First Flowers

Thick fog this morning. Drizzle and greyness. Winter. 

I had to push to get work done at first. But as I got on with jobs, they seemed to become easier, more fun.

By afternoon, the fog had lifted. The sun appeared, and the sky brightened into blue. My heart began to lift. 

I can still see my breath, but it’s 5pm and still daylight. I don’t need as many layers of clothing.

Then, in our little grove, in the midst of a stand of trees past the badger setts, are the first snowdrops. Just one patch, with the rest not quite there yet – but those white heads are here again. They made it. 

Spring is on the way. We can lift our heads and breathe…

Imbolc blessings, my friends.

Wrapping

Many years ago, not long past the very beginning of my Druidry journey, I saw a priestess at work. Prior to a ritual of passing, she sat at a riverside, shawl draped over her head. Utterly at peace, preparing for what was to come.

I’ve heard of many modern-day Priestesses who do this. I usually wear a shawl or scarf of some sort, and have been applauded happily by fellow non-Pagan chaplains for being a woman with her head-covering prepared if necessary. It can be a sign of respect, but also an act of protection. Literally covering the head to enter the right ‘head-space’.

Last year, I was recommended a site called ‘Wrapunzel‘, which is run primarily by Jewish ladies who wanted to share their love of beautiful wraps and allow other women to practice their faith and not look dull while doing so. Nowadays, the Wrapunzel Facebook group plays host to women of all faiths and none, ladies undergoing chemotherapy or other illness… those who simply wish to stand in their womanliness while having their head covered. For whatever reason.

I’ve met lovely new friends on there, Pagan and otherwise, and while still exploring my own practice regarding wraps (ie still practising getting the things on and looking good!), I’ve found this so useful when alone and preparing for ritual – as in that original circumstance, back when I was witness only.

Many modern Pagans wear hoods on their robes. ‘Hoodies’ are common on the high street. The act of wrapping, whether tichel or hijab, can be a political statement. Or it can be a consolation, a ‘head hug’ (love that term!). Our ancestors did this, in virtually every culture, and now so do we.

Today, it struck me as inspiring. A woman wishing to add to her beauty and be proud. This video is a ‘How to‘, one of many on this YouTube channel, but made me smile so much this morning, just from the simplicity of the act but also how happy the lady looks once she is done and ready to face the day.

And then, in a local charity shop, I found a pretty glittery green scarf for £2. Perfect. Now to keep practising…

The Journey

Yesterday and today I’ve been away from home, ensconced in a lovely manor house with a group of friendly Pagans, learning about Chaplaincy. Much laughter but also seriousness, shared intention and determination.

Coming home this evening I felt empowered, as if another level had been reached through the unity of our work and perspective. I wanted to drive for miles to explore, or to go for a run when back… To Do Something, to hold on to that energy!

Of course, that wasn’t to be. I set my course and returned safely, to a quiet house with just a sleeping kitten and myself, pondering the adventure.

We set the foundation, charge our energy and prepare our focus. When the time is right, we will be ready to move – but not just yet. Enthusiasm isn’t fuel enough, not quite! 

We’re still in winter. Finding inspiration in the dark, the peace, the planning and story weaving. 

The journey has begun. But first gear has to be the starting point; or the prologue before the action. 

I will do my best to hold on to that laughter and determination, moving forward.

Stars

A day of ups and downs. Magic, work and inspiration, as well as sharp bumps and some overwhelm…

I stepped out this evening, into the crisp night air, and felt the wind on my skin. I looked up at the stars, heard the trees whispering. The rain has finally stopped, the clouds gone.

I stand, and breathe. As I tell others to do so often. The simplest of acts – to simply step outside. Remember where you are, feel it, look with all of your senses.

The year is beginning to unfold. I am listening for what is to be heard.

I stand in my power. The peace of the winter night is welcome.

Surviving

This morning, I awoke in the throes of a panic attack. And it was HUGE. A whirlpool of chaos, sucking me down with constant thoughts of distress, failure, pain, hurt… And ultimately, the solid fact that You Cannot Do It.

Somehow, I managed to grab on to a lifeline in my mind (and a pillow in reality). Somehow I stepped out of that barrage of awfulness, managing to see it from the outside: a black hole of destruction, from which nothing good can emerge. But that wasn’t me.

I remembered who I was. I remembered how to breathe. I got up, found coffee. Showered, prepared for work.

I am now home, from a fast-paced, full day. Hectic and demanding, at top speed… But I did it. I Could, and Did. 

Someone spoke to me today of battling his own demons. Sharing made the tension fall away from his shoulders; as the session went on, his smile grew, until silly jokes were being shared instead. ‘I feel so much better for coming here.’

Battling for what is owed, for those I care for. ‘Go kick arse, Cat!’ Because they know I will.

Such words are worth more than gold. If the panic had won, I would not have heard them, because they may not have even been spoken. 

I survived today, and the demons did not win. Not just me, but those I touched with words, smiles… and a little Force Lightning.

😉

Reaching

I call to the wind
Feel its touch on my face
And its breath through the leaves
As is mine.

I call to the sun
Feel the heat in my fingers
Life running through
Inside and out.

I call to the rain
Touch the full clouds above
Taste the damp in the air
And beneath my bare feet.

I call to the earth
Questing down, rooting deep
And unable to find words…
So I stand.

I reach, all around
Heart to soul, spirit to spirit
So different and yet
Connected.

I see people stare.
They want to feel as I do.

And you know what?
You can.

Tool Tales

August is not my favourite month. I don’t do well in extreme heat, and humidity is my least favourite climate. Even on my hilltop in the Midlands, where there’s usually a breeze of some sort, it’s been very heavy lately in terms of air pressure, which makes for physical and mental tiredness.

Today, I’ve been pondering tools to help. Ritual tools are great when they’re needed (although not always as essential as some of the books would have you believe), but sometimes it’s just little things which assist you in both cosmic and mundane tasks as you go about your day.

My tiny quartz ring acts like a miniature battery, bolstering energy when it’s needed, even just to focus me enough to get necessary jobs done. My partner and I both have haematite items nearby when working as well, to keep us determinedly grounded if things get too chaotic.

I’ve grown to love my hairsticks and shawl pins, both of which bear more than a passing resemblance to Ollivander wands.

My shawls themselves sit around my shoulders like a comfort hug, reassuring and strengthening. Today, the Big Blue Blanket was also needed when I inadvertently fell asleep mid-afternoon from sheer overload.

These are little things, but meaningful. Usually hand-crafted by myself or someone I know, they are like friends to be called upon, each with their own stories, becoming part of mine as I share my journey with them.

And inside my handbag… once a necessary weapon in itself while commuting (along with my armour/leather jacket), it now holds everything necessary, from wallet and phone to small pouch of Necessities and keyring charm of paracord.

Tools aren’t just ornaments (although they can be that as well). Each has a practical use. You can tell the especially valuable ones, because they show signs of wear from being picked up over and over; the pretty-but-useless gather dust on shelves.

What tools bring a little magic to your days, and keep you buoyed when you need them? Let’s honour them as we take them up – not just when we can’t find them!