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New Moon Ritual – Salt Skin Scrub

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So the new moon in Scorpio today is apparently heavily associated with the water element, so it seems fitting that the ritual I chose to help me release the old and set new intentions for this month is one that links to bathing.

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I’ve read around, and there’s a lot of negativity associated with dark passion, aggression (even violence), debauchery and spite around a new moon falling in Scorpio. I’m choosing to reframe that and asking you to look at the shadow aspects of yourself (those ‘negatives’ you prefer to turn away from or hide from others) and how they manifest in your attitudes & behaviours, so that you can release those with this ritual and welcome in what you need. It is not about turning your back on any part of yourself, those darker parts of our nature are often protective and useful – anger can be righteous and lead us to defend ourselves or others, fear can help us following a path to our detriment, doubt can encourage us to question our motives and actions more deeply to ensure we act in alignment with our deepest truths…

So what I am asking you to release is the negativity of your shadows, to let them reveal their gold so that you can set intentions to bring into your world what you really need. What is holding you back, for example is your shadow prompting you to reconsider how to achieve your goals, or ae you falling into old patterns of procrastination?

Grab your journal, sit quietly and tune into your breath and listen to what your mind and your heart are saying. What messages do you hear when you take the time to hear them? Scribble furiously or consider the flow of your thoughts & emotions and distil them into a few tidy lines, whatever works for you. Keep your ponderings on hand.

Gather your supplies:

  • Jar with lid
  • Pink Himalayan Rock Salt or Sea Salt
  • Your favourite essential oil(s)
  • Dried flower petals (if you have them)
  • Oil (olive oil, coconut, almond or any base oil that suits your skin)
  • Incense, smudging sage or palo santo

Set an area to work – clear your space and prepare your supplies. Light a candle if you have one, use your incense or smudge stick to cleanse yourself and the space in which you are working.

You can choose whether to open a circle for your ritual, call on your spirit guide, or simply sit quietly for a moment to prepare yourself. Take a gift tag or a sheet of paper and from your journalling, write an intention for your ritual:

“At this new moon, I release ……………………………….. and I welcome ……………………………….. ”

Set the tag aside, or fold the paper and set it aside.

Exact quantities will depend on the size of the container you have chosen to fill.

You want a mixture that is soft and oily but not sloppy, with substance enough to use as a skin scrub. Pour in the salt, add your oil until you have a consistency that feels good between your fingers. Choose your essential oils to create a scent that will lift your spirits, soothe your mind or feel sensual, it is up to you. Add any complementary dried flowers petals. Mix it all up and close the container. Tie your intention tag around the container, or place your folded paper under the jar.

New Moon Salt Scrub

The ritual I read (here) suggested also using crystals to reinforce your intentions. I chose Rose Quartz for it’s qualities of protection, enhancing love & compassion, and Aqua Aura for abundance.

Place your scrub mix, intentions and crystals (if you’re using them) aside overnight – this will let the oils infuse into the oil & salt.

The following day, and any day during the next couple of weeks, you can use the salt scrub when you bathe or shower.

The idea is that by shedding your old skin cells, you are physically representing the release, transformation and rebirth that we are invited to experience at the time of the new moon.

As you wash away the scrub from your skin and see the old water drain from your bathtub or shower, allow yourself to visualise it cleansing you of what you chose to release. Enjoy the softness of your freshly scrubbed skin as a physical sign of renewal, welcome the opportunity to shed another layer and embrace the new you. Remember your intention, or state it allowed, and let the lingering scent of your chosen oils remind you of your intentions in the coming hours & days.

 

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On choice

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Firstly, I want to openly apologise for my own part in being so vocal as part of the Pro-Choice group outside St Mary’s Hospital on Saturday. I was emotional and desperate not to let women visiting the BPAS clinic inside or those recovering from termination hear the amplified prayers and hymns of the religious Pro-Life group. The sheer volume of our group over theirs was simply down to us outnumbering them by at least 2 to 1. In hindsight, I wish we had remained quiet, certainly I believe that is the plan for the candlelight vigil that is planned for Sunday, November 5th – if you are interested in supporting women’s rights to choice, and to legal, safe abortion, please join us – you can find the event details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/240654743125129/?acontext=%7B%22action_history%22%3A%22null%22%7D

Now to the main point of this post. I’ll try to make this ordered, as I’ve had several attempts at organising my thoughts and failed repeatedly to achieve any level of eloquence, so I will tackle first some of the issues via accusations thrown by pro-life protestors:

Pro-choice is a euphemism for pro abortion

No. Pro-abortion would equate to pro-choice supporters standing outside maternity clinics promoting abortion to women seeking maternity care during pregnancy. 

I don’t believe that any woman, or man for that matter, is pro abortion unless it becomes necessary.

Pro-choice supporters are a mob/the great unwashed/only there to harrass

I am proud to have been among many women who I can call friends. Many of us are mothers. Many of us are university educated, some of us with multiple degrees. Some of us are successful local independent business owners. Some of us are birth workers, some midwives. Some of us had children present, who smiled and moved freely among a friendly community who hold them in love, innocent, fearless and cherished. Some of us have had abortions. Some of us have had miscarriages. Some of us were men. Some of us believe in God. Some of us don’t. Some of us pray. Some of us don’t. We are a diverse group. What binds us together is a belief in CHOICE. 

Ours was not a mob. We did not approach any one, we only moved to obstruct their path to hospital grounds and the BPAS clinic entrance. We moved to prevent a man in fake monastic robes accompanied by another man with a video camera from entering the clinic. 

I witnessed a middle-aged man in the pro-life group threaten a woman from the pro-choice supporters, she was in her seventies. She pushed a sharp pointed leaf away to stop it sticking into his leg, inadvertently brushing his trouser leg as she did so. His response? To wheel around and shout “You assaulted me and I will knock you down” and when she apologised for causing any discomfort, he threatened to report her to the police. When I intervened and said I  had seen what happened, that it wasn’t assault, that he had threatened her with physical violence, he told me and her that he would be reporting us to the police as he pushed other pro-choice supporters out of his way as he stormed off. 

One pro-life campaigner, a young woman, was kneeling alone among us, separated from those she had arrived with. At first I believed she had made a conscious choice to kneel among us as she prayed. But I became increasingly concerned that she was feeling intimidated, and so I spoke to her gently. I asked if she wanted to be alone or if she would prefer to be with her own group. She replied that she was never alone, and I was touched by her faith, as I always am when someone has the conviction of beliefs. I said I understood that she was not alone, but nonetheless would she prefer to be in with her group of people rather than encircled by strangers and she did want to move, so I asked other pro-choice supporters to let her through and she was able to move, unmolested, peacefully to rejoin the group she arrived with. 

Tell me, which of those scenarios involved harrassment?

Pro-choice ignores the fatality of termination for the embryo/foetus

It does not. 

Pro-life campaigns argue that it is wrong to take a life and yet banning abortion would lead in many cases to the loss of women’s lives, the embryos/foetuses to be lost with them.

Arguing that it is wrong to take a life whilst being prepared to stand by and watch as a woman, for example, develops fatal sepsis – letting care givers and family members see her suffer to birth a stillborn pre-term child before losing her own life; where is the valuing of life in that? Two lives lost, not one. Many lives affected: a man widowed, a mother watching her daughter die needlessly, siblings losing their sister, friends mourning an avoidable tragedy. 

What about dragging a 14 year old through court to decide if she can travel to receive  treatement to terminate a pregnancy that arose after being raped? Her adult rapist walks free. She is treated like a criminal as other adults debate whether she is to be spared the trauma of unwanted pregnancy after being violated, birthing whilst still a child herself. 

What of adult women abused, raped and pregnant as a result? Should they be denied terminations? Imagine having to carry a baby and then raise a child that you are expected to love, whilst every moment you see the eyes and smile of the man who violated you in their face. Imagine being forced to carry a pregnancy to full term, and the pain of giving a child up for adoption because you cannot take the risk they will look like your abuser. 

What about mothers who have been through such physically traumatic pregnancy & birth that they are told that ever trying to have another baby would kill them. Assume for a moment that they have done all they can to avoid pregnancy but something went wrong. Do you want to sign her death warrant by insisting that the potential life of the embryo overrides the life of a woman already raising children?

Women feel bad about abortion because they know it is wrong

Actually, women feel bad because in the vast majority of cases, they would rather not be terminating a pregnancy. I don’t know one woman who would choose to terminate a pregnancy unless she felt there was no other choice. 

And now, I will just ramble a little about why I am pro-choice!

I am pro-choice because:

  • making abortion illegal would not stop it happening: it would open up a backstreet market for unscrupulous, dangerous providers who would profit whilst endangering women’s lives, it would not save babies
  • making abortion illegal would not stop it happening: it would see a return to desperate women harming themselves and suffering or dying as a result of trying to terminate a pregnancy themselves – can you imagine for one second the terror & pain that might drive you to try to insert a wire coat hanger into your own cervix? It would not save babies
  • women are not incubators: those who become pregnant under horrific circumstances, or whose own life is at risk if the pregnancy continues, deserve to be treated as human beings, not discussed as a vessel without personality, emotion or conscience
  • none of us know why the woman seeking a termination is doing so: she might be scared of being unable to raise a child, perhaps she has health issues that she knows will prevent her being the mother she would wish to be; her care givers may have told her that her own life/health is at serious risk if she continues with the pregnancy, and let’s assume for a moment she is already a loving mother and doesn’t wish to widow her husband and leave her children motherless; or scans and tests have confirmed that her developing embryo is so compromised that it is unlikely to survive pregnancy or birth – would you knowingly subject her to a pregnancy that she knows will end in stillbirth?

There is no winner in this debate. Make no mistake, abortion does not leave women unscathed. I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind. At the same time, if you are unsure, I hope this might encourage you to come down on the pro-choice side. Women have been legally allowed to terminate pregnancy for 50 years. To remove that right, or to impose rules as in Ireland where a woman must apply to court and suffer public scrutiny over a private decision, would be an enormous backward step for women’s rights.

Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. It means respecting a woman’s right to have control over her own body. It means respecting women as human beings, not treating them as incubators devoid of free-will or a right to their own life.

Pro-choice means not judging a woman. We don’t know her story, we don’t have to live her life.

And ultimately, I support the right of pro-life campaigners to have their own beliefs and opinions. They have every right to express those. They do not have the right to position themselves outside the very place where a woman is seeking support or treatment. One pro-lifer suggested that they simply wait to be approached and then offer help and alternatives. I’ve not heard one woman say they felt supported by the presence of these religious zealots. And they do approach women and others. And they pray and wave rosaries at people walking into the clinic. It is intimidation. It is harassment. To position yourself in opposition, outside the clinic is not helpful.

Campaign elsewhere, there will be more respect for your methods and you are more likely to be heard. Dress as yourself, and unless you are a monk or a nun, leave your robes at home.

We will still counter-protest.

Our bodies, our choice. We stand together, united. We will never be defeated. Pro choice.

 

 

 

On Saltwater Cures…

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Whether you want to paddle or swim, the sea offers a cleansing and curative promise for your soul…her tides and shifting moods invite us to consider our own ebb & flow, of energy, of joy…she rages and crashes on the shore, but soon her rising tide laps gently to whisper over the sand and stones…her moods are transient, just as ours…her ebb & flow is echoed in our own rhythm of energy and the need to rest…I urge you, find your way into the waves, whether it is to dip your toes or swim with the tide…

If you can’t get to the sea, you might also want to consider crying…a good old sob brings us into our parasympathetic nervous system – research has shown that real tears contain higher levels of stress hormones and manganese (which helps to regulate mood), as opposed to the ones that lubricate the eye or come in response to irritation. In Japan, rui-katsu (tear-seeking) groups have emerged; participants watch tear-jerkers to prompt crying in a supportive community. If you don’t fancy getting snotty nosed and blotchy faced with strangers, grab a few friends and choose your favourite weepy movie, stock up on indulgent balm tissues and let yourselves ride the flood of tears.  Go on, grab the tissues and let your own salt-water cure flow…

You can also try this salt-water cure, the miraculous Sole (pronounced solay)…Sole is a highly-saturated salt water preparation, and you drink a tiny amount in a glass of water each day to help normalise the body’s mineralisation, stabilise pH and improve hydration by up to 10% (*please do not use Sole without consulting your health care provider if you have any issues with your blood pressure or any issues with sodium deficiency or sensitivity).

If you want to try Sole, this is how you make it…

What you need:

  • a glass jar with a lid (no metal)
  • spring water/mineral water
  • Himalayan rock salt (I prefer to use the big rock crystals but lots of options are available in health food stores and online)

Starting my fresh Sole

    Basically, you add a chunk of salt and fill the jar with water, then you wait for it to dissolve. You know when the water is super-saturated with the salt because eventually, there will be some that has not dissolved resting in the bottom of the jar – the water will take on an almost oily look when you look through it, it swirls and glimmers beautifully. It is by no means essential, but I like to prepare my Sole and charge it under the full moon each month – with intention, you can then treat it as blessed water for rituals, add it to your bath for relaxation and clarity and make it a part of your rewilding…

    My Sole charging u der the full moon

    Once you have the super-saturated solution, you can begin to use it. The solution is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal so it will never spoil, you can just continue to add water & salt as needed – always ensure you can see a few undissolved crystals of salt as this confirms the super-saturation of the water. Using a wooden or plastic spoon (never metal), add 2-3tsp to a glass of water (preferably filtered or mineral/spring water) and drink on an empty stomach in the morning.

    So what are the benefits? Rock salt contains inonised minerals (more than 90!) that also naturally occur in our blood. We’ve been told that salt is bad for us, and the highly refined white table salt we so often encounter is not especially beneficial since it contains only 2 minerals. We need salt in our diet to remain healthy, and with the added benefit of so many minerals, Sole has a multitude of health perks and these are now being confirmed by research:

    • stabilises irregular heartbeats
    • natural antihistamine (I can testify to this, I have dermatographia, which I manage mostly through yoga, but is definitely less evident when I drink Sole daily during periods of stress)
    • helps dissolve and eliminate sediments which lead to stones and various forms of rheumatism like arthritis and kidney and gall bladder stones
    • balances the alkalinity/acidity [pH] of the body
    • normalises blood pressure
    • clears up congestion of the sinuses – you can use a Sole solution for Neti too
    • reduces and prevents muscle cramps.
    • alleviates skin diseases by cleaning from inside out
    • aids clearance of mucous plugs and sticky phlegm from the lungs, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis
    • reduces excess acidity from the cells in the body, particularly the brain cells
    • balances blood sugar levels
    • vital for the generation of hydroelectric energy in your body’s cells
    • promotes nerve cell function for communication and information processing
    • supports absorption of nutrients in the intestinal tract
    • salt and minerals are vital for optimum bone density. A shortage of minerals and water in the body can contribute to osteoporosis.
    • a few drops of Sole on your tongue can help stop persistent dry coughs

    Advocates of Sole report positive changes in respiratory, circulatory, organ, connective tissue, and nervous system functions. They also report improved sleep quality, increased energy & concentration levels, and have seen easier weight loss, enhanced consciousness, and noticeable hair and nail growth.

    Himalayan Crystal Salt – you can find out more and purchase the salt online here if there are no stockists in your area

    Water & Salt: The Essence of Life – this book discusses the results of a study at the University of Graz, Austria

    Night of Mothers…

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    Yule was the pre-Christian period of celebration that lasted around 12 days, the Solstice and Modraniht were among the celebrations that honoured both the male and female aspects of Nature and divinity…

    Modraniht was the eve of Yule, though there is dispute about whether that was the eve of the Solstice or what has become Christmas…it celebrated the Mothers or Matrons, both as mothers in connection with the potential of women to bring forth new life and as such representing the rebirth of the Sun and the rebirth of Spring as the days slowly lengthened once more, as Matrons in the sense of female ancestors and as tribute to the female aspect of the divine…

    Life’s Companion by Susan Seddon Boulet

    As women rewilding, we do not have to adopt or shun faith but I see the power in recognising that once, we all honoured the male and the female…only recently in human history have we denied the true role of the divine feminine…even in Bible teachings, we read about the maiden-mother as birthing the light of the world…I do not think that is coincidental, I believe simply that as organised religion became more about control and power, the deeper teachings were lost and the influence of patriarchy grew….not least, women’s teachings were so often oral and so easily lost in a generation or two if they fell from favour…

    So this Christmas Eve, I invite you to remember your female ancestors, to honour your femininity, and to listen deep to the singing of your bones for the truth of who you are and how you came to be here…

    Bright blessings, may we all be merry, may there be peace and  goodwill for us all…
    OMx 

    Out of the darkness…

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    Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day, the darkest deep of winter…As the darkness deepened it is no wonder our ancestors began to doubt the Sun would ever return, fear, anxiety, self-doubt, low mood are common at this time of year still…imagine being amongst those first humans before the slow awakening to cycles and seasons…but then imagine too the warmth of your tribe gathered together to face fear and darkness together, setting aside petty squabbles to unite against the dark and offer all you collectively could to turn the darkness aside and bring back the light…
    Today’s Solstice is known by the druids as Alban Arthan, Art – bear in Gaelic – referring to Ursa Major – the Great She-Bear…Artio is a germanic-celtic bear goddess who heralds new life and the resurgence of growth…

    It also happens to be the Last Quarter for the Moon.. this lunar phase encourages self-care, attention to detail and relection…

    Let Artio and the Moon inspire your practice today…

    Whether you gather with loved ones or honour the Solstice solo, now is the time to recognise your dark, acknowledge your past and reflect on how you came to be here today…

    And then turn to embrace your light, feel the warmth gathering inside, radiating, awakening, animating…

    Try the Shining Jewel Mudra from Energy Healing for Women as an opening meditation…then take a few moments to set your intentions…simply stating you are willing to let what is done go, that’s enough…recognise that it is done and give yourself permission to move forward at your own pace…now, consider how you wish to be in the coming months… no resolutions here sweet souls…keep it present and positive…”I am abundant” : “I keep life simple” : “I love myself and care well for myself”…What do you need, what do your bones long for, what yearning burns in your heart…I’m not asking you to set goals here…intention is the key…and now choose one simple, easy thing you can do today that will align you with your intention…

    OMx

    On community…

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    I love yoga, it keeps me grounded, I’m a better human because I have yoga in my life, and I trust it to support everyone I share it with…yoga means union, unity, joining, connection… we often view this simply as body, mind, soul…

    Through offering yoga for pregnancy and post natal recovery, I’ve been privileged to meet many women…they all teach me something… 

    What they have taught me time and again is the importance of connection…I encourage them to reconnect with body and breath to support them fixing their connection with their instincts and intuition to support gentle birthing and joyful mirhering…and to deepen their connection to baby… I offer partner work and group work to help them suport each other…

    It pays off, and I find myself tearful today after bumping into a mum who trusted me to help her through her mothering journey…she leaves our city in three days to start anew with her family in another country…she feels yoga made her a better mother and most importantly she thanked me for introducing her to her closest group of friends from the last 5 or 6 years, women she calls friends for life…I simply held the space that brought them together…

    And I am humbled that other groups have connected…I recently received and invite to join one group.. 

    “Dear Lucy, over a year ago when we all had bumps and not babies …me and the class all planned to do something healthy and ended up going for a curry, J was overdue, ha! we then started a Facebook group because of that and have used it to keep in touch. The group of ladies I met through your class has stayed strong and have been wonderful, funny, supportive, encouraging. We are having a christmas meal, our first ever meet up without kids…”

    And so, I find myself realising that all that I love about yoga, all that it has to offer, is so often expressed as connection…

    As we face the festive chaos, I wish you real world and virtual world connections that nourish you as deeply as your yoga practice…

    OMx

    Me She

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    ​I’m me

    Not sassy not sensual

    I’m sensuous, touch, taste, feel, be

    My form is supple

    Sliding from voluptuous to vulpine

    In the blink of an eye

    My curves are gentle, quiet inviting

    I’m not pneumatic or burlesque

    That’s not my version of She

    My wild woman wanders the woods in quiet reverence

    Witness to the Moon

    Tending her call

    Singing over bones

    Drumming my life’s rhythm

    La loba sees me, hears me, I become her

    But I don’t howl…unless I’m wounded

    And then I retreat deeply so only Her womb hears my call

    My voice can be heard but for truth, you’ll have to listen close

    I’ll whisper about me, 

    the real me, the me She

    I won’t scream her or shout her

    She’s mine, she’s yours

    You womb-anifest her your way

    This path is mine

    We can grasp hands, clasp fingers, gaze into the other’s eyes

    And She will be there to divine, Divine

    Glimpse her, hear her, listen deep

    She is in my bones

    Aeons old, born anew in me

    In you

    La que sabe

    She who knows

    We are birthed from her, live from her, die to her

    And so we return, again and again and again

    Circular, cyclical, rhythmic

    Writhing in dirt, grimed by time passing, marked by her bidding

    Over and over and over

    Rising, flowing, brightening, ebbing

    Heart river, her river

    Womb river, life giver

    Maiden, mother, wolf runner

    Woman

    I am She

    (My own words)

    OMx

    Beautiful woodcut, one of many, check out the amazing art of Jaclyn E. Atkinson:

    http://newjacktale.com/artwork/1784350-La-Loba.html