29 Jan 2013

Pussy Willow

A soggy wet walk after yet another day of torrential rain. The sky clears to a pale watery lemon and egg shell blue, with torn grey clouds racing from the north. At the top of the field bright silver catkins of Pussy Willow are opening, brightening up my day. They take me straight back to childhood, jam jars full of them on the high windowsills in our Victorian country schoolroom. The sight of them made me long to escape from sums and explore the woods and fields.

Willow is a water loving tree, associated with night and the moon. In Britain it is sacred to the Goddess, particularly in her Death/Rebirth aspect. It was often planted near ancient burial mounds,  possibly because it is one of the first trees to spring back to life and flower, when most of the others are still bare.

Decorate your altar with willow stems to encourage healing and new beginnings, especially after the dark of winter. Make sure to ask the tree's permission first - willow was considered to be quite a dangerous tree and they were known sometimes to uproot themselves and walk, muttering darkly, behind terrified night-time travellers along moonlit roads.

24 Jan 2013

Dream Symbols

Occasionally a symbol that seems to be particularly important may crop up in a dream.  Sometimes this special symbol recurs in different dreams, or else it may come up only once but you just know that it feels important to you.
            Special symbols may be well known ones that are found in myths and stories. They also appear as birth signs, business logos, religious symbols and so on.  Or your symbol might be important to you alone.  Either way, finding a special symbol in a dream can be very empowering and you should take special note when one occurs.
            The special symbol may represent an aspect of your belief system or culture.  More personal special symbols tend to represent an aspect of your own psyche.  Look out for the following:

·        Religious symbols – for example the Christian cross.
·        National symbols – for example, the Welsh dragon.
·        Lucky symbols – such as a four leafed clover.
·        Mythical symbols – like the Holy Grail in Arthurian legends.
·        Personal symbols – such as an owl brooch you have had since childhood.
 If a special symbol does appear in your dreams, take time to decide what the symbol means to you.  How did you feel when you had the dream about the symbol?  It can be very satisfying to work with special symbols in your waking life as well.  Try any of the following ideas:
         Draw or paint your symbol and then put it somewhere where you will see it often, such as by your bed or in the kitchen.
·        You might be lucky enough to find your symbol represented in an item of jewellery.  Wearing your special symbol reminds you constantly of its meaning for you.
·        See if you can find simple objects that represent your symbol.  For example you might find it on a mug or on a tea towel.
·        You might be able to adapt the symbol for your personal use – for example as a business logo, or as a letter heading.

23 Jan 2013


Gratitude for the small things

Trees are so beautiful in winter. The shape of the bare branches against subtle pastel skies; delicate tracery of twigs and snow laden branches; bright cushions of bright green moss, and clumps of fern. And lichen, with its amazing variety of colours, from brilliant yellow and orange through to muted greys and powdery white.

Lichens are ancient, slow-growing life-forms. They grow not only upon trees, but also on rocks, walls and gravestones. They teach us about listening, quietly waiting, not hurrying things. They show us how to look for the small and subtle details, the things which are often overlooked in our hurried lives. And they teach us about communicating with the Old Ones, the wise ones who have gone before.

If you are feeling spaced out, ungrounded or over-worked, try connecting with lichen energy. Find some patches in your neighbourhood - you may be very surprised at where they turn up when you start noticing them. Study their intricate forms, their beautiful colours. Try making some art-work based on them, or perhaps a piece of knitting or embroidery.

15 Jan 2013

Witch Hazel

Subtle magic

A beautiful morning, cold, crisp and sunny. The witch hazel is in full bloom in my garden, the first tiny flowers which unfurled at the Winter Solstice now open wide to the sun, their delicious subtle perfume drifting on the breeze.

I will cut a tiny sprig for my altar, asking the tree's permission first of course. I will do this silently, in my head, and wait for a subtle reply. If I feel any sense of unease then I will not cut the flowers. Witch hazel is so magical, being one of the first flowers to open, even while snow lies on the ground. Use it for new beginnings, to help you focus on positive, vibrant energy, casting away the doubt and shadows of winter.

Witch hazel has long been used medicinally as well, for inflammatory conditions such as bruises, swellings, piles, rashes, insect bites and skin complaints. It has a similarly soothing, protective effect at the psychic level, filling the heart with peace, hope and joy. It's not a very large tree, so well worth planting one if you have a garden.

13 Jan 2013

Dream Houses

Exploring Your Dream House

Houses in dreams can be important mirrors of the way we see ourselves: the dream house very often represents your own psyche, your current feelings and/or problems. For example I have recently had quite a few dreams set in an old and rambling house, full of people and babies. No prizes for guessing that I am deeply involved with my family and have recently become a grandmother!

If you dream about a house, begin by writing down a detailed description of it. It doesn’t matter if you feel that you are `making this up’, because all that you write down will be emerging from your own unconscious in any case. Just go with the flow and write down anything that springs to mind.

Now have a good look at what you have written and see if you can spot insights into how you feel about at present, and your attitudes to other people. Here are a few pointers to look for:
  • What kind of house is it? (What sort of person do you see yourself as?)
  • Is it big or small? (How do you feel about yourself in relation to other people? What amount of personal space do you feel comfortable with?)
  • Are there other people in your house? (This is about relationships, so if there are others, how do you feel about them being in there?)
  • Is your house old and rambling, small and modern, or what? (Do you feel better in comfortable old clothes, or are you fashion conscious etc? What is your self-image?)
  • Is your house clean and tidy, or chaotic and dirty? (Time for some physical and mental space-clearing perhaps?)
  • Does your house have any structural problems? (This can be a warning of potential health or relationship issues, so take note of whether problems are to do with the wiring, brickwork, water supply and so on.)
  • Is the house well-lit, or dim and dark? (This often reflects your mood state. If your house is dim and dark you may be feeling a bit low. Bright and cheerful is better!)

All of these questions (and you will probably think of more of your own), can give insight into how you really feel at present, and may give clues to areas that need your attention. Has your roof blown off? You are probably feeling very insecure right now. Is water slowly rising in your cellar? Pay attention to suppressed feelings. Is your house crowded with unwelcome guests? Then remember to reassert your boundaries and make space for some all-important you time. Good luck, and have fun exploring and making home improvements!
For much more about how to use your dreams for personal growth and creative inspiration, see my dream book