Sunday, 2 May 2021
Thursday, 15 April 2021
In Wales lockdown measures have recently been relaxed, so that we are now easing back into some kind of semi-normality. On Monday 12th April I returned to work for the first time since just before Christmas 2020 when it was announced that all non-essential retail in Wales would close. I vividly remember returning home from work on December 19th after a long hard day and hearing the news literally as I pulled into the driveway. At the time I imagined I'd be resuming work some time in mid-January, yet it has taken until now, mid-April for that to happen.
Being back at work this week has been a strange mixture of the familiar and the strange. The environment and the work is well-known and yet there's an odd sense of unreality that I don't recall feeling on my return to work after the first lockdown last spring.
I suspect I'm not alone in feeling this sense of confusion and dislocation. The long months suspended from our normal routines have been followed by a supposed return to normality which is anything but normal. I may be back working one of the several part time jobs I had before the first lockdown, but most of my other jobs have fallen casualty to the pandemic for one reason or another and ceased. I may be back in familiar surroundings fulfilling a familiar role, but I am doing it while wearing a mask and observing social distancing, and I still can't hug a workmate, invite friends into my home, or teach a workshop. Looking back, so much and so little has happened.
Seeing (separately) two friends for the first time in months this week highlighted this strangeness for me. It was lovely to see them and reconnect after being separated from them for such a long time. And yet I found myself floundering when they both asked me the simple question, 'So how have you been?'
How have I been? What have I been doing during the long months of lockdown? What has life been like, what has changed, where will life go from here?
All the answers that I could give are too deep or too shallow. How can I convey the spikes of fear and the blur of boredom; the endless anxiety about my elderly parents and my friend with COPD; the unaccustomed luxury of time to sleep in late and garden and cook and write and immerse myself in a good book; the stupefying lack of focus; the slow accretion of outstanding tasks which keep me awake at night, while I instantly forget the goals reached and accomplishments achieved during the same time frame?
When one friend asked me 'What have you been up to?' I found myself giving the slightly surreal, completely inadequate and not even wholly accurate response, 'Well, I grew a lot of carrots,'. At the time it was all my mind could pluck from the nebulous swirl of 'my life during lockdown'.
Looking back over the last year, it all seems rather like a fever dream - simultaneously vivid and vague, surreal, epic, confusing and impossible to convey precisely. Which is all quite understandable. We have all - the entire world - undergone a dislocation from our normal lives, experienced a trauma. We all experience upheavals in life, times of pain and fear and loss, but we don't usually all experience them simultaneously so that the whole world is jolted from its tracks. And this trauma has not been a single short-lived shock, but a long, drawn-out upheaval which has left people exhausted.
And yet... I wonder what will come from this in the long run? I am hopeful that we as a species will move forward from this having learned some useful lessons, and thinking hard about what it is we want to 'go back to'.
Some years ago at a Witchcamp, I took part in an elaborate life/death/rebirth ritual in which people were guided through a series of gateways, each representing an aspect of their lives such as their name(s), possessions, achievements, friends/family/loved ones etc. At each gateway they were instructed to leave every one of these things behind. It was a gradual stripping away of every part of identity and self. At the final gateway they were greeted by a priestess aspecting the Goddess, who blew out the tealight they carried (symbolising their life force). They were then given as much time as they needed to bathe in Her Cauldron of Rebirth (a hot tub!) while meditating on what they had left behind, what they wanted to retrieve - and what they wanted to leave behind. It was a gruelling process for most people, but deeply informative and transformative. So much of what we carry with us through life we carry through habit, or because we've been told by others we must carry it. Stripping everything away and consciously choosing to recover only those things of value is immensely freeing. When each person was ready, they left the hot tub and were given a new tealight symbolising their rebirth. They retraced their steps through each gate, picking back up the things they wished to carry into their new lives - but crucially, leaving behind those which they had decided they no longer wished to carry. So, for example I have been known by many names in my life - Susan, Moonroot, Moonie, Susie, Wallis, daughter, sister, wife, witch, aromatherapist etc. But I have also been called ginger, fat, stupid, ugly, bitch etc. Some of these names have come from other people - and some I have called myself. When I strip away these names and identities and leave them at the gate, on my return I can choose which names I wish to carry - and those I am happy to leave in the dust.
This pandemic has stripped our normal lives away from us. When we return through each gate, I hope that we will think very carefully about what it is that we wish to pick back up. My 'normal' life before all this began was actually pretty dysfunctional in many ways. Post-divorce, job insecurity and fear of poverty had led to me working 6-7 day weeks. I was permanently exhausted, short-tempered and ill, but I couldn't seem to get off that hamster wheel. Every time I was offered more work I said yes, because I was always short of money and afraid that the work I did have would dry up, leaving me penniless. Being forced to slow down and stop made me realise how joyless life had become. During months of lockdown I have started to read books again, cook from scratch again, grow vegetables again, observe the Wheel of the Year again. I have finally learned how to properly use the camera I bought several years ago and have taken reams of photographs. I have had time for the long, deep conversations that feed my soul. I have written more in the last year than I have managed in the previous three or four years. I have had time to sit and drink in the beauty surrounding me. And most importantly I have had time to reassess the way I've been leading my life and come to some important decisions about what I want to change about that.
Much of my 'normal' life was in direct contradiction to my values and beliefs. I was buying pre-packaged convenience foods because I was too damned tired to cook. I was driving miles and miles between my scattered jobs, eating junk food on the hoof. I was too tired to have much of a social life and short-tempered with my loved ones. My house was a mess. Every so often I would manage a holiday or have an enforced break caused by illness and I would resolve to do better - but immediately fall back into my old ways. My mantra seemed to always be, 'next month, when things are less busy...', but next month never was less busy, and so it went on.
All of that has been taken away from me. I have lost three of my part time jobs and of the remaining three, restrictions mean I am only able to work at one of them at the moment. When I am able to resume all three, that will be enough. I am determined to find a way to manage financially without damaging my physical and mental health further and working myself into an early grave. My petrol consumption has plummeted. I have been gradually sorting out the house and making my environment a pleasant one. I have stopped shopping at big supermarkets and now buy most of my groceries from a small local zero-waste shop. Guess what? Their prices may be higher than the supermarket, but because I am only buying what I need and not getting sucked in by special offers and convenience foods I have actually cut our food bills and food waste. I have been growing our own vegetables and cooking proper meals - I make my own hummus and veggie burgers and bread from scratch. What I have realised is that staying on the hamster wheel required me to spend more money than it brought in. My life is now more manageable, less expensive, less wasteful, greener and infinitely more satisfying.
The other great lesson I hope we can learn from the pandemic is that we are all in this together, and working collaboratively for the good of the whole is the best and fairest way to run the world. Look at the awe-inspiring collective effort that has brought us effective vaccines in the space of a year! We humans are at our most marvellous when we co-operate rather than compete.
I believe the sense of unreality I am feeling is the world re-making itself in a new and hopefully better way. We have all had much of our lives stripped away over the last year, and spent time immersed in the Cauldron of Rebirth swirling in a fever dream of possibility. Now as we prepare to leave the Cauldron and re-enter the world, let's consider very carefully the kind of 'normality' we wish to return to. What will you pick back up? What will you choose to leave behind? The great blessing of every period of difficulty in our lives is the lessons we learn from it, and the chance we are given to grow. Let's seize this unprecedented opportunity we've been given with enthusiasm and build a better 'normal'. The old world wasn't working anyway, why go back to it?
Friday, 19 March 2021
- This is a great time of year to forage some early wild delicacies for a celebratory spring feast. If you're confident of your plant identifications skills, look for nettles, wild garlic, hairy bittercress, dandelion greens, tender young sorrel leaves, or violet and primrose flowers. Try my recipes for Nettle Soup or Spring Herb Salad, or Google other recipes such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Nettle Risotto with Sorrel.
- Take a walk in the woods - or in an area with plenty of trees. Notice the new leaves, the buds that have just opened or are just about to. See if you can identify trees by their shape, bark colour and texture or leaf buds, blossom or catkins rather than by their leaves. Look down as well as up - which spring flowers can you find? If you come across trees or flowers you don't recognise, use your phone to take a photo so you can identify it later using a guidebook or an online plant identification site.
- Connect with a tree. In Spring trees begin to re-awaken from their Winter dormancy, making it a good time to try to connect with them on an energetic level. Choose a tree that you feel drawn to, and that seems open and receptive to you. If you aren't sure if the tree welcomes connection, ask its permission to interact. You should be able to sense its response. When you are ready, either sitting or standing, lean your back against the trunk. Relax, breathing deeply and slowly. Focus your awareness on your breath, conscious of the fact that you are breathing in the oxygen produced by plants and trees, and breathing out the carbon dioxide that they breathe in. As you exhale, do it consciously as a gift to the tree. As you inhale, consciously give thanks to the tree for the gift of oxygen. Now open your senses to the tree. What do you see/feel/hear/smell/taste? Take note as you continue to lean against the tree, exchanging breaths with it. Now open your inner senses. Do you feel a particular energy or emotion from the tree? Remain open and aware for any communication or message from the tree - this may come in words, feelings, images or even colours or scents. Send back gratitude and friendship. When you are ready, thank the tree and bring back your awareness into your own body. Move away from the trunk. Thank the tree again, and leave it a small gift such as a libation of water on the roots or a sprinkling of compost. Don't leave anything non-biodegradable or damaging to the environment. If you'd like to continue and develop your relationship with the tree, commit to returning on a regular basis - each time bringing a suitable offering.
- Cut twigs with leaf or blossom buds which are just about to burst open. Taking them into the warmth of your home will encourage them to open fully and they make a lovely Spring decoration for your altar. Treat them like cut flowers and put them in a vase of water, and they should last well.
- As the Spring Equinox marks that point in the year when day and night are of equal length, arrange to get up in time to watch the dawn and greet the Sun, congratulating it on its growing strength and welcoming in the light half of the year. Enjoy the dawn chorus of birdsong! At dusk, watch the setting sun and welcome the night and the darkness for the opportunity to rest. Thank the dark half of the year which is now passing away, for being a time of quietude and rest in which the land could slumber and heal itself. Listen as the birds sing the sun down into night.
- Find space in your garden to make a garden altar to the Green Man. Nestle it in amongst growing plants, or cluster pots of flowers and herbs around it. Find a Green Man plaque as its centrepiece, or create your own image of him from air-drying clay or paint Him on a smooth pebble or rock. Honour Him by making your own compost, planting trees, or sowing seeds. Listen quietly for His inner guidance on how to nurture your garden and develop green fingers.
- Make Spring Equinox decorations for your altar and home. Salt dough is an excellent cheap way of doing this! To make salt dough mix 1 cup of flour with ½ cup of salt, then mix in ½ cup of water to create a mouldable dough. You can also add ½ tspn ground cloves or cinnamon, or a few drops of your favourite essential oil to scent your dough. This will make the house smell amazing while you're baking it in the oven, which you'll need to do to harden your creations. Sprinkle working surfaces with a little flour to stop the dough sticking and then get creating. If you're feeling ambitious you could make a Spring Goddess figurine or a simple Green Man, or you perhaps a moongazing hare or spring leaves and flowers. Simple shapes are best. Making egg shapes is the simplest of all, and once they have been baked they can be painted all kinds of pretty colours and displayed in a bowl. When you've finished moulding your creations, line a baking tray with baking parchment and pop into an oven set at the lowest temperature. The dough will take a few hours to bake, depending how thick it is. Check it often and remove from the oven once it's done. You can now paint your creation. If you're doing this activity with small children remember that salt dough is not edible and supervise accordingly!
- Eggs are a perfect symbol for this time of year, symbolising new life, growth, fertility and possibility. Prepare your favourite egg dish - be that an egg sandwich, a quiche or eggs benedict! Bless the meal first and then as you eat, mindfully take in the energy of new growth, hope and possibility. Those who can't or choose not to eat eggs could do the same with a dish containing another symbol of new life, growth, fertility and possibility - seeds! A slice of seeded loaf, a poppy seed muffin or a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds on your salad or soup are all delicious and appropriate foodstuffs.
- One of the themes of the Equinoxes is balance. As day and night are in balance with each other at this time of year, it's a good time to check ourselves and our lives for balance. A good way to do this is to run a chakra check. If you're not already familiar with the chakras, they are a system of energy points in the body. Regularly checking in with, and if necessary adjusting the chakras is a good way of keeping your energies balanced. Imagine them like the pupil of an eye or the aperture of a camera that can be opened wider, or shut down to control what passes through. To run a chakra check, find somewhere you can sit or stand comfortably. Relax and let go of any tension in your body. Take some slow, deep breaths. (1) First focus your attention on your Base or Root Chakra which is located at the base of your spine. How does it feel? How is the energy flowing? This chakra controls your survival and keeps you grounded. If it was a thermostat, would it need turning up to improve your groundedness, or would it need turning down? Imagine adjusting it up or down as necessary until you have found the right setting for you right now. (2) Next turn your attention to your Sacral Chakra. This is located in your lower abdomen and is concerned with your sexuality and creativity. How does it feel? How is the energy flowing? As before, adjust it as you would a thermostat until you find the correct setting. (3) The next chakra is the Solar Plexus which is concerned with your self-confidence and will-force. How does it feel? How is the energy flowing? Adjust it as necessary. (4) The fourth chakra is the Heart Chakra, located in the centre of your chest. This chakra is the seat of love and compassion - love for yourself and others. How does it feel? How is the energy flowing? Take time to adjust it to the right level of openness. (5) Next move to the Throat Chakra, found at the base of the throat. This chakra is concerned with communication and self-expression. How does it feel? How is the energy flowing? If you feel stifled or blocked from speaking your truth it may need opening wider. If you speak too impulsively or lack a filter you may need to close it down a little. Find the right level for you. (6) The penultimate chakra is the Third Eye Chakra, located between your eyebrows. This is the centre of your intuition. How does it feel? How is the energy flowing? Do you need to increase your intuitive powers, or would it help you to quieten those senses? Adjust the level of openness accordingly. (7) Finally, the Crown Chakra is located on the crown of your head. It is the chakra which connects you to your spiritual consciousness. How does it feel? How is the energy flowing? Adjust it to a level which enables you to stay connected to your spiritual side whilst still able to negotiate the mundane world. Finally, quickly run through all seven chakras and ensure they are all well balanced, before returning to the ordinary world. This is a useful exercise to carry out periodically to keep you in balance.
May we all have a blessed and balanced Spring Equinox, and as we step forward together into the light half of the year may there be plenty of sunny days ahead.
Friday, 12 March 2021
- A small lidded glass jar
- Some thorns (if you can't get thorns you could use pins)
- Some small pieces of mirror
- A small square of paper and a marker pen
- A small length of fine wire or yarn, tangled
- Some dried rosemary
Thursday, 11 March 2021
|Fresh green chive shoots in the herb garden|
Monday, 1 March 2021
They are the male flowers of the hazel of course. Much harder to spot are the female hazel flowers which look like tiny crimson sea-anemones. In autumn, if they are fertilised by the pollen from the catkins each one will become a hazel nut.
Tuesday, 2 February 2021
After journeying through the Winter together, we find ourselves at Imbolc! Imbolc is seen as the first day of Spring. Although it's still cold and grey outside, by this time of year the days are noticeably longer than at Yule, the first bulbs are beginning to flower, the birds are beginning to choose their mates and their nesting sites. Here in Wales the first lambs appear in the fields, drifts of snowdrops appear along the hedgerows and the ravens wheel overhead in spectacular aerial courtship dances.
Imbolc is thought to derive from the Irish 'i mbolc' meaning 'in the belly' - referring to the soon-to-be-born lambs in the bellies of pregnant ewes. It is a time of promise, as the Wheel turns from Winter to Spring and the green world gradually reawakens.
Winter Blessings and Beauties: Day 94
As we find ourselves at Imbolc, let's look back and give thanks to the Winter for all its Blessings and Beauties, for all we have learned and experienced, created and enjoyed over the last three months.
And let's look forward to the season of Spring which lies ahead of us, with all its Blessings and Beauties yet to unfold.
May we look back with gratitude to the Winter gone, and forward with hope and a sense of adventure to the Spring to come.
Monday, 1 February 2021
Winter Blessings and Beauties: Day 93
Sunday, 31 January 2021
The 'Winter Blessings and Beauties' project began at the beginning of November and will conclude on 2nd February, covering a period of 3 months/just over 13 weeks.
The changes in the Winter landscape aren't as eye-catching as those of Spring, Summer or even Autumn. The Winter palette is more muted, vegetation growth slowed by low temperatures and short, dark days. And yet changes are happening all the same. When we look back to the beginning of this period when everything in the landscape seemed to be dying back or hibernating, it's a striking contrast to where we are now - though as I pointed out right back at the beginning of Winter, the buds of Spring were already formed. Gradually, as the weeks passed they've been slowly growing, fattening in preparation to burst into leaf when the conditions are right. The very first buds to open won't be leaf buds, though - they will be those containing the soft grey fur of pussy willow catkins. At the same time the tightly held hazel catkins will lengthen into golden tassels, shaking out their pollen in the wind.
Meanwhile the first bulbs are rising out of the earth. Already there are snowdrops to be seen, and the sturdy green snouts of daffodils are pushing up through last year's leaf litter. I even spotted a solitary yellow daffodil flowering in a sheltered spot the other day. Only thirteen weeks since the world was dying back, it is again surging back into life and growth. The only constant in the Wheel of the Year is change - and I find that curiously comforting.
Winter Blessings and Beauties: Day 92
From Falling Leaves to Buds and Shoots
In only a few more weeks, the world will be greening again as Spring gets into her stride. Before then, bring in a few twigs from deciduous trees and shrubs in the garden and put them in a vase half-filled with water in a warm spot. Once they have been in the warmth of your home for a week or so their leaves will begin to open. Most deciduous species are suitable, but you are most likely to get good results from those which have well-developed, plump buds. I usually use a mixture of willows, hazels, forsythia and fruit tree twigs.
The vase of green leaves is a visual reminder of the change in seasons and can be seen as a kind of sympathetic magic to welcome back the Spirit of the Green.
Saturday, 30 January 2021
We are approaching Imbolc, a festival associated with the Goddess Brigid. One of Her symbols is the Brigid's cross which is traditionally made at Imbolc from rushes. They are a great centrepiece for an Imbolc altar.
If you'd like to try making your own, follow the instructions given below. Making them seems a little fiddly when you first start but once you have established the first few straws it's easy.
Winter Blessings and Beauties: Day 91
St Brigid's Cross
To make your own St Brigid's Cross, there is an easily followed tutorial here, or if you'd prefer video instructions, here. As mentioned, rushes are the traditional material, but you could also use straw or even pipe cleaners or strips of card. A similar, but even easier craft activity is making a God's eye or Ojo de Dios from yarn woven around crossed sticks. This is a great one to do with children. Instructions for making a God's eye are here.
Other suitable decorations for your Imbolc altar include a pot or posy of early spring flowers (especially snowdrops), white candles, or symbols of Brigid such as a book of poetry, healing herbs, or craft tools (She is the Goddess of healing, craftwork - especially smithcraft or metalwork - and poetry).
Friday, 29 January 2021
As we near the end of Winter, it's a good time to pause and review the last few months - and this project, intended to encourage a positive experience of the season.
Winter Blessings and Beauties: Day 90
I suggest you take a few days to go through this process of looking back (and forward) to examine your experience of Winter in sufficient depth before you move onto the Winter's End Ritual.
Cast your mind back in time to the beginning of November. Samhain had just been and gone, and the whole Winter lay ahead of us. How were you feeling then? If you've been following this project, perhaps look back to the very first post to help stir your memories of how you were feeling then, mentally, physically, emotionally. What did the prospect of Winter seem like then? What were you anxious about? What were your hopes? What were you looking forward to?
Scrolling forward through the Winter Blessings and Beauties posts - and/or your journal - how did Winter unfold for you? Did it go as you expected? What surprised you? What disappointed you? What delighted you? What did you discover?
Winter's End Ritual
After working through the Winter Retrospective exercise thoroughly, move onto the Winter's End Ritual.
Looking back, at the end of this Winter what will you be leaving behind? Write a list of those things you wish to leave behind in Winter 2020/21, and burn it or add it to your compost heap to be transformed.
As the door between Winter and Spring swings open, what will you choose to carry forward? Make a list in your journal of all the Winter blessings and lessons for which you're grateful and carry them forward with you.
What do you hope Spring be bringing in for you? On a fresh sheet of paper, make a list of your hopes, dreams and plans for Spring 2021. Put it somewhere you will be able to see it every day, and make sure to check in regularly to monitor your progress and keep yourself on track.
Thursday, 28 January 2021
Root vegetables are perfect seasonal food during the Winter months. For one thing, they store well - depending on conditions some can be left in the ground and harvested when they are needed, and others can be kept for long periods in the right conditions (usually cool, dry and dark). Most are also a source of starchy carbohydrates which help our bodies to stay warm and fuelled throughout the cold months.
The reason root vegetables are in season at this time of year is because they are roots and tubers - the energy of the plant has withdrawn into the roots so that it can safely survive the harsh winter conditions. This is the same mechanism which allows many of the first flowers of spring (e.g. snowdrops, lesser celandines, daffodils, wood anemones) to bloom so early in the year. These flowers all grow from bulbs, rhizomes or tubers which provide a reservoir of stored energy when there's not much sun for them to use for photosynthesis. These types of plants have a valuable lesson for us about ensuring we have adequate reserves to get us through the difficult times! They are also very grounding.
Winter Blessings and Beauties: Day 89
Root vegetables are a tasty, warming, filling and versatile Winter staple. There are a wide variety to try - for example potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, swede, beetroot, sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, celeriac and kohlrabi.
Try them in the following:
- Root vegetable curry - their sweetness goes well with curry spices
- Mashed swede with butter, salt & pepper and chopped coriander
- Roasted root vegetables - season with garlic and chopped rosemary & thyme, or harissa paste, or smoked paprika, cumin & onion powder.
- Add to soups and stews
- Curried parsnip soup
- Home-made vegetable crisps
Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Today is a special day for two ostensibly very different reasons. It is the birthday of Lewis Carroll, who wrote (amongst other things) the marvellously oddball 'Alice in Wonderland'. And it is also National Chocolate Cake Day (which is actually an American 'National' Day, but those of us in other parts of the world can ignore that minor detail because, y'know - chocolate cake!). Yes, a special day for two very different reasons, but - hear me out here - what if we were to celebrate the day by putting those two separate things together? What say we let our inner Mad Hatter out and celebrate by having a Tea Party with Chocolate Cake! On a rainy day in late Winter, what could be finer?
Winter Blessings and Beauties: Day 88
Time for a Tea Party!
Why not prepare an impromptu Tea Party for yourself or those in your bubble* - just because. Put on your fanciest hat and prepare yourself a feast. Cucumber sandwiches! Fairy cakes! Earl Grey - or Darjeeling? Scones! Crumpets! Jam tarts! And of course, Chocolate Cake!
Happy Lewis Carroll's Chocolate Cake Birthday Day!
* Dormice optional.
Tuesday, 26 January 2021
Have you noticed the way Winter is starting to retreat a little - then it comes roaring back in full force, only to recede again later? We seem to be at that stage in the season where Spring is waiting in the wings and Winter is giving consideration to when it will be time to retire for a well-earned rest.
For the last few days here, Winter has been in full force with a heavy fall of snow and sub-zero temperatures. But today a thaw has set in, and we are due a few days of mild weather before wintry conditions return at the weekend. Meanwhile, the first snowdrops are appearing and daffodils and other bulbs are poking up their green snouts from the frozen ground. In the hedge, catkins are preparing to fully unfurl so they can dance in the wind.
Winter Blessings and Beauties: Day 87
The Dance of the Changing Seasons
Notice the graceful to-and-fro dance of the seasons at this time of year. Each year the exact steps are different, and yet the dance is the same: a solemn shifting back and forth between Winter and Spring. One day one is dominant, the next day the other. And yet gradually the balance is shifting towards Spring. Can you feel it?
Monday, 25 January 2021
January 25th is St Dwynwen's Day (Diwrnod Santes Dwynwen) in Wales, 'the Welsh Valentine's Day'.
St Dwynwen (pronounced doin-WEN) lived in the 5th century and was the daughter of a King and was reknowned for her piety and purity. She fell in love with a young man named Maelon, but her father refused to let them marry. In despair, Dwynwen prayed to be rid of her feelings for Maelon. God sent an angel to her in a dream, who brought her a potion to help her forget Maelon but which turns him into ice. God also grants her three wishes, and she uses these to request that Maelon be released from the ice, that God will act favourably towards all true lovers and finally that she herself will remain unmarried. As thanks for God's help, she became a nun, settling on the Isle of Anglesey, where she founded a church at Llanddwyn.
A well near the church supposedly contained magical fish (some sources say eels). The movements of these fish could supposedly be read to to predict the future for young lovers.
St Dwynwen became the patron saint of young lovers (and also sick animals), and is celebrated in Wales much as St Valentine's Day is celebrated in other parts of the world, with cards and gifts of flowers and chocolates. In fact many people in Wales celebrate both dates, so we get two special dates devoted to lovers!
Winter Blessings and Beauties: Day 86
St Dwynwen's Day
On St Dwynwen's Day let's be thankful for love. Love for your partner, spouse or significant other, but also love of all kinds, not just romantic love. Love for your friends. Love for your family. Love for your co-workers. Love for your pets. Love for places. Love for the planet. Love for your heroes and heras. Love for your passions in life.
Who or what do you love? Today, give thanks for all those people, things and places you love. The more you love, the more love you have to give.
It's probably my own fault for not paying closer attention to the weather forecast this week, but I was surprised when I woke this morning to a world white with snow. Heavy snow had fallen overnight, completely blanketing the hills and fields and leaving us snowed in. A snow day!
The winters here in West Wales are mostly not too harsh, but there have been years when we've had particularly bad weather which has led to us getting snowed in. One memorable time we were snowed in for about three weeks. Since then I've been a bit anxious whenever it snows, just in case - but usually it's only a day or two before it thaws.
Nevertheless, it can be very inconvenient if the snow prevents us from getting out - especially on a work day.
There were no such problems today, due to lockdown. We didn't have to go anywhere and could just enjoy the novelty of the snow (which is due to thaw in a day or two anyway if the weather forecast is to be believed). I had a fine time trying to capture the beauty of the snow with my camera, accompanied by cats Hemlock and Tansy who were quite fascinated by the deepest snow they have thus far encountered in their young lives.
Wintner Blessings and Beauties: Day 85
If you don't have to try to get anywhere or do anything, an enforced snow day can be an absolute pleasure - and a great lesson in just relaxing and going with the flow. Make the most of it by getting outside to enjoy the snow while it lasts. Take a walk, build a snowman, take some photos, make snow angels. Then get back inside and warm up with a hot drink and some comfort food (Homemade soup? Crumpets? Cake?). Cosy up under a blanket and watch the snow falling softly outside.
And if there's no snow? Schedule a snowless snow day (aka a duvet day) for a little well-deserved R'n'R.