24 Feb 2014

Art in Nature

I often get inspiration from nature for my artwork. These are dead stems of winter hogweed, which I photographed in the field behind my house. I love the fractal patterns that hogweed makes - it's amazing how often you can spot them in nature when you take time to look.

Wild Art
Go for a walk in nature and look for interesting shapes and colours to photograph. Mosses and lichens are particularly rich in colour at this time of the year. Look at tree bark too and examine the many different patterns and textures. Slow down. The more you look, the more you see. Get in close. Get down to ground level. What can you see?

20 Feb 2014

Druid's Egg


I love wondering along the sea shore collecting pebbles. It's an endlessly fascinating occupation: you never find two quite alike and somehow the very activity of searching puts me into an altered sate of consciousness, a bit like light hypnosis. I can spend ages doing it and children love doing it too, so it's a really good granny/child activity, or something to do in the fresh air with your kids in the holidays.

This is the Druid's egg that my daughter found on the beach. Well - for us it's one anyway. There are lots of theories about what a Druid's egg actually was. Some say it was a fossil sea-urchin; others say it was a hag stone - a stone with a hole in it. The Roman naturalist and philosopher Pliny maintains they were highly magical stones formed by a writing mass of adders who got all frothed up and made loads of spit, which formed the stone. This was then hurled into the air and had to be caught in a cloak by the Druid, who then had to rush off on horseback in order to escape the wrathful snakes. A likely story....Whatever it was it was clearly a powerful amulet, and this one will  do fine for me.

Once you have your pebbles you could make a tower and see who can knock it down first by chucking stones at it. This is really good for improving throwing skills and aim! Or you could choose some flat ones, take them home and paint them. Or you could throw them into the sea, which is always satisfying. Or you could make a pebble oracle - I'll tell you how to do that another day. You might even be very lucky and find a Druid's egg of your own - a Power Stone. See my ebook Spinning the Web - Soul Journal in Autumn.

18 Feb 2014

Moss


I have had this moss agate crystal for many years and it always makes me think of a magical pool deep in a mossy wood. I use it when I need healing, especially for my lungs, and also when I want to contact nature spirits and elementals.

Moss is such wonderful stuff - I can never understand why people are so keen to get rid of it. The colours are so intense, and the textures so rich and sensual. Look at this fantastic moss on the trunk of a tree. It's like a brilliant green velvet jacket. I'm sure the fairy folk must make clothes out of it! 



Soul Journal
Here's an extract from one of my Soul Journal books, Spinning the Web:
Moss World was above the sitting room window, along the bit where the rendering had cracked and water had seeped down whenever it rained. We sometimes lay on our backs on the sitting room floor and looked at Moss World upside down. There was a whole kingdom there of tiny green bushes and trees, undulating hillocks and grassy plains. Minute kings and queens went hunting there, riding fairy horses. Minuscule hunting horns sounded with notes as fine as spun glass. But now Moss World has gone. The builders have chipped it all away, not realising what they were doing. Stripped the wall down to bare brick, ready to be re-rendered. A whole kingdom swept away by huge, unheeding hands and chucked into a skip.
Take a walk and find some moss in a wood or garden. Really have a good look at it, noticing shapes, colours, textures, the way it sends up filaments for the seed pods, the way it spreads...Get down to child eye level. Feel it, smell it, take off your shoes and stand on it and wiggle your toes. Now, write about moss in your journal and see which fairy paths and memory lanes the moss leads you down.

15 Feb 2014

Frogs


Last year was dreadful for the frogs in my garden - winter held an iron grip right through until almost June; there was little spawn and what there was died in the cold, leaving no tadpoles.

At dusk, I light a candle in a green glass cup and call for my frogs to return. Beside the candle I place two small frog ornaments and a Druid's egg that my daughter brought me from the sea. Like Frog, this stone is a being of two elements: earth and sea; conscious and unconscious. Frog is a helpful spirit guide for moving between the worlds. She can help us to enter the mystery, dive into the unconscious, water element. Guardian of spring and sacred well, her magic is very very old, deeply rooted in the psyche of Northern Europe.

In early childhood we all belong to the water element. We are not limited by conditioning and imposed beliefs; anything is possible and we come and go between the worlds at will. My earliest memory of frogs is from that time. I am standing peering down the grating above the cellar window. At the bottom of the pit are piles of dead leaves, among which many frogs sit, ballooning out their throats and croaking richly and magically.

I take my grandmother down to the cellar to show her the frogs. She is filled with delight, loving their ancient, golden eyes, so full of wisdom. Unlike May, whose reaction of horror and revulsion is a mystery to me. How odd grownups can be. But then, it's obvious to me that my grandmother is part frog after all. She is short and fat, with soft, loose chins that melt into her neck and her hands are mottled.

When I read the story of the Frog Prince not long after, I was delighted - how wonderful to have a frog as a companion; to be allowed to take him to bed and have him on your pillow! I was bitterly disappointed when the frog turned into an everyday, boring old prince in silly leggings. I never did want to leave the world of the magical well, but fortunately I never needed to, because that is where poets and artists live.

Soul Journal
Make a list of words that you associate with frogs. How do feel about them?
What is your own earliest memory to do with frogs?

14 Feb 2014

A Spring Meditation Corner


Do you feel in need of new energy in your life? Weighed down by miserable weather and the long dark days of winter?
But something is beginning to stir...maybe it's time to start writing a soul journal and begin to discover more about who you really are. Wise Woman can help! Visit my author page on Amazon to find the Soul Journal ebook for spring Stirring the Cauldron.

Meanwhile, why not make a spring meditation corner? Gather some spring shoots and flowers, such as pussy willow, snowdrops and daffodils. Add water pictures, such as a fresh spring, a deep pool, a waterfall, or a picture of the sea. Crystals will add their own healing too - use clear quartz, or moss agate. Burn incense, or light a burner with an essential oil - maybe rose, or geranium. Light a candle too if you wish, in white or green. (Make sure you light your flames in a safe place.) Now sit quietly and let the subtle energy begin to clear away the stagnant energy in your psyche.

Soul Journal 
Think about these questions, and write in your journal: 
What do I want to change in my life?
What do I want to begin?

13 Feb 2014

Starting a Soul Journal




Journaling is a vital part of getting to know oneself; one of the chief tools of inner magic. It's like having an inner dialogue - getting all those thoughts down on the page helps us to look at them, think through new ideas, and keep a record of progress. If you have read my book Exploring Your Dreams you will already be familiar with a second important tool - working with your dreams. Recording your dreams is one of the best ways of getting in touch with your unconscious, so make sure that you begin to do this. You can keep your dream journal and your soul journal together in one book, writing down your dreams in a different colour so that they stand out. Number the pages of your journal and give each dream a title, so that you can index them at the back for easy reference later on.
If you are not writing a journal yet, then it's time to begin! Buy a blank, A4 size exercise book - the hard-backed ones with a spiral spine are the best because they behave and lie flat when you write in bed (essential for recording dreams.) If the cover is boring then you might want to personalise it by covering it with pictures that appeal to you.
As well as writing down your thoughts and dreams, you can add to your journal gradually with anything else that interests you. You might want to include artwork, cuttings, creative writing, quotes, poetry, oracle readings, coincidences, book reviews, recipes and more. All these are part of our inner work and in years to come you’ll find it fascinating to look back upon your past thoughts and ideas.
You will find many more ideas for your Soul Journal in the books in my Soul Journal series. Early spring is a really good time for new projects and the first book Stirring the Cauldron - Soul Journal in Spring,  is a great place to start.  You can get your copy on Kindle here.