|Posted on 8 January, 2018 at 3:20||comments (0)|
We gather regularly on the Friday following the New or Full moon, I look forward to those nights with my whole body. A chance to spend some quality time in sisterhood and to feel the power that is being in my woman body.
We don’t spend a huge amount of time talking. Instead we let the music guide us, maybe into dance, or into a space of deep meditation. Sometimes we let the rhythm of the drum guide us or we look to the moon and how we can express her phases in our body. We journey around our circle, giving our gratitude to the elements that make up this natural world to which we are connected, earth, air, fire and water.
At this time of year, we begin by turning towards the south and we bless the earth, we taste the strawberries and chocolate placed on the small altar we have set up that represents our connection to Gaia, to mama earth and all of her beings. The trees, the plants, the animals, the fish, the insects and the rocks and stones.
As we turn to the west and to water we give thanks for the ocean such a huge part of this western land. We watch the sunset as we play our drums and rattles giving thanks for the day. We are in deep gratitude for our watery bodies, for the waters of Gaia that we bless as we drink and toast the day.
We turn to the North to air, and give thanks for the breath of life, for the prana that flows through our body. For the wisdom of air and the mental realms. We give gratitude for the soft gentle breezes and the whirlwind of our minds and lives. For our families and friends and all those whose lives we touch. We allow our limbic senses to open up to the incense that fills the air.
Finally, we turn to the East and watch the candle flames that we have lit in our temple space. The light of the sun fades as the moon rises and we give thanks for our home and hearth, for our creative fire, for the sun and the warmth of our bodies and the earth.
In the centre, we give thanks to our sisters, to all of the women and men in our lives. For the spirit of gratitude and love that we keep in our centre. We give thanks to the ancestors of this place. We ask for their blessing on our evening, we ask that they might know that we love the earth too and bring their blessings to our centre.
These are the simple rites of sisterhood and of gratitude for Gaia, for each other and for all beings. In this place, there is no seeking or yearning, just a beautiful descent into the rest of the body. This is the power of sisterhood.
|Posted on 20 January, 2015 at 8:35||comments (0)|
The hard frosts have arrived here in the South and we are experiencing a little of winter with below zero temperatures. Yet as I sit here writing the sun is streaming through the window warming my face and the central heating is lulling me into a sense of early spring only twenty days into January.
The Wheel is turning and today is lunar Imbolc the first fire festival of the New Year and I am feeling called to begin again. In this last week I have waved my husband off to Australia, left my home, and am currently living out of suitcase for at least the next five weeks till I can join him for a month in February. When I return to the UK I have no idea what comes next? My rational mind is telling me that this is not right, I can’t just return to the UK with no place to live and no plan. Yet my intuition is telling me to trust and that all is as it is meant to be and that from this ending the new will blossom.
The phrase ‘baptism of fire’ springs to mind as I write and I am reminded that astrologically this is a year of fire. Fire is passion, it is purification and of course it can burn out of control eventually consuming itself, finally of course it is the ultimate creative element. The earth gives birth through fire and we are all born of fire; of the star fire of the universe. As an individual more at home in the element of water, the intensity of fire can be scary; but at this time I am being asked to trust in the flames and the fiery rebirth of Imbolc.
It is interesting too that this year’s lunar festival falls in the astrological sign of Aquarius which is also my birth sign. It is a time of new beginnings and of feeling into the instinctual self. With this placing it is also a fire festival that brings to light our wider place within our community, lighting up the dark places where we may have been scared to look in the past. Brought into the light we have no choice but to deal with them, to let them go, or breathe into the fire expanding what is there.
My creative prayer at this time seems to be less about putting paint to canvas or pen to paper and more about creatively visioning my world and what I want to manifest for my future. It is about releasing my fear of the fire and stepping boldly into creating my life on a moment by moment basis. So I offer you this poem based on my interpretation of a galley song from the fire festival of Up Helly Aa taking place this year on the 27th January which fires up my spirit ready for the journey ahead. Sending you the blessings of the season and may your creative fires burn brightly and your passions be realised.
Floats the phoenix banner o’er us
Round our dragon ship we stand
Voices joined in gladsome chorus
Passion burning in our hearts
Every traveller has a duty
To come and join the festive throng
Honour, freedom, love and beauty
In the feast, the dance, the song
Worthy and strong hearts have made us
Truth be our encircling fire
Shadowy visions backward take us
Burnt upon the fun’ral pyre
Bonds of community inherit
O’er strife the curtain draw;
Let our actions breathe the spirit
Of our grand creative prayer
(Original can be found at Galley song www.uphellyaa.org)
|Posted on 26 November, 2014 at 4:45||comments (1)|
Still the night, Holy the night, All is calm . . .
Silent night is one of my favourite carols. The song encapsulates this time of year for me and the entering into presence and a place of stillness. It is a pause point, the time to catch my breath, a place of deepening, and a time of resting and allowing of dreams that may or may not be birthed in the springtime.
Perversely it is also the time of year when the to-do list seems to get even longer. The full stop of the holidays looms on the horizon and scarcity rears its head; there doesn’t seem to be enough time or money to have the ‘perfect’ holiday experience; and the chance to just be and enjoy the festivities seems more elusive than ever.
Yet. . .when it happens and it always does; when that moment of stillness arises, that’s when the presence and the beauty of the season become embodied. I can feel the invitation that awaits the call to go inward, to something beyond myself. I feel connected and my heart opens to all the possibilities that this season awakens within me. The stories of goodwill and peace find a place in my heart.
My creative prayer at this time of the year focuses on contemplation, I let go of the rush to do more and surrender to patience and to what wishes to be known in my heart. Taking a walk becomes my lifeline, as I walk in silence enjoying the peacefulness of the countryside where I live, the calm away from the frenetic pace that is present elsewhere. This year the holly trees are laden with berries and the ground is wet; turning the heather and gorse into a brown sludge. The last of the leaves are still present on the trees and it’s still a novelty to see the mist on my breath. The smell of wood smoke fills the air and the chatter of the birds’ crescendos as the night draws in on my late afternoon walk. With each footstep I review the year just gone and all of my creative prayers; some more fruitful than others. I send out a prayer to those who will not experience the stillness; whose lives have been torn apart by war, hunger and disease. I send a prayer to those who have lost loved ones and think of those who are no longer in my own life. I give thanks to those people in my life who have supported my journey and I feel their prayers combine with mine. My gratitude deepens as I think of family and loved ones and the opportunity to spend time with them over the coming festivities. As I walk I awaken to the possibility of opening myself to the gift of love, to the gift of peace, and I ask that I may be present to receive them.
As another calendar year draws to a close I wish you all the blessings of the season, and the gift of the present in each moment.
|Posted on 23 November, 2014 at 7:50||comments (0)|
World Creativity and Innovation week takes place this year the week of the 15th to 21st April.
Its a great opportunity to highlight what is happening in the field of creativity and innovation study and an opportunity to spread the word about what you are doing to make the world a more creative place.
Why not go online and post a creative idea for things you can do in the home or workplace.
Here's a suggestion from Creative Prayers
How does your garden grow? The following is an exercise that can be used to develop and work with sensing and attuning to the environment as a way of knowing and a creative practice.
Those people with a developed sensing function i.e. the S function within the Myers Briggs MBTI® use their five senses to experience the world, they taste, smell, see, hear and touch to experience. Those people with a low sensing function will often find it difficult to be within the moment and they may have a lack of spatial awareness and of themselves within their environment
The purpose of the exercise ‘How does your garden grow?’ is to increase ‘sensing’ and being in the moment by way of being and creativity within the environment.
For this exercise you will require the following equipment:
• A small pot of earth or somewhere where a seed can be planted
• Wallpaper paper or a roll of plain paper to draw on
• Paints – water based so they can be washed off
• An apple or other type of fruit where the seed can be planted.
Sitting outside either in your own garden or the park find a quiet spot and sit on the earth. As you sit there feel your bottom on the ground, notice any sensations you may feel from the grass or stones. Notice how comfortable or uncomfortable you are there. Notice how often your mind wanders and keep bringing yourself back to the feeling of your body on the ground. Feel the air against your skin, the sun or rain on your body. When you have done this for around five minutes, close your eyes and really begin to listen, what can you hear, how far away is what you are hearing, move with your hearing to the furthest sound you can hear. Then begin to attune to your sense of smell, what smells surround you, the natural smell of grass, trees, flowers or more man made smells. Allow your sense of smell to lead your thoughts. When you have finished open your eyes and really look at your environment what do you see?
When you have finished this meditation on the senses return to somewhere where you have laid out your paints and paper. Cut your apple in half and remove the seeds placing to one side. Eat your apple and really taste the fruit savoring each mouth full. Using your hands as paintbrushes describe with the paint on the paper what you touched, heard, smelt, saw and tasted whilst you were outside. You can use a different color for each sense or alternatively go with what your hands want to express. Enjoy the sensory feeling of the paint on your hands as they touch the paper. When you have finished acknowledge one thing that you would like to do for your body in the coming months, whether that is taking some exercise, eating well or just taking more time to be in your body and plant your apple seeds into the pot, watering them into the earth.
Tend your plant and see what grows both in your pot and in your life.
Look at your painting often to remind you of the expression of your senses in the world.
|Posted on 18 November, 2014 at 11:40||comments (0)|
Why Creative Prayers?
I don’t know about you but I want to live a meaningful life. I want to live a life where the work that I do reflects who I am and my values. I have found that to do that I have had to get ‘creative’. Yet I don’t have a background in the arts and ten years ago if someone had said to me that I would be involved in creative facilitation I would have laughed and said that they probably had me mixed up with someone else.
Yet here I am doing exactly that and what I have discovered is that we are all creative. Yes everyone. We all have an ability to be creative, we are born that way. Our creativity may show up in very different ways but it is there. What is really exciting about this self-discovery is the opportunity that then presents itself when we realize we are can write the story of our own life. When we realize we can envision a better future not just for ourselves but also for our wider communities.
Discovering and then working with our creativity helps us to find our authentic voice and to remember who we are. It encourages us to invite collaboration into our lives and to appreciate diverse voices and ways of knowing. Instead of avoiding and fearing change we welcome it into our life and we develop a questioning and inquiring frame of mind. Decision making improves because we recognize patterns in ourselves and others. We also come to understand the importance of reflection both within our decision making and in our wider lives.
We build an appreciation for ‘right brain’ thinking, for imaginational and non-linear ways of interpreting the world. That is not to say that linear ‘left brain’ thinking is wrong, of course not. We just build an appreciation for the more intuitive and imaginative capabilities that we all possess. In combination we can then make wiser and more respectful decisions. Gaining trust and respect from those around us.
Our ability to create, to innovate and experiment, our very humanness is awe inspiring as is the planet on which we live and it inspires within me a sense of gratitude that requires expression. So for me my creativity is also a prayer, a prayer of gratitude, a prayer that heals division in my appreciation of self and others, and a spiritual practice which informs my decision making. It brings me in touch with my humanity and my own inner wisdom.