The joys of Spring

Spring is my favourite season. Since working consciously with the Wheel of the Year, I’ve learned to love the special qualities of all the seasons, but Spring remains the best for me.

My absolute favourite time of year is the lush fertility of May. To me, there is nowhere on Earth more beautiful than the Tamar Valley in May - but this early spring brings the exciting gift of emerging growth and the promise of things to come.

On Wednesday evening, a small group of us meditated together to mark Spring Equinox and the Full Moon. Because the Equinox was in the week, we had decided to hold a Spring Ceremony at the weekend and following the absolutely lovely Children’s Ceremony we held at Winter Solstice we decided to invite the young ones in our community once more. What a delight it was!

We gathered in the Crystal Barn to open our circle. The altar had been created that morning and the children had been invited to bring two items – one that holds the energy of spring and one personal item. I love the joy of these altars. We had teddies and dolls and dragons and all manner of precious treasure joining daisies, bluebells, bulbs and seeds. We passed the talking stick, sang, drummed and rattled.

It is so very special to see children who, only a short time ago were too shy to speak in the circle, now confidently holding the talking stick and sharing their thoughts. Two girls, one of whom was just two when she first came to ceremony with her mother, are now among the older ones and they took responsibility for smudging everyone before we began.

In the winds last month, the lovely bunting that was made last year by Linda, Annie and myself blew away. Instead of making more bunting, I’d had the idea of painting prayer flags and so invited the children to do this. Each time we have had a children’s event, we’ve worked with the Elements, and this was the theme of their creations. They also made a flag to take home, enabling the recently pruned willow to be put to good use.

I had thought that Spring Equinox would be the time we made felt for the Horse Drum bag, but clearly that wasn’t to be since events unfolded that prevented it happening. He was, however, insistent on being on the Altar along with his lovely drum bag strap.

At the New Moon ceremony on 6th May, dear Dee arrived with a Peruvian belt. She’d been going through some possessions and had had the strong feeling that she needed to bring it and give it to me. As yet I have no idea why the Horse Drum that is part of the work with our land should have a Peruvian belt . . .

From New to Full Moon I had been intent on making the drum bag. With Full Moon/Eclipse I realised that what we actually needed to do was more work with our new Ceremony Circle.

In 2017 my lovely vegetable and herb garden was completely destroyed as it was necessary to dig out the leat that runs by my house. 25 years ago the National Trust did a typical penny pinching botch job that had led to quite a serious problems, so although the mess and noise and disruption was pretty appalling in this normally peaceful spot, it was good that the situation was being addressed at last! And there has been something very cleansing and healing about opening the space/water flow ‘right down to the bottom’.  

At the same time, a new, flat, south facing patch of land had become available to us – a much better spot for vegetable growing. Also, it had become clear that quite a few of our community members were finding it increasingly difficult to make the trek up to the sacred circle in the woods. So we decided that when the holes were filled and the grass growing once more, we’d create an additional, more easily accessible, ceremony circle.

The very first step came when I was offered the 4 Directions poles following a beautiful women’s moon gathering I attended. They were stored, with the intention of placing them to hold the Directions in our new circle.

From May to August they rested in the barn. In August we shared some very special and powerful ceremonies in Stonehenge and at the Hurlers, and I woke up the morning after the New Moon with the feeling that it was time for the next step!

Helen, Linda, Sheila, Marcus and I meditated together in the Crystal Barn to discern the way ahead. We chose 5 Preseli Bluestones from the crystal grids and altars we’d been working with, and an extra stone for Fire, Earth, Air, Water and Spirit. Marcus measured the circle and we planted the crystal seeds. Throughout this time we had been blessed to have the ‘loan’ of dear Paddy’s magnificent Preseli Bluestone bowl – a very special Being who has now been part of many ceremonies on the land. With seeds planted, we left the circle to ‘bed in’ through the autumn and winter.

As ‘my plans’ for creating the bag for Horse Drum faded, the thought came that it would be wonderful to take the next step of creating the Circle with the children – Spring energy and the beautiful energy of the children. I created small bags of crystals with each containing a Preseli Bluestone, a Rose Quartz and a tiny Herkimer Diamond. With a small fire in the middle of the Circle, the children planted their seed crystals in the ground. (They also got to choose one to keep!) Anwen started in the East – because she’d just had a birthday – and when the circle was complete, we joined hands and sang together.

It feels so special to be involving the young ones in community events. They bring such a beautiful, joyous, curious, playful energy. In the evening, a small group of adults sat in the Crystal Barn to connect with Spring energy in a quiet way. As we sat in silence, the whole place seemed to hold the echo of the bright energy from earlier.

We wish you a happy Spring and Summer to come, and hope your dreamseeds become manifest.

If you would like to see more ceremony photographs, including some from last summer’s events - mentioned above - please go to our Heaven & Earth Community Facebook page


Awakening energy & spring cleaning

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Between grey rainy days there have been some days of complete delight lately – with clear blue skies, snowdrops in the hedge, catkins dancing in the breeze, the trees just beginning that gorgeous pre-growth shimmer and the first daffodils.

With this energy, last Wednesday I felt spurred to action and started thinning my books! The sitting room got a complete clean. All the crystals got a nice bath. Then it was time to smudge.

I’ve written about smudging before, but since following spring cleaning is such a perfect time to smudge your home, I thought I’d share once more.

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Many cultures consider certain plants to be sacred, and to have special properties that can help us. For centuries, various plants such a sage, cedar, lavender, frankincense have been burned to create a fragrant cleansing smoke or smudge. Cleansing with sacred herbs is both a practical and sacred ritual.

There are many plants to choose from and you can choose a herb, or a mix of herbs, that you like and that feels good and appropriate to you. I like to grow and dry my own herbs to make special smudging mixtures.

The photograph below shows Sweet Woodruff - an absolutely beautiful plant with leaves in little star whorls. It loves my garden and grows prolifically. When dried it has the most beautiful sweet scent, but is an absolute labour of love to burn.

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While I do use my own mixes for special ceremonies and events, the smoke that I find has the most effective general cleansing properties, and which I use most often, is White Sage (Salvia Apiana). This is imported from USA - as loose leaves, clusters of leaves, or wound into smudge bundles. I really wish I could grow it. I’ve tried, but this damp valley in Cornwall is not a good environment for the plant.

A longtime ago I made shamanic journeys to the Spirits of lots of plants used in smudging and asked if I could be shown how each works.

Apart from my preference for the smell of White Sage over lots of other plants, and the fact that it feels energetically lighter, what I was shown taught me that it is really, really good at clearing, cleansing and lightening the energy of people and spaces.

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When I smudge myself, I often use my hand to direct the smoke. When smudging a person or a place, I often use a feather.

One thing you definitely need is a fireproof container. One of the true rules of smudging is that however hard it is to light the herbs in the beginning, when it is time to go out they will probably be burning well! The container can be anything that prevents fire from spreading and doesn’t burn your hand, so metal is out unless it is on a cord!

A strong ceramic bowl is good, and I have often used bowls with a little soil or sand in the bottom. Often a shell isused.

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Smudging with shell and feather is particularly lovely since it brings in the 4 Daughters of Beauty or the 4 Elements. The plant represents the Earth element and the shell represents Water. They are burned and transformed by Fire into cleansing smoke. The smoke itself, and the feather, represent the element Air.

There are many ways of smudging - many traditions and rituals. You may well find that people are attached to ‘the right way’ of smudging. I’ve certainly been told off more than once for ‘doing it wrong’, yet I’ve watched several Grandmothers in ceremony, and they each have their own way. I have my own way to smudge my home, so I’ll share it with you.

I begin with cleaning on the physical level – a good tidy, dust, sweep, ‘spit and polish’, and a good crystal cleanse. I like to do this with windows and door open, whenever possible, and it is good to keep them open while you smudge if you can.  I set a clear, strong intent to clear any energies that do not belong in my home.

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I start upstairs, in the corner of the bathroom. I move around the room, using the feather to wave the smoke into nooks and crannies, paying particular attention to corners, all the time focusing on clearing and cleansing. I then move to my bedroom and repeat, to the other bedrooms and then down the stairs. I move through the rooms downstairs, ending at the door.

Having completed the smudging, I sometimes go round again with sweetgrass. This herb smells divine and brings blessings into your home. It does not burn like sage, and you need to be patient and persevere. I will need lighting several times, but it really is worth it. 

You can light a stick of your favourite incense or diffuse an essential oil or a combination of oils. Put your cleansed and sparkling crystals back in place and add some vases of flowers.

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There are some situations where it doesn’t work to create smoke, and indeed some people just don’t like it, so you could use my special Cleanse Aura Spray. This is made from my personal tried and tested recipe which includes a blend of 5 essential oils, my own Quartz Crystal essence, pure focussed intent and lots of love. It is so hard to find the perfect White Sage oil and it is pretty expensive. I’ve had many expensive disappointments along the way. Every bottle is made as part of a small batch at special times, such a Full Moon or Equinox, and each batch has its own energy. This Aura Spray is also very useful when you need a quick ‘clear and lift’ of energy – yourself or in a room.

You can buy Cleanse Aura Spray, White Sage - loose or in bundles, Abalone Shells in various sizes, Sweetgrass Braids and Feathers in my Facebook group sale tomorrow evening.
Sue’s Crystal Barn Online
Tuesday 12th February at 7pm.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/CrystalBarnOnline/

I also have 2 lovely Home Blessing Kits available and can create ‘Mini Kits’ from a selection of items.

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For those of you who are wondering about the Horse Drum, he is pretty quiet at the moment. He has found a spot to rest for now and seems quite happy there.

 

Happy Spring Cleaning! May your hearth be clear and bright, and filled with many blessings.






Smudging Supplies - Crystal Barn Online tomorrow at 7pm
Home Blessing Kit: £19
Loose White Sage 25g: £3
Loose White Sage 50g: £5
Sweetgrass Braids: £5
Small White Sage Bundles: £3
Abalone Shells 4 to 5 inch: £5
Cleanse Aura Spray: £10
https://www.facebook.com/groups/CrystalBarnOnline/


I appear to be writing a blog!

I can’t quite believe that I am actually writing a blog post, but it appears that I am! For years now, people have kept telling me that I should write more. It has never been something that I feel particularly drawn to but over the past few days I’ve had several nudges from Spirit. Apparently it is about weaving in more energies, so here goes . . .

Marcus and I and a group of fellow travellers will be making the first of a series of Sacred Journeys in September. These journeys are all about our Sacred Land - Britain. You can read about why we are doing this: www.heavenandearthcommunity.co.uk

In all our work there is an initial spark which is usually related to Marcus’ work with astrology and/or earth energies. The seed is then sown, but how the process will unfold is a complete mystery until each part is revealed. Very often we do not understand the significance of particular events or experiences at the time until more pieces of the jigsaw reveal a clearer picture. There is always a gathering and a weaving. Sometimes pieces aren’t revealed until the very last moments – frequently in dreams the night before a significant event or even in the shower that morning. We have learned to trust!

At the weekend we were at the Healing Light Festival – a small, friendly, heart-centred, Cornish event that takes place 3 times a year. It was very busy and I didn’t move from the stall except to make necessary loo trips. These took me past Ros Simons’ display of gorgeous drums. Every time I passed by, I was drawn very powerfully to one drum, so much so that I was finding it hard to keep from being distracted by its presence. I really don’t need another drum. I have my precious drum that I made about 15 years ago. This was long before people spoke of ‘birthing’ drums, but the following day I remember saying that it felt like I had a new baby. I’ve spent much time with that drum, learning together, and we are now old friends.

Also, in the past year I have been focussing strongly on releasing and clearing, and I absolutely do not want to buy anything just from personal desire.

By Sunday I needed to touch the drum. He – definitely he – felt good, but I still didn’t understand the connection. He is from horse skin, with a deer bone handle and woven onto a green wooden circle. I read the label. Tales of the Chalk. Could this be something to do with our journey to come? I started to feel the beginnings of the inner vibration that alerts me to something of significance. Jon asked if I’d seen the paintings inside. White Horse! Moon! Stonehenge! The vibration increased and the room began to shimmer.

The drum is not for me; it is for the journey! We need it for the journey. I showed Marcus and he agreed.

Ros came back to find that we had decided to buy the drum. I told her what we needed it for and she started to tell the tale of bringing him into being. There had been many knowings and unknowings – knowing that things were right but not knowing why – trusting and following the threads. She also said that she was very uncomfortable painting or drawing, and usually didn’t do this unless people had specifically asked for this in a commission. She was happy that she had followed her dreaming.We agreed that she should keep the drumstick for a while, since more work was needed now that we knew the path it would take.

Ros asked if we needed a drum bag. I feel that the creation of the drum bag will involve many hands and be part of the unfolding journey, so when it came time to leave I had to find a temporary wrapping. The only item that could give suitable physical protection, in the van with all the crystal boxes and stall, was a soft pink blanket that we had taken for the healing couch. As I lay it down and picked up the drum, I heard the words, ‘You aren’t seriously planning to wrap me in that, are you?’ He reminds me very strongly of Ezekiel, my special personal crystal, who ‘speaks’ in a similar voice and tone. I’m afraid I did wrap him in it, with a promise that I’d unwrap him as soon as we were home, and that I’d start dreaming in an appropriate bag right away. This is in process.

He is already calling strongly. I feel that even without yet being played, he has begun to draw the work in - pulling the threads of our Journey closer. He is now in the Earth corner of the Crystal Barn. I await the next instructions.

Meanwhile . . . we came home ready to prepare for Imbolc, which we will celebrate with a Crystal Labyrinth and Sound Healing Ceremony. We last held this ceremony at Samhain 2016 and I wanted to hold another at Samhain last year, but it became clear that the time wasn’t yet right so we postponed until now.

Imbolc is the time of the returning Light and the Reawakening of Earth and is dedicated to Brigid (Bride, Breed, Brigantia, Britannia). She is the Sun/Fire Goddess of inspiration and creation, associated with both the hearth fire and also blacksmiths and their creative work with earth and fire. She is also a Water Goddess who is honoured at many sacred wells; goddess of fertility and birth, protector of mothers and children; She is a mediator, a goddess of vision and harmony and of strength and healing. The name of our land - Britain - is derived from her name.

We like to use Preseli Bluestone in our crystal labyrinths, to link with the ancestors of our island. Last week I realised that I was quite low on stocks of this stone, so ordered more. As I was unpacking today in preparation for our Imbolc Ceremony, the shimmering began. I remembered our seed bundles from the Winter Solstice Ceremony that hold our dreamseeds for this year, including those for the Sacred Journey to come. They will be physically planted at Imbolc (or when Winter Goddess retreats a bit more!) and energetically planted in the Imbolc Ceremony. It is all being woven. Some of the Labyrinth Stones will stay with us to come to future ceremonies and eventually travel with us on our Journey; some will go with the people who join us this weekend; all will unfold in time as we begin to understand more. And the new Drum will be present at our Imbolc Ceremony as the story unfolds and the energy gathers and weaves.

Finally, as I was taking photographs of the Preseli Bluestone, I noticed that there was one tiny stone that was different. As I looked closer, I saw that it was a little piece of Charoite.
To me, Charoite is a powerful healer that works at deep karmic levels, thus enabling us to work for the highest good of all. I’m going to pop it in the Drum’s little medicine pouch.

 
 
 
 

Heaven & Earth Community: www.heavenandearthcommunity.co.uk

Healing Light Festival: www.thehealinglightfestival.com

Ros Simons: www.ros-simons.co.uk

To read about Preseli Bluestone:
Preseli Bluestone: Healing Stone of the Ancestors by Sue and Simon Lilly
ISBN 978 1905454082