Greetings on this dark, damp autumnal day! A bit of a change from the wonderful weather we were having a couple of days ago, as in the picture below taken on a Sunday walk with my husband and the dogs.
Here in the mountain reaches of north west Wales the seasons are moving quickly now as we head towards the traditional start of the Celtic Winter. Now is the time to wind the year down and draw everything to a close. All the busy-ness of spring and summer and the frenetic activity of autumn and harvest are almost at an end. The days are rapidly growing shorter. We have already had our first storm of gales and torrential rain. Time to withdraw indoors, light the fire, switch on the glowing lights of home and relax… take stock of the year we have so far experienced and withdraw into ourselves to rest and re-nurture ourselves, both in body and spirit.
This is also the time when we can think about all those who have gone before us… our family members no longer with us… our ancestors, way back into the dim and distant mists of our historical and genetic past. In Celtic belief this was the time of year to remember one’s forebears; those who have shaped our land, our culture and society, and contributed to who and what we are today. As the year draws to a close there is a pause at the end of this month – a few days of ‘space’ when the realms of those gone before us are able to draw closer to us once more as the veils between their world and ours thins. The natural world is dying back into herself on the intake of a long, indrawn breath only to be released in a icy sigh which brings frosts to our mornings and chills to our days. We are stilled, we are freed to think and reflect… and remember. Read More
A very happy Michaelmas to you! What am I talking about? Already people are
beginning to focus on the ‘countdown to the BIG DAY’ on the 25th December and are forgetting other more ancient agrarian festivals!
Michaelmas is one of the Christian quarter days – the others being March 25th, June 24th and December 25th – which closely shadow the equinoxes and solstices celebrated by older and other religions. This time of year is seen as the end of the time of harvest and is still marked by harvest thanksgiving services as we rapidly slide into deep autumn and towards the fallow months of Winter. Read More
A peaceful morning – even if the sky is grey. The calm before the storm, perhaps? After all, it is a Bank Holiday weekend here in the U.K. and they are notorious for bad weather. I always hope that this last weekend of August will be fine and warm… allow people to have a lovely few days in the sunshine before children have to return to school and the population as a whole turns its communal face towards winter and longer evenings. The next national long weekend/holiday break will be at Midwinter with the celebration of Christmas. Now there’s a thought!
Whatever the weather chooses to do, we can make the most of it and take energy from it. It might not allow us to lie back on a beach somewhere and revel in long hours of blazing sunshine, or sit beneath shady trees picnicking amidst the wonders of the natural world, but we can still glory in the elements, whichever ones they might be. There is a huge amount of power in wind and rain which we can still absorb, even if it isn’t so pleasant or picturesque as blue skies and golden sunshine. Read More
The August Bank Holiday is almost upon us and the end of the school holidays is approaching fast, but summer isn’t
quite over just yet. Is anyone planning on going out into the countryside, up into the mountains or down to the beach in the next few days? Because I have a tasty recipe which might just fill a gap – or a hungry tum!
Glamorgan Sausages are quick to make, easy to pack/transport, can be Read More
Gazing out of my window this evening it is hard to believe that it is the middle of August and the children are still on their summer holidays. The mountains are completely obscured by cloud – in fact, I can hardly see the other side of the valley – and it is dark, gustily windy and drenchingly wet. Ah, the true British summer has returned to us. Now this is the weather I recognise and understand!
In such circumstances my thoughts turn to autumn and cosy evenings by a blazing fire… and being me, they drift as far as the Midwinter season. No, don’t groan! There are facets throughout the whole year which reflect on our major Winter celebrations; things which it is good to do/collect/gather/make in preparation for that special time, and now – if and when the rain stops! – is no exception.
For it is now that everything in the woods and forests is coming to fruition, and that means things like all the fir cones which feature so prominently in our Winter decorations. But NOW is the time to begin collecting them. Take Read More
Many of us have read books and attended talks and workshops on a wide variety of fascinating topics. We come away feeling inspired and energised, determined to make amazing changes in our lives… and then the reality of everyday living kicks in and all our wonderful intentions get swept beneath the busy-ness, commitments and pressures of 21st Century existence.
To enjoy a life which is morally and ethically active and spiritually alive we must learn how to fully integrate our highest ideals and practices into our everyday life – even the most mundane tasks and actions. Authentic spirituality needs to be fully embraced, practiced, lived and experienced every moment of every day.
Participating in the seven weekends throughout the cycle of one whole year gently and gradually demonstrates how you can do this. More, it doesn’t simply show you how you may achieve this; it engages you in active participation which over the months becomes a habit… a way of life. Read More
We have passed the longest day of Summer and celebrated the Solstice. As the sun sank to rest on the evening of the 24th June, we re-entered that part of the year which gradually grows darker. On Monday, by just a few seconds, we had less daylight than before the weekend. The earth has begun it’s journey away from the Sun and – for the Northern Hemisphere – it’s tilt into cold and darkness.
This, then, is a fitting time to tell everyone about the (non-fiction) book which I have written! Entitled ‘Merry Midwinter’ it has been brought into being to help everyone more authentically celebrate – not just one day in December – but the whole of Winter! Read More
Yet another gloriously sunny warm day. From my window I can see one of our elder trees, covered in creamy white blossoms the size of small plates. This is truly one of the signs that Midsummer is fast approaching!
The elder tree holds a very special and sacred
significance in these northern lands. The Elder is a ‘mother tree’, and so much of it is of practical use and benefit. This time of year certainly would not be the same without cool jugs of elderflower cordial for everyone to drink. It is so refreshing, and good for us at the same time. It is very easy to make too: Read More