Sunday, 26 February 2012


The Ghost in the Dream

This post is a follow on from a couple of previous posts A Relative Fashion and J Donald.

So the saga continues. Although the depression lifted, the bad sleep and strange dreams have continued. Maybe I should have been making an effort to remember them, but at 4 in the morning when a horrible image is stuck in your head and you have to get back to sleep and go to work the following day, forgetting it as quickly as possible is definately the goal!

One image has stayed with me this week and I have not been able to leave it in the dreaming at all. A sister watching her brother being burned alive. I got to watch it in horrific detail. It took a couple of hours for me to get back to sleep and I could not forget, no matter how hard I tried.

With a nice bit of timing, Wheelkeeper wrote this post about a ghost she had been assisting and with the assistance of Lisa as well, things have become clearer. The ghost can call to us in the dream and call us to a dream realm where we can receive messages and interact, if they are a loved one, a ghost of one of our own past lives or if we are a Keeper of the Dead.

I have no evidence to suggest I am a Keeper of the Dead, this is after all my first ghost. I am not sure if he counts as a loved one, no living relative of mine ever met him after all, he is a Great Great Great Grandfather. Not sure about him being a past life either. Not sure how I would feel if he was a past life.

I mean after all, killing surely acquires a fair bit of bad karma! And he in all likelihood killed a lot of people. Then there is the other side of the coin, he achieved so very much in his life, he came from nothing and climbed his way up, was respected and rewarded for this and was very, very formidable. I admire him but I am not sure I can live up to him. I think he would look at my lack of fitness, my messy house and start barking off orders....

But I found this article on soldiers and karma. It seems that there is a view that intention is key with karma. If your intention is to do your job well and with honour and to protect your country, then that is fine. Intending to go out and kill people, to rape and pillage, to do bad things is going to accrue a lot of bad karma.

I am currently reading a book, Earth Medicine by Jamie Sams with a reading each morning. This mornings reading was all about honour. To honor the deeds of another is to show appreciation for their contribution. To bring honor to our country is to give of ourselves above and beyond what is normally expected. To honor the self requires sacrifice - to make sacred our roles abilities and talents. If we share these gifts with those we serve, without desire for reward and with an open heart, we will receive joy as a reward.

This is such an appropriate reading for today! Because honor is so very much what he was about. He did his job, with all of himself, all of his ability and he was prepared to make the biggest sacrifice. If he was ordered to do terrible things or they were part of battle there is no dishonor. The fact these things haunted him is a credit to him. Maybe there were things he did that he could have done differently, maybe some images would never leave, maybe there was guilt while he was alive, I doubt he would ever have admitted to it. I can see how that guilt would remain as unresolve in some one like him.

Any individual acts he committed and their attendant unresolve is not what he has to deal with now. They will be played out in life, in the relationships he has with those people. It is his guilt he has to accept and let go of.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

D is for Dream

Dreams are a huge subject for me right now becuase I am trying to learn to be a Dreamer.

We have lost the concept of the Dreamer in much of Western society but it was once an important and sacred role. This goes back millenia. Malta has megalithic temples older than the pyramids, currently the oldest are believed to have been built around 3500 BC. The statue above was found in one of these temples. She is a Dreamer.

So what is a Dreamer?

This is my understanding so far, I have a long way to go though! A Dreamer is someone who uses Dreams to access alternative realities with control and they may do so for guidance and healing among other reasons. We all dream and have some degree of ability but it is control that makes a Dreamer, as well as a natural ability I guess too.

My Hubby hardly ever remembers his dreams and gains very little from them. I remember a large number of dreams and am able to interpret them (with the help of friends!) and have gained a large amount of assistance from them but even so, I do not consider myself a Dreamer, yet.

Dreamers are lucid, or awake within their dreams so that they can navigate them at will. They can re-enter a dream to gain additional understanding and can even enter other peoples dreams to assist them. To them, Dreams are as much of a gateway to other realities as a journey with a drum. They are also able to interpret dreams.

This is not just something that happens at night though. The Dream is always there with every breath and a skilled Dreamer can pass into it at will, awake or asleep. Synchronicity is also an aspect of the Dream. Follow them....

I am a long way from being a Dreamer. I am semi-lucid in that I am actively thinking within the dream but I am not fully aware or in control. My dream interpretation skills need a lot of work! I can occasionally re-enter a dream, but only if I have not woken up very much.

So how did I find Dreaming? Well, I have long been interested in dreams and every so often I would have a strong dream, one just so full of meaning that I could not ignore it. One day I had a dream where there was a book, it was a huge old book of knowledge, like a prospectus and I was shown several pages within the book. I could only remember two of the pages when I woke and these were Dreaming and Cooking but it was Dreaming that made my heart skip a beat in excitement.

I began to read about dreaming and one day my friend Suzi introduced me to the blog of Wapeyit, who is an Indigenous Dreamer and my learning continues.

Soetimes I wonder if I am meant to be a Dreamer, but I guess things have been made pretty clear to me. Shortly after the dream I had to paint an intuitive picture of myself for a class called BIG. The image came very strongly to mind. A blue woman lying on her side, the image in my mind was of a pretty fat woman but I couldn't bring myself to paint myself that fat, so the lady in my painting is pretty curvy. Although she is obviously asleep, people on the course felt it looked somehow like she was swimming, moving.

A while later, Suzi recommended I read Supernatural by Graham Hancock. This book really blew my mind wide open. It linked varous experiences I had had with a whole bunch of things others have experienced that I just could not credit as being local or real and linked it all up somehow with my scientific understanding of certain things and voila, I was able to believe in alternate realities and Shamanism. It was not an easy read and it is probably the slowest I have ever read a book that gripped me so!

The book contains several pictures painted by Pablo Amaringo who painted the journeys he took while under the influence of Ayahuasca. They are very beautiful and compelling. The very first colour image in the book was very full but in one corner there was a lady I recognised, for all that she was green this time. A fat sleeping lady on her side, in pretty much exactly the same pose. I began to wonder if my BIG painting had drawn on some pre-existing archetype and I suspected she was a dreaming.

Very recently F and I started looking at honeymoons. After something my Mum said, I started looking at Malta. I have been there before, about 20 years ago, so it astounded me that having previously done the tours, I had never even heard of the megalithic temples there! I have no idea why these things seem to have been kept so quiet... I brought a book, only a rough guide, but it mentioned an enigmatic statue of a sleeping Goddess. And I had a suspicion right then.

I was right, and there she is at the top of the post. Fatter than the green ayahuasca lady and a lot fatter than the lady I let myself paint but recognisable. And she Dreams.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

J Donald

I always knew I had a Scottish ancestor called Donald, who dropped the Mc from his name when he left Scotland. Half remembered family lore has that he came from the Cairngorms but we know for sure he settled near Ipswich. Although my Gran does not remember him she eventually chose to move back to that same area and now lives a short walk away from his old home. I think she spent the first few years of her life round there too.

So as I went back, I was not surprised to find him. I am not surprised he seems to have left a strong legacy in my family because one thing is for sure, he was a strong man. This is his story, as much of it as I know anyway.

He was born in Scotland in 1828, probably in the Cairngorms which are one of the few remaining true wildernesses left in the UK. Vast (by UK standards), empty, they are a range of mountains far to the north where reindeer have been reintroduced successfully to the UK.

He would probably have had some education as given his later life, it is likely that he he could read and write. He was a member of the MacDonald clan (according to family lore and his surname) and the fact that because of this, we could trace our heritage back to Robert de Bruce was passed on down through the family.

He left Scotland though to become a soldier in the 72nd Highlanders. He probably spent some time at Colchester as it is likely that this is where he met his future wife E. By the age of 26 (when I can first find him) he was already a Sergeant and based in Ireland. The year was 1854 and he was posted to the Crimean during this year, but before he went, he married E in Cork.

Who knows if she had been living with him unmarried before they married or whether being sent to war caused her to travel over there to marry sooner than they had planned.

In the Crimean he fought at Sebastopol. The Crimean was a grim war but somehow he survived and returned to Ireland where he had and Elizabeth had their first child J R (my great great Grandfather) in 1856. In 1857 E gave birth to their second child, T J but he was born in Wollwich and J Donald left for the Indian Mutiny.

He fought at the Siege of Kotah as well as (no idea if I have spelt thes right as I can not read the handwriting very well) the Battle of Burnass & Oodeypore. While he was gone E and the two children moved to Colchester.

I found a little more information on Oodeypore and it is quite a story. 100 men of the 72nd were mounted on camels and joined with 275 sabres of cavalry and two 9 pounder guns to form a small column. They were ordered to pursue with utmost speedthe rebels under Rao Sahib and Tantia Topee. They left on 23rd of November 1858 and marched 241 miles in nine days with the last part being through dense jungle. They surprised 3500 mutineers and caused them considerable losses and the mutineers dispersed following this. They rejoined the main forces in May of 1859 after 17 months under canvas and traveling over 3000 miles. See here and here.

On his return he remained a soldier and they had three further boys, all born in Kingston. He was still a soldier at the age off 33 in 1861 but by 1871 the family was living at Portsea and he was a Prison Warder. This was again a grim task as conditions in prisons were very bad at this time, but even so, it was a good job for a retired soldier.

By 1881 though the family had moved to Ipswich where E originally came from and J Donald was working as a Storekeeper at an Iron Works. He was 53 and was still in this job at 73, only five years before he died.

He was undoubtably a tough man, mentally and physically. He appears to have walked away from his family and his past when he left Scotland as no town is ever listed on the censuses. He must have been quite charismatic for E to travel to ireland and marry him there. She outlived him and lived by herself for her last few years, a few doors from her youngest son.

He had a very varied set of careers and this seems to have inspired his sons - all of whom worked but each seemed to emulate a different aspect of his working life. The eldest was a builders clerk and became the manager of a brickworks. The second eldest became a Drill Sergeant at a Royal naval school. The third started as an Iron Driller at the iron works (not sure what happened to him yet. The fourth became a teacher and later a Headmaster. The youngest was a steam engine fitter and then later on he was an Engineering Storeman.

He must have seen and done some dreadful things and survived some awful situations too. I don't get the sense that he was nasty man or difficult. He seems to have been well looked after since leaving the forces and his sons all went in very different directions and made a success of themselves. I fully intend to keep researching his life because there is just so much of interest.

A Relative Fashion

I have an issue at the moment, just a little one, much less of a problem now I am trying to look it square in the eye. Or should I say much better now I am trying to look him square in the eye!

I have a Ghost.

This all started way back last year when I started researching my family tree. During this time, one of my colleagues had a dream in which there was a nasty ghost causing trouble and I told her it was my Grandfather. Apparently I got quite cross with the ghost. My colleague woke up quite scared.

I have had snippets of dream warnings too, but nothing so clear, but then my colleague and I work differently. She has previously seen a ghost for instance whereas I never have. Although I am beginning to think I may have felt their emotions in the past.

My snippets have been things like a warning that the ground water was dangerous, a dream where there was lots of chickens ready to cook but one of them had gone off and attracted lots of flies. And then this last week I had a much more focused dream. In it there was a train that stopped outside a town and when it did shadowy arms started reaching up through the floor and dragging the passengers down.

So I wondered about a ghost a few months back but I had no answers, nothing firm. So I waited. I didn't research my family tree over Christmas at all and I picked it up for the first time in quite a while, just last weekend. I only looked at my Mother's side as I was preparing a tree for my maternal Uncle. The following night I had the train dream and trains are like snakes, one of their meanings is ancestry, DNA and family.

I remembered that the train had been catching me at the crossing a lot the last few days. I had been going that way to work last year, taking a Colleague and we never got caught by the train once. A road is closed so I have started going that way again and been caught three times already, in just a few days. Also out of the blue, my colleague brought up having seen a ghost once. That was all I needed to confirm that indeed, I did have a ghost.

I did know that the depression I have been feeling this week wasn't entirely my own. I have learnt enough to know when stuff is mine or not, thankfully. When you feel others feelings it is very easy to get swallowed up in them, to believe they are your own. I wonder how much of my past depression has been other peoples emotions that I have been unable to deal with.

Lisa suggested I ask what the ghost wanted of me and watch for synchronicity, so I did. I am getting better at asking questions and listening for replies although I find it hard still to believe entirely the words I get back and not change them slightly. I got back that he just wanted to be remembered.

The only reference to the dead at work yesterday came out of the blue. We had put some AC/DC on and one of my colleagues said to me something along the lines of 'that'll wake the dead'. Waking the Dead is a TV programme all about uncovering the stories of the dead, typically those that died in an unpleasant way but it is this idea of uncovering the stories of the dead. So I knew I was right...

So I am going to be featuring a male ancestor each week on my blog, so I can put it out there and see what comes back. Maybe I can help them. Ghosts are spirits with unresolved issues. But this ghost is an Ancestor too. But this ghost may not be all about himself... There were a few other unexpected synchronicities yesterday.

A colleague's wife brought their baby in yesterday. And she was so lovely. I loved holding her and was left feeling quite broody. F and I decided a long time ago, 2007 to be precise, that if we had a girl we would call her Ruby. This was in part due to the song Ruby by the Kaiser Chiefs. Mostly it was because we loved the name. So I was sat there thinking about babies when this song came on the radio. Being an old song now it doesn't get played much. So then I am thinking about babies even more when an ad comes about a joint venture between the radio station and a baby accessories shop. It kind of burst through my thoughts with a 'don't you dare ignore me. I know you were not listening to the radio but I am important!' sort of a shout.

It kind of makes sense that an Ancestor might be a little interested in the next generation as well... And the truth is, i desperately want babies. F and I had even decided to start trying after the wedding. But I am fat and the thought of being pregnant with all this weight just scares me. But I know Ruby has been patiently waiting for a little while now (if I do get pregnant and I have a boy I am going to be so surprised! *laugh*) and she has been a feature in a few dreams and stories in one way or another.

So there we go....

Oh and as soon as I admitted there was a Grandfather lurking around the depression lifted. Now my baby related nerves and longings are more to the fore...

Friday, 17 February 2012

D is for Drum

A core bellief of Shamanism is that there are other realities. Some people have gifts that allow them to access these realities more easily than others but over the course of thousands of years a variety of techniques have been found. Everybody thinks of drugs but while these certainly work they are not the route I choose to take. People also fast and dance until they are exhausted as well but this is hard for most people holding down a 9 to 5 job....

The drum might not seem like a promising route to other realities but it is. There is something about the vibration of a drum and when it is played at a specific sort of speed it helps induce a trance-like state and from there you can Journey.

I tried to journey using CDs to begin with but had very limited success. I think the actual vibration of it is hard to replicate in a CD. So i found a drumming circle and that has really helped me to journey. And the more I journey the easier it becomes.

Each time I go it is as if I get a little better at finding my way around, although I have explored such a tiny fraction of all that is out there. So now I find it easier to journey at other times too, because I know the way. I have journeyed to my own heartbeat as well.

Not everyone takes to journeying straight away, some people take years to get the way of it. My other half has only just started doing these sorts of things and he has not gotten into it yet. Different senses will be stronger in the journey for different people to begin with.

I love journeying and although I have only recently started it, I can't imagine not doing it.

I recently had a drum dream and now that there is a spirit who would like to be in my drum, one is being made for me, as a home for this spirit. This is a huge thing for me. The drum is sacred and very personal. In the dream a reindeer was dying and I was told it was giving itself for my drum. Honouring that spirit is very important and I can not wait to hear it's voice and get to know it better.

If you want to read more about drums my teacher Lisa wrote this post.

Sunday, 12 February 2012


I love books.

It goes just beyond loving the contents. I love the feel and the smell of them too (apart from in my house when they get a little too damp *sigh*).

My reading habits have changed greatly over the years. When I was young, I was voracious and I had ambition. I was catching up with all that had gone before and I was happy to fight with a book to get through. I loved Sci Fi and Fantasy most of all and so I battled with the greats too including some of H G Wells heavier books for istance.

As I have gotten older I have found that when I want to stretch, I read non-fiction. I like my fiction to be escapist. Easy. With a happy ending. Not to say I don't want the odd difficult or interesting concept though, I do.

I have been collecting books for years and yes I have purged occasionally but I find that i have kept a lot of books out of nostalgia. Take Anne McCaffery for instance. My favourite author for at least ten years of my life. I can't remember the last time I read one of her books now. I have certain books and series of books that are still all time favourites but others are more filler. I could fill a shelf with her books alone but do I really need to? Maybe I should just accpe that some of those series are ones I will never ever re-read.

So there are themes, certain authors who are just the best as far as I am concerned. But even with their books, there are gaps in my collection. I need to stop buying filler fiction in the supermarket and buy my favourites....

Part of the problem has been remembering which books I have from the title alone - some of the books have more than one title and the descriptions can be confusing. So many of my books have been in boxes for years. They are scattered around the house on different book shelves too, so pulling together an entire series can be tricky too....

So here is a list of the ones I really love...

Charles de Lint
Sharon Shinn
Sheri S Tepper
Jean Auel
Laurell K Hamilton
Stephanie Meyer
Charlaine Harris
Katherine Kerr
David Brin
Sarah Addison Allen
David Zindell
Raymond Feist

So I have let go all my Asimov books except the Foundation series. And I am looking at David Eddings Belgariad and Mallorean and wondering... Looking at all those Anne McCaffery books and wondering if I want all of the dragon books and every other series.... Do I want to keep all the teen pulp books I have been reading, even when I know I will still be buying the next book in the series - what happens if I forget the previous books?

As it is, I think a whole bunch of books will be making their way into work to see if my book reading colleagues wish to have any. And there are some real gems amongst the....

But you have to let go, to allow new books in. And I can only keep ones I really am going to re-read. I may find I have gotten it wrong - I have on occasions had to re-buy books, but the second hand books market is so cheap, it isn't exactly an issue. And really, i have not gotten it wrong very often and it was easily corrected. (I have only rebrought two books...)

but it is a big thing this letting go....


OK, so not one thing has been knocked off my list of things to do. But one thing is nearly there...

Most of this year so far I have not felt much like working away on my Ancestry. I don't why exactly but just working on my Ancestry is pretty draining in itself. I work on a computer all day, every day pretty much but et, a couple of days on my Ancestors and I am tired. I just have not had the energy so far this year.

Well, I promised the Uncle I wish to write the letter to, that I would send him the tree. So these last few days I have been working on the tree so it is not in an online state and I can print it off easily. This is to be the sugar to coat the letter I intend to send. Hopefully enough sugar will distract him from any potential bitterness....

Putting this info on the computer has another benefit though. I can flick through it more easily now. I can add notes and tick people off so as I explore different branches I can note where I have been. The tree has just gotten too darn big and complicated to keep track of and this has not helped me work on it because I just can not remember what I have and have not done.

So I started this Friday and had almost finished when the computer crashed. Immediately I realised I could do a better job, that it was confusing and complicated and I could simplify it. This is what I have done these last two days. And now it is done, all I need to do it print it off, write the letter and send it off.

Yesterday I took time out to eat pasties and walk on the beach in the sun. It was low tide and the beach we went to is part of a huge sandy bay. We walked by the mouth of an estuary. It was so very beautiful.

Now, for the little bit of weekend remaining, chilling really is in order....

Saturday, 11 February 2012

C is for Climbing Trees

I always climbed trees as a kid. I loved it, I felt at home in trees. I was acknowledged as being the best tree climer in my year. This was because I was larger than most of the others in my build, a little stronger. However this did not translate into sports, I have never been a quick mover!

Climbing trees though does not require quick movement. It requires planning and understanding to see where the branches are, the footholds and the branches you can pull yourself up on. You also have to be able to judge where you should and where you should not climb. No tree climber wishes to damage the tree they climb...

I was never scared of heights and I never felt like I would fall. I always felt like the trees had me.

At home I grew up in an old house with about an acre of garden which contained a lot of trees. A lot of old trees to, many of them fruit trees, planted to feed the house. I used to climb the apple and pear trees, the big plum tree and the nest of tangled Yews. I didn't climb the thorn trees, or the pines or the Limes.

The Limes are ancient and the first branches are well above my head even now. My Dad is well over 6 foot and one time he lifted me up into the lowest branches, but even then, I could barely reach the next branches up. All the branches though form a canopy that comes close to the ground and the huge leaves provide a beautiful cool green shelter from the Summer sun.

At school, I was lucky that some ancient resident had collected trees from all over. I had many non-native trees to climb and admire. Not all trees grow to be giants but in every group of trees, there would always be one ancient one that towered upwards it seemed.

This all reminded me of something I read long along, so I just dug the book out and I looked up the author on amazon too. The book is Flat Rock Journal by Ken Carey and it is the journal of a spiritual walk. Now I have just realised that as much as I love this book, I don't much like the other book by the author I have attempted to read - it was a channeled book and I just don't like the language and feel. In fact I posted the book off to someone I thought might like it only last week....

Anyway, one of the many things he talks about in this book is a vision he has for the future of trees, based on a conversation he had with a tree. It seems that trees need to be mature enough to have the circuitry in place to act as the grand sentient presences that we should have in our forests. By allowing selected trees to mature, the consciousness of the entire forest develops. This is because trees have two types of consciousness, individual and collective.

My teacher Lisa was talking on her blog about what it is to be a shaman in answer to someone's question. In it she talks about how being a Shaman is a title given by a community in recognition of an energy you embody. She says that not only people are called, but trees, animals and rivers as well. Many Shaman are marked young but they don't necessarily become Shaman until they are a little older. Why not the same with Tree Shaman? It fits with Ken Carey's vision.

I often wondered why different woods felt different. Where I grew up, the weather is gentler in some ways than in Cornwall. The winds are quieter, it rains hard when it rains and there is plenty of sun and warmth in the Summer. The land is a patchwork of fields and small woods and wild areas with larger woods inbetween.

I spent a lot of time walking the land around me as a teen with a variety of dogs as company. The local farmer had left areas of wood nearby. One area of wood was full of small trees, a lot of them thorny. It was not a wood you walk through as there was just no room and it never had that depth of atmosphere of some other woods. But driving past it at night, there would often be animals around that wood

A bit further away there was an area of ancient wood with some truly old trees and the atmosphere was very different there. However, I never once met another person walking in that wood for all it's status as a nature reserve. It was quite out of the way, but I don't think that was it. I loved that wild atmosphere...

Another nearby wood was very large with well developed pathways that almost spearated the wood into smaller woods, so that in many ways you were not walking amongst the trees. That wood was always full, at least those big wide paths were. The little paths that took off into the dark of the older parts of the wood were far less visited.

Many of our managed woods have plantation areas. Rows of quick growing trees, harvested in turn. These too have a different feel again. I have to say, I like the idea of keeping some trees to full maturity, not clear cutting whole areas.

I like the idea of there being tree shaman too. I like that there are still woods that are truly wild.

Thursday, 9 February 2012


So far this year has been a happy but painful and tiring year. I came back from my family home after Christmas feeling utterly rested and rejuvenated but four weeks of pain and discomfort with my tooth then my ear zapped all those nicely created reserves of energy.

Then last night I visited the Mistres of Pain for one of her amazing lymphatic massages. I always feel better afterwards, but as I go into a rapid detox, I feel tired straight after. Although I kind of felt good today, I can still feel the tiredness leaching through my body. The problem is, all this pain and illness and tiredness has meant a lack of energy to do anything very much of the things I need to do, for me. And not just reading books either....

The Mistress of Pain said my body was actually doing pretty well and that the good effects of the sage tea were pretty evident. The puffy, blotted, swollen state of my body has reduced considerably and my skin is much clearer. Her saying that made me realise that I have not had a major skin eruption since I started drinking the tea. She also could see the good effects of the corrective insoles I have been wearing in my shoes, which is nice to know.

So everything is fine and I am happy, I just feel that need to pamper myself a little. I love having F home all weekend every weekend, but I do miss the occasional day by myself. After six months, I have just gotten past the not going out without him at the weekend and last weekend I went gallivanting all over the place - to collect plates, to the beach and into town.

but today I sneakily booked a day off, and that day is tomorrow. And now I have done that and I know I can relax, I can feel the tiredness all the way through myself.

I am going to look at my list over the next three days and if it isn't on my list or a nice pampering activity then it won't get done. So books, baths and walks with Little Dog and those tasks i have deemed most important to me and that will be about it....


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Wasp Woman

I had a dream while in the Moon of Welcome about a wasp flying around my face. When I wrote about that on here, it sparked aconnection. As a baby I was asleep in my cot when a wasp flew in for no reason and stung me on my face. This would likely have been in my first Moon of Welcoming year, which made me wonder if it might be my totem for the Moon of Welcoming.

I sent Wapeyit a question about this and she answered it in this lovely post.

But I don't really like Wasps.

Not surprising really when I grew up with this story of being stung.

So now I have to sit back with this a little and I am thinking about wasps. Not many people like them really. I have had a few run ins with them over the years. Some times they fly into our office at work (now I wonder if they were coming in to say hello to me... and I was sooo ungracious to them!) and you don't want to know how that tended to turn out for them, if they didn't want to leave.

One time I got on a bus to go to work, quite a few years ago now. I went to sit on a empty chair, but what I didn't realise was that the reason it was empty was because there was a wasp sat on it. Of course I sat on it and it stung me. In fact it got me very close to my privates - on that little area of leg that you sit on when you sit down, and that also rubs between your legs when you walk. It was not a good day!

Not surprisingly I remember what job I had at the time and it was the job I had when I had my nervous breakdown and that definately had a link to where the Wasp stung me, and I sure needed all the power of the wasp totem.... In fact it may even have occurred during the Moon of Welcome ....

So I had a little look at what the Wasp means as a totem and I found this page. There is so much information here!

Basically we all know the grumpy character of wasps and we all know what waspish people are like. But did you know that if you get stung, you are being stung by a female wasp and that it's stinger is actually it's sexual organs? Wasps are all about Warrior Woman Power. Not Girl Power. There is nothing girly about wasps!

There are many different types of wasp, some are solitary and others are hive based so wasps work well by themselves and as teams. They like a variety of food, preying on bugs and ruthlessly pursuing sweet things (very keen on the sweet things - not so keen on eating bugs...). The wasp is also a very creative animal, it takes wood, turns it to pulp and then turns the pulp into paper, which it then uses to build it's hive. They are pretty incredible animals really...

I definately needed all the help I could get from Wasp the last time I remember being stung. It was a hard time for sure. And given the cause of my woes (nasty man) the placing of the sting was very appropriate as well.

I guess I have got to stop being a little scared of them now really....

...but I think some healthy respect is fine!

So it makes me think about other times I have had run ins with animals..... The time I sat on two ant nests within a week (both biting sorts unfortunately). The time a horse bit me on the cheek (it looked like a love bite. Unfortunately we went on holiday shortly afterwards - and there it is in all the photos). It also makes me think about good things - like all the birds that got trapped in my parents conservatory (and one even flew ito their bedroom once as well). I seemed to have a knack of catching them in my hands. I would then take them outside and let them sit there until they felt able to fly away. And then there was the time I picked up a piece of mould (I was a right tom boy) that turned out to be a bat. Oh and the time I picked up a handful of sand and it turned out to have a baby flat fish in it. I also used to catch grasshoppers as a child, just so I could look at them.

I have had so many encounters with nature that they could all be symbolic or not, but I know I shall be keeping a look out for old friends as I walk around the wheel....

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Moon of Welcome Review

Began - Monday 9th January
New Moon - Monday 23rd January
Ended - 6th February

The first half of this moon has been tough for me. It began in the wind of Initiator and ended in the wind of Nomad. Welcome and Initiator, oh my....

I was in pain, but not really ill until the Moon moved into Welcome and from there I had two really hard weeks. That Wind was certainly pushing some buttons. I briefly revisited some old themes, such as rejection, being alone, not belonging to a group and rejection as well as entirely new ones. The ear infection turned out to have some strong lessons on being more aware of the noise around me, listening to the world....

Gracefully and powerfully dealing with death and injury and illness have been really strong themes in the lives of those around me both in my real life and in my online life. I am not sure I managed the awe inspiring attitudes I have been proud to witness, but I did try and I learnt a lot.

But there has been some really cool things too, from all this difficulty. I dreamt of a herb, sage, which turns out to be perfect for me - I have had no sage tea this weekend and I am looking forward to my next cup - it seems to be exactly what I need and I am so grateful for that dream. I met a wonderful new ally and was re-united with an old one, well maybe I was re-united with both, but I just don't remember. I dreamt of a drum. I stood up to my Boss and honoured my right to have feelings and express them.

The second half of the moon has been much quieter, in an awful lot of ways! It has just been less intense. I finally got better as well. I have also been endeavouring to listen more and to not use music as a way of blocking sound. I often switch the radio off on the way to work now and I try to be more conscious of sound when I am out an about. Sometimes this is difficult. For instance I was stood in a queue in the Post Office yesterday and I decided to listen. There was the noise of three people being served, another receiving advice, the people in the queue, including a phone call and a cougher. It was a little uncomfortable opening myself to the noise without tuning any of it out.

Although it has been less emotional, I have not been sleeping well. My dreams have been pretty zippy and full, but with nothing much clear to hang on to and examine, but here are a few snippets that I did cling to. Being abducted and stuck on an underground train that just went round and round the city. A ruin by the sea that was a tourist attraction but full of worms that you had to avoid touching, anyone touched had to be cured before they could leave but there was a couple removing their infected child without realising. Having a Yellow Bonnet (I think this is a wasp) flying around my face (I was stung on the face by one as a baby, during my first Moon of Welcoming...hmmm). A strange mystical symbol around Glastonbury, maybe I should draw it....

So my Dreamboard... I can see so much of how the moon turned out in it. I can see the feelings of being alone in that lonely lighthouse, and the moon above the barren landscape, but yet they are beautiful in their ability to be there and be themselves. It has certainly been a month of riding the wave too - and letting those winds take me where they will. But at the same time, it has been tranquil and beautiful, being ill has made me chill. I am not sure exactly what butterfly has been birthed, but I have no doubt one has...

But there is a rebellious element too - of being yourself and being proud of it, of doing things society frowns on slightly, but needs all the same. The teen rebel making unerground art. And the Sea Gull... Putting that there was a way of accepting this energy, and I needed it... And the man's arm - I love this picture! This arm says so much - this man works for a living, hard work, he is utterly comfortable in his skin, contented, and more than a little bit cool. Kind of how I want to be (except for the male bit)

Snow Child

I also needed to choose a picture that symbolises this Moon journey for me and I found the art of Arbor Lux on Flickr (Go have a look at his art! It is absolutely amazing!). This picture is the one I have choosen to represent my moon. The picture is called Snow Child and yesterday, in my Amazon books recommendation, there was a book called Snow Child, of course I had to order it and when they release the paperback it shall arrive...

All month I have been writing and developing a story in my head, a modern myth for this Moon of Welcome, my Moon of Welcome...

Once upon a time there was a Moon Baby who lived in the sky. At first, his eyes were closed, but that was fine, because he could feel the warmth of the Father Sun on his body sometimes, and at others he could feel the pull of his Mother Earth below and at still other times he could hear the songs of his cousins, the Stars all around. He was happy and he started to grow.

One night, it was time for him to open his eye and take his first peek at the Universe. He opened his eye cautiously and it was all black, everywhere, all around. He could not see Father Sun, or feel Mother Earth or hear his Cousins singing. And in that moment he was scared, he panicked, and he could feel it rising up through him and until he could hear nothing and feel nothing, till all there was, was blackness.

And like terrified creatures often do, he froze. And in that moment there was a seed of acceptance of whatever dreadful thing might happen to him next. And from that seed grew a moment of peace and as his thoughts quietened, he realised there was a faint song and then there was two voices. His Aunt Venus and Uncle Jupiter sang of their presence there and they crowded closer so he could see them shining in the growing dark.

They sang songs about how as the last warmth of Father Sky vanished, other cousins would awake and sing with them, and so they did, all around him, stars sang and suddenly the Universe did not seem so big, or dark, or terrifying any more. And that night he sang with them and he was content.

As the night wore on, the planets and stars slowly sang of sleep and vanished one by one, but the last ones to go reminded him that if he was peaceful and paid attention, he would always feel the presence of his Mother below, the warmth of his Father would always return, and the gentle snores of sleeping stars could be heard even when the sun shone.

As the Moon Baby grew he always found those inbetween times, between dark and light, were moments where he felt so very much. Sorrow for the leaving. Joy for the welcoming. Bittersweet.

But there was always that little bit of fear in the back of his mind, a tiny moment, what if....

Moon of Affirmation

We are about to move into the Moon of Affirmation so here is a little exploration of what I think this means...

This Moon has had some interesting themes in my life - not that I remember many of them from the first time round! The second time was a year of some respite from glandular fever, during which I took my GCSEs and started my first job, in a Chinese restaurant. It felt good to have my own money and that I was out there, taking car of myself. The third time round was the time following my graduation.

I had a job waiting for me when I graduated and my Boss was a person I loved working with. Their Boss was however a bit of a bully. My Boss got a better job offer and jumped ship, leaving me to cope with the bully directly. One day she spoke to me how she used to speak to my Boss. I probably did deserve a little telling off, but I got somewhat more than that and handed in my notice. Not sure to this day if that was a good move on my part or not! I think it probably was - of the group of us, the only one I believe is still working for this person has had several periods off work with stress and occasionally I spot them around and they look... tired, not happy.

For the rest of this year I did various temp jobs in the environmental area. None of which was entirely successful, somehow, the people I worked for turned out not to be entirely honourable. Eventually I gave up and went and got a temp job doing admin, which has led me to where I am now. Certainly pride, independence and the feminine warrioress principle has been a part of previous turns on this Moon. I am not entirely sure whether this Moon has been a good one for me previously or not!

Wheelkeeper states that this Moon is a lot to do with saying No, which certainly fits, but also about making choices. Wapeyit adds that it is also about saying yes. It is about saying I AM this and knowing what you are, and what you are not. What is true to you and what is not, integrity. Wapeyit includes some quotes on integrity in her post but then continues to talk about role models and this is something she has brought up again this year in our group on facebook. This aspect of the Moon of Affirmation is definately one that needs work for me.

I think role models can be unhealthy when it borders of idolisation. People always make mistakes, they are not perfect, idolising them does not allow them to be human. I was an odd kid and when I was young I didn't feel entirely like I fitted in my immediate family. The person I seemed most like was my Uncle, and I adored him. I could talk to him about stuff the others had no interest in at all, physics and cosmology for instance. He has always been charming and a bit offbeat in a cool sort of way. I think when I was young, I was very like him in many ways.

He was never good with relationships though, of any sort. He divorced his first wife and separated from his second. His second wife was very good about inviting us to see them and making a bit of an effort, something he never did. We never received presents from them, which was fine. They lived some distance away too, so we rarely saw them.

His next relationship though was with someone rather different. She was much younger than him. Far closer in age to me than to him, although they would never acknowledge that. My byfriend at the time was the same age as her. She is well educated and a little patronising - corrects things that don't need correcting etc now, but back then, I think she was more than a little nervous of meeting us all. As if my family would be anything other than polite....

But the thing was at that first meeting it became clear that my Uncle was focused on his new lady and her uncertainty meant that he no longer had time to talk to me. If I tried to talk about the things only we had in common, he would turn the conversation back to something she could join in with. I understand this, but it meant I lost the opportunity to talk to the one person in the family who actually was interested in those things, because our infrequent visits were now kept to safe topics for general discussion.

On that visit they kindly gave me a lift back home. They hardly spoke to me and I sat in the back and read stories to my cousins. I was definately resigned to role of child, and I resented that, not that I minded reading stories to my cousins at all...

My Uncle has an internet life and eventually I came across this. It was very evident that we still had so many things in common, although both our interests had changed. It was also clear that he had a lot of time for many worthy things in his life, creativity, charity work... much more time that he had had for me and my family. I also noticed that he had been regularly visiting Cornwall, quite close to where I live too, pretty much yearly and had never once thought to call. It hurt quite a lot.

I know he never asked to be my childhood role model. I don't think he ever realised he was. But it did hurt and it did not help me feel like I fitted in, like I belonged. I had resumed some contact with him by email, but one day, i just didn't feel like it any more. i know he was concerned and asked my family if I was alright, but I just backed all the way off.

I didn't invite him to my wedding either, despite his being very close family. The wedding was so small, that every guest on my side that I chose to be there was there because of their impact on my life. I had to explain some of those choices to my Mum because from the outside, value within relationships can be hard to evaluate. My Godfather for instance is someone I rarely see, but at important times in my life, when he has heard things have been tough, he has made the effort to contact me, to show he cared. My Uncle had not managed to convey caring in quite some time.

I am sure he must have been hurt by the lack of invite. It would have been a good time to renew contact with my Cousins too, who were children last time I saw them. This relationship needs healing badly, I have to let go of my old resentments and I think in part this requires that I give him some explanation for my behaviour. From there he can do what he wants with it, it certainly will not affect my relationship with him for the worse as I never see him anyway.

This was already on my to do list, before it made sense within the context of the coming moon. I need to disconnect unhealthy idolisation from my role models so that I feel more comfortable saying people are role models for me in the now, because right now, I can't. I think nature, spirit is the most powerful role model out there and I guess all I really want to affirm is just to be me, dancing in my place on the great wheel of all that is.

Who knows what else Affirmation will bring up. It has not even started yet, not until tomorrow night, and it is already making me think!

C is for Corvid and Cornish Chough

The Corvid family of birds is one I have a personal connection to and I am very fond of them. They are a large family with representives all over the world, except the polar circles and the tip of South America. They are really, really intelligent. Their brain to body ratio is right up there and only slightly less than humans. They make and use tools and the only other family to do so is the Great Apes. The magpie is the only bird self aware enough to pass the miror test (recognising itself in a mirror and being able to use the mirrors reflection to figure out things).

The Corvid family consists of lots of different groups of birds - Choughs, Treepies, Oriental Magpies, Old World Jays, Stresemann's Bush Crow, Nutcrackers, Holartic Magpies, True Crows (Ravens, Rooks, Crows and Jackdaws), Azure Winged Magpie, Grey Jays and New World Jays.

In the UK we have a number of representatives from this family of birds, Carrion Crow, Hooded Crow, Rook, Raven, Magpie, Jackdaw, Chough and Jay. I personally don't find it easy to tell the difference between Crows, Rooks and Ravens in the wild, unless they are close to and on the ground. We don't have Hooded Crows in this part of the world either, they live up North. The Jackdaw is easier, because of the grey on the back of it's neck and it's white eye and of course Magpies and Jays are very distinctive....

Then there is the Chough which is only found in Great Britain, in Ireland, on the Isle of Mann and in the west of Wales and Scotland. They used to be common along the coastline in Cornwall, but in 1952 the last pair nested here. They had been lost to England long before this. Habitat loss had been a lare problem, as had egg collecting by collectors. They are important to Cornwall and feature on the coat of arms. Apparently in other parts of the UK they were often called the Cornish Crow.

A lot of effort was made to reinstate their habitat in an effort to attract them back. And in 2001, four were spotted in West Cornwall and three took up residence, then in 2002, they nested. Volunteers guarded the nest and now the Chough is definately back! The problem was that the cliffs were no longer used for grazing and increasingly, cliffs are being managed in this way to provide suitable habitat.

There is a local legend that goes as follows: When King Arthur fought his last battle, he did not die, but his soul migrated into a Chough. The red of it's beak and legs came from that last battle and so killing the bird was very unlucky. If ever the Cornish Chough were to leave Cornwall, then it's return would mark the return of King Arthur...

There is a place you can go to watch the Choughs and because it is the only publicly acknowledged site, they are still guarded. It is possible to see them around the coast of the Lizard and West Penwith now and their numbers are steadily increasing. This Summer I shall try and go and see them I think...

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Moment

January is a long month financially - being paid before Christmas and the financial demands of Christmas can make it tough. I did fine, but by the end of January I had committed to a few financial things before I remembered my car tax... All this meant that I have had to be super duper organised this month and, if I carry on like this, I may get to do everything I want, pay for much beauty in my life, keep the Man happy and the wolf from my door and even have some money left over. A lesson there, in not squandering things I feel..... Thought....

So the last couple of days since pay hit the bank, I have been busy sending it straight back out again, which is good! But, I got a bit behind on everything else I do online. Mostly because I was only logging on before work, doing money things and not coming back on in the evenings because I started re-reading the Sookie Stackhouse books and my I just looove Eric... but anyway....

I got up this morning and looked at my email - over a hundred, mostly notifications, but all sorts. I started to look at them but quickly realised I had not got time to do these threads of discussions any justice. So i turned away, vowing to come back tonight (which I have and now I am all caught up). I decided to nip on to Blogger and catch up there.

This was not a good idea - time was short by then. I opened all the blogs I wanted to read and worked my way through. i think the comments I left were too brief, they did not show the care I should show to my friends, and whats more, they made me late leaving the house. Or rather, my determination to squeeze them in did.

I did them no justice and I was thinking about work when I was reading them so I did not enjoy them so much either. I was not in the now.

Recently I have found that the nice voices that occasionally say things to me have been saying mroe things... Like don't go that way to work today - good advice since it turned out a car had broken down and was causing tail backs. Trusting in these things and being in the moment had meant that some days I could push time more and still be relaxed and not late. But today was not a day when I should have pushed, because I was not there....

So I put my foot down on the way to work on the dual carriageway. People were avoiding the fast late, so I zipped in and did some overtaking. Some way back, a white car pulled back in to the slow lane, leaving a white four by four some way back. A voice in my head said Police but I couldn't see anything that looked like Police, so I carried on going.

At my junction I pulled in to the slow lane and the white four by four caught me up.... It may have been white from the front, but it had lots of pretty markings on it including some nice flourescent ones. I was lucky today but it was a warning, of that I have no doubt. i already knew I had fallen out of the moment and pushed things too far, but putting my foot down was not the right way to correct that mistake, it just took me further out of the moment.

I was only one minute late clocking in and my Boss was already in a meeting. I was lucky and I won't try to cram things in like that again. I will do my friends the blessing of my undivided attention - or no attention at all until I have time..... At least on the web we can do it right....