Those of us in the Northern hemisphere are betwixt the starry skied wintery chill, the magic of the deep mid winter's icy breath, and the intertangling with the joviality of this time of the year.
The need to give Persephone a run for her money, and make out with Hades might be coursing through your blue royal red blood! (No?! Just me then??!! ;-))
Though full powered hibernation might not be possible for many of us, with our mingled mire of familial duties, we can sneak off and take some much needed time for some deep reflection that this time of the year asks of us.
If we are navigators of our own ship, our inner compass is our heart, our felt sense the waters of our flesh and bones, and the need to check if we are still in alignment with our chartered course or if we have veered off some time ago by barely perceptible degrees which stagger in their ability to change our trajectory anew!
You see it is in the dark times, the shadow lands, that we might be able to see most clearly. Our inner knowing gets to take centre stage. Our ears are pricked up for listening, catching the magic in the air. There be miracles to be found right now, if we are open to receiving them, and a chance to give clarity on where we have been this year, where we are now, and where we would like to set our sails towards.
Of course, life is a messy affair, and God is a trickster!! Yet still we need to show up, do our bit, be available, and wholly, if not holy, invested in doing the best that we can. Taking stock is a must. It renews the ground beneath our feet, It polishes our arrows of intent. And it gives us the opportunity to be with, in the spirit of festive presence, anything that maybe the doing times have caused us to deny or avoid.
This is the time of the year very mired in a million differing emotions, not just the happy wholesome televised or marketed ones! Perhaps you've lost loved ones this year, or this time makes you miss those dearly departed with a more striking cut. Maybe this was your annus horribilus, and you're ready to say f**k you to 2019!! Or, it could be that spending time with family is triggering for you. Sometimes life's diappointments and bows untied can leave us breathless to that which has not come to pass for us in many ways. Be kind to yourself. And to others. We do not know what lies behind or beneath the christmas ironic jumpers!!
So, I would like to offer you a little gift. Something for you to explore and play with over the next few weeks. To be honest, I see the time between the winter solstice and Imbolc (the 2nd Feb/my birthday! :-), as our winter dreaming time. Even if that's only metaphorically. There is no rush to have your seeds planted and intentions set in stone by the 1st January. Hell no!! We need to allow the fallow. We need to trust the earth. We need to stop and pause and listen. And we need to dream, imagine and envision. Remember, if we show up, so does Spirit too. Let's show up as fully prepared for Spring as we can!
In the (kinda) words of a certain Charles Dickens, and his 'A Christmas Carol', here's to the past, the present and the future. Let's take that trip now! ;-)
In that vein, here is a list of various journalling prompts, rituals, questions, and art-making tasks, that you might like to do completely, or else simply allow any to accompany you as you move through your days.
And, if you feel like you would like some extra support heading into the new year/decade, then get in touch. I offer a variety of coaching packages, as well as the fabulous and well-loved new year workshops (now in their fifth year), for your delectation and in support and service to your creative soul xx
So. Here you are. Let me know how you get on if you like. Safe travelling, and have a wondrous new year darlings xxx
(In no particular order):
*What am I appreciative of right now? What has the last year gifted me with? And have I really let myself receive these gifts fully? (Here is your chance to do so :-). Go as deep as you can with this. You might like to take a look in your diary. You may have certain memories that you can revisit.) And allow the challenges you have come through be a part of this reflection. Ask: what have I learned? how have I grown?
*What losses needs to be honoured and grieved for? This could be people, plans, dreams, old situations, changes that happened. Let yourself sit with these. Respect their passing and the ache of this. You might like to create a ritual to give these form. One thing you can do is write these down and after you have given enough space and time to them, hand them over to the water, or burn them as prayers. You may want to paint a picture, create a drawing, write a song, or make a piece of poetry. Maybe you want to tell your favourite tree. Let your own imagination help you.
*What is important to me right now? In all areas of life. Inner worlds. Family. Community. Globally. Start small. Be honest. Let these pearls form a strand to wear close for now.
*What touched me the most this last year? What was the most fun? Inspiring? Sacred? Playful? Terrifying? Challenging? Powerful? What felt like it was truly deeply madly me and my soul shining this last year?
*Is there anything I feel like I have lost over this year? And if so, what tiny thing can I start to invite in in order to reconnect with this aspect of my self and life?
*Write a confession, as a piece of art, As a prayer. Write down on it all the ways that you betrayed yourself or others this past year. Don't flinch with this, it's not an exercise nor an excuse to beat yourself into a judgement pulp! It's an exercise in the art of being human. What we don't give voice to, all the little ways that we turn away from our self and our values, get stuck someplace and rob a little of our shine as time goes by. In order to reclaim these parts we need to simply own them. (For those of you who don't know me, I'm having a lil tete-a-tete with the shadow lands these days. Own the shit! Own the mess! Own where we have been sloppy with our integrity.) Be playful and poetic if you want to.
Then read it aloud. Offer it to God/Spirit/ The sky/Santa etc. No shame. Just pure honesty.
And see if it's possible to find some forgiveness for yourself, so you're not carrying a whipping wreath around with you into the new year!
Once you have completed this one fully, you may like to do the next exercise :-)
*Write a celebration list. A scroll of fabulous fanfares. It can have the most mundane simple things on it, as well as the larger ones. All the ways you have breathed and lived and shown up over the year. All the magnificent adventures. The ordinary joys. The connections and conversations. the opportunities. Celebrate who you are and who you are becoming! Dress up in your finery (Or if you can't be arsed then maybe put on a little lipstick or a fancy hat!), and once again read out your list. Feel your words, right down to your toes. Can you celebrate yourself?! X
*Go for a Soul Walk. Wrap up warm and treat this like an artists date! Take a pad and pen with you. Or your camera and/or dictaphone. Turn your phone on silence and block your notifications if you can. Better yet leave it at home. Instead you are going to invite your senses to inform you. Of wonder. Of curiosity. Of life right now. Here. Just as it is. Before you go write down some questions you might like some clarification on. Maybe it's how to accept what you cannot change at this time? Or how can i nourish myself and care for my self throughout this next month? Or, ask what is it that I need? What kind of life do I desire to ask for and show up for and create this next year? Do I have any dreams that want to be pulled out of the rabbit's hat?? Stay present. See this as a devotion to your he(art). You can stop at any time and write/speak your findings. Keep asking the questions. And let go of having to know the answer. Give it to life, To each foot step. Each breath. Let that be enough for now. Say thank you just before you re-enter your home :-)
*Be present. Be intimate with each moment. Lean in. Feel it all. Every last minute of this year, this decade, this day. It's all we ever have!
Have a wondrous few weeks. See you soon, HH xxx
Anyone who knows me well, is aware that I am currently working on crafting a selection of retellings of fairy tales. Adult tales with an erotic flavour. At some point (though I am so blessedly aware of how long it takes me to do anything, my uber slow wondrous pace! ;-)), I hope to publish them as a book. I’ll keep you posted upon said progress. (Though head over here if you’d like to read one of my tales my love :-))
‘Beauty and the Beast’ has been sitting with me lately, both sides whispering in my ears, pulling my arms this way and that. Asking me to choose between them. As if i ever could.
For is not this time of the year the liminal time, not quite deep winter’s cave, and yet not entirely the fire lit action lands that we have enjoyed over the summer? The bridge between light and dark, creation and destruction, life and death. In response to my last foray into the realm of intimate romantic love are not all relationships, including the ones with our own selves, an ever flowing dance with these pairings? And is not the perennial and seasonal cycles of our creativity and sexuality a continuous merry go round of perpetual change and movement up and down, round and round, and forever in ebb and flow?
Do we dare to offer our ‘ugly’ to the world, our shame and unworthiness? Can we have the courage to drop the censorship and bow to the fullness of every part of what we say, in whatever language we desire to sculpt it in? Are we able to dig deeper, deeper than a pleasing aesthetic, in search of bones and grit, blood and guts, heartache and fear, and offer all of these as a prayer to the divine?
Can we say yes to both ‘Beauty and the Beast’? To hold both in the palms of our hands, allowing them to beat with wings of blood and magic, neither one ‘better than’ the other? Both a part of the fullness of everything we may hold dear.
Neither one nor the other. Not summer nor winter. In the land of enchantment, and the liminal.
Liminal spaces. Such a delicious word. It means threshold my darling :-)
Transition times. One foot in one place and the other in another. Not quite having stepped over. Holding the space for all to be, to be, to be. No rush. No rush. No rush.
The balance between worlds. The ‘upper worlds’, all day to day, routine and ‘Father Time’, work and schedules, the to-do list and all of the myriad moments of a full life; and the ‘lower worlds’, the pull and draw inwards and downwards, dreaming time, rest, shadowlands and Persephone’s seduction, essentially the call to the sovereignty of the soul.
How do we keep them both fed and nourished? How can we find the possibility of holding both in our hearts? How do we acknowledge and respect and honour both for their need for nourishment, attention, care and tending?
I know in myself I can have a tendency to separate aspects of my life. To compartmentalise if you like. To put into boxes. This can work, up to a point, but unless we have very little of these boxes, with very minimal content, then my guessing is at some point, everything starts to spill out and become chaotic and, well, untameable!
The untameable. The wild. The chaos.
Aaaah! Here we are, back in the realm of creativity! ;-) Of life. Of Love. Of everything.
If we ignore one aspect, one ‘box’, turning away in frustration, in judgement, in a restlessness, we take away its energy, so that it begins to dry out, atrophy, and become a muted grey slab in our vivid technicolour life! We become ‘wonky’ and unbalanced, either living in high fantasy, unreal and ungrounded, avoiding alone and its gifts, and all doing doing doing and full of sugary coated, if unconscious, denial; or we walk through our days in the thunder, deep intensity, a devilish realm with an absence of joy and other. For soul work is solitary my love. It always will be. As we are both human and divine, we need both.
Why do we have this propensity to turn towards what we perceive as the ‘Beauty’ in our life, and dismiss with disdain the ‘Beast’? For surely, life is about coming to realise that there is a darkness to this beauty that we so long to hold on to, and conversely, there is sweet exquisite heart and wonder if we dare to stay a while with the beast. In life, in love, in art, and in our own dear dear self. We are all of this, and more.
Now, we are, in our essential pure nature, vaster, larger and infinite, in our capacity. Read that again my love. You, dear one, have the ability to stretch far and wide, to bear all of what life demands and beckons off you. It’s just the way of our true nature. The key, I believe, is not in necessarily wondering, organising, nor controlling, all of these parts of ourselves. I mean, hell that bloody well doesn’t work out terribly well does it my fellow recovering control freaks?! But in shifting one’s attention instead, on to the thread that binds all of these parts of one’s life together.
The thread? Being in devotion to, in service to, in prayer to, the sacred.
You see, the sacred threads through everything. Nothing in our lives cannot be held by and in the sacred. If it’s a part of our living and our experience, then it’s a part of everything. And nothing that’s in everything, can be separate from us. You may want to read that line again.
When we resist, panic, and try to control, then we are essentially reacting from a place of fear. We all do this. It’s part of our human nature. We want to feel like we have a grip on whatever the lunatic hell is going on!! My advice? Loosen the grip, fall into the madness, surrender into the chaos. But, not blindly dear one, not without sight. But instead, by using our night goggles of seeing through the eyes of the Holy. The whole. Holiness and wholeness. And then even our fear is holy, and part of our wholeness.
Endings and beginnings. Is there ever such a thing truly? Sure, on the surface level, in the ‘upper’ world thinking. And this can cause us pain and heartbreak (I’ve been there recently). But in the ‘lower’ world thinking, we can ripen the soul, season it, weather and wizen it with whatever wisdom we can bear to taste and swallow. And then there’s the sacred thread that binds both upper and lower worlds, bigger than all, simply holding, with love, clear, solid and still.
Hold all those unanswered questions, that your year may have offered to you as gifts, and that the mind might be feeling like it’s running out of time and gotta sort and figure it out by Dec 31st!! Hold these loose and unfinished questions as prayers, as soul poetics. Offer them now to Hades, to Soul, to the shadowlands, to the soil and worms and dead things.
Hold all of life’s uncertainties, tipping points and transition times, as a way to grow towards and into the unknown, the winter, because it’s coming and ready or not it will ask its own demands of us. It takes strength. And resilience. And a steady stance to weather the storms and to let the leaves of us fall, and to sway and blow this way and that way, and yet still feel rooted in trust as our skeleton is revealed, as we dare to risk becoming exposed. Because we have no choice. Not if we are artists of our lives. Not if we are open to life. Not if we desire to live in full and fierce truth and grace. Not if we know that we know nothing and that to control is ultimately futile (though we give it a damn good go! ;-)). Not if we are willing to take life as our lover. For it will strip us down over and over again. It will rip open our hearts over and over again. It will pour medicine thick and thorough, over and thro us over and over again. And it will blast us open to beauty and truth and wonder and miracles and magic over and over again. If we are willing, life lived in this way will always take us straight back to God. But it’s a warriors’ path. And a bloody one. And we will be scared.
And I like how the word ‘scared’ is an anagram for ‘sacred’! ;-)
Are you scared yet? Good!
Rattle your bones beauties. Shake rattle and roll. Soul roll that is. As you may know I’m bowing to and daring to commit deeper and deeper to this way of living. Some days I forget. Some days I fall down. Some days I am driven by the scared and not the sacred. So this my loves, this is also a reminder for me too :-) xx
As Shirley Valentine says ‘Are we living such a little and calling it a life?’
Liminal lingerings and lushest longing love to you all xx
Thank you for reading xx
Hello loves xxx
Tis the season of the witch.
The quiet calls us. The pull inwards, to listen.
Intimacy. Dropping. Staying with.
Starting to shed, the leaves that though glorious in their plumage, now give way, effortlessly, to reveal the bones beneath. The branches. Undressing slowly. Do they become shy as they slip off their coat? To begin to bare their nakedness? No rush. Steady. Slow. All in the right time. All in sync with the cycles of the seasons. But first they burn, they show us their fire.
Maybe Samhain (Halloween), the Celtic end of the year, is akin to the ego beginning to shed, dropping what has acted like a mask. The mask, our sun, shining out into the world. Perhaps Samhain is the initiation, the doorway to the underworld, to soul, where we are invited to enter unclothed, disrobed, of all that hides our skin and bones.
To be intimate with soul we must be willing. We must be willing to stand without identity that plays out, in all its roles and frolics, in the worlds above. There’s nothing wrong with this, for indeed the world is a giant playground of experiences. But the soul realm is different. It requires a different part of us. It requires our vulnerability, to become intimate with the depths and the oceans, with the bones and the space, and with the silent vastness of the void itself.
As we journey through autumn we are preparing the way for this journey. It will last through winter’s long, dark and deep months. It will ask of us to give up the sight we rely on day to day and to close our literal eyes so that our inner vision can adjust to the dimming, adjust to the shapes and forms that appear on and in the darkness. There is an intimacy in darkness. It’s close to us. We can feel it, almost as if it’s breath can touch the skin on our arms and bellies, and it’s fabric graze the skin on our faces and neck so that the hairs on our body prick up and tingle in response. It’s primal and nature. It’s unknown and thus scary. It holds all things and so it asks of us to be awake and to stay with it even though we cannot know what it is doing to us. There is a surrender asked of us here. To be worked on, done to, moulded, shaped and given the downloads that will become the knowing wisdom we will carry in our nets as we float back up and swim to the shallows and surface with Imbolc and spring’s new light.
We are asked to dive in. To become intimate with the waters that once we knew as the womb, where even our very breath was not in separation.
There is an intimacy between sex and art, between our sexuality and creativity. Two years ago I recall writing in my journal the words: Creativity, Sexuality, Life force. I knew that I desired to embrace all three in my life and in my work. and indeed, over the last year, and in particular the last few months, the pieces of the puzzle, the ability to hold and juggle with all three, have landed. A new gateway is opening, and just the last few days a vital thread has been seen that binds them all. The thread? Intimacy :-) For you see, our sexuality, like our creativity, is in fact our life’s longing to live through us, through you, through me. Like sap. And it’s in everything. It’s the bridge between life and death. Running through everything it is the intimate connection to all of life.
This is a time when the sacred feels near. Maybe the sacred is just another word for intimacy? The sacred is a bridge between this world and the divine/spirit world. A bit like October. And Samhain. Ritual keeps the hinges, nails, of this bridge well oiled, like lathering and slathering coconut oil to our bodies as the air becomes dry. Like the tin man. All heart. But that’s no good if he all rusts up and dries out to fuck and cannot move. That is death. Ritual oils us, keeps the soul sap ripe and juicy. And ritual can take any form, no need for grandiose gestures darling. Maybe light a candle and say a prayer. Maybe as you wash your hands or take a shower you invoke what is needed to be washed away, or shed, to do so; or maybe, you remember to place your hand on your heart and bow your head in appreciation when you find a moment free from busy-ness. And of course, making art. The ritual of creative work and play feeds the soul with its endless possibilities.
Where is the sacred and ritual in a modern creators life? It is found in the space, the stillness, and the silence. The holy trinity. We have to make time for these, to slow deep, to stop, and to allow ourselves to become intimate with the soul, and thus, soil, in us.
Autumn is the prepping season. And it is the season of enchantment. Of magic. Of witches. Of mystery and the macabre dance between life and death. We have no choice but to raise our spirit filled glasses and toast to its time. But what a time!
Let’s invite and incite this potency. Whilst we can feel it in the air. A magical brush and moment akin to dawn and dusk. Where anything is possible and where the possible is everywhere.
A time for spells.
My favoured are the spells that words form on the empty page, invoked by intention and curiousity and the urge to go deep to the bone. I am offering two new workshops in November, dancing the arts of storytelling, fairy tales, ancestor boned wsidom, and erotica tales. Frida would approve! ;-) These will be uber juicy, potent and transformative.
Are we more afraid of life than death? Are we really so engaged with life? The paradoxes. We know one deeper when we are more willing to be intimate with its opposite. Day of the dead is coming. My favourite. Why does it transfix us so? Why so important? Can we look into the mirror and see our skeleton looking back? Stripped to the bone. Empty of all that we give our sense of identity to. What are you most afraid of? What lies in shadow spooking you with its ‘boo!’? What skeletons live in the closet of who you are?
These days I welcome the witch that I see more and more mirrored back as time rolls by. The witch in me belongs to my ageing, softening, body. The witch in me belongs in my firey morning breath, the sleep crusts of my eyes, the iron red blood between my legs. The witch in me belongs with the lil whisker on my chin, the creases of a life lived around my eyes, my missing teeth, and my graying and whitening hairs. All of this is her, and she is so fuckin’ beautiful! Strong and fierce. Fierce beauty. She is rich and tender and touched by the ouch and aches and haunts of life in its fullness. She is all of this and so so so much more! And at this time of the year, she squats down on her haunches and howls. Howls to that portal between life and death. Howls to wake up those who are sleepwalking through the living. She is my ghoul, and I love her :-).
Celebrate that which ghouls you :-). And honour your ancestors, your loved ones lost, the dreams that slipped away or dissolved, or left you for another. Yes this happens to our creative ideas too. They can leave us for another if left ignored for too long. Honour their loss, and as you do so, you create the space, the fertile fascinating void, for something new to stir you from the depths. But for now, no rush, take your time, and allow autumn to work its magic on you.
We've hidden it, bizarrely.
Well maybe we didn't intentionally. Maybe we hid it for safe keeping until a later date and we forgot and got busy with something else, something that at the time seemed more important or urgent or acceptable or safe.
It reminds me of a story where God hides the divine in the last place we would look, inside of ourselves, and usually we only get there after climbing the highest mountain or diving to the deepest sea bed or searching in exotic or remote or foreign lands.
It's usually when we have run out of steam or hope or money or places to look that we end up slumped down knees to chest in the corner defeated.
Defeated by our own actions.
It's usually then when we have no where else left to turn to that we do indeed turn towards that which was always waiting for us patiently and we rest our head upon its shoulder and it puts its arms around us and we know without knowing that we are home.
And as soon as we know, as if we had uttered a silent abracadabra, a doorway opens and all that glitters that once was gold, the gold of our genius, is revealed.
We are the lamp. Polish your soul. Light the flame. Illuminate the whole goddamn world! xxx Aho xxx
Heidi Hinda Chadwick
Creativity. Sexuality. Life. Art. Soul. Love.