calling peace in unsettled times

I have been out of sorts, in more ways than one. As I was committing more of my time to the renovation project, my spiritual practice slipped. And when that happens, trouble is usually soon to follow.

It’s not always obvious though, when things start slipping. I have been very busy working away and feeling very tired in the evening. I’ve been keeping up a pretend daily meditation practice. Which means that I was pretending it was daily – while missing days for reasons of too busy, too tired, and too late in the evening. And I was pretending to meditate when I did get out there – while actually ruminating about the next step in the building project. My pretence was so convincing that it took me ages to work out what was wrong.

My ritual practice was suffering even worse. I found that the mornings, my favourite moments to fit these in, were exactly the times when Alex needed me working on the project. I tried combining ritual with my evening practice, but that wasn’t really happening either, so I found myself going without ritual for several weeks.

With a very limited spiritual practice, I become much more vulnerable to stress and overwhelmed by emotions and events in the news. This has various symptoms, from doing work through gritted teeth (not pleasant) and tight muscles (sore) to tearful outbursts (embarrassing). So it’s no surprise I was feeling out of balance.

There is one obvious cure though. I need to re-commit to my practice. And thankfully Alex and I have come to a compromise where I will help him get started earlier in the morning, and he will make me stop in the afternoon so I have time for other things.

Yesterday, at the Waning Moon, I did a small ritual out in the garden for the first time in ages. It had the same effect on me that rituals always have, since the first time I cast a circle. It instantly gives four sturdy corners to the house of my life and makes me feel steady. Just something simple can be very healing.

Next Tuesday, my online course Ritual Toolkit launches. Circle casting is one of the tools it teaches. Today, though, I would like to share with you a little taster video. It is a clip from one of the how-to videos in the course. It is a simple call for peace that is performed at the start of many Druid rituals. And it is just what I need to soothe my unsettled life, in this unsettled chapter of our human story.

More information about Ritual Toolkit is here.

People who have completed The Magic of Connection get an automatic 1/3 discount on Ritual Toolkit. Further discounts and payment plans available by agreement.


A meditation for personal healing

It was a beautiful day yesterday. In the morning I was out early, climbing our scaffolding tower to get to the upstairs windows. At the level of the trees’ canopies, I was applying filler to the gap between the new windows and the wall. The wind made the trees speak to me as I worked.

In the afternoon, I celebrated Lughnasadh with the Hawk of the Chase Grove. Our ceremony was held outside, and the organisers created a stunning harvest altar at the centre of our circle. Here, also, the trees were speaking to us. And the Sun drenched it all with his powerful light as he starts his journey into winter.LughAltar

As we sang the Awen to end our rite, though, we remembered sorrow as well. A woman in the circle asked for blessing for her son with severe learning difficulties who has been having a challenging time. And we sent peace to the people of Gaza who are suffering so much. Woven into the joy of this harvest time, and any time, is the sorrow of our world.

These days, as I am working to find joy in the everyday while doing so much physical work on our project, shocking reports in the news can really get me down. Gaza is the most striking one at the moment, but there are so many more. I believe that I am affected by this because I love the world. It is an inevitable consequence. But at the same time, remembering and strengthening that same love will make me more resilient and help me heal.

For all you wonderful people who love our beautiful world and are affected by its sorrows, I would like to share a little extract from my free course, The Magic of Connection. It is a simple practice of listening to a being who lives near you. A little bit of magic for every day to soothe the soul. Try it. See what happens.

Who is with you?

Breathe. Feel life flowing through you with each breath. Feel the Earth beneath you, holding and supporting you. Look around you. Who shares this life, this place with you?

Breathe with the Mother Earth. Feel your roots relaxing into the soil beneath you. Feel them radiate out, stretching, holding you tightly to the Earth. Breathe with your roots, rest in them. Trust that you belong in this place, as much as the trees, the grass, the flowers surrounding you.

Now choose a being that is rooted and breathing near you. Just hold it gently in your gaze. Notice how this being uniquely expresses the life of the Earth that it grows from. Let it dazzle you with its beauty.

Now allow your roots to put out a tendril, a tiny thin extension that touches the roots of this fellow being. You will know when you’re there. Just breathe out, relax, and let yourself stretch out to that plant being. What does it feel like when your roots touch? Stay with that feeling. Breathe it. Breathe with your kin, rooted together in the mother.

When you are ready to finish, pull back your roots to a comfortable distance from your body. Feel yourself as separate again. Breathe from your centre. And gently return to your day.

Connecting to other beings like this is a beautiful and healing practice. With time, we become more strongly rooted in the Earth, the mother we depend on for our lives and livelihood. As we do so, we feel more connected to her and to all our brothers and sisters for whom the same is true.

The Magic of Connection has seven more steps that build into a powerful meditative practice. It gently heals you from disconnection and hopelessness – I know because that’s what it’s done for me.

The practices from the Magic of Connection are also a great foundation if you want to learn more about making ritual. The Ritual Toolkit course develops these basics into tools for creating your own personal rituals.

People who have completed The Magic of Connection automatically get a 30% discount on Ritual Toolkit. If that sounds good to you, sign up for The Magic of Connection here.

For more information about Ritual Toolkit, click here.


Weaving ritual for a new world

Slowly, slowly, we are weaving a new world in the cracks of the old. Everywhere, people are coming together to make communities closely connected to the land. Last week, I had the honour of speaking at the Rainbow Druid Camp, where hundreds of people came together to celebrate and find inspiration. At the same time, not far away, White Horse Camps’ Lughnasadh celebration started. I’ll be joining them tomorrow.

In both of these gatherings, ritual takes a central role. Opening rituals turn a gathering of individuals into a community with each other and with the place where the camp is happening. At White Horse Camps, a large ritual to celebrate the festival of Lughnasadh is communally dreamed and created. Throughout the camps, other, smaller, rituals of exploration and magical manifestation take place.

In Druid circles and far beyond, rituals are being used as a tool in the process of weaving a new, more just and more connected world. Communities make closer connection through ritual. Groups like The Warrior’s Call re-enchant the Earth in the fight against fracking. And individuals find their own place in the natural world in their private ceremonies.

Making ritual is setting aside a sacred time, a sacred space, to explore and deepen our relationship with Spirit through word and action. Ritual is prayer intensified by physical movement and the spoken word. It is spirituality given body and a voice. Anything we do within that sacred space weaves strong threads into the fabric of Life. Here we can plant a seed of intention, and have it blessed by Spirit.

With ritual, we can seed our intention of making a more connected world. Just the attention we invest in preparing our rite will draw the attention of the sentient world around us. The acts we perform in the ritual strengthen our resolve and create links that allow our intent to flow into the world beyond. If we are doing ritual with others, our bonds will be made stronger.

At the next New Moon, I will be launching Ritual Toolkit, a seven week course that teaches you the various tools to create your own rituals. Each week you will be introduced to tools that you can try out and practice as you go. At the end of the course, you will be ready to perform a ritual that is all your own and deeply meaningful to you.

It is my hope that through the different stages of making ritual, you will find your own connections with the world around you. That you will discover a personal way to communicate your soul song through those threads of connection. That, woven together, our rituals will re-enchant the Land.

For more information about Ritual Toolkit, follow this link.


Making community with the natural world: a first step

So where do we start? We are in this predicament where millennia of seeing ourselves as separate has brought us to the brink of disaster. We need to create a new way of seeing ourselves in relation to the natural world.
In the past week or two, there has been some controversy among my friends on Facebook. People where shocked at the amount of litter left by the Stonehenge revellers at the Summer Solstice.
Some Pagans have a hard time understanding how people can come to a sacred site, for a sacred event, and leave the place covered in rubbish. It certainly doesn’t make any sense to me.
The 37,000 people, many of them young, were celebrating the Solstice as best they know how, within the paradigm of their culture. A party in that culture means drinking and doing drugs to excess and then going home while somebody else clears up after you. And that is what many people did.
Can we blame them for behaving the way they have always behaved? Can we blame people for being products of their time and their environment? Can we hold them responsible for the disconnection from the sacred, from the natural world, and from other people that is rife in our society?
Friends who were at Stonehenge on Saturday morning witnessed a deep need in the people there to connect with something greater than themselves and their small world of consumerism and manufactured hopes. At some level, that need lives in all of us.
Partying at Stonehenge at the Solstice can be the first step on a path of profound meaning and connection. If our need is great enough, and we can find the patience to sit still for a few minutes every day, just to be in a green place and listen, connections will naturally grow.

For people who need a bit of guidance there, who don’t know what to do with themselves or how to listen to anything other than the latest song on their iPod*, I created The Magic of Connection. In nine easy steps it builds a practice of meditation that is full of meaning and community. It roots people into the place where they live and opens pathways of communication with the beings they meet there.
It is only a small step towards growing a new culture. But if you know someone who craves connection but doesn’t know how to go about it, please direct them to The Magic of Connection. You never know where it will take them.

*As it happens, the guided meditations can be loaded onto your iPod for use anywhere, any time.


Weaving the Magic of Connection

The world is changing, and the change is human-made. In response, we are weaving a new world of community with all beings.

We have, in a very short time, degraded the environment so far that some of its creatures cannot survive. The rate of extinctions is speeding up. News of mass deaths, of fish and of bees, is frequent. And still, after many decades of dire warnings, we are still cutting down the rain forests that let our world breathe.

But some of us – many of us – are making changes in a different direction. We are re-building community with each other and with the world of Spirit. We are weaving a network of connections that can hold us and sustain us when the consequences of our culture’s train wreck hit home.

Creating links with each other and with the beings we share our world with is what The Magic of Connection is all about. These last couple of weeks, I have been part of making that magic in very different ways.
The first day of magic happened right here at Westacre. As you probably know, my husband and I are transforming our 1930s house into an  eco-friendly home and haven. At the moment, we are working towards installing external wall insulation. The first step in that process is to spray some insulating foam on the foundations, below the damp proof course.

For this, we need a ditch to be dug all around the house. While we’re at it, we’re also putting down a path to form a boundary between the EWI and potentially damaging plants. We’re also changing the way drains and waste pipes work. That’s a lot of digging.

So we decided to have a digging party. We invited our friends to come and help us for a day, in exchange for food and conversation around the fire bowl in the evening.  Eight good souls turned up, and we had a great day. The weather was merciful – dry and not too hot – and we shifted several cubic metres of soil.
By the end of the day, we had an efficient team process going, with soil being dug out, transported and disposed of quite fast. It was a joy to behold, and fun to be part of. In the process, friendships were renewed, revived, and nurtured. These are exactly the kind of relationships we need in our changing world: practical and mutually supportive.

Last weekend, The Warrior’s Call – pagans united against fracking took part in the fringe events around the OBOD 50th Anniversary Gathering in Glastonbury. Here we made connections that reached further than just human friendships.

Sunday was the big day for The Warrior’s Call’s core team. In the morning, we held a stall informing people about our campaign to empower Pagans for the battle against fracking. We held a stall selling clothing with the Warrior’s Call sigil. We’re very grateful for connections made with OBOD members who are fracktivists around the world, and for the financial support Order members gave us. The warm embrace we received from the Order will help sustain our work.

The Warrior's Call stall at OBOD 50th Anniversary, with information and merchandise. Spreading the magic of connection.

The Warrior's Call stall at OBOD 50th Anniversary, with information and merchandise. Spreading the magic of connection.

In the afternoon, Tim and Jonathan gave a talk about Environmentalism and Druidry. They eloquently spoke about Druidry’s long history of social radicalism. As a force for change, it is at its most relevant and powerful when there is a threat to the physical places we love. That was the case with the anti-road movement, and that is happening again with the anti-fracking movement.

In this radicalism, Iolo Morganwg stands with us as an ancestor and an inspiration. We still say his Druid’s Prayer at every ceremony of the Order, and remember his bravery in the face of armed opposition when we stand on the front line. It is a connection made across time.

After the talk, we invited people to a ceremony at the White Spring. The Warrior’s Call celebrants created a held sacred space in that already numinous place with chanting and drumming. People entered to receive a blessing from Nodens and give a blessing to the Waters represented by the Lady of the Well. People left that enchanted place empowered and invigorated.

From its very first ritual below Glastonbury Tor, The Warrior’s Call has had a close relationship with the White Spring. Its Lady, Bridie, and Gwyn Ap Nudd, son of Nodens, were present there nine months ago. A strong connection is being made between our campaign and the world of Spirit.

And so we make the magic of connection, and weave a new world within and beneath the old one. It is a world where personal meeting and mutual respect are all important. It is a world where life is celebrated, across time and space.