Pixie Kisses 4 – Trees and Spaces

This is the first of a series of suggestions for re-enchanting your life, one pixie kiss at a time. The introduction is here, and you can watch the path unfold here.

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From Thomas Moore’s Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life:

Every patch of ground that has a tree growing in it echoes Eden and is a reminder of our origins in an enchanted garden. Once we stop taking trees literally, we begin to see how they frame the world we look at every minute of our outdoor life… Eden is always with us, unless and until we narrow our vision, forgetting myth and disregarding aesthetic perception, and the trees of Eden are also always with us, full of mystery and implication.”*

Trees are central, in so many ways, to our lives. We know that they provide oxygen, and soak up CO2… its like we breathe with the plants of the world, we breathe out as they breathe in, they breathe out and we breathe in.

And trees are especially special, not only for their fruit and their wood, their shelter and their roots holding the earth together, but also for their presence. As Thomas Moore begins to say in the quote above, trees hold a special place in our mythologies, stories and hearts.

This is the time of year where many people decorate trees, or make Barbara Twigs, or burn Yule Logs, honouring trees even in our consumer-orientated lives. If we can do this mindfully, and not simply out of habit, then the act of choosing and decorating a tree can be enchanting… and the trees which sparkle with snow and fairy lights in the dark winter nights certainly enchant me!

The decorating of space for festivals, like Yule, Christmas, Halloween and even birthdays, is a way of bringing enchantment into our homes. We change the space to reflect the energy we choose to invite into our homes. Connecting with trees orientates us in the world, reminds us of the World Tree (present in most, if not all, cultures), and soothes our souls.

The hype of Christmas may be overwhelming, but the acts involved are all, in themselves, things we can take on board. Decorating our home with love and delight, connecting with trees, treating our time and space as time and space to celebrate in, all these are positive acts.

It is not just trees which we take too literally, our lives have drifted away from mythology, and it is the sense of layers, magic and wonder in a world with myth embedded in it that makes our hearts sing.

The many thoughts in this post, then, unravel into one shining question:

How can we reconnect with the magic in the world?

And a solution:

Remember that the whole world is ensouled, and allow ourselves to be enchanted by it. Start with trees, trees which span the worlds, trees which are so much more than mere building materials.

Merry midwinter to you all. May we step back into the enchanted garden as the sun blesses our days with ever-more light!

***

I will be posting Pixie Kisses, small steps you can take to re-enchant your world, here, once a week for the next four months. Take them and play with them. Let the ideas inform your work and play. Find them under the category “Pixie Kisses”.

And, if you wish, you can join us on Facebook in the Enchanted Grove for sharing and discussions on the enchantment you find!

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Pixie Kisses 3 – Understanding

This is the first of a series of suggestions for re-enchanting your life, one pixie kiss at a time. The introduction is here, and you can watch the path unfold here.

***

We started by making some space. Space for enchantment, space for the Fae. For our second step, we began collecting enchantment, in the form of stories.

Now we can open to an understanding of enchantment and look towards how it can ripple into our lives…

Look over the stories and pictures you’ve collected, and begin to get a sense of what enchantment feels like. Spend some time with your Altar to Enchantment, your Faery space, musing gently on what ‘enchantment’ means… ask the Fae that live on the edges of your consciousness to inspire you, even if you’re not sure they’re there yet…

You might want to write some notes, brainstorm, or draw, make collages or music or whatever helps you gather your thoughts into one place. When you have an idea of what enchantment means to you, see if you can express it somehow on a piece of paper that you can keep somewhere visible in the space you’ve dedicated to Faery – or somewhere you’ll see it but others won’t if you have people around who are less than supportive.

Next, begin to think about how that sense of enchantment might be expressed in your life.

If you were enchanted by life, what would that be like?

If life were enchanting, full of wonder and delight, how would you start each day? What would you wear? What would your home look like? How would you move through your day?

Once you have an idea of how you think that might look, take a deep breath and relax. Let your mind open to inspiration and ask yourself this:

What little thing can I do today to bring that feeling, that life of enchantment, into my day right now?

Write down any ideas that come to you, however silly, write them all down until you feel done. Then look them over and see which ones appeal to you today, and if there is one you can start right away.

Perhaps you’ll choose to wear colours which make you feel like a Queen, or a Dryad, or an Enchanter. Perhaps you’ll swap your shampoo for one which smells to you like faeryland and magic. Perhaps you’ll choose to wear flowers in your hair each day, or to learn to dance, or to start a gratitude journal, or a dream diary. Perhaps you’ll choose from now on to only buy beautiful things, or to leave gifts for strangers in bus shelters, or to move your desk so you can see out through the window while you work.

Choose something that works for you, and as that becomes habit, you can add another thing, and another. Begin to change your life. Choose the things that make you feel happy, and let that joy radiate out into the world.

For now, an understanding of what enchantment means to you, and an idea of how you’d like it to manifest in your life is what we’re aiming for. Spend some time with yourself and your stories, at your altar, and open up to a sense of enchantment. Once you know what it feels like, it becomes easier to invite it in…

***

I will be posting Pixie Kisses, small steps you can take to re-enchant your world, here, once a week for the next four months. Take them and play with them. Let the ideas inform your work and play. Find them under the category “Pixie Kisses”.

And, if you wish, you can join us on Facebook in the Enchanted Grove for sharing and discussions on the enchantment you find!

Pixie Kisses 2 – Stories

This is the first of a series of suggestions for re-enchanting your life, one pixie kiss at a time. The introduction is here, and you can watch the path unfold here.

***

We started by making some space. Space for enchantment, space for the Fae.

Now we can continue this process, making more space in our lives and our minds, and charming ourselves with what we choose to attract.

Following the principle of magic that like attracts like, fill your life with the kinds of wonder and stories of the magic you choose to tap into.

Collect stories, poetry and art about the Fae, about enchantment, about wonder.

Surround yourself with beauty, with enchantment, and become enchanted. Share what you find with friends, post links here if you like… better though, to meet with soemone in the flesh and share what you have found and loved! Enchant each other!

Then, take your favourite words – poems, songs, stories – out to somewhere beautiful and dedicate them to the Fae. Speak them aloud, with feeling, tell the stories to those beings you may not see but can feel nonetheless. They love a good story!

Telling stories is, in itself, a magical act. We live our lives through stories, absorbing images of the world, telling ourselves stories of ourselves and our world. We take on board the stories that the news tells us, that our friends repeat, that we learnt as children. We live our lives by these stories. And we can choose new stories for ourselves. Stories full of beauty and wonder and magic.

How many times do we say to ourselves…

I’m too…

I can’t…

The world is horrible.

Life sucks.

Its too hard.

And so on? Sometimes its true, I am too big for size 8 jeans (or size 12 for that matter). As soon as this story becomes ‘I’m too big.’ however, there is a problem. ‘I’m too… anything’ can lead to guilt, shame, disappointment, bitterness. All unnecessary and unhelpful.  My point here is not to go into important discussions about body image, but to illustrate how the stories we tell ourselves effect the way we think and feel. Plenty of people are able to help you if you’re dealing with these kinds of harmful thought patterns, here we’re going to choose to shift focus.

Collect enchantment, and begin to re-enchant yourself with words and pictures. Choose the nature of the stories in your life…

 

Let me know how you get on!

***

I will be posting Pixie Kisses, small steps you can take to re-enchant your world, here, once a week for the next four months. Take them and play with them. Let the ideas inform your work and play. Find them under the category “Pixie Kisses”.

And, if you wish, you can join us on Facebook in the Enchanted Grove for sharing and discussions on the enchantment you find!

Pixie Kisses 1 – Space for Faery

This is the first of a series of suggestions for re-enchanting your life, one pixie kiss at a time. The introduction is here, and you can watch the path unfold here.

 ***

For something to enter your life, there must be space for it.

For enchantment to enter your life, you must make space to be enchanted.

So lets make space. Lets make our space enchanting. Lets provide a home in our hearts and our houses for the Fae to dance…

Even if all you can manage is a picture hanging on a wall, a postcard tucked in the corner of the bathroom mirror, a pendant, or a pocket-sized tin full of tiny pebbles and dried flowers, making an actual, physical place for enchantment tells your deep self, your subconscious, your child self, that this is something you want to give space to in your life.

Every time you see it, you will remember.

Every time you give attention to it, the emotions and energies it invokes will ripple out into your life. Psychologically it will remind you of your dreams of an enchanted life. Magically, like attracts like, so you encourage wonder by depicting wonder. And, in a very real way, you are offering hospitality to those that would help you reach the state of enchantment.

If you want more faery magic in your life, make space for it, and they will come…

Enchant yourself.

Tips:

A small symbol is a place to start, a full-blown altar or faery garden is even more potent because the amount of time and energy you put into creating it echoes through your life. If you don’t know how to begin, think of images that evoke enchantment in you, track some down. Find sculptures, toys, images and objects that remind you of the fae. Choose gorgeous fabrics (ones that you like, gorgeous to you is the important bit!) to drape over a shelf, light candles in glass holders, burn incense that makes you think of wild places. Collect natural objects, leaves falling in the autumn, flowers gently picked, stones with patterns or holes… arrange these in a way that you enjoy! Coloured pebbles and sea-glass are lovely in pretty jars or a bowl, none of this has to be obvious to anyone else, its just between you and the Fae. Mirrors and sparkly things are good too… and you’d do well to leave an offering for the Fae if you can. Inviting guests in and then not offering a cuppa is often considered rude when dealing with other humans, and in the same way, the Fae appreciate offerings too. Cookies, cakes, fruit, chocolate, or poetry, stories and dedicated acts… generally speaking, its nice to share, and something biodegradable which can be left safely outside for them to enjoy is always good. We’ll talk more about offerings later, I expect!

Use what feels right, those things that enchant you are what will work best. Make a beautiful space for enchantment in your life and see what happens!

***

I will be posting Pixie Kisses, small steps you can take to re-enchant your world, here, once a week for the next four months. Take them and play with them. Let the ideas inform your work and play. Find them under the category “Pixie Kisses”.

And, if you wish, you can join us on Facebook in the Enchanted Grove for sharing and discussions on the enchantment you find!

 

Pixie Kisses… revisited

The collected Pixie Kisses
The collected Pixie Kisses

Almost five years ago I created a series of weekly prompts for re-enchanting your life on the FeyHearted blog (now an archive of posts from that time) which I eventually collected into the book Pixie Kisses with additional pieces and illustrations. It feels like now is a good time to revisit those prompts. I wrote these whilst working in a town far from home and commuting five hours back and forth every other week. I was exhausted and unhappy and holding on to every piece of magic I could find… and although I knew that it was only temporary I did not know when it would be over. Five years later I live and work in the beautiful heart of Wales, supporting my blossoming creative career with a part time gentle retail job in a lovely art shop and a book contract signed this Imbolc! These Pixie Kisses are pieces of magic, woven each week then as a spell that would re-enchant my world, and shared in the hopes that they would help others too. You might be in a similar position now; tired, bored and unhappy. Anxious about the world and feeling powerless. Or you might be feeling good about things but still know there is more enchantment to be had. Either way, I offer these as a weekly blessing to you and for the world.

What follows was the original introduction, and I shall repost each of the Pixie Kisses on Fridays, in honour of the Nordic Goddess of Beauty, Magic and Strength, Freya.

Let the Pixie Kissing Begin!

Do you ever feel like there is magic at the edge of your life, but its easy to forget it? Its easy to slip into a space where you miss the wonder waiting at the edges of your world and you feel weighed down by the 9 till 5 of a workaday life, or 6 till midnight in some cases!

Have you ever felt so sure that there is more than this?

Or have you found those sprinkles of pixie dust? The flashes of wonder? The kisses of the fey? And do you want more?

I know that each and every one of us could benefit from more playtime, more magic, more wonder. Every one of us is a little happier when the world is enchanted.

I’m writing to show you that you are right. There is more than the mundane world, more than the grey. There is more to life than this. Life is full of wonder and magic and pixie kisses. And sometimes its dangerous too, and thats ok. Life is full, thats what makes it life.

Wonder at the light and the dark,

Feel the magic in your heart,

Break the grey world right apart,

And set the magic free!

Its time to re-enchant the world.

Do you want to get in touch with your Fey side? Or with the Fae themselves?

Do you want to bring Faeryland closer for yourselves, or for everyone?

Do you want to bring more magic and creativity into your life?

Do you want to face both the light and the dark and find wonder in both?

Or do you want all these things?

Whichever it is, the actions are the same, only the angle you look at the world changes. If you seek to know yourself, you’ll understand the world better. If you fill your life with delight, others around you will also be delighted. We are each a part of this world, by choosing happiness for yourself, you choose happiness for everyone. In choosing magic and wonder in your own life, you re-enchant the world, one pixie kiss at a time…

I will be posting Pixie Kisses, small steps you can take to re-enchant your world, here, once a week for the next four months. Take them and play with them. Let the ideas inform your work and play. Find them under the category “Pixie Kisses”.

And, if you wish, you can join us on Facebook in the Enchanted Grove for sharing and discussions on the enchantment you find!

Thoughts from the Fey – Introduction and Thought 1

Hello Feylings!

In celebration of my upcoming publication and continual love of all things faery, I have discovered the Record function on my phone! Long have I bemoaned the lack of a pagan voice on the ‘Thought for the Day’ type programs (or at least the ones I’ve encountered, if you’ve heard a pagan ‘Thought’ on a BBC channel, do let me know) and so I was partly inspired by those… but being pixie-led means I might be slightly less linear.

Anyhow! This post is to announce a new game. 1-2 minute musings on all things faery, from the Fey that is I (and, hopefully, guest feylings? Get in touch if you want to play!)

Starting now! Enjoy!

Brighid’s Blessings; the Spirit of Brighid Conference 2015

Last weekend, on the waves of Imbolc and the rising spring that washed away the snow, I travelled to Penarth, on the edge of Cardiff, to a Pagan conference dedicated to Brighid as the maiden goddess. It was fitting that she was there, as a Goddess of Inspiration, for the launching of The Goblin Circus as a show.

What is The Goblin Circus, you ask? It is a multi-platform artwork, a world, centring around a one-woman-many-goblin theatrical-storytelling circus show. Which is a mouthful, so I mostly think of it as just ‘The Circus’. It’s online home is growing here

My friend Wendy and I were escorted to the venue by her partner Mike, and we set up a table for her books and my art/books/oracles/stuff. The talks were fascinating, with topics ranging from the history of Wicca, Gnosticism, the Ogham and “Meeting the Great Anaesthetist” i.e. how we as pagans can live a good life and a good death.

We met lots of people, I spent most of the breaks re-learning how much I enjoy the company of five year old faeries, and then the talks were over and it was time for the room to clear (hunting for food, mostly) and the sound-checks to take over. I bounced on stage to make sure I knew what not to touch whilst I did my thing… and was greeted with friendly, supportive hugs (Damh the Bard had been informed that I was nervous!) and help getting my head around the mic! Blanche Rowan very kindly made sure the mic would be in a good place for me and told me she’d move things back round when they began so I didn’t need to worry about it (and wouldn’t accidentally drop something, not being used to tech on stage!) and I trundled off to find food and breathe very deeply…

7pm rolled around. Folks were settling down for the evening. I straightened my jacket, pulled on my top hat, and stepped into the wings.

The crowd were silent. A friend later described them as “spellbound”. All I could do was share the Circus and take a bow when I had done my fifteen minutes. It felt good,

It wasn’t until there was a break later in the evening that folk told me they’d enjoyed it and I could finally relax. (And it wasn’t until hours later that I realised… no-one had talked over it… I had their complete attention for the entire thing. Now that was an achievement! Also goes to show just how respectful that audience was 🙂 )

Then there was music and dancing! While I danced I let the energy rise, in honour of the gods, in honour of my work, in honour of the community of cauldron-born pagans who supported me, and in a blessing on all these things.

Blanche Rowan and Mike Gulston were enchanting and Damh the Bard was inspiring! He was both talented and kind, even inviting the five year old fairy onstage to dance while he played (her very first gig!) I escorted her into the spotlight and felt very honoured to be her back-up dancer.

Finally the evening wound to a close, we packed up and left, talking the entire journey home.

This was a wonderful space to launch the Circus as a performance, as a circus, and I feel very grateful for the opportunity to do so. This was organised as a one off event but I hope, very much, that it returns again next year. In the meantime, I’m looking to take the enchantment of the Goblin Circus on the road this summer… so we shall see what magic the Cauldron Born brings!

On that note, if you’d like the Circus to come to your event, do let me know 🙂

Learning from Fairy tales

In an article on finishing things (that final push is the hardest!) I came across a quote that encapsulated an idea which resonates with me so strongly:

“People who’ve never read fairy tales, the professor said, have a harder time coping in life than the people who have. They don’t have access to all the lessons that can be learned from the journeys through the dark woods and the kindness of strangers treated decently, the knowledge that can be gained from the company and example of Donkey skins and cats wearing boots and steadfast tin soldiers. I’m not talking about in-your-face lessons, but more subtle ones. The kinds that seep up from your subconscious and give you moral and humane structures for your life. That teaches you how to prevail, and trust.”

~ Charles De Lint, The Onion Girl

This is so true. When we read stories they seep into our minds, our emotions, our bodies. We journey through the woods with the lost child, we scale mountains with the hero, we fall and we get up. In doing so, our heart is broken open and the light gets in. We allow ourselves to experience those things which we might otherwise protect ourselves from, and rightly so. In doing so we gain experiences to draw on in our everyday life and we are transformed by these experiences.

Aristotle spoke of tragedy as providing Catharsis and we see this role played by media throughout our lives still but, even more than this, we absorb the tales we read, see, hear. We take them to heart and we act them out.

As a child I loved The Little Mermaid. I would spend hours in swimming pools or by the sea pretending to be a mermaid. (And I still feel most me with ruby-red hair!) It is perhaps no surprise that I lost all confidence in my ability to sing when I gave up swimming entirely because, for some inexplicable reason, I became terrified of deep water. I lost my voice when I left the sea. Without realising it, I played out Ariel’s tale in my own life. Healing that fear has coincided with regaining my singing voice. I began working on both these things almost simultaneously and, shortly afterwards, recognised the story I was living that was not mine.

I’ve written a new ending to this tale. A new ending for me. But this is how powerful stories are. We take them to heart. And we can choose the stories we engage in. We can choose to follow the tale of Taliesin’s transformation to deepen our knowledge and understanding, or the Selkie stories to find our way home, or Persephone’s tale to step into our power to change the world.

And so a new story unfolds. The Temple of Tales begins to form, a sacred place where stories touch our lives with magic and we rewrite our lives using the tales we choose.

Welcome to the Temple of Tales, presenting; Persephone and your Power.

Enter the Temple of Tales with Persephone...
Enter the Temple of Tales with Persephone…

Click on the gate above for more information and to discover the link to the giveaway of all four rituals!