Antlers

/ 3 comments


I went to yoga on Wednesday and had the best class yet. We worked through chakras - learning about their real 'history' and what they are - mixing hatha, kundalini and dru yoga. By the end I felt as if every muscle in my body had been massaged.

Lying on the mat, under a cosy blanket, I found that my mind's eye instantly filled with things I hadn't been thinking about. It was like accidental journeying. A stag, majestic and powerful, with huge ornate antlers like antennae into the other world. I felt my own antlers appear on my (still human) head.

I've only been visited by Stag once before, during a deep guided meditation some years ago, when again there were ornate antlers but also a small, beautiful crown. This stag was female. I know, but she was and she was not a reindeer (female reindeer have antlers). She gifted me a wooden box that contained the letter A. I'm still working on that one.

I've been obsessing about antlers ever since. What a surprise. And gazing at the artwork above that was created by my friend - and supremely talented artist - Tracie Noles-Ross.
Read the rest

Held

/ 2 comments


Walking to the woods to find connection and ask for strength, and finding deer trods that lead from the gate, across the field and into the woods where I usually jump the fence. I was on the right path.

Looking up from the earth to see a buzzard(hawk) - one of my close ones - flying just above my head, seemingly in one spot, against the buffeting winds. Showing me how to ride the push and pull before she dipped to one side and disappeared.

Roe deer at the side of the lane, just watching me as I drove slowly past in the dark. Three sisters.

The return of the jackdaws to our home.

The piece of ivy wood that appeared at my feet and fits so perfectly into my palm that it could have been moulded for it. I took it home as a reminder of my connection to everything. The ivy that adorns and holds all the trees in the woods. The sinews and veins of the Spirit of The Place.

Without this; without these constant reminders that I am of just one more species among many other equals, all of whom will stand as family (alongside my beloved people) and support me if I just acknowledge them and ask, I'm not sure how this month would have been. As it is, I feel surrounded by life, love and trust.

x



Read the rest

Wildsong

/ 13 comments

I've always taken a harsher line with myself than I have with others - I think most of us do - and my spirituality doesn't escape this fate. I've never believed that one religion or institutionalised spirituality or philosophy is going to be The Right One, more that they're all (at least in origin) different expressions of the same thing. However, I did used to think that I personally needed to align myself with a single school and devote myself to it. I've dabbled in a few. From a brief - like, two-weeks-when-I-was-17 brief - investigation of Catholicism while exploring my Hanlon Irish roots, to flitting back and forth on Buddhism and various other belief systems, I kept looking for The One. Eventually, some years ago, I realised that I needed to go to the source. To simply connect with the spirit that infuses and inspires them all. No middle wo/man required.

Since I was a child I've believed that everything is 'alive' in some way. From toys to shopping trolleys, I've had meaningful conversations with them all (I still always say thank you to my trolley when I park it back in the bay). So animism is kind of where I am and where I've always been.

At this time last year that had led me - in a backwards step - to studying shamanic practice in the belief that I'd found The Thing that truly was a method for connecting with the source. I was a few modules in. Enjoying it. And then not. There was the feeling I was in the wrong place again because I couldn't buy in 100%. My extracurricular reading had included Emma Restall Orr's Living Druidry - still a favourite - and I remember sending an email to a group of friends, saying,'Oh feck. I'm a sodding druid.'

Because this:



Which, to me, screams Non-Historical Re-enactment Society . I know. #harsh #buthonest. So I wasn't happy about this revelation. The upshot was I emailed my tutor and asked if I could take a break (I could, did, am) and then I got ill. 

I physically hit bottom, then mentally and emotionally. Spiritually I just numbed out everything but my personal experience on a daily basis. I stuck with what worked and healed and what has always worked and healed me is the earth...nature. And slowly but surely that led me back to Druidry. Minus the outfits.

Druidry as it is now is not the ancient religion of these isles because we don't really know what that was. It's believed that teachings were passed down verbally so very little remains of the Celtic animism/shamanism that came before Christianity. However, modern, neopagan Druidry is probably as close as we're ever going to get. 

The thing is, I've softened on myself and no longer feel I have to devote myself to a particular 'club' and its rules. These days I weave together my own, ever-evolving, tapestry of beliefs. Most of it does align with Druidry - as an Anglo-Celt it just feels right to me - and Shamanism but not all. I love a bit of Hinduism. Shinto too. I know the truth of Mitakuye Oyasin. It is all animist. 

I attempted to explain it to Evie and I said, 'If you think of the life force that creates and animates everything as music, then every single thing in the universe(s) is a different song. I have a song, so do you. So does that stone, that tree, the wood in our kitchen table, that horse, that postman, our home, this place.' That's as close as I've ever come to really explaining how life feels to me.

I think our sacred task, our path to spiritual fulfilment, is to learn our song and to sing it out loud. And when we do, those whose songs harmonise with our own will hear and join in, creating an even more powerful melody. An even more powerful expression of the 'music'. The beauty!

Learning how to do this: to tune into my song, learn it and sing it, to share it. That's why I'm here. That's my purpose. I think it's a purpose for all of us. So that's what this blog is about now. Finding and singing my own wildsong and sharing the ways I find to do that. Hoods optional.





Read the rest

Waking up to 2015

/ 5 comments


It feels to me as if my last post was really the best way to end 2014 so I'm not going to add much but I do want to lay the foundations for 2015.

I wasn't going to choose a word for the coming year. It didn't seem possible when there are so many floating around my head. Words, themes, plans...pick one word? No need. Last year I chose three and phased them in: Rest for the winter, Play in the spring, Build in the summer. And that worked a treat.

Then it became apparent over the last week or so that there is a word that I can use for guidance. So I nailed that one down. Still didn't have the one that felt like the public word (in as much about 20 people will know it). Then, as I was emailing back and forth with Susannah (arguably The Word Whisperer although she'll effing kill me for saying that) she asked if I'd chosen one. I replied that I hadn't but just as I was about to say impulsively,"I'm thinking of 'Shine'", the sun hit the kitchen window and flooded the room with the most gorgeous light. See above.

I'll take that as a sign. Mind you, I take everything as a sign. Everything.

Two's no good. I need three, and the third was pushing to be heard today. I needed something that would inspire me to step up in the way I intend to and, more importantly, to remember that Universal Flow is more available to those who raise their vibration to be in tune with it. (N.B., it's all vibration and we can all shift it. Even without trying.) The only word that fits is 'Rise'.

Which is hilarious. Because Rise and Shine? Seriously? Ha! But even that fits. Often the only block of time I can get for my contemplative, meditative, journaling stuff is very early morning before anyone else wakes up. So hell yeah... you want to rise and shine? Then rise and shine!

The third word is mine. No. It's not 'Mine'. It's mine. My soul word. And really it always has been. So I'll hold that close.

Whether you choose a word, or a saying, or a prayer, a poem, a mantra...or you don't. Even if this isn't your new year (personally, I feel it more at the Spring Festival but I love a new calendar too), please accept my love and best wishes for 2015. I have lots to show & tell, and I hope you'll honour me with your company.

x


Read the rest

Answering the call. And other news.

/ 3 comments
















(first published at therevolutionofme.com)

If you see my Instagram feed you'll know that last weekend I hinted at some big news. Well it turns out that my senses around that full moon, and how I was being pulled to commit to something, were bang on target.

We discovered on Friday, confirmed on Saturday, that thanks to Charlie's airline pension, we will have a little financial windfall in August next year. It's not lottery money (to most people) but to us it is truly life-changing. After Charlie quit the airline in 2010 after 12 months off with stress we were plunged into a money nightmare at the worst point of the economic disaster. I had to carry the bills single-handedly on a relatively low part-time salary. I could have looked for full-time work but I chose to stay in a position that I'd held for eight years at that time - with promises (kept) from the Directors that there would be no redundancies - rather than potentially be the 'last in, first out' somewhere else. I'm not a 25 year old hotshot. I'm a woman of a certain age with a young child and ageing parents. I might not have appeared a good bet, employment-wise. Also, at the time, it was all firing, no hiring.

So we struggled on. And it was incredibly hard. Still is at times although Charlie has slowly grown a niche for his considerable talents that seems finally to be yielding fruit. Some of you will know only too well what life is like when your head is running numbers 24 hours a day. 'How far can I get on this petrol?', 'How many meals can I make from this?', 'How long before the child benefit payment hits my account and Evie can have shoes without holes?', 'Can I juggle this, that and those pennies to make sure I pay back the payday loan?'. Yes I went there and no, sometimes I couldn't. I benefited greatly from the generosity of friends and will never forget that, whatever else happens between us, but the anxiety never stopped.

Even on the days when things are easier and you treat yourself to a coffee or maybe even a train ticket to see some friends (as long as you can find free parking for your car near the station) instead of making shame-laden excuses, the joy gets sucked out of everything. You try this plan and that plan, hatch idea after idea, but when you have zero disposable income it's so hard to get anything off the ground. And so much time is taken dealing with day to day life when 'stuff' is old and broken and bodged together.

The three of us kept going. We nearly fell apart as a family but we decided, at the crunch point, that wasn't going to happen and slowly things got better.

Now twenty five years of being away from home, and having permanent jet lag finally have something to show for themselves. We can breathe, replace, repair, move forward and yes, even celebrate. We are not rich, but we are able to sleep. We are grateful.

And in all this...the blessings. As a family we are strong and devoted to each other. We have each discovered strengths and abilities that might have stayed uncovered in an easier situation. We have truly understood what our values are and what matters. What is real.

Through it all we hung on to this home, this place, because for both of us - quite possibly all three of us - its healing power was our salvation. For me, being able to be immersed in what has always given me power - nature, earth, water, life, peace - has meant remembering a way of being, believing, knowing and communicating with the sacred life force that carries us.

That place of deep communion with nature is what I call the sacred natural (the words I found for myself via Danielle LaPorte all those years ago!). It lifts me, informs me, grounds me and gives everything meaning.

Because of that, and in no small part the events of this year that have truly been (and continue to be) the personal revolution that named this blog, including this last one that brings freedom with it, I have made that decision the moon called for. I'm going in, stepping up, owning it. And I'm returning my online writing to its true home. This little blogging adventure is done, loved and retired. I'm going back to where I belong at The Art of Wildness and I'm hoping to share what I now know, and what I've yet to discover. I'll let you know when.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for always reading and always letting me know when I shared something that touched you. You are a very special part of my lifeline and I treasure your company, truly.

xxx

Read the rest

Did she jump or was she pulled?

/ 1 comment


The upcoming full Cold Moon is pulling me in. Visible through the day as well as at night, this one seems to have a mental tractor beam on me. It's been telling me I only have until Saturday to decide. That I need to make some decisions, even if they're only short term. I stood in the dark field this evening and could not take my eyes off this moon. All I could hear was,'Time's running out...are you ready? You've got two days to prepare.'

For the last week or so - perhaps since the new moon now that I think of it - I've had the feeling that I'm standing, again, on the edge of a cliff. I know on some level that I should jump but every time I've approached this point before I have dithered and missed my chance. This isn't a jump in a negative sense, it's just a jump that would leave behind some aspects of who I have been. Leave them behind forever (gasp). These aspects are/were genuine, real parts of me that are no longer needed. There are new ones ready to be taken for a spin. New wings that haven't yet taken me to the air. I should jump; that much is clear.

And yet the dithering is there in the background. Way quieter this time but still, wondering where it is I think I'm going to land. What will happen? What can I plan for? What should I do to be ready for the flight? What should I pack? Do I need shots? And, here's a big one, how will I explain it to people who know me? The dithery me is fine, in theory, with the jumping, she just seems to need to fill in some forms first. Make some lists. Know stuff.

And now my intuition, my guides, my gut...all telling me that I can't know. That's kind of the point. And pointing out that I'm not going to be jumping far; this is more like a hop. The big stuff is already established. This jump is all about the faith, the trust, the confidence and the readiness to leave the old ways behind. Knowing only that there are new ways ready and waiting...I just can't see them in advance.

I need some time to meditate on this. To feel my way around it and relax. Except there's the small matter of a busy life in the way. I'm working at my desk job Thursday and Friday. Evie needs me doing stuff with her (nine year olds stay up as late as I do it seems - gone are my hours of quiet in the evening). Saturday is Beagle Day so I'm busy until early afternoon and then...dinner, family, dogs, life. All the things I'm so lucky to have. And yet, honestly, today I feel as if I would really benefit from three days alone somewhere, just me and the moon.

I am not ready. I haven't dusted off my faith and trust. Can't remember where I left either of them. I'm not feeling calm or prepared in any way.

Of course Saturday may come and go with absolutely nothing happening. In which case I shall no doubt believe that I have again missed my chance to jump. Even though I have no idea what 'jump' actually means in this context.

Two nights ago I dreamt I was in a high building looking out of the window. Level with the window I could see a heron flying but held in one place by a head wind it couldn't beat. Now and then it would circle back and try again but still it flew 'on the spot'. I called out to people to come and watch but only I could see it. There was no struggle for the heron, it was almost play. I think this is something I need to think on. Before Saturday.

No wonder they say La Luna, when full, brings out the lunatic in us all. I'm spinning like a top.
Read the rest

Knowing my self

/ 2 comments

I've always hated having my photo taken. Whatever I do or do not look like in real life I am one of those unlucky individuals (in this day and age) who is not photogenic. The planes of my face, my features, my nervousness, all the above...not good photographic material. In school photos I would usually have my eyes closed, more than once 'ruining' the otherwise 'lovely' picture of my brother as we sat together. Tall, gangly, shy and awkward, I was grim-faced in black and white, red-faced in colour.

Not a huge fan of the selfie, I nevertheless came to appreciate what a good one can do for one's self esteem. It's possible to take 30 of them and choose the one good one to filter and 'artify'. But still I was self-conscious about it. I didn't like what I thought it said about me that I enjoyed posting pictures of myself. I didn't think it said anything about anyone else mind you (outside the Kardashian Realm) because I love seeing other people's faces. Just not mine.

And then in the last few weeks I started to like what I saw because I recognised her. Me. The lines on my face and the streaks of grey in my hair. Making the portraits a moody B&W felt totally right because I was trying to portray more than the physical. There was also a slight fascination with how much I am beginning to resemble family members to whom I've never before been likened. I am moved to see them showing up in these images now. My father's memory of me may be fading daily but his face is appearing in mine at an equal pace.

Most of all, I am claiming my self. I am staking my claim to this life, this experience, this place, this day, this moment. This face.

Like the magical Maya, I have a council of animal guides to whom I've always turned, even as a child. Among them now I identify hawk (as the European common buzzard), crow, deer, pigeon, badger and spider. Foremost, always, are the wolves. Within the council they have a governing circle and take precedence as my personal 'family'. It's the circle that calls me in when there's something special I need to be shown or told.

Recently, I was not so much called as summoned. It felt as if I were about to get a good telling off but I had no idea why. I was kindly asked if I was in agreement that I belong to the wolf family. Indeed. Then I should be reminded of a few things:

Wolves are known to be: loving, loyal, family-orientated, protective, affectionate, playful even. Deeply instinctive, they are the pathfinders, with a deep faith and understanding of life. They will fight tooth and claw to defend their own and are at times fierce, intense and, when cornered, extremely dangerous. Capable of inflicting deep wounds, even though they prefer flight over fight.

But nowhere has the wolf character ever been described as 'nice'.

So, I was asked, did I want to be 'nice' because if I did I might be better checking out the very nice rabbits next door. Or did I want to really stand up and be who I am.

Since I answered a fast and unequivocal yes to the latter, things have progressed. I'm feeling as if some kind of inner upgrade took place. Everything is more vivid, more...more...everything. My senses are sharper.

And when I look at myself I see who I really am, down to the brown/grey fur. I am happy to see her. Happy to see me.

x
Read the rest

A life's work

/ 2 comments


It's so nice when it stops. Know that one? I was kind of aware of the intense metamorphosis taking place - the battering, the aching, the stress and the heat of the fire - but it became the norm there for a while. It's only now that the intensity has dialled right down and there is some peace, that I can see that this year has been one of those really full-on, fast track, 'sorry but ya just gotta learn this and quickly' times. Now I'm in a lull, recovering, and frankly I hope it lasts longer than it takes to catch my breath. Transition, transformation, growth...perhaps I was dawdling too much. Maybe the Powers That Be decided I needed a kick up the arse. Maybe I decided that.

It's hard, really hard, when there are changes in one area of your life that don't automatically manifest in others. My ongoing 'work' is almost all of a spiritual nature and that's where these developments have been; meanwhile the day-to-day stuff stays the same. That's not a bad thing, it's just how it is when your life is happily intertwined with others'. So we end up taking huge steps forward in one part of our selves and then many times a day having to back track, change back into our 'old clothes' and be who we're needed to be in other parts. Of course the aim is integration - how else can we be whole? - but that takes time, patience, courage, big love and a whole lot of trial and error.

I am lucky to be, thus far, unconditionally accepted and loved by my family (it's entirely mutual, even on the days when I yell a lot) but I do sometimes wonder,'Just how weird can I get before it's too much for them?'!

The thing with personal power is, it needs to be expressed in order to be ignited. It exists in all of us as intention, whether we are aware of it or not, but it needs to be given life to actually be of any benefit. The more we express our true selves, the more powerful we become. Obviously. And yet we withhold - especially in my culture.

A big part of what has changed in me this year is down to my expressing things that I might formerly have kept to myself. I have taken a risk on being thought of as weird and - even worse  - at least at one point 'not very nice' (the horror), as a move to let my personal power live. I have been more honest than I have ever been and despite the discomfort and vulnerability that brought out, it has been hugely empowering. I still have a way to go but so far, so much better. I am more comfortable with myself when I speak from my heart. More whole. As I said in my previous post, the circuit completes and the power surges.

I have to believe that this power we have is a positive thing, that we use it not just for personal benefit but for all. And that means believing the price we might pay for bringing it to life is worth the discomfort.

The end of the year is just weeks away and I'm looking at 2015 in a) amazement (we live in THE FUTURE now) and b) anticipation. A lot of 2014 has for me been about building strength: physical, emotional, spiritual. Next year I hope to add in skill, finesse, even artistry in how I express my self. I've a feeling that's a life's work.

x
Read the rest
(c) Jo Hanlon-Moores. Powered by Blogger.