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Winter's Beauty - in the cold and wet...

Winter in Britain – it’s dark and it’s wet.  Not very cold, compared to what I grew up with in Canada, but the damp just seaps into your bones.  It’s a different kind of winter, one that I still sometimes have trouble getting to grips with.

The darkness is the first thing that my body has difficulty coping with.  If it’s dark outside, my body wants to sleep. I’m very much a daytime person.  Here in the UK, at a latitude of  52.0594° N (where I grew up it was 45.9500° N) it gets dark a lot earlier than what I’m used to, and it’s not light outside much before 8.30 or 9am in the darkest part of the year.  Hibernation mode kicks in.  I struggle to get out of bed even though I’ve had a great sleep if it’s still dim out. Come summer, and it’s light at 3.30am, I can get out and greet the sunrise no problem.

The darkness has a real thick, heavy quality to it sometimes, with overcast skies and damp air all around you, sounds hushed in the shadows.  Like a blanket, it can completely cover you and, if you like your head above the covers, can seem stifling.  I’ve had to learn to work with the darkness, to enjoy it, to see its beauty.

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discipline

ˈdɪsɪplɪn/

noun

noun: discipline

     1.     the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience.

    "a lack of proper parental and school discipline"

    2.     a branch of knowledge, typically one studied in higher education.

    "sociology is a fairly new discipline"   

 

Wow. No wonder people hate the word discipline.  It’s often equated with punishment, correcting a perceived disobedience.  We are free people, we should be able to do what we want, when we want, so long as it harms none. Life is for living, right?

Of course, I would agree with the above, that we are free, that life is for living. However, I’m also here to reclaim the word discipline into something that is positive.

We live in a world filled with instant gratification.  We have IPhones and tablets that can “connect” us with people anywhere, anytime, so that we never have to be alone (even in a crowd of people).  We have hundreds upon hundreds of television channels that tempt us into thinking that something better than the current moment we are living in is on the tube.  We have internet to answer all questions at the push of a button.  We have access to food 24/7 (most of us) – we’re usually never too far away from our larders or a shop.  We love to “treat” ourselves. Marketing has told us that “we’re worth it”, or making us feel that we’re not good enough, and with their product we will be.  Problems solved, instantly.

Now, this isn’t a blog post about self-denial, asceticism or anything similar.  It is about truly seeing and understanding our needs versus our desires. Our modern world has twisted our desires into needs, and it is up to us to rebalance, to rejig our way of thinking in order to live a life filled with more intention.

I work three jobs, alongside my work as a Druid priest.  Time can be in pretty hard demand sometimes, but planning makes it all work. It takes effort, but that is what discipline is: effort made in order to improve a situation, to live a life of intention, to learn more about integration and compassion.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

The still centre.

Outside, in the dark, the air is finally still.  Like rich swathes of fabric, the darkness hangs around me, enfolding me, wrapping me in its exquisite embrace.  I sit, breathing in the night air, the smell of cedar and dew wet grass filling me with pure awen.  The last of the crickets are singing in the remnant of summer’s growth, owls hooting softly in the distance and underneath the beech tree near Caia’s grave I let the songs of the night wash over me in waves of indigo and black.

The quiet is shattered by the call of a stag just on the other side of the hedge. Calling to the does, he is in full rut, looking for the ladies in the shelter of the night.  He is maybe four feet away, and his bark and rumbles excite me with the power that he is emanating in following his soul’s truth.  I can hear the slight shuffle of leaves and grass beneath his hooves as he paces up the track and then back down towards the nature reserve and farmer’s fields.

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The Blessing of Samhain... If You Dare...

Here in the UK, the weather has turned and the colder air sweeps down from the North. Nights are longer, as the sun jumps along the horizon with each rising and setting, heading further and further towards the south.  Trees are changing colours, and plants are beginning to die back, the green fading into golden and tawny hues, foliage less dense and earth beginning to peek through the underbrush. 

The tide of Samhain has begun, when, after the autumn equinox we prepare for the darkness to come.  The balance has been tipped, and we have tipped with it, our internal clocks trying to adjust to new temperatures and light levels.  Often, we try to establish our centre, attempting to find some foothold or handhold in the coming darkness, our egos crying out the great rallying cry of “I AM!”  The darkness, however, knows the folly of this, and smiles as it creeps ever closer.

In the darkness there are no guidelines. There are no boundaries. There is no up or down, no left or right. There is only impenetrable night, a sweet release from the constraints of the known. 

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Witches rule the darkness.
Autumn Equinox and Serpent Energies of Albion

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Thank you all so much for your kind words. x
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Very well said, thank you.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Excellently put. Whenever I encounter an arrogant Religionist who belittles others - both their intelligence and the depth of thei
  • Daniel Papworth
    Daniel Papworth says #
    Strong resonances in my own (Christ) tradition with this post. "Then he took a little child and put it among them; and...said to t
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Good to see someone pointing this out.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Nemetona and Sanctuary

Sometimes one has to retreat from the world, in order to better understand it.  Finding sanctuary, a sacred space where we can open our souls without fear, where we can simply be, is a glorious experience. It happens a lot less than we need in our lives, in my opinion.

A goddess of sanctuary, Nemetona is an elusive deity.  Not much is written or recorded about her in Classical texts or history.  Just the barest hints and place names, some tribe names and a couple of inscriptions.  Who is this goddess to whom we can bare our souls, in complete soul truth, knowing that we are held?

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