I love this South facing wall in my edible garden so much - such a great example of using microclimates.
Early January saw me sorting though my seeds to work out what I needed to order for the year ahead. It turns out, I don’t need to order any! Where do all these seeds come from!?
Mulching raised beds and the wild garden ‘edge’ with a thick layer of leaves topped with woodchip supplied by a local tree surgeon. The soil along the wild garden edge is looking, smelling and feeling SO much better in terms of fertility and structure, now into its 3rd year of this winter mulching application.
Imbolc fire with my girl.
Pruning back some of the larger baby trees in my wild garden edge, so that the more recently planted ones get enough space and light. I added these prunings to two different insect habitat areas.
Creating a new area for fallen leaves, including leaves from several of my neighbours’ gardens.
Cutting down seed heads, (intentionally left standing over the winter for insect habitat) ready for new growth in spring. Tied the dried stalks complete with seed heads together and left upright so that the little critters can carry on snoozing until the days get lighter and warmer.
…..and to mark the start of 2023 growing season, I had a stall at my local Potato Day, 40 varieties of seed potatoes and lots of amazing people buying them and supporting the accompanying stalls and cafe too. I’ll be sowing my chilli seeds over the next few days. More details about this years growing in my next blog post.
Sacred Earth Celebrations is the revised and updated version of Glennie Kindred’s bestselling book, Sacred Celebrations. Whether you are someone who is new to learning about Earth-based spirituality and living, or whether it’s already fundamental to how you pass through the cycles of our existence and Glennie’s book can truly enhance and deepen your experience of how to meaningfully celebrate and honour the cycles of the Earth.
Sacred Earth Celebrations is divided into three parts: ‘The Wheel of the Year’ introducing the Earth’s year through the solar cycle and the connections with the rhythms of the moon; ‘Celebration, ceremony and ritual’ with lots of ideas for individual or group events; and ‘The eight Celtic festivals’, where each of the quarter and cross quarter festivals are explored in detail. This includes how the festivals were understood and celebrated in the past, the underlying energies they hold, and how we can use this experience and flow to create our own meaningful rituals and celebrations now.
As with all Glennie’s books, Sacred Earth Celebrations is filled with the most beautiful drawings and charts alongside perfectly selected poetry by others. All this gives the reader opportunity to pause, reflect, plan and perhaps meditate at the natural breaks in the text.
Glennie’s book includes an abundance of ideas of how to engage physically, emotionally and spiritually with the cycle of Earth celebrations, including: celebrating on our own, in small groups, in our community, creating Sacred Spaces, activities with children, interacting with our gardens and other land, creativity through song, dance, art, craft... It’s like having the best box of tools. Glennie very much encourages our celebrations, ceremonies and rituals to reflect our own individuality and unique life circumstances. I finished the book feeling empowered by the range of ideas but also in the knowledge that following my own inspiration is incredibly spiritually regenerating and connecting too.
For those who use The Earth Pathways Diary or have read Letting In the Wild Edges, also by Glennie, this is the perfect accompaniment, furthering and enhancing the ritual and celebration elements of both.
I love this book. I’ve just read it from cover to cover, but like Glennie’s other books, it’s going to be one that’s at hand for the year round to read, absorb and utilise the relevant sections, as the Earth turns.
This book review is also published in Permaculture Magazine October 2014
Earth Based Spirituality & Permaculture
I love to use the solar and lunar cycles and circles within Earth based spirituality, as a grounding tool and guidance for my permaculture projects. This weekend has been the wheel of the year festival, of Earth awakening, Imbolc. Here in Yorkshire, Northern England, there are signs of life emerging into the new light, from their long rest through the cold, dark, shortest days. At Imbolc, we can connect with the nature around us, observing and interacting, and slowly move forwards to the energy of spring. The earliest of seeds sown for edible gardens are starting to germinate and we too can plant and nurture our inner seeds of visions for our work and life, and watch them germinate over the coming weeks.
The Imbolc new moon arrives today its the perfect time to use the rising energy for new beginnings. and a perfect time for reflection and planning.
Here are some of the ways I have been using the energies of Imbolc in my permaculture projects and including my own wellbeing.-
I spent some time grounding and allowing my creative thoughts to flow without constraint, about the directions I would like my permaculture projects and life to take. I created this space with the five elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Spirit plus 2 oracle cards I had chosen, to help provide an extra layer of visioning and focus. I will be keeping this alter space as it is until the Spring Equinox in 6 weeks time. Seeing it on a regular basis, and as a tool for further reflection and grounding, will help me to continue to connect with the new ways forward in my projects on a regular basis. And, in turn regular connection can often mean that my visions and goals for my life and permaculture projects are become an achievable reality.
I have been using this "4 questions" reflection tool with focus on my permaculture work, and from the reflection, applying self regulation, and accepting feedback, have designed a realistic plan about creating and implementing new elements in each permaculture project. The plan is in my journal which is the "hub", the centre of my life! and I look at it many times each day. So again, observing it on a regular basis means that my aims and goals for each project are more likely to be achieved.
Sowing actual seeds! For the last 2 years my edible gardening permaculture project has been on pause, as I've been too unwell to be able to do any physical gardening. And currently I don't have a garden of my own. Over the last few months my health has slowly been improving and I have been feeling a strong pull to get growing food again, and creatively using and responding to change. Peppers (including chillis) and tomatoes like as long a season to grow as possible so I will be planting these hardy varieties from Real Seeds over the next week. I'm also going to start sprouting seeds and pulses again for daily use as a delicious and super nutritious addition to my diet. I've stocked up on sprouting seeds packs from Tamar Organics and really looking forward to getting them growing. For more ideas about connecting with nature inside if you are unable to be outside, see an article I wrote "Bringing Nature Inside"
So here are a few of the ways I have been using energies and characteristics of Imbolc in both my permaculture and general life projects. Please feel free to have a go at applying any of these Ideas to your own life and work.
One of the life tools I like to create at the start of a calendar year is choosing a focus word for that year. I create some art or craft work at the end of December or start of January, which goes on to become my daily reminder about my focus word and the energy behind it. It's a tool that has worked really well for me for several years now, no matter what is going on in my life at the time. My focus word for 2018 was "Creativity" - and when I chose this word in the January, I had no idea that the daily doodling I did, and shared on social media to help my emotional and cognitive wellbeing, would evolve into requests for Illustration work for prints, books and online courses by the start of 2019! While I'm sure this didn't just happen because of my chosen word, it certainly helped me to regularly connect with the intention behind it. So this year I have chosen "Activist", Activism is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as, "the use of direct and noticeable action to achieve a result, usually a political or social one." Throughout my life I have nearly always been involved in various types of activism about issues close to my heart and spirit. Over the past decade this has very much been connected to my development as a permaculture practitioner and educator. I'm hoping that choosing this word as my focus in the coming months, will enable me to design my new form of activism, as part of my plan to continue to thrive while being unwell with Lyme Disease.
Over the last year I have been following the work of illustrator and online Mental Health Activist, Make Daisy Chains and also the Craftivism movement, especially the work of the Craftivism Collective Both of these are part of my inspiration for these first weeks of the year as I begin to design the early part of the journey, my focus word for 2019 will take. Im hoping to use the Wheel of the Year, Earth based festivals for times of reflection about my current permaculture projects, and how these are influenced by my new focus word. I plan to document the main topics of that reflective process, within future blog posts here.
My Winter Solstice Doodle Prints , are available to buy now, with 100% of the profit going to support Manorlands Hospice, in Oxenhope, West Yorkshire. (England).You can find out about the amazing services Manorlands provides via the link tagged in this post . Its an organisation very close to my heart, as I've nursed in various roles at Manorlands over the last 15 years, and it's been a wonderful place to work.
The Winter Solstice Doodles are A4 in size on recycled card and Footprint Workers Co operative in Leeds have done a fab job in transforming my creativity into beautiful prints. They've been a great organisation to work with and I can very much recommend them.
Prints are £12.50 each which includes £2.50 for printing, packaging and postage in the UK, and £10 donated directly to Manorlands.
If you are on a low income, prints are available at a reduced price of £7.50 which includes £2.50 for printing, packaging and postage in the UK, and £5 donated directly to Manorlands.
If you would like a print, but are unable to afford the reduced price, or you would like to buy several prints, then please contact me and we can chat about this.
Payment is via PayPal. Please send me a direct message on Facebook or Instagram or via email, with your order, including a postal address, and I will let you know PayPal details.
Earth Based Spirituality & Permaculture
The Pagan festival of Samhain, occurs at the end of October, and today is the Samhain New Moon. One of the of the eight festivals from the Wheel of the Year, it also marks the end of one year and the beginning of the next, in the Pagan calendar.
Like some other permaculture practitioners, I love to use the solar and lunar cycles and circles within this Earth based spirituality, as a grounding tool and guidance for my permaculture projects.
The core symbolism of the death of one year, followed by the birth of the next, offers a welcome opportunity to reflect on how the permaculture projects in my life have progressed over the last year.
Im spending time using the roses, thorns and buds reflection tool with each of my current projects, to help me re explore and focus on the functions of each different design. Possible aspects of each project that are no longer useful can also be stopped. Then I identify the “seeds” of next steps to be taken in each project, plus seeds of other potential designs/projects.
Connecting with patterns in nature at this time, I have designed a ‘pause’ time within each project over the next few weeks, as the time ahead darkens towards the shortest day of the Winter Solstice. In practical terms, for me, this means that I have dedicated a blank page in my journal for each project, and with an open mind will be recording any ideas, possibilities, knowledge and insight gained over the next few weeks. Then, as the days start to gradually get longer again after the Solstice, and seeds begin to germinate, these pages can be used to help influence the next chapters in my permaculture work.
In addition, this year, I have decided to keep a dream diary throughout these weeks of inner reflection and contemplation too, which I am really looking forward to using as a new tool in my life!
I've enjoyed and valued the following resources over this Samhain festival: -
Starhawk - Wheel of the Year - Samhain - online ritual
Starhawk - Dreaming The Dark - book
Maddy Harland - Celebrating Life and Death During The Festival of Samhain - Resurgance and Ecologist Magazine
Glennie Kindred - Sacred Earth Celebrations - book
Earth Pathways - Website and Diary
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