Darkest Winter…time to slow down.

It’s Winter, the time of the year where everything slows down….including us humans!

It might not seem like it with it being the ‘party’ season, thankfully I no longer work in an occupation where this partying is necessary, I now move at a slower pace and I think this is because I am spending more time outside in Nature and I am tuning into the seasons more (and nothing to do with feeling older!)

This time of year, as we approach the Winter Solstice, the dark is taking up more and more of the day, the need to be warm and cosy is uppermost, the lighting of fires, candles and snuggling under warm blankets! It may seem like there is a lot of Winter left to go but if you take a few moments to look about when outside you can see the promise of more light, warmer temperatures and life waiting to burst forth.
All the trees have baby buds, ready to swell and send out new greenery..

But stop….take a moment and look, there is still so much to see.

The small winter birds are in abundance, making the most of the berries and hips still on the bushes, the evergreens (as it says on the tin!) are still wonderfully green, now all the leaves have fallen you can see the wonderful shape of the trees..

there are even some winter flowers starting to come out, like this winter flowering cherry…

Go with the season, take things slower, enjoy the darkness for the Winter Solstice approaches bringing it with it, the return of the sun! Solstice blessings to you all, x

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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!