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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

This year the summer solstice, longest day and height of the solar year, falls on Sunday the 21st of June. This is a time of fiery solar energy. Traditionally a time of faery revels, magic and great power, this is the perfect time to trust in your heart’s desire and seize your destiny. Throughout Britain and Ireland, it has been traditional to light a beacon fire at this time, and to seek spirit contact as well as a time for magic divination and blessing.

There is a host of plant lore connected to this time of the year in the Celtic traditions, but the main plants of the season are the elderflower, Vervain and St John’s wort. Gather Elderflower beneath the moon for healing tisanes or to make cordial, but vervain ‘the enchanters herb’, useful for all sorts of magic and scrying, blessing your sacred space and the highly protective St John’s wort are best gathered at dawn.  

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We have all had times where the challenges that life brings to us feel overwhelming. For the most part, hopefully, these are brief times of illness or misfortune, but it is a fact that each of us will have to come to terms less often with times of real challenge and even with death. As we journey through our lives, we seldom find these things occur at convenient moments, when we feel strong and equipped to endure. At such times we realise that all our lives are constantly navigated through realms of unpredictability and the chaos of a multitude of lives and circumstances co-existing and intersecting with our own. How much power we have over our fate is often woefully small. Yet there is to be found, even at such times, a wellspring of resources within us and around us, if not to cure, then certainly to provide a balm for our distress.  

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I’ve always been a night owl, loving the moon and stars, and the secret ways the world changes when everyone is sleeping…walking the lanes around Glastonbury Tor in nights so dark you couldn’t  see your feet upon the path, trusting those other senses; listening, feeling, smelling the air, that innate sense of presence you can get when you are in balance with your animal wild self and all the land around you to guide your way. I love the night for magic, weaving with the spirits, the night seems to allow a space for you to stretch into, bringing change where the rational mind of the day would not allow. But these days I’m feeling a subtle shift, and a new thread has come to my magical tapestry. Increasingly now I sense the best time for magic is not the night, but the dawn…or rather pre-dawn, as the first light finds its way across the trees and fields, bringing change to the world yet again, I find that magic can find a place to manifest…and catching the wave as the first golden light stretches like rosey honey across my beloved land my magic can carry on the first birdsong, on the unfurling of flowers, on raising of dawn mist and the stirring of the new day, to unfurl across the waking world and into manifestation as easily as the world turning… moon magic on one hand and sun magic on the other…and the time to wield it, is that wonderful tipping space betwixt and between…      

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

As the wheel turns to spring, life begins to stir in the soil and earth magic grows more powerful with every day.

Now is the time to sow flower herb or vegetable seeds indoors for abundant new plants in the coming summer. Excellent things to try in a limited space are salads or calendula or nasturtium plants which can be directly sown into small pots and grown on the windowsill if space is short. Allow yourself to experiment and have fun, eagerly awaiting the new shoots and seedlings springing into life.

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I sat with the Cailleach the other day, deep in the barrow mound, upon the hill, as the sun set on the shortest day. A raven spiralled over the white sky, and cut through the air with its cry…but its mournful sound seemed far off to me, sheltered in the shadows of the stones, and the black earth, the steady drip drip of water onto ancient sacred soil a drum rhythm, a rattle to the slow base of my heart beat in my ears, as I sank deeper and deeper still into the quiet.   

I held out my hands and felt her strong fingers, dry as winter twigs, gnarly knuckled and skin like paper-ash fine and fragile. She held my hands and with her the ancient ones, the sleeping ones stirring from the deep places dreaming, pulling me gently into layers below my awareness, calling me to slow down, and be enwrapped by them, to not rush today seeking magic when wisdom is here, in the quiet, in the dark. 

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Today we celebrate Samhain, and I'm drawn to think of my ancestors, my mothers bloodline and my fathers, back to the beginning, and as I step out to the threshold of my home, darkness gathering about me like a shawl, I give thanks to Gwyn ap Nudd, my patron god, lord of the wild hunt, and I give thanks to those that stand we with me unseen at the liminal places, who have seen my victories and my sorrows, and held my hand soft as the mist that caresses my cheek. I give thanks for each of them, my ancestral guardians, my beloveds, those whose bones are now a part of the rock and soil, those whose ashes are scattered on the wind, and whose memories are dust in the barrow mounds upon the hills, those who walked this long road before me. I remember you and you live in me, always.

Each year I bake a gift for the spirits, either barm brack or soul cakes, which I place out with a candle and a whiskey, for those who pass by on the wind. 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

So equinox has passed, and the leaves have begun falling from the trees. Its dark earlier, and the call of the hearth fire is stronger now than before. I always feel early autumn and the equinox, is a whole season, a whole process rather than a single point. We are balanced finely, gently tipping a little more into the dark half of the year, when the Cailleach calls us to look within.

Here in Avalon the scent of ripe apples fills the air, and the mists draw in, and there can be a feeling of both abundance and grief as death and endings seem to hang on every branch and blow on every breath of wind, with the harshness of the unknown winter the only surety ahead of us. We find ourselves now at a time when endings are afoot in our cultures as well as the seasons, with uncertainties and challenges ahead. But in these quiet moments, when the summer sun seems to be far behind, when we see the hope and life force of the land drain away into the earth once more, it is She who takes our hand, without a word, and we know that we will not walk into the darkness of winter alone.

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