Friday, 6 September 2013

September's harvest

September has started and the swallows have all but gone, as the wheel of the year turns, even the Skylarks have faded. The skies seem quieter without their cries.

The colours are changing, slowly swinging from the rich greens and jewel-bright flowers at the peak of the year into the warm, sun-beaten tones of late summer.

All around, harvest is in full swing and Nature's larder is well stocked this year. After three or four years of sparseness, the yew and elder trees are heavy with berries.
The rowan has sprays of scarlet fruit, each carefully maked with a pentagram at the base, added by the Earth Mother herself.

The branches of the apple trees are weighted and bent and the brambles, full of berries as black as scrying mirrors, each reflecting the late summer's sun like little jewels.

Cloudberries hide lower down in the undergrowth of forgotten path edges, perhaps to tempt out the smaller folk, the unseen Fae. Even the Wayfaring Tree has full boughs.

Acorns upon the oak are ready for bushy-tailed squirrels to steal and hide away for hungrier times.

Elsewhere, the sloes are slowly ripening but need winter frosts to bring out their flavour before adding to gin. For now, they soak up the sun.

The scent of wild marjoram is thick in the air, soothing and lifting. Hawthorn berries hang nearby, medicinally said to be a tonic for the heart and St. John's Wort, such an important part of Nature's medicine cupboard, is considered to repel all sorts of negativity - from driving out depression to offering gentle protection.

While the farmers gather their crops, the remaining flowers attract bees and hoverflies and the seedheads rattle in the breeze - impatient for the wheel to turn a little more for them to scatter.

"And as the seasons come and go, here's something you might like to know
... there are fairies everywhere under bushes, in the air, playing games
just like you play, singing through their busy day. So listen, touch, and
look around -- in the air and on the ground. And if you watch all nature's
things, you might just see a fairy's wing."


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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Hidden World of the Cloutie Spring

At the bend of a dry, stony riverbed close to the enigmatic Silbury Hill, an old willow bends her branches low. A path of large, flat boulders leads from the willow tree on one side of the riverbed to a grassy field on the other.

The willow grows in a natural dip in the ancient landscape, slightly hidden from the view of the world. Walking down the bank, the harsh noises of the modern world quieten and then hush as nature's sounds become more noticeable - the breath of the breeze, the song of birds.

 The ritual of hanging cloutie rags is still carried out at this sacred spot. At Swallowhead Springs, clouties are tied to a branch with a prayer, spell or words for healing. They flutter on the wind some new and bright, some old and faded, tattered at the edges ...

At wet times in the year, the grass underfoot becomes sodden and marshy. The springs burst forth from the rich earth and the riverbed becomes immersed, the cold waters surging, swirling around the boulder path and deep enough for bathing. The ground is transformed into the richest green with lush grass and large burdock leaves. Nourished, fertile land ... life force flowing ...

This year the ground remains dry, waiting for the rain ...

Monday, 20 June 2011

Ogham staves and figurines ...

 Native Celtic Woods - Real Ogham Staves
3 sets in stock and available for the special price of
£50 per set plus P+P
Grab them quickly, they won't be around for long! 
 You can find full details and the option of instant purchase here
 Genuine corresponding woods from sacred sites

Each set of Celtic Woods corresponding ogham staves has been individually handcrafted using the twenty traditional woods from sacred sites within ancient Wessex including:

 Stonehenge - water meadows - two sacred springs - barrow cemeteries - hillforts ancient woodland
Silbury Hill - Avebury
Every wood piece is selected with intuition and sustainably gathered with the utmost care and respect to both site and tree.
There have been plenty of new items added to the site since my last post ... runes, ogham staves, dream amulets, pendants and some very, very special pottery altar figures. You can find all the latest items here

The altar pieces are all crafted from hand-dug clay which has been mixed with sand from Glastonbury Tor. Each item is perfectly suited to magickal use as an altar statue, tealight holder or loose incense burner. The pieces are shaped by hand, fired using time-honoured techniques and, finally, they are finished with natural earth pigments. 

Above: Wolf Spirit God altar piece
Below: Horned God altar piece 

Above: Goddess altar piece
Below: Moon gazing Hare altar piece - Bring the ancient spirit of the Hare to your altar with this beautiful altar piece. She is crafted from hand-dug local clay which has been mixed with sand from Glastonbury Tor. The Hare was held sacred by the Celts and has long been associated with fertility, divination and, perhaps most strongly, with the moon.

These altar pieces, and more, are listed here ... take a look :~) 
 and finally ...

Have a wonderful Solstice!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Owl in the woods .. Part 2

Just a quick owly update though there isn't alot to report. I spoke to the vet a little while ago. He said they x-rayed Spirit's wing this morning and found that there isn't a break, just trauma. He's telephoned an owl centre to ask their advice but they haven't returned his call ... I suggested the best place may be the Hawk Conservancy because they have a specialist bird hospital there and he said he may go to them next. He also added that she's eating well still :~)

I'll phone back towards the end of the week to see if there's any more news. Fingers crossed .. 

Monday, 16 May 2011

Owl in the woods ...

Last week we went foraging in the woods. As we reached the garlic-scented ramsons patch, a clattering and fluttering nearby drew our attention and we saw a large bird trying desperately to fly away. She couldn't ... she merely flapped and ran ...

Andy carefully caught her, cupped her in his hands and we saw that she was a beautiful tawny owl with eyes huge and black, like scrying pools. Such a magickal presence, even with her obvious injury. She turned her head slowly this way and that, carefully surveying us and just a glance was enough to still us and fill us with awe.

Clearly, this owl wouldn't survive a night in the woods and she would make easy pickings for a hungry fox with a litter of cubs to feed. We took her home. On the way, Andy showed me where the owl's talons had dug deep into his hand, down to the bone. It was bruised and bloody. "That owl's certainly got spirit!" he joked ... and that was it, we knew her name was Spirit.

We wondered aloud about what to do - contact a vet, or an animal sanctuary. One look at this poor bird though and we guessed they wouldn't give her a chance so we chose to try to help her ourselves. I must admit that as we placed her in a cardboard box with a towel for comfort, neither of us really expected her to survive the night. Advised by web pages, we fed her thin strips of liver dipped in water and hoped for the best. Surprisingly, in the morning she was very much alive and a little brighter so we fed her a little more, allowed her to rest and then gently wrapped her in a towel to look at her damaged wing.

Spirit's wing didn't appear to be broken, or even a particularly new wound. It looked like it had been struck against an object, a tree perhaps and it had badly damaged the joint. She felt thin beneath her tawny feathers. We bought frozen mice from the pet shop, put up a large, old dog crate stored away and made her as comfortable as we could with perches from some of the many woodland branches we have stored away. I joked that I'd never had a box of mice in the freezer before ... but then I'd never had an owl living in the dining room either!

This beautiful owl, this wild creature of the woods was so calm and laid back about our presence that we wondered if, perhaps, she was tame and brought up in captivity. Maybe her wing became damaged and her "owner" dumped her? As each day passed though, she became a little stronger and more alert. She chose to feed only if it was Andy who held the mouse out to her and even then, only if they were alone. She perched on his hand and allowed him to treat her wing as best as he could. If she became annoyed, she warned him off by clacking her beak, a distinctive clicking sound.

Over the last few days, Spirit has become slowly stronger. The original wounds that Andy had from handling her were joined by scratches and cuts where she skipped up his arm. We read about owls attacking people and tearing their eyes out with their talons and knew it was true ... we could feel her strength. We fed Spirit and let her rest, let her gain her strength ... as she did, she became more feisty, more aggressive and wilder ... more as she should be rather than docile and placid.

Today we made the decision that it was time to pass her on to someone who we hope can take her the next step of the way. We phoned the RSPCA and they told us to take her to our local vet for treatment. I must say, the vet didn't seem at all keen to take her which is worrying ... however, they're apparently planning to x-ray her wing tomorrow and when we left they were contacting the local Hawk Conservancy so we're keeping our fingers crossed.

So, that's the story of Spirit, the owl who blessed us with her company for such a short space of time. I'm lighting a candle tonight to send her healing wishes and to hope that the Hawk conservancy are able to help her. 

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Two very special wands ...

As promised, I've added the two wands which were crafted on the Spring Equinox, also known as Eostre or Ostara.
Above and below: Willow Ostara ogham wand which is crafted from naturally twisted willow wood, a rarity! It is carved with the ogham alphabet, following the twist and has an Ostara Sun added to the handle celebrating the new life at this time of year.

Above: Detail of the Willow Ostara ogham wand
Below and also, the top picture of this blog post: Wild Honeysuckle Ostara wand which is crafted from wild honeysuckle wood which has a naturally deeper coloured core which is exposed in natural patterns. The honeysuckle was gathered and crafted on the Spring Equinox, also known as Eostre or Ostara, and the resulting wand feels full of that wild spirit so noticeable in Nature at the time.

Plenty more new items left to come ... :~)

Monday, 28 March 2011

Eostre greening and woodland walks

What a beautiful week Eostre has been! We were blessed with sun, warmth and bird song :~) As you can see, Andy has been busy crafting ... so busy in fact that I'm having trouble keeping up with the photographing and listing! I've still got another couple of wands to be added in that wonderful, wild style that seems everywhere at the moment ... so full of energy! There are also some Stonehenge Wayfaring Tree staves in a birch bark box, several other stave sets and numerous pendants all waiting their turn to be added.

The pendant above is Bran's Raven. Crafted from warm-coloured alder wood, it marries three traditional associations: alder wood which is connected with the Celtic god Bran and Bran's totem bird, the raven. Bran is an interesting character with links to the Tower of London and the Ravens who live there. You can find some excellent information out about him here.

Another pendant which is newly listed is the Sunwheel shown above, carved from the deepest black Celtic bog oak. You can find both pendants listed here, each with an instant purchase option.

Above is a wand, carved on the equinox and celebrating the sun ...
Walks in Eostre week found such beautiful sights ... Silverweed and lichen ...
... primroses too, all bathed in the warmth of spring. It's been unseasonably warm in England this week and it's a welcome end to the winter.

Above is the finished Eostre ogham wand which will hopefully be listed on the website later on this week. Below, you can see the pussy willow looking so soft against the blue sky.

Softest moss for Faery beds and our faithful big hound the colour of dried Winter grasses ...

... little hound with her spotty bandana, sniffling and snuffling and wagging her tail ...

... ladybirds, venturing out after their winter hibernation and hover flies on primroses ...

... clumps of violets and even more primroses, dotted across the whole of the woodland floor.

Everywhere at the moment, new leaves are breaking out in so many different shades of green. Greening, greening, everywhere ... bliss! :~)