Happy Women’s Day!

A very Happy Women’s Day to all!

In honour of this International event I would like to share with you the thoughts that formed the basis of my introduction to last week’s Honouring Woman event.

Taking place almost directly after Being Woman, Honouring Woman was quite a dramatic shift in energy; going from holding a space for women to quietly and intimately explore and experience their core self, to creating a shared space where ideas, inspirations and thoughts of Woman could meet and interact and in the open. I like to think we pulled it off and that everyone who attended left with some deeper sense of the importance and beauty of Woman.

Both men and women attended the evening event which was a real blessing, ensuring the space remained balanced and grounded. No room to spiral off into conjecture, prejudice or politics, just a safe place to encounter the energy of Woman and consider how it might manifest in all our lives; the question at the heart of it all:

What is Woman?

It is, in its most practical sense, an energy; or rather how the life energy of over half the human population chooses to manifest itself in the World. It is the ishness, the very nature of all women and influences certain traits and states of being that are shared by them all to one degree or another. Woman is cyclical, emotional, nurturing and protective. Woman is half of human history, of human experience…

But Woman is not restricted to women alone.

Woman is a gift we all inherit for we are all of woman born. Whether we have a relationship with our birth mother or not we still receive the gifts of Woman through her. For we all carry within us a set of DNA – mitochondrial DNA – that passes exclusively down the maternal line and this DNA has allowed scientists to trace the lineage of every person in Europe back to just a handful of ancient women. These women are our Ancestral Mothers and we all – male or female – carry a part of them within us. So we are all entitled to know, experience and benifit from the gifts they created, cultivated and gave: the gifts of Woman.

Most obviously these manifest – in both men and women – as aspects or traits of personality or Self. The ability to nurture and rear, the need to create and sustain, the joy of emotion and expression; all are essential elements of Woman and all can be cultivated by anyone who wishes to live them more fully.

Woman is not all sweetness and light. She is often the parts of us that are unpredictable and unreserved; that encourage us to experience life to its fullest.  She can be destructive in her drive to maintain balance and she is the root of all life itself. Woman dives deep into feeling and emotion and is not afraid to express it. Woman trusts instinct and internal wisdom as much as (if not more than) rational logic. Woman works in circles and waves avoiding straight, logical lines; flowing through life, dancing with the ebb and flow of time and mood. Woman is changeable, adaptable and always evolving.

All of us will recognise aspects of Woman within us. But for many it can be difficult to trust or even access them as Woman’s ways are often discouraged in ‘modern’ society; seen as too fractious, too hysterical, too unpredictable. But by holding and cherishing these aspects alongside the masculine energy within us we might discover benefits not just for ourselves but for the World we live in too.

Because Woman is an energy that inspires and empowers us to preserve and protect life.

Many people will be familiar with one of the most poignant manifestations of Woman: Mother Earth. The idea of our Land being inherently female and imbued with Woman energy feels right because it is the Land that holds, grows and supports all the life upon it. From keeping seeds warm in her Winter womb, to the birthing of shoots and grains on her surface, the Earth is Mother to it all. And (as someone rightly pointed out to be at ‘Honouring Woman’) she is not adverse to a little aggression and destruction to maintain the balance and success of all her progeny (who stretch far beyond we humans).

Woman is often more easily accessed through the abstract than through our self as it is rare for us to clearly see our own true facets and depths. Throughout history there have been recorded instances of the Divine Feminine; some cultures even venerating Her over and above any male deity figure. From Mother Mary to Mother Earth, across cultures and pantheons, Woman has been honoured throughout time as a vital, life-giving force with a myriad of lessons to teach us. And I am glad to note that through various movements (Intenrational Women’s day included!) and shifts in interest and perspective interest in Her is gradually returning.

I would encourage anyone interested in exploring Woman energy to look at images of female divinity – Mothers, Goddesses and spiritual leaders – and consider which ones speak to you? What gifts might they offer you? What traits might they encourage you to develop and explore? This can be a reflective process; the first step to recognising how we embody Woman in our own Self (male or female!).

At this time in our human existence, I believe Woman offers ideas, energies and approaches that our World desperately needs, to redress some of the imbalances that exist between all current life on the planet. If Woman’s energy and traits could take their rightful place beside the energy and traits of Man we might return balance to one another and compliment one another to ends that at the moment we can only imagine.

For now let Woman be something we all embrace, celebrate and cultivate in ourselves and in our lives. I have no doubt it will bring inspiration and growth not just to the individual, but to the World as a whole.

*

To end the evening we all took part in a little folk magic to tap into the energy of Woman that had been generated through our sharing. I asked each attendee to bring a length of ribbon and a flower/leaf/natural object.

Taking the ribbon first everyone chose an aspect of Woman energy (e.g: fiercely protective or nurturing or flowing) that they felt was vital to life and concentrated on imbuing the ribbon with that trait. After a few moments we then wove the ribbons onto a red wheel I had created especially for the event. The result was a web of Woman energy and attributes woven strong in the centre of our circle.

Then everyone was invited to take their natural object and think of a woman/group of women/manifestation of Woman that is in need of support and again imbue the object with that person/persons. Finally these items were carefully laid onto the web where they were held and supported by the web we had woven.

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Our shrine for Woman

In the final moments when we gave prayers and blessings to the web and all it stood for I was overtaken by the power – delicate but utterly vital – that the web exuded. It felt sorely needed and yet also strong, steady and supportive.

I hope it continues to be such a symbol – for those who attended and everyone else – on this International Women’s Day.

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The Web complete

Gifts

I set myself a challenge over Yuletide just gone; to buy all my gifts from local/handmade/independent suppliers. I did surprisingly well and not only managed to hunt down some wonderful gifts but found the whole experience more pleasurable. I managed to avoid the usual cloud of guilt and frustration that comes when I spend money because I knew that my hard-won pennies were going to other hardworking creatives and not some giant corporation that is anathema to creativity, sustainability and a whole host of other things that are good in this World*!

In fact, I enjoyed buying my Yuletide gifts so much this year that it has gone on to affect my approach gift buying and shopping in general.

Etsy has become my new go-to-online-store, instead of Amazon. I’m getting braver when going into local independent shops and trying not to wimp out when there’s no-one else in there; instead taking the plunge, stepping through the ringing of the doorbell and having a root around, even indulging in conversations with the shopkeepers. Despite the residual nerves and the ‘I feel obliged to buy something because you’ve looked at me’ impulse, I now leave these stores with a genuine smile if not an actual purchase.

I am truly grateful for this new experience. I have a new appreciation for the skills and talents made avaliable to us through other people and also for  my ability to partake of them. My finances may not be 100% sturdy but I do occasionally have a few pounds to spare. Spending them well is a real treat.

 

I’ve been blessed with two packages in the post recently; one I purchased and one I won. Both came from makers who I came across through the 2014 Grow Your Blog Party and neither has asked me to promote them but both truly deserve it.

I won a giveaway during the party from Hettienne at Her Grace. Her beautiful package arrived yesterday,  smelling of incense and divinity and filled with two beautiful organza bags.

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In the first was some blessed salts and dried rose petals ‘that were touched to the St Teresa roses’.

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In the second, larger bag was more petals and salts and a carefully wrapped collection of Mary Blessing Seeds.These are intended to be buried in the earth full of prayers, wishes and good intentions.

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A truly wonderful gift that I feel blessed to have received. I am looking forward to using them. Thank you Hettienne!

My second package came from Shroo at Shroo’s World. I loved her blog when I first came across it and quickly signed up. This led me to her Etsy store where I saw this wonderful notebook…

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I am undertaking a new adventure this weekend, going away to learn about ceremony and working as a celebrant and I needed a notebook to journal the process and record my experiences. I had thought to use something quite plain and simple, then I saw this and knew it was the one.

When it arrived it was beautifully wrapped in plenty of padding, as well as the cheerful pink and yellow papers you can see. I could immediately sense the care and concern that had gone into preparing and sending this item; it felt like Shroo was there, giving my hand a squeeze saying ‘Thank you’ and ‘Your Welcome’ and ‘Enjoy’.

After carefully unwrapping I not only found my beautiful notebook safe inside but also a small extra notelet book and some exciting bits and pieces that I can use in my journalling. And finally a card sending me wishes from Shroo herself.

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Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

The care and attention to detail that obviously went into both the product and the delivery  are staggering and I am truly grateful to Shroo for her talent and my purchase. She helped me realise that shopping – even online shopping! – can still involve connection, sharing and care.

 

If you would like to see more items of loveliness please do check out both seller’s blogs and stores. Not only will you benifit from beautiful items but also an interaction that overshadows any lingering feelings of ‘shopper’s guilt’. You never know, it might change your shopping experience for good…

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Hettienne @ Devata

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Rachael Farmer @ World of Shroo

 

 

( * I’m the first to admit I’m being a little hypocritical; I do most of my food shopping in a supermarket and am not stalwart enough to go without milk or eggs if the only place open is a Tesco Express. That’s another swathe of guilt I tend to carry round with me and the topic of another post. )

 

Paper Winter Solstice Suns: A Tutorial

A Solstice twist on a popular winter craft project 🙂

Author M. A. Phillips

 

As I wake up each day to darker and darker skies, I find myself thinking about the sun a lot.  I can only imagine the reverence and hope my ancestors attached to its lengthening rays each day following the Winter Solstice.  Adopting it as a central figure in my own Druidism seems more natural each year.

With that in mind, I decided to give a Winter Solstice twist to an old classic winter decoration.  As you make your paper snowflakes, why not make one or three paper suns?  I’m sure most of my readers know how to make a paper snoflake, and it’s the same process only making sure to include some solar rays on the outside.  For those who are rusty, or if you’ve never made a paper snowflake, here’s what you do!

 

1) Take a square piece of sun-colored paper.  I’m fond of yellow, personally.

2)…

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Copyright

All written materials and images, unless otherwise stated, are property of Kelly Tomlin 2016.
We gather together to Walk the Wheel; to share with one another and be inspired.