Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Mists of illusion...

More thoughts on feeling disconnected and generally grumpy with the world pagan or otherwise...

(See previous blog posts - 'disconnected' and 'clean sweep').

I don't think we are ever totally disconnected from the Divine, life, each other, the web of Wyrd etc...I am actually beginning to think that we just can't see that connection sometimes.

I think that the opinions, views, thoughts and actions of other people added to our own create a mist of illusion that causes us to feel disconnected and cut off.  The connections are still there...we just can't see them.

Whatever faith you are, whatever you believe in - divinity does not abandon us but we sometimes just can't see it.

My feelings recently have been my own creation obviously, but they have been 'sparked' by the words and actions of others.

I see a lot of drama and a lot of heated discussions on various forums and social media sites a lot of which make me cross and want to jump in with my own views.  A few years back I would have...I would have just leapt in, knee jerk reaction and made my own point.  Trouble is when everyone does that things always, always get heated, taken out of context, misunderstood and all kinds of nasty breaks loose.  Experience has taught me to step away from the keyboard.  Because let's face it, how many times have you read a thread on Facebook where each person has shared their views on a subject but it is quite plainly obviously that none of them have actually read the other comments?  Healthy discussion and debate is fun, interesting and inspiring...but only when everyone takes on board the comments of each other, when people actually 'listen' to what the others are saying.  That doesn't seem to happen very much, especially on social media.

So I don't get involved...does that make me a big wuss?  No I don't think so, I prefer to think that it makes me strong, it takes a lot of will power (that I don't have much of) to step away and not get involved.

It is that kind of 'dicussion' that makes me cross and then despair about the world in general, I think it is then that the illusion starts to be created.

Being an author and being a part of a team that runs workshops, rituals and an online school we also enter the world of marketing, sales and competition - which doesn't necessarily go hand in hand with pagan views.  I am  not going to get into the 'no money for spirituality' argument, it's boring snoring, but even if you are putting on free events (which we also do by the way) you are entering a world of marketing your event, competing with others and hoping that people will turn up...sometimes that gets a bit stressful!   In this scenario I am learning that you just have to get a thicker skin, do what you do, go with your intuition, put it out there and hope that the Gods have guided you correctly and that you are doing something that will help, guide and support everyone in the right way.

Maybe I just wear rose tinted spectacles and want the world to be full of peace, love and understanding but I am trying to learn to see past the illusions...

Monday, 21 July 2014

Time for a clean sweep...

Over the past couple of weeks I haven't been feeling 'it' (no Carry On Film sniggers please) what I mean by 'it' is everything, what I do, how I feel, where I am going...

No particular reason, just feeling a bit disconnected from it all and not really knowing why or how to move forward.  The full moon and now the waning moon don't help!

I have recently had a fabulous shamanic reading from one of our lovely Kitchen Witch School students, very insightful and I have been mulling over that as it shows several pathways.  Last week's horoscope from the fab Astro Twins and then this week's too shows that I should be taking on new challenges, putting my business hat on and rocking the world...but it's been a bit of a struggle.  A new book contract last week was of course fabulous and our new Goddess Pathways online Celtic Goddess course has had an amazing response and we are really excited about starting that with everyone on 1st September.

But...and here's the thing...sometimes stuff doesn't work, sometimes it does at first but it grows tired (or I do), sometimes it doesn't work from the start (thankfully we haven't had that happen yet) and sometimes you start something and others like the idea and start similar ideas as well, which is cool, coz everyone is different and we all want slightly different things right?  (Does any of that even make sense?).  I guess a weekend of seeing so many 'pagan politics' on facebook doesn't help either, so many  people with such strong views about what should be done and how it should be carried out - to be honest it has started to feel like I am in the middle of some kind of bizarre competition, a kind of 'pagan it's a knockout' (you have to be as old as me to remember that TV programme).

So what to do?  Well sometimes it can be time for a change and the waning moon is actually a good time to look at what worked, what didn't and what you need to get rid of.  So this afternoon will be spent with a cup of chai latte, a very large notebook and a pen...and allow my intuition, mind, inspiration and general ideaness (I know it's not a real word) to open up...

Having a good look at the past few months and seeing what really rocked and what didn't, what made my heart sing and what I feel tired of doing ... because let's face it, if the person teaching/leading/running something doesn't have their heart in it then the whole thing will reflect that. 

Time a good clean sweep of the old and for some new ideas and some new zing...

Tracey is already waiting...possibly quite scared...for a barrage of emails containing mind maps and strange, wild ideas for the future...to which she will obviously add her own strange and wild ideas ...or send me an email back saying "you have got to be kidding me..."

Thursday, 17 July 2014

We may need more cake...

I don't religiously follow my horoscope but occasionally I take a glance, usually when the Astro Twins pop up on my facebook feed - I love the way they write.

Anyway...this week said:

Starships are meant to fly—and apparently, Scorpios are too. Pull that power suit to the front of your closet and get ready to ascend. This Wednesday, July 16, expansive Jupiter zips into Leo and your tenth house of success, dumping cosmic Miracle-Gro all over your career. Enjoy the power surge and get those big plans in motion. Between now and August 11, 2015, the neon light is flashing: Goals! Goals! Goals! Take off the Wayfarers and get your game face on. You’ll be spending more time than usual in the public eye; not always the most comfortable place for such a secretive soul.

Whoohoo! Apart from the 'public eye' bit...although those that know me may not believe it...being in the public eye is not easy for me...

The week actually started quite well and I say that because for the last couple of Mondays I have had definite attacks of the Monday morning blues however this week Monday morning went quite smoothly.

Tuesday was a LURVERLY day spent in Brighton with my husband, a belated anniversary date.  The weather was gorgeous, we mooched around the Lanes and the North Lanes (my favourite) and sat outside a restaurant eating lunch watching the world go by (Gourmet Burger Kitchen - highly recommended).  Oh and we walked so much my feet ached so I had to purchase some new sandals...for comfort obviously...

Tuesday also heralded a new book contract which is always exciting.

Book number six follows on from book number five which will be published in October, it is kind of a companion book but will also stand alone.  The Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Herbs & Plants will be followed with the new one which is The Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Food... perfectly 'up my street' as the saying goes.  

There is the initial excitement of receiving a contract...but after the initial whoooop feeling the actual realisation that I now have to write 45,000 words is a little daunting.  My wise husband always says "plan it out, do an hour each day then it won't be overwhelming"...very sensible plan, but in reality I seem to do a whole lot of research then have a mad panic towards the deadline date and end up writing for hours on end...

This time however the book will have food recipes in, it won't be a cook book but it will have some recipes to tempt the reader so each of those will have to be tested...I know...it's a tough job but somebody has to do it.  So I will have to be waaaay more organised with this one.  I am really excited to be writing about food (obviously!) not just because I love food; the whole process from growing it, harvesting, planning menus, cooking, creating and eating but because there is such magic in food as well.  We are all familiar with herbs and plants having magical properties but I think magical food gets forgotten sometimes.

So I embark on a new journey with this book - it also has a new facebook page of its own which was another moment of humbleness (is that a word?) for me.  I started the page yesterday morning about 11am...this morning it has just over 400 likes...WOW completely floored...

It might seem from the outside that I am confident and successful and that life just lands in my lap, but believe me - it all takes work, a whole lot of hard work and I worry, I have those huge 'wobble' moments on a regular basis.  Will people like my books? What if they don't enjoy the workshops?  Should we still keep doing rituals, do people still want to come?  And any amount of other Why and What if questions usually on a daily basis...but I have to trust that I will be guided, that my intuition will be good, that what happens is all for a reason...it's not easy to surrender to trusting that you are on the right pathway...but I try.

And it's only Wednesday...what else does the week have in store?

With my new regular column in the Pagan Dawn magazine on magical food and a new regular recipe column in the Mystik Way that Tracey and I are writing as Kitchen Witch we may need more cake...



Thursday, 10 July 2014

Disconnected

At some point during our spiritual journeys it seems to happen, maybe even more than once - the disconnection.

It seems to creep up gradually...all of a sudden you wake up one day and realise that you haven't 'connected' with your spiritual side in a long while.  It is easily done - in today's busy and hectic lifestyles with everything that life likes to throw at us especially if you are a working mum/dad/wife/husband juggling all the everyday stuff.

It is a question I get asked a lot "I have lost my spiritual connection, my spark - how do I get it back?" - sometimes it isn't easy and I have those disconnection times too.

I actually don't think social media helps, you log onto facebook in the morning and see that everyone has been out to moots and meetings, rituals and events - all having a wonderful time connecting with all things spiritual and interacting with fellow pagans.  For some people that isn't always possible to do, you may not drive, you may not have baby sitters, you may work evenings/weekends and it can be quite disheartening.

Disconnection can make you feel empty and lost.  You begin to question your journey and whether this is the right path for you, you wonder if/why the goddess has abandoned you - she hasn't...she is still there, waiting for you to find your thread again.

How do you re-connect?  There is no sure fire 'one size fits all' answer...sorry.   However there are suggestions.   Simple ones are to step outside, even if it is just on your half hour lunch break from work, take your sandwiches outside and sit in your garden, the local park even a bench in the town centre - somewhere that you can connect with the elements.  And just sit, quietly...open yourself up to nature, it might just be a sad spindly tree in the middle of the shopping centre but connect with it.

Meditation is also good, I know we probably all don't have the time to slip into our yoga pants, light incense and candles and 'om' for hours...but just five minutes in the morning, on your lunchbreak, in the toilet or the shower can be beneficial - not in the car though coz that would be dangerous...just a few minutes to run through a grounding and centring exercise is better than nothing.

Stand outside at night time and look up at the moon, connect with the goddess and ask for her guidance.  Or stand outside in the sunshine (don't look directly at the sun...ouch) and ask the god for his guidance.

I find that clearing, cleaning and re-dressing my altar helps as well, just the actions of cleaning it all and putting a fresh cloth over and fresh flowers makes me feel better.  Even if you only have a tiny altar, give it a dust and move the items around on it.

Smudge your house and yourself, you don't have to use smudge sticks if you don't have them you can use incense sticks or even salt & water - give your home a good spiritual cleanse.

Pick up a spiritual book, it might be one you haven't read for ages or one that you purchased and popped on the shelf to 'read later' and never got around to.  Open the book randomly, see what page it falls to.

If you are able to join in with local moots, events or rituals then go for it - most groups are extremely welcoming of newcomers, check out your area and see what's going on.

If you can't get out there are a huge number of facebook groups and pages and the internet has lots of forums for like minded people.

Pick up your tarot or oracle cards and do a reading for yourself, if you have crystals get them out and give them a cleanse and work with them.

If you have like minded friends talk to them, they will understand and they will be able to help.  Likewise if you are part of a coven then talk to your High Priestess, she is there to help with any problems you have.

It might take a while to get back into the swing of things, work with it gradually, build it up slowly...if it is the right path for you to follow it will all fall back into place when you are ready.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Precious memories ♥

Yesterday evening was spent looking through old photo albums...yes we have albums with actual photos in (rather than a memory stick of digital ones).  We went back over twenty years of memories...although sadly the albums stop short about 7 years ago...when the digital photos and cameras took over.

Many, many lovely memories of life as a younger couple - and much smaller waistlines LOL - some funny hair styles and fashion faux pas'.  Our wedding album from 16 years ago...our children didn't recognise the blonde woman in the white dress in the photos...(me).

Lots of "oh I had forgotten the dining room was that colour" or "wow I had forgotten we went there" moments.

And of course the photos from both our children being born "awwwww".

Life is a journey and it was very magical to take a step back in time and wander through all those memories, it also sparked the realisation that photo albums are very special and I think a nicer treasure to keep photographs in rather than on the computer.

It was also quite an emotional journey, remembering life as it was at the beginning when I met my husband 22 years ago before children, before we owned our own house, before the credit cards and mortgage LOL  followed by the memories of our wedding - we hosted the reception at home and I made all the food so it was a bit hectic but fabulous.  Then the births of both our children and how much they changed our lives and the way we live.

Watching a kind of film strip as our lives change, grow, twist and turn and how we as people have changed as well - physically and mentally.

I am most definitely not the person I was 22 years ago, particularly as then I had not really started on my spiritual journey.

Life changes as we grow and lots of outside factors change the story for us, I think the important thing is to learn as we go along and to accept that change happens, hopefully for the best.  It is about learning to move with those changes, going with the flow and working together to make life work.

I feel a tinge of sadness for my 'youth' but I would not want to be 16 again...I love all that I have done with my life so far and all that I have achieved.  I have made some mistakes along the way, small ones and much bigger ones but I don't regret any of the decisions made because each step of my life journey has led me to where I am now and I would not change that for the world.

Sometimes we try and go back to the way things were in our past - to 'reclaim our youth' but in reality I don't believe it ever works.  Just silly things such as looking back at TV programmes - I LOVED the Young Ones when I was a teenage but I saw a re-run a while back and it was awful!   And much as I loved being a teenager in the eighties the fashion was um...interesting to say the least...although I do still harbour a secret love of ra ra skirts, leg warmers and Depeche Mode...

Life is for living and I think we do get dragged down with things occasionally, I know I do - yesterday in particular was a difficult day but in the scale of things it was nothing, just a few challenges (some of which are still not sorted but I'm working on it) I have dealt with much worse.

Look back on your past as precious memories but live for the moment here and now ♥