Down here in my part of the Southern Hemisphere, we’re heading into the heart of winter. The shortest day is looming ever nearer and the hours of light each day are noticeably diminished. The sunlight is mostly watery through grey clouds and a cold wind blows (some days straight from Antarctica it seems).
It’s not a time for high energy and exuberant activity. The instinct is to retreat into comfiness and contemplate the world from underneath blankets. But life still goes on…
The relentless pace of the modern office dominates the rhythms of my week, even as my instinctual self tries to stay in bed longer each morning (yes, there have been some mad dashes for the train). Fluorescent lights and computer screens don’t care what the weather does or where in the sky the sun sits.
How does one balance the ancient urge to hibernate and withdraw with the modern demand to produce and be active?
I don’t have any easy answers, I’m afraid.
I am slowly learning to work with the energies of each season. Although after four decades of seasons, you’d think that the changing energy would catch me less by surprise – but it seems that will take yet more seasons…
It is a constant juggle for me: the quiet yin my soul craves becomes the jangling yang of yet another email.
All I can do is keep juggling, and keep reviewing how many balls I try to keep in the air.
I do my best to take time to rest and reflect, and to not push myself into excess activities.
This is a good time to ponder, to finish, to take stock, to embed my learnings, to make my peace with the cold.
I know the wheel will soon turn towards Spring, and the increasing light will bring increasing activity and new things.
But just now it is the quiet, grey days of Winter,
and I will sit,
and I will ponder,
and I will take stock to make way for the new things to come…
and there will be more tea…
❤ ❤ ❤
I first came across the art of Franz Marc in my university art history classes. I immediately feel in love with his colourful depictions of animals. To my eyes and heart, he really captured the nature of the animals he painted. Unfortunately, he was killed during World War I, leaving behind a beautiful and colourful legacy.
Here a couple of my favourites out of all his paintings (it was very hard to narrow it down to just two):
I recently signed up with Moon Books as an occasional book reviewer. Moon Books specialise in pagan titles, so if you’re not that way inclined, I won’t be offended if you stop reading at this point. That said, I think today’s title holds a lot of potential for creative people of any creed…
Urban Druidry by Brendan Howlin
This book is full of simple and practical ways of getting more connected to nature and the seasonal rhythms of life for those of us living in urban environments. I think this book would be good for anyone wanting to increase their connection with the world around them, although if you are from a non-pagan creed, some of it may seem a bit odd.
The first practice Brendan recommends is ‘learning to see’. This reminds me of something I’ve done since my teens: on occasion, look beyond where your eye usually falls on your commute or regular walk and see what else you can see (probably not one to do if you’re driving!) The subtle change of perspective can be incredibly powerful.
Other practices include learning to relax and becoming aware of seasons. There are also some bigger challenges about personal responsibility and how we live in this landscape.
While simple, actually doing these practices regularly would deepen and enrich life and almost certainly lead to some degree of personal transformation – ‘deceptively simple’, might be a better description!
The chatty, friendly writing style – this is not at all hard to read.
The simple practices for everyday life – these are firmly grounded in the actual reality of the urban daily grind.
I really like the simple summaries for the wheel of the year (in non-pagan words: celebrating the seasons)
It’s pretty obvious in the text that the author is a British male. I found this a bit jarring at times, as I’m a Southern hemisphere based female. Some of the analogies didn’t work so well for me.
There’s not a lot of text spent on context or history or background – this is a very practice-focused book. But then there are plenty of other books you can read to get that context if you want it.
I would recommend this enthusiastically to anyone wanting an easy-to-read (though more challenging to implement) guide to deepening their connection with the world around them.
If you want a scholarly tome on druidry or natural science, look elsewhere (but maybe come back to this, when you want your studies to get personal).
I can see myself returning to this book regularly as I build my everyday practice.
Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered.
Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored.
Thank you, Terence McKenna.
And, maybe, just maybe, if we could all live more like this, we might find we had fewer enemies to be conquered…