Bereavement of hopes lost

There’s part of me that feels reluctant to write here about politics; that wants to keep this as a space about connection to, and celebration with, nature…IMG_3073

… but for me the two are interlinked. And t’s not just that the colour of the party I voted for, it could be argued, is the colour of nature…

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… it’s more about the words of the wise and wonderful David Attenborough:

“No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced”. David Attenborough

I feel that we too often see nature as this separate thing; at best, this detached other. At worst, this resource that’s there for our manipulating, taking and profiting from. If we saw ourselves, nature and each other as part of the same then our awareness, understanding, attitude and language would surely change. Many of our actions would be labelled self-neglect, abuse, self-harm, suicide. And just downright unkindness. Actions like fracking, factory-farming, hunting for sport, burning coal, over-fishing, over-mining, selling off forests to corporations, deforestation, war. Actions like causing people to go cold and hungry, to languish in ill-health when a remedy is available, to be made poorer whilst the rich are made richer. Actions like modern slavery, like forcibly taking resources from one country to benefit another, like creating an education system that robs children of their childhoods and parents of their parenthoods. Attitudes that still deny true gender equality.

I can’t support a political party that endorses – or does nothing about – several of the above. It would feel like volunteering up my own arms for amputation. And, without them, I’d have a lot of trouble feeding myself, dressing, looking after my son, running soil between my fingers, poking a hole to plant a seed in, writing, knitting, sewing, baking bread, lighting candles, holding hands with my husband, doing “round and round the garden like a teddy bear”, picking blackberries. And, yes, hugging trees.

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Someone I know said, on Friday morning, that she felt as if someone had died. I knew exactly what she meant – the bereavement of many hopes lost. It sounds a bit feebly new-agey, but amongst all my “something must be done but what can I do that will honestly make a difference?”-ing, then not losing hope is something I can do. To keep talking about the people who the government would perhaps rather forget about, to keep campaigning against what isn’t acceptable, safe and fair. To give what I can give where it will make a difference. To keep connecting to what I’m part of so that I’m ready and listening for more ideas on just what I can possibly do, tiny as it may be.

May. And pixie dust.

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Many with an earth-centred spirituality believe that, at Beltane and Samhain, the veil between our world and spirit worlds is at its thinnest. In recent years I’ve noticed that I tend to feel this closeness for pretty much all of May – perhaps starting in late April. This is a reason, among others, that I don’t get too hung up on my Beltane celebrations taking place on Beltane Eve/Day.

The spirit worlds I feel are close at Samhain are those where the ancestors who have passed on walk. They sometimes bring me gifts of a little inner wisdom – if open myself to it – and reassurance. I offer them rememberence, reverence and thanks.

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The worlds that seem close to me at this time of year are the realms of the fae; the pixies, the gnomes, the sprites, elves and other beings often confined to childrens’ books and legends such as those from my native English West Country. (Brian Froud is one of my favourite authorities on fairies). In May, I get this feeling that they’re fully awake and out to play. The gifts that I attribute to their generosity are the interesting forms in nature that I usually find more of at this time, as well as the general vibe of sparkle, benign mischief and giggling enchantment that seems sprinkled over this month. The pixie-dust month, with its bluebell pixie-hats, dainty skirt-like hawthorn flowers and pretty cowslip bells.

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This makes May a usually-happy time of inspiration and imagination for me – if I’m open to it. Combined with the reminder from nature to remember – and be true to – my passions, May holds excitement about harvests to (hopefully) come. Harvests of personal projects and goals, harvest from the land. I feel excited when I look at the flowers on our blueberry bushes (above) and think of the juicy fruit that we hope they’ll become. I feel excited when our seedlings push their little green shoots above the soil, then add leaves and more leaves and more. Year after year I witness this magic take place, but still it amazes me. I hope it always does. ♥

Beltane eve

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This week’s page of my beautiful Earth Pathways Diary is focussed on Beltane. The author of the inspiring piece of writing, Marion McCartney, chooses passion as the/a keyword for this festival. I think this would be my choice too. Right now, the blossoms seem passionate in their exuberance, so much of nature seems passionate in its enthusiastic growth. I associate passion with warmth, which the sun is blessing the earth with as it gets closer towards the solstice. The birdsong, the scents of the flowers in the evening, the flow of everything; I sense there’s passion in it.

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I feel that, as part of nature, this time of year calls us to reflect on our own passions and where passion dances – or doesn’t – in our lives. Of course – there are the passions associated with love, sex and fertility. And there are passions that conceive and birth wonders other than babies.

I’ve been trying to understand, listen to and answer my passions recently. Well, for a long time actually. It can be hard (and brave) to prioritise and make time for these things amidst busy lives of commitments, and perceived or genuine obligations and shoulds. We can feel guilty at our perceived indulgence of doing so. But surely it’s our passions that lead to us conceiving, gestating and bringing into the world our unique ideas and gifts. It may seem a teeny little imprint, but we are all parts of a whole – locally and globally.  Surely if we listen to the voice of our passions and give them the space to create, we contribute the beauty of our true self and spirit. We – like the pink and white frothy blossoms – can make the world a prettier place.

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I tend to start my Beltane celebrations on Beltane Eve – this evening – and continue until the full moon of May (Monday). I’ve written before about my habit of making a sabbat-tide. During these days, I’ll be contemplating my true passions and how to take them further. I’ll be celebrating nature’s passion and giving thanks for all the beautiful signs of it – part of this will be getting out to somewhere wild and soul-nourishing with my family. We’ll decorate our indoor nature table to reflect what we’re witnessing and sensing outdoors. I’ll also create some sacred space where I can open myself to inspiration, open doors to other worlds… or be enchanted by flower fairies.

Wishing you a bright and blessed Beltane – and radiance of your own passions. ♥

Spin your circle bright

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Once upon a time, I made a website called HeartShapedHands. I was working as a massage therapist and making things to sell from recycled materials. Most of these things were heart-shaped; I like hearts and figured that our under-loved world could do with a few more. I intended that the website would give info on the therapies I practised and, someday, have a blog and an online shop.

I was pregnant at the time and completely naive about what motherhood would hold. I planned to do my makery whilst my baby had naps…but it turned out my little one wasn’t that into having naps. I planned to do my therapies work from home when others were available to look after baby…but this didn’t work out for many, many reasons.

During this massive transition in my life between its maiden and mother phases, I’d found out among other truths that making hearts just wasn’t as much my passion as other things were. Things like developing my connection with the cycles of the sun, the land, the moon and of our lives – and writing about it. Like sharing photos of sacred spaces that I find and that I create myself – sharing them with the beautiful community of like-minded and like-spirited people I’ve been blessed to find online. The HeartShapedHands name feels a little redundant to what’s become a blog about sacred connection rather than a website showcasing massage and makery. Etsy has developed in the last few years too in ways that I feel now meet my requirements for an online store…all I have to do is restock and reopen my shop! (which I intend to soon).

The words “spin your circle bright” remind me of the joy and fulfilment I get from including small, simple (and occasionally larger and fancier) acts of celebration in my day, week, lunar month, year and for significant events in my life. Acts of thanksgiving, of connection and of ceremony. Acts that are sometimes solitary, sometimes with my son and/or husband and occasionally with a wider group. The words remind me of our glowing sun and full moon – as well my ideal that our planet could “glow” with the collective happiness, hope and vitality of its people if we made it a fairer, kinder place. Many would see our lives as a cycle; here the words speak to me of us creating happier, more fulfilled lives for ourselves – and of helping others to do similar.

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The words are from the chant “Lady, spin your circle bright. Weave your web of love and light. Earth, air, fire and water bind us as one”. It’s one of my favourites. It reminds me of how, although individuals, we are all part of the same; all equal. For want of a less clichéd expression, we’re all connected.

Your online companionship in this journey of Earth-centred connection and celebration has been a true gift – particularly when it brings comments and conversations. I hope that you’ll continue to stay with me at spinyourcirclebright.wordpress.com. There’ll be a redirect active for a while, but update the URL in your feed/email subscription to be sure we’ll stay in touch. If you decide not to do so, I’d just like to thank you for walking with me this far and wish you well on the rest of your path. If you decide that you will, then thank you too – and welcome to the next season of these random acts of ceremony.

Brightest blesssings, Mo.xx

)O(

Earth Day… what more can I do?

Each year on Earth Day, I try to make a little pledge, a vow for some kind of increased kindness and/or caretaking towards nature. Nature that supports me, that I’m part of, that I am. It’s a good annual opportunity for me to re-evaluate the size, shape and patterns of my tread on the Earth – something I do at other times too (usually when I’m queuing. Or should be asleep). Still, I like to make a point of doing so on this day because I enjoy the unity in knowing others all around the world are doing similarly.

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I’ve been thinking a lot this week about a recent post I read from Root Simple. Thinking about how easily I, like the author. can slip into the denial/self-pacification of “I am doing all I can”, or into excuses of “I have a young child, life’s busy and I have to look after myself”. Valid points for anyone. For me they’re also blocks at looking at one else I can do, at examining how I tread on the Earth.

The author of the beautifully-written post reminds us that it is our Western post-industrial revolution lifestyles that have caused the problems we’re now facing and that we are all part of that. We all have responsibility here, no matter how hard a fact that is to swallow. So I took a big gulp and set aside my but-I-don’t-fly-and-don’t-buy-many-consumer-goods smugness for a minute to consider what else makes a Western lifestyle; specifically my Western lifestyle.

There are many “green” choices that I perform daily and constantly tweak further. However, one area I’d mostly overlooked/put on my blinkers about is food. I buy mostly UK-grown seasonal veg and potatoes, often organic, but what else forms my meals? Rice, pasta, noodles, lentils and pulses, sometimes quinoa or couscous. I eat a fair few avocados and sweet potatoes, usually from the other side of the world. What do I snack on? Nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, bananas and other fruit grown abroad for a lot of the year. What do I drink? Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, redbush/herbal tea. Even the herbs in the herbal teas are grown abroad despite being able to be here. And then there’s the packaging. Feeling less smug now.

This is an element of my Western lifestyle I’d not given so much thought to. Perhaps is hard to because we need food and drink (unlike the TV that we can ultimately not buy at all). We need it multiple times a day, and our choices are affected by many factors – tastes, tastes of the people we eat with, cost, nutrition, convenience, emotional associations. I know I’m addicted to my Western lifestyle enough to not totally give up any of the above products (and arguably what I buy through Fair Trade initiatives have benefit to people). Yet I can’t honestly put the “I’m doing all I can” card down on my dinner table.

How many of us can hold our hand up to using the phrase “but even if I drastically reduced my energy consumption/car use/etc it wouldn’t make an overall impact on the future of the planet”? Maybe so. Yet if the probably-millions of people who have thought that did, the story could be so different. I see that view as the same as saying “well my one little vote makes no difference to who wins the election”. But obviously if we all vote (let’s just say, Green Party)…

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To put a more positive spin on this little lifestyle scrutinisation of mine – because it’s often motivation towards perceived rewards rather than guilt-bashing that will support real change in ourselves – I’ll think about what changing my food habits can bring me. Growing food in our garden – including herbs that I could make teas from – is something that provides benefits and enjoyment to my husband, my son and I. Baking bread is something I enjoy doing – particularly with my son (who benefits from experiencing the creative and scientific process, and, as an energy-abundant 3-year-old, from the physical work of kneading). I can do it with UK-grown wheat. Attempting to grow sweet potatoes is, as I understand it, feasible where I live. Finding more snack alternatives to dried dates would reduce my sugar consumption. The list could go on – and this is only in one area of my lifestyle.

There is plenty more that I could do. ♥

New moon

In the almost-2 years that we’ve lived in our home, I feel I’ve just about got to know the moon’s path across the local sky through the year. This new moon is the first of the year where, for my first glimpse of it, I have to walk a few streets up the hill. The lighter evenings add a challenge to my four-weekly ritual of hunting the sky for the thin, fragile crescent; she’s paler when sharing the sky with the sun. But it’s when there’s a lot of cloud that I totally lose at my game.

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A new crescent from a few months back – hence the darkness. Our camera is currently having a little vacation with a friend of ours, having been left at her wedding!

I enjoy the walk, though sometimes feel just a little self-conscious strolling along my inner-city neighbourhood searching the sky. At new moon I get a lovely buzz of refreshed optimism and excitement. Like many people do at New Years. I make goals, I hope hopes. Planting seeds is the easy part for me. Like a typical Aries, it’s sustaining, persevering and completing projects that are among my stumbling blocks in life. I find an interesting parallel between this trait and my relationship with the moon’s cycles; where new moon is always a happy time for me, full moon is unpredictable. Sometimes I soar on positivity and strong physical energy – my intuition, creativity and nurturing and maternal instincts at their peak. Other full moons I’m tired, irritable, weepy, apathetic and physically bloated – and falling far short of my parenting ideals. I’ll be interested to see if my relationship with the full moon could stabilise as I find my feet more with the mother phase of my life.

After I returned from my walk last night, I lit a candle in my little red corner. I visualised the crescent as I’d seen it shining delicately above and felt the feelings and meanings I associate with new moon inside myself. I said the words below, holding a basket in which I’d assembled items associate the projects I’d like to grow with this moon. One of those is some changes to this blog – it’s time for a new name and some other adjustments. I’ll talk more about that in another post soon.

Happy new moon. ♥♥

“Welcome, welcome daughter moon. Thank you for revealing yourself to me tonight. I welcome your pale smile and the optimism you bring me. I thank you for the return of your light. I’ll walk with you as I nurture these seeds and dreams of mine.

I sometimes feel myself to be a child like you; when I feel naive, delicate and vulnerable. In many ways I feel my mother phase – that I could cradle you as I cradled my son as a a baby. Welcome to all the potential that you hold; I’m looking forward to growing with you”.

A host of golden daffodils

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“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

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“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

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“… 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.

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Thank you daffs for all your cheer and loveliness. ♥

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