Coincidence…

I’ve often said that I don’t really believe in coincidences any more. Here’s one example of why.

Today, while performing a Handfasting ritual, I called to the elements to set the space, as I always do. It was a sunny, calm day, but we were indoors due to the physical needs of those present.

Air made itself known by billowing the curtains on command (and cheekily blowing the skirt of my robe). Water likewise, by having the kitchen tap suddenly burst out some drips when called.

This may seem to be just my noticing because I was looking at that precise moment. Except that something like this happens at every single ritual I’ve ever done.

From rainbows appearing when the couple say their vows, to storms waiting until we’re done before letting rip (more than once).

And that’s before I even mention what happens when I call on ancestors or Gods by name.

Many years of such occurrences have taught me to keep both an open mind and open eyes. You call with true intent… you will get an answer.

Something to bear in mind next time you say ‘Oh Gods, help.’ 😉

Small Steps

Hard times. But I am moving.

Today, I have a cold. Sneezing, coughing, battling to keep warm (or cool), headachey… brain too furry to do much. Plans put by the wayside as I return to bed.

But something shifts in me, as I sit and think. 

In recent times, my head has been almost suffocated by the thick fog of negative thoughts. But with recent medication changes, I’m starting to see clarity again. The fog is thinning. My lovely doctor is thrilled that my natural smile is returning.

I’m finding myself again. I walk around this house, where I’ve lived for ten years now. My home, with my wee family. Full of the stuff of our lives: physical things holding unique memories, but also games played on the stairs with kittens, pups rolling around on the rug, hugs and laughter in every room…

When that black fog (dog?) rolls in, my tactics are now taking effect. I light a candle for focus and brightness. I burn sweet incense to remind me of magic and ritual. I walk barefoot across the wooden floors, wrap myself in blankets I knitted, immerse myself in stories that engage…

I write random thoughts to share, for those who may feel as I do. To prove that I can still express myself, create, speak up – that my mind is my own. This is me. I’m still moving. It is possible.

The cold germs force rest. With every sneeze, badness is spat out and my head clears (briefly!). I trust that my body does its thing and evicts the toxic, as I am trying to do with the unhelpful thoughts. 

I reach out with my words… magic from the tips of my fingers, to reach you.

And I smile as I imagine you reading. 

Much love, 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…

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!

Visiting the Otherworld

Awake in a hotel room at 4am this morning, to reach Stonehenge just after sunrise.

Fog wraps the land in a blanket. Driving is a challenge, carefully navigating the obscured pathways and sudden signs, as well as roaming wildlife. Every move forward reminds me of the journeys we tell in story, of stepping through the mists into the Otherworld. I’ve no idea what lies beyond.

Barefoot on damp grass, I step into the circle. Breathing deep, the words come and the ritual begins. I’m aware of those watching, in body and in spirit. Focus. Feel the weight of the stones.

Cameras are clicking, guards in high-visibility coats hold the space in their own way. Curious jackdaws glide overhead. I feel welcomed, held, just one of so many who have held similar rites in this small area across the centuries. The powerful places help us mark the important times in our lives, after all.

We conclude, congratulate and smile. Questions come, thick and fast, but all curious and well-meant. Small applause from random strangers, caught up in the theatrics of the moment, but happy to be part of something…

We all return to our everyday lives. I will perform this rite again, perhaps even in this place. Every one unique, every day its own. Walking the line between the Otherworld as it touches this.

Each memory of such an occasion is held, honoured and celebrated. And I’m so very glad to be a part of it.

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Moments

My first post while travelling – but it certainly won’t be the last. Small and succinct, while the connection holds! And I apologise if it’s a little disjointed – I’m fairly exhausted (but in a good way).

Today could be classed as ‘work’. Many hours of travelling, effort and nerves… to make one couple’s Handfasting everything they wished it to be.

This is so much more than ‘work’. I’m not sure there are words to describe it, not really. ‘Vocation’ comes close. The joy of facilitating key moments in life, of being a part of them, sharing such powerful memories – always an honour.

And every single ritual that I do is different, unique in its own way. Every one has its single memorable moment that shines out in my mind.

Today could have been the look in the eyes of the couple just before they kissed. The sun beaming warm over us all. The tales they told of their ancestors.

But it’s more simple than that. I stepped into a bustling kitchen full of children, relatives and friends, to be met with smiles, laughter, happiness and hugs. Strangers become friends, stories are shared, and we are immediately welcome.

The generosity of those I meet in this ‘work’ is awe-inspiring. I am so proud to be part of this community, and excited all over again to see what the coming months hold. So many moments…

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(I don’t like using pictures of others without permission – so this is myself and my lovely partner Jim today, just doing our thing)