Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Be Merry

I am not sure how I feel about Christmas really.  I am not saying I have not enjoyed it but there is something in me that rebels against the imperative to do more, to buy more.  Maybe it is just plain laziness....

We had a lovely day.  On Christmas Eve we went to the cathedral for Midnight Mass.  Then we slept in.  We opened our presents to each other, well i say opened, they were not actually wrapped...  Then we had breakfast and watched some TV.  Then we cooked our roast and watched more TV....   And it was all lovely.

Today we see his family and exchange presents and in a few days, weeks time we see mine and exchange more presents.  No pressure....  I have avoided last minute shop buying on the whole and done most of it online...  The only shopping I did last minute was a last couple of food items.

Christmas cards and decorations were last minute though, and feeble.  A few cards passed to colleagues on Christmas Eve to avoid offence....  A couple of decorations in the window to make it look like we tried....  Who is it all for?  What is it all for?  A list of jobs done, because it is Christmas and thats what we do.

I liked our relaxed Christmas Day....  I also like family Christmases, like last year where we were able to escape to mine.  I think Christmas only really has meaning in the context of family.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, celebrated in what ever way they wanted, with their loved ones...

Saturday, 22 December 2012


So, the world did not end, but then, nobody really expected it to, did they?  I hoped for a change though....  I guess though, looking back is the only way to judge true change and when big changes are afoot, it is often hard to judge the pivotal moment.  I wanted to feel the Dreamworlds come closer to our reality.  There is still plenty of time for things to happen, there is plenty happening.  So many bad things that to a stable, happy civilization looking back on our history of right now would be amazed.

This has been a tough week for me.  I have been pretty ill, probably with food poisoning which has left me with an oversensitive stomach.  What was hardest though was it threw me sideways, literally.  I had vertigo to begin with and then just poor balance.  Even now a week later my balance does not feel quite right.  The world feels a little wrong.  And part of me wonders if that connects somehow to the changing of the ages...

Then work announced redundancies.  Yes my job is in danger, but even sadder is the fact that my little work family will be broken up.  Things will not be easy for however stays either.  Part of me considers what I would do if I was let go and I am not sure it would be such a bad thing....  I like the idea of having a couple of different part time jobs and doing different things.

I guess it doesn't matter if the world has changed or not, I have and F has too.  And we are going to keep on changing, walking forward on this path.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Web of Life

Another big thing for me recently has been some breakthroughs in tracing my family tree...

My maternal Grandfathers side of the family as always been intriguing.  There is mystery there for sure.  My Grandfather was a music critic, but a well loved one.  He was close to making a breakthrough and writing for one of the national newspapers but he died of Hodgkins leaving a fiance, an ex-wife and two children.

He fought in the Second World War in India and he rode a horse and may possibly have been a PoW.  His family was very poor, his Dad dead and he often found himself in a Childrens Home with his brother.  There are hints of abuse while in care.  There are hints of lots of things to be honest but precious few facts.  What is clear though is how respected and loved he was.  Years and years later my uncle visited a pub in the town my Grandfather had worked in, and was recognised as a son of my grandfathers...

So it is unclear, the story of my Great Grandfather Owen Edgar, because most of it is just too recent.  He was a Furnishing Assistant and fought in the First World War and may have died of TB but I have no idea when...  He first appears on a census in 1901 at the age of 8 living with his father William Owen and Annie.  When I was able to find his 1911 census record though, things changed.  The 1911 census lists the length of the marriage and the number of children born to the woman and how many are still alive and dead.  Annie never had any children and had not been married to William Owen long enough to be Owen Edgar's Mother.  A pencil written note on the census record confirmed that this was correct and Annie was not Owen Edgar's Mother.

Now this branch of the family has a common surname and lived in London.  Finding them was impossible because I had no way to separate them from others.  I decided to order Owen Edgar's birth certificate and this gave me an address for them in 1893 and his Mother's maiden name, she was called Kate.

My next step was to find their wedding details and this again was very, very hard.  in 1893, they lived within the bounds of Greater London but in 1892, they were based only a few streets away, but it counted as Middlesex.  It took me hours of searching to find them, but I did and I finally ordered the wedding certificate and received it last weekend.

I already knew that William Owen was a Draper but I discovered his father was called John and worked as a Millwright and that Kate's father was called Edmond L something and was a Schoolmaster.  And I still could not find any of them.

The wedding certificate gave an address for William Owen in 1892, so I decided to hunt through the censuses for that address and see if William or any relative has been living there only a year before.  This took some time as the district had nearly 100 sub-sections and I had to wade through, accompanied by a map of London, to find the right area.  When I did there was no sign of William Owen or Kate, but there was a Walter Thomas.  This was really important, because he appears as a witness on the wedding certificate!

At another dead end, I decided to start a family tree for Walter Thomas and see if it connected at all to either of them.  Walter had several brothers but I paid more attention to his sister Caroline because girls change their names.  Caroline married an Edward Argent and this was really important because William Owen's second wife, Annie, was an Argent too.

On looking at the census's it becomes clear that Caroline was Edward's third wife and that he had had three children with his first wife.  The 1881 census shows the family which includes a daughter Ann and a niece, Kate Davis.  So William Owen married Kate, using one of Kate's Uncle's address, Walter Thomas.  Kate had been brought up by her Aunt Caroline in the house of her cousin by marriage, Ann.  When Kate died, William Owen was married again, but this time to Kate's cousin Ann(ie).  This makes sense...  Annie would have been the perfect person to keep house and care for Owen Edgar.

So Kate was probably an orphan.  I eventually found her both on the 1891 census and the 1871 census, both listing her as being born in Kent, obviously whoever answered the 1881 census in her adopted family was a little fuzzy on exactly where she had been born.

Kate's parents were Edmond Louis and Eliza.  Eliza shared the same surname as Walter Thomas and Caroline (before she was maried) and is obviously the family connection but I have been unable to prove the connection.  Children appear on one census, disappear off the next one and reappear again.  This is a family that was fairly fluid in it's child care because the Father appears to have been bringing them up alone.  I have yet to find any trace of Eliza before her marriage.

Edmond Louis is also an interesting enigma.  He was in his 40s when he had Kate and appears to have led a very full life but discrepancies make it hard to say that I am dealing with one person who did all these things.  Before his marriage he certainly moved around and appears as a visitor and as a lodger on different censuses.  Most censuses list him as English but one suggests he may have been born in Ireland.  It may have been necessary for him to disguise this within the circles he moved in to.

He began as a General Legal Clerk but then became a Photographist working for Nicholas Henneman.  Nicholas Henneman taught Rejlander the photographic process and Rejlander went on to become very important in this field.  At Henneman and Co, Edmund sent out photographic supplies to Fox Talbot, another pioneering Photographer, and the letters accompanying these have surivived and are part of the Fox Talbot online archive.  In the archive he is listed as President of the London Horticultural Society which later became the Royal Horticultural Society.  On the final census before his death, he is listed as a Professor of English and Drawing, which fits with Schoolmaster and also shows a considerable development from Legal Clerk.  If all this is true, then he was quite a man, with wide ranging interests and a great deal of success.  He may not have been the brightest star, with his own wikipedia entry, but he was very likely their contemporary...

Except he died and left a very young Kate who had no access in all likelihood to his social circles following his death.  Living with her much poorer maternal family from such a young age, what friends and connections she would have had, if her father had lived, were considerably reduced, however, she did have a career herself.  I found her in 1891 working at Whiteley's, the worlds first department store.  The staff lived in and worked 17 hour days, six days a week and a huge number of rules they had to live by.  She is listed as a Draper Assistant.

So Kate was a Drapers Assistant in a department store with no fixed address as soon as she married and William Owen was a Draper who required the address of Kate's family in order to get married, before settling in London.  Chances are, they met via Whiteleys.  William Owen either worked there too or he visited the store in a professional capacity.

What I find really interesting about this family is this cycle of self made intellectual men, parents who do not survive to look after their children, children in the care of others.  There is a real link to the creative, to the arts too but they were not the stars, they were the clerks and critics and teachers.  Kate, Owen Edgar and my Grandfather all lost a parent or two in childhood and of these, only Owen Edgar did not fall into care, probably because of Annie Argent.

I don't see this cycle in my branch of the family but I do see it in my Uncle's.  he too is a brilliant intellectual but not a shining star.  He is successful but you are unlikely to hear of him but you would admire his work...  He is a Photographer and a Scientist.  And his wife died leaving my cousins as children.  It seems to me that there is a tangled web of life lessons and karma being unpicked.

I still have a lot of work to do and connections to make, but I think I have the bones of the story.


So the lovely Suzi recently said in an email that she felt like I would have 'a massive breakthrough at some point' and it occurred to me I have...  In fact there has been a couple...  but sometimes the hard thing is working out what they mean and how to bring those words into the waking world and what sense they make here, if that is clear to anyone!

A while back I started suffering from nightmares.  I found this scary because I have never had dreams that dealt with fears where I have been very scared before, not even as a child.  My sister would drift through my room to my parents bedroom, pale as a ghost.  i used to be quite envious of the excuse to go sleep with Mum and Dad, and so, sometimes when I was awake in the night and wanted to sleep with them, I would imagine bad things to summon up a few tears...

So suddenly to find myself dreaming nasty things was a challenge.  I began to wonder and worry about what these dreams were saying about the state of my mental health!  A girl who bumped into an old college friend and accepted the offer of dinner to catch up only to discover he had always been fixated on her and had become a serial killer, killing girls like her...  The little boy kidnapped...  The teenage girl left alone in an airport, with no ticket but after security....  The couple killed in their home....  There was no actual bad endins though, because I was able to twist the story away from the truly awful and help the main characters escape.

Then one night I dreamt I was in my bedroom lying on my bed but it was a glorious day and the room was flooded with sunlight.  I turned to look at the person next to me and it turned out to be my spirit guide.  He told me not to worry, that I was dreaming the fears of my ancestors.  And after that, I stopped worrying that this was my unhealthy mind and accepted that these were not my fears, not my scenarios.

For a couple of weeks my dreams were filled with fearful scenarios but as I stopped blocking them and worrying about them, this was no longer a problem.  Some of the dreams could even be pinpointed to whereabouts they would have come from.  In one dream, a lady was driving a delivery van but it carried important cargo.  She was stopped by a police officer who turned out to be with the enemy but she was able to defend herself and get the cargo away.  In the Second World War, my Grandfather was a driver.  I imagine he transported all sorts of things around and i can also imagine my Gran thinking up all sorts of scenarios....

I recently started reading Robert Moss's The Dreamers Book of the Dead: A Soul Traveler's Guide to Death, Dying and the Other Side.  One thing he says is that sometimes we need to use our imaginations for the dead.  I think this is what I have been doing.  I think some of my Ancestors have been trapped in a recurring nightmare that goes round and round and they just don't know how to escape.  I think I have been dreaming them ways out.

The best example I have of this was the falling dream.  In this dream, not surprisingly, I was falling with another person.  We would fall towards the ground and then, just before we hit we would pass through a gate and fall all over again.  I tried all sorts of possible ways of getting us out of there....  I remember one of them was a helicopter free falling by us and trying to pull us in but the danger of the propellers and matching speeds made it impossible.   In the end, a couple of men with parachutes jumped out and fell with us  and caught us to them and strapped us to them and brought us safely down.

Can you imagine falling, over and over, unable to think of a way out?

I think dreaming fears is linked to my having passed the Spider Gate.  I wonder how passing other gates would affect my dreaming?

The other breakthrough involved a dream where I was eating in a mediterranean restaurant.  I was talking to the waiter and I told him I didn't know what I was.  He was surprised and disappeared into the back and came back with his Grandmother.  She placed her finger on my third eye and shut her eyes.  When she was done, she opened them and told me I was a Walker, A Weaver and a Shifter.

I have only the vaguest idea of what these things mean really and I have even less idea about what benefits they can have in the physical world.  They seem to me, to be very much talents of the inbetween, of the Dreamer.  That too makes sense too, because the wind at the heart of my circle is the Dreamer and my totem for this is the Crow.

A Dreamwalker is one who can walk into the dreams of others.  I know I do this.  I walk through their dreams, their stories and I wear their bodies and think their thoughts.  But I don't understand the subtleties of this and you can be sure there are some.  I feel quite strongly that these are well defined talents with hidden depths whose paths we have lost somewhat or are only remembered by a few.  I also find it easy to navigate the dream world on journeys.  Once I have been somewhere I can get to and from that place very easily on future occasions.  I just open a door and step through.  There are hints that many Native American Indians just vanished when White Men came, that they stepped through the veil, opened a door and went elsewhere.

A Shifter, obviously shifts shape and again this is something I do.  I often wear feathers to travel in journeys and I have twice danced the elements at the Equinox in the shape of a Dragon.  Many books talk of how Native American Indians used to be able to shift shape with ease, in this reality. 

A Weaver is the less obvious I think but before the dream I had a journey at Samhain.  We were to connect with an ancient Ancestor, back in the dawns of time, we were to make our way to an ancestral cave.  I did this and got a little more than I bargained for.  I met with an adept in a dark hole in the back of a cave.  He was quite a character and told me off if I started to drift or lose focus.  He told me how Spider Woman wove the worlds into being.  He showed me her web, how everything is made from the same huge giant web, twisted and curved and prodded and pulled into all the shapes of everything we are, connected.  He showed me how to unpick as well as how to breath spirits through the web into a shape. 

My suspicion that this must be what a Weaver is was confirmed by Robert Moss's book, he talks of how in many of the lands of the dead, the matter is formed using imagination from an underlying grey material which is plastic in form.  His description of the material was familiar although different - it is so hard to describe impossible things!  He called the people who make things over in this realm of Memorydream, Weavers.

So I have been gifted with three talents and they all relate directly to the dreaming.  I have a vague idea of what they are, but no idea of the deeper meanings.  I have no idea whether or not I can affect anything in the waking world in the slightest.  Of course, if we lived in the dreaming then things would be very different indeed.  I know I can help myself with these gifts, that they make journeying and dreaming easier for me and that I learn a lot from both, but I have no idea how I can help others in reality and I have a lack of active control although I think the Dreamer in me knows exactly what it is doing and does it, when the conscious me does not get in the way!

I think spider links into my life now in several ways.  I think Crow is beautiful and I know that Dreaming is the best gift of all.

Music for the Moons

So I have so much to post about!  I am going to start with music because I have not posted my songs for the last three Moons and I want too....  The songs that jump out at me always seem to touch me at a deeper level when I actually read the lyrics, it isn't just the sound.

For the Moon of Welcome we had Faster by Within Temptation.  This just jumped off the radio at me....  We listen to Planet Rock a lot.  And I love the words too.  It is a song about the joy of living!  Which is great for Welcome!  Running towards life...  Not hiding, not accepting lies, not living with fear, accepting your feelings....

The delights of flicking through music TV channels brought me Lana Del Rey's Blue Jeans and I fell in love with it instantly.  I don't remember having heard it before.  The song is all about a relationship that goes south when he tries to give her more by growing his career and she loses him to it.  Except that it is clear from the song that he will always be the only man for her and in the video you see them both sinking beneath the water together, and there is a light shining up at them.  Everything about this song makes me think of true love and past lives, that strongest of emotions that can and does survive death.  I feel like this.  I think F and I have been here together many times and this is what I guess I affirmed this last time throught his moon....

Finally for the Moon of Drama we have Tom Petty's Learning to Fly.  I heard this on Planet Rock again and loved it but wasn't sure if it was truly my song for the month and forgot about it until a dream this week brought it back and I woke with it in my head...  It has been there ever since!  The more I look at it and think about it and watch the video. the more inspired by it I am.  He is a very clever song writer for sure.  To me, this song is all about Drama and dealing with it, learning to live with things after they have happened, the good and the bad without letting them get you down.  Be those dramas atomic weapons testing, drugs, love or the death of JFK, we can't stay in that moment and we have to learn how to keep our equilibrium or regain it quickly, so we can keep on flying....

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Life Balance

So F got home just as I was finishing my last post and I told him I was going to drum for a bit.  My drum is amazing...  It may not have the loudest 'sound' in the audible sense.  In a group, it definately does not shout the loudest.  But those lower sounds the ones you hear as much as you feel, there it really, really packs a punch.  And she sang last night.

Ok so I find it hard right now to maintain the drumming but I am sure I will get better and my journey last night din' require me to be that deep or focused.  There was no words I might miss if I wavered a little.

From my tree all this black stuff flowed from me and it turned into a river and carried me away and then into an ocean or lake, covering the land as far as I could see.  It was sticky and thick as tar and I was held fast.  Crows came and landed on me and pecked at me, particularly my umbilical cord.

It was a journey where I needed to figure out what to do.  First I tried diving down in to the tar which failed.  Then I called on the tiny dragon who lives inside me to burn it away.  I ended up back on top and it was all burning and drying out but not diminishing.  So I called on the rain to put the fire out and the tar rehydrated too.  I knew I could not fly away for the tar held me tight and would have made my wings horrid.

I was stuck, so I thought about what I was, what gifts I have in the dreaming and I remembered weaving.  So I took a ball of black that was my angst at my colleague and blew a bird spirit into it and it flew away.  I did this for my feelings towards my Boss and any other pieces of negativity I could think of.

When I was done the black was gone and I could see land around me, bare and naked.  So I breathed some of the good things about me and my life through and made plants.  Some fo them were little trees straight away and the birds came back to live there.

I guess what I worked through was that you can change how your emotions look and feel but unless you transform what they are actually made of into something else, then you are still stuck.  I tried thinking my way through, avoidance, anger and cleansing in effect.  You can also see it as calling on the four elements...  but only the fifth could help.  I feel much better today and I felt much better straight away.

I think these techniques are incredibly powerful, dreaming, journeying, visualization, anything that takes you to where ever it is we go, where ever you think that might be.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Well I can't say too much really but things at work have gotten tricky and annoying.  We have a variety of people who can not currently fill their normal roles within the team.  We also have a variety of people who do not wish to pull their weight.  The two may or may not coincide but the combined situations are putting a lot more pressure on those in the team who do work hard, all day, every day.

When you are behind and busting a gut to catch up and there is someone else who is supposed to also be doing that job who is working at less than a fifth the speed you are it is kind of frustrating.  They avoid our core task as much as possible, doing anything they can to escape it and when they do do it, they surf the net, chat, text as much as they can.  The worst thing is my Boss is sat right there!

This moon is all about what to keep in and what to keep out - Drama with it's flip side of repression, or to me, getting it out, versus keeping it in.  Now, in chatting with my Boss about the situations in the team I have mentioned my partner in crime's attitude but my Boss does not want to see it and certainly does not want to deal with it.  How far do you have to go?  Do I need to pull with the work log and shove it in my Bosses face?  Do I need to suggest that I might feel inclined to take it to my Boss's Boss if my Boss fails to do anything?

The problem is my Boss is half the problem - there is a lack of direction for most of the team at times, a trusting that we know what to do and will do it, so weaker, less motivated members of the team tend to drift.  My Boss also often sits and surfs the net, spends large amounts of time on personal calls, takes long lunches, disappears who knows where for long periods of time.

I am furstrated that is for sure, but I also don't wish to watch potential overtime pilling up for Christmas.

So the question here is balance.  How much should I keep in and how much should I let out?

Sunday, 2 December 2012


We have now passed into the Moon of Drama and my totem for this Moon is the Rabbit.  I was a bit disappointed with Rabbit when I first got it.  My Medicine Cards book describes Rabbit as being all about Fear and that is not neccessarily easy to see as a positive thing!  Rabbit has many aspects though and this is the aspect focused on for the cards in order to lend a balance to the deck as a whole.  Mind you, Fear is not the problem to me that it once was either.

Rabbit is the Fear Caller, because Rabbit fears everything and what it fears it calls to it.  Birds of prey, disease, snakes, traps, foxes, everything eats and kills Rabbit.  Whenever you see a Rabbit chances are it is terrified, if it isn't, it is only ever one breath away from terror.  Having passed the Spider Gate earlier this year, I think my views on Fear have changed.  But there is a power here too - Rabbit sustains everything else and it's fear helps keep it safe.  Despite all the difficulties they face, Rabbits thrive....

The European Rabbit is native to Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Algeiria where it is the staple food of the Iberian Lynx and Spanish Imperial Eagle.  Unfortunately it is in decline there due to introduced diseases, habitat loss and hunting.  This is having a huge impact on it's predators.

Rabbits however are doing very well everywhere else. They have been introduced everywhere except Antartica and sub-Saharan Africa.  They were first introduced to Britain by the Romans as a source of food and it is hard to imagine this country without them.  I imagine that Hares were much more common before Rabbits were introduced.  Their introduction displaces native Rabbits and Hares and in Australia, the Bilby.  In Australia they have caused huge issues because they have no predator there.

This situation has resulted in the use of biological control to try and prevent their increase.  Firstly Myxomatosis and then rabbit haemorhagic disease.  Populations are partially resistant to Myxomatosis now and although there are frequent times when the viruses are present, they do not kill every rabbit now.  However at work, if ever we see a rabbit with these diseases, we will try and kill it.  The suffering they cause is immense.

Rabbits live in warrens with a group of between 2 and 10 rabbits.  Rabbits are agressive and territorial towards each other and this helps to ensure their survival.  Females are more territorial but do not defend their territory, instead they leave dung piles and the potency of these pellets shows their dominance.  Females will move into neighbouring territories when they mature but male rabbits will move further and have to fight for females.

High status rabbits are polygamus with one male having more than one female but lower status rabbits, both males and females are monogamous.  Male status is defined by quite a few factors, how many females visit his territory, how far he travels each day, how much time he spends resting with females and how many warrens he visits.  Females will indicate they are fertile by chinning objects in their territory, covering them with scent from glands in their chin.

Maleswill fight and often injure each other and sometimes even kill.  They kick with their strong hind legs, bite and scratch.  They also squirt urine which enrages their opponent.

So much for the imge of cute, peaceable rabbits!

OK, so they do eat grass...  They are most active at dawn and dusk but are out and about during the day and at night.  They browse and graze and eat a wide range of vegetation along with their grass.  They like mixed habitats best as these give them some cover as well as grazing.

They are incredibly fertile and gestation is only 31 days with them becoming fertile again straight away.  They also ovulate when they have sex so there is no time they are not fertile.  A female can be pregnant constantly for 8 months and produce 30 - 40 offspring a year.  The female is the only one that feeds them, returning once a day for four weeks.  They are born blind and furless.  The female marks the nesting burrow to deter others from going in.  Male rabbits do have some sort of hierarchical investment in their young though.

Rabbits have been kept for food, killed as pests and kept as pets.  There are a huge number of breeds.  Some are used for their fur and the Angora is unusual in that it's fur is used for yarn and they naturally moult.  I have never been convinced that they make interesting pets but a friend had a house rabbit once and the stories he tells suggest that rabbit brought up right and trained can be very different.

I like to think of this moon as being all about getting it out and keeping it in, emotionally and finding the balance between the two.  Rabbits definately are good at getting it out - their aggression and fear are plain for everyone to see and everyone can tell they are amorous *laugh*.  They emotions make them resilient and tough as well as making them a source of creativity for nature as a whole.  Endlessly fertile, but potentially highly destructive in their fertility!....

Rabbits are warriors.  They deal with their fear and survive.  They fight when they need to.

Sleeping Dogs

So I have been getting a bit of bad back recently and not sleeping so well.  It has come on slow, but got bad enough recently for me to stop and think about why.  The answer was Little Dog.  She has been sleeping on our bed now for three and a half years, pretty much ever since Big Dog died.

She is part Collie has had their brains and the nerviness that a lot of Collies have.  Losing her mate was tough.  She would come up on the bed for morning cuddles but some mornings we were not awake at the right time (who likes a lie in at the weekend?) so she started getting up while we were asleep.  It slowly got earlier and earlier until very soon she was spending the entire night up.  Eventually we stopped pretending and she started the night up there too.

The problem is, she spreads out and Fand I end up with just enough room on the edges of the bed.  I think part of this is a desire to snuggle up and keep warm but it made it very hard to move in the night.  Moving would require waking up and shifting her.  I don't begrudge her though, I think she really did need the comfort.

F and I talked a couple of nights back and agreed it was time to kick her off.  So I went out and brought the bestest dog bed I could.  A huge sheepskin lined thing with sides.  I also brought a single duvet to go inside.  we had it downstairs in the evening and it was obviously a success.  Then at bedtime it went upstairs, on the floor right next to me.

When F came to bed later, we started the process and I expected a night of kicking her off the bed.  I don't know how many times we did kick her off the bed.  One time she was very persistant, she whined a bit and stood at the end of the bed with her head resting on it, looking at us.  She wandered the house.  She stood there so long I fell back asleep.  Eventually she was persuaded to go back to her deluxe new bed, and stayed there the rest of the night.

I didn't sleep so well - part missing her, part watching for her creeping up.  And then, the second I came awake, the briefest of seconds in which, left alone, I would have been back asleep again, she was awake, stood up with her front feet on our pallet bed platform, tail wagging and overjoyed to see me and esperate for a cuddle...  I couldn't say no.  Yesterday she needed a bit of reassurance to begin with.  I think she needed to know that she was not being sent to a different bed because we were cross...

As we went to tbed last night we were not sure what would happen.  She began the evening snuggled up with us on the sofa before migrating to the armchair for a good sleep.  Unusually, about quarter of an hour before bed she came over for another cuddle.  And then it was time and she went straight to her new bed and stayed there without any fuss until F woke this morning.  Then she finished the morning with me on the bed.

I can't believe how easy and successful it has all been!  My back is already feeling better and I slept so well last night.  The only downside is I don't remember any of my dreams.  Little Dog is happy too and obviously warm enough by herself...  She has her house coat on at night as well as a fleece lined bed with duvet.

There is more to all this though, signs of a deeper healing I have been dreaming.  A part of me, dormant, dead, slowly coming back to life.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Jack Crow

Apparently the name Jackdaw comes from Jack meaning Small and Daw meaning Bird.  The Jackdaws formed early as a species, becoming distinct from other Crows.  Some even argue they should be in their own family, Coloeus, but to me it fels like they are still part of the clan.  When I see my Magpies, Crows and Jacdaws feeding together, with the very occasional Rook, they are definately the younger, junior cousin, but they are still part of the clan.  Seven of them come to feed.

There are four subspecies of Western Jackdaws with varying territories, Monedula live in Eastern Europe but sometimes winter in England and Spermologus live in England but winter in the Canary Island and Corsica.  Spermologus do not have a white border to their grey nape and are darker in colour, so I would say that my Jackdaws are Spermologus.

Spermologus have a purple sheen to the crown, forehead and secondary feathers and a blue green on the throat primaries and tail feathers.  I think I need to spend more time looking at the Jackdaws next Summer because I have never noticed this.  The sheen is more pronounced just after moulting which occurs between June and September.  The Jackdaw is mostly slate grey with lighter grey on the cheeks, neck and nape and the legs and bill are black.

The most striking thing about Jackdaws is their eyes.  Those of the adults appear white and their stare can be un-nerving. Young Jackdaws have bright blue irises but these fade to silvery white or light grey.  But to me, against the black and grey they lok white.

Jackdaws are excellent fliers, as they are highly manoeuverable and they can glide and tumble.  They glide at about 6 - 11 metres per second, decreasing their wingspan to fly quicker.  They have jerky wing beats and look similar to Choughs and Pigeons when in flight.  Their wingbeats are deeper and faster than other Corvids and they fly in tighter flocks.  On the ground they strut, upright.

Jackdaws communicate a lot.  They make greeting noises as they fly which are described as a metallic tchaayk but I don't think that is quite right.  I can't describe their call  either though! They also have a call to summon their young or mates to food.  Females will beg for food from males and their call when doing so is similar but more drawn out.  They will cahtter together as they roost and a large flock will make a cackling sound.  When they are a week old they make a soft cheep which becomes louder until at day 18 it becomes a penetrating screech.  At Day 25 they become silent if they hear unfamiliar noises.

They like mixed habitats with a mix of large trees, buildings and open ground.  They leave wooded areas to the Jay and completely open areas to the Rook.  They have a central roost and the flock returns their each night.  Their numbers allow them to defend their nests from other corvids, who would steal eggs, but they often congregate with Hooded Crows and Rooks. 

Within the flock males and females pair-bond for life and remain together within their flock.  There is a strict hierachy within the flock.  Males establish their status before they bond and then the famles shares the same status.  Un-mated females have the lowest status.  Higher status birds will peck lower status birds and have first access to food and shelter.

They decide their status by fighting, threat displays and supplanting where one bird is displaced from a perch site.  Several threat positions have been described, bill up, bill down, defensive threat position and forward threat position.  When they fight they they launch themselves at each other and wrestle with their feet entwinned pecking at each other, other Jackdaws will gather and watch.  Another behaviour occurs within pairs where they ruffle their feathers and show their napes to encourage their mate to preen them.

Bill up - bill and head upwards with plumage sleeked.  This is used when entering a feeding flock to show assertiveness and appeasement.
Bill down - with the bill down the bird raises it's neck feathers and may slightly raise it's wings.  This is used in a stand off with another bird until one backs down or they fight.
Forward threat- pushes head forward to the bird makes a horizontal position and they may ruffle their feathers and raise wings and tail too.  Used when competing for females or nests.
Defensive threat - lowers head and neck, spreading tail and raising feathers.

Pairs are entirely faithful  and if the relationship lasts more than six months it will likely be life long.  They stay together even if they can not successfully breed.  Widowed and separated birds often fare badly as they are pushed out of thenests and territories, having to rear young alone.

Nest sites within a colony are occupied for most of the year and are made my heaping sticks into a platofrm which may become very large.  The nest is lined with hair wool and dried grass.  They will defend it from predators and other pairs.  A wide variety of places are used, trees, cliffs, aandoned buildings, chimneys, church towers, even old woodpecker nests and rabbit burrows.  The common feature is that the choosen site is sheltered.

Between 2 and 9 eggs will be laid and take 17 - 18 days to hatch as a naked chick.  They then take about a month to fledge, or grow feathers and then they are fed for a further four weeks.  The last chick to hatch will often die and if food suplies are low then the parents will not invest much time in feeding their young.  Cuckoos will lay their own eggs in Jackdaws nests and Crows, Tawny Owls and Weasels will steal eggs.

Jackdaws forage on open ground, eating small insects, snails, spiders, ocasional rodents, carrion, eggs, chiks, seeds (cultivated seeds, weed seeds, acorns...) and fruit (elderberries, cultivated fruits....).  Their diet consists of 84% vegetable matter, unless they are breeding, when they rely on insects.  They will turn over clods, peck, jump, dig, scatter and probe the soil to find food.  They spend more time exploring and turning over with their bill than other Corvids.  They also ride on other animals, pecking off ticks.

Unusually, Jackdaws share food.  This is initiated by the donor, sharing more of preferred food than less preferred food.  This is not solely about courtship or as parents and there is much higher amount of food sharing than in other species that do this.  It maybe that there are benefits to the flock as a whole for co-operating, it may allow the avoidance of harassment or that the favour is returned.  There may also be a status element.

In the UK, Jackdaws have in the past been heavily persecuted, for their perceived role as vermin of grain crops and fruit, as well as for nesting in belfries.  They can still be trapped in the UK, along with other species of Corvid, because of the belief that they raid the nests of other birds.  They can also be used as a decoy bird to lure other birds.  Personally I belief if people are really upset about the death of other birds, then maybe there should be a reduction in the number of domesticated cats.  I do not see why Corvids should be persecuted.  In this day and age there is more than enough roadkill....

Perhaps because of this persecution, Jackdaws are wary of people, often feeding where people will be in the early morning or evening.  Jackdaws raised by humans are tame however.  Of all the birds who come and feed on my bird seed, jackdaws are the most nervous and it took the longest for them to settle in my presence.  Even so, I often see them there at other times of the day, rooting out the seed that got missed.  I see them all over the place and I know of one local roost.  It seems to me they often call greetings as they fly overhead...

The Jackdaw to me seems to be most comfortable with it's own kind and has a rich social life, with deep connections to loved ones.  The are caring co-operative birds but at the same time they are nervous and more than a little quarrelsome with each other.  But they live within the rules of their society and they know where they are at and who they are.  They are clever and vocal with an understated beauty.  There is something about their eyes and their stare... but they also have good binocular vision for foraging and searching things out, which they love to do.  And they love shiny things and will even share them too

The reverse of affirmation is submissiveness and these birds represent both sides of this moon to me.  They know when to be submissive and when to affirm themselves and maybe that is what they are all about for this Moon, knowing how to balance both sides and maybe that is the best way to be, and being happy with your position.  But their intelligence and searching ways, and their vision and penetrating gaze are gifts too as is their generosity and caring.  They very quickly learn when to sing their hearts out and when to keep quiet.  They are not the biggest baddest beast on the block but they are one that gets by, by depending on their clan and co-operation is key.  I don't think being the lowest ranked member of a clan that likes to share would be so very bad....


So since writing more about Wasps, they have not left me.

I saw quite a few on warmer days in October, but now they are either dead or hibernating.  One of my colleagues was out in the warehouse, tidying up and moving pallets to spring clean.  He was very surprised at how many Wasps they found and he assumed they were dead.  I wondered if they were hibernating there, thinking they were safe and if now they hibernate in landfill, buried until Spring comes....

I wondered if any had found my outhouse and hide safely there.  They will not be disturbed and they could get in, under the the edges of the wavy plastic roofing...  I like to think of a few out there, safeky dreaming the Winter away and then come Spring they can go and build nice nests on th ebanks of the railway track where they would also remain undistubed.

The other night, Wasp flew into my dreams again.  They were sleeping soundly amongst the bird seed I was keeping in an old bird house for my feathered friends and my activities drew them from sleep so that they buzzed around.  Then for some reason there was some sleeping in the purple crocs I wear round the house.

Maybe some small Waspish ideas of mine are happily taking flight from their long hiberntation in the before, when they were not Queens and Mistresses of their own fates.  Maybe it is their time, now to go into the world of Welcome and become.

That morning I looked at my emails and discovered one from Suzi entitled Wasps.... It contained a link to the most amazing post, full of close up pictures of Wasps and a defunct Wasp nest.  Cabinet of Curiousities is a Blog I shall be exlporing much further....  Itself links to this article which describes, poetically how Wasps lost the War this Summer.

...  Which they did.  I didn't see very many at all and this article sadly describes how the nest had many cells that had never had a larvae in them and sad pictures of larvae that had died or never managed to complete their change to Wasp.  The cold wet Summer really did not suit them and I hope that even so, there are plently of ladies in waiting to become Queens, dreaming in safe places.


It all began with a dream, very early this year, maybe even the end of last year.  I was in a valley and there was drumming and I could feel the drums all through my body.  Florence and the machines Drumming Song was running around my head too and it was all very loud and very beautiful and very much about the drums.

This was significant because I had just started drumming and I very much wanted a drum of my own but Lisa had written on her blog that in order to own a drum, you should have a drum dream first.  I wasn't sure this counted so I waited and then I had a second dream.

'I had another dream there was a dead reindeer, a young one I think as it was small with no horns. I was told in the dream that I was allowed to have it's skin to make my drum.' Was what I wrote about it...  The animal was lying down and there was a man kneeling at it's head and although it was dead it was peaceful and everything was fine.  The man who spoke to me is my Ancestral Guide, but I had not really met him at this point.  The only other thing I remember was that there was white, it may have been snow, but I assumed it was a whitish cloured Reindeer.

At this point I spoke to Lisa about a drum and very quickly we hit a stumbling block - no reindeer hides.  Now I really strongly felt that the animal I had seen in the dream was to be the animal that my drum would be made from.  So nothing happened, not for a long time (and I am really surprised at how patient I was!)

In August, for the Blue Moon, there was a huge gathering in Canada, which I could not go to.  I was very disappointed because the Blue Moon is an important time for us, a time when gates open and passed through, if you pass the tests.  I didn't expect to pass any gates, I wasn't sure how, by myself, so I left it to the Dreaming.

The week before I dreamt that I was back at my old school and I was in one of the classrooms sitting an exam.  Nothing was said about passing or failing, I guess it was more about showing up, or I passed and did not know it.  Afterwards a man came into the room and gave me a hide for my drum.

The night of the Blue Moon, F and I were meeting with members of our Cornish Drumming Community, to walk fire.  This was an amazing day, beginning with a season sound and chants and ending with the Firewalk.  Before the walk we had a session about how to do it and confronting fear.  It was a very powerful day and I knew I was where I was supposed to be, even if I had wanted to be elsewhere...

The week following the Blue Moon I had two further dreams.  Firstly I had a dream which made it very clear that I had passed the Spider Gate, which deals very much with Fear.  I think it likely that this was my exam.  The thing about fear, is you can't beat it, you just have to show up and do what you wish to do, despite there being fear there.  I did it.  I walked the fire several times, and believe me, the second time was the hardest.

The second dream was very long and detailed but the final section of the dream focused on my drum.  An Elder came and started stretching the skin for my drum over a frame, but the frame was from an even older drum that needed mending.  It had seemed important, even while I was dreaming the dream that I tell Lisa, so I did so.  It turned out that at the Blue Moon gathering she had been given a Caribou drum and she would sell it to me!  I was so excited!

Lisa decided to make me a drum stick so I had to wait some more.  Only while I was waiting, it turned out that the drum was not Caribou but Moose!  I was in no doubt, I had been waiting for this drum and Lisa would not have mistaken it for Caribou if I was not supposed to have had it, it was meant to be, and maybe all the mistakes were so I would not get the wrong drum....

I was curious though and went online to look at Moose and discovered that I didn't really know much about them and that I certainly could have mistaken a dead Moose lying on the ground for a Reindeer.  No one ever told me it was a Reindeer and Reindeer was never mentioned within the dream, that was all me....

So eventually the Drum left Canada!  After nearly a year since it all began it was finally on it's way.  I knew not to expect it too quickly but two and a half weeks away there was a drumming circle and somehow I always knew it would arrive for that.  Thursday I received the Customs letter and I sorted it out straight away and delivery was to be Monday, unless I paid a little more for Saturday delivery...

Of course I did and it arrived at 11.00 and we left for Drumming at 12.00.

And it is beautiful!

It is a good size but so very light.  I will find it much easier to hold than many of the borrowed drums I have used.  I don't know what wood it is, but it is a lovely light colour as well as being very light and strong.  The frame is made from 12 sections, each of which curves gently.  The hide is also very light and with it being natural there is a variation of colour and texture with a darker line to one side.  Most of the 'imperfections' are on the reverse though, but something incredible happens when you hold it up to the light, you can see them through.  They are darker lines, in one half of the skin and to me they form shapes....  a person, I think a woman, dancing, and the front half of a deer type animal, walking onto the drum.

I had thought of painting my drum but having seen it, I don't think I ever could, those shadow shapes speak so much of the soul of the drum and my connection to it.

And of course it sounds amazing...  It has that lovely rumble you feel all through your body...

And then there is the drum stick.  Lisa took a birch stick and covered the upper handle and made the head from lovely soft leather with some beaded fringes at the end.  The neck of the stick is covered with wolf fur and then it is beaded up to the leather in white, blues, and pink.  It is very feminine and beautiful and must have taken some time to make...  The wolf fur came from a Grey Wolf who was injured in a Road Traffic Accident and taken to a vet on the res where it later died.

There are so many reasons for me to love my drum and my stick...  They are beautiful.  They were made for me and meant for me.  They sound amazing.  They feel like old friends....  I am very lucky and I look forward to working with my drum and learning more.

This is an end and a beginning, I have a long way to go....

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Testing Times

Well I didn't get another increase in medication, which I was a bit upset about.  I have been all over the place with my other hormones too but I am finally off the medication to reset those and really hope they will settle down now.  But I still feel tired.

This weekend I still had to nap.

I know I have got to get on and try to sort out other aspects of my health and see if it is easier to do so now, see if I can change things.  Because things need to change.

I am definately not feeling chatty and by the time I get in of an evening I don't want to do much and weekends I spend recovering.  So there is a list of things I want to write about but I just don't seem to get here to do it.  Things are still happening, I am still thinking and progressing, just by the time I get anywhere near a pc to write, I am beyond it.

I need to look at Jackdaw for this Moon of Affirmation.  I also believe Sparrow is my totem for the Moon of Reason, my current year.  Then I had some dreams this last week, of course I am always having dreams....  Except this afternoon when I asked for a healing dream, and I know I dreamt but not a trace remained when I woke...

Anyway, both these dreams were set at my old family home and Grandma Crow was in charge giving me tests.  The first night she was asking me questions and I had to say which plant symbolically fit.  I know I got the first two questions and I don't remember them.  The third she just said the name of the town where the college was that I studied my a-levels - and where I met my first love.  I was by the french wondows which have honeysuckle growing up one side and winter jasmine on the other.  I was trying to think of the latin name for honeysuckle.  I was unsure of the answer and guessed Honeysuckle.  I was wrong, but also the Winter Jasmine had been replaced by a huge white rose bush.

Now this got me thinking about the nature of my first love because honeysuckle is all about love neverending, entwinned together, well established.  White Rose is all about innocent, new, fresh love.  I started to worry about what that meant for that old love, and got thinking about past lives etc.  To be honest I got bogged down in the question and stopped thinking about the questioning.

So the second night I was back and there were more tests.  A whole load of people in mascot costumes dressed up as different birds.  I became a bit less worried about any messages about past relationships.  Tjose tests were definately not passed!  But I have much learning to do....

What has been obvious since the second dream is suddeny people are making it clear to me what some of their bird totems might me...

A bird flew into the warehouse and the only person to see it or hear it said it was a Robin but that they thought it was no longer there because they had been whistling with it and it was no longer answering.  It made me think about the Robin being this persons totem and it gave me an insight or too both ways, about the person and about the totem.

Then I had my had my hair done - blue black with green and blue bits, like a Magpie, because I like Magpies....  Except other people saw other birds in it and that told me things about them too....  So I guess this is a teaching thing, looking at symbolism and relationships between things....

Thursday, 18 October 2012

I know I am being really, really quiet at the moment but things are brewing away....  I have stories, good ones, waiting for the end of the chapter so I can bring them here and tell them.  The story of my Drum and the story of dreaming fears.

I am happy and relaxed and contented right now but energy is in short supply and I am a bit up and down.  I think my thyroid has dropped down a bit again - in time for my next review, so hopefuly in just over a weeks time I shall be reporting another dosage hike.  I also have another lot of tablets now to try and regulate my lady hormones which have been cavorting all over the place and causing much havoc!  Chances are though it is all still related to my unbalanced Thyroid...

I have started having a little bit of energy for other things too, I am beading a little again....  and gaming....

I feel like this is a brief moment of rest at the beginning of my new year as stories begin and end all at once.

Life is definately however, good.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Welcoming Wasp

There are all sorts of Wasps, Social Wasps, Solitary Wasps, Cuckoo Wasps, Gall Wasps, Wood Wasps, Velvet Wasps.....  but I think my Wasp is a Common Wasp because Yellow Bonnet is a nickname for the common Wasp and my Wasps looked like Common Wasps and they were social.  It could be a closely related species, like the German Wasp, but they are so similar, I don't think it would make much difference - except German Wasps steal from bee hives and that does not feel right....

The lifecycle of the Wasp begins with a fertilized female, ready to take her place as Queen.  She will have hibernated in solitude for the Winter and in the Spring she emerges and eats then flying low to the ground, she hunts for a suitable nest site.  The best sites are underground, by roads, in meadows, in gardens or spruce woods, anywhere where there is a suitable opening.  Less commonly they nest above ground in hollow trees or wall cavities.

When she finds soewhere suitable, she flies around her territory, fixing it in her memory.  Then she begins to make the nest using a paper-like material she makes out of salive and old rotting wood.  She scrapes off small pieces using her mandibles and mixes it all together in to a ball and then carries it back to the nest.  The nest when finished will be a bit like a fruit, with a protective skin and a stalk from which it hangs.  Inside, suspended from the top will be a series of platforms, which are the combs, made up of hexagonal cells, open at the bottom.  She begins by spreading the mixture into a thin strip, making the stalk, the beginnings of the protective outer skin and the first few cells.  She lays her first eggs in the cells.

In the beginning the Queen is in charge of everything as she has no helpers.  She hunts and tends the larva and carries on constructing the nest.  Very soon she would not be able to do everything but the first generation  will be mature in 4 to 5 weeks and will take over all of the Queens duties, except egg laying.  It is the beginning of June generally when these first Workers, or sexually immature females are ready.  Once she has Workers she will not leave the nest again.

When they take over building, they add further supports to the comb as well as further combs, downwards, parrallel to the one above.  They rebuild and add to the protective skin, enlarging it as they go and enlarge the entrance.  The nest cavity itself often needs enlarging and they do this by carrying out fragments of stone and soil, sometimes much heavier than themselves.  Anything too big to take out, is either incorporated into the nest, such as large stones or chewed off, such as minor roots.

The hive has to grow quickly as it has a limited lifespan, come the cold the hive will die off and only a few fertilized females will survive, hibernating in solitude.  The first cells are small and are used for workers and males, later on there will be large cells as well which are used for males and females.  Each cell can be used repeatedly.  By the end there will be 8 to 10 combs of about 20 cm in diameter containing between 7000 and 10,000 cells.  The numer of large cells gives an indication of the age of the nest.  All members of a colony smell the same and differentiate the inhabitants of a different colony by their smell.

In each cell the egg is laid by the Queen and hatches into a larva, it is stuck in the cell so it can not fall out and is unable to move.  It is dependant on the workers for care and they feed it regurgitated juices with older larva taking some solid food too.  It moults three times and in the final stage is fat enough to fill the cell and not need sticking in.  It will make a silky cap over the cell entrance and then spinitself a cocoon inside which it pupates.  When it hatches it chews it's way out and remains in the nest for some time before leaving on it's first flights.

The first Males begin to appear in August and the first females in September.  A sexually mature female will be fertilized by a Male and retains the sperm in a dormant state.  When she lays eggs as a Queen she can choose whether to fertilize the egg or not, selecting the sex.  Males have no purpose within the nest except reproduction, but they are not treated cruelly and are allowed to live, unlike Bees....  Males never leave and do not have stings.  The workers can not exist without the nest and have one further task - they regulate the temperature of the nest.  If it gets too hot they vibrate their wings inside the nest and bring in water.  They also harvest a cooling secretion from the mouthparts of larva.

Towards Autumn the number of Workers drops as the number of Males and Females increases and this is the beginning of the end.  With fewer workers, the larvae starve and when their cell becomes too big for them, they fall out onto the roof of the comb below.  Once there, the workers see them as refuse and remove them from the nest where they die.  Only some fertilized females will survive, hibernating in sheds, cracks or house lofts.  Each nest only lasts one year and the new Queen will always choose a fresh site.  In less temperate countries it does appear that the Common Wasp nest can survive for more than one year.  Nests break down rapidly.

Wasps eat sweet things, like fruit and soft drinks and meat, feeding on carrion when available, but they also hunt.  They are predatory and hunt insects, but mostly flies and these are it's main food.  It attacks them when they are not flying, gripping them with it's feet, killing with it's mandibles and stinging if necessary.  It turns the insect into a parcel, biting off legs, head and wings and then carries it back to the nest.  In feeding off of the insect it sucks out the prey's juices.  This predatory role is very important in ecosystems and helps to maintain a balance within the insect world.

They do not attack unless provoked, contrary to popular opinion!  But their nature is that of a predator and they do not hesitate to defend when they feel threatened.

Wasps are instinctive and never waste time.  They are all economy and speed for they live for such a short time and they have a lot to achieve.   They always know how to make their nest and it is always perfect and it never develops.  Occasionally some other material is incorporated such as a piece of paper or polystyrene.  Wasps are born knowing how to carry on the work of their predecessors.  They build in the dark and with limited space.


So everything Ted says about Wasps fits with this, but here is a summary of some of the characteristics of the Wasp.

Although there is a class sytem it is based on efficiencey not snobbery or slavery.  The Queen will have done every job a Worker will have done.
The Wasps are always moving, settling briefly before finding a new home each year.
They are completely focused on raising the next generation.
They are not cruel to lesser members of their society.
They are very inventive and will make any chosen cavity work.
Their method is perfectly efficent, it is economical and quick.
Their method is instinctual but never develops although it does adapt.
They are fiercely loyal and will die for their nest.
They are completely dependant on their nest and only the Queen can survive without it.
Everything they make uses what is around them and is completely biodegradable.
They can only survive in the warmth
They work as well in the dark as the light, building in the dark and hunting in the light.
They are well able to defend themselves.

I can see myself in this....  Wasps welcome change - new places, new starts and can adapt their knowledge for the location.  They instinctively know the right way and efficency, economy and speed comes quickly to them.  They are all about community, fiercely loyal they will fight and defend it but will also sacrifice themselves.  They will do whatever is needed within their community, whenever it is needed. They are creative, they are builders, they are engineers.  Their creativity is beautiful and has to be useful.  They are also female warriors, dedicated to the family, to continuation, they work for the greater good, for something bigger than themselves.

I have never had a problem with new places and situations - changing jobs frequently and in the past, moving around the country.  F would laugh at the bit about knowing the right way to do things and focusing on efficienecy, economy and speed - I am a master of Logistics.  He finds this both useful and infuriating (when he has not told me something that subtly alters my perfect plan).  I will do any task from top to bottom in an organisation.  I like to create but I do feel the need to create things for a use.  I have the brain of an engineer or a builder.  I am coming to understand that the community around me is more important than what I am doing, which is why I am still in my current job, because they are my family.  I am getting to grips with defending myself...  I have always felt pulled on by some purpose.  I like sweet things and warmth.

I think the Warrior side of the Wasp is the bit I have struggled with the most, this determined defence of self, self preservation.  I have not struggled so much with self-sacrifice.  Fighting back....

Maybe I knew instinctively somehow that Tim was Wasp too, family, I let myself be beaten in to giving him up.  I think the decision my family forced me in to helped define me as less a Queen and took away some of my fierce independence, my instinctive knowing of what decision I should make.  This was ultimately damaging.  I guess I dealt with my family by moving away, establishing my own nest and building my own community. 

But there is a flexibility in role for Wasps.  The Queen who can do everything but eventually retreats into the dark to be fertile.  The workers who do everything, except reproduce, who are out there working hard and fighting.  The Males who don't do a lot really, except mate, dreaming in the dark. I think I am definately stuck in Worker and I also find it really iteresting that I can not be a Worker and reproduce.  I think if ever I have children, my life will change very dramatically.

Return to Welcoming

This is my second Moon of Welcoming that I am consciously traveling.  I wrote about the first one here.  I have learnt a lot about my process since then.  I write a post looking at the Moon and how it has been in my life up to that point and then, afterwards I review that Moon cycle and see what I have added.  When I first write about it, I tend to pretty quickly afterwards have a dream which gives me some indication of my totem for that Moon.

I never did look at the Moon of Wlecoming throughout my life though, which I think I need to cover a little.  I did however write another post about Wasp.  My intention for this cycle is to look more deeply at my totems for that Moon and how they relate to that Moon.

I have traveled through three years of this Moon and in a few years time I shall have my fourth.  My first was when I was one.  I remember very little!  My parents moved into our family home on my first birthday and this was such a special home for me.  The house was long and thin so you walked through one room to get to the next and there was two staircases to get upstairs.  My parents gave me the bedroom nearest theres and I loved it.  On one side, there was a tiny window tucked under the eaves and clematis used to grow in and on the other, a huge dormer window poking out of the roof that just sucked in light.  The floor sloped down to the sides, the walls were croaked and wobbly and as I lay in bed i would listen to the comforting sounds of the house adjusting as the wood frame expanded and contracted.

14 was a bad year however.  It is the year I first became ill with glandular fever, my first year of GCSE's and the year I first got my heart a little scratched up.

My sister had a birthday party at our house and invited all her cool friends from Sixth Form College.  I met a boy called Tim who was very, very cool.  He had the whole tortured artist thing going on as well.  he had second thoughts about my age afterwards but i managed to contact him via another friend of my sisters.  Afterwards we used to talk on the phone some and one time he sent me a mix tape, which really ecpanded my music taste n nea and appreciated directions.  He is the person that introduced me to the Pixies.

We arranged to meet at a pub and go on to a party and my sister and her boyfriend took me.  When we got to the pub however, Tim was off his trolley - not sure if it was just drink or more.  He was a bit off anyway and we never really even went into the pub before my sister and her boyfriend whisked me away.

My sister and Mum were really dismissive of the whole thing and tried to stop me from talking on the phone to him.  I am not sure how exctly this whole situation could have been handled differently but I was ill and feeling powerless anyway and I ended up pretty depressed.  I understand that my family did not want me getting into hot water and seeing a boy who looked pretty unsuitable, but...  it was hard.  Losing that battle soaked away some of my power and ability to rebel and make my own path.  I was ready to stand on my own two feet a little. 

My third time through was not too good either.   I started my third year at Uni and gave up smoking.  i think giving up smoking triggered my underactive thyroid, although it was not apparent, possibly, in blood tests at the time.  I suddenly started to gain weight and became depressed, I even tried Prozac, which I hated.  I worked way too hard and got a first, but it was an unpleasant and stressful year.  Luckily F was on the scene...

Not feeling too good seems to be a feature of this year!  I was ill last time we had this Moon in January with a bad ear infection and I have been feeling somewhat up and down ever since.  The opposite of Welcoming is Rejecting and the last two years I have certainly had rejection feature - rejection of a boyfriend, rejection fo cigarettes....

But back to Wasp.  Last Moon of Welcoming I had a dream that yellow bonnet was flying around my face.  When I was a baby ( I must have been one and in Welcoming because we were in the new house), a Wasp flew in my window and stung me on the face while I slept.  After the Moon of Weloming, I had a discussion about Wasp which I talked about in this post here which was very powerful and changed the way I related to Wasp.  I have no idea if Ted really understands how much he helped me with this....

Then during the Moon of Inter-Relations I had two Wasp dreams and what is really interesting, is it was at this time I was diagnosed with Underactive Thyroid.  my ill health stemmed from the Moon of Welcoming and when it was resolved in Inter-relations, it wa Wasp who came to visit.  In one My fore finger and thumb were seized up with a Wasp caught between them, struggling to be free and it broke in two leaving me holding the stinging end.  Ted pointed out that Wasps stings are as much medicine as poison.

In the second dream my Wasps were burrowing under my house and decided they needed more room and started burrowing outwards.

I take all this to mean that I have done some valuable work on my Moon of Welcoming, enough so that my health probelms have been brought to light and I have my medicine (which would be poison to some).  My Wasp is feeling healthy enough to expand it's horizons.  I think things are looking up for my Wasp.  Next I am going to delve further into Wasp as a totem, and try and relate it to Welcoming.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Turning Wheel

Well it turned out part of my staying away and not wanting to do anything was me getting a cold.  In some ways I even feel a bit less anti-social now it has come out - I just have the whole head cold snot thing going on.....

We have turned from Summer in to Autumn

My personal year has turned from The Year of Breaking Masks to the Year of Reason

With the Full Moon we move from the Blue Moon to the Moon of Welcoming

So much to write about and think about...  But I just don't have the brain or the energy right now so I am going to sit on all ths goodness a while longer.  I have a couple of days off coming up though so I am sure I will get to it then.  I want to review last year and introduce the Moon of Reason.  Then I want to look back at my previous experiences of the Moon of Welcome and go deeper.  Sometime ago Wheelkeeper told me to look more deeply at the totem animals I have for each Moon, and I mean to do this, this cycle as we swing back through Moons I have already looked at a bit.

Last night I was watching am episode of Man Woman Wild (a husband and wife survival programme) and there was an unexpected little shot of a Wasp.  It never ceases to amaze me how totems turn up at the right times, how they check in and say hello at others too but sometimes they draw so close....

I  have no idea yet what my totem is for the Moon of Reason and I know that although I may get hints, I won't Dream about it until I do my work.

Generally though I think things are good - I think my metabolism is picking up under the doubled dosage although it is hard to say at this coincided we me getting a cold.  I do wonder about my reproductive system though.  It was problems with those hormones that drove me to the Doctors when my Thyroid was discovered.  My physical therapist and I had strongly felt there was something wrong down there and she is a very hands on healer with a masterful knowledge of anatomy and a sixth sense.  The strange bleed I had between periods will hopefully be enough to persuade my Doctor to send me off for further investigations.  I suspect Cysts, Fibroids or polyps, personally.

One thing is for sure, this last year has been all about my health, thankfully, finally....

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Hanging in the Balance

So I am feeling quiet right now.  This happens every so often and this time of year is a point when it often does.  It is nearing my Birthday, my personal year end and year beginning and things are ending and beginning all around me.  A lot of the stories I just don't want to talk about yet because I don't have the ends, but other things I just don't seem to want to talk about.

Maybe there is just too much going on that I have not figured out exactly.  Maybe I just have too many feelings.  I woke up grumpy this morning, unable to get back to sleep at 6.30.  This is not to say life is bad... quite the opposite.  But I am avoiding people.  I am not leaving blog comments or comments on facebook or elsewhere that I should.  I am not returning my Mum's calls.

Maybe that's because they are moving out of my soul home sometime over the next couple of weeks and I just don't know what to say.
Maybe it's because my sister upset me when she was down and although everything is OK, the hurt remains a little and I don't want to have to tell my Mum what happened and have her try and mediate, because there is nothing to mediate.
Maybe it's because my dosage has been doubled and I don't want to have to analyse how I am doing to tell people where I am at yet, I don't know and I am taking each day as it comes.
Maybe it's because I am avoiding making some decisions about when and how to spend a lot of money visiting friends and there just won't be time to visit my folks in there too.
Maybe it's because I have not even discussed those visits with F yet.
Maybe it's because I have been having some really, really dark dreams which suggest that all the hard work I have done on myself over the years is not finished and because I have no idea how to resolve the next step.  But maybe the signs are that also, this is nearing the end of it....
Maybe it's because it's 2012 and the world feels like it's shifting under my feet a little, maybe I am scared of what might happen a little, I don't know, maybe I am scared nothing at all will happen....
Maybe despite my absolute joy over my friends newly announced pregnancy, maybe it just brings home to me that babies are still some way off for me, due to health, if they ever come at all...

But in that list, there is nothing I can not deal with and won't deal with, I am just very much in a lying low period.

On the good side however...

I went to an amazing drum circle.  Different circles have different energies and feelings, in part because of the different work you do at each circle.  There was a lot of new people at this one but it was also focusing on balance for the Equinox.  The feeling was absolutely blissful, with out being spacey, it was a really beautiful afternoon.  My journeys were nothing earth shattering, which is fine right now.  In fact my main journey repeated the journey I had for the Spring Equinox.  I danced through the elements and then danced into my Dragon.  The Dragon has been my totem for this year as it is my totem for Breaking Masks.  It was lovely, but it was not about me so much.  Maybe dancing the elements with my Dragon is something that should be done every Equinox, I am sure if it is, I shall find myself on this journey again.

We also did little journeys for someone else.  The person I worked with did not so much journey for me as do some healing on me, and it was lovely and I could feel it and I think I needed it more than a journey right now.  My journey for them, did not seem like much to me, but when I told them, it turned out to be a message they had been given before and it was greatly appreciated.

A friend at the circle is a felter and is going to show me how to felt.  While talking she told me about a Swan shawl she made with Swan feathers felted into it.  of course I want a corvid shawl now, and the Magpies have been really, really generous this week....

All my birds are doing fine, and I was most surprised when I looked up from my book the other day, to admire the flock of jackdaws, the Crows and the Magpies, to see a new comer....  I had my first Rook!  It is a like a little Corvid social party *laugh*  I have never seen a Rook in that area, so how it found it's way there I have no idea, maybe he heard from his Cousins.  I imagine he will be back, probably with friends.  What was surprising though was that even though it was his first time there with me sat only about two meters away, he took his cue from the others and was completely unphased by me

My hair has changed colour, from purple with neon purple splodges to blue black with violet and neon purple that makes it looke like it has an ultraviolet sheen.  I like it.  Next time I may have blue and green and look like a Magpie....

I am feeling better, but I am still waiting and I guess part of me is waiting for me to dip down again.  Things feel steadier this  time but all I can do is wait.

But something really, really amazing is in the process of coming my way, something I have been waiting for, for some time.  Something I am bursting with excitement over!  And I can't wait to bring that story together.... 

Life IS good

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Spider Gate

I was gutted I could not go  to the Gathering but, I did go to a Blue Moon chat online.  During this chat, an invite popped up on my Facebook to go to a Firewalk on the 1st of September, the day after the full moon.  F was sat right next to me at the time and to my surprise he said yes, he wanted to go too.  I couldn't figure out which gates I was supposed to be thinking of trying to cross so I decided to leave it to the Dreaming and trust.

The Firewalk began with an afternoon led my MJ of Chants and Drums who took us on a journey through sacred and healing music.  It was a beautiful experience and words fail me in trying to describe both giving and receiving sound healing.  We ate and then moved on to the Firewalk.

We began by preparing the fire, moving the logs, pouring on oil, all the while setting intentions.  We stood in a circle round the fire as twilight began and then something very strange happened.  There was a buzzing, as if a really, really huge insect was there, and it would have been the biggest insect I had ever seen.  It started really close to me and then in moved around the circle several times.  And not one person could see it.  It came really close, so close it should have been right in my face.  Even stranger, F thought we were all looking at something, he does not remember hearing it at all.  I think we were visited by something, blessed, but I have no idea what, except it had wings and was pretty big...

we carried on and we confronted our fears by breaking an arrow against our necks, with the point in the soft part of our throat.  I have yet to wind wool round mine and make it into a prayer arrow, but I shall....

And then it was time and we went into the dark to walk fire.

under the light of the blue moon.

and again words fail.

and yes I was scared but you have admit your fear, be realistic about your obstacle and then do it anyway, picturing yourself on the other side....

I wondered whether this would count as passing the Spider Gate and Lisa confirmed it did but I also had a dream.  In the Dream I was at my spirit home walking from the front to back garden.  Little Dog dashed through the Side gate before me and I turned to lose it behind us, only to realise that a huge spide was sat on it.  It was the size of a tarantula but spiky instead of hairy...  I quietly continued closing the gate and respectfully retreated and watched it.  unfortunately Little Dog saw it and began to bark at her.  She shot a bit of web at her at which Little Dog took off, dragging the Spider behind her.  I shouted for my Dad and because I started running through different scenarios of what to do with the Spider when we finally stopped the Dog, the dream ended.  I do know that despite such options as boot and stone that I had decided not to kill the Spider because it belonged in a zoo and not to leave it in the garden because it would die when the Winter came.

I woke up pumped...  and then I was upset because I thought maybe I had failed the test beause I had been scared.  But then I realised the lesson came after I had passed through the side gate, the gate with spider on it, the Spider Gate, the SpIDEr Gate.  And how cool is that?

I think the lesson was about how fear should be respected.  The things we should be afraid of are things that can hurt us and those we love and fear is what helps us survive.  It helps us to have to energy to fight or to run (it took me ages to come down and get back to sleep!).  We should respect fear but not let it rule our lives or our actions.  I guess in deciding not to kill the Spider maybe I did pass....

So I have bee initiated into one gate by the life and the Dreaming and it was not how I expected it to be at all.  It was also not the gate I was expecting either, not at all.  But it was an incredible experience from start to finish, and who knows what will come next as I walk with Spider.

Introduction to the Blue Moon

The Blue Moon is different from all the other Moons.  It is the Centre of the circle and is there for us all the time but every so often the procession of Moons jumps out of it's little orbiting circle and we have a Blue Moon.  This happens whenever there are two full moons in a month, about once every three years.  It also has the effect of resetting the procession of the Moons so the next Moon will be the Moon of Welcoming.  Without a Blue Moon, this Moon would have been the Moon of Breaking Masks and next moon would have been the Moon of Reason.

Every Blue Moon is special but this one is even more so.  It is a time of power and initiation.  The Gates open and if we pass the test we can enter and draw on the power of that gate until the next Blue Moon.  Normally we have a communal gate and a personal inner and outer gate we can attempt but this year, all sixteen of the gates opened. This is a powerful year.

My Teacher Lisa hosted a Gathering in Canada and the things that have come up during that Gathering are pretty phenomenal and they have only just started with the stories. 

I could not go however.  I did not have the money or the energy or the time off from work.  I guess I had other places I needed to be.  I needed to look at the Spider Gate and I shall write a post on that next.

My first Year of the Blue Moon started when I was born..  I was premature as my Mothers blood pressure shot up they induced me.  Although I was not very premature, I was very tiny, so I spent some time in an incubation unit before being taken home to Golders Green, London. But sometime during this year, my parents found the house they wished to move to outside London in the country and this dream to live a different life came true and on my first birthday we moved in.

Now, thirty five years later, my parents are moving out and just two days after my birthday they will no longer live in that beautiful place, just days before the end of the Blue Moon.  I love how writing makes me think...  It makes me wonder if living their was my dream, what my first ever blue moon brought to me.  There was a Blue Moon my first July too and I wonder if that helped.

The house I grew up in was over 400 years old, an pair of old farm hand cottages knocked together and extended over the years, set in an acre of land, planted with thought to the future, full of fruit trees and bushes.  It nurtured my soul and is the place I start my journeys.  One journey we were asked to go and meet the spirits of our special place and I met Grandma and Grandpa Crow and talked with them.  I have written all this before here.  And how powerful it was for me in the letting go and the binding of myself to that land on a deeper level.  Those spirits have always protected and nurtured me, and they are always there for me now, because I can go there any time through the dreaming.  Anyway realising all the synchronicities with the Blue Moon makes me think that I was very blessed and living in the home of my dreaming, watched over by Crows was....

I should maybe say at this point that my totem for the Blue Moon is the Crow and indeed not only were these guardian spirits Crows but my ancestral guide is a Crow too.  Many generations ago a young man married a young lass by the name of Crow.  I wonder about this surname too and how it came about...  The journey during which I met my guide was pretty amazing too...

My second year of the Blue Moon is a bit of a blank, I was 13.  I think it may have been around this time I developed a decided interest in boys and when the powere of the Horse began to wane in my life.  I think it is probably the time I began to rebel, gave up the musical instruments I had played, stopped riding, started Young Farmers and drinking.  A time of change....  If it set the tone for the next thirteen years then they sure were tricky.

My third year of the Blue Moon was a powerful one too for sure.  I was about to start my third year at Uni.  I was a good student, a very good student.  And all of a sudden my tank was empty and I knew I could not do it.  I decided to take a year out.  Everyone was shocked and horrified but I went ahead and did it anyway, literally within days of my birthday.  I think everybody thought I would not come back, that I was giving up.  It didn't help that I could not explain what I was doing or why, I just knew I had to do it.

That weekend I became very ill and called a friend to take me to Casaulty where I was admitted for a minor op to remove an abscess as my temperature had become dangerously high.  It took me weeks of sleeping to grow new flesh and return to strength and finally everybody understood.  Jobs lined themselves up pretty well for the rest of the year, two short term jobs  that took me through to the true beginning of my third year and related to my degree.

But that is not the most important thing about that year for it is the year I met F.

It makes me wonder about the other Blue Moons I have lived through...  and looking at the dates I can see a link to big things in my life.   Decisions made that took me in a new decision, either for me or by me such as changing schools, starting jobs, moving.  As well as events such as meeting a new love, breaking up and illness.  Interestingly, in some parts of the world this moon is not a Blue Moon and the next moon is.  A narrow slice of the world has no Blue Moon at all this year.

Moon of Surrender Review

Well this moon has been characterized by a general downward slide in energy levels.  I didn't go down as far as I had sunk after our honeymoon but I did go down.  The weekends became more and more about sleeping and life settled in to a pattern of energy conserving and getting through the working week and then crashing at the weekend.

The big thing during this week was the arrival of my Sister and her kids and it was lovely to see them but really, I was too tired to cope well.  I was good and held it together mostly with them but my frustrations clearly show on this blog.  I slept whenever I could, sometimes even in just a few minutes while I was alone in a room.

In large ways this holiday was not about my sister and I spending time together though and my sister clearly showed that this was not her prime aim.  The children were, and this included S.  The bit that really upset me was that Thursday was to be our last evening together, she was to have already eaten before she came over and after this we would only see her briefly before she left Saturday.  Anyway, I brought dessert and borrowed a film I thought everyone would like, but they did not show.  At 7.30 I had a call telling me that she had decided to treat S to a meal as it was their last night together and they had just ordered.  I was very hurt.  I told her that I go to bed at 10 and the closer it gets to that time the more difficulty I have with things.  I also pointed out that as she did not want S to stay the night she needed to remember that F was on an early shift and would then have to drive S elsewhere.  There was no question of us joining them, we had already eaten and it would have taken a while to get where they were.  i was very, very hurt.

I know my Sister feels bad.  I know she just packed too much in to the day and it was too late and everyone was hungry.  I even got a sorry from her later.  But she turned up here at 9.30 and after a full on week and working, it was just too much.  F and I still have quite a bit of Vienetta to eat though *laugh*

The thing is, we did not lose it at each other but I expressed enough for her to kow how hurt I was and she said enough so I knew where her head had been.  I can not remember the last time she said sorry to me.  Believe me, this is some progress between us....

And that was it for the Moon really.  Sleeping and dealing with what life brought to me.

So this was my song for the Moon.  It literally jumped out at me.  I was at work with one colleague and we had the radio on and this came on and Boom!  The more I read the words too.....  And then I found the words Dream On for my Dreamboard that night.  And after years of neither of us ever hearing this song, it was on the radio all the time.

My totem for this Moon turned out to be Horse, which was not a huge surprise, I was very strongly drawn to them about this time.  My dream though took me back to younger days and tending to the needs of Horse.  Not about riding them and the wild freedom but literally shoveling s***.  I guess this true right now for me, I am tending the energy, nurturing it, conserving it, definately not using it!  This dream went on though into another one all about my Dragon totem for Breaking Masks the next moon.  However Breaking Masks will be skipped in this sequence because the next moon is a Blue Moon.  Breaking Masks is my current moon of the year however and this too comes to an end soon, and then I start my year of Reason.  I shall do posts for both....

My picture is this one....

And I love it, it sums it up beautifully.  Surrendering to the Dreaming, to the tides of what will be, Sleeping.  Those could even be Dandelion seeds carrying wishes....

She sat on the top of the cliff, her back to the sea.  
She sat in a field full of Dandelions and their seed.
She sat as her Dreaming self took flight into the sea.
She sat as she was carried away, as she was freed.

She danced on the Waves and explored undersea Caves

She flew through the air and left behind all her cares
She went everywhere and nowhere
She grew wings and she grew fins

She never wanted to return to all that made her blue
She searched coral gardens and rainbows
She hunted for a door her body could step through
She moved through stars and dark matter

She could not find a gate anywhere
and then she remembered, the one place she had not searched
a field where a sleeping girl sat dreaming amongst the dandelion faeries
and a gate glowing within her body