A host of golden daffodils

IMG_2944

IMG_2861

“I’m everyone’s darling: the blackbird and starling

Are shouting about me from blossoming boughs”

From “The Song of the Daffodil Fairy” by Cicely Mary Barker

IMG_2914

IMG_2911

“She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,

She wore her greenest gown;…

… She turned to the sunlight

And shook her yellow head,

And whispered to her neighbour:

“Winter is dead.”

From Daffodowndilly (from When We Were Very Young) by A. A. Milne

IMG_2954

IMG_2857

“… Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze…

…And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.”

From “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth.

IMG_2930

Thank you daffs for all your cheer and loveliness. ♥

IMG_3011 IMG_3012

Spring altar / sacred nature table

In spring, our sacred nature table/ altar seems to change gradually – a winter thing or two removed one week, a spring symbol added next, and so on. For me this reflects how spring often seems to enter quite gradually as well as, perhaps. how we might introduce gradually the changes, new paths and projects we dream up at the winter solstice.IMG_2901

IMG_2896

Something I really do like for this beautiful time of year is to have some fresh seasonal flowers on the table – ideally from our garden (leaving some for the bees!), or a local producer. Of course, this in itself requires regular attention to the space and changing of these fresh flowers as they die. I like to change flowers’ water and trim their stems with my son; he often seems to enjoy engaging with this process of caring for and maintaining things. In the West we have such a throw-away consumerist culture where many individuals, corporations and governments don’t seem to value taking care of the Earth which sustains us. In fact, they do much to harm it. I aim to demonstrate a more sensitive and sustainable attitude towards nature in this little member of the future society that I’m blessed to raise. He likes having a flower or two of his own in his bedroom.

IMG_2927

When the flowers do die, I try to remember to give thanks for their gift of beauty and cheer as I put them in the compost.

We also collect things from outside that have been discarded – like the fallen blossom petals below. Yesterday we added some hyacinth flowers that had become detached, today a dandelion and daffodil head found on pavements.

IMG_2954

The picture at the back is some artwork that I made at college for a project on daffodils. Daffs are such an icon of March for me, as I wrote about here. I think it’s fair to say they’re pretty well represented on our nature table! The artwork is now in our lounge on our mantlepiece. I decided it was nice to have one or two seasonal focal points in each room to catch my eye when I’m doing housework / contemplating which brand of tea to buy / negotiating untidiness limits with my son. To draw my attention back to what’s really important in my life and connects me with a place of inner peace.

IMG_2926IMG_2930

I’ve had the little crystal bunny below since babyhood. Sadly. her ears have been lost along the way!

IMG_2928

Our spring book basket.

IMG_2837

As part of our spring equinox tasks, I removed the dark blue cloth hanging over the table that was our “night sky” to symbolise the daylight now exceeding the darkness. (The ice and snow symbols pictured were removed a few weeks ago, when we conceded reluctantly that we would not be getting any snow until at least next winter).

IMG_2815

However, our sheep – added to the table at Imbolc – have stayed. (Knitted from pattern in Landscape Magazine).

IMG_2929

Our goddess wheel (by Wendy Andrew) has also been turned to Ostara…

IMG_2957

…who was kind enough to bring us some chocolate eggs! (They’re made by Divine. And are so!)

IMG_2956

Some “new arrivals” came to Dylan’s farm too! These little chicks, made by Ostheimer.

IMG_2959

And some seasonal decorations – and equinox-symbolic food! – on our kitchen table too. We used to have our altar on our kitchen table but found that it took up too much space. The card is the first handmade Mothers’ Day card that I’ve received – heart-melting!

IMG_2923

Blessing for the lighter half of the year.♥

IMG_2925

Into the light

The Spring Equinox has passed; light is stronger than dark. It seems quite fitting that, a week before the equinox, our neighbour and his parents gave the trees on his side of our shared wall a serious prune. A week after the equinox. my husband has done similar on our side, removing a rotten fence at the same time. Consequently the garden is much lighter, which will benefit plant growth. The trees also look more attractive with all their straggly and/or dead bits removed. The side of the garden where the fence was honestly looks wider with it gone. Its a little weird being able to see into  – and through- our neighbours’ houses (and knowing that they can see into ours). It’s made me jump a few times to see the headlights of a car on the road the other side of them.

I believe that it’s similar in our dance through life; in our own seasons where we grow, prune, get a little cluttered and straggly. When we make drastic changes. Light may be flooding in, improvement may be obvious, but we can initially feel exposed – sometimes scrutinised – and get a little fright at unfamiliar things.

Blown eggs above our sacred nature table - the decorated one was from a seasonal activity at my son's kindergarten. I meant us to decorate the one we blew at home, but as with many of my creative intentions, I didn't get around to it. However, I feel that the dark and light contrast of the two is very apt for the equinox!

Blown eggs above our sacred nature table – the decorated one was from a seasonal activity at my son’s kindergarten. I meant us to decorate the one we blew at home, but as with many of my creative intentions, I didn’t get around to it. However, I feel that the dark and light contrast of the two is very apt for the equinox!

A wise acquaintance once told me “you have to cut out the deadheads to allow the flowers to bloom”. She was referring to the destructive relationship that I’d just ended – a difficult step, at the time, despite the necessity of taking it being obvious to all. I think her words can refer to projects, habits, jobs, possessions, garden fences and so many things that might be keeping us from enjoying – immediately or gradually – a lighter, brighter place. ♥

Breaking free

IMG_2909

In my garden, spring flowers are breaking free from the tight hugs of their buds. More leaves and flowers wait to do so any day – pushing against their protective squeezes like a baby trying to be birthed, or like a teenager pushing away from their parents emotionally. There’s a fair bit of breaking free for myself too. I feel my body crave lighter and more pungent and bitter foods as it seeks to clear the kapha energy dominant at this time of year. I’ve cleared out more possessions and stuff as my appreciation for less clutter has grown. Almost all of it has gone to charity shops or recycling facilities, mirroring nature’s cycles of letting go, destruction and rebirth.

IMG_2914

IMG_2911

I know people say that those who are often rearranging and decluttering their physical environment have a lot of internal “mess” they really need to address. I’ve seen this in myself. Although I’ve not come as far as I hoped with the self-development that I started in the Autumn, I do have a sense of starting to break free of a few layers of unhealthy thought habits and internal scripts. Certainly a sense of opening and awakening to a beautiful view.

IMG_2905

Our garden itself is breaking free (with some help from the three of us!) from the wide concrete path that we have long wished was grass and vegetable-growing space. Soon it will be!

IMG_2921

Crocuses

IMG_2871

I love dainty, cheery crocuses. As Cicely Mary Barker so beautifully described:

         “…Like a cup of light, –

Hundreds of them are smiling up,

Each with a flame in its shining cup,

By the touch of the warm and welcome sun

Opened suddenly. Spring’s begun!…”

From “The Song of the Crocus Fairies” by Cicely Mary Barker.

IMG_2841

I recently bought myself  my son “Flower Fairies of the Spring”: a sweet little collection of some of her works. Whilst we as a family are familiar with the more commonly-known flowers, like crocuses, I’m hoping that this pretty book can serve as a guide to help us learn others, as well as to celebrate the beauty of this season. (And to indulge my near-obsession with fae!). ♥

IMG_2858

Planting

IMG_2874

We have new life in our garden! Two dwarf pear trees. Receiving and potting them felt a fine way to welcome the first weekend of real spring weather, and a lovely activity for experiencing all the elements. There’s such hope present in the act of planting something. Hope for our plants as they grow, blossom, fruit, birth and rest as the year turns. Hope in my heart for that cycle mirrored in other projects and plans of mine; my inner seedlings.

Yesterday I fed our blueberries a dressing of ericaceous compost, and we’ve put manure down elsewhere. Now feels like a receiving time for my awakening garden. The earth receives these nutrients – as well as the seeds that we are starting to plant. Unfolding leaf-buds and flowers seem to reach to the sky to gulp in sun and rain; I guess this part of the year is like breakfast-time for nature. Mind you, it’s more around lunchtime that we have the birds swoop down to peck at the ground and our bird table. For a garden that never got any avian visitors when we moved in just under two years ago, it’s a treat to now have almost half a dozen species drop by most days. ♥

March

IMG_2861

March, to me, is green and yellow. Green buds that break out into leaf. Green shoots coming up through the ground. In the part of the UK I live in, it’s in March that Spring seems to get really underway. The Spring Goddess appears in my mind in a green dress flowing over the land. Its creases like the contours of hills and valleys, its softness like the grass. Her energy is less delicate and naive than the child energy I feel at Imbolg, although she hasn’t quite reached the motherliness that comes later in the year. Green being my favourite colour, and spring being the season that I was born in, I feel deep and happy connection with this time. Almost every day holds celebration in my ritual of checking my garden and my seed trays for new flowers or shoots. At three years old, my son’s instant smiles full of wonder at these miracles is precious magic to witness.

IMG_2857

The yellow comes in many shades: pale primroses, bright daffodils and tulips, almost-gold that smiles all over a sunny spring day. The sun is gaining strength with a warmer and more confidant glow and I feel myself relax in it. A sense of ease comes with being able to put one less layer on myself and my child, being able to turn the heating down and being able to draw the curtains after dinner instead of well before. Laundry is nearly-dry when I take it off the line. Yet, amongst all this romance. March is a hungry-gap month with mornings that may be bright but can still be bitingly chilly. This reminds me of the need for patience, for preparation and for humility.

To me the green and the yellow feel feminine and masculine, respectively, and it’s in March that I feel nature’s sexuality and fertility rising. As I walk  – or just sit- out of doors, I try to draw this energy into my heart and my hands to bring it to my own projects and goals. I observe it blessing my garden, which grows little by little each day.

IMG_2846

Having spent the last few months wanting to just snuggle indoors, I start yearning to be outside. Planting seeds, marvelling at new life and feeling so sunny.

Happy March! ♥