Bike-gate – Another Family Fantasy Fail?

This one will be less about the Celtic witch and all about the mama! My response to my small son’s patent screen addiction, another idiot, unrealistic, family expectation! I decided the answer lay in getting us ALL to participate in an outdoor family friendly activity. For this ridiculous notion, I chose bicycles, naively believing this was the simplest of solutions?!

Okay, so Laurie can’t really ride his bike, and because he can’t ride it to perfection he isn’t even interested in trying…And my husband didn’t even have a bike, so we certainly didn’t have a roof rack! But I wasn’t going to let a few fundamentals like that get in the way of my romantic ideal!? Details schemeetails…..

I tried to materialise my family fantasy last weekend….ordering my husband to get himself kitted out on the Friday. Neglecting to remember, him being of the asparagus variety, would be incapable of a simple quick fix but more of an in-depth research project! Needless to say, a bike did not appear until this weekend but give him his due, it was as cheap as chips….

He, whilst high on his cheap prize, went wide in the aisles of Halfords and splashed out not only on a cheap bike-rack but also what’s known on the streets as a ‘tail gator’. A genius solution for those wishing to partake on a family bike ride, in-spite of their lazy little tyke. This costly contraption connects the kid bike to the adult bike, so basically all the kid has to do is hold on tight…sweet FA on the effort front and perfect for my son!

My husband set about putting it all together on Saturday afternoon, falsely believing and sharing that he would easily finish it all on Sunday morning! After all, how difficult could it be putting together a roof rack and this tail thing….people do this shit all the time don’t they??? A further 2.5 hours later, the sun well and truly over the yardarm, I stuffed 2 hungry kids in the car and disappeared, in a cloud of exasperation, to the nearest pub.

I have to confess, we were all incredibly surprised to see him rock up with the bikes over an hour later….we’d given up! Unfortunately, the peddle on one, had broken the rear wiper off! #Happiness. And decided despite the on/off rain showers, to proceed with my crazy plan…After all that bloody effort, we were seeing this through!

Within 30 seconds everyone, except me, my bike has mudguards, was covered in heavy duty mud splatters. No matter, clothes can be washed right….We miraculously did managed quite a few miles before the sky turned threatening and I demanded we return. Not being a regular biker, I didn’t fancy being stuck miles from the safety of the car with 2 small drenched children. This was met with moans and groans from all and sundry, joy breaker that I was. However, I was right as always! The journey back was predictably incident rich, my daughter’s chain came off, son discovered that by secretly applying his breaks he could slow his Dad down…. cue a load of expletives from my husband when he found out…child-friendly of course!

Again, of course it took an inordinate length of time to get those wretched mud splattered bikes back onto the rack, in the rain….And in doing so, anything that wasn’t already covered in mud became coated! I thought I was being clever by covering their car seats in black plastic bags, nah it didn’t….the mud found a way….

When we got home in the nearly dark, we faced a bloody mountain of unavoidable tasks! Stripping everyone before they made it past the backdoor and covered the house, washing coats in time for school, getting the bikes off the rack and washed down in the cold, cleaning out both cars, whilst small voices screamed for more food…arrgggggggg, no sitting back with a bottle for us!!! Absolutely fucking exhausting…..

So was it worth it???? All that time, expense, effort for maybe an hour of riding……The kids loved it, my husband’s determined to get his money’s worth but I’ve got a very sore arse….Maybe in Spring when its dry!

This is not us, I’m not that thin!

My Parenting Struggles – I’m sure climbing an ice mountain in high heels would be easier!

This blog is going to be about the struggles I face trying to raise my kids, and as you can expect, will be excruciatingly honest! Yes I could get into trouble for this, but actually its got so bad I welcome any professional support, and intrinsically I know for some of you my story will resonate and help. And although I could try to place the blame at Society’s feet, the reality is just that some of us really struggle with raising our kids and its been that way for a lot of people for a very long time, if not forever. It’s probably karmic, a choice made before a lifetime starts, for the purposes of spiritual growth. I believe that, but these beliefs aren’t keeping my soul warm or making this parenting journey any easier. I spend a lot of my energetic time, (this means not noticeable from the outside but occurring within) on my knees, floored, pulling my hair out from the lethal combination of frustration, horror and deep anguish.

Before I had kids I put Myself through years of therapy, attempting to mitigate the troubles and strife I’d experienced growing up. This gave me clear insight into the destructive circles that existed within my immediate and wider family, and the ways they had almost destroyed me. And I was determined to stop that happening to my kids and I remain determined to do everything in my power to break those vicious circles. Whatever that may come to mean, whatever I need to do, because they are my kids and I love them beyond myself. This also means sometimes I can hate them too, for all the suffering raising them brings me; such a fine line betwixt the two..hashtag keeping it real folks!

The key phrase in the above paragraph is ‘my power’, because what has, keeps and does happen, is that my kids inadvertently press my triggers and despite all this understanding, I loose my power, sanity and ability to cope the way I want. This sends me spinning back to what’s inherent, my anima, my default, and from there into a personal hell, fashioned from agonised guilt. This are the shittiest of circles ever made, because I’m making them with knowledge and powerlessness against my own scars?! WTF!!!! There’s nothing quite like your own kid to send you to the depths of personal hatred and self-destruction…hence why so many of us resort to wine, gin, chocolate or drugs…prescription & non, to numb these excruciating reminders of our own short comings.

I’ve been triggered to put this out there by another shitty morning with my 5 year old son! We’ve pretty much endured shitty mornings daily for the last 3 years, ever since he could get himself downstairs, which he does anytime between 5 and 6.30am. Please take into consideration at this point, I have this Joint Hypermobility Syndrome which makes me extraordinarily tired and need lots of sleep, I already go to bed v early to catch up but can’t manage to bounce out of bed with him at this time! He then proceeds, despite years of lengthy explanations, to help himself to whatever he fancies eating – even if it requires stacking furniture precariously to reach it and wasn’t his to begin with! Nothing is safe, he has no concern for the trouble he will get in, whom he will upset….it’s worth the risk to life and limb, the crime is worth the time…it appears!

Coupled with this, and even more troubling as far as I am concerned, he has an addiction to anything electronic…the TV, kindles, laptops, Wii, iPad. Again, please note that I have not given him any of the above, we have my husband to thank for all of these moronic devices. In my son’s ideal World, he would play on any device indefinitely, too much is never enough for him, there is no ‘off’. So he steals them, from wherever I’ve hidden them, and plays on them for as long as he can get away with…at least an hour…before he gets asked to stop. This ALWAYS leads to a terrible meltdown and a refusal to do anything he’s told…like get dressed for school, eat breakfast and so on.

This twisted version of Crystal Maze, where on a nightly basis I hide the remotes/devices (which given how fucked up it feels should be called Crystal Meths), has been going on for for over 3 years. During these dawn raids, we’ve experienced all kinds of stealth missions, including commando crawling across my bedroom floor at 5am in order to attempt retrieval. This particular jaunt involved 3 separate attempts, despite all the warnings and shouting upon discovery, he just waited until I was asleep again each time and then continued, unfortunately for him he bagged his sisters in the darkness and couldn’t get passed the password.?! By which time, my husband got up and put an end to it all…which he doesn’t want to do on a weekend, after a week’s hard graft, but hey, that’s our shared jail sentence now!

So determined is he, that last Saturday out of pure frustration of not being to find latest hiding place, he started on our laptops like a demented version of Goldilocks….He couldn’t get into mine because of my password, he wiped a major document from my husbands before he left his alone and then he broke the keyboard on his sisters….He’s had to use his Christmas money to replace the latter, because this is simply not cricket, and the last in a long line of similar destruction metered out on her seemingly more desirable toys??? Why, we asked him? Apparently, it’s hard to get to the bottom of it, because he doesn’t have a lap top of his own! He’s only 5 FFS!!!! He also thought, if he broke hers she would get a new one and he could have hers?!!!! Commendably logical, but a deformed view of the World I don’t remember teaching?!

The above is pretty much the worst of what he can achieve daily, although this morning he resorted to biting his sister hard because she wouldn’t play with him when they were supposed to be doing chores! And his response to being put outside, because he once again became immobile post telling off and refused to do anything, was to bash in the backdoor with his scooter….The latter, again almost impressive, thinking to unlock the garage and get his scooter out to really make an impact , knowing that would send both his parents over the edge. Which is where I am right now, wondering what the fuck we did so wrong that has got us all to here?…..And has meant I’ve contacted his school, reached out to an excellent child psychologist, sourced out herbal remedies and of course used my oils on him to calm and support him. FYI, I also sat him down, asked him how he was feeling, told him I loved him and reinforced everything good about him before I dispatched him to school….I’m not unwise in my parenting, just terribly human!

And what exactly do I want from my parenting Holy Grail, only to raise two well- adjusted human beings, who love and respect themselves. What do I appear to be raising, ‘Saffy’ from Ab-fab and Denice the Menace! Actually, if my daughter does turn out like ‘Saffy’, I will consider it a job well done.

Feel free to judge me as harshly as you like, it can’t be any harsher than I am doing to myself. Know, if you struggle like me, that you are not alone in this personalised version of karmic hell; And this above is mine! Emotions have 2 sides, too love so deeply and completely has an inverse side, it’s normal and healthy to host dark thoughts in the midst of parenting terror…..Just call for help if you feel the desire to manifest them. And finally, asking for help is a sign of courage not failure. There is not enough of us asking, yet trying to muddle through at the expense of our own personal happiness and wellbeing. Thus further compromising our ability to deliver upon our parenting aspirations, sadly….I think parenting classes/support should be readily available and not as expensive and thus exclusive as they are!!!! Another WTF…this needs to change.

x

Do you wanna be ‘Slim & Sassy’ for 2019?

My poster girl for Slim & Sassy

I’ve been really slack in getting my oily blogs out there, apologies for that and for keeping this little number to myself for so long. Because I do use this blend and have done since my beginning with doTERRA. So I’ve effectively been product testing…..With Imbolc impending, http://celticwitchmama.com/witches-dont-balk-at-imbolc-the-next-sabat-is-coming-to-re-birth-your-vibe/,this is the perfect time to loose weight in a natural sustainable way.

If you are like me, middle-aged with a body ravaged by childbirth in the throes of menopause – gosh doesn’t that sounds oh so frickin wonderbar – you might be carrying some unwelcome flab in the zone between your knees and boobs….basically over a third of your body? Or maybe you want to stop coping with the stresses and strains of survival in our World, with chocolate, crisps and or wine? Or perhaps you’ve had an operation where recovery has limited your mobility and those pounds have piled on?

Whatever your reasons, this could be the oil for you…It’s 100% natural, calorie free, makes you feel good, whilst boosting your metabolism in a healthy way. I know from my personal research, that the market is flooded with weight loss products relying heavily on stimulating your poor digestive system beyond comfort and tying you uncomfortably to the toilet…..basically not good for you in the least, potentially damaging and socially catastrophic. With all my personal health blights, I can only go ‘au natural’ with weight loss.

So what magic does this little bottle contain that makes it so successful and delicious? Yes it tastes really good! Some of the ingredients will be familiar to you if you’ve weight loss form, especially if you’ve investigated the natural approach.


First up we have Grapefruit oil, this is the number 1 power in weight loss. This naturally increases your energy levels and metabolism, plus helps curb your sugar cravings. It’s a natural detoxification agent, helping the liver cleanse the body of toxins and waste, plus activate your lymphatic system and control fluid retention. All by itself it’s pretty fantastic, click if you want more…. https://draxe.com/grapefruit-essential-oil/

Next up is Lemon oil, I’ve already blogged about the wonders of Luscious Lemon, http://celticwitchmama.com/if-life-gives-you-lemons-youve-been-seriously-gifted/  One of its weight loosing gift’s is the high levels of pectin it holds. Gelatinous pectin, homemade jam makers’s delight, works by absorbing water and expanding, distending the stomach and triggering stretch receptors. These receptors then tell your brain your stomach is full, so it releases the hormones to make you feel satiated. Not only that, this marvel slows digestion down, which makes you feel fuller for longer. Here’s a good article to give you more on that https://www.livestrong.com/article/314710-pectin-weight-loss/

Additionally, lemon also contains d-limonene, which is known to help support your metabolism and cleanse your lymphatic glands. These little pea sized nodules are home to your white blood calls, which are your army against bacteria and disease…fairly fundamental! I recommend you use lemon oil everyday….because why wouldn’t you?

Next up we have Peppermint oil, which I refer to in this blog http://celticwitchmama.com/minty-the-coolest-of-bitches/ This fresh lady, just simply removes or reduces your hunger and cravings…er yes please! Her freshness alleviates diet induced brain fog and gets your brain to release your endurance chemicals, allowing you to max out your workout. Her minty-ness will help you to digest like a dream by stimulating your intestines and dissolving your stomach bulging noxious gases. She also stimulates your flow of bile, so anything you do consume will be dispatched quickly through your body with little time to stick around and convert into fat….

Then there’s Ginger Root oil, the 2nd best weight looser, this warming little number contains compounds to boost your intestines ability to absorb vitamins and minerals by reducing inflammation. She also curbs your sugar cravings….

And finally, we have Cinnamon Bark oil, number 3 in the weight loosing line up. This potent lady helps to stabilise your blood sugar and insulin release, keeping those sugar cravings in check and stops you stuffing your face…handy and vital at 1am after a heavy nights drinking perhaps? So shout out to those with diabetes, this is the oil you want to look into.

On their own each of these oily ladies is a mine of wealthy, healthy support, BUT combined they are a force majeure!

So how can you use Slim and Sassy….you can add it to water and drink it when you have a craving or before meals to curb your desires to over eat; dilute 4 drops in 4fl.oz of liquid. I put it in my water bottle and swig at it all day. Try to stick with using water, its calorie free and really the best possible thing in the World to drink, health-wise, and it won’t distract the oils from doing their job.

You can put a couple of drops in your carrier oil and rub it into your flabby bits, it has cellulite reducing properties!!!! I’d say it removes it, but this will depend on how much you’ve got and your body type etc. No wild claims here!

For those that love a diffuse, this requires about 3 – 4 drops. Imagine what a different place the office could be with this oil scenting the air and stopping all that temptation…..or in my case, the couch after dark……

And there is even a bath detox option, 2 cups Epsom salt, 1 cup baking soda, 10 drops slim and sassy (mix the oil with Epsom salts so it doesn’t float to the top) and soak for 20+ minutes 2-3 times a week.

Of course there are shakes and pills available, this is doTERRA after all, if you can’t stomach the oil in a drink format….there is something for everyone, so no one is exempt from this baby. x



Witches, don’t balk at Imbolc….the next Sabat is coming to re-birth your vibe!

Hello my friends, and a Happy 2019! I have returned to my road and almost my physical body…the latter, a work in progress. Apparently, and according to my healer, I’ve tried to follow my Father into the After Life, leaving my body and existing somewhere in betwixt these two places. I know this to be true, primarily because it’s been so blankety blank but really because in my sorrow, I’ve craved an earthly departure, wishing fiercely to be in Dad’s company again. But not in an ordinary where’s the wrist cutter/noose/pills way, I don’t wish to kill off my current life and leave my kids. It’s not as simple as that….So don’t call 111 just yet, I am definitely not suicidal!

Nothing in this grief has been clear cut or looks like it will be for a while yet…. I hadn’t appreciated, in my former far more comfortable ignorance, what a seismic transformer death could be. I thought, someone dies, you grieve and time heals – slowly. And perhaps for some it never goes beyond that. But for me, this is monumental and has blown a massive crater in my aura, which now needs a whole heap of deep processing to heal. We’re talking the Tower in Tarot terms, with elements of The Fool and me needing to channel my inner King of Cups.

Hideous real Hornet’s Nest

So my main focus now has to be upon on calming this hornet’s nest of unprocessed with emotions, I didn’t even know I grown. For this, I have found a lovely therapist, to help me spin the cotton candy of my mind. I promise to share what I can of my dark candyfloss, in case it can be of use and support to you. But as I can’t say much more than that at this moment, as the King of Cups, I am going to further enlighten your spiritual self with deets (agreed, hideous word but couldn’t resist) upon the up and coming Sabat…Which, incidentally, is all about spiritual purification and dedication….perfect synchronicity, ‘tous jours’. And I know a lot of you out there are feeling rather glum at the moment, so here’s to hoping this brings you some light…if you want it…some of us love to wallow in the darkness…and that’s fine…we’re our own responsibilities!

From sunset 1st February until Midnight on the 2nd February, we can celebrate Imbolc, or Groundhog’s Day to the Americans….yup not just an annoying movie title! This celestially, is the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, ‘and so above’. We’re nearly there folks! In Paganism/Witchcraft, it symbolises Earth/Mother Nature akaThe Goddess, in puberty with her belly full of ripening seeds….’and so below’. FYI, we Witches frequently express, and so above and so below‘ to reaffirm the link between the sun, moon, stars, ourselves and the Earth….The origins of this truism can be seen on the ‘Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus’, no less.  Tell me have you seen it? (last bit sung MilliVanilli style – because we know it really wasn’t them)

Historically, and I always like to prove provenance with a little pragmatism, this was the traditional lambing season in the old World. Whence this celebration was known as Oimelc, meaning milk of ewes, which really was coming in or flowing at this point in the year. One famous ancient we all know, Cleopatra, was a keen disciple of milk cleansing! Farmers consecrated their tools at this time and blessed their seeds. Not sure why this is not still the case? Do remember to ask your local farmer….If you are a farmer, please do let us know.

Imbolc, is a ‘proto-Indo-European’ word,  meaning both “milk” and “cleansing” (Cheers Wiki), but in Irish Gaelic, means ‘in the belly’. The Goddess is referred to as Brigid/Brighid for this time, she the Celtic Fire Goddess, patron of smithcraft, healing, midwifery and poetry. It’s her season until the 21st March, to prep for growth and renewal, she is the Bride and manifestation of protection and prosperity.

I am sure the Christians morphed this into their Holy Communion, with young virgins wearing white and pledging themselves to God, it’s too uncanny. They certainly superimposed Imbolc, making it St. Brigit’s Day and February 2 became Candlemas, the day to make and bless candles for the liturgical year or take down your Christmas decs in some countries. It also became known as their festival of the ‘Purification of the Virgin Mary’, a time which, according to judeo-christian rule, a woman must be purified forty days after childbirth as she had been made unclean by the event! How fucking rude!!!!

Have you ever seen a corn dolly? This is an earthly manifestation of Brighid, traditionally fashioned from oat or wheat straw by young maidens and laid in a basket upon a blanket of white flowers/shells etc, like a bride. On the eve of the 31st January, when it was reckoned that Brighid was wandering on earth, all these young girls gathered together in 1 house and stayed up all night….’party’! On that night, each member of the household placed bit of cloths on the hearth for Brighid to bless and bestow with healing and protective powers, as she passed; the morning’s ashes were closely examined for signs of her presence. On the 1st February, those young maidens would then, in procession, take their dollies on a village ‘knock round’ with the adult women placing gifts of food or money in their baskets. The head of the household was responsible for putting out the home hearth fire and then relighting it, whilst placing a broom by the front door to symbolise sweeping out the old and welcoming in the new. Candles would be lit in each room to honour the re-birth of the Sun. Given the cost of candles in those days, you can see how important this festival was.

Today, Brighid’s Crosses are still fashioned from wheat stalks and exchanged as symbols of protection and prosperity in the coming year.

To mark this occasion yourself, I can give you a couple of options and you can choose how far you’d like to take this, there are many more but I need to keep this brief. Know that Imbolc is the time for initiation and healing, for reclaiming what has been forgotten. To maximise your power and the magical alchemy of Imbolc, use the collecting energy manifesting from this change in seasons, (we’re entering the active phase of the year, nature is ripening), in conjunction with your intuitive unconscious energy; the inner wisdom you gained during your winter months of soulful contemplation…You chose that instead of submitting to the social pressure to climbing aboard the festive merry-go-round didn’t you? Ha, she cackles, you didn’t know but next time you will! And perhaps next Winter you won’t fight your inherent desire to baton down the hatches, look your true self in the mirror, love, learn and accept, to re-emerge as a brand new butterfly, in time to party at Winter Solstice.

Our intuitive flashes and sparks of inspiration are needed more than ever to complement the active rational approach which dominates our western life-style. (Source: EarthPathway’s Diary)

At the most accessible level, you could light a candle or lamps in each room of the house right after sunset for a few minutes to honour the Sun’s rebirth on the eve of the 31st January. Use candles of either white, pink, red, yellow, green or brown, to light the way for Brighid. And on the 1st February, take a walk in nature to hunt crocuses and or snowdrops, the first heralds of spring, and take time to consider any spiritual vows or commitments you would like to make or reviews previous ones.

If you happen to possess an established altar, clean it and carry out a self purification rite with Elemental tools, invoking Brigid for creative inspiration. Use your salt (Earth) to cleanse your body, incense (Air) for your thoughts, a candle flame (Fire) for your will, water (Water) for your emotions and a healing crystal (Spirit) for your spiritual body. Semi precious stones and crystals of Imbolc include Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise. Bless any candles you plan to use for the remaining annual rituals.

Onwards and upwards mes Chers! xx

‘Vicks’ you old devil, it’s not over, I still need you…..

I appears that I am grieving in 3D, I’ve been consistently unwell since he died! And enduring 6 weeks of ill health, is royally fucking me over…. or perhaps it’s just the fall out from Christmas???? Stuck in a glass elevator, I ride my tides up and down, perpetually in motion, never quite arriving or being present… anywhere. Lost, shadowed, immobilised, grounded, dulled, sad, mournful, angry, socially phobic; what a mixed and uncomfortable bag this is! It certainly hasn’t enabled any writing, and I wonder, from my glassy distance, whether this stale joylessness will lend to rather prosaic content? I hope, well as much as I can muster right now, it really fucking doesn’t because I love my blogging!

In amidst all my physical sufferance, I’ve had to re-admit an old friend to my inner circle, actually a few old faithfuls in truth! In the case of dear old Vicks, who was forcibly ejected when, at the start of my oily journey, I was reminded of our skin’s potent absorbency; often overlooked to our detriment. Upon checking his particular credentials, I’d discovered with horror he contained not only petroleum but also the spirit of turpentine; the latter sounding very Dickensian! Neither welcome in my body….With the others, namely paracetamol and lemsip, I’ve always known of the damage they can do to livers and avoid where possible….

However, in this bleak mid-Winter and because the World’s greatest plant essences don’t seem to be able to defeat this atrociously determined virus, I’ve relaxed my defences and re-welcomed this mentholated friend and his mates. Enjoying once again, his camphoric anaesthetisation, his warm minty fingers on my chest…and their analgesic qualities. There is something wonderfully comforting about the familiar, when sailing through so much unchartered water. Besides, what a little turps between friends? And really, don’t they all originate from nature….turps from pine trees, petroleum from fossil fuels, etc….everything in moderation eh? Liver’s regenerate themselves over time….

So please dear reader, if you have any spare prayers please use them for me. I need all the help I can get to transcend these grief induced illnesses. Or perhaps this is just an unavoidable part of the deep mourning ‘ride’????? FML

Christmas/Winter Solstice

Now I’ve joined the ranks of the bereaved at Christmas, wishing instead I was alone down a dark alleyway jacking-up under the starry sky and not having to put on a plastic smile and pretend ’tis the season to be jolly’….All very macabre and Trainspotting’esque for 2018, and a million miles away from what I’ve ever done or will be doing in the future. But that’s the stark contrast between how I feel and where we’re at seasonally, I’m not in the mood for dress-ups but somehow I have to conjure them up for my children’s happiness. Don’t worry, I’ll be using essential oils not heroin to manifest this juxtatransition….(new word alert), I am a witch healer after all.

Now I’ve dispensed with the emotional update, this blog will be my attempt to debunk what these seasonal festivities are about. Recovering the myth, whilst giving festive redirection through spiritual enlightenment, accompanied by a smattering of the confused history. Why am I doing this? Because what Christmas has become, leaves me feeling pretty sickened with all the pointless decadence. In recent years, this festival has morphed into a cataclysmic, extortionate, material meltdown, a galaxy away from its origins. With the only emotions evoked, created by tear-jerking TV ad campaigns or the wrath from trying to force a ‘family’ get together. And don’t get me started on the millions of fake Santa’s I can pay a small fortune to confuse my kids with?! Mummy, what’s Santa doing over here I thought he was in the North Pole? Mummy, that Santa looks different from the one we say the other day? Mummy, that Santa’s a girl?! Blah, blah, arrrggggg save me!

Unsurprisingly, celebrations at this time of the year have been happening for many hundreds of thousands of moons, well before the supposed birth of JC out trumped everything.  All were celestially based, and as far from a John Lewis Ad as one can get, involving lots of personal growth and fire. Their point, the earth beginning its return journey away from darkness, towards the light of the sun; heralding hope for new life. The exact timing of this astronomical return to light, is not exact in our modern Gregorian calendar,  and can fall anytime between the 20th – 23rd December. And was, and still is by modern Pagans, regarded as the birth of the Sun, (the Sun is male, the Moon is female), Winter Solstice/Yule.  

Spiritually, the Goddess becomes, again, the Great Mother and gives birth to the new Sun King, and this is celebrated with a 12 day Mid-Winter Holiday to rest, reflect and celebrate the re-awakening of nature and re-birth of ourselves. Our modern version of Christmas, superseding the Winter Solstice Festival, sees most of us enduring an exhausting, booze-soaked, social whirlwind, not in quiet reflection and deep introspection!  I mean who doesn’t just want to snuggle up in soft, warm pyjamas and hibernate a little? But we fight it with everything we’ve got?!  Ignoring our natural rhythms and cycle, treating ourselves like machines…And by not stopping, taking stock and facing our true selves, we damage our mental and physical wealth and health. We desperately need to acknowledge our mistakes, forgive ourselves for them and find the learning within them to truly grow. Inner reflection = insights and new ideas….a hell of a lot more useful to know than pie = mc2!

Winter Solstice was initially avoided by the Church, seen as a Pagan festival, until 440 yrs after Christ supposedly died….around the time the Roman Emperor, Constantine, ordered the Bible to be written. Pope Julius I chose December 25, to both absorb the pagan Saturnalia festival and increase the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced.  Please note the correlation, sun/Mother Nature and son/God… FYI, The 25th December had previously been celebrated as the birthday of the Roman sun god, Sol Invictus, the patron of soldiers. Whom was supposed to have been the reincarnation of the Syrian god Elagabalus/Aelagabalus/ Heliogabalus?! The Persian Mithraists held December 25th as sacred to the birth of their Sun God, Mithras, and celebrated it as a victory of light over darkness. In Sweden, December 13th was sacred to the Goddess Lucina, Shining One, and was a celebration of the return of the light. On Yule itself, around the 21st, bonfires were lit to honour Odin and Thor. Unsurprisingly, there is much historical controversy on what actually happened in practice, public relations is not a new art! But the common theme is the re-birth of the sun….

Curiously, and on another note,  the Chariot Tarot card, which typically depicts a chariot rider (very Roman Empire), has a sun either on him or behind him. This major Arcana card, implies war, a struggle, and an eventual, hard-won victory over enemies, obstacles, nature, the uncertainties inside you. A bit like getting through Winter, phyiscally and metaphysically, the time to look inwards and face your inner demons and clear them out in time for new beginnings.

By the Middle Ages, Christianity had, for the most part, ousted paganism..it had become remarkably dangerous to be a witch! However, ever a nation of party animals, these ‘Christians’ got the churchy thingy out of the way and then got royally drunk and celebrated Mardi-gras stylee.  Either a beggar or student would be crowned “lord of misrule” and other party go’ers would play the part of their loyal subjects. They would then make a tour of the rich, demanding their best food and booze. Failure to comply led to all sorts of trickery and thus Christmas became the time of year when the upper classes could repay their real or imagined “debt” to society.

Christmas then fell out of fashion with the mealy mouthed Quaker set, where debauchery on any levels was banned. It didn’t make it back until the early 19th C….Charles Dickenson, amongst other writers, assisted on this revival of the holiday by “changing consciousness of Christmas and the way in which it was celebrated” as they emphasized family, religion, gift-giving, and social reconciliation as opposed to the historic revelry common in some places.[53](Wiki

This re-incarnation of Christmas began its descent into commercialism from the get-go in the 1800s, so my complaint is not a modern one. Apparently, it has been a fairly common one since its re-introduction, nothing new under the Sun! But I believe its reached its fully pimped out potential, well I am hoping so, I think a lot of us are a bit ‘over’ it.  Now, clearly primarily driven by the economy and not any form of spirituality, but there is more satisfaction in the latter. And tho our celebrations are a very far cry from a true Winter Solstice celebration, a lot of Pagan traditions continue Today…tho we’ve largely forgotten what they symbolise….

Take oak born mistletoe, from the earliest times, seen as a magical, sacred plant, bestower of life and fertility, protection against poison and an aphrodisiac.  It was hung above doors to ward off evil spirits, enhance fertility and bring peace. Holly, a protective evergreen with its spiky bristles to repel unwanted spirits. Its red berries representative of feminine blood, making it feminine. Newborn babies were thus sprinkled with holly water, the original holy water, for protection! Holly and mistletoe together represent the sacred marriage at this time of year with the re-birth of the sun….male and female. Ivy, represents immortality and resurrection, its spiral growth reminiscent of reincarnation and rebirth. Together these evergreens, which we make our wreaths from, represent the wheel of life.

Christmas wreath with holly, ivy, mistletoe and winter greenery over oak background.

Yew trees were regarded at the tree of regeneration and rebirth because they send up new trees from their roots and live such a long life. They were therefore used as the central ‘world tree’ in ritual spaces, connecting with the spirit realm and ancestors, and were thus planted in graveyards. You can always find yew trees in the gardens of churches….now you know why, churches were built on sacred sites.

As for Christmas Trees, yes Prince Albert re-introduced them to us in Victorian times, but they have a much longer historical pedigree. Roman priests would cut down, decorate and carry a ceremonial pine tree to their temple celebrations for Saturnalia. Roman people would also decorate their homes with boughs of evergreen trees or bushes in pots; FYI pine and fir are symbolic of rebirth and life. Pagans brought live trees into their homes to keep the wood spirits warm for the winter months, hanging food and treats for them on the branches…my son clearly believes he has wood spirit rights!

And candles have long been symbolic of light and fire, red, gold and green are the colours of Yule and the returning Sun….now the main colours for Christmas….

And so I have given you choices, if you’re similarly not feeling it. You can go Pagan,  celebrating Winter Solstice by taking the time to surrender to your natural instincts to retreat inwards for insight and growth.  You can then use Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve as a festive re-birth celebration, depending on how long you need to recuperate, restored and reinvigorated with new ideas and enthusiasm for the year ahead. Or you can go a bit Victorian Christmas, and give more to the poor and needy. Or you can remain as you are, revelling in all the gaudy debauchery.

Grief – Part 2

My Bleak House

Though I don’t wish to turn you off with an endless outpouring of grief, I need to write this to continue my processing. I am still a main part in Bleak House, and in social situations I feel there is a wall of glass between me and everyone else. This wall is glass, because it is transparent in its division of me from the happy and whilst thick, it’s incredibly weak and capable of shattering in a moment,  me along with it. Small talk is out the window, I just can’t make it and I have no appetite for it. Why am I venturing out if I feel this way? I have too, life does go on and I have 2 small children I need to keep entertained and whom I don’t want to drag down the plug hole with me.

And there is an element of respite, in continuing to put one foot in front of another, but beyond being present, I don’t have much else to give or contribute. It is really great when I am around strangers who know nothing, then I don’t have to deal with their questions or mismatched expectation of who I was and who I now am. And yes there is a difference, losing a parent has a ‘before’ and now ‘after’ element to it.  It is an experience you can’t recover from,  a line in the sand. Whilst you may and probably will achieve peace, the loss won’t disappear. I can’t compare my loss to that of anyone else’s because, as I have newly discovered, it is so personal and unique. What I do now know though, is that there is always a need to tread ever so gently because the wound is so deep.

What is both curious and not, is that despite our less than perfect relationship and my highly developed self-awareness (which I’ve spent years working on – so I am not being glib), this really, really hurts…primitively so. I tried to get rid of our relationship so many times over, the reality of it was incredibly painful for most part; though we found peace in the end. My Father didn’t really get me, he loved me deeply but he didn’t understand me and we couldn’t have the kind of conversations either one of us would have preferred, if we were different people; he had those with my husband and I had them with everyone else!

And shortly after I found out he was dead, all I wanted to do was get rid of my husband, another man who struggles to understand me. My reaction, well I’ve got rid of one difficult man so let’s get rid of the other?! Once again, trying to edit discomfort from my Life….I, fortuitously before I destroyed my precious family,  can now appreciate my soul chose to place these two similar men in fundamental roles in my life for my spiritual growth….Luckily I can assimilate quickly, or else can you imagine?! Grief is no white washer!

My Father wasn’t very present in a physical sense, as I said previously, I went off to boarding school aged 8 and we only once lived together since. This was for several brief months in Argentina, when I was 24/25, and he already had his second family by then. Even before then, in my early years he worked a long commute away in London and travelled away a lot for work or was consumed by work when we were abroad. I don’t have a 1,000 memories of together times, I only ever owned a very small piece of him and he was definitely not a poster boy for a doting devoted Dad. We were a bit more Bennetton and a lot less Bisto!

So this tremendous grief is surprising on one level, I had been prepared, but on another I know this is my inner child mourning all those lost moments of never was. This element of my grief response, has the irrationality only a child is capable of. That doesn’t mean I should chastise it, bury it or deny it.  Instead, it’s the opposite, I must honour it’s needs and thus allow it to grow up. Otherwise, I run the very real risk of it festering bitterly within me, slowly poisoning all my tomorrows with its unmet needs. Unfortunately, these are the parts of ourselves which come out when we’re at our most vulnerable and they can be quite cruel and vicious to  innocents, like your own children. This is one way, the sins of the fathers revisit upon their children aka vicious circles.

Pappy & Lani enjoy the Lunar Eclipse

One a more mature level, I miss my little bit of him, which was largely conveyed online – how very modern of us! This man was my Father, 1 of 2 of my main chakra roots, a key player in my tribe, my progenitor. All my attempts to cut off my love for him failed, it was and is intrinsic within me, not pragmatic but entirely emotional. He shared my deep love for my children, what he couldn’t give me, he gave to them – he was a devoted grandfather. I mourn on behalf of them, as young children they cannot really understand the loss of this unconditional love from their lives. My grief kicks around inside me, winding me and beating me up, a living thing. So right now, my core is deeply bruised and my heart is a heavy thundercloud.  As I’ve said before, his silence is deafening.

I thank every one of you that has reached out, electronically or physically. I do not wish to convey that your condolences aren’t deeply appreciated. I feel joyless, and quite empty despite being besieged by emotion. I just need time, so please bear with me….and don’t stop talking to me or including me, I will return….richer, deeper and darker….death marks!

Lady Lavender, Queen of Healing & Peace

This fem and most refined lady, which has been a true love of mine for decades, deserves your homage. Somehow, she gained an undeserved rep for being a ‘granny’ thang, a distasteful insult to both parties?! I can remember, as a young teenager, choosing to inherit a bucket load of lavender smelling toiletries upon the death of my Grandmother; didn’t every one have at least 1 lavender talc’d gran? FYI, talc is now being regarded as an evil toxin…check https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/talcum-powder-and-cancer.html Unfortunately, this royal being has fallen far from grace, another of modern Life’s anomalies….. and needs to be returned to her throne and here is why…

Usage goes back for thousands of years, evidence for which can be found in the ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek cultures. In our own, we have proof of use in hospitals during WW1….?! Where has that knowledge disappeared too? And you can easily buy some at the Supermarket, a clear indication of her popularity and acceptance. But medicinal claims she cannot make, instructions she doesn’t come with, and proof of grade, ingredients and purity are lacking. So how and why she could and should be used are lost…..

Interestingly on the continent, the German scientific committee on traditional medicineCommission E, reported including its use for restlessness or insomniaRoehmheld’s syndrome, intestinal discomfort, and cardiovascular diseases, among others. (Thanks Wiki) Good to know it’s importance is redeveloping somewhere near here….

I know her for her instant calm, her gift of deep sleep, her skills with taking the burn out of burns, the sting out of bites, the flees away from the cat. I put her on our skin to get rid of bruises and scars, to relieve tummy aches, on the roof of mouths when anybody is loosing it, on clothes as perfume to calm anxieties, and in my warm water drinks and cocktails. She is the ONLY oil considered safe to use undiluted on skin, though with children I recommend always using a carrier to dilute, for just in case or until you know they are not ‘reacting’.

Spiritually, her colour purple, denotes the colour of the crown chakra….hence her regal title. This 7th energy centre, located where your brain resides, and associated with higher purpose and spiritual connectivity. This is where the highest vibrations in your physical body take place. Thus in healing terms, Lavender helps us to raise our vibrations to facilitate the easiest path to healing. I never leave the house without it, carrying it with me on my vial key chain (check here to see), because every outing with my hyper mobile 5 year old involves at last a couple of accidents. 

Her provenance, this bee worshipped flower ‘Lavandula’, is part of the mint family. She is from the Old World and can be found growing from Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia, China to southeast India. There are around 47 different varieties of Lavender, with varying medicinal benefits. Here is the doTERRA sourcing video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjbHnTrTeKc&feature=youtube

Her floral meanings are, Purity, Silence, Devotion, Caution, Serenity, Grace, Calmness (Source: http://www.flowermeaning.com/lavender-flower-meaning/

For more information or to buy some please visit www.mydoterra.com/theoilywitch

Grief with a capital ‘G’, Abandonment with a capital ‘A’ and Love with a capital ‘L’

Last week my Father died, quickly, shockingly and painlessly. And because I love him, this is the ending I would have chosen for him, free from suffering.  But not right now,  I wasn’t ready to say goodbye,  I still need his help in raising my children and his earthly love in my life.  And I am not alone in my devastation, his death has crashed in upon all of us,  in amidst the good times we’d finally reached as a blended family!

Like always, I need to write this blog to process, this time my bone raw grief over this unexpected, unwanted, unwelcome death.  FYI, I’m not looking to escape these emotions, or to lessen my deep mourning for him. The depths of my despair reflects the density of my love for him and this is a barefooted journey across broken glass in honour of him and that. My Father, the first man I ever loved, my hero.

This is what I have learnt, from his sudden departure, and what I want to share. He is the first parent I have lost, there is thankfulness that this hideous experience can only happen twice. I’m not saying losing a partner or a child would be any easier, they will be just as horrendous, and probably more so, but different. A parent is the next level up from us, the step between us and our own mortality and our main source of unconditional love.

My grief is feral, loud and alive within me, needing constant release to stop it tearing me apart from the inside out.  From the shattering moment I found out,  guttural screams tore from deep within me, scorching the air with my misery. This was keening, and it didn’t stop until we’d cremated him, and even now, they come unbidden from no-where.  This wild abandon scared my children, who kept trying to pacify me, but I had no control or wish for it. The pain, visceral and tremendous and I want them to witness it.

My grief response, was inadvertently acting out a Scottish and Irish pagan tradition. “Keen” as a noun or verb comes from the Irish and Scottish Gaelic term caoineadh (“to cry, to weep”) and references to it from the seventh, eighth and twelfth centuries are extensive. (Wiki) . I was just following my heart, in ‘anima’. This tradition is another unwisely lost from our culture, this venting is a vital part of survival and recovery.

There used to be professional ‘keeners’ that turned up to mourn the dead, along with the grieving, in exchange for just a cup of tea or a dram of whisky. And it was always women who would gather, wail and lament the loss of life. It largely disappeared in the last Century, possibly the Victorian culture had no place for this earthy response to loss?! And, “It was pretty much outlawed in Ireland,” says Muir. “It came up against the Catholic Church. The church didn’t want it. It was something that was frowned upon. When the body was laid out for the wake, the priest would come in and say prayers over it. There was an order of service, quite literally — the Catholic Church was in control of what was going on. (https://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/mourning-the-loss-of-the-keening-tradition-in-ireland-415997.html)

(Further evidence to reaffirm my distaste for what Christianity became and enforced, our divorce from our own natural and basic instincts. And I conclude, once again, this is where we are going wrong, this almighty chasm can only be remedied by returning to our roots in Mother Nature. And not,  as the author above writes, swallowing down our emotions and taking anti-depressants – Fuck That!)

I’ve also found that my grief is a multilayered cake,  a tiramisu (that ones for you Dad – lover of all things sweet) of heartache and pain. I’m not grieving entirely for the loss of Dad, but for the disparity between for what could have been and now can’t; the loss of my ‘Disney’ type father fantasy. My inner child is seriously mourning her unmet needs, and it was her screams into the dark that kept me unable to sleep for days after he died.

There is loneliness from not having Dad in my life. Memories arrive, like sharp little knives cutting into my poor bruised heart, randomly reminding me of yet another thing that will never happen again. And I can’t help but worry that I did not appreciate the little things enough. Like the horrid annual family calendar we all bemoaned, but now there won’t be another one, I can barely breathe through my tears?! No more inane emails and ridiculous comments on my business Facebook pages, the silence is deafening.

And his sudden death has left me agonising for a final moment, the chance to say goodbye….just one  more hug…. I can’t even remember my final moments with my Dad, the last words we spoke and this tortures me.  We had a relationship full of goodbyes, I left home at 8 to go to boarding school and never really returned and he chose to retire abroad. This made me adept at ensuring I’d given my best finale each time we parted, but this time I didn’t? I was expecting to see him again so soon, at Christmas…..this breaks me.

We had to dispatch my Father quickly, he died in Spain and this is the, and his wife’s, culture. He died at roughly 2am Spanish time on the 24th November and we buried him on Monday 26th November at 12pm. At and up until this point, I was raging, raging that I couldn’t sit and keen him until I could no longer scream and shout, that I had to get out there and organise flights, cat care, household trivia and compose the best eulogy I could muster in the face of this cruel loss. This was not my culture!!!! But really, there was never going to be a right time to do this final act.

And despite feeling sick from the moment I found out and until it was all over and still regularly now, it was the right thing to do. There were too many firsts I didn’t want to confront, in quick succession, but I had to. And I only stayed sane by reminding myself that doing anything else would also be intolerably awful, because now everything was awful, everything was shit. Having his funeral quickly, meant we can get on with our mourning without it hideously looming in the middle distance and he saw and felt our raw, truest grief and it brought us closer together in our loss.

Silly as it was, I knew I had to see him with my own eyes to believe it was real and he really couldn’t come back. And I actually held on to a vain hope, that a miracle would happen and his heart would start again, once I saw him. But of course, that didn’t happen. But it was so helpful being able to touch him, cry directly over him, kiss him and stoke his hair for that final time. He looked peaceful and that was good. So I truly recommend this, if the person isn’t disfigured by their death, it aids with coming to terms with the reality that they really aren’t coming back. We let our children see it all too, because my 5 yr old son couldn’t understand, despite each of us telling him that Pappy had gone, he just moved on to the next person and asked them instead. Surprisingly, it wasn’t scary or macabre either.

I now appreciate why people wear black at a funeral, you feel bleached, colourless by their absence. Black reflects the bleakness of facing an endless Tomorrow without them. A clear sign of the souls internal misery, you want the World to see. I couldn’t even wear make-up, there was no point, my grief is messy and etched all over my face. I am a living picture of my loss.

Time, I have found, loses its boundaries in tragedy. He died over a week ago but it feels like a couple of days, and I want it to feel like that right now. I don’t want his passing to disappear into yesteryear, I want it up close and connected. I’m scared of losing my memories, of drifting away and not being able to recall his smell, his voice, his touch. I want to stay in the moment, even though it is a personal hell. I don’t want my membership to the dead fathers club,  I’ve been hiding, because every time someone gives me their heart-felt condolences I have to acknowledge I’ve joined up.

And on top of all of this, I caught my son’s foul cold, the first I’d developed some getting into my oils. So I got a large helping of physical pain to accompany the emotional agony and because of the depths of the latter I have become really quite ill. So I feel like I am an embodiment of my grief and purging it physically.  My tears are heated, I have much anger that he left, that he didn’t take care of his body to remain alive with us. So the fact that I have a disgusting cold, is no surprise in Eastern medicine, the lungs relate to emotional anger.

I know, as I’ve always known, there is life after death. Souls go through the tunnel and into the vast everything, to be rejoined with their loved ones and in time return again. My Father gave us signs throughout the day and night, that he was near, he loved us and he was at peace. However, in my grief I find am very mortal, my beliefs bringing me only momentary release. I know time will heal, but right now I don’t want to –  I don’t want to let him go – ever. And in one way I won’t, I can’t, he will live on in me in my heart and around me in my children. R.I.P Dad, gone too soon, I love you so much. xxxx

 

And the pyramid shaped scales fell from her eyes….

Sooooo here I am, I’ve been writing all these blogs on health and spiritual matters and thought you’d like to know that behind them is still a much flawed human being and not a perfect human doing…..In case, I was coming across as ‘holier than thou’! I do actually do what I write about, attempting to relay ‘accessible’ info, I just need you to know I am not trying to start a cult or create clones….tho I do feel a bit like I’ve inadvertently joined one….whoops, did I just write that out loud?

This week I’ve had to come to terms with the realities of working for a ‘network marketing company’, aka a ‘legal’ pyramid selling scheme…(I’m not allowed to call it that so SSSShhhhhh)Today’s newest business model, adopted by many savvy money-making  individuals across the World. This innovative approach keeps overheads to a minimum, by placing the sales and marketing strategy and success firmly in the hands of the users. The  Company doesn’t need to soil its hands with the nitty-gritty of Human Resource Management, and can focus instead on the creation and development of excellent products. It’s a partnership or sorts….

However, what it is not, despite ridiculous promises, is a way to make money quickly. Sure, if you get in at the beginning you are laughing all the way to the bank. But, if like me, you’re joining later on down the line, success is a slow burner. Success requires a consistent 24/7 approach to social media and a serious financial investment in online ads to recruit other individuals who want to make a business selling the same thing….’selling the business’! If you want to make enough money to live on, forget about selling the actual products and focus on recruiting good sales people….

Errr, I got into this because I like the products not because I want to run a recruitment agency….WTF?

And because of this ‘each man for themselves’ approach, the retail prices are inconsistent and you have to rely on the strength your relationship with your customers to keep them loyal to you!? Which in this day and age is bloody impossible….as I found out to my detriment with a good friend. The only defence from this, as relayed by my closest superior, is there is no guarantee the cheaper product flogged on wherever, is genuine…Yes, there are amazingly talented fraudsters out there and this, fortuitously , is not a product you should take a  fake risk on…but really???

To add to that point, I am selling something potent and valuable that requires the regular and in-depth relaying of salient knowledge. In the wrong hands, it has the power to be dangerous and cause harm to the user and the environment. There is a moral duty of care, that isn’t taken into account with this remuneration strategy rewarding mass recruitment. The focus should be on account development, quality and not quantity.  I have integrity, so I make sure I know, to the best of my ability, what I am selling. And given what I am selling, I only offer a personalised service. This is labour intensive and isn’t making me pots of money but it’s what I can live with...and no I am not just saying that!

In this type of business, professional support is thin on the ground. Yes, there is oodles of friendly support on Facebook, certainly you’d be challenged to find a group of more supportive and friendly individuals; we have FB groups for everything you could possibly want and need. But you really need to know your business onions, this is not the environment for beginners, indeed those raking in the serious money have loads of relevant experience.

And, as is the case with the company I work for, which is expanding like wild-fire, you become the victim of its success….System problems take an age to resolve, key fundamentals can get missed out of the induction….like how to set yourself up to get paid?! It’s a tad demoralising to say the least….

I have to say, I am a little surprised at finding myself here , given that many moons ago a friend tried to talk me into a similar scheme and I point-blank refused telling him he was potty and the business model was a scam…errrrr…an another example of ‘never say never’ coming to bite me in the arse! But to be fair, modern day pyramids are slightly better built.

This blog isn’t about slagging anyone off or pointing fingers, it’s an honest account of my personal experience and me raging against the machine….I really know no system is perfect, that’s life, and I absolutely adore and believe in what I am touting. The Company I work on behalf of, is faultlessly ethical and deserves it place as one of the market leaders. The products are making me feel great on every level…they are the ‘dogs bollox’! But this really is a job done by ‘me, myself and I’…