The Equinox is Coming

Sambucus racemosa

Sambucus racemosa (Photo credit: dhobern)

The cool air carries a thin hint of fennel on this early Autumn morning as I sit outside sipping smoky black coffee. A yellow leaf falls from a birch tree. The church bell chimes in the village. This is the run up to the Equinox, Mabon. On my kitchen table there is a basket of apples waiting to be made into cider. Bread dough is rising (hopefully!) in a bowl near by. I shall forage in the fields today gathering blackberries, elderberries, hawthorn and rosehips. I know the first two are ready for picking – I hope that there will be enough of the others. The sloes which I also want will be better after the first frost. I plan to make rosehip syrup, elderberry wine, hedgerow jelly.

For this is the time of harvest – the time when the gifts of the Goddess and the Green Man are most in evidence. I don’t need to make these things – it would be easier and possibly cheaper to buy them. The simple act of picking wild fruit, and then preserving them for the cold times ahead, grounds me and draws me closer to my spiritual reality. The jewel coloured wines and jellies will be used as part of my celebrations of the coming year’s turning.

I replenish my coffee cup and linger in the gentle sunlight – joyfully anticipating the feast that I will prepare for my family to mark the coming sabbat. I have been storing the prunings of rosemary and apple wood for a sweet scented fire – either inside or (preferably) out. I will cook vegetables – golden carrots, butternut squashes, earthy mushrooms, emerald greens , pungent onions. There will be the last of the tomato crop, courgettes and sweet peppers. My kitchen will sing with the scents of herbs and spices – basil, mint, coriander, thyme, nutmeg and bay. Plums, apples and pears will harmonise with cinnamon, star anise and cloves. There will be guitars, the piano and the voices of my dear ones.

An abundance of blessings for us all.

Spring Equinox

The Equinox is coming.  The year is turning over – light replacing dark.  This is a time of change – unsettling – stirring.  I have mixed feelings about it – equal longings for the dark days of winter and the bright days of summer – an internal conflict.  It will pass as the year moves forward.

I look at the predicted sunrise and sunset times for next week.  All of the tables and charts state that Sunday is the day when the sun sets nearest to twelve hours after it rises.  All of them say that the Equinox will be on Wednesday.  As usual “science” makes no sense at all to me.  I decide that I will follow my own heart and celebrate on Sunday.

I will make my obeisance to the sun at dawn as it rises over the sea to the East.  Later I will take the seeds from the corn dollies that I made at Lammas and sow them in the hope that I will be able to continue this cycle in the future.  The wheat that I used to make the dollies, was an unforeseen gift resulting from an offering made to the Goddess and the birds last year.  I will also sow other seeds for our small garden on this day – herbs, vegetables and flowers.

I have invited a few dearly loved family members to a meal to celebrate the equinox.  I will make seed breads,  dukka,  a salad with the few fresh herbs emerging –  chive tips, fennel,  some mint which I have brought on in the kitchen.  Chocolate eggs and rabbits  (the latter to represent my favourite animal the Hare,  renowned for her exuberance at this time of year).  If we are very lucky it will be fine enough to light a fire and eat outside.

Already I feel stirrings of joyful anticipation.  Blessed Be.

This is the Dark Time

This is the dark time,

burn the candles,

Light the fires

and wait.

The year is turning.

This is the dark time,

Time of dreams

and magic –

time to go inside

and seek the treasure

in our souls.

This is the dark time

Time of hearth and home,

And holding loved ones

In our hearts.

This is the dark time –

Mark it’s passing.

Earth Song

I listen to the earth song

The humming of the land.

Wind howling round the eaves

And in the trees.

On the shore the sea

Rushes, gulls cry

Seals echo eerily.

Rain falls, drumming, pattering,

Streaming down the hillsides.

I hear the robin calling sweetly

At daybreak,

Tawny owls in the darkness.

Cat fights and the screams

of little creatures dying.

Hedgehogs crunching, frogs dropping

Ploppily into the pond.

The gentle base notes of the bees at noon.

Women singing lullabies.

Sky larks high above the dunes.

I listen to the earth song.



The festival of the first fruits – the beginning of the harvest.  Time to give thanks to the Green Goddess and John Barleycorn.   Traditionally bilberries and blackberries would be picked.  Bread would be baked.  A feast  of celebration prepared.


Here in wet Wales, as we travel down the lanes and back roads, we are assailed by the scent of cut grass and honeysuckle.  We are delayed by the the carts carrying the hay – given the opportunity at 15 mph to appreciate the willowherb,  meadowsweet and hogweed in the hedgerows.  A tinge of yellow in the sycamore trees hints at Autumn – the turning of the year is palpable.


In the garden the first tiny runner beans emerge amongst a riot of blossom.  Marjoram and fennel flower beside the rhubarb.  Bees hum and pigeons thrum.


The full moon is unseen behind the banked clouds.  Higher tides wash the beaches leaving a treasure trove of shells, driftwood, feathers and mermaid’s purses.


I bake bread,   make a somewhat fragile corn dolly from wheat that has sprouted beneath my bird feeders.   I walk the land, chanting my thanks.   I build an altar – wheat,  candles, sandalwood incense, seashells.   I make my offerings to the earth – bread and mead.   I light my candles,  say my words,  sing the songs in my heart.  I glory in the life I have been given.   Blessed be.

Call to the Crones

Where are the owls


Called into the smoky trees

of Summer?

Calling in the daytime.

Songs of desolation.

Where are the hares?

The horses? Epona?

The chalky grassland

has abandoned them.


We, The Wild Ones must,

In Spirit, gather now.

Leave the gardens

And the fenced off fields.

Here, on the fore shore

In the space

between the tides,

between the worlds,

we need to weave a web

of love and welcome,

to forge a channel

for the powers

of Life and Joy.

Thanks to the Goddess

For the chain of days –

The jewel mornings –

pearl, ruby and emerald,

I thank the Goddess.

For the beauty of bird song,

the wind in the trees,

the swallows on the way to Rhuddlan,

I thank the Goddess.

For the sunlit waters of the Traeth,

the crows in the conifers,

and bluebells,

I thank the Goddess.

For the books I’ve been led to,

the green finches and the nuthatch,

the solace of music,

and the joy of my mornings,

I thank the Goddess

May Day – Calan Mae – Beltane.

May Day is traditionally celebrated when the May blossom appears on the Hawthorn trees.

Hawthorn is an important tree spiritually – surrounded by myth and legend. Oak, Ash and Hawthorn are the three sacred celtic trees. The most famous Hawthorn in Britain is the Glastonbury Thorn. Legend has it that Joseph of Arimathea arrived in Glastonbury bearing vessels containing the blood and sweat of Christ. He thrust his hawthorn staff into the ground where it took root and flowered. It flowers in May and on Christmas Day.

Stories abound of fairies and spirits dwelling in Hawthorn trees. To damage a Hawthorn could well bring retribution from them. In pagan times, priestesses planted sacred groves of Hawthorn. The great Witch / Goddess Nimue vanquished Merlin by capturing him in a Hawthorn bush. Many churches in Britain were built in existing ancient sacred enclosures. Even Westminster Abbey is built on a site that was once called Thorny Island.

As children we used to eat the new leaves and call them bread and cheese. We also gathered the oddly scented blossom but we were not allowed to take it into our homes – being told that to do so would herald sickness and death.

It has been said that at Beltane, Witches are able to turn themselves into Hawthorn trees. A hawthorn tree will protect the home from lightning strikes. It is a fertility symbol and is dedicated to Brigid. The leaves in a bed can also promote chastity.

I choose to focus my Beltane celebrations on the large Hawthorn tree in my garden. If she is not flowering on the first of May (she rarely is!) then I wait until she is ready. I tie ribbons in her branches and light candles and sweet incense beneath her. She guides my meditation and brings me joy.

Gift of Today

A colder, greyer

day today.

No horizon

out at sea.

No treetops

on the hill.

Sweet scented smoke

swirls between

the beams.

Beads of water –


on the cabbage leaves

as blackbirds carol

and pigeons flap

and fluster.

The treasures

of  today

are laid before me

and I am humbled.

Relinquishing Winter

Throughout the winter my spiritual rituals centre on fire and light – an instinctual attempt at creating a balance to the dark days.  By and large I spend  my time in a cosy, isolated retreat – protected by the weather.  I love this time of year – the contrast between the comfort of home and the cold, wet world outside.

Now the year turns to spring, the return of the light and the breaching of  the boundaries of my safe bubble.   I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand there is the almost animal joy of the sap rising, the emergence of the sun and the lighter evenings.  On the other hand there is the encroachment on my peace, stillness and solitude.  In the early spring I resent this – try to hold on to my winter world, where I am in control.  But slowly nature wins and I begin to look outward.

This is the gift – to allow the earth to be in control now.  There are some rituals which fit in with the time of year – planting seeds,  planning a garden, spring cleaning.

Springtime corresponds with the East, the Dawn and the Air.  The creation of new life is celebrated.  Even  the supermarkets are full of  easter eggs if we care to allow that symbolism to penetrate in such an alien atmosphere!  And this is the time of the Hare – my favourite animal  –  the original easter bunny.

Now I take my morning coffee into the garden to watch the dawn and greet the Goddess.  If it is raining (this is Wales after all!) I sit under a large umbrella.  I watch quietly as the light creeps into the day – I come to love this morning ritual as much as I love my winter fire and candles.   I build secret altars in corners of my garden – using these for private daybreak rituals.  I  live outdoors as much as I can.  For me this is a time of  receiving – of trying to still my own thoughts.  There is so much going on now – trees in bud and blossom, bulbs flowering, tadpoles, birds nesting, the emergence of the new green.  I will not always be here for this – I must treasure it.

This is true

Hard headed

Stony faced


Bone strong

Bears the brunt

and grinds down

the days


Closer to life


Her hands in

shit, and snot,

and blood –

the stuff of


Knowing her


rests in air

and food and

warmth and sleep.

That she cannot

be severed

from Earth.

It’s days, its nights,

It’s seasons and

It’s tides.

Decay and dark


of her body

will occur.

She moves

toward  them

eyes wide open


These are the

real things.

This is true –


Cold, sharp,

Flint – brained


feels her Self

in pain and


bright joy.

Inner Journey

Today I will be absent. Ashes will gather on the hearth and dirty dishes fill the sink.  It is cold – my icy fingers clutch my coffee mug for warmth.  The open windows admit the birdsong and the chill.   Candles flare in the draughts and smoke from joss sticks swirls around the room.


I am away – relishing my inner landscape – wandering on the black mountains, through the stone circles.  Sun shines through gauzy cloud on Penmaenhead and droplets gather in my hair.  The hares race past me, feet drumming on the hollow earth .   I hear the sheep and lambs calling to each other lower down the hill.  I glimpse ravens through the mist.   I follow in the steps of other women in ages immemorial.  I feel their spirits brushing mine..  Songs in my heart from nowhere – paeans of praise and lamentations.  Lonely pipes and whistles guide my steps to a fallen stone.  I sit, shrouded in mist, listening – waiting. Then suddenly the cloud lifts – shafts of  sunlight on the waters catch my breath. Puffin Island is emerald green in the sable sea,   A robin sings in the brambles.


A homely song – it is coming in through the window – and I am home again – restored and thankful to the Goddess.

Imbolc – Candlemas

Imbolc – the full belly of the sheep.  Here in Wales there are more sheep than people. Now there are knubby small lambs out in the cold.  Traditionally this was the time when, as the days lengthened, candles were no longer required by farm servants to tend the stock.  Imbolc in Wales is “Gwyl Fair y Canhwyllau”  or Mary’s festival of the candles. It  is well known that Mary is a Christian subversion of the Goddess.  So this is the Goddess’s festival of candles.  A time of the year’s turning from the darkness of winter toward the returning light of spring – a festival of purification and rededication.

Early this morning I opened all of the windows to the spring.  There was a clear blue sky and a hoar frost.  Birds sang, snowdrops nodded and crocuses glowed. Steam rose through the cold air as I cleaned and purified my house and my self.

Later as I drove to the shops I noticed the vibrant green of Alexanders emerging in the hedgerows and the half moon high in the eastern sky.  I bought unopened daffodils and arranged the green spears in a glass vase on the piano, looking forward to their yellow trumpets of joy in the days to come

Tonight I gather up the remnants of  yuletide greenery from around the house – some branches of  Bay, sprigs of Rosemary, fir cones and pomanders (you see I am a bit of a slut!)   I light a fire and burn them together with the ends of the red candles of winter – making way for the spring.  The scent is one glorious farewell to the dark days.

Now at last I light the pristine white candles, ignite the sage incense, and greet the Goddess anew.

I am a witch and I believe in magic.

I am a witch and I believe in magic.

This is at the heart of my being.   What does it mean?   When Sheila invited me to write with her on here, I was excited but cautious.  Many years ago I had defined myself as a  solitary witch.  Since then I have happily walked my own road,  secure in my own magical world, performing my own personal rituals and making my own private obeisances.  I have never explained my spirituality to anyone.  Having publicly  (if anonymously) declared myself a witch, I found myself wanting to explore what I actually meant by this.  Was I really a witch?  Do I really believe in magic?


I started  (as is my way!)  with the dictionary.  I have a strong belief in the power of language.  I looked up the word witch.

“Witch – a woman thought to have evil magic powers.”

I did not like this but decided to pursue it anyway.  To me – a large part of being a witch is looking clearly at things and being honest with my Self.  The word evil bothered me.  I looked that up next.

“Evil – profoundly immoral and wicked”

I was still unsatisfied so I looked up moral  (this looking up is going on for a while, but there is a point to it!)

“Moral – concerned with the principals of right and wrong behaviour –based on what is considered right or acceptable in a particular society”

This felt better – in our society it is considered acceptable to exploit other people, hurt animals, worship money and possessions, go to war.  I do indeed decide for myself what is right and wrong and my decisions are often at variance with “what is considered right or acceptable in a particular society”


So far – so good.  I went on to look up magic.

“Magic – the power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces”

Just to be absolutely clear – here are two more dictionary definitions –

“Mysterious – difficult or impossible to understand.”

“Supernatural – attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding”

The word wicked, I already knew, has it’s roots in the word wicca.  I was proud to be wicked.

These definitions all fit me perfectly.  So as far as the dictionary goes, I am fully entitled to say that I am a witch and I believe in magic.

I would like to write some more about magic.  Scientific understanding is a good thing but is, despite the prevailing wisdom, extremely sketchy, and over time has repeatedly been forced to admit itself wrong.  The earth is not flat.  The atom is not the smallest building block  in the universe.  Matter contains energy.

Life comes out of death – this is now a scientifically held view.  We are all parts of a whole – again this is current scientific belief.   One thing leads to another – all of our actions have repercussions.  We are only beginning to recognise the truth of this and we still don’t understand the extent of it.

A scientist called Backster took some cells from the mouth of a world war two navy veteran.  He put them in a room seven miles away and connected them to a polygraph, which measures the cells ability to conduct electricity.  He connected the veteran to another polygraph and showed him video footage of battle in the pacific.  Stress causes activity on the polygraph.  On this occasion the polygraph, viewed on simultaneous video pick up, “jumped” at the same time on both polygraphs.

To my mind this experiment is an example of someones thoughts and emotions having a physical effect on matter that is miles away.    Witches have always known that this is possible.  This I call magic.

For me, being a  witch is about taking part in transformation.  Both of my self, and the universe.  Witch is the same thing really.  It is about awareness,  cause and effect.  I engage in rituals which I believe make a difference.  These are not superficial, staged performances, but deeply thought out, strongly felt acts of  integrity and magic.

I am a witch and I believe in magic.

A spell to restore you to yourself.


1. Clean your space.

2. Make a natural arrangement that satisfies your heart.

3. Take a scented bath

4. Dress in loose, soft clothes.

5. Heat some apple juice with some slices of ginger to drink.

6. Light some candles and rose incense.

7. Read your favourite poems.

8. Give thanks to the powers you know.

9. Take a nap.

Elements of the Morning


It is a cold, dark, wet and wintry day.  Outside the wind howls and rain lashes the windows.  Inside I kneel at the hearth worshipping Fire.  The glowing heart of home.  Winter is the season of the element Earth, it is also the season when we look to Fire – the element of Summer.

I honour Fire.

Each day when I rise I wash my hands and face with water.  Cold, clean, running water.  An absolute privilege.  I listen to the water running into the sink,  I watch it bead on the porcelain,  I hold my hands in it, then relish the shock of cold on the skin of my face,  I drink some – my mouth wakes up.

I go to the kitchen – fill a kettle – this time the rumble of Water on metal.   Refill the cat’s bowl – watch water swirl down the plug hole – gurgling now.

I honour Water

I strike a match – watch the flame spark to life – light the gas – a pinky blue flame.

I honour Fire

I unlock the door – step outside – feel the fresh movement of the air.  Look up into the morning sky. I see stars or clouds or the moon or the sun coming up over the trees on the hill.   I hear the birds singing, a dog barking, the wind in the trees.

I honour Air

I replenish the bird feeders with seed, feed the cat, fill a bucket with coal.

I honour Earth

I set coffee to filter, wash my favourite cup.

I honour  Water

I rake out the fireplace, reset the fire,  strike another match

I honour Fire

Now I am ready for my favourite time:

I pour a cup of coffee, put it by my chair.  I choose a candle to light, a joss stick to burn, a crystal to enjoy.   I  make an offering to the fire – some rosemary or orange peel or apple wood.

I begin my day.

Catch the moments

Catch the moments

hold the solitude


the others.


Empty spaces inside

times of company

Move freely

beyond the laughter

Live on many



Look for the silent rainbow

seagulls in the darkness

mute loveliness


the sadness

Be here


Take  emotions

to heart

feel widely and deeply

Take it all in


There is no other time


Weave into a whole

the threads

of consciousness

create integrity

Be many sided.

Invoking the Dawn.

The Later Half of Day

Image via Wikipedia

I am the woman dancing down

the edge of consciousness

overlooking the precipice

of the future

poised before the mystery

of my tomorrow.

Weaving with my motion

the fabric of the day to come.

Illumination of the night

created by the momentary

sparking of my Being

as I harpily

invoke the dawn.