Tag Archives: inspirations

Midwinter Solstice 2017- Lessons from the dark

I was going to put the ‘Yule’ chapter of my Wheel of the Year series as this festival’s entry, but it needs one hell of a re-write and, quite frankly, I’m not in the mood to rewrite pages of material.

Thursday marked the Winter Solstice and it was a dark, damp cloudy day. I was inspired! I wrote a piece for all my friends in Facebook land, I like to spread hope where I can.

Light, dark, balance is what counts. Lean too much towards the former and we see everything with rose-tinted glasses. There is no wrong in the world. Ignorance is bliss. Lean too much towards the latter and, well, there is everything wrong with the world.

I managed to get out of the house to take a walk in Highfields Park, just outside of Beeston, Notts. Although by the time I got there, the sun had already set and dusk would soon give way to night. This reminded me of the Owl card that I had drawn at the beginning of 2017. The concept of ‘Owl Time‘ was not lost on me.

Realising I was rushing through. I stopped and took in 9 deep breaths and closing my eyes. After that, I heard the sound of something in the lake. I turned and found a whole group of ducks swimming by the side of the man in the wheelchair being pushed by another. The ducks recognised him and were expecting to be fed…. their disappointment was evident when they started waddling along the embankment and quacking amongst themselves. A black bird with a white bill and stripe on its forehead ‘Pinged’ at the ducks. The scene was reminiscent of a uniformed official trying to keep order of loud football fans and the fans ignoring him as they pass him by.

Later, as I walked, it was getting darker but I could see to my right two white specks moving uphill. Two hares making their way. Do hares hibernate? I didn’t think so.

I went onto the small island where, surrounded by six tall Yew trees, I performed my ‘Five Senses Meditation’. By now it was dark and yet through the clouds, I could see cracks of a lighter sky. Night had not yet fallen.

Going to the lakeside, I made sure I wasn’t giving a false impression to the ducks (no snacks from this two-legged who didn’t think to bring munchies for the birds), bent down toward the water and held my right hand over the surface. Here, I gave my respects to the Lady of the Lake. When I was done, my hand was warm. And it was time to go home to perform my Ovate ceremony to greet the Solstice.

On my way home, I could see a clearing in the clouds getting larger until I reached my front door and the clearing revealed the sky as a teal-greeny-blue, right on the clock as the Solstice begun.

I came away from the park with these two lessons:

The importance of stillness.

There is always life, both in winter and the dark.

And as I was performing my personal ceremony, I was taken by Awen as I said out aloud and made the following observations :

In the dark, there is rest.

In the dark, there is the hidden.

In the dark, there is fear.

With fear, you can either run, do nothing, or take a stand.

Sometimes we must run, there is nothing wrong with a tactical retreat to fight another day. Sometimes we can do nothing but let the threat pass over. But there comes a time when we cannot run and we cannot do nothing and we must make a stand.

I said out aloud my fear and decided to take it on with the lesson I have gained from this year: Nothing is Accomplished Without Action. It was then the candle was lit.

Sure enough, the day after the Solstice was bright, the sky was clear and the sun shone with brilliance.

Merry Yuletide, one and all!

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Owl-right, my son? 

This would have been written New Years Day were it not for the extreme hangover I had suffered. Regardless, I consulted the Druid Animal Oracle for my yearly focus.

Of dragons and potential

Last year’s card signified 2016 as being a year for discovering my inner potential power, it was not wrong! Last year I had:

  • Successfully auditioned for the part of Watson in a comedy version of Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles.
  • Performed two theatre plays back to back.
  • Provided the voice for the ‘Where Witchcraft Lives’ exhibit in Brighton.
  • Learned a great deal of my strengths and weaknesses.
  • Found my place in my day-job and I’m fine with it!
  • Became a member of a brand new theatrical events group.
  • Completed my Bardic course and review.
  • Completed my Ovate initiation just in time for Yuletide.
  • Learned what my acting type is.
  • Discovered where I went wrong in my marriage.
  • Cut my long hair off in the name of charity.

So yes, quite a lot, really!

Eyes in the night

And where does my focus lie for 2017? The card drawn for this year is Owl, or Cailleach Oidhche . The card for detachment, wisdom and change. It speaks of turning a disadvantage into an advantage, also it signifies a call to explore the Otherworld with studying esoteric lore and clairvoyancy. Not sure about speaking with the dead, but seeming as I will be beginning my journey into the world of the Ovate (mystic, seer, healer) this is apt indeed.

I am aware of the Owl being named as one of the oldest creatures of the Earth, according to one of the tales of the Mabinogion. In another tale, it is the final form inflicted upon Blodeuedd by the sorcerer Gwydion. Owl is also associated with the Cailleach, although which specific one, I am not sure. Either way, both Owl, the Cailleach and studying esoteric lore are to be treated with respect.

Art by Bill Worthington.