Samhain

It is here…Samhain is here, the air is charged and magick is afoot!

Samhain means ‘Summers End’ and marks the end of a Pagan’s year and the start of a new one.

The veil between the world we live and the world in which our ancestors live is at its thinnest making it the perfect time to honour them and invite them to join you in your celebration.

The death of the year, the dying of the plants are all part of the cycle of life, the wheel of the year, death in itself is a fact and therefore not to be feared. We acknowledge that on this day more than any other. Many Pagans believe that light follows darkness, that we cannot have the light without the dark so the new year starts with the dark part of the year and we move through it towards the light again.

There is the area of Paganism that acknowledges the Goddess in her Crone phase, there are witches whose deities are Heckate and Cerridwen,  again working with darkness, birth, death and rebirth. There are Druidic and Celtic ways of marking this day along with many others but the same theme runs through all of these practices, it marks the end of the old and the start of the new while honouring those who have come before.

As the veil is thinner it also allows easier passage for tricksome spirits and the Fae so to appease them you leave an offering of food, unsalted bread and a libation of one variety or another.

Alongside the loaf of bread I have made for our family, I have made a smaller unsalted one for the Fae,

I have my altar set for tonight, with photographs of my grandparents and my great aunts, uncles and great grandmother.

I may also have a fire outside tonight after I come back from a Samhain gathering in a local park. A simple ceremony I will do if I have a fire is to collect some small sticks from the park, write a simple word or phrase for something I want to get rid of, that I don’t want to take forward into the new year and then throw into the fire to be removed from my life.

This is what I wish for everyone I know and love today, may you have a wonderful and blessed Samhain!

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Pagan the pigeon

A couple of weeks go I took the dog out with a view to digging up a baby cherry tree before the council came and mowed the grass banks and chopping it up.

I came back with said sapling and a baby pigeon I had found in the road. Daft beggar was close to fledging but had obviously taken a tumble from its nest. I found it in the road not able to move properly and it had a few peck wounds from the local corvids doing what corvids do. I couldn’t leave it to die out there on its own so brought it home.  Funnily enough I put the pigeon on some cloths in a plant pot (and forgot to plant the tree!!) thinking that it wouldn’t last more than a couple of hours – but at least it would just pass on gently.

However, later that evening the pigeon seemed to have recovered, much to my surprise so the decision was made to overnight it in the shed with some food and we would see what would happen by morning!

With some trepidation I opened the shed the following day to find one very much alive pigeon! Okaaaay, now what do I do with the bird?

Rang and spoke to a wildlife worker at an animal rescue center who said they would take it but were quite full so if I was happy to keep it in the shed I would be doing them a favour!

Off out to get some wild bird seed, I managed to get some water into the bird, cleaned and put some plantain balm on its wounds….it would appear that we would have a pigeon living in the shed for a while!

The children decided that the pigeon needed a name and chose Pagan…..so Pagan the pigeon became the resident of the shed,

Pagan knew that the plant pot was his new nest and after eating would always go back to his ‘nest’.

After a week or so, my husband had the idea of making a perch for Pagan so it could get stronger and use its wings, its wounds were healing nicely and there was plenty of food being eaten.

Pagan went from strength to strength, scoffing food and putting on weight, legs and wings getting much stronger as it was getting harder to hold the bird. I was intentionally handling the bird less readying it for release.

It was decided that we would release Pagan today, it seemed happy, healthy (as far as I could tell) and strong, so took the children out to say their goodbyes (tears from the youngest)

We put Pagan on top of the shed along with the bowl his food was in, the bird tottered around having a good look about.

After exploring the neighbours walls and yards it proved it was strong enough to fly by taking off and flying up to the top of our house, although I am sad that the pigeon has flown ‘the nest’, I am exceedingly happy that Pagan survived and now hopefully will go on to have a good pigeon life, who knows, maybe it will remain a visitor to our yard?

Grey mizzly rainy days

Hi, how are you all?

Samhain is nearly here and I am starting to get excited, there is an energy building and I can feel it. I haven’t had lot to get excited about recently but I can feel the anticipation in the air!

Anyway back to grey mizzly days….it was time to take the dog out for his walk so we went to one of the two local parks by where we live. I prefer this park to the other more popular one, it has a slightly more wild untamed unmanicured feel to it, it calls to me more.

Once inside the park (even with it being an inner-city park) the sound of local traffic drifts away, Mother Nature is wearing her soft grey cloak muffling all sound and muting her glorious Autumn colour palette,

Her cloak decorated everything it touched, from making leaves appear like they have been varnished,

to berries and hips being polished,

to some leaves and the blades of grass all bedecked in their diamonds,

The only sounds I can hear are  the gentle peeps of small winter birds and the steady drips from the wet leaves still attached to their trees.

A bit further around our walk I got to spend time with my favourite Oak (the one the dog managed to tie me to last time).

You can see that he is beginning to change his greenery for yellows and browns and standing under his magnificent boughs you could hear the different drips and see the leaves bounce with each drop, like the keys of a piano being played.

We carried on (after thanking the Oak for allowing me to spend time with him by tidying up any litter left beneath his great spread) I laughed at the antics of local squirrels  doing their stuff with the autumnal abundance, much to the annoyance of my canine companion!

The carpets of golds and browns that were laid out for all to stroll through brighten the dullest of tarmac surfaces

All in all, a soul soothing stroll hardly meeting another soul, thoughts wandering to the turning of the wheel, the seasons, the darker part of the year approaching and to Samhain – sheer bliss.

Do you have plans for Samhain, are you prepared already?

Whatever your plans, I wish you a blessed Samhain!

Talk to you again soon, x

Autumn’s paintbox

Now who can say honestly that they don’t like the colours Nature produces in Autumn. Mother Nature really does have all the best colours in her art-box!

Thanks to the gusty autumnal winds yesterday, the leaves where fluttering and flying about while I was out walking the dog. The cherry trees near the top of the road had let loose some of the most vivid red and orange leaves, much earlier than some other trees and it always seems such a shame that the wonderful colours cannot continue.

Now I like to burn candles and tealights so I decided to collect some leaves with strongest colours so that I could use them as a tealight decoration.

I have a cracking little device for pressing flowers in a microwave so it’s done within 30 seconds, no having to wait patiently for them in a normal flower press or in books.

I pressed all my leaves before glueing them onto the side of a small glass, overlapping some of them to fill the gaps. I then painted glue on the outside of the leaves as this acts a bit like varnish as it seals and protects the leaves from drying any further. I just use normal PVA kiddy glue (and it means I get the added pleasure of peeling it all off my hands later like you used to do in primary school!)

This is the end result..

The colours in these pictures have not been enhanced at all…this is how it looks when lit from inside!

Now I can enjoy the beautiful warm tones of Autumn as we move forward into Winter with its colder temperatures, darker days and longer nights.

Samhain next….are you all prepared and ready? No, I’m not at all…let’s see if I can rectify that! x

A few minutes well spent.

Afternoon!

This was taken from underneath my favourite big Oak in one of my local parks.

 I like spending time with this Oak, it always makes me feel better and by way of thanks I always collect up any litter found underneath and around it when I leave.

Today my dog thought I hadn’t spent enough healing time with the Oak apparently, as he wandered around the tree whilst on his extending lead and in effect tied me to the trunk of the Oak, therefore meaning more time spent touching the tree as I tried to persuade the dog to retrace his steps and untie me!

I like this Oak and would like to think that this Oak enjoys time spent with me (and my dog!)