Friday, 30 December 2011

Wishing you a all a Happy, New Year

Before I sat down to write to my friends in the Stonehenge group, all my friends and family and followers, I  a drew a card from John Matthew's Shaman Oracle to help guide my wishes for you all for the next year. It was the Ancestor of Skill,  so here are my wishes for you. 

I hope you will;

find a sense of balance and wisdom
and how to channel this into whatever tasks you undertake.
I hope you will uncover latent skills which imbue you with positive energy
I hope you will live skilfully and be grateful for the joyful in life
that you will dance when others run
find joy in the skills you already possess
that your life will be enriched by those around you.
whether there for a season, a reason, or a lifetime

I wish you a very Happy New Year, a year full of of learning, love, and kindness. Be easy on yourself and others.
With Reiki blessings and light

Merry B

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Holly Blue & Ivy, Gort in The Celtic Ogham

Ivy flowering in my garden
in December 2011
My garden is full of Ivy as until last week it  was heavily shaded by a 20 metre evergreen Pittosporum .  Ivy has grown up the fences  and  in the bottom third of the garden only Ivy flourishes on the East wall.  I loved its  glossy green leaves which are five lobed when young and as the Ivy matures and begins to flower the leaves change to a diamond shape.  The flowers grow in cluster and are green with yellow anthers and the fruits are black when they ripe inn early spring.  The fruit are loved by blackbirds, black capes and wood-pigeons. On sunny days in early spring the flowers  provides nectar for bumble bee  roused by the sun to come out of their warm nest.  It also harbours overwintering butterflies, moths, and spiders.   And in spring is a safe haven for the blackbirds to nest in and raise their young. 

In ancient hedgerow Ivy will clamber to the top of trees as it can grow up to thirty meters.  In one of the ancient woodlands I walk in the Ivy grows upwards and carpets the floor.  On the under side of the stems are  a thick mat of short roots, but it is not parasitic plant it is self supporting the red roots help it hold on  as it spirals to upwards.  In the Yew Grove at Kingley Vale ivy clambers amongst the yew where no other plant can tolerate the toxicity of the soil near yews.
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Holly Blue RSPB

Ivy and holly are bond together in ancient lore the ivy is the feminine and and emblem of the battle over sovereignty of the woods with holly, which is held to be masculine. Their relationship is linked not merely by carols and lore but in nature the holly and the Ivy share the nurture of  the beautiful Holly Blue Butterfly.  This beautiful butterflies emerge in March and can by seen flitting and basking high up on shrubs and trees.  In Spring the female Holly Blue will lay her eggs under the buds of a Holly tree.  Here the caterpillars will emerge after a week and eat the leaves of the holly, they prefer the female tree's leaves but will munch on the male tree as well.  In Summer the female Holly Blue will lay her eggs on or under Ivy flower buds  The caterpillars will feed on the Ivy leaf  and flower buds for three to four weeks.   Then Holly blue will pupate on the wood stems of the Ivy and overwinter there until they emerge the following spring. 

Early Spring and all Summer long this beautiful butterfly flit around my garden feeding on aphids' honeydew and salts from muddy ground.  In spring it is hard to tell the male and female apart.  the female has slightly thicker black edging to top of their wings, however, in summer the females emerging are a deep blue almost purple shade.  The males do not change colour.  both sexes have the same pale blue  under wings.   Wherever Holly and Ivy grow you will find The Holly Blue Butterfly.  Unlike many butterflies the Holly Blue is not endangered and it can be found in many gardens, churchyards, parks and woods.

Ivy is named Edihean in Welsh and  means Ivy for beauty.  In the  Celtic Ogham it is know as Gort.   Ivy often grows in a spiral as goes upwards to the sky and this is seen as representing growth and rebirth, and the cycles of lifeIvy even when cut back hard will regrow vigorously so to draw this few is guidance to be resolute in achieving a plan or task, or vigorous in the pursuit of an aim. It will also support the querent's spiritual journey   They Ivy has been seen as a plant of prophecy and is associated with the followers of  Bacchus And Dionysus.   But in the Celtic world, much closer to nature than we are,  could its reputation for helping  with prophecy be because of its important part in the life cycle of the Holly Blue Butterfly?   The colour of Ivy in the Celtic Ogham is gorm  - Sky blue -  the colour of the Holly Blue Butterfly.  Its  caterpillar after feeding  on the Ivy will change  into  a chryallis which clings to the woody stems for shelter from winters' chill and storms.   Finally in  early Spring it  transforms into a beautiful blue butterfly.  It is easy to believe it is a  magical messenger flying skywards taking messages to and from the otherworld.  

For the winter Solstice I will decorate the fire mantles with swathes of Ivy.  It will stay fresh for at least a week without water.  And  I will also decorate the Christmas table with Ivy twined with  flowering honey suckle .  The glossy evergreen leaves  of the Ivy and the fragrant flowers of the Honeysuckle are a reminder of the promise of  spring.

With Reiki blessing and light
to you all this Christmas
and a Happy New Year

Merry B

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

A Windfall From A Tree

The blustery winds on Monday night came roaring down the chimney and I could hear the rain lashing against the windows but my house was warm and we were settled comfortably reading, listening to music or watching the TV.  At bedtime I heard a very loud bang had a horrible feel that I knew what it was but did not open the curtains. Pops my dog was in the backroom downstairs, I called to her and she whimpered and I could hear her making her usual apple pie bed. She was safe.

A living Pittosporum
Next morning after making a cup or tea I went up upstairs and gingerly pull open the curtains and looked out of the window laying across my garden and resting on my bay window was my neighbours neglected Pittosporum  shrub there were several thick trunks.  The tree shrub which had  grown very rapidly to 20 metres and had been gradually taking all the light from two thirds of my garden it had become  neglected and was  dying.  Several neighbours and I had spoken the couple with this shrub explaining  that the Pittosporum was  dying and was dangerous and taking light from all our garden but to no avail.  In March this year the husband, Colin, had actually lightly pushed the tree with one hand and it had swayed sideways  several inches. But they did nothing, expect his mother-in-law called to me when I was in the garden and to be told me to stop bothering them about the tree, and that I was a very nasty neighbour.  There was no point in arguing with her or her daughter Em.

Now it had fallen and into my garden and was resting on my bay window.  I was angry - no I was  hopping mad.  I slung on my clothes grab Pops put on her lead and out I went to speak to them.    Pops had to make several stops on the way  so I could not stomp round in a rush.  I started to calm down as I got to Em & Colin’s door.  When the Em answered the door I found she hadn't even noticed  that a large part of the huge 60 foot Pittosporum  shrub had gone down in the gale into my garden.  I was polite and asked that the tree be removed as soon as possible and the five foot wall re-biult, and any damage put right.  On  the agreement that her husband would come home at lunchtime to see what could be done,  and they would come round in the evening to talk to me, I left.

My neighbour Pete came round at lunchtime, he is a roofer and a very skilled bricklayer so he was the ideal person to save the day as I was talking to him in the back room the Colin came out of his house  and stood amongst the rubble of the wall.   Pete was able to talk to him and he agreed that Pete would clear the tree trunks out of my garden next day and cut down the remaining trunks to make it safe.   Pittosporum  being a shrub rather than a tree  had grown several thick trunks instead of one main trunk they were all unsafe and more gales were forecast for Thursday.

Pops enjoying the Sun
my plotat

So today I no longer have a huge 60 foot trunks of a dead  Pittosporum  in my garden. and the five remaining dead trunks have been made safe. The wall is still to be rebuilt but I am so blessed No one was hurt Pops was safe, There is no structural damage and my garden is full of sunshine for the first time for years.  The winter sun, at midday, poured across my garden and into my back rooms and spilled out into the hall and landing. My kitchen was filled light. My lovely south facing garden is a now blank canvas to ready for me to re-design.

While the Pittosporum was standing I had sent Reiki to it to knowing it was in a very dangerous condition. I hade ask Reiki to keep us safe and if did it fall to do so safely. The wind that brought it down was a South Westerly but from a different direction it could have crashed on to the back of Sophia’s house were there are small children sleeping. I also sent Reiki to the young couple whose garden had the tree.   They had only brought the house 18 months ago and were struggling with a new baby, financial worries and inherited the problem of the Pittosporum. When I went round on Tuesday I used Reiki and Pops gentle energy to help me keep calm.

The tree instead of crashing to the ground had slide gently down and underneath it many of my perennials and shrubs were battered but will recovered. The bird feeder and pots of bulbs ready for Christmas presents were smashed but that is OK.   Neither of my fences were damaged nor my house. My garden bench was in one piece. I am blessed. 

I hope the solitary bees and bumble bees wintering in my garden are safe and the mice that live  under the canopy of summer jasmine by the back wall.  Other people may have fairies at the bottom of their garden  but I have bees, moths butterflies, beetles and mice at the bottom of mine.

I am so grateful for the returning of the light to my home and garden and grateful to the Pittosporum,  neglected for so long,  for falling so gently in the gale.  I will celebrate the Winter Solstices with gratitude and smile at the thought of the returning of light and the sunshine it will bring flooding in to my home and garden.  We will also be celebrating Pops birthday on the 21st of December and she will love the sunshine in the garden in the coming months.

 Reiki blessing for the Winter Solistices

Merry B

Friday, 9 December 2011

Holly Folk Lore & Ogham

This is the season when I begin to decorate my house with evergreens ready for the winter solstice and Christmas. I have just cut myrtle and bay and filled a lovely handmade bowl with it. Next week I will add holly to it. This year the holly trees are full of berries not apparently a sign of the harsh winter to come but the sign of a good summer before the winter starts.

I love walking at Selbourne amongst the beech trees and often growing in the shade cast by these large stately trees are holly bushes. Holly can grow into an eighty foot tree or grow in hedgerow as it will tolerate shade. Holly is an evergreen  but is not self fertile and  both male and female trees are needed to produce the berries.  The holly produces tiny white flowers in May.  In early summer the leaves are soft  do not have spikes but by the Autumn the leaves have hardened and become prickly, perhaps, to protect it from browsing animals. By November the female tree will have developed its red berries.

In the Celtic Ogham Holly is the 8th tree and is symbolic of the life force evergreen and fruitful. It is the warrior king, male and strong. The holly is also a gentle tree the female red berries are associated with compassion and unconditional love. Holly wood is white, dense and strong. It was used by theCelts for the shafts of spears and for chariot shafts. Smaller pieces of the wood were carved or cut for clubs walking sticks, wands bowls, inlay and woodcuts.  Holly will give direction and balance in spiritual or emotional turmoil or challenge. In Astrology it is placed at the cusp of Saturn and Mars and its raw energy will burn through deceit and injustice.

The holly tree was known as holm in pre-Christian England. This noble but gentle tree was planted near house and farms to repel poison, wild animal evil spirits and lightening strikes.  It was also a tree that was supposed to be hated by witches. This spiritual warrior protects the natural world and should always be treated with respect, woodsmen were wary of cutting down a holly as fairies would be annoyed if it was mistreated and would seek revenge on the perpetrator.  Beware how you dispose of holly brought in to the home over Christmas, it should be by buried. composted, or burnt!

There are many folk tales poems and stories about holly. In  one of the Fianna folk tales ,  Fionn Mac Chal tells his son Oscar that:

"No fleshy heart was ever in my breast, but a heart of the Holly spike,

all over clad with steel.

Niall Mac Coitir

Fionn Mac Chal was a brave and fearless Celtic warrior of the Fianna,  and eventually took over the leadership from Goll Mac Morna and transformed the Fianna into the legendary Warriors of Ireland. However, he was vunerable to the charms and magic of women.

 In the tale of The Hags at the cave of Keshcorran.  Three women sat in the cave knitting a yarn of holly on crooked holly needles. The women threaded the yarn across the cave entrance and all around the sides of the cave.  Fionn  comes across the hags and is taunted by them.  Angered by their slurs and jibes he strides into the cave to confront them, as he crosses the yarn his strength leaves him.  He is over powered by the women and tied and bound .  Warriors from the Fianna rush into the cave to rescue Fionn  but as they step across the threshold of the cave they also tumble down helpless and weak and at the mercy of the women.   Only the giant, one eyed, Goll Mac Morna is able to kill the hags in a ferocious battle and release the warriors from their magic holly ties.

Far away from this time of the legendary heroes of Ireland  holly is brought into houses at the winter Solstices and Christmas. It is used decorate our homes ready for the celebration of the returning of the light and the birth of Jesus.  By having Holly in the house natures spirits may rest there out of the cold winter weather and bring blessings to all within. You may even be lucky enough to see a Fairy dancing in the candlelight amongst the holly sprigs.

Happy Christmas

And Reiki blessings and light for the New Year

Merry B

Here is a  short blog about the Yew

Monday, 5 December 2011

Before the Return of the Light

This time of year can be very difficult for many of us. The lose, or  serious illness of someone close to us during the dark days of winter can bring deep sadness which can turn into despair.   Every where we look there are images of happiness, love, warm families sharing together.  It is a tough time for many and memories can be bleak.  However, the light  will return first with the winter solstice as each day slowly grow longer and eventually time will turn bleak memories into the recollection of a shared life.

A long while ago a friend in America sent me these wise words

Reason, Season, or Lifetime
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met,
our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
— Unknown

Sending all who need it the gentle healing light of Reiki
With Reiki blessings to all
Merry B