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Saturday, 24 September 2011


Yesterday the sacred Wheel of the Year turned again & we entered the Sabbat of Mabon, at the Autumn Equinox.  The Earth stood in perfect balance, just as at Ostara, with the day being exactly the same length as the night. From this point onward the days will become shorter until the Winter Solstice.

Mabon is a time to be thankful for the abundance of the harvest & to take stock.  A time to fill the larder with homemade preserves & the freezer with vegetables, stocks & soups.  In Pagan symbolism Mabon is the time of the second harvest, the Fruit Harvest.  The Goddess is radiant as Harvest Queen & her union with the God has produced both the abundance all around us & the seed for next year's harvest.

Inwardly, Mabon is a time to examine whether the hopes, ideas & dreams we sowed in Spring have come to fruition, rejoice in those that have & to ponder the lessons of those that haven't.  Just as we are thankful for the harvest it's a time to be thankful for all that is ripe & rich & good in our lives.  Just as the chaff is discarded at harvest time, now is the time to discard our emotional & spiritual chaff so that we can begin to lay down the seed to be sown next year.  

The apple is a symbol of the Fruit Harvest & this year we are lucky to enjoy a particularly good crop of apples in the UK.  For Pagans the apple contains a hidden secret.  If you cut one across its middle rather than top to bottom you reveal a hidden pentagram containing the seeds.  The 5 points of a pentagram represent the elements of Air, Fire, Water, Earth & Spirit.

Blackberry & Apple Jelly

4lb blackberries (when taking fruit from the hedgerows remember to always leave enough behind for wildlife)
2lb cooking apples
2 pints water

Rinse & drain the blackberries,wash & chop the apples & place both into a preserving pan with the water.  Simmer until soft, the strain the pulp & measure the juice produced.  Return the juice to the pan, along with 1lb of sugar for every pint of juice & boil until setting point is reached (roughly 10 mins of rapid boiling).  Allow to cool slightly before potting into sterilised jars.

Mabon is an excellent time for gathering herbs & spices that will help fend off those pesky Winter colds & chills.  For example sage, ginger & hyssop are all good for treating the congestion of colds & flu.  Cinnamon & nutmeg are warming & improve circulation.  Echinacea works as a natural antibiotic & immune stimulant.

Warming Winter Tea

1.5 cups of  freshly boiled water
1/2 tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp each grated lemon & orange zests
1 to 2 crushed cardammon seeds
1 or 2 drops of vanilla essence
1 cinnamon stick
Allow to infuse for 5 mins or to taste,sweeten with honey if desired.

May Mabon / Autumn blessings be with you,

Sara xx

Friday, 2 September 2011

Connecting sole to Soul with Nature

Sometimes I ask myself what has created this seismic shift inside me, this huge surge in spirituality?  I guess its always been latent in me, just waiting to be given room to blossom & grow.  This single greatest catalyst has been my deepening connection to Nature.  The Goddess & God speak to us through the landscape & if we tune in everything we need to know is right there.  It's key to healing ourselves & to understanding what we need to do to live in deeper harmony with Mother Earth.  I can feel the shift happening in me & I am so excited to be joining the Essence of Wild Barefoot Breathing e-Course this month as I journey deeper into Nature.
I'm so happy that Jason at Essence of Wild has written this beautiful guest blog post for me to share here, illustrated with his sumptuous photography:

'Overhung by bluebells, brambles and ferns I lay on the musty woodland floor feeling the cold damp seep through the waterproof picnic rug beneath me. The boggy ground provided a perfectly soft resting place as I lay there keeping company with the bowl of flower essence that Jackie and I had been given by the geum flowers. We knew it was necessary to be fully present with the essence until it told us that it was time to be taken away from the parent plants, so I happily rested with nature.

The rain began to pour. I wrapped the rug around me, leaving only my eyes and my feet uncovered. Gazing up to the topmost canopy of sycamore leaves I watched the path taken by the raindrops. They spiralled down to me. They actually spiralled! The journey took a count of 3 seconds. I stayed with the woodland for 4 hours and got to know so much about that tiny corner. Even now, months later, I can revisit every nook and cranny and recall the birds that came to see me. Particularly the tawny owl.

Being still for so long isn't new to me, I've spent many a day in cloth 'hides' waiting to photograph birds and have sat for hours willing the right cloud formations to dress the landscape in front of my camera. However this was different. I wasn't just waiting for nature to give me something, I was a part of nature's process. Without me the essence wouldn't have the spirit of the plant. My presence was serving a purpose, allowing some alchemical magic to take place between the diva of the geum, the spirits of the place, the guides, ancestors and higher beings we had called on and my own heartfelt intent to honour and respect this sacred work.

As we sat with the flowers earlier in the day and absorbed the messages of their healing little did I realise that what we were doing has been done since the days of prehistory. It felt like a new discovery to me, a new connection and I wanted to tell the world. I still want to shout about it and to share the knowledge that plants know a thing or two, but have come to understand that it really is nothing new. Nature has communicated her gifts to those who care to listen for as long as humans have foraged in her midst. After all, other animals self-medicate don't they?! Most of the modern world have simply lost the way, that's all.

Being able to slow down to nature's pace, learning how to be absolutely present with her and most of all, exuding a heartfelt love and warmth for nature that cannot be feigned are the keys to developing this relationship. Once we've begun the journey the mysteries that begin to unfold are many. Shamans and Hedge Witches have long known the deeper connections that result from nurturing this relationship with nature and our land, and perhaps not surprisingly modern scientific research is beginning to support what we have always felt through the bones of our ancestors.

Scientific textbooks such as 'The Secret Life of Plants' and 'The Secret Teachings of Plants' demonstrate how plants can detect our emotional states. More than that, they can actually alter their chemical make up in reaction to our emotions, crafting the perfect soul medicine we need! This came as a real revelation to me and helped answer many questions about herbal medicines. Previously I had this vision of the herbal healers of old working hard to find a remedy for a particular ailment and toiling their way through all the thousands of plants available before finding the correct one. Now I know how they did it. They simply asked. They went out into the land and asked which plant would like to help cure this illness. Being open hearted towards nature they would know the answer when it was given. Similarly they would enjoy a communion with the spirit of place, with the moon... with every single element of our universe and between them they'd come up with a solution.

The very real beauty of this is that nothing has changed.We can do this too! Nature is still there, she is still happy to work with us if we but ask. Healers, mystics, lightworkers

Connect with your earth, go barefoot, feel the difference, soak up the energy from the heart of our planet. Reconnect sole to Soul. Remember, as far as nature is concerned we are a part of her. How much better can it possibly get! '

Thursday, 1 September 2011

A wildwood journey

The hedge witch sat under her world tree, her feet bare, hair loose; her basket of charms by her side.
She watched the sun set & the light retreat from the land, seeing the fire edged clouds shape shift & understanding their message.

She embraced the peace of the day's end & let her soul fly free across the darkening Hills.  She smelled the earth & the bark of the tree pungent in her nostrils & heard underground creatures begin to stir.  The crows in the woods cawed sleepily as they began to roost & all became still.

The witch rested her head against the rough bark of her beloved tree & as she heard the distant sound of the shaman's drum she knew it was time.  Slowing her breath she let go & allowed herself to slip between the worlds.
Her shaman friend was there to greet her in the Underworld caverns.  He reached out his hand & shivering slightly she stepped into his boat.  The oars cut quietly through the dark waters & together they slipped into the mists, owl flying before them as silent as the mist itself.
The shaman's torch grew brighter & the witch began to make out the beautiful river they were travelling along & the souls walking its banks.  She did not feel afraid.  She felt at peace amongst the spirits & winged ones.
Her heart ached to know more, but sounds from the outer world penetrated her senses.  The shaman heard too & took her to shore & as she kissed his cheek in gentle gratitude he was gone. 
Standing firmly on the river's grassy bank she saw that he had given her a wooden staff with owl carved into its top.  She smiled & knew that when she was ready to return to this place of wild wood wisdom & mystery she would not be alone.....