Pink moon / growing moon

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Happy Pink Moon or, as it’s sometimes called, Growing Moon. Blessings for all that is growing in your life right now. In mine, I’ve got some little seedlings growing up and up; more leaves folding out on our fruit bushes with each sunny day; a toddler’s vocabulary growing at a remarkable rate; his knowledge of plant names also growing so fast that it will surely soon catch u mine (which is not, I hasten to add, that impressive!); my insight into what foods, eating habits, lifestyle habits and other practices suit me is growing with each day of this “sorting out my health” month; my gratitude and excitement about the new job that my husband starts next month is growing the more I think about it (it will give us more time as a family, and – hopefully – him more job satisfaction); and my love of pink is somehow growing too! Happy full moon – and what a beautiful one. 

 

 

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30th birthday labyrinth

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A labyrinth is, to my understanding, a symbol a bit like a maze that various cultures over the world have used as a kind of meditative or problem-solving tool. You walk into it, follow the path around to the centre and the experience of doing so is a bit of a mental and/or spiritual journey.

Every year I get the beautiful Earth Pathways Diary,full of amazing artwork, poems and anecdotes. The featured piece for the week of my birthday was someone telling her experience of making and walking a labyrinth. I immediately felt so drawn to do it on my birthday – especially as it was my 30th – I just knew that this is what I had to do on the day. Yet despite this realisation occurring a few weeks before my birthday, I did no preparation (other than asking my husband to take a day annual leave!) until two days before. Late into the night, I drew the design with help from the marvellous internet, then coloured or stuck fabric over the lines, then cut around that (so that I would be walking on the ground. Most of the cutting I did in situ in the woods so that it was less fragile to transport there). The making process was all part of the journey in terms of the creative challenge, the time it took, the memories of where bits of fabric had come from, running out of glue at midnight…!

Once I’d found my spot in the woods, the challenge was how the wind wanted to lay out my labyrinth versus how I wanted to. I reminded myself that I can’t go out into nature and expect her not to be in charge! Fortunately the pine beside the spot I’d picked had dropped scores of pine cones and small branches that I could weigh the labyrinth down with. And it was sunny. After a long time bending down to cut the paper and collect pine cones, I felt drawn to doing a few stretches before I entered it. Feeling nice and centred after this, I stood before my labyrinth for a contemplative, grateful couple of minutes greeting the peace that was in the woods and in my heart, Then I started to walk.

All the way round, each foot was placed directly in front the other so its heel touched the toes of the one behind. It was quite tricky to balance where there was a corner! To me that was part of the symbolism of the challenges I’ve worked through in my life so far. At some points, ground’s dips and camber likewise made it not so easy and I had to really focus. At other times, I had several easy footsteps and I felt my breathing relax. I felt so much beautiful peace when i reached the centre. I rested there a while, my head bowed.

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I entered the labyrinth with just socks on my feet but early on had the urge to take them off. I did so and was aware the whole way around of the softness of the forest floor beneath me. During my journey, little memories, thoughts and single words popped up in my mind. I welcomed them, then took my attention back to my breath – although it was the soles of my feet that would then clamour for my attention.

A few paces in, the words “The Land” surfaced in my mind. The sensation of the land that I walked on was delicious: pine needles, moss, a little lead litter, the odd emerging bluebell that I carefully stepped around. My heart swelled with my love for the land and, in a split second, I did some equivalent of marriage vow renewal as I reaffirmed my relationship with the earth and desire to live harmoniously to it. To be a caretaker of it, even if I don’t quite know how.

Thinking about these words on the way home, I figured that, through the journey of my late teens and my twenties, my emotions have really steered the boat. There’s been a lot of emotional turmoil, emotional healing, then some emotional pain to go back and do some more healing all over again. As I’ve found and explored my spirituality, it’s been the lunar depictions of Goddess that I’ve been drawn to and connected with more; the queen of dreams, healing and emotions. I guess “dreams, healing and emotions” is where I’ve been, so this has been the guidance I’ve needed. I know that my connection with the moon’s cycle is still important but I feel that the labyrinth invited me to deepen my connection with the earth mama, the fertility goddess of the land, At this time in my life where I’m learning about how to grow food, about permaculture, about homesteading; at this time where my soulmate and I see our journey for the next few years as one that brings us to living closer to the land – at this time I’m perhaps being called to deepen my relationship with the queen of the seasons and the crops. Perhaps my thirties is a time for me to focus on my hands a little more than my head and my heart. A time to do and create. I hope so. ♥

Thirty

Hello April! My birth month. Is it greedy to have a whole month of celebrations? Surely not when it’s a “special” birthday – and when I’m not sure I’d call some of the ways I’m marking it celebrations as such. Rites, journeys, turnings, reflections, experiences, ceremonies, activities: yes. And celebration yes too, but it feels like a time that calls for a lot more than that.

I’m tempted to dismiss thirty as being just another number; is it really so special? But something somewhere in me says yes; yes to me it is significant. I’m not sure why, but yes it is. The first decade of my life was pretty happy, probably pretty normal. The second decade for the most part was pretty unhappy and challenging. My twenties, for want of a better cliché, have been a rollercoaster of rock-bottom dips, and of beautiful, magic. super-fun peaks that kinda sprinkle glitter and sunshine over all the less-rosy stuff if I so much as think of them. And there were a lot of things that were great at the time but I wouldn’t do now. And so, so much learning and change.

Many people I know have also experimented with this and that in their twenties, finding their path towards the end of those years – or soon after thirty. In their thirties they’ve then really walked their walk – danced it even – with a lot of fulfilment and sense of being where they’re called to be, doing what they’re called to do. Obviously this is no guarantee that the same will go for me but it makes me feel very positive about this decade ahead.

And then astrology reminds me of the Saturn return: a period of about 2-2.5 years when Saturn travels through the sign that it was travelling through when you were born. Saturn takes around 29 years to orbit the sun so this will be its first “full circle”. The period of the Saturn return has the reputation of being a bit of a tricky time of obstacles and challenges but with a lot of learning and self-development gained by the end of it. I’m prepared to believe that the year either side of the return period may be a little choppy too, particularly because my Saturn return started exactly a year (to the day!) after the somewhat challenging birth experience I had with my son and the start of a very turbulent and difficult time – but one that my life is so much richer and more beautiful for.

So during this month, I’m attending to my body, soul, head and heart. With the hope of addressing a few little health niggles, I’m having a sugar-free (lunar) month. “Sugar-free” has many interpretations; mine for the purpose of what I hope to achieve is no “sweeteners” (sugar, honey, molasses, agave, xylitol etc), no white carbs, no dried fruit and minimal fruit (especially those like bananas and soft fruit) and veggies like squash and parsnip. It’s going ok so far; I’m quite enjoying stretching my willpower a little. I’ve given up trying to create a sweetener-free hot chocolate substitute. Yuck! I’ll just wait! I also plan to spend a few days more purposefully detoxing, perhaps on a mung bean soup detox or similar.

I have an Ayurvedic massage booked next week which I know will make me feel lovely on all levels (I’ve been to the therapist before). I also have a colonic booked which will be a new experience – and probably not as lovely as the massage – but one that I hope will aid in creating a vibe of freshness and newness to enter the fourth decade with. I’ll be making a trip to Glastonbury too, where I’ll refill bottles with spring water and recharge my soul with the views of the stunning surrounding landscape – and with some meditation at the Goddess Temple.

During this month, I am hoping to deepen and develop my yoga practice and my spiritual practice as well as my creativity – which includes my writing here. I certainly plan to share experiences and learnings from this Thirty Journey on this blog space.

On my birthday itself, I intend to create and walk a labyrinth in the woods where my son’s forest school sessions are held – he’ll be there with my husband. Many report walking a labyrinth to be a very special experience that brings a lot of peace and insight. Whether it does this for me or not, I’ll spend some time afterwards in quiet contemplation. I’ll precede the labyrinth-walking with a simple ceremony of gratitude for the journey I’ve had these three decades. I’ll honour the spirits and people who have guided and helped me along the way, honour the ups and downs, the fails and successes, the ways in which I’ve grown and all the things that I feel are on the brink of blossoming. I’ll spend the afternoon with the two people who I’m building this all with…hopefully the sun will shine. ♥

Spring equinox display / altar

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The beautiful Ostara artwork is by Jaine Rose.

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Springtime blessings! ♥ ♥ ♥

PS. The foil-wrapped chocolate eggs are by Divine. And oh how they are!

 

What to do…on the Spring Equinox

As the festivals and special days that I celebrate chapter up each year’s story, I notice differences in the tone in which I tell it. At some. I’m drawn to inner work; to meditate alone in a candlelight room or quiet, wild outdoor place. Or to walk mindfully – alone. Or to reflect, or journey or soulsearch in womb-like darkness.and silence .To connect with the season through my soul and hopefully emerge with a little more insight.

At others I just want to DO – to connect to the season with my hands and physical senses- and this is how I feel about tomorrow’s equinox. Am I spending the eve of this so-significant day contemplating the symbolism of balance and springtime fertility? No! I’m online  :D

My yearning for tomorrow is just to have a little time outside doing a few gardening tasks and getting the garden ready for planting – with, of course, my two-year-old “assistant”. (although he may well be occupied with the Noisy Corner I made for him today: basically a selection of old pans and buckets strung up for him to hit. I’m sure all our neighbours in our terrace – and the one behind – will LOVE it!). And to have a little time inside decorating some blown eggs (if I can blow them successfully!) and perhaps knitting some of these from Landscape Magazine to remind us of the 3-day-old cuties that we saw at out city farm today. (Usually after visiting said farm I describe myself as “shroody”: broody for some sheep).

There will be chocolate eggs, probably some baking, and likely more celebration at the weekend when Rob won’t be working. As we tip over the brink to the half of the year ruled by the sun who calls us to go outside and to do. I think that’s what I’ll be up to. ♥

Full moon prayer/blessing

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These words came to me as I stood in my garden looking at the full moon last night. Things have been a little unpeaceful in our house these last 2-3 weeks – fuelled by one or two disappointments that have come our way, a few frustrations here and there, a little difficulty in adjusting to change (including the constant change that normal, healthy toddler development involves!) Nothing we won’t find our way through; we just need to figure out our path and clear some brambles out the way first. Although it can be hard in such times to focus on what I am achieving and what we’re grateful for, it’s very levelling to do so. That activity alone breathes calm into my heart and mind. ♥

Raw vegan sugar-free coconut sweets

They’re white and they’re round and they’re yummy so they’re likely to make a regular appearance in my full moon celebrations! I originally concocted these last month for our celebrations of the first signs of spring. I’m totally in love with raw coconut oil; it boasts benefits such as anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial proporties; it’s high in healthy fats; it helps reduce cholesterol and it can boost brain function – and more! AND it tastes delicious! Its natural sweetness is proving extremely helpful in my ongoing efforts to reduce my sugar consumption, allowing me to still enjoy little sweet snacks. Omnomnom!

So, it has to be said that I’m not exactly exact when it comes to measurements; I tend to play about with ingredients until I reach the consistency and flavour I like (which may be different to what you like – or even to what I liked the previous day and may like tomorrow!!)

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For about 10-12 sweets:

  • 3 generous dessert spoons of raw coconut oil
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger (or mix half and half with cinnamon/nutmeg/allspice/cardamom)
  • 2 dessert spoons or so of dessicated coconut, plus extra for rolling the balls in
  • a small handful of raisins or chopped dates
  • ground almonds to mix – around 5-7 dessert spoonfuls
  • agave nectar or maple/date syrup (or honey for a not-strictly-vegan option) to taste – around 1/2 teaspoon. Or none at all, if you’re aiming for total sugar-freedom!

Mash the coconut oil in a bowl with a fork, then mix in the lemon juice and spice. Stir in the dried fruit, dessicated coconut and then the ground almonds until the mixture is firm enough to roll into little balls. If you’re using a sweetener, you’ll want to add that before said ball-rolling. I make each ball with about a teaspoon’s worth of mixture, then roll the ball through dessicated coconut and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Store in the fridge too.

As with any recipe, the real fun comes in tweaking it to your own needs. You could add some cocoa into the mix at dark moon (or any time that you feel cocoa would be appropriate… so anytime!), or substitute the spices for crushed fennel seeds.

Happy full moon! ♥