Monday, 27 September 2010

Peace Felt

"I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers"

Khalil Gibran

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing or rightdoing, there is a field.
I will meet you there"

Jalal Ad-Din Rumi

"We may have different religions, different languages, different coloured skin,
but we all belong to one human race"

Kofi Annan

"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics,which is the goal of all evolution.Until we stop harming all other living beings , we are still savages."

- Thomas A. Edison

"End each day with thoughts of peace. Begin each day with thoughts of peace. Continue thinking thoughts of peace throughout your precious day and happiness will be yours."

"A smile is the beginning of peace."

Mother Theresa

Peace Felt

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Exciting Times

Yesterday, the Druid Network were granted charitable status under the religious heading.

This means that Druidry is recognised as a religion under UK law. This is the first time that any form of Paganism has been legally recognised in UK law.

Druidry is one of many many paths of Paganism. To some, Paganism may be Wicca, Shamanism, Anarchy, Nature Based Spirituality, Celtic Identity or so much more.

It is such a shame that our sociological driven society feels the need to label us, split and divide us. For so long, Pagans have been made to feel like the immature children, the juvenile, the thorns in the side. So many of my fellow blog friends have a pseudonyms so they can speak honestly and freely with Pagan expression.

The world still fears and shuns that which it does not understand. Earlier this week, I visited some land on which a medicine wheel was built. The land is to become a place of healing, to the land, the animals the people and the trees. As I entered the site, I heard that peace flags had been hung over the field gate earlier in the day, had been stolen. I heard, that prayers that had been attached to trees, and pebbles placed in a well, had been removed, and continued to be removed, by others in the area that do not understand Pagan ways. Why is this so? How can peace flags upset anyone? How can a ribbon in a tree offend? Why does the presence of semi precious stones in an ancient Celtic well threaten? And why should we, Pagans, Druids, Shamans, Witches and so much more feel that we must stay hidden?

Last autumn, I received a letter from my daughters nursery. It asked of religious views, dietary requirements, medical info. You know the sort. Foolishly, I wrote Pagan next to religion. Its not that I want to indoctrinate my little girl, or make her believe my ways, it more that until she decides for herself I will teach her the ways of nature, the changing of the seasons, the elements, respect for life. Do you know how many times I had members of the nursery staff ask me if I danced around bonfires naked? I felt afraid, and as if my declaration of my own spiritual path would cause discrimination to my child. I had made it clear that my little girl could learn of other religions and cultures but it was to be respected that she had her own path. They tried to make her pray and say the lords prayer each day. Is it just me, or is respecting other religions and being made to participate in other religions prayer two very different things?

In my little girls new school, I have not felt so brave. I am proud of my Pagan beliefs, but do not want my daughter to be ostracised or marginalised. I want her to be happy, and free to play with whoever she likes, to invite the friends that she plays with home, and not just those that have the same spiritual path as her parents.

There is room for us all in this world.

Especially those that walk in PEACE, and HARM NONE!

With that said, I am sure you can see just how momentous an occasion it is that the Druids have received recognised religious status within the UK. I am thankful for their hard work!

Now, its time for you all to stand up and be counted. Fill in the Pagan Census today. Be proud of who you are.


Thursday, 23 September 2010

Mabon, the Full Moon and a Medicine Wheel

Today is Mabon, the Autumn Equinox

A day of equal light and dark

A Harvest Moon

The first time in 20 years that the first day of Autumn has occurred on the same day as a full moon

Lets us not forget that this year was also guided in by a blue moon

This is a year for looking upwards
To greet the sky
Feel the wind on our cheeks
The rain kiss the lids of our eyes
The stars twinkle with joy

Embrace these precious moments

To mark this special occasion I entered into a Mabon Swap with the ethereal 'Faerwillow'

My gifts arrived, lovingly packaged with hand crafted items
Filling me with Excitement

Photographs of nature, a paper doll, tissue leaves, hand made tags
A clay leaf, and the softest woolen cowl

I feel blessed!

Look how at home they feel on my alter!

Thank you Faerwillow x

Feeling energised by the magic of the equinox, I set out to a gathering of new friends where we created a medicine wheel out of rocks and stones.

My new friends wish to heal the earth, and those that walk it. The acts of creation, ceremony, and ritualistic drumming were invigorating.

And, because life is for living, and some things should just 'be experienced' I did not stop to take pictures. All I can show you of this occasion is a picture of a tepee in which we all sat, shared food, and supped oak leaf wine.

Happy Autumn Equinox x

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Sharing Treasure # 2 - LLigwy

Welcome to Sharing Treasure # 2. This month I have 3 sites to share with you. Lligwy Cromlech, Din Lligwy and Hen Capel Lligwy. All within close walking distance of each other.

Lligwy Cromlech

Lligwy Cromlech, a neolithic burial chamber. Cromlech is a word used to describe a burial mound or Dolmon from Welsh, from crom, feminine of crwm bent, arched + llech flat stone. In France, the word Cromlech is used to describe a stone circle, so maybe it is not accidental that the symbol for pi resembles some burial chambers.

Lligwy Cromlech has also been known as Coetan Arthur, Din Lligwy Burial Chamber and Arthur's Quoit. The Cromlech is said to be built upon a natural fissure in the limestone, rather than being dug out.

The site has a peaceful feeling to it. So much so that my 4 year old daughter instantly climbed inside it and lay down on the protruding stone whilst exclaiming that it was her new house and that is her sofa! I could have happily spent much longer here, and plan to return again very soon.

I did a little research into Lligwy Cromlech, looking for history and folklore. Rhiannon, contributor to 'The Modern Antiquarian' kindly shares a tale of a wild stormy night where a fisherman stumbles across a fair maiden struggling to reach the safety of the shore. He wades into the water and pulls the maiden to safety. After taking the maiden (at her request) to Arthur's Quoit he discovers that she is a witch that has been cast overboard and disguised herself to increase her chances of rescue. Afraid to be in the presence of a witch in a known haunted site the fisherman finds himself rewarded with a ball. The witch cautions the fisherman to keep the snakeskin ball safe, and secret from all and good fortune will be his. He shall only take out the ball from its hiding place once a year to bathe it in the sea, and then return it to hiding. If this is not done bad luck will follow. Please visit 'The Modern Antiquarian' to read the full story and see other pictures and accounts of visits to Lligwy Burial Chamber.

Din Lligwy

Din Lligwy is a settlement that is thought to have been built by natives to Anglesey during the Roman occupation. Din refers to 'defensive walls. It is thought that the site was a farming community and may even date back to the iron age. In the picture to the bottom right hand corner below, you can see the walls for one of the round rooms at Din LLigwy. It certainly 'fits' that the settlement dates back to the iron age, as it is very close to Parys Mountain which was mined for copper and other ores since the copper age 3500 years ago. Also, round houses were considered a symbol of status. The Celts and farming communities continued to use round houses until around 200 ad when they began adopting the Roman shaped houses.

Din Lligwy is known to have been occupied by the Romans until around 400ad. The round houses are thought to have been living quarters and the oblong rooms were workshops for iron working and animal shelters.

Hen Capel Lligwy

Hen Capel Lligwy is a wonderful example of medieval history.

The things that intrigue me most about church sites is their connection to sites of pagan worship, ley lines and trees. The church, pictured above, is very small but the trees alongside it are very large for their species.

The Hawthorn below is very large. I felt very attracted by her energy and found myself spending most of my time at this site beside this tree.

When I got home, I researched methods of aging trees without harming them. The Woodland Trust have a lovely tree hugging guide to aging trees of different species.

A Hawthorn only needs an elbow hug, whatever that may be, to qualify as ancient. I think this tree is more than an 'elbow hug' and displays some hallmarks of an ancient tree so I have registered it with The Woodland Trust to verify its age.

The Woodland Trust believe that ancient trees are living relics of incredible age that inspire in us feelings of awe and mystery. We reveal what makes a tree truly ancient, unlock a few of the fascinating secrets and stories associated with them and help you discover why they can sustain such a wide variety of wildlife. 'The Ancient Tree Hunt' is a project that invites members of the public to register trees that may be ancient or veteran with the Woodland Trust. Some of these trees may then be be granted a 'protected' status depending upon what its needs are. So, next time you are out walking and see an inspirational tree, why not give it a hug?


If you have a treasure on your doorstep that you would like to share, please add your web link to Mr Linky below.

All are welcome :)

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Sharing Treasure #2

Next Sunday I will be posting another story about Anglesey and some of its historical treasures. I will place the Mr Linky box at the bottom of the post and invite you all to add your own web link for your own posts introducing us to the magical wonders on your doorstep.

Sharing Treasure is a place where we can share the magic and wonders of our local history, folklore, ancestry, customs and nature with each other and rekindle the appreciation of our own environ. Anyone can join in by adding their blog link and name to Mr Linky. The posts can be as long or as short as you like and expressed in poetry, creative writing, art, textiles, photography or other creative media. The important thing is to enjoy unlocking the treasures of this shared journey.

To view Sharing Treasure #1 please click HERE.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Nuno Felt and Solar Dye

My washing line shows projects that I have had on a back burner for quite a while now. To the left is a solar dyed silk that I created in the Spring before moving house. To the right you can see a large nuno felt that I have made with tussah silk and Blue Faced Leicester curls detail.

I have really liked the textured detail that can be created when using curls in nuno felt and thought that it would be a great effect for a net curtain/blind for a window.

I live in a traditional cottage with low ceilings and big black beams. The windows are cut out of 3ft thick stone walls so not much natural light gets through. Even if it did, the view onto the street is not so attractive and the weather to come will be wet and windy.

I thought plain nuno blinds would offer a warm comforting feel to the room, while still allowing natural light to diffuse into the room. I like both the curly and the silk side so this fabric offers a versatility to suit different looks and moods.

Initially I had planned to make the blinds out of the solar dyed silks, but I late felt that the patterns would make the room feel too crowded (it is a very small room).

Back in the spring my camellia tree blessed me with so many flowers. The picture to the left shows the colour the camellia's gave. It was very surprising to see such a deep purple come out of these red/pink flowers. The colour was initially much deeper than this, a rich violet, but it degraded so quickly. I left the fibres in too long. Next Spring, I intend to put the fibres and silks into the dye solution and take them out within ten minutes in order to capture this wonderful colour. I won't know how fast the colour will be, but even if I only have it for a short while before it fades I will be one very happy bunny.

The second picture shows the wet petal pulp remains from the dye pot being laid out onto silk before being rolled into a bundle, popped in a jar and left for a month to solar dye on the window sill. I much prefer this method of solar dyeing bundles to the filling the jar with water. I find the watery solution grows mouldy very quickly and gives a terrible smell and the results aren't as good as this. But I have seen other artists achieve wonderful things with their wet solar dye bundles so I will give it another go soon.

The picture to the left above shows the rust and purple tones of the silk and the picture to the right hand side shows the solar dyed silk being held in front of the white nuno to give a better idea of how the colours will mute if nuno felted. I think I will make something with double layers of silk over lapping for contrast. Watch this space :)

Monday, 6 September 2010

Celebrating 10 years of Woods on your Doorstep across the UK

This morning has been busy and exciting for me. One of my favourite charities, 'The Woodland Trust' is celebrating the tenth birthday of their 'Woods on your Doorstep' Campaign. The campaign is actually 15 years old but it is 10 years since the campaigns first woods were planted.

To celebrate the 10th birthday of the campaigns community woods, the Woodland Trust are giving away 250 packs of trees to schools and community groups across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Sounds fantastic doesn't it? An opportunity too good to let slip by. So after first running the idea past some friends and family in the area I wrote to Anglesey Council and North Wales Wildlife Trust to ask if they could spare some land in which a community can plant a woodland and Sacred Grove on.

The North Wales Wildlife Trust were the first to get back to me offering contact names within the council and suggesting other organisations that may be interested in helping out. Aren't they wonderful! So after resending my original email to the named contact within the council , I called a lady at Mentor Mon who was very helpful and has offered to discuss the proposal with Anglesey Council to see if a suitable piece of land can be found. If land can be found, Mentor Mon will see if they can assist the project too.

Feeling very optimistic about the matter, I then decided to call the local school to see if they would be interested in helping plant a community woodland if 1) an appropriate piece of land can be secured for planting the trees on, and 2) we are successful in an application to the Woodland Trust. The school are very interested in getting involved.

So, now that the first tentative steps have been made into securing land for the creation of a community woodland and securing support from vital members of the community I am waiting with baited breath to see if we will be able to make an application to The Woodland Trust for one of their free packs of trees. Here is a list of the information required by the Woodland Trust which should be included on all applications:

* Where you are planting your trees - public / private land?
* What arrangement you have with the landowner - short-term / long-term lease? Please do not apply unless you have the landowner's permission.
* How many people will you involve in your project?
* How will you care for your trees in the long-term?
* A FULL grid reference (or full postcode) showing where the trees will be planted. Identifying your planting location is critical for us to process your application.

Right now, I don't know if this project will be given the green light or not, but it is exciting that it is being considered and we have community interest in the idea. Wish us luck!

If you are interested in creating a community woodland why not make an application to The Woodland Trust yourself? All applications must reach The Woodland Trust by the 30th September 2010. Good luck!

Friday, 3 September 2010


Green apples, poured full
of density, of crispness, float unmoved
under leaves on the slope. Brown
fallen apples nest
in secret whorls of grass. The apple tree:
alone in so much space. And below
in the woods by the water
a sweet dead branch
cracks lightly
in the shadow in the wind.

Taken from 'One With The Sun' by 'A. F. Moritz'

I have this marvelous apple tree. It may even be an Anglesey Apple Tree, which according to Gardeners Question Time is one of the four original apples and has a strong gene pool making it hardy and high yielding. This apple tree is full of fruit. I'm not sure how to tell when they are ready to pick.

The apple tree is weather damaged and has been neglected. It is suffering from storm damage where a limb was cruelly ripped from the trunk leaving the tree rotten and spongy in parts. I don't think there is anything that I can do to prevent the rot from spreading, but would very much like to assist this tree in which ever way I can.

Can anyone advise the best way to prune this beautiful tree or provide other tips to help this tree on the way to recovery? Can I take cuttings?

All advice is greatly appreciated x0x

*fairy/red star angel tag by Lynne Hoppe*

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Cobweb Shawl

Yesterday was the perfect day. The sun shone, the wind was out of town and I made felt in the garden before visiting Cemlyn Beach where the tide was in and people waded up to their waists in the sea.

I had intended the above piece to be nuno felted and then to dye it with blackberries ready to be made into a dress for my little girl, but I experimented with some silk like fabrics that I bought in a sari shop back in Birmingham. The fabric nuno felted just fine but felt so synthetic that I was not happy with it at all. I peeled off the silky layer which took a while but was worth it. I was left with a very thin felted shawl which I manipulated holes into the thinnest parts in a cobweb effect. I really like it so will leave it white for a while. Lets hope this Indian summer is here to stay and I get many more breeze free days ideal for setting up in the garden. I still want to make a dress for my little girl, and have ideas for nuno felted, solar dyed blind/curtains for the windows.