Category Archives: Humour

Spirituality Without Fanfare

Once you have been on your spiritual path for a while you will start to realise that it is best to not take yourself too seriously.

There are two types of people who practise spirituality, in my experience. Those who tell others how powerful they are or how enlightened they are or how good their expensive courses are…and those who just get on with it, quietly and without fanfare. Do a course for fun if you think you will get something out of it but do realise that the only thing really worth spending is time itself. Time to learn, time to experiment, time to let things simmer.

Unfortunately being bombarded with all these enlightenment sellers can put some potential newcomers off discovering more about themselves and their possibilities and that’s a shame as there is nothing to be nervous about. Don’t be scared by the hype, don’t be put off by those who dress themselves up as mystical beings who need to be adored. They are selling a service which is the spiritual equivalent of getting your nails painted…it’s fun but it isn’t an essential life choice. You can do what you need to do with a little online research, free resources, reading books and, most importantly, living the life and gaining the experience.

Those who are quietly spiritual know that everyone is an individual who will be spending years on their unique path, no expensive course is going to get anyone there quicker. Sorry. Sometimes it can even slow progress down as you are following someone else’s path not your own. Their way of doing things might not be yours.

Your path is your own and you don’t have to be doing A, B or C to qualify for any award. There is no award. There’s a reward for taking a spiritual path though. Several of them.

If you can successfully meditate you can make your daily life calmer and happier. This can take the edge off the hardest situation. YouTube has some really good meditations. Try Michael Sealey or Jason Stephenson.

Practising mindfulness will give you a better outlook on life and will make those challenges easier to deal with because you stay in the moment, at least long enough to have a break from your mind chatter. Here is a 8 week free course, run by Dave Potter a fully certified MBSR instructor.

Being able to work with the energies to heal yourself and others for free is your way to give back and to do your bit to help change one small part of the world which is suffering…whether that be an individual or a situation.  Learn how to give reiki to yourself with this previous article of mine Reiki For Self Love.  Where you go with it afterwards when it comes to helping others is for you to decide.

Ritual is a way to bring order to chaos as well as engaging in aged practices – whether you just count your morning ritual of shower, tea and toast before work or rituals used with your deity of choice, such as prayers. A good morning ritual sets you up for the day and most of us have several rituals which we enjoy. Perhaps yours is a candlelit bath or a cup of chamomile tea last thing before bed. A ritual is simply something you do at a certain time and, sometimes, for a certain reason. Getting a few rituals of your own in place will bring structure and certainty to your day and you will find you look forward to doing them. They will bring a comfort and a smile, a sense of well-being.

Learning how to work with herbs is another way that you can help yourself. Again there are many online courses out there for the basics but a good book will do you just as well too if money is tight. The work of Susun Weed is a good start if you are in the USA or Herbcraft by Anna Franklin and Susan Lavender is an excellent choice for those in the UK and Europe. Herbcraft gives a broad use for plants including medicinal and magickal as well as a bit of history for interest.

Learning which plants are edible is very important so do take care as there are some deadly ones out there too. 

Knowledge is essential when using herbs in whatever form you choose them. Several good books for cross referencing are essential and you should never rely on just one photo in a book to decide which plant is in front of you in the wild. Several good, clear close up photos are needed. Of course, the company of someone who already knows is ideal but few of us have that and so we must take things gradually and be careful with our choices by being sensible.

Here is a fun video done by someone just starting out using herbs. We all have to start somewhere…

Many of us enjoy a cup of chamomile tea or peppermint tea so why not take it a step further and start learning how to work with the energies of the plants in your vicinity, growing your own or even just in their essential oil form. Pure oils can be used for cleaning and sanitising your home, refreshing the aroma, getting rid of garden pests, used to heal yourself and pets and in a multitude of ways.

I have had no training in essential oils but taught myself gradually over many years and now use them in every part of my life. They are surprisingly versatile, useful and helpful and, of course, chemical free if chosen wisely. There are many articles online which will help you choose a starter arsenal of essential oils. My first three choices would be roman chamomile, lavender and peppermint. I have linked to an article for each to get you started if you are new to essential oils.

If you are starting off on your path and follow the signposts above and in my previous nine articles then together they should give you your first few footsteps. You will be on your way to a spiritual life which allows you to grow, gain confidence, deal with challenges, heal your everyday niggles and give love and strength to those around you. There will be days when it all seems too much and you will want a break. Be kind to yourself on those days and do whatever you need to do. Everyone has a spiritual crisis at some point in their lives…sometimes more than one…but this is good because this is where the biggest shifts happen.

My final suggestions are to enjoy life, love who you are and do what you have to do to make your life your own. Never be dictated by those who surround you or even those in your area of choice spiritually. Always trust your instincts and if you aren’t sure what they are saying then meditate and wait. The answer is there.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

What’s In Your Mix? Fun Times With Creation and Growth

Creation is an important part of spirituality. Whether we choose to show our imagination through cooking, crafts, writing or growing herbs in the garden (or all of those things and more!) it is important that we have an outlet to manifest, achieve and create.

We don’t have to be especially talented in our chosen media. I admit if I had to make a living using my art then the chances are I would be hungry but the important thing is that I enjoy doing it. I have fun! Also, if things go well, I have something to decorate my altar, other parts of the house and the garden which I admit is rather satisfying.

Just lately I have got into working with air dry clay and have made the amulets (and several more) that you see in the header photo for my nature altar.  I really like exploring symbolism and I try to incorporate as much as I can into my work, practice and life in general. The above photo is my Mother Earth Goddess figure. She now has pins coming out of her underskirts ready to be rooted into a base which I will be doing in the near future. I intend for her to have flowers, herbs and plants at her feet.

I also like to draw and spent quite a while drawing out the above Antahkarana symbol for use in the room I send my distance healing sessions. It was surprising how long it took to work out how to draw the squares on to top on another like that. It looks so simple but…well, it was a little taxing surprisingly but good fun, especially for the youngest teenager who enjoy the process and her mother’s struggles immensely. She also had the lesson of ‘never giving up despite having an obvious inability to use a ruler with ease’ 🙂

Having something arty or creative on the go is a fabulous way to relax and find our inner child too. Remind yourself what it feels like to squash wet, sticky clay between your fingers or how great it feels to eat something you have grown yourself.

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Those of you who follow my blog will know I spend a lot of time in my garden. I like to think of myself as a small time gardener and herbs are my go-to plants of choice. The slide show above shows some of this year’s produce in its very early stages. In the last week alone things have really started to come to life.

Bringing the garden indoors sounded like a wonderful idea to me when I saw some inspirational mosaics made out of clay and so I decided to try a herb press mosaic and have produced some quite pleasing results so far.

I hope to incorporate the leaves I used once they are dry and then I intend to try out Pebeo’s Mixed Media paint on these once the primer and base colours are on. I have heard some good stuff about the possible effects when using this media.

Below is a photo of an interesting example and you can click here to see more ideas on Pinterest.

I am itching to have a go. I will also be making some clay beads for some particular jewellery I have in mind…watch this space as there is a chance I will inflict them on you all 😉

Creating and growing are important parts of spirituality. It isn’t just about where you are in your head, it is about where you are in the outside world and how you interact with that.

If you want to imagine those roots of yours going deep into the ground to nourish your soul then what better teacher than a willing herb you have grown from seed who is happy to show you the way in the real world in return for a little care and appreciation? See how she grows when she is well nourished, has just the right balance of sun and shade and is given a good and healthy compost mix to grow in?

What’s in your mix?

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Perimenopause: The One Where I Had Drunk Too Much Tea

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As I find myself approaching month six without a visit from my monthly period I find myself almost holding my breath to see whether this is ‘it’, whether I have passed into the stage of being actually menopausal or whether this is Mother Nature’s idea of a little torment teasing and she will, in fact, be back at some point. Just to put it out there, if she decides to renew our acquaintance on Christmas Day when I have a lot of mouths to feed then I will not be impressed…

I would love to know how ‘the end’ happened for any of you ladies out there who have actually come out the other side and are now in full menopause so do please leave your stories in the comments below as it helps others to get an idea of what to expect too.

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This week I found myself looking up female urination devices. Yes, yes, I know, not exactly a topic for polite society but putting it in with the post on monthlies seemed like a two birds with one stone situation *smiles*. The thing is sometimes a girl has to go. In the UK, even when you hope there is not a soul around for miles, there will be. Usually within shouting distance. As a woman you are probably safer alone in the middle of a wood then you are alone in the middle of an urban area where screams are common place and usually mean nothing especially if you live on a main road as I do. Bizarre but true.

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So going back to the need for a device, let me tell you a story. Years ago I climbed mountains, literally, and when the call of nature meant too many brews had been consumed I found a lonely bush and just got on with it. You climbed a mountain, you paid the privacy price. These days I go geocaching and walking sometimes with the family when I am well enough and, thanks to the perimenopause, that cup of tea I had two hours before the walk is fighting its way out yet again despite going twice before we left home.

So there I was, behind said bush and minding my own business in an ancient wood in the middle of nowhere when some chap on a massive horse (quite possibly a Suffolk Punch only I was too embarrassed to raise my eyes for a good, close look at either of them) called a hello two feet away from me and proceeded to talk about how frosty the day was. I knew this quite well as my behind was exposed to the elements and a nasty looking nettle but I couldn’t rise or I would risk…exposure. I retorted that the day was most agreeable and bade him a pleasant morning and tried to look usefully employed down behind a bush. We waited whilst the horse relieved itself and he made off with a wave of his hand.

He knew what I was doing. Of course he knew. It was probably his wood.

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So I have decided it might be better for someone to come across a woman of a certain age peeing up against a tree…a sort of a modern Victorian curiosity if you like. Hopefully no pictures will appear on Facebook entitled “Now I Have Seen Everything!” but better that than a random photo of my ever expanding menopausal bottom with the same headline. A girl has to have some self pride. Peeing up a tree can at least be seen as an accomplishment..yes?

Therefore I have been trying to decide between a flashy longer pipe for superior aim or a short stubby one which won’t draw such admiring glances when I want to be alone. Is bigger best or is it really all about what you do with it? Will I regret keeping it simple if I come across another woman using the same tree whose girth is more substantial and whose aim is better? Having said that I won’t want to reuse it many times so should I go for quality or quantity? Do I collect and bank or pee and flee? You can see my dilemma.

Choosing the right device is a lot more difficult than I thought and I really don’t want to cock it up.

Getting Rid Of Black Aphids/Black Flies – Essential Oil Recipe

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My herbs in pots, namely most of my mint family, were all put in the greenhouse a couple of weekends ago ready for the colder months. I thought they would be nice and safe there but some late visitors, (probably left over from an insect 18-30 (day) holiday jaunt by the looks of them…rabble!) decided to drop in unannounced at what was obviously the equivalent of an insect Little Chef. Whatever the reason there was a brand new menu at The Little Black Aphid and diners were aplenty.

Feeling fairly put out, I put the cauldron on the fire and added a couple of toad eyes, three stag beetle antennae and a handful of vervain. Once this hearty family supper was on I decided to tackle the aphid problem.

The completely natural method is to hand pick them off one by one. I thought about this option for a few seconds but discarded the idea when I realised I had a life. However, it may have also been because I just didn’t fancy it 😀

Here is my essential oil recipe for tackling the beasties –

200ml of water

6 drops of thyme

5 drops of peppermint

5 drops of clove

6 drops of rosemary

1 spray bottle

At this time of year you can probably afford to cut your herbs back a little anyway but for those leaves left I suggest a liberal spray of the above concoction. It only took one application and a few choice words and my aphid invasion ceased production. Of course I am not a qualified aromatherapist so it may have been my few choice words which made the aphids drop down stone dead. I can’t say. If in doubt then I urge you to try reasoning with them first…and if that doesn’t work then do try the essential oils  😉

Do be careful not to spray any loitering spiders. I accidently caught two right in their eyes and they were not happy! It’s the peppermint, they hate it apparently. When I went back later they had moved out and left the place in quite a state. I don’t recommend it.

I suggest always washing leaves you intend to consume very well before eating, especially after spraying with the above recipe.

Always consult a qualified aromatherapist and your medical provider before trying any of my recipes. Do not use essential oils if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Please note: I can’t be held responsible for the demise of any pet aphids, this mixture will probably kill them whether you have given them pet names or not. Thank you  😉

Splash Fiction

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Apparently I hovered in the waiting room ready to be reborn at the start of this lifetime and perused a contract which was full of juicy life lessons I hadn’t learnt before.

In my wisdom, as a being of many lifetimes, I decided to pick my current parents, my ex husbands, certain friendships and my health conditions. Bursting with enthusiasm, I let my closest friend (now my guardian angel) in on my plans and she thought it was such a well thought out, fun sounding jaunt that she said she would like to come too and hang around to see how I got on.

Then I signed said contract and, with a thrill of anticipation, floated on downwards to settle into the adrenaline-filled fetus awaiting my arrival.

My friend followed shortly and she is still laughing five decades later…I do believe it is her turn next *whistles nonchalantly* ;-D

Dribblings

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This week has been a week of waiting and so it has also been a week of shopping. For me that means I wander around eBay and Amazon and loiter around things I shouldn’t be teasing myself with 😀

It meant it was also time for a book which wasn’t esoteric in nature and a bit more of a light, holiday read *ducks incoming missile from Bill Bryson* I know the man can get a bit eggy and hold a grudge because I made a comment to him once on a message board pointing out he had missed out Suffolk in Notes From A Small Island and, guess what, the beggar has purposely missed it out again in this book too. Well, apart from a small footnote which was probably a typo and meant to be Sussex. I know and he knows he has done it on purpose *sniff* 😀

I do love a Bill Bryson book and have them all. I have been meaning to get around to this one for a while now. His distinctive wit is very recognisable…he just goes in and verbally destroys those who dare put even a smidgen of imbecile-like behaviour in his path. I would liken him to being in the latter stages of a typical Grumpy Old Man but, as far as I can tell (because I don’t know him personally obviously), he has been like that at least since he landed in Dover as a young American journalist and possibly before.

Whilst in a Bryson mood I purchased this:

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A jolly film based on the book of the same title, which I read when it came out. It is the tale of Bryson and Stephen Katz who team up to walk the Appalachian Trail. It’s packed with classic moments including the time they spent walking and camping next to a female hiker who was so irritating the lads inadvertently chucked themselves off a cliff to avoid her.

Emma Thompson plays Bryson’s wife (Query: Why hasn’t Emma Thompson been made a Dame yet? Fabulous actress that she is!) although I am not entirely sure what she is doing in the film apart from telling Bryson he can’t go and then welcoming him home. Maybe she just wanted to be in a film with Robert Redford or she finds Mr Bryson as funny as I do? The real Mrs B seems to be a lot more involved than that if the many paragraphs mentioning her in Bryson’s books are to be believed but this is Hollywood.

Incidently, Bill Bryson had no imput in the making of the film and simply sold the rights to Robert Redford’s film company. He also only met Redford once (according to an interview I found) but Redford still does a good job of putting across Bryson’s character if the books are to be believed. I was only sorry that there was no call for Robert Redford to fall asleep in the film…Bryson asleep is apparently a thing of wonder. All in all some very funny moments and worth watching especially if you are a fan and can relate to the character which is Bill Bryson 🙂

My other purchases this week included this lovely oracle deck:

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I love the artwork in this deck. The artist is the same one who did the Isis Oracle artwork for Alana Fairchild..another visually stunning deck. I haven’t worked with this new deck yet as I bought it a few hours ago (!) but I have looked at a few reviews on YouTube and they do seem to be favourable. In a selection of several decks in the shop this one jumped out at me and I tend to listen when that happens.

It is said by the author that Aradia is the Goddess Diana’s daughter and the first witch. She was sent to Earth to train women in medicine and natural ways and to also BE in their own feminine power. I rather like that. You can find out more about Aradia and decide for yourself if she was a myth, a Goddess in her own power or a real person from history. Hers is an interesting tale.

My last purchase to show you today is this little one:

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I had been pondering about getting a crystal skull for some time and finally today this little purple Fluorite chap asked to come home with me. I don’t often get offers like that these days and didn’t want to appear rude so I bought him.

There is more to come when certain Amazon Marketplace sellers get their acts together. There is something I must know. How can it take two weeks to get something to me when I live 30 mins away by train or car from the source? I could practically walk there in a day. Who is bringing it? The owner’s grandma? Pulling along a small cart with one rickety wheel behind her zimmer frame whilst she wheezes from a 60 a day cigarette habit and stops off at every available loo on the way due to having not attended to her pelvic floor sufficently over the years? In the words of Bryson – well, honestly.

Refreshed!

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I am back again after a few days off with my wonderful other half and our teenagers! We spent the first few days decorating our bedroom (looks fantastic!!) and then we went out to the forest, the beach and to a local market on the other days.

The hound went to the beauty parlour and came back trimmed and powdered. Frankly he knew he smelt like a girl and he was not in the slightest bit impressed with this until we went for a walk by the beach and he got lots of compliments. He was also chatted up twice which pleased him no end and his tail curled back up as he strutted down the prom at the head of the pack with a ‘Look at me! I’m so handsome it hurts!’ vibe going on. And he was and it did, until he found some mud later on…

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We also did some work in the garden and I bought more herbs! I now have 25 different herbs I have specifically planted in the garden. I have used each one which is established enough to do so and have plans for the others once they take hold. The most interesting experiment is the morning infusion I created myself to help with my perimenopause symptoms using Lemon Balm, Peppermint and Vervain in various amounts. I really do think it is making a difference so I shall continue for another three weeks and see how I feel then. I have certainly had less headaches so that’s a plus in itself! I will post the recipe up once I am happy it works…having a holiday in the middle of the test may have altered the results so I need those extra weeks to be sure. Every little helps though, so fingers crossed it carries on working so well!

Outside, Where The Sun Is Shining

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This afternoon finds me out in the garden having planted in some Catnip, Majoram, Lemon Balm, Hyssop and Bergamot into pots and into the garden. I am lazily drinking a cup of ‘rather late in the day’ Peppermint Tea and perusing my patch of soil with a critical eye to find some jobs for my wonderful other half at the weekend…he’ll thank me one day when he is older and looks back ;-D

Here is my special viewing platform

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And this is my view

I potted the Catnip and the Lemon Balm, hoping to keep the former away from the local felines and keeping the latter from spreading too far and wide. I decided to let the Bergamot and Hyssop have their wicked way (but not together obviously) in the back of the herb garden but I left them with strict instructions to behave and not to do anything I wouldn’t…the teenagers always scoff when I say this to them as if those instructions open up a whole world of possibilities for them but the herbs stayed strangely silent on the matter.

The Borage has been pulled up and the seedlings have been transplanted to the back of the herb garden. I have, what you might call, a Borage Nursery but with a strict intake. I had to thin out rather a lot, including the stragglers hiding in the lavender! It was a Borage Convention and they were getting rowdy.

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I wish you all a beautiful day, wherever you may be! Keep smiling!

Peppermint Tea and Other Boosters

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This morning I picked some of the young leaves from the garden mint and made myself a pot of peppermint tea. I added a touch of honey and it was delicious. Why didn’t I do this regularly years ago?!

I am really enjoying experimenting with these teas straight from the garden. All the herbs are getting very well established out there and, so far, the slugs have behaved themselves. This could possibly be because they are far too lazy to tramp up the side of the railway sleepers to reach the raised bed or it could be because the bird table is nearby and they don’t want to risk becoming dinner themselves to an incoming bird. I hope I haven’t spoken too soon!

Talking of birds, our rescued pigeon from a few weeks back is surprisingly still about and raiding the bird table on a regular basis. I have seen him go and peck elsewhere so I am confident he isn’t relying on us completely for his supper. I am pretty sure it is him because he doesn’t seem to mind our presence mid-raid whereas the other pigeons all clear off sharpish when the dog starts his garden wanderings.

Tomorrow the hound goes for his booster injections after which he doesn’t usually speak to me in pleasant tones until he next wants feeding. I guess I would feel the same if I had sat there minding my own business, wagging my behind at an apparently friendly stranger, only to find I had been betrayed when I felt a sharp…well, yes, quite, you can see his point.

Still, as I said to the children when they were younger and were due for their health injections, it does stop you getting anything nastier. I don’t think that convinced them much at the time either.