vanishing moon: coming inside

resized 31st AugustThe moon is in its last quarter which, for me, symbolises a time to reflect, rest, meditate and learn. Gone is the busy energy of the new then waxing moon and the heady energy when she is full. Just passed is the time of the month where, as she starts to wane, I assess what within and around me needs letting go of and cleansing. Gone are two half moon days where I try to pause a little, be still and rebalance. Still to come is the few days of the dark moon’s transformative energy; that space like the empty moment between your in breath and your out breath.

The vanishing moon – her crescent sometimes visible in the morning sky – feels to me a good time for inner work, for drawing in and cosying up, for settling down and reflecting with honesty and gratitude for what has been achieved, gained, lost and come to pass during this moon. And for what has simply happened – so many of us easily feel as though life is passing us by and I find this a good way to just take stock and catch up. Like you sometimes get a little recap at the beginning of each episode of a TV series: “Previously on Mo’s Life….”

IMG_1531I’ve been sensing the vibe of drawing in and settling down quite a lot this week. People with kids at school – or who work in schools – prepare to resume their normal routine, my meal ideas are switching back to soups and dals as the evenings are noticeably cooler, my thoughts are less of the garden and more of craft projects and our spiritual life, I’m finding us inside the house that little bit more… Which brings some reassessment of our living space and how we use it. One reassessment is of our sacred shelf. Up on top of our bookcase that we use as a kitchen dresser, it just wasn’t very easy to see or access.  I’ll devote a separate post to sacred displays, altars and nature tables though.

It can feel a bit of a vulnerable place, this low ebb of the moon’s cycle. The imagery of decay, retreat and death can feel sad and difficult. This vanishing moon – the Grandmother moon – falls at the first anniversary of my Gran’s death. Although I never felt very close to her, she was very wise  (in quite a hidden way) and very humble and kind. This is a good time to draw down some Grandmother energy, the energy of wisdom, experience and learning to let go. To connect with Grandmother aspects of yourself; where you are experienced, for example.

Aging and death part of life and part of nature – even if they are topics we often try to hide or ignore and that don’t fit with the “bigger, better, more” mantra of capitalism. With the fading summer can come regret about the goals not met, the seeds not germinated and the projects not complete or perfect.  I offer these feelings to the healing, wise, wonderful earth as part of the harvest of my learning – and look forward to their rebirth.  ♥

Do have a look at my Crescent Moon Pinterest Board!

Advertisements

full moon: Mother moon

IMG_1214It’s a bit of of a tough spot here in Mama-land. Fewer blogposts written, incompletion of projects, a shortened fuse, an increased number of text messages between my mother and I…these are the symptoms of an Attack of The Night Owl Toddler and the resulting reduced physical and mental energy. Of course said toddler, by day, is still as energetic, super-curious, adventurous, strong-willed and rarely still for more than two seconds. This is who he is  – this is how many toddlers are to my understanding – and I adore him for it. In my heart, I wouldn’t want him any other way.

Yet it is intense, particularly as I am within a few feet of him for all the hours of six and a half days per week. My opinion, backed by that of many, is that we weren’t meant to raise children in such isolated units; we’re designed to have a family community or tribe around us to dilute the intensity of these growing little people who are developing at what can only be an intense rate for them too. I’m grateful that technology enables me to access my mother’s support and wisdom, despite the miles between us. I’m grateful for the online and physical communities of like-minded parents who share their support and wisdom with me, for the books and magazines that also guide my journey and, of course, for the wonderfully supportive and hands-on other half of this parent team: my husband.

Yet, as well as the support that the mama hands and mama brain need, the mama soul needs feeding and replenishing too. Many write about how creative pursuits can provide such nourishment; Lucy Pearce in particular has explained this need well to me. I also turn to the moon, especially the full moon; the mother phase. On most full moon nights since learning that I was pregnant, I’ve stood outside, bathing for a few minutes in the silvery white glow. On these nights I admire her mystical beauty and connect with the mother energy in her and in myself. Often, these nights have found me making a plea for her wisdom and guidance, or feeling the coolness of her light cool my current parenting frustrations. I observe the strength of her wholeness and draw down that strength to help replenish my own.

So many other mothers exist and have existed under this same moon. Millions of us.  In connecting with Mother Moon, I hope to draw down their pooled wisdom as well as offer my own ( for there are odd days when I do find a way, crack a problem or learn a technique). At the very least, I draw down the fact that they survived; as far as I know, no-one has died of simply having a toddler! I hold an image of myself on a rocky, twisty-turny path, Mother Moon lighting my way as I carve it out, Dylan beside me. Like with the text messages from my mum, I let myself feel mothered a little, That warm feeling of being loved and nurtured replenishes my own heart and soul to mother with more love, empathy, patience and compassion. Patience with both him and with myself, for we’re both learning new roles here. In the moon’s light, I give myself permission to forgive those times when I’ve not been the parent I want to be: the parent I believe Dylan needs. Once again, I drink in the bright moonlight through every pore of my skin to fuel that goal.

And to that shining, milky sphere who, to me, resembles the mother, who corresponds to the times in our lives when we are birthing and mothering – be that a child, a business, a project, a garden or whatever – I usually shed a few tears, and always give thanks, ♥

IMG_1515

 

painting on altar by Wendy Andrews
IMG_1521

 

 

 

IMG_1516

IMG_1519

harvests

IMG_1484This week, I have opened my arms to welcome Lammas=tide. It’s still very warm and green in our part of the UK but the air tells of a loss of strength, a weariness, a settling down. This air feels a little cooler on my skin – even in the sunshine – darkness falls noticeably earlier, we’ve worn the odd long-sleeved top and the mornings have a new fragility as the sun wakes a little later and the light is just a little bit translucent. Little by little.

Not many leaves have browned and fallen but their branches look slightly flacid and everything seems to have lost some potency. Although I love our name, “Autumn” for this season that is slowly tiptoe-ing in, I think that the American “fall” describes well Nature’s dropping, exhaling, loosening and releasing. I feel this in myself too; a shift in my thoughts from being borderline obsessively focused on our garden to preparing for the coming months of more time indoors (craft projects), more layers of clothing (time for a stock=take!) and turning inwards for spiritual and emotional growth and development. As I pivot on this shifting point, I like to give thanks for all the harvests in my life that the year has brought. Even the disappointing harvests as they will have brought learning as well as opportunity to be humbled and reminded that i am not in control of everything.

I find that we typically end up marking the cross-quarter festivals in little celebrations and rituals here and there over a few days. I guess this is because I take the signs of seasonal changes as my cue for these sabbats, whereas equinoxes and solstices have specific dates.  So, this Lammas has been celebrated with:

IMG_1489

  •  a couple of days camping in my native Cornwall. Rob and I have come to the conclusion that camping near wild places not only re-calibrates our body-clocks and natural rhythms, but also our souls and our connection as a couple and a family.
  • Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s  Honey Wholemeal Cake recipe. YUM!
  • Dangling bare feet in a stream and visualising this year’s challenges being washed away, down to the sea.
  • acknowledging, gratefully, our harvests in the garden, in our selves and in our lives. Talking about what we would improve next year.
  • a gingerbread man
  • home-baked ciabatta attempt. As Lammas is traditionally the start of the wheat harvest, I like to make some special bread for it, usually something I’ve not made before. Rob took the lead on this and didn’t do too badly at all!

Happy Lammas-tide   ♥

IMG_1503

 

IMG_1506

IMG_1504

 

This post’s first two photos by Rob Decbois. Lammas paintings by (in order) Wendy Andrew, Jaine Rose and Deborah Holman.

Raining and waning

IMG_1469After so much sun and so much heat, the storms came. Creeping in slowly with a thundery night last week, a shower or downpour here and there over the weekend, and then a proper thunder and lightening showdown. We’ve yet to see a full day of rain and perhaps this is what we need to rinse out those last dregs of  muggyness that are clinging to our skin.

 I suspect I’ve not been alone in my gratitude for the reduced humidity, in my relief that the plants’ thirsts have been quenched, in my thanks for the cooling down of air, tempers, transport vehicles and the slide in the park. Our home has certainly benefited from my having had enough energy to clean it this week! Sure, not everyone may express their gratitude through a rain altar and a welly boot walk that has the sole purpose of puddle-splashing and slug-watching like the one my son and I enjoyed, but I expect there’s a general vibe of gratitude going around.

This washing, cleansing rain and weaker sun comes at the time that the moon is waning and people are celebrating Lammas (or Lughnasadh): the start of the noticeable waning of the year and for many the start of Autumn (or Fall). It still feels too summery for me to begin my celebrations – I need to clock a few more seasonal signs and probably see through a stint of infamous British summer rain – but there are a few hints around. ♥

Image

Image

I’ve also got a Lammas Pinterest board going for festive celebration and inspiration: http://pinterest.com/heartshapedmo/lammaslughnasadh/ Enjoy. ♥