Wednesday, 31 December 2008


Today I have decided to look at the element of Air. Air is associated with Spring, the East, the Masculine, Venus, Yellow and sometimes pale Green or Blue and the wand. It is represented by birds, insects ans all other flying animals. The Astrological signs of Libra, Gemini and Aquarius are also air symbols.

Yesterday stood on top of that hill as the sun set, the presence of air was very apparent. The wind was blowing hard and the clouds were being blown across the sky at high speed and it wasn't an evening for kite flying! Thing is air is so present that we tend to take it for granted and the fact that we can not see it just adds to this. Without it there would be a vacuum, as on the surface of the moon, and anything soft and tender like us would explode outwards...

The weight of the air above us keeps us contained. It causes pressure and combined with the rotation of the earth and movement due to hot and cold air rising or falling, we have weather. Add in water as well and there is a whole lot of possibilities. As hot air rises an area of low pressure is created underneath and air from all around is sucked in. The rising air carries moisture upwards and so lows or depressions tend to be overcast. When there is falling cold air, high pressure is created and winds flow outwards. In Summer, a high creates hot and dry weather but in Winter it creates clear, cold weather.

Air is the most mobile of all the elements, it flows in all directs, depending on pressure. It infiltrates deep underground as pockets of gases and in mines. In between particles of soil, if there is no water, then there is air. Gases dissolve in water and bubble up from deep sea vents. It is everywhere, except space.

In covering the earth, the air forms an atmosphere and acts to contain everything. It protects us from radiation and space debris and keeps in warmth. Things falling to earth through the atmosphere experience a lot of friction and most burn up harmlessly as shooting stars. Without the atmosphere we would be as cold as space, except when the full fury of the light of the sun was on us, and then we would burn. Air balances out the effects of the sun and protects us from it's deadly wind, with the help of the earths magneic field.

Life needs air. We breathe taking in Oxygen and breathing out Carbon dioxide. Plants take the carbon dioxide and respire to turn it back into Oxygen. It is very literally the breath of life. Pure oxygen is however very, very dangerous, deadly and flammable.

Air is used to help many things leave earth. Uplift is caused by differing pressure on either side of a wing resulting in a lower pressure drawing the wings upward. It isn't just birds and insects that use this but we use it to. We have a huge array of flying machines including planes, helicopters, air ships and balloons. Some things also use air to slow falling and use rising hot air to gain height such as gliders. Parachutes use the friction of air to slow falling. Seeds use the same techniques so they can fall to the ground without breaking and spread over a distance.

Smells carry on the air. Smell is important for identifying and tracking. Pheromones are used by us and some animals to attract mates. Smell is very important for communication, more so for many other species than for us. It is also important to taste and helps us taste foods more, try holding your nose as you eat to see (my favourite trick while eating veg as a kid).

We of course are managing to misuse air but there have been considerable improvements in pollution. CFC's are banned and the ozone holes are no longer growing. Lead has been banned in petrol and delicate organisms such as lichens have been returning to places that were too polluted before. Sulphur is no longer released into the air in such quantities by industry and acid rain has been greatly reduced. One thing about air pollution is that pollutants become concentrated at the poles.

The air personality is flexible and because it gets everywhere it is very open minded and inquisitive. Air is not emotional, it moves according to logic and can lead to an intellectual and analytical personality. Although it is unemotional it is not uncaring and is helpful. Not surprisingly they are sociable and like to communicate. Of course air personalities are near perfect (*laugh* any guesses what I am?) but they have a dark side too.... The constant need for change can be wearing on those around and the lack of emotion coupled with analytical ability can come across as cold.

Sowing Seeds

First of all, may I wish a very happy New Year to everyone who reads this and is going to read it in the future!

I have decided to write New Year's Wishes / Resolutions this year. I know when working magic it is best not to be too prescriptive so that you allow things to work in the best way possible and don't create a rod for your own back! I also know that in order to make wishes come true you have to make a little effort and take opportunities that come along....

So here are my seven wishes...

1) To become more creative.
I currently make jewellery using a variety of techniques including a loom, stringing and bead weaving. I would like to expand my creativity in new directions but am not sure which to pursue. I like the idea of learning more about photography and drawing. I would like to sew better and learn how to use my sewing machine. I would like to crochet and make rag rugs...

2)To develop my connection to all that is.
I am obviously trying to improve myself as a practicing Wiccan. I am sure this will happen in just the right ways at just the right times. So could get better at rituals. Maybe I could find which faces of the Goddess speak to me most. Maybe I could uncover some hidden psychic abilities. Whatever I need to develop to maintain my path and grow closer....

3) To find a job where I can be.
I need a job as soon as possible following Christmas. I have a habit of doing temporary admin work but would be happy to move on from this. I don't care what it is that I do as long as it is in a place that doesn't make me miserable or stop me from growing...

4) Some land on which to grow.
I need to be more physically active and would love to develop some skills at growing my own plants for food, fun and beauty. I would also love to keep animals and dream of a small holding. I am also not sure I am ready for that or not! Maybe somewhere to start a nice little veg patch?

5) To always have enough.
I would love to win the lottery and buy a small holding and have my own personal wood with a private grove. Who am I to say what I need? Who am I to say what would be too much for me? But I sure would always like to feel that what I have is enough. Enough to pay the bills. Enought o do fun things. Enough love. Enough time. Just enough...

6) To become a healthier weight.
Since giving up smoking, over five years ago, my weight has blossomed. My figure is now reminiscent of the little neolitic clay Goddess sculptures found around the world. This may be fine for that aspect of the Goddess but I do not think it is fine for me! I have a sweet tooth and in recent years diabetes has blossomed in the female line of my family. My Grandmother is not someone you would expect to develop such a disease and she didn't until her 80s. I suspect if I can not sort my health out that I would develop it somewhat earlier. Even earlier than my Mother who developed it in her 60s...

7) May all around me grow in light and love.
Obviously it is not fair on others and their paths to indiscriminately put your wishes onto them. However a simple little blessing can not do any harm... It can manifest how it chooses...

So what am I doing with these wishes in order to put them out there? I am doing three things, partly as reinforcement and partly to see which feels more magical to me in the long run.

I recently purchased Gail Duff's, 'The Wheel of The Wiccan Year' and in it's chapter on Yule it has a nice section on making wishes for the new year by visualising seeds, drawing them in their packets with what they stand for and then drawing them planting them in the ground. There is also some affirmations to repeat with these activities. I have taken these activities and redefined them for myself.

I sat with a green pencil and paper and wrote out my wishes while repeating to myself Gail Duff's affirmation-

These are the seeds I hold within,
Seeds that will grow with the coming Spring.
I give them love as they do sleep,
To prepare them for the earth so deep. (Gail Duff)

I then wrote them out again so I had two sets. The first set I shall burn tonight near midnight with a white night light scented with a drop of rose and a drop of jasmine oil for love and repeat the affirmation and trying to visualise my hopes and dreams as I do so...

The second set of wishes were folded three times and then each was placed in a square of green tissue paper with seven seeds as an offering. Each little packet was then folded in a square of orange tissue paper and the little packet was then scrunched up into a ball to make an orange seed. The seven seeds will have Gail Duff's second affirmation repeated over them each day for a week and then once a week until Imbolc when I shall plant them somewhere suitable.

I plant my seeds in earth so bare
And nurture them with love and care.
May they grow tall and strong with light
Through Sun and rain, through day and night.
For the good of all my planting's done,
I make this wish with harm none. (Gail Duff)

The final way I am putting my wishes out there is by putting them on this blog. I shall report back after Imbolc on how my wishes are progressing and how the magic felt as it developed, or if it didn't develop. I have to say so far I feel most comfortable with the less formal and more crafty approach of this spell than I do with my attempts to cast a circle etc.

Anyway, Blessed Be to all!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008


Today I have decided to look at the element of Earth. Earth is associated with Autumn, the North, the balance of Yin and Yang, the Feminine, Saturn, Green and sometimes Yellow and the pentacle. It is represented by the stag, boar, bull, sow and bear. The Astrological signs of Taurus, Capricorn and Virgo are also earth symbols.

Today we went for a walk at the top of a very large hill at sunset. The wind was blowing hard and clouds were scudding across the sky. Although it had been a clear day a mist started to rise as the sun went down. The hill we stood on was the site of the earliest known habitation in Cornwall. It was the root of an ancient mountain which was part of a chain that stretched down the whole south west peninsula of England. All that remains are some granite hills. Time moves mountains. And leaves behind stacks of granite boulders...

Earth is the most solid of the elements and it draws air and water around it withe force of gravity. Gravity is a weak force caused by the attraction of matter to other matter. The closer you are to matter, the stronger the attraction and the more matter, the stronger it gets too. Gravity lets us walk on the earth, it spins us around the sun for without it our planet would have spun off into space, it drew matter together to make our planet and it spins our solar system around our galaxy and our galaxy around the Universe.

It is not a quick element although it is fundamentally about balance. Plants and animals belong to the Earth and so then does the whole subject of Ecology. In ecology there are cycles of boom and bust, sometimes Earth is bountiful and sometimes there is famine. Sometimes there are major extinction events but these are always followed by times when evolution goes made and species develop to fill the gaps in each habitat. Life is seeking to get more complicated and varied but at heart it's rules are simple, survival.

Resources all come from the earth with metals, stone and gems coming from beneath our feet. Everything else comes from life forms, with plants providing food, clothing, dyes, tools... Earth provides but sometimes it also takes away... So Earth is all about a practical working system which seeks to develop in complexity and resources. It draws things together and provides cohesion and solid ground beneath our feet and for all other life.

Earth is also all about beauty. Landscapes are it's grandest canvas but even on the smallest scale, looking at micro organisms, Earth shows its true face. Much of Earth's stunning good looks stems from symmetry, while others comes from stranger mathematics such as fractals and some seems completely random. Colour is very apparent in nature and earth is the original owner of the many coloured coat.

Famine is not the only sign of Earth's temper. Sometimes the Earth moves and earthquakes, mud slides and rock falls all occur. The Earth is always moving, even if it is too slow for us to see. Continents drift across the world like icebergs, the north of the UK was pushed down by the weight of glaciers and since they melted the north has been slowly rising and the south slowly sinking and then of course the Earth moves round the Sun.

So what does this mean for the Earth personality? Earth is the most supremely practical, pragmatic and stubborn of the elements. It is an element that moves slowly but always seeks to be balanced and is all about harmony. It is a steadfast and solid sort of a personality that thinks of the long term and may be selfish and thoughtless of the little things in pursuit of that. this is not about a lack of empathy, Earth has that in spades, it is all about overall balance and greatest good. It is the most overwhelmingly responsible of the elements and will continue working hard on it's plan with complete calmness, no matter what is going on around it...

Monday, 29 December 2008

Be Kind Rewind

I feel kind of nothing today... It has been a nice day but I don't have a focus from today so I don't know what to write about.

We started spring cleaning this morning and then took an old loaf of bread and some nuts to Tehidy where we fed various birds and the occasional squirrel. Last ime we were there, there were many squirrels around but I think most of them were sleeping today. At the sight of a walnut or hazelnut you could see their excitement and they would come and take it from your hand. I also fed the swans by hand to try and limit how much the gulls got. There were some beautiful adolescent swans that still had many of their dark feathers.

At home I had a nice long bath with a book and then made up some soup from turkey stock and left overs from a roast. This is only something I have learnt to do recently. I have for a years been throwing away excellent stock because I had no idea it was stock! I thought it was fat. Now that I keep it, it is obvious how little fat there is in it, because it comes to the surface. I also have been nervous to use leftovers as I have never been sure how long you can keep them for etc.

My family feeds scraps to the dogs but I find that mine tend to get a little whiffy if I do that. I am sure my Mum knows how to cook up scraps but it is another skill I didn't manage to pick up while living at home. Although I would help my Mum cook, I just did individual tasks as directed. Cooking a full meal is a very differeny skill. I still struggle with meals with multiple parts. F does all the roasts in our family (and very well he does them to!).

On the surface there is very little spiritual about my day. However it is the right time to spring clean. Reading my Llewellyn's calendar (Xmas pressie) for January there is an article on setting up a household shrine and Hestia, a Greek Goddess of the home. Cooking for family and feeding wild animals on a cold day in the middle of winter are also activities with a certain something to them as well...

Maybe the problem isn't with the spiritualness of my day but with the way I have perceived it. If it was a good day, then why do I feel sad this evening? Maybe it is the future than concerns me. Soon F will return to work and I shall possibly still have no job and an uncertain future. I work in admin but have qualifications to do more. Everyone has an uncertain future, it's just I feel very aware of that this evening. I guess I don't feel nothing then really.

Sunday, 28 December 2008


In order to start looking at the elements for my invocation I am going to complete brainstorms for each one, starting with fire.

Fire is associated with Summer, the East, Yang, the Masculine, Mars, Red, Rubies, blood and the athame. It is represented by the red Pheasant, Phoenix, Dragon, Salamanders and cats. The Chinese Astrological signs of the Snake, Rat and Sheep come under fire and in the western tradition the signs of Aries, Leo and Sagitarius. I am not sure how useful lists like this are. Do they help me understand fire?

We went for a walk this afternoon. We had left it a little late and the sun had just set by the time we reached the beach. By the time we returned to the car the stars were coming out. The presence of all the elements around us was obvious, except for fire. The wind was rustling my hair and the waves were gently lapping on the beach and the stones and sand were very present beneath our feet.

The sun is obviously the most common aspect of fire that we see but all around me I could see other subtle indications of fires presence. The town's lights glinting across the bay, car lights heading across the bay, the warmth in my body, the plants quietly living off stored sunlight and Venus and the stars glinting overhead. In fact light itself is an aspect of fire so just being able to see means that fire energy is present.

Fire is the element of energy and it includes electricity. Electricity is the opposite side of a theoretical coin to magnetism and you can not have one without the other. Light itself is made up of a magnetic field wave and an electric wave. So fire includes all light waves as well as all other types of electromagnetic waves such as radiation in the form of gamma rays, x-rays, UV light and radio waves. Phenomenon such as lightning is easier to relate fire but the aurora borealis is fire to as it is caused by charged particles in the solar wind moving through the earth's magnetic field.

Heat is also an aspect of fire. All heat originally comes from the sun. Heat is also generated by objects moving against each other as friction. So fire is present whenever anything moves. Heat is one of he primary causes of weather as it causes ocean currents (such as the Gulf Stream and Thermohaline current) and winds. Evaporation is caused by fire and so clouds form with the help of the wind and cooling results in rain or snow.

Heat is also the cause of some environmental issues we currently face such as light pollution, pollution from fossil fuels, climate change and rising sea levels. Too much fire is obviously a bad thing as it results in burning. Fire can be very destructive in some forms at is fire that is used in bombs and proprels bullets out of guns.

Fire does however cleanse things. It is used to sterilise medical equipment. Regular use of fire in some types of forest helps keep them healthy and preventing fires is actually detrimental to the trees and habitats. It has been used for centuries to clear land for farming.

It is also the most fundamentally creative of the elements. Energy was the first thing that existed in the universe following the big bang, the biggest explosion of all time. Stars created elements other than hydrogen within themselves and then flung these other elements out as they died in supernovae. Everything that we are made from was created within the heart of a star.

So fire is creative and destructive. It is heat and related to all forms of energy and is present in all change and movement. It is the life blood of all human technologies that require electricity or magnetism. It is light. It is plate tectonics and volcanoes, it is weather and ocean currents and the stars in the sky.

So what is fire in terms of emotions? It is passion, enthusiasm, creativity, inspiration, leadership, assertiveness. On the flip side it is also hate, anger, impatience, rebelliousness, moody, snappy and fiery.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

New Moon, New Month

For many years I have had a book by Marian Green entitled 'A Witch Alone: Thirteen Months to Master Natural Magic'. It was given to me by the friend who first brought Wicca to my attention at about that time. I have read it many times. I have even taken some of the suggestions from it for activities. But I have never ever worked through the book in the way it was intended.

I think there are two reasons for this. Firstly, I just wasn't ready to be an active Wiccan. In theory I have been a Wiccan for years but there is more to it all than just belief. Secondly, I just got scared by the magnitude of all the things a Wiccan can and should study. There is so much to do, enough for a lifetime and more.

I like to study, I love to learn, I like to learn all I can. Having a book highlight lots of areas to look at in one go is almost like overload to me. Without any guide of how far to study each area and my desire to get really into a subject, the thought of getting to grips with everything was just very, very intimidating. Finally I have realised that with life being a spiral, I can move on at the pace the book suggests and come back to subjects next year, and the year after.

I started just before the last new moon and the book suggests moving on to the next chapter at the new moon. So what did I do last month? The main suggestions were to look at different religions, start being curious about the locality, look at the farming year and agricultural practices of the past and think about what the craft means.

Starting to look at my locality has sucked me into a whole are of history that many English people would be ignorant of. I had no idea tilled I moved here how different the history of Cornwall is to that of the rest of England. This has led to me looking at the types of sacred areas in Cornwall, their links to Cornish Saints, the Romans and christianity. I also looked a little at Taoism.

I have started reading about growing food, not that I have anywhere to grow it. I have started reading about keeping pigs and chickens. I day dream of keeping pigs in a wood and hunting for chicken eggs. I also quite like goats and cows and donkeys and horses.

Time to step on. This month and I shall be looking at the characteristics of the God and Goddess and their many different faces, starting to explore the sabbats and looking at poetry in order to write invocations for the elements. From all the things I have done last month these are all things that I feel are important for me now anyway. I will probably limit my study of the sabbats to Imbolc though.

I have learnt over the years to pace myself. Becoming a Wiccan isn't about how much I can learn in a short space of time, it is no race. And no matter how many books I read, websites I surf and blogs I look at they can not substitute for doing. And that is what I struggle with most.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Looking Forward

Maeve Binchy is an author I greatly admire. I read her books when I feel like the book equivalent of a snuggly quilt. I was reading one of her stories this morning and there was a comment that Boxing Day is a sad day because it is never as good as Christmas Eve because we are looking back rather than looking forward. I am sat here on Boxing Day and I am not feeling sad or unhappy.

Yes Christmas Day was lovely. The food was fantastic. The presents F and I bought each other were great (partly because we go shopping together and assist the other in buying pressies up to a certain value. Works very well! They still get wrapped and we still enjoy getting them...) and I got some lovely presents from other people to. The television was also great but I have a Sky + box full of other great things to watch.

F is the most important thing though. He is very much still here. He just made a full slap up fried English breakfast. It was very, very unhealthy but also very, very tasty...

I guess the thing is, the people I have fun with are still here, still part of my life even though Christmas is passing quickly. I have more good TV to watch, I have more lovely food to eat ( a duck waiting in the freezer for New Year) and more presents to give (we will see S later today) and more to receive (my families parcel hasn't yet arrived, but then I haven't quite sent mine to them either).

The only clouds on the horizon of my day are the sluggish feeling left by my enjoyment of a little strawberry wine mixed with lemonade yesterday and the fact I have to go out later. I have the pleasure of another full Christmas turkey dinner later complete with over cooked veg. Really all I want is to gently snooze my headache away and begin reading the various books I received yesterday (not Maeve Binchy's this time). I also like the idea of a lovely long bath with one of my books and one of my lovely lush bath bombs.

I guess this just gives me something to look forward to for tomorrow... *smiles sleepily*

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Heavy Ritual

For the first time since I was a young teenager I have gone to a church service that wasn't a wedding. And my word! What a service!

F and I went to Truro Cathedral for Midnight Mass. A completely new thing for both of us. Both of us grew up attending church as was common at that time. It was a community thing and nothing else happened on Sundays. He went to a very relaxed Methodist Church and I to a little villagey C of E. Neither of us had ever been to Mass before and had no idea what to expect. I suspect that Mass at either of our childhood churches would have been very different.

There was an organist who could have played in the most fearsome of gothic horrors. With fantastic solos that were somewhat awe inspiring in their dazzling complicatedness. The old organist at my childhood church was more humorous than skilled. One time she skipped a whole page and didn't notice.

The voices of the choir were astounding! The acoustics of the cathedral threw their voices around. The highest notes soared... The technical audacity of the arrangements they were singing...

The cathedral was pretty much full with only the occasional seat empty. All the reponses were uttered by the huge crowd as one. The tone of a crowd talking together is incredible. A deep resonant sound that you can almost feel vibrate through you...

The building itself is pretty astounding. It is a little different from other ccathedrals up country. There are no huge paintings or plaster mouldings. If there is one thing the Cornish know how to work then it is stone. The pattern of the stones is so precise. The carvings are so intricate. The use of different types of stone is so intricate in places... And the ceiling floats far above...

Even the sermon was good and amusing in places while bringing a new (to me) perspective to the Christmas story... How common is that?

I guess I have grown up a little. I will no longer turn my back on the church because I can not believe or agree with everything in Christianity. The church is my heritage and the tradition of my upbringing. There is much to take from it and enjoy. If I look at it as my tradition rather than my faith then why shouldn't I go and enjoy it? It doesn't threaten my beliefs. I don't threaten others belief or enjoyment by being there.

So much in the church is pagan anyway... I can worship aspects of the Horned God... Finally. Didn't take many years for that to happen... Did I ever mention I can be stubborn?

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Soul Food

I love food.

And I don't mean just a little bit. I probably love it too much sometimes! I have an unhealthy fascination with sweet foods but although these foods make me feel better they are not true soul food.

When F and I first lived together he was a master of frying. He converted me to the deep fat fryer and I converted him to non-chip shop fish. But then it all changed. I gave up smoking. My body gave up being thin (or at least thinnish).

Adjustments were made and as we settled in together we started using the fryer less and cooking more from scratch. The fryer now lies abandoned in a dark corner of the loneliest corner cupboard of our kitchen. It has stood on the brink of disposal many times and is likely to tip over the edge next time...

The true reasons have been lost in time but I found Riverford via the web and started to order a regular veg box from them. This helped with food budgeting and made sure I always had a selection of veg available when I felt the urge to cook more healthily.

It had a profound affect on my cooking. I could cook but having to be creative in order to work out what to do with celeriac or how to make the cabbage delivered for the fifth week in a row taste better taught me more. With help from Riverford's database of recipes on their website, recipes on their newsletters and now their cook book, I have even learnt how to make brussels sprouts taste nice! (roast with honey and onion and add toasted pine nuts)

My knowledge of how and when to use herbs and spices also improved and we just throw things in now. I can cook a stew (not hard I know but it is a different style of cooking than I had previously used) with dumplings of course.

Riverfords influence on our lives spread and we started using their meat to. I find it hard to go back to supermarket meat now. It is a luxury but one we both relish. I have a lovely rolled turkey breast stuffed with bacon and chesnuts and a duck frozen for New Years Day and the knowledge of how good they will be makes me salivate while writing this...

I have found that I have become more and more of a food snob. So has F even though he doesb't perhaps realise it yet because he is less of one than me. The other day he brought home a clipping from the West Briton with an offer for a lovely meal at Rick Stein's and a comment about his birthday... (Bare in mind he only ever used to eat chip shop fish)

So my fridge is now full of lovely cheese and meat and veg, with more veg outside and a box of fruit and nuts, all organic. I have wine for mulling, m & s deserts, organic apple juice and a jar of goose fat... And I can't wait to eat it all...

In all this it just left us with one little choice. Do we have roast chicken with S today? We thought long and hard but realised the answer had to be no. Christmas type meals three days in a row might be too much for him, and for us. So we thought long and hard about what would be a nice meal for us all. For S the perfect meal would be unhealthy and contain lots of meat and no veg (so like his father...). So here we are, the men watch TV and I type, eating snacky party foo to be followed by choclate cheese cake.

I think this meal is to satisfy the non-foodie food loving food part of me. May everyone enjoy their food as much as we are and shall over this Yule time.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Christmas Traditions

All families have traditions for this time of year. Some are common to most families, like a Christmas Tree and others are more personal. Many old traditions are becoming less set in stone and are changing, like turkey. When I was little I thought everyone did Christmas the same, but they don't.

I like many people across the country have just finished a stint of present wrapping with the television to keep me company. Hours of work that will be demolished in minutes! But there is something about receiving a gift wrapped present. I remember as a child sneaking into the spare room where each of us had a sack which our presents were placed in, in order to have a feel and guess what we might have.

On Christmas morning my grandmother would have slept in the spare room and to save us waking our parents we would go and see her. She always had a treat for us and a drink ready and waiting. These sorts of traditions are so personal and most of them centre around children. It must be hard for parents as children outgrow these little traditions and they are no longer suitable.

This time of year always makes me more broody than any other. Children make Christmas. They see past the commercialism of it all and their reaction is so innocent. They also thrive having all their family around them. It is so hard for those in divided families as well. Not everyone can have the children on Christmas Day. It must be hard for children if they do not have the same Christmas traditions each year, if they aren't in the same place each year.

F and I generally spend Christmas Day alone. The family day is Boxing Day with his family and S. Some years we visit my family, but then we miss S at Christmas. It won't be too many years before S is not spending Christmas with his family but with his own partner instead. Time seems especially precious at Christmas.

All new families start their own traditions though and F and I have. Every year we buy two new tree decorations. By the time we are grandparents we should have a lovely varied collection of decorations, many of them with sentimental meaning. So far the most important ones are two plush reindeers, one with silver hooves and the other with pink. The first Christmas we had little dog, she got hold of the pink one and chewed it. This chewed reindeer sits with its friend on the tree each year in pride of place and always brings a smile to my face when I see it.

Today we bought this year's decorations, a set of three spiky glittery things and a penguin. I don't overly like the penguin but that isn't the important thing about it. F liked it immediately and we had a discussion and it went back. We continued to discuss it. F is particularly good at cheeky banter and so our discussions tend to be fun. The penguin is now siting, pride of place between the two reindeer. I know that this decoration will also make me smile in years to come.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Ceremony Musings

It would be lovely to be able to come on here and talk about my fantastic Yule ritual but unfortunately that isn't going to happen. Maybe starting out as a Wiccan is easier in a coven, you have other people to help raise the energy and you don't have to remember or write all the lines yourself.

I haven't written poetry since I was at school and so I am still using others writings for my rites or making something up on the spot (or slightly after the spot). Unfortunately I have an atrocious memory so I find myself having to pick up the book to remind myself. I also have to look and see what I have to do next. This means that instead of relaxing into the ceremony I just end up feeling more and more tense and miserable as it goes on.

Then there is my equipment.... I have a few little tealight holders, some tealights, a stone, incense and a large candle. I don't have an altar, altar cloth, wand, athame, cauldron, bell or chalice. I want beautiful things full of meaning on my altar which means one of two things: a lot of money or a lot of time and skill making things. It could be a long time before I have an altar full of tools.

I suppose I did have a cauldron of sorts on my floor last night. I had a bowl with three pine cones, three clove covered oranges and three apples with clove patterns. I can see the bowl now as I write, in the fireplace surrounded by bay and jasmine. I would like to have had holly and ivy as well but I have neither in my garden. I know where to find both but I am unsure about taking living plants from nature. I even intend to return the pine cones.

I enjoyed my herb filled purifying bath (I always enjoy a nice bath) and I enjoyed making and sleeping with a solstice herb pillow after my ceremony (filled with mugwort, catnip, chamomile, hops, frankincense, myrrh, nutmeg, cloves and lavender). But the actual ceremony? It felt dead and awkward and the only person who can change that is me. I need to write my own ceremonies with fewer words so that I can relax into the ceremony. Maybe if I use the same words to call the elements and the deities each time, I will eventually become at ease with them!

Can a solo ceremony ever compete with the feeling left by something on the scale of Montol? I don't know but I shall keep going. Even if I continue to spill hot wax on my hand, lose the matches and forget my words!

Sunday, 21 December 2008


Yesterday morning I was sat on the sofa with my laptop feeling nervous about celebrating Yule. Was there any public Yule type festivities I could join in with I wondered? Was there some way I could do something with my non-pagan fiance and step son which they might enjoy and might have deeper meaning for me on Yuletide Eve?

Like a cyber detective I baited google which such words as yule, 2008, cornwall, december, festival, celebration. And what i found was this and you can see some photos here.

I shan't repeat everything from the Montol website here but in short Montol is a festival celebrated on the eve of the winter solstice in the Cornish town of Penzance. Historical sources have been used to revive traditions that almost died through the zeal of the temperance movement, traditions which the town's authorities actively prohibited until World War One. The festival has recently been revived as a traditional but non-religous event with both Christian and Pagan roots acknowledged.

In order to get f (for fiance) to agree to go to this event I played the, 'this is the last chance to do something Christmasy with s (for stepson) before Christmas' card. And off we went (with the promise of me paying for some nice food afterwards as a little healthy bribery). We found a relatively small crowd of people stood outside the hall watching a band wearing masks with people arrayed behind with candle lanterns made of withies and greaseproof paper, many of whom were also wearing masks.

And then the road was closed and procession was off as people and lanterns streamed out of the hall. A second band appeared and the onlookers fell in behind them and we were off! Accompanied by modern classics such as the entertainer, soul man and superstitious reproduced in brass and surrouned by a crows of masked folk wielding flamable paper objects containing flames we promenaded through town and up to the hillfort.

I had never even known that there was a hillfort in Penzance but there we were on a warm, overcast, still night on top of a hill overlooking the whole of Mount's Bay. Our snake had grown as it climbed the hill and other snakes had appeared accompanied by a samba band. Others awaited us at the hill top and our small crowd had grown until it was hundreds strong.

Until this point S, who being a near teen had been vocal in an attempt to mask the fact he was a little uncomfortable, became very very quiet. Why is it the promise of a fire being lit is so fascinating to us all? This fire was no small tame fire on a hearth. A metal cage sat atop a pole and waited filled with food for the little fire wielded by a lady who danced around the circle. It caught quickly and the beacon fire must have been visible for miles. This fire was a wild beast in a cage clawing at the dark of the sky, throwing sparks into the wind...

Following the walk back to our car, it became evident that S had enjoyed it a lot and F had too and might even wear a mask next time! I was left with a deep peaceful feeling and fledgling mask designs floating through my dreams....

A Good Time to Start...

Today is Yule and it feels like a good day to start something new. I have never posted a blog before but have been inspired by several blogs I have started reading. I like the idea of writing a journal but need to have someone to write for. Even if no one else ever reads this, it doesn't matter. What matters is the possibility that they could...

So why now? Recent changes in my life and the odd splash of synchronicity have bought me back to my basic beliefs. I went to a religious school and was only ever exposed to Christianity as a child but somehow developed a fairly pagan faith with Christian ethics. Once away from home, I met many new people and while discussing faith with a friend I discovered that my personal faith fitted pretty well with her faith. I had never heard of Wicca before.

I always felt drawn to the hedge witch side of Wicca rather than the coven side but seemed unable to move beyond faith to celebrating. Rather than commiting to it, I tentatively dabbled around on the edges. My faith never changed but I never did anything with it...

So what do I believe? I believe in balance. I believe I can be naughty and selfish (although I find this difficult to do knowingly without guilt) without being a bad person. I believe that every thing has an energy and these energies together make a very powerful force which could be called Gaea. I believe this force has many aspects and can be seen in nature everywhere you look. I believe nothing is ever lost, in learning, in magic, in wonder... I am a scientist but science is all about knowing and less about faith. We can not ever know everything. I believe we should not hurt others but sometimes the path of least hurt can involve knowingly hurting others. I believe I will never get it right all the time and I don't necessarily have the right to decide for others. I believe sometimes a white lie can be best and I believe pushing people beyond their comfort zone can be best for them (I know I need that!).

I have over the period of this current moon begun to feel that it is time to move on, time to search deeper, maybe time to actually not be nervous, maybe time to work towards committing to what I believe. Yule seems like a good time to begin, it is when the world begins to move towards growth again. It is a time of small beginnings... A time of planning and thinking...

I celebrated my first full moon last week and am contemplating celebrating my first Yule tonight. I can not say my full moon rite was entirely successful. I made plenty of mistakes but my sense of the God and Goddess was that they were enjoying themselves and trying not to laugh so as not to harm my quiet beginning. I am not sure how I will spend the rest of today, will I write poems? Will I make a herb pillow to sleep with tonight? Will I go and find some holly and ivy to add to my Christmas decorations?

So all in all this blog is about me and my path. My path will not always be dominated by Wicca and some days other things will be important. I dream of owning more land than a postage stamp garden and keeping pigs and chickens. I like to learn and explore different subjects. I like crafts and currently make jewelery. It is about my attempts to begin living on the wiccy side of life....