21 July 2017

Greyfeather

I tried. I tried reeeeeeeeally hard to set this whole thing up so that I could keep this blog and its posts but just redirect to another domain name. But it's complicated and DNS management is not my strong suit and in the end I gave up. Exported the whole deal to another site. So what I'm trying to say is...

Same blog, different name. It's a not very long, pigeon-y story that's not for here. Not a new blog, just a new name. If you follow on Bloglovin' you won't see this cos I went ahead and switched you over without even asking. If you don't, the new address is greyfeather.uk .

That's it. Thanks.

x

26 June 2017

Turning point


I've been fortunate in my life never to have been a victim, or even a recipient, of physical abuse or violence. My parents were great for a while, before life led the family down the path of (mostly) benign neglect. I've had mediocre relationships, bad relationships and finally, a great relationship built on commitment, love and bloody hard work. My physical health has been largely excellent.

I consider this privilege. None of it happened as the result of someone else losing out, but it's still a privilege denied to many. My M.O. in the face of difficulty has always been, ultimately, to dust myself off and carry on. My family is very much, 'Don't make a fuss unless your leg's actually hanging off and/or you're dead' and, to be honest, I think there's a lot to be said for that attitude when you're deep in privilege.

However.

In preparation for the next part of my flower essence training next month, I'm asked to use the remedies regularly and keep a diary of thoughts and responses. I felt drawn to use Star of Bethlehem - it will help to rebalance the effects of trauma of any kind, right back to birth and some believe further than that. 'But what trauma?', I thought. 'Just take it," said that Inner Voice. So I did, and kind of forgot that I was taking it. After three or so days I realised that, when I wake up in the morning and feel my way into the day, I'm remembering things. Not remembering because I'd forgotten - I couldn't - but just looking again at events, with more kindness and a certain sympathy towards myself at those times. It's a gentle, comforting feeling, free from,'Oh well...it is what it is...press on!'.

I thought about emotionally abusive relationships, including five years of supreme gas-lighting that, among many horrors, led me to allow quite extreme trauma to my body, mind and soul not once, but twice. I thought about relatively minor medical procedures - Victorian, local anaesthetic, knee-in-chest, wisdom teeth removal, anyone? - that had me collapsing in a hospital corridor, having been pushed out with a nod and a handshake, then driving home because what point is there in making a fuss? Over the years things like this mount up. The carpet beneath which they are swept begins to resemble a small hill. They are hidden, but they are still there. Still shocking. Still dismissed. Still manifesting as physical and emotional blocks. Still leaking out as self-sabotage.

Using this gentle, powerful form of plant medicine is helping, as long as I pay attention. As long as I listen, and play my part. The healing is essential if I'm to move forward free from the baggage that I've been clinging to all my adult life because I thought it was me. All the 'fresh starts' and endless changes I've gone through; all hindered by the old stuff that meant none of it was fresh and none of it was different. I'm truly ready to let go now. I've lost a few things recently that I wouldn't have chosen to lose but I've not only survived, I've grown to appreciate the space. I want more.

Plant medicine, spirit work, soul retrieval (of a sort), prayer and ritual. All these things are my here and now, preparing for clarity and healing. I felt a sense of relief as we passed the summer solstice, connected I think to my perception that the second half of the calendar year turns back inwards. It feels more conducive to my particular style of witchery. All about quiet connection with plants and trees, animals and weather, spirits and other worlds. Quiet but powerful.

Whatever season you're in, literally or figuratively, I hope you're in touch with your power.

x

P.S. I wrote this and then before I hit publish, Asia Suler posted this. I wish I had her eloquence and I'm grateful for the way she uses it. Beautiful, resonant words.

21 June 2017

Solstice


Summer Solstice has many rituals connected to it. Some belong to a particular tribe or community, others are deeply subjective. Some are based on imagined ceremonies from thousands of years past, while others involve tech-y magic. Maybe both.

I've often gone through and past Solstice with no thought to anything but, 'Hey...the turning of the light. Cool.' because I'm dead eloquent like that. This year it feels a little bit different.

Maybe it's because of the crazy heatwave we've had this week with temperatures into the 30s/90s. As a nation, we're not ready for it or equipped for it. We love/hate it. One thing's for sure, it shakes us up.

We hadn't needed much shaking. There's been so much pain, sorrow, tragedy and violence happening on this little island that we were all pretty shaken up anyway. Perhaps that's another reason I'm feeling the need to put an X on this spot; mark this time, these feelings, my intentions to step into my future. Decide what I'm taking with me, and what I'm leaving behind with thanks. Life in these bodies is short and precious.

Thanks to my two oars, I'm happily travelling forwards. To port, more on behalf of animals who need protection and support on a here-and-now-this-minute basis. To starboard, it's all about the hedgewitchery. Hedgewitchery insofar as I do what I do, and believe what I believe, in an organic way, building on my personal relationship with Nature. With great respect for how others may practice, I don't need or want a coven or a circle (although I have many witches of many kinds among my dearest friends). I find myself even more connected to the cycle of the Earth now that my primary physical cycle has opened and released me. I listen a lot more, decide a lot less.

Recently I've been searching for women in their 50s who have an aura of 'something' around them. They exist but they are rare creatures. More visible are the powerful beauties in their 70s and I'm fascinated to see that many of them speak of lost hope in their 50s, feeling that 'it's downhill from here', or 'I'm so old, what's the point'. But by their 70s they have found and claimed their sovereignty, and now they glow with the magic. Inspired by them, I'm planning on speeding up the process because I don't want to wait 16+ years to feel powerful. I am taking a leap of faith and claiming it now.

I want more conversations with flower spirits and tree devas. I want to keep hearing the earth dancing, the moon singing and foxes laughing, and now I'm going to admit to all of it. I'm the kind of witch who climbs into oaks for a chat, and adores her iPhone. Who is learning to speak pigeon, and cries at a tv show. Who wears jeans 360 days out of 365, and calls in the Directions on every one of them. Who swears like a trooper and prays like a saint. Because no one gets to tell me I can't. Not even me.

x

19 June 2017

The flora and fauna



It started when I went into the woods to take pictures of the Star of Bethlehem. It's the wild, spiked variety that grows in the verges and woodlands in this area, and our local wood is thick with it in late spring/early summer. Star of Bethlehem is, for me, the most magical of the Bach flower remedies and I was feeling the pull to go and be around it. I took some photos and decided it was a good time to have a chat. As you do. I told all the plants in the wood, including the trees, how wonderful it was to be among them. How I'd been feeling that my learning about flower essences was a way for me to honour them and work for them, if they'd have me. How, if they wanted me to do something, just to ask.

At that moment a young fawn trotted past me, no more than eight feet away. I could almost touch her! I see deer here all the time but this is the first time I've even been lucky enough to see a baby. I quietly turned around and left the woods. That was the first thing.

I thought about that fawn for a couple of days and then, on an afternoon walk with Digby in a field full of wildflowers, I repeated my thought that I could work on behalf of the plants and welcomed guidance. That evening, Biscuit Tiberius Woodpigeon arrived.

Forty eight hours later, Evie and I took the dogs for a walk in 'The Long Field' as we call it. There have been no sheep in there this spring and as a result, the grass is up over my knees. We go in here because it's private, contained, and all three dogs can be off-lead for a run. As Digby and Zoey ran ahead, Dooley wandered off to the other side. I noticed his head go down and thought, 'Oh crap, he's going to roll in something stinky' and headed over. As I got to him, he literally jumped all four paws into the air and started doing his 'play bark', shoving his nose at something in the grass, and behaving like an overgrown pup with a new toy. Only it wasn't a toy, it was a little baby badger. A little baby badger who wasn't taking any of his nonsense and would probably have had Doo's nose off if I hadn't told him to back off. Which, bless him, he did. (Dooley, not the badger. 'Oi BADGER! BACK OFF!') With a disappointed 'Why won't the stripey puppy play with me?' look on his face. The little one turned around and casually mooched off towards the hedge and the stream. We got all three dogs back on their leads and went home.

Now. It's spring. In the countryside. There are babies everywhere. But aside from our garden full of teeny fledglings screaming to be fed, we never usually get to see any of them. Three babies in a week is very special.

Then on Saturday as I sat in the garden reading because I was the only human home for the first time in too long to remember, I looked up to see a racing pigeon on our roof. In our second and third summers here (2010 and 2011) we were visited by a racing pigeon who would feed in our garden, make us fall in love with her, and then leave after three or four days. We've often wished she'd come back but she never did. We called her Pidge, and seeing She Who Could Be Pidge up there on the roof, days after we'd taken in Biscuit, felt like a little nod from the pigeon universe. She sat up there for a few hours, rested and realigned with her route home, and left.

There is a lot coming out of this week for me. I'm not quite there with words for it all but I know it has to do with realigning with my route. Getting fully back in touch with what it is to be an animal among animals. The timing is good; I'd already set out on this path and I'm ready for the next step.

x


12 June 2017

Gently down the stream


Last time I wrote here I mentioned how I was finding some peace in having outlets for both sides of my eternal internal argument. And it keeps getting better. I was trying to explain it when I grasped at, "It's like rowing with two oars for once. If I drop either one of them, I just spin in a circle. If I drop both I don't go anywhere, but if I use both I'm moving forward." And so it is.

My back-and-forth, my pushmepullyou, ace time-wasting hobby has always been around "There's a tough old world out there and people (not all human) need your help. That's what matters. Helping." and "I want to sit in the woods, commune with the plant life, and disappear into my own navel in a lovely blur of spiritual philosophy." And they've always seemed mutually exclusive.

I'm loathe to admit it even here because it sounds more than a little insane, but this stuff - especially as I've got older with expectations of having my shit together while I still have shit - would keep me awake at night and frustrated by day.  Periodically I'd just drop both oars and bury my head in the sand of the shore because otherwise I'd go properly mad.

I'm not sure why or how I came to the conclusion that I had to choose. Why I couldn't be and/or do both. I have a theory that it's rooted back in the days when I was super keen to ride the then new wave of internet business. I had a job I'd been in too long, a family that needed more income, and a longing for autonomy. All the stuff I read and listened to talked about Finding Your Niche (if it was a business-y source) or Doing What You Love (if it was more personal development-driven). But I had no single niche I was drawn to and I love All The Things! I read about multi-potentialites and portfolio businesses. I tried meditations and quizzes and workbooks and spells and everything. Multiple blogs, shares in Amazon. Couldn't decide. Couldn't specialise. Even though I'd lost the urge to create a business or income of some kind. Ultimately I just felt like a massive failure while suspecting that I actually had some weird mental health issue. Guilty for choosing X, guilty for not choosing Y. And then vice versa. Spinny.

When the chance came to do a little voluntary work for DOTS I jumped at it without even thinking about wider implications, I just wanted to help, even though I'm not there on the street. And doing so didn't take up a lot of my time which is good because homeschool. In my spare time I found I suddenly felt like picking up my flower remedy course again and as an extension to that, answering the powerful call I have to all things Nature. I couldn't help but notice that there was an absence of guilt. Again, not trying to do either to make cash, just doing them because both things matter to me.

I feel more than a little daft writing about this because I can imagine anyone reading it thinking, "Um...dur? What am I missing? Is she insane or just a bit dim, because this is beyond obvious." Maybe it is. I mean, I like a wide range of foods but I don't feel the need to choose hummus or marmalade, I just eat both. But this is more about knowing myself. About defining who I am. How do I put myself into the world while serving the world and do I have anything that is worthy of sharing or contributing? What are my talents, my skills, the tools I've been given in this lifetime (and, just as importantly, what aren't they even though I'd love them to be)? What really lights me up, because the Universe needs light? There may still come a time when I start to think about doing something at least semi-professionally because yes, I like being able to pay bills. But that's not such an issue because I have no problem earning money one way and funneling part of it to someone else who needs it to do something completely different.

It's all about the balance and yes, I was unbalanced for a long time. I was listening to an old interview with Brené Brown the other day and sat upright when she said, "This is not a problem to be solved; it's the tension we work within." That's it. The tension that holds us together, that manifests as strength. So I thought I'd share.

x