Mabon Blessings and the Wheel Turns

We are now officially in the Autumn season. Last week heralded the Autumn Equinox, and I spent the day in a beautiful, healing environment as I embarked upon my study of the art of Reiki. It was a lovely day, and I was in the company of some beautiful friends and spiritual sisters. We learned about Reiki and we received our first attunements (although technically I had received an attunement from my sister a few years ago – I just didn’t appreciate her gift at the time). We also had the opportunity to practise reiki healing on each other, and this was a very special event.

My reiki journey is just beginning, and I am very excited about it. The Autumn Equinox, however, represents the time of year when we begin to slow down. At least, in the old days, we would have slowed our pace of life a little. Here in the Western world we are on a constant hamster wheel of activity, with challenges and frantic movement on a seemingly constant loop. I am using reiki as my way to slow down a little, to accept when I need to rest, and to connect more fully with the real world, as opposed to the artificial world of work and commercialism that our race has created.

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Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate everything that the modern world has to offer. I would be lost without the Internet, for example. I am very grateful that I can purchase my food in the supermarket, and that I don’t have to spend every day grinding flour to make bread, or reaping the crops. I am just not naturally inclined for that kind of work, and I realise that it is ok. It doesn’t make me any less of a pagan because I don’t really enjoy gardening and farming. I simply work with what I have, and am mindful about exactly what I and my children consume.

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I send you Mabon Blessings, my friends. Let us celebrate a very fruitful and enjoyable summer season, and let us now take time to slow down, to rest for a while, and to appreciate the beauty of the colours of Autumn. Blessed Be.

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A Fairy Quest in Queen’s Park, Crewe

Last weekend, my eldest daughter and I set off on a fairy quest. We took her dad and younger sister, and the dog, to Queen’s Park in Crewe, Cheshire. This is a beautiful place to visit. I love its history just as much as I love the scenery. Queen’s Park was created during the Victorian era, and I think it was intended as a recreational green space for an industrial heartland. Workers from the railway, the salt mines, and the mills and warehouses, could come to Queen’s Park for picnics and respite on their day off.

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On this particular Sunday, my daughter and I were in search of fairies. She told me that she knew where the fairy trees were at the park, and so we set off to find them. We did find them. It was a magical afternoon as we discovered trees with hidden windows and doors, little fairy gardens, and lots of places for our mystical friends to hide. We talked to the fairies, I connected with the trees, and my daughters thoroughly enjoyed their adventure. This was rounded off by some playtime in the children’s park on the apparatus, and lunch at the very reasonably priced cafe.

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Many of the trees at Queen’s Park are not native species. Some of them remind me of the huge, silvery trees that we saw on our holidays to the Pirin Mountains in Bansko, Bulgaria, several years ago. I wonder if the Victorian landscape architects had imported some of the trees and plants in order to design their park? I have heard that this was a process during the industrial era, and it would be interesting to learn more. However these trees and plants came to be situated in their current home, I am very glad to have such a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. It revived my senses, gave my children some fresh air and exercise, and got my husband out of the house and away from work for a few hours. Lovely!

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#MyHavenDays Family Holiday Deals for Half Term

You might have seen my recent series of blog posts about our family holiday to Poole in Dorset. We stayed in a large caravan on a Haven holiday park, and it was a lovely place to visit. I have always loved traditional family holidays, and more so when we stay on these sorts of parks. My childhood memories include our holidays at Camber Sands, Prestatyn, and Devon Cliffs, and more recently taking my own children to stay at Craig Tara and Rockley Park.
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Haven Holidays are synonymous with fun and good times for me, and I want that trend to continue as my daughters grow and we explore more beautiful places around the British Isles. Today I want to share with you the latest offers available from Haven, so that you can enjoy making happy memories just like we do. Check out their offers for family holidays at half term, and their last minute breaks where you can stay in beautiful, comfortable static caravans and take in spectacular sea views and rolling countryside. I’m off to book my next holiday now, see you later!


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My Spiritual Journey: Healing and Cleansing

My spiritual journey has been in progress for many years. I suppose it officially started about ten years ago, when I stumbled across a book in an angel gift shop that would totally change my view of life. That book was You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, and it taught me a new perspective, and how to really take charge of myself and my own life. It taught me to choose responsibility, rather than always acting as the helpless victim when circumstances seemed to be against me. I learned a lot from Louise Hay when I subsequently explored the Hay House website, read books by their other authors, listened to their radio shows, and did their guided meditations that you can find on You Tube and CDs.

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More recently, my spiritual journey has turned towards that of shamanism and witchcraft. I am fascinated by the folklore of the British Isles, and have always felt an affinity with witches, seeing them not as evil old hags, but as strong, empowered women who can heal and guide those in need. My spiritual practice now revolves around the healing and care of my family and friends. I am responsible for my two young daughters. I want them to grow up with self-confidence, with faith in their own personal power, and the knowledge that they can do and achieve whatever they choose, as long as they do not harm others in the process.

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My spiritual journey involves a lot of healing and cleansing, and at the moment I accept that I have to heal and cleanse myself. Throughout these years of self-study and exploration, I have performed many cleansing ceremonies on myself and others, but I accept that it is a constant cycle of care. Sometimes I become absorbed in my work as a wife and mother, or my pursuit of fame in the literary world, and I forget to care for myself as a person. Now I am being reminded to once again take a step back from the busyness of everyday life, and heal. I am studying the art and practise of Reiki, and I am amazed at what is changing within me in such a short space of time. It is a wonderful process, and I will talk about that at a later date.

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How is your personal journey progressing? Do you want to share your story, or suggest other methods for healing and cleansing?

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My Family Holiday: Poole Harbour Cruise

During the school summer holidays, we took the family away to Poole in Dorset for a week. On our first full day, we decided to embark on a Poole Harbour Cruise. Our first choice was to take the boat to Swanage, a Victorian seaside resort located on the Jurassic Coast. Unfortunately, the sea was a little choppy and the Swanage cruise was cancelled over safety concerns. So, we set off around Poole harbour on a shorter cruise that would last for just over one hour.

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We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise around Poole Harbour. It was the first time our daughters had been out on the sea in a boat, and they were fascinated as they watched the waves beneath us. We saw other boats bobbing around the harbour, we saw the huge car ferry as it made a journey across the harbour entrance, and in the distance we could see the Isle of Wight.

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Our cruise took us around Brownsea Island which is owned by the National Trust, and we saw several smaller islands that are privately owned. I was mesmerised by the red coloured cliffs on these islands, and the dense thickets of trees, and I could imagine all kinds of magical and mysterious creatures that might reside on those isolated lands. We also saw the very modern and stylish Sandbanks development that overlooks Poole Harbour. These very expensive houses are owned by celebrities and business owners, as our cruise guide informed us while we snapped photographs and marvelled at the architecture.

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There is something about being on the sea that invokes excitement and anticipation for me. Perhaps I am calling on ancient ancestral connections to our maritime past. Perhaps I call upon the old tales of pirates and mermaids that have captivated my imagination throughout my life. Whatever it is, I really enjoyed our Poole Harbour Cruise, and I can’t wait to go out on a boat again and explore more of the British coastline, and beyond.

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Time for Tea at the Tree of Imagination

Earlier this week I enjoyed an afternoon in the company of friends as we visited a newly discovered local attraction: The Tree of Imagination. It is situated in the village of Lower Peover, near to Knutsford in Cheshire, which is a short drive from our home town. We discovered it during the summer when our friends took their children and told us how magical it is. So, while the big kids were at school, the little (and not so little) kids went to play.

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The Tree of Imagination really is magical. It is an old, damaged tree that has been carved and decorated so that it looks like a fairy house, or maybe a home for Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. My friend and I, along with our three-year-old daughters, were open mouthed in amazement when we saw this beautiful structure standing proud on the junction of two country roads. You really do have to see it to understand. It stands near to an old oak tree, and we set up our picnic beneath the boughs, taking shelter and shade from the burning sun that shone down.

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Sitting on the picnic blanket, looking at the Tree of Imagination, my friend and I could physically feel the magic of this beautiful space. It was as though the tree marked a portal through which our fairy friends could enter and be a part of our human world, just for a little while. The tree provides their shelter, their home, and reminds us about the magic that is present all around. Our daughters absolutely loved clambering over the tree and peering into the windows in search of fairies.

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My friend had brought along some facilities to provide tea and coffee, and we both sat with our little decorated children’s cups, and pretended that we were having a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, or something similar. Looking at the Tree of Imagination, sipping our cups of tea, eating dainty sandwiches, we were content and happy in our own magical little world. Beautiful!

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My Family Holiday: Peppa Pig World

We could not take a holiday in Dorset without visiting Peppa Pig World. Our daughters have grown up with that little pig and her antics, and I have to confess, my husband and I were more than a little excited about visiting a family theme park with our little darlings. We had a day out at Paulton’s Theme Park, and spent most of that day in Peppa Pig World with the children’s idols, and another portion of the day exploring the Lost World of dinosaurs and beasts.

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Paulton’s Theme Park was definitely worth the money. I will make it clear right now that we paid full price for family entry. We had no discounted tickets or special offers, and yet I maintain that it is worth the cost. The park is very bright and cheerful, and while it has several large, adult thrill rides, it caters very well for younger children. My husband enjoyed all of the big rides that he went on, we all enjoyed the family rides in Peppa Pig World, and our daughters had endless fun in the splash zones and soft play areas.

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I was also very impressed with the wildlife at Paulton’s Theme Park. The large gardens offer a welcome break from rides and commercialism, and we took some time to explore beneath the trees when we needed a little shade in the afternoon sun. We also marvelled at the captive exotic birds on the park. All in all, it was a great day out. Yes, it was expensive, but we budgeted for it within our holiday, and we spent a lot less on other days to balance it out. Most importantly, we made precious memories with our daughters.

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Finding Magic in Your Local Environment

A few days ago, I found myself in a most peculiar situation. I was able to take my dog for a walk, alone, for the first time in about two months. Usually we have children in tow, and our walks are limited to visiting the park, or using footpaths that are pushchair friendly. So I was exhilarated on this particular excursion, when I was able to wander off the beaten path, and explore our local woodland with my dog.

We are fortunate to live near a site of historical interest. It is a field that once housed a Roman settlement, and so the land is protected by heritage laws. It is a popular place for walking dogs, since it is bordered by the river and some natural woodland on two sides. I was walking along the lower section of the field, near to the river, when I looked up and saw a copse of trees in front. They border the roman field, and we usually walk past them. This time, however, the trees spoke to me. They beckoned, and I followed.

Walking up the hillside, I watched in surprise as the leaves rustled and fluttered in wind that had not previously been present. They flapped to and fro in such a manner that I fancied they were waving at me. The rustling sound was almost like fairy voices, whispering to me. I stepped closer, looked down, and discovered a gap in the trees that formed a natural doorway shaped to fit my body.

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I stepped through. It was oddly quiet within the circle. I stepped over some protruding roots, avoided a few wild thorns, and surveyed this alien place. I could feel a dozen pairs of eyes watching me from their hiding places. I expected to see another human, but there was nobody. My dog had scampered ahead and disappeared out the other side. He waited on the roman field, watching me. I was surprised that he didn’t bark at me to hurry up, which he normally does. It was as though he felt the magic too, and he knew that I was supposed to be there.

Moments later I emerged on the other side, out in the sunshine, and back into the buzz of human life. Nothing especially spooky had happened inside that copse of trees. But I had felt the magic. I knew that my fairy kin were in there, waiting. I knew that I would return there sometime soon, and that perhaps each time I visit, something new will happen. I walked away with a spring in my step, a smile on my face, and a renewed appreciation for the magic of the hidden world. Thank you, Mother Gaia.

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Surviving the School Run

This week heralds the start of a brand new school year for us. My daughter has moved up into Year 1, and her younger sister returns for her second year at preschool. The school run has proved to be rather a tumultuous experience for me. Being an Empath, I face the daily challenge of not being sucked in to other people’s emotional drama. I feel things very deeply. If I see somebody crying, even on the TV, I will often well up with tears myself.

I never considered the impact of my children being at school. Obviously, when we embarked upon the journey twelve months ago, I was prepared. I cried openly, and my fellow new school mums and I gave ourselves the time to embrace our emotional state as we sent our babies out into the world. This year, however, I thought it would be easy. How very naive of me! For starters, I have friends with children who are starting school this week, and so I feel their emotion and cry their tears. And then I realised that my own babies are still growing up, and each new school year will bring new emotional upheaval. It is normal. It will happen.

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As we welcome the first weekend of the new school year, I have a message for all my parent friends, wherever you may be: It is OK to cry. It is healthy to be emotional. Whether this is your first child going to school, or your fifth child moving on, embrace the feelings that you experience. We are human. This is how we survive. Much love, lots of laughs, and happy new school year, my friends!

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Farewell, Beloved Pets

We said goodbye to a family dog late last week. She was my grandparents’ companion, and had lived a long and happy life. It hadn’t started out so well. Maggie was severely malnourished, terrified and pregnant when my Nan and Grandad brought her home. She had been found on the streets. They took her in, and my Nan set about feeding her a carefully constructed diet in order to build her strength steadily and try to save her unborn puppies. Amazingly, and thanks to the love and care from my Nan and Grandad, both Maggie and her pups survived. One of her sons remained with them, while his siblings moved in with other friends in the local area.

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Such was the bond between Maggie and my grandparents that she refused to leave them. My Grandad has been very ill during recent years, as his aging body deteriorates. She has been his faithful nursemaid for all this time, barely leaving his side. Maggie watched my Nan and Grandad, she gave them love, and they loved her. Eventually she succumbed to old age and sickness, and now there is a gaping void in the lives of my family members.

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As it turns out, I heard about the loss of a dog from two different friends earlier this week. Again the dogs were aging and ill, and they tried really hard to stay with their families. For me there is no greater bond than that between dog and human. They are our companions, our nurses, our supporters, and our entertainers. My dog, Baxter, is wonderful. Yes, he is a little bit naughty. Yes, he steals food when he shouldn’t, and he loves the sound of his own voice. But he has been there for me throughout two pregnancies, he cares for our children, and acts as both protector and playmate. He is beloved at the school gates, always receiving cuddles and offering up big, sloppy kisses to his human friends.

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The bond of love between human and pet is immense. Words cannot describe how it feels. If you are a dog lover, or indeed you have pets of another species, you will completely understand. My love and warm thoughts go to those who are grieving for the loss of their pets at this time. And I thank you, beautiful creatures, for your affection. Blessed Be.

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