Monday, October 31, 2016

Samhain 2016 xxxx

Samhain, All Hallows Eve, Halloween... many names. Many different ideas.  Many different ways to celebrate or observe this time when the wheel turns again.  Look on any social media channel, search engine, You Tube or book shelf and many and varied approaches can be found, explained and explored. There is no right or wrong way.  Please note here on my blog I talk/waffle about my own personal take on the seasons. This is just what I do.

My path is always every changing, as is life.  But one thing always remains.  Nature.
Look up at the trees, they are turning copper, bronze, gold, scarlet.
The bare twiggy branches are poking out like fingers, beckoning the colder weather to appear.
Nuts and seeds are everywhere, squirrels busily gathering them up to store!
The evenings too give tell tale signs that it is cooler.
The mornings more damp and dew laden.
(Acorn hoard)

Having been raised a hedgewytch, studied Druidry, worked in a coven and as a solitary I have been fortunate enough to enjoy this day in various ways. Essentially it is a time where darkness is returning, very apparent after the clocks fell back an hour at the weekend and the night definitely was drawn in last night!

'Winter is coming'  and it is a time to retreat into taking stock of what we have done, what do we need to now let go of, what do we want to now nurture over the winter months to enjoy in the future year? Maybe a hobby? A life goal? A new career?
A great exercise is writing down onto leaves what you no longer need or want to release.  You can then burn these in a flame, releasing them and 'composting' them to make way for new things.
You could also write down your new ideas or goals and put them somewhere to remind you over the darker months. Note to self, this is a good journal prompt for later!

So what do I do then?
I like to keep things simple. Basic.  No pomp and circumstance.  No elaborate ceremonies, wordings or workings.  No spells.

Go for a walk.  Enjoy nature. Feel the remaining strength of the sun on your face.  No doubt a few rooks and crows will be prowling the sky watching!

Collect some seasonal finds to place on a special space, reminding you of the nature outside.  I have wytchy window, my special place behind the freezer from where I am currently typing and enjoying a cup of Yorkshire tea! I have some fir cones, hips, haws, old mans beards, acorns, beech nuts, walnut shells, dried leaves and other finds. I also have my Samhain mala from Magical Malas hanging on my Elen stick. 

Hang on what about spells and thinning of the veil stuff? There are plenty of sources out there if you wish to find out more about that route.  For me I like to light a candle later, maybe a small fire,  give thanks and offer peace to all that has been and all that will be. 
It is a time when ancestors and spirits are easier to communicate with, and I would suggest only work with this is you know how to do so and to ensure you have protection in place.   Work with what you know. Maybe just take a moment to think of a loved one or people who have passed, feeling thankful for your time with them and what they meant to you.  

I will carry out some workings but out on my walk earlier I think the ancestors prodded me in the ribs to be noticed anyway. Years ago two lovely elderly ladies in my village would make a daily walk to a wood called The Firs.  L and F would sit on a huge tree trunk that had been cut down and placed on its side, a sort of huge bench back then overlooking the village.  I would often walk with them as a young girl and enjoy their stories. Many many years later they have passed, their knowledge and friendship still with me daily.  The wood is now fully grown too, so a view over the village is no longer possible from the site of the bench. I had forgotten about it to be honest,  but today, as I walked by, in the undergrowth I noticed the remains of the tree trunk bench.  It used to be  4-5ft diameter, now, just a thin skeleton can bee seen.  Quite fitting for Samhain. 
(Remains of the trunk bench)

As always I totally recommend anything by Glennie Kindred if you wold like to explore further.  Her work is nature based and works with the seasons.  A real joy to explore and try new things.  
I currently have some elder drying out to try and make some beads, an idea from her 'Letting in the Wild Edges' book. There are also some fabulous ways to get children involved too in the 'Sacred Earth Celbrations' book. My children seem to already have an inkling of what it going on.  After creating a quick outdoor space, E. was busily making her own when I turned around!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Snowberry Earrings xxxx

From a very young age, when out on a walk in autumn, my Nan or Mum, would grab a handful of white berries from the hedge and throw them down in front of me.  I would then jump on the berries, squashing ans squelching them with my wellies to the delight that at times some would give out a 'pop' sound.  

So, for me, the appearance of these white bobbles in the hedgerow mean yep, autumn is here. As I sit here now I have the new Kate Rusby album playing and my trusty M&S jumper on as there IS a nip in the air. The season has shifted.  Ok quick confession, I did not know they were called snowberrys until now.  We just called them the snowballs! It is related to honeysuckle and is fab at covering a space against a fence too. I wonder if we will get snow this year? Hmm ...  But as always, I digress...

Anyway, over 30 years later, the hedge that my Nan would pick the berries from in our village is still here. Sitting next to the war memorial it heralds it IS that time of year to don your wellies, waddle through the muddy track by the horses and have a nostril full of mossy chalky air to awaken you to the jumpers needed season ahead. 

Looking in my treasure trove of beads the green and white combination immediately leapt out at me.  I had just come back from a walk and seen said hedgerow! The white ceramic beads perfect for the snowberrys as they have a yellow almost marbled appearance when close up.  The snowberry has this too later on in the season.  The green beads made me think of the autmnal light.  As the light passes through the bead it sparkles, almost as if it is alive. I also added some of my hand burnt wooden cubes to the design, my favourite starburst pattern complimenting the sparkle of the green bead. 

And that is the story behind my latest The Mistletoeoak make.  
Inspired by the nature around me and happy memories.