Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Warning...this blog post may offend...

Warning...this blog post may offend...actually if it does then good!

In the midst of the battle that womankind (and man) are fighting against media and body shape/size it makes me really cross and extremely sad to see the 'Walmart shopper' type pictures that are trending around facebook.

There was one in particular yesterday - and I did debate about putting the image on this blog but then I thought "hey, this woman was minding her own business and some complete stranger took a photo of her without her knowledge and then plastered it all over social media" so I didn't want to add to the invasion of her privacy.   It was a photo of a very curvaceous lady wearing a skimpy lycra outfit, it did cover all the appropriate body parts but the skirt was short and the top was low cut...the strapline on the photo said something along the lines of "describe in one word"...the comments that followed can only be described as VILE, one of them suggested that "it should be killed"...

Why do we as a people feel the need to belittle others?  To ridicule that which looks different to what we perceive as normal?  Personally I think normal is way over rated and I would much rather be unique.

This woman (and all the other photos like it) was a lady totally in control of her confidence and rocking her curves, I say "good on ya girl"!   Was it an outfit I would wear? No, (although my husband would probably have liked me to!) but what does that have to do with it?  Who am I or anyone else to judge her and what she wants to wear?  What gives us the right to trash talk about her?

We are all fighting the sterotype that the fashion industry would insist we look like - the rib cage skinny with knife edge shoulder blades - we continuously fight for the fuller figure to be accepted in the 'industry' and 'mainstream' so why do we then trash images of goddess shape women?

And whilst we are on the subject, yes I do join the campaign for the industry to accept women to be a realistic size.  When I was a teenager I could rock a size 8 ra ra skirt but that was a gazillion years and a couple of children ago - no way would I ever maintain a size 8 figure now, nor would I want to. I have my bad "I think I am fat" days (I wear a UK size 16) but in actual fact yes I am larger now than I was in my teens and twenties but I am also the most confident and content...The flip side of this as well, when we post the images on facebook of Marilyn Monroe types and what the fashion industry would have us call 'larger models' do we then belittle those of the population that are either naturally slim or work very hard to be so?

Why can we not just accept that whatever body size or shape we are is right for us? Why can we not just accept that if we want to go out dressed in whatever outfit we dang well choose to that it is up to us and no one else's business?

All those people that are commenting on these photos with vile, sarcastic and spiteful comments...are you perfect?  What the heck gives you the right to judge those people?

I say...be yourself, be confident, be comfortable, wear what makes YOU feel good and wear whatever you damn well want to and anyone that says otherwise can go take a running jump...

If you are one of those that judges and that puts the spiteful comments on those social media posts...WHY, why would you do that to another human being?

Right...I'm off to put on my Princess Leia gold bikini to go do the shopping...

Monday, 28 July 2014

Who do I choose?

There has been a lot of talk recently (on facebook of course!) about which holistic and spiritual practitioners to use and what medium/tarot readers to go to.

I would whole heartedly 100% advocate seeking out holistic therapies.   When I was 16 I became very ill and was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and Proctitis...not pleasant at any age but horrendous as a teenager.  I struggled with it for years under various doctors and specialists and on any number of medications all of which were steroid based and came with their own horrible side effects including depression and mood swings for which I was given even more medication.

Then about 15 years ago I happened upon a reflexologist advertising help for digestive problems ... so I went...and practically floated home from the first session.  Several intense sessions later I was weaned from half the medications and a few months later I was not only completely medication free my UC was much, much better.   I continued to have regular reflexology sessions but also tested out EFT (emotional freedom technique) and Kinesiology along with being food intolerance tested.  All of these holistic therapies have led me to be UC free for about 6 years now, I still have to be careful with food and I have the odd bad day when it 'niggles' but nothing like the attacks I used to have.  In fact when I had my last hospital check up 3 years ago they declared me fully in remission.

This was mostly with thanks to reflexology and holistic treatments helped along the way by my own spiritual journey with witchcraft.

There are a huge amount of holistic therapists now offering all sorts of lovely treatments, I was inspired to train myself with Reiki and am a Reiki Master Teacher and also a certified Crystal Healer (although I don't practice as a professional).  

How do you find the right therapist though?

My advice would be to trust your intuition, go to the Mind Body Spirit fairs and try some of the taster sessions or get recommendations from friends.  But go with your gut, if you make a connection with the therapist then excellent but if anything makes you feel even slightly wary...go somewhere else.

As for charging?  There are healers who don't charge at all but most of the therapists are professionals who have taken a lot of time and effort to train (and spent a lot of money in doing so) and are certified, this also means that they will be insured as well.  I am not saying don't get treatments for free - some therapists will also work a barter system, but make sure that the person treating you is qualified and experienced.  These people will be working with your personal energies and whilst the aim is to work some healing magic and sort the energies out for you, they can if not properly trained or inexperienced cause damage - again, go with your instinct about how you feel about the person doing the treatment.  Personally I believe there should be some kind of 'energy exchange', if the healer is doing it for a living then money is a good exchange for the benefit you will receive but don't pay over the odds...just because someone is charging £100 an hour it does not mean they are better than the person charging £40.

I have also had some lovely treatments at healing shares, so keep an eye out for those (we run them occasionally as well).

The same applies for mediumship and tarot readings.  They can be extremely helpful if you need guidance or support in a decision.   And there are a lot of readers out there too.  There aren't the same sort of 'qualifications' for readers, there are some certificated courses but I have had fantastic readings from people that have been self taught as well.  Again with this go with your instinct, get a taster reading at a MBS fair if you can or go by recomendation.  Don't be put off if the person is offering free readings because they are learning - I have had some good readings from people who were practising.  Again don't pay over the odds...same rules apply...just because someone offers a reading for £65 (I have seen this price advertised, personally I wouldn't pay that much) it doesn't make them any better than someone charging £20.   I usually do readings for donations, but then I don't work as a professional tarot reader.

There are ethics with readings too - no reader should ever tell you that you will drop dead within the week, neither should they tell you that your wife is having an affair with the milkman.  There are ways of wording things to prompt you as the client to be wary or get health check ups - no one should come away from a reading in floods of tears with a cloud of doom hanging over them.  

I have had a lot of very good readings over the years - mediumship, tarot, oracle card and shamanic journeys, I have also had some average readings and on one occasion a totally awful one and that was with a professional medium/tarot reader who does it for a living, not only was the reading total hooey (apparently I should now be working in a hedgehog hospital??) but the reader also threw in some very strong accusations about my marriage.  Thankfully I was sensible enough to know the whole reading was total garbage, but if I had gone to seek guidance and support I would have come out of there totally devastated and misled.  So choose wisely and go with your instinct.

Bear in mind as well that all readings predicting the future are only possible outcomes and not definite and that the information given is for guidance only and not set in stone.

And again the same applies for spiritual teachers - all of the above counts,  go with your instinct, seek out recommendation from friends or ask to be put in touch with other students who can talk to you about the teachers and the course itself.  Some teachers with do courses for free, most will charge some kind of energy exchange.  I have seen courses that run to thousands of pounds per year, personally I would not pay that much but it's your call...remember that with teaching and courses a lot of work, time and effort will have (hopefully!) gone into the preparation, planning and writing of the course and then the follow up, make sure you will be supported along your journey throughout the course itself.  Again check the qualifications and experience of the teacher and that the course is their own actual work, I have seen one or two courses where the information is just copied and pasted from the internet...you can get that for free yourself!   

Not every person will 'match' with every reader, therapist or teacher.  We are all different and all unique.

There are a lot of people to choose from, most of them are lovely - just be guided by your intuition.

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...