Time to Reflect

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In the Celtic year, the time between Samhain and Winter Solstice is one of reflection and inner work before the Sun begins its return and the earth’s energy becomes more active again. In numerology, 2016 is a nine year; a year of completion of events which began back in 2008.  My life number is nine, so this year has been quite challenging in many respects and I am greatly looking forward to 2017, and the beginning of the next nine-year-cycle.

I am aim to start afresh and have been doing a lot of self-reflection on the events which have caused upset in my life this year, and the lessons they have for me. As the year comes to a close, it is time to let go of anything which holds you back; especially any negative behavioural patterns which prevent you from moving on in life.  I have been examining my own and others’ behaviour and have learnt a great deal about the subconscious thoughts which prompt us to react in certain ways again and again.  It is this type of inner work and development that the final months of the year are meant for, and when Winter Solstice arrives, we can begin to act on our greater understanding of ourselves.

What do you need to release? What has challenged you this year?  What old patterns do you need to let go of so you can move forward in life? 

The dark nights of winter are an ideal time to reflect and make plans for the coming year. Yet this is even more important as 2016 comes to a close and we enter the next nine-year cycle.  I don’t usually place much importance on New Year being the time to change your life, as I believe you can do so on any day, but it seems that this year it really is a new beginning, and a conscious clearing away of the old to welcome in the new is more powerful than ever.

So make the most if these dark nights and be ready for when the Sun returns on 21st December and we will begin again.

 

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Stock up on dreams

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Stock up on dreams

Have you got them ready? Made your preparations for the darker phase of the year, when the fire is brought within our homes and hearts to light the way through the autumn and winter to come.

Just like a pile of logs waiting for the fire, so too must your dreams fuel your desire over the coming months. At Autumn Equinox, we sense the changes all around us; the chill which makes us hug our coat a little closer as we commute to work, the crisp air we breathe, the colours turning, leaves falling and the sound of birds calling out as the sun sets.

That change is within us too, and the Aspen tree, which begins its turn in the Celtic calendar, encourages us to ‘listen within yourself and find comfort in the still, small voice of calm.’ (p.106, The Celtic Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford, 200) Many people dread the shorter days and colder weather, yet they provide us with the opportunity to take stock and reflect on the previous year; asking ourselves what we have yet to achieve, and how can we realise those goals.

So pile up your dreams along with your winter provisions, and use them to help you see through the darkness until the earth turns once more.

Happy Autumn Equinox!

Early Autumn Inspiration

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With Autumn Equinox just a day away I woke up feeling inspired this morning to get out and enjoy the late summer-early autumn sunshine. It’s that time of year when you need layers for the chilly mornings and late afternoon, which can be removed during the day when the temperature warms up. I love the colours that start to emerge; the greens giving way to orange, yellow and red towards the later stages of the season.

Lucky as I am to live by the sea, I went out for a stroll with my camera to experiment with a new prop I found the other day. I’m quite pleased with the results.

Sunny and shinny

I hope the Equinox tomorrow will inspire some creative actions in you too.

Photograph©VCUzzell2015

Reflection at Lammas

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Reflection - Tatton Park

As I write this, I look out onto a sunlight garden, full of various shades of green and the blue of the sky; summer is in full force today, but there’s a slight chill to the breeze. Is this the first signs of change just around the corner? I know many will not like me for saying this but we’re at the peak of summer’s power now, and at Lammas the season begins to turn towards the colder months of the year. Now, of course, living in the UK I know that seasons bear little resemblance to what the weather is actually like, as last week it was quite chilly, windy and pouring with rain, whereas today it’s lovely. So, I’m not going to read too much into what the conditions should be like, and instead focus on the energy that surrounds Lammas, one of the four cross quarter festivals in the Celtic calendar.

Whilst many of us are still enjoying the longer days and light evenings, that chill in the air is the signal that we need to start looking inwards again, after the outward gaze of the last few months. At Winter Solstice, the days began to lengthen, and with that we became more active. Yet now, we can start to reap the learning and experiences gained over the last few months, and reflect on what we have achieved. If we had plans at Spring Equinox, did we put them into action? If not, why didn’t we do so? Was it not the right time? Or did we lose heart? At Lammas, we can begin to examine what we had hoped to do and the whys and wherefores of not having realised our goals.

This reflective phase in the year lays the foundation for the planning stages which will come later on in the darker months, when we can check our stores of dreams, and see which ones we would like to fulfil once the season turns again.

As for me, I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions recently about the direction of my life, and hope to delve further into my ideas over the coming months.

So as the sun still shines, look back and consider what more there is to do. What else do you want to achieve in life? Then, during the colder months, you can research and prepare in readiness to run after your dreams again once the light and warmth of the sun returns.

The awakening energy of Spring Equinox

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Beach Hut  Bicycle shadow

This weekend has been so sunny, that you could be fooled into thinking that summer was just around the corner, even with the cold wind that has been blowing.  It has certainly been two days of getting out and about, enjoying the feel of the Sun on my skin, and photographing the shadows it creates as it shines on beach huts and bicycles.  This renewed sense of energy which characterises Spring Equinox, is also a reminder of the need for balance in our lives and as the length of both day and night are equal on this day, so too should we strive for equilibrium among all the demands of daily life.  As I walked along the beach front today, it made me smile to see so many people, and their dogs, taking a break and balancing out their busy lives with an hour or so of ambling along the shore, eating ice cream and catching up with family and friends.  Having spent the winter resting, we must use all the stored up vitality we have acquired over the darker months to realise new dreams and move on with the next phase of our lives.  This is also the time of the Golden Gorse, which cheers the grey, rainy days of spring with its bright yellow glow of hope; it is a symbol of the courage and optimism needed to face the changing seasons and challenges in our lives.  It is often easier to imagine what we could do if only this was better, or that was different etc.  We frequently make all kinds of excuses why we can’t do something.  Yet on these sunny days, when you walk in nature, or simply sit in the sun, take a moment to listen to that voice which is quietly trying to nudge you in the right direction and face those fears of the new and the unknown with determination, and the positive outlook of the Golden Gorse.

photographs©vcuzzell2015

Balance and reconnection

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In spring, the Ash tree is one of the last to come into leaf; a late developer, like myself.  I’ve been struggling lately with the urgency of unrealised dreams, demanding to be brought to life.  In this, the Celtic month of the Ash (February 18th – March 17th) I am reminded of the need to re-connect with the natural forces around me.  To be less in the head, worrying and over-thinking things, but more in my feet as they touch they earth.  To be in my eyes as they watch seagulls hover above the waves, to be in my ears as they listen to the call of the cuckoo, and to be in my heart as it whispers of all I have yet to do.  Achieving balance is key to the lesson the Ash has for us, and that has been lacking in my life recently.  I have drifted too far into doubt and negative thoughts, and need to re-connect with my creative self to restore harmony to my heart and mind.  The Ash was also linked to rebirth in ancient Britain, and I think we need to re-create ourselves or parts of ourselves every so often, when we reach a low or stagnant season in our lives.  That may be something as small as a change of image, a new hobby which helps us to grow in some way, or even a move of home or job.  My current re-birth began with a walk by the sea, a visit to a gallery and a 99p costume ring, which has an unusual design.  Making changes to aid the reconnection to what we have lost, and the return of balance to our lives needn’t be major ones, but small steps that bring us back to where we belong.

Reference: The Celtic Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford, Godsfield Press, 2000