Friday, 13 December 2019

Lift Up Her Light

For months we have been Working for Truth. My own blood, sweat and tears poured into the Land calling for Right Rule and the Highest and Greatest Good. And yet when three hundred Sacred Starlings fell from the sky two days before our general election here, my heart sank with them. These precious birds are linked to the Sovereignty in these lands, and they fell in Anglesey. This long time druid stronghold, was one of the last during the times of the Romans. We still have today the remnants of Druid Sovereignty Rites in our current coronation ceremonies. In the Mythic Realms of previous time Starlings have been know to be the warming signal that Sovereignty is in danger. They are the alarm cry.  We as a people need to listen. To wake up to the in between. A country rent in two, entangled in lies and misinformation, where an elite few holds power over the many, and acts not in service to Land or People but in self interest.

What happened on London Bridge prior to these last two elections too is no accident either. In the liminal layer between matter and spirit things happen. Things are engineered and the strings of the matrix tweaked. A bridge whose making was pivotal to the founding of the capital itself, and the vanquishing of the natives by the Romans, has Sovereignty issues written all over it. A bridge whose very song of falling down repeatedly contains within it the inference of human sacrifice being the only thing to have kept it standing, has a blood thirstiness attached to those Sovereignty issues. I'm still unravelling the magick mechanics of that one, but know in my bones there is something there.

These are hard times. It's hard to stay true to the light within and not swallowed by grief and fear. 

As the political situation here in the UK took it's darkest turn on the Full Moon, Twelfth December, I awoke the next day and my head was full of battlefield-like surreal visions and my heart full of grief.

I offer this Light as I walk through the plains of Albion, through the wretched Wasteland, each step sinking into the sodden earth. My white skirts trail heavy in the rain drenched mud. The tears, sweat and blood of the fallen covering my barefeet. The grass that remains is blackened and burned. I can hear the wails of the injured from beyond the bone chilling mist of this darkest of mornings. I 
can hear the cries of the lonely children and the sobs of the heartbroken and grief stricken as the smoke clears from cruel shots fired and lies unleashed.

My tears are many and fall like hot rage and despair on my face, but I will never not carry this Light. It is my shining crown, my radiant heart and the lantern to guide my feet. I will walk the Land and see the good ones gather. I urge you to find the Truth and speak it. Open to the abundance of the Love and show it. It is your birthright to yearn for Beauty and create it. Lift up your lights, people of Albion, carry the seed intentions, may we plant them anew, for we are the Greening that will come. True Sovereignty will grow from the crafting of soul and of sweetness and of skill. The healing will come from the Song Weavers and the Spellers.

Pray for those who know not the fullness of what they do. Hold them to account with fierce love, for they are consumed by a darkness blacker than this morning. Fear controls them and they cannot even see the light of themselves, so small is the flame. They are weak and wounded truly. They cannot look upon the Shadow for their Shame is beyond their Strength or Imagining to face right now. They seek to extinguish your brightness in the fear that they will see what they wish not to.

I will never not lift up Her Light, for it kindles mine daily. And with it I shall illumine the Land. Walk with me, for Albion belongs to Herself, and the spiritual queendom is rich beneath the veneer of false rule. Keep kindling the Flame and pass it on where you can. Be bright in each other’s darkness. Be beacons of Hope in these shifting times.

I lift up Her light for us all.

Heidi x

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Avoid Activist Burnout

"The negative energy exuding from this group can be exhausting"

Not my words, but those I read in an international women's rights group this morning. This was the weary comment from one woman on yet another depressing article about the shocking abuse of a sex slave. Quick to jump were many who deemed her words uncaring and self centred, but others recognised that she spoke a truth. This stuff is exhausting and she was suffering from activist burnout. She had read one article too many for herself in that moment and she was done. Negative might have been a wrong choice of word, but she was right. It wasn't a positive. Any group filled with articles and posts on all the wrongs and horrors of the world is rarely going to exude positivity. And whilst I don't buy into the "surround your self only with positivity, spiritual by-passing, I'm alright Jack" vibe, there is something here that needs to be acknowledged.

To be at the frontline of raising awareness about injustice and abuse; taking action against horrid, mind blowing cruelty in the world; or caring deeply about the planet, or human and animal rights can come at emotional and mental cost in a world that at times seems hell bent on destruction, greed and harm.

Those that care profoundly are often those that surround themselves with images and stories of that which they wish to change. There is a constant reminder that it is an uphill struggle and no matter how many marches they go on, or petitions they sign, or letters they write there is an endless swathe of more to attend to. It is exhausting. It is soul shatteringly exhausting at times. Activists do burnout. It leads to depression or a kind of mania. The kind of depression where you've run out of anger and fight to do anymore, and you feel all action is hopeless. It is an overwhelming sense of doom and loss and grief.  Or it spirals into the kind of manic desperation where your life, your conversation, your thoughts, your words are consumed by trying to make change and get others to care about the things you care deeply about. This also becomes overwhelming and there can a loss of self in this. A loss of the things that make you whole.

Recognising the symptoms is key to stop the overwhelming grief and hopelessness. When you find it hard to be happy or have fun, because in the back of your mind are the things you are campaigning about, a constant pull or presence, then think about doing some of the following:

  • If you are frontline, as in a public face for a specific cause, it's ok to get help from admins, take time out from organising, blogging, vlogging and posting etc. It's defnitely ok to prioritise your safety and deactivate accounts if needs be in the face of bullying or personal attack.
  • Mute or unfollow certain social media chats and groups from time to time, you can still look when you want to.
  • Leave certain social media chats and groups and only stay in a few key ones if you feel the need. 
  • Hide or unfollow other activists who post a lot on your social media. Snooze them for thirty days on Facebook and give yourself a break from a full newsfeed.
  • Give your self time out, days off, weeks off, a month or two off when needed. It's ok to take a break. Real battles are won in separate campaigns, new strategies, and frontlines being held. Frontlines can be held in shifts and rotation. You don't have to stand there sleepless holding it solo. There are others who care like you. The whole thing won't fall apart if you take a break. 
  • Reduce the amount of imagery or stories you feed your mind with. Stop looking until you feel you really can. There is no obligation to damage your mental health by forcing your self to be aware of every bad thing in the world.
  • Pare your activism back to petition signing for a while via petition groups like Avaaz, 38Degrees or Change, without reading reams about each topic. Petitions do work. 
  • Choose a positive real time project closer to home for a while
  • Limit the amount of time spent on marches and vigils. Allocate a percentage of your free time and stick to it. Or only choose key ones to attend. 
  • Limit the amount of topics or problem areas you invest your time in. What calls you the most, honestly? Remember you can switch from time to time. Just trying to take it all on at once is asking for burnout.

Most importantly once out of the burnout or before burnout hits make sure the following is a priority:

  • Make space and time for the good things in life.
  • Make space and time for friends and family outside of activism.
  • Allow yourself to grieve, don't bypass the sad feelings just because others around you don't feel the same. Their being less affected does not invalidate your feeling that things are far from okay. 
  • Invest in your own self care via food, nutrition, relaxation therapies, exercise and uplifting activities.
  • Balance the sense of hopelessness by focusing on success stories and positive changes as well.
  • Get enough sleep and time in nature.
  • Ask yourself this every now and then. If the thing I'm trying to change was changed overnight  and there was no need for me to protest, what would I then do, and what life is there outside of me trying to make that difference? Make sure there is something. Maintain that something. 

Those of you reading this who have activists in your circle of friends and family, look out for them. Make them a meal once in a while. Make sure they feel cared about and nurtured. Thank them for their part in making change. Support their frontline activities. Share some of their posts. Pay for their transport cost of getting to a march. Buy them a massage voucher. Just because you can't do or choose not to do what they do, don't assume that they feel anything negatively about you. I see many close friends and family of activists look the other way because somehow they feel like it shames then when they do look. That's your stuff to deal with, often not to do with the activist themselves. Don't not support your activists because you feel like you should be doing more. Maybe the more you can be doing right now is actually supporting them. Make sure they have exposure and visibility in the things they are trying to change, ask them how it is going, take an interest, but also make sure they have fun and relaxation, and see them in their wholeness. Don't avoid your activists because they burst your bubble. They make you uncomfortable because they are literally pointing at things beyond your comfort zone. They highlight and wave flags in areas of life that are uncomfortable. They are the truth speakers in a world of veneer and glamour. Thank them for going into the darkness and shining the torch. Thank them for educating you and showing you a bigger picture. Thank them for holding politicians and corporations accountable. Don't turn away, they are not shameful. It is the things they bring a spotlight to that is our collective shame.

 And when you hear the call and cannot ignore it any longer. Take your own action. No matter how small. Thank you for all you do. Take care. Go gently. Take steps to avoid activist burnout.

Heidi x

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Granny Smith

Today and tomorrow I celebrate Samhain (SOW'en), the Celtic cross-quarter day that marks the beginnings of Winter, the end of one year and the beginning of the next. A liminal time, like the twilight is to the oncoming night. a time of betwixt and between, where the realms of ancestors are distinctly felt by the living. It's good to remember that ancestors are for life, not just for Samhain though, but still we are drawn to reflect and remember and celebrate more so this night.

Later I shall honour those dear and dead with a small ceremony and a feast. Candle lights will be placed for them on my altar, and I will listen to any wisdom that drops in.

Let me tell you though about one special ancestor of mine. Granny Smith. A woman of great fortitude and short stature, much sparkle and smile, and one who took a big family secret to her grave. That's a whole other story. There is so much that is a whole other story. But for now just this ...

As a child I always thought it marvellous that Granny Smith had apples named after her. I remember the day of discovering this was not the case. One of those moments when the childhood blinkers fall slightly to one side. That's still not the story. This is ...

Granny Smith, was my great grandmother on my mother's side. She lived in a caravan, a largish static caravan in East Sussex. My grandfather also lived there at the time, looking after her till the end. We would go and visit, and I would be enamoured with the trinkets and charm and the garden. But more importantly I was enchanted by the twinkling, dinky woman in the back room. Her gentle sing song voice and her humour, and it was there in the back room, in her bed, surround by her sewing boxes, and fabrics, and buttons and trim, and glitz that my grandmother taught me to make peg dolls.

A quick rewind. My great grandmother, her real name was  Edith Starmer, was known for her dolls. She dressed dolls. In her younger days, as I remember it told to me, she had boldly walked to Harrods with a suitcase full of them and persuaded them to sell them to their clientele, which they did for years and years. Her dolls were splendid and dressed in finery. Victorian; Edwardian; from around the world; ball-gowned and up-towned; all laced, and feathered, and sequined, and beaded; and hand-stitched. I wonder where all her dolls are now.

She also made sets of clothes for Sindy, Tressy and Barbie dolls that sold on the local markets. According to my aunt, they sold really well because the branded outfits from toyshops were really expensive, and my aunt was lucky enough to have a sample set of everything, making her dolls some of the best dressed in the country. My wonderful Granny Smith was a single mother, not an easy thing to be in those day by a long shot, and didn't marry until my grandfather was in his late teens. This crafty and skilled enterprise is how she supported them both, that and putting my grandfather on the stage, again, a tale for another time.

She also made peg dolls. And it was this that she taught to me when I was little and she was elderly. The first one I made with her was a nanny. With tiny babe in arms. I remember it took us hours and hours. And I wore her out. Her teaching me patiently. Prompting me to focus and pay mind to task. Be neat. Finish the details properly. And voila. A doll. A little doll with a life of it's own. And that was a magick moment gifted to me by an equally magickal lady.

I then went home and made another nanny on my own.

Then I made a whole load more. Grand ladies with feathers and lace. In the mix a Scottish one for some reason and attempt at a Flamenco dance with cardboard castanets,  a blushing net curtain bride, and lost somewhere, there was once a Japanese inspired one, with a white kimono and a cocktail umbrella parasol. The magick of these dolls, as is the spellcraft of all dolls, took me to worlds I had not seen and a life out of reach. And the joy of making. Of being crafty. There is more in those words than we think. Of bringing imagination to manifestation. And the unfolding of something in your own hands, taking form and becoming. Looking back I can see that's a subtly empowering feeling to a child. To be a creatrix of your own world and tiny people.

Then in 2016 when I started the Mini Maidens Girls Circle of our Red Tent I took my peg dolls and the tale of Granny Smith to the first four girls there, ages between seven and twelve at the time. I taught them over the course of a year about the four feminine archetypes, and each season they made peg dolls. They made Maidens in spring, Mothers in summer, Enchantresses in autumn and Crones in winter.

And the loveliest thing, two of those girls have now had their menarche, and those archetype dolls were brought from home to place on our altar for their first blood ceremonies.

I may not be able to pass on the peg doll making to my own daughter, but in memory of Granny Smith, and possibly because of Izzy, it's my joy to teach it to other girls.

So this sacred day, I honour my beloved dead, and am grateful for their imprint on my heart and soul, their whispers in the wind, and the imaginings I still venture into.  I shall tend a flame and raise a glass to you, my Isadora Magdalen Moon, and to you, my Granny Smith.

Heidi x