Category Archives: Vanessa Anderson

Practical Magic – 102 Soup for the Soul

Written by Vanessa Anderson

The usual conjuring and imagery of Witches, witchcraft and spell work often centre around a cauldron bubbling on a hot fire – hubble and bubble – while a cackling crone stirs the pot, muttering softly to herself as she dollops and sprinkles her tinctures and herbs. Each component is selected for cause and effect, a concoction of sorts meant for suture and salve, whether corporeal, ethereal or spiritual. An act of intent, for which ailment affects.

I previously appealed to you, to remember your magic yet I was not quite sure yet which element of practical magic should follow my last instalment for I truly believe that everything we do, with intent, is magic. One practice, in particular, keeps circling my mind – cooking, brewing, concocting, creating with love and intent, spelling.

In my piece titled – When the world tries to break someone you love – I wrote about my nephew, he is sick, very sick. Amid the chaos of disrupted routine and emotional upheaval, one simple, wholesome act pulls together the red thread that binds us all – cooking. It is this element because it is so raw in our existence that I want to reflect on it in this piece.

The ill, like the stone thrown across a pond, cause a ripple and those within the concentric circles ebbing outward – hold the space of the one within. We take care of them, holding them together so that they can hold those within.

Through all the ages of man, in every culture across the spiritual realm, we have sustained each other, held these circles together and gathered others towards us, with food. When we celebrate, we gather and share food, when we mourn, we gather and share food, when others are ill, we do what comes naturally – we cook, we gather and we share food.

We do this to hold the line when others are raging against a battle and, if we are lucky, we may have others to hold the line should we find ourselves in a battle that threatens to consume us.

When we were little, and we felt sick, we rested and our mothers made us soup to eat. When family and friends are sick, we offer to make their food, and we sustain them when they do have not the strength to do so themselves. It is a practice (in magic) done naturally, with intent. We give of our time and our energy towards others, the ingredients may be wholesome and nourishing, but that is not all on offer.

We infuse love, a knowing and understanding of the space others are in. It is an act of kindness where energy, like magic flows naturally. It is not odd or strange that the foods we prepare are often, exactly what the body needs to support it. It is knowledge within, sometimes we forget, sometimes the universe reminds us.

Food, good food, is energy. When it is prepared with love and intent – whether twirling round a cauldron or a pot on the stove – it is magic.

All magic is, is practice with intent.

We give our thought to the idea that someone else is in need. We give thought to the knowing that they have other things on their mind. No matter whether they are the one who is ill, or the one taking care of the ill, or those holding the space between the lines and the circles – our thoughts, through simple practices, like making food, become the tincture that offers suture and salve to the wounds of the embattled.

Remember that you are magic.

Test the theory, remember the last meal you made now remember the way you approached preparing it, what you infused within, how you and others felt eating it? Was it merely sustenance for an empty stomach, or did it nourish and nurture more than just body?

Last thought: if you are what you eat, then should you not take back the power over how it is prepared?

Practical magic – 101

WILLOW, Warwick Davis, Billy Barty, 1988, (c) MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

Written by Vanessa Anderson

In a world that teeters closer and closer towards obsession over technological marvel, until one day you look back and realise that EVERYTHING has over time been replaced – become artificial, from the conversations we have to the food we eat.

I have written often about returning to self, remembering, and collecting ourselves back towards ourselves. Sometimes we all need a little practical magic to help us get there.

I am going to start with an anecdote from one of my favourite movies, Willow. If you participated in the Holistic Fayre’s birthday competitions you may have read this snippet from me already.

In the movie, the protagonist Willow Ufgood, a Nelwyn with magical talents presents himself as a would-be apprentice to the town Magician, Aldwin – at the Planing festival. He and two others are asked to identify which finger holds the power to control the world. Willow wanted to point to his own finger, but he didn’t trust his intuition.

Anyone who has watched the movie will know, for those who have not yet, spoiler alert – his own finger was the correct response, he held the power.

We hold the power!
You have the power!

The world we live in will have us forget that, because people who believe in themselves are harder to hoodwink with sparkling baubles, bright lights and fakery. True magic does not deceive, that is performance for it implies a performer and an audience.

True magic is within us all, no performance, no act – we have simply forgotten. In the rushed existence of our lives, filled with work, money, entertainment, fulfilment, expectations, judgements, distractions and challenges – there is little time.

It is time, it is now when we must recall. We speak of technology as an advancement, but those before us had knowledge, knowledge we have unknowingly let go, little bit by little bit. Its loss felt only now – when we have started to realise what we have given up in an attempt to get our time back.

Artificial intelligence is sold as the opportunity to free up our time, work smarter, not harder – but in a world of information we have become less, truth and knowledge diluted – we spend our free time being entertained by…. Artificial intelligence. We have given our power for a freedom in bondage.

Higher petrol prices, failing energy grids, job losses, global pandemics. The world is in desperate need of a little magic. In fact, it needs a lot – and it starts with each of us.

I am not going to claim that these are all steps in a programme to reclaim that magic. I am going to help you remember that magic is in the details, it is in the little things we do, every day and that every day, in every way that you are mindful in your intent you practice your magic.

It begins with you: Hair is magic – every cell in its make-up is you, when you cut your hair, you release energy. Like the rings in a tree trunk, those cells tell a story of what we have experienced. The sudden desire to cut ones hair is often a reflection of the need to change. We feel different when we give attention to certain parts of ourselves.

Our hair, connected to our crown chakra is an important link to who we are. In many cultures, the way that hair is worn – or treated is an embodiment of spiritual nature of that culture. Women braiding each other’s hair is not only a grooming practice, but a kinship ritual and possibly why we feel so oddly free to share things with our hairdresser we would normally keep to ourselves.

In our rushed world, we hasten through this grooming ritual, without the ritual. Intend to honour yourself more. Intent is magic. It is the energy we invest in everything we do. Ironically metered to ourselves and yet given so freely to other matters. Reclaim that magic, in small ways, every day, start with hair, brush it, braid it, love it.

I make a joke of the fact that most of what I knit or crochet ends up having a strand of hair woven into it, unintentionally of course, but unknowingly, everything I make has a part of me, part of my magic, woven in.

Practically, magic is everywhere, we just have to allow it in and if you will allow me, I would like to author some more practical magic tips in the coming months.

Remember, you are magic.

When the World Tries to Break Someone You Love

Written by Vanessa Anderson

I promised someone a while ago that I would pen this article. It’s telling delayed because I truly did not know where to start. For I, could not possibly give you, the reader – an accurate account of the experience being that I was not an active participant in the story.

Then it occurred to me that reason and accuracy have no part in its telling. For reason you see is neither fair nor factual – not in this account, and accuracy, well, being accurate is neither here nor there when it comes to watching someone you love suffer.

And you, you may be a combatant observer of suffering in your own world, unsure of when, where or how to shine your light so that those who suffer can find a way back to themselves. It may well be that this is for you, as much as for me, is a tale worth knowing.

When you can neither see, touch nor hear the cause of someone’s distress – but rather you sense it like an oozing web that threatens to engulf, cover, hold them down and smother them. You see it hiding in the shadows, fearful of the light, you sense it is sneaky and deceitful, it changes moods and appetites, it changes personality and sleep is a constant arms-length away. Yet you cant name it, you cant calm it and it feels so unfair, so unjust and misplaced.

When a diagnosis is a prying, meddling, scab-picking torment, like a gnawing woodworm carving holes into their being and after all of that it offers little relief or lasting solution. When all you want to do is rage against it, cast it back and banish it from their world and all you can do is wish for them a quiet calm so they can come back to themselves, even for a moment.

Around 7 months ago, you turned 21 years old – I was there the day you were born and named as the ‘first born son’ derived from the Siouan (Sioux) language, Chaska – brave and strong. Names are words, words spelled – spelling is a casting of spells – the name is certainly fitting.

You have shown us a world we may never have known had you not been born brave enough to bare the seizures that take you from us at times.

The malfeasance of time and practice aside, you question ‘why you’?

No answer came, it likely never will.

You turned 21 years old last October and for the longest of days and the endless nights to follow – you got lost in darkness, cloaked in chaos and anger, locked behind a shroud most could not see past, let alone unveil in the hope to set you free.

You became opaque and we became obtuse. We could only flutter around like moths to a flame, trying to catch the light as it tried to escape from within you, like flour through a sieve, inane, useless.

You ask, ‘why you’ – I can’t fathom a reason or rhyme, I couldn’t come close.

Yet through it all, what resonates sounds something like ‘Thank God’ – whatever that means for you. You are because we are – your family, by soul or by blood.

You are recognised, you are loved, you are a light the dark tried to blow out – it didn’t know how many WE were, that fluttered and floundered around your flame, catching your light and sending it back to you. It didn’t know that we, in soul and blood – would hold the space for your family to work their magic around you.

It didn’t know how strong your Mother was or how fiercely she would fight.

It didn’t know the army of light she had seeded or the determination of their intent. You are because we are – here for you.

The world tried to break you, now show it what you have become.

The world tried to break you, now we know what we are capable of.

We are all here because others were here for us. Others before us, others after us, others because of us.

Where the Wanderer Seeks Wonder

Written by Vanessa Anderson

Not all who wander are lost” these are the words lapping the shores of my mind as I write, the message that I must convey, so I am going to borrow these words, these spells from Tolkien’s poem. Written for the Fellowship of the Ring – it talks of a return to power, however it relates to so much more.

We are all wanderers, if not of the land and distance, then belonging and understanding, but we wander nonetheless, or we wonder – no less. But, “not all who wander are lost”.

Some have passed, their time gone
Some have left, to leave behind.
Some have set off to find
Some have wandered and found wonder!

What we seek is particularly unique and inherently personal and what resonates for one may not resonate for others, but when it does, we gather in numbers, we gather our tribe and “from the ashes a fire shall be woken”.

In this made up, mixed up and tossed out world, a sacred journey often requires a shedding of the superfluous. It is in such times we now find ourselves and in precisely such time, we must find ourselves. The journey is often a step backwards, “deep roots are not reached by the frost.

The more we advance, in technology and medicine the further away from source we become, separate and further from the wandered path, like a spiral on a trajectory from core to outer rim and infinity, but we must never sever our self from core, from our roots.

Our roots keep us grounded, feet on soil, spirit to Gaia (Mother Earth), mother to soul, soul in ashes, “From the ashes a fire shall be woken, “ the circle of life. In the whorl, recognise a return to self, “A light from the shadows shall spring” the unseen, seen.

The way of Wicca, in case you forgot, reminds you that YOU ARE A MAGICAL, MYSTICAL BEING OF LIGHT AND LOVE!

We sew and sow, we incant and we speak into being, we create and craft with intent because – energy flows where intent goes.

We learn lines, form and shape – words and symbols that create meaning. We use this collection of meanings to express ourselves, our will and desires, incantation. That is why crafting words is called spelling.

Our hands compose, they hold and nurture, feel and form, heal and craft, sew and sow, speak and flow, our hands remember – and the magic flows. Our thoughts feed purpose and for a brief moment, the world around us returns to calm.

Not all who wander are lost, but all who look in wonder will find it.

Among the faerie stones and mossy knoll, the pebbled path and forest fold, rap the door and mind the cat, the kettle’s on, our interest rapt, for love of truth our stories told – our sovereign gift is bright and bold. That whisper soft and gentle gust that brought you here because here you must. Curled at your feet, like purr and fluff, remember now, remember how – you must.

Your hands, your mind, your words – energy flows where intent goes.

We are all wanderers and wonder we must.
All that is gold does not glitter;
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be King.
JRR Tolkien

A Tincture for the Soul

Written by Vanessa Anderson

There are times when we all feel like we want the world to stop for a moment, just so we can breathe again, think again, feel again – without watching the clock, without sacrifice, without trade-offs. For whatever purpose this feeling imposes – listen.

It is but a symptom for something far greater and as much as medication treats a symptom, wishing the world would stop for just one moment is but a plaster covering a deeper wound. Yes, the world it seems is spiralling, for some, it is a deeper, darker more dangerous world – but they are yet unaware of its powers, for others, it is a lifting of a veil, equally deep, just as dark, but one where there is light, love and a world I cannot even begin to describe.

You will know it only by the feeling, because all the words you know, could not yet possibly describe that place we have forgotten, home.

So, we are told to hold on.

Hold on, it is in the words, hold – but to what do we hold on, too?

I went to be last night, perchance to sleep, but a dreadful migraine had me trying to hold my body still for the throbbing behind my eyes. I remembered a pressure point below my eyebrows and fell asleep head in hand, a reprieve for a moment until in rest my hands fell and my body moved. It was a fitful sleep.

When I woke, I remembered to hold the pressure point between my thumb and forefinger. It was an odd recollection, for at the time I mused how little we touch our own hands, in comfort. How little we touch our self in love, yet this is how we hold on. This is how we hold the world back for a moment. This is how we escape the vortex that will have us seeking reprieve.

We hold on.

We remember that we actually hold our thoughts in our hands.

When last did you hold your own hand in comfort, whispering, I am here for you.

When last did you touch your face and speak of your beauty and your grace?

When last did you grasp your feet in your hands and hold yourself together – giving and receiving in an infinite loop.

When last did you rest your hands upon your head and feel the wisdom beneath your fingers?

When last did you lay your hands upon your chest and feel the rise and fall of your breathe?

When last did you speak to your soul as if it was the most beautiful being in existence?

You are a being of light; a healer in your own right. I read something this week, it said, ‘I don’t have any magic to give you. I am here to lead you back to a place where you can remember your own”. I wish I had written that myself, but I couldn’t claim the credit. It did remind me though, that I am most capable.

I am here to remind you.

As I write this, I am sitting under a tree, beneath the chattering of birds, white splashes of colour against a blue sky. I sit beside the bees working their magic among the flower blooms in my garden, my lanky ginger familiar (Oliver Bean, Olliepollie, the Oluspolus –he of many names) washing himself on my right – my shadow gauge who has held vigil during my blue phase. As I sit here crafting this message I am reminded that I must practice what I preach.

I will make time to dry my hair in the sunshine, absorb the warmth and splendour of the day. I will make time to feel heat of the day and the promise of growth beneath my toes. I will sit still, feet in hand honouring the sacred circle, honouring my power.

When ‘I’ is done, when you are ready, pull up a pillow, let’s hold hands, we will wait for others and in the meantime, we will hold on!

Macro vs Micro – Global Dust Bunnies

written by Vanessa Anderson

While I was vacuuming dust bunnies, fur and lost hairs from the corners of my in my home – it suddenly struck me. I was contemplating a particular situation the details of which are both secular and complex, an inner turmoil with roots grounded in exclusion and isolation and something I have been researching bubbled to the surface. It is the concept of the micro and the macro. In the natural order of things there is an organisation of things, a sacred geometry that appears in the micro and mirrored in the macro. (There is a fantastic series called “What on Earth Happened” that offers some great examples of this in our world today – still on Youtube).

For example – and it is a very literal example for a reason. The hexagonal compound eye structure of bees (micro) mirrored in the honeycomb structures (macro) within their hives.

Does the how of how they see, impact the how of how they build?

Interesting thought – but I digress.

Micro and macro, the small and the big of it. Very often the world we live in mirrors the world within. Which brings me back on point.

The world (macro) we are living in now is a hive (see what I did there?) of activity that in recent years has been driven to almost a frenzy. Panic, fear, dissent, confusion, chaos…

Inside us all (micro) we find ourselves recently alone, distrustful and confused.

So in my contemplation around narcissism and abusive relationships, it occurred to me that what we are currently witnessing around the world at the moment is an absorption of the macro sphere (the global reactions and game plans that have been set in motion) into our micro sphere (our personal relationships and belief systems). In my experience, this is where I fear many people are currently, unknowingly, victims of narcissistic relationships both in personal relationships, friendships etc and likewise with their organisations and yes, even their governments.

So what exactly led me to this conclusion, well here are some typical manipulation tactics that can affect our belief systems. I am leading you on a though trail directed at our current situation, simply because I believe many may not even be aware of the parallels. It remains yours to dissect.

• In an attempt to persuade you to a particular position, the manipulator will bring in a mutually supportive participant. This person agrees with me, therefore I must be right. (Triangulation)

Examples: Trust the Science (Science is universally accepted, – no argument there – if I speak for Science you cannot question me, to question me is to question Science)

• Also known as the Mandela effect, we tend to remember things in a slightly different way. This leads us to doubt what actually happened and therefore accept a different truth.

Example: They never said that it would stop transmission or prevent serious illness…….

Yes, yes in fact they did. There are countless documented interviews and even marketing information stating these very promises. (Gaslighting)

• As the world sat in terror, awaiting an apocalyptic wave of disease, we got offered a life raft, a solution. A solution that proved inadequate and when its failure was apparent and it started to lose its following as fast as it was losing its efficacy, we were introduced to;

For example: Boosters. Come back, let us try again, we promise it will be different this time. (Hoovering)

• In a world of disconnect, where wars are rife and hatred feeds like an impoverished famine, the world awakens and scores of people rise to reclaim their sovereignty. United for humanity, there is a humble surge of love, a fever broken that should render us all in awe.

Yet is it met with silence. A calculated, methodical and deafening silence that is meant to perpetuate your feelings of isolation. (The silent treatment)

• Don’t look up, I am your friend not your enemy, look around you to the others, the ones who don’t comply, the ones who question. They are dangerous, they spread dis ease for the common goal. (Scapegoating)

• Hesitancy, a slow uptake, riddled with scepticism for a golden solution. Your reluctance to embrace the Science will result in the failure of our efforts. (Passive aggression)

Do any of these things feel familiar to you?

Like a dull aching sensation you have grown accustomed to, a security blanket you cannot shake and yet you are starting to feel confronted with at every turn.

Make no mistake the impact of the macro on our micro and vice versa.

In our designed isolation grew the seeds that have driven dissent into our conversations. Let us break that silence.

The best of us, the empathic, trusting, honest people became ardent supporters of the macro, reinforcing its message, watering the seeds, nurturing the dissent and internalised the war – unknowing victims.

Let us break that silence. What are we afraid of, if we have been wrong I pray it is not too late to take a different path.

I never anticipated the weighty task of housekeeping. A dust bunny in a corner of my mind drawn into the tubular vacuum. Discard it as you will or offer it a place to mull in a dark void for a while until it makes sense to you.


Written by Vanessa Anderson

I am overdue on a few articles – this seems to be how I roll on any number of things these days. On this one, in particular, though I have a valid reason (so they all say!).

I wanted it to be light and positive and truth be told, I just wasn’t feeling any of those things. This probably echoes true for many people these days. If it resonates with you, then I want to reassure you and encourage you to honour your feelings, they have a message or a lesson to share. Sometimes the journey they take us on is painful and hard to bear, remember to breathe.

When the world outside our consciousness feels too heavy to bear, from pain or anxiety and even through anger, we tend to hold our breath as if awaiting on external forces to reset the situation. In that moment, without conscious thought we are actually holding on, holding in, and holding fast to the very thing that is holding us back.

Our connection has been brutally severed over time, sped up through recent events and I am convinced that the heavy feeling we are experiencing has its root cause wrapped tightly around the disconnect, isolation and dissent that has been allowed to flourish lately.

In a time before…I won’t set the date but let’s put it at the time before humanity cultivated crops and settled cattle. A great civilization is under construction. There are many hands and innovation is in its infancy. It falls on the backs of many to lift, carry and with great care place the cornerstones of humanity’s future. Under that care, a hand slips and the bedrock breaks, a crumbling remnant falls on the shoulders of one person and they struggle to keep their balance and hold the line. They become separated, disconnected and for a fleeting moment they feel alone – the weight of eternity on their shoulders. Under that weight they cannot see the impact of the disaster on the others, they are unaware that others too have faltered, broken apart still cradling their burdens – weighted further by their sense of responsibility to the whole.

This is where we are now at – seemingly alone – still trying to cradle the greater share of the burden because of our responsibility to the whole. This is why the world seems heavy, too much to bear and why the light feels so dim.

I believe… in helping hands.

If you are a fan of fantasy, then perhaps you know of the movie The Labyrinth. If so, you know all about helping hands – they are found in some of the least likely of places – all you have to do is ask and believe.

I implore you to believe.

Underneath the masks and the fear is isolation and disconnection.

We are a whole in disconnect, particles of light slowly dimming in the swirling outer whorls of a momentum not of our creation. We still feel the responsibility to carry the burden of the whole, feeling isolated. But and it’s a big BUT – there are others, there always have been, we have independently grown resilient and stronger.

It is no wonder, no fault and no mistake that we are who we are and where we are right now. We must simply decide and move forward with clarity and confidence.

I believe, like neurons rewiring and reconnecting, we are reaching out, finding help in unlikely places. We are made of light, we sparkle and shine, we glow when we are loved, connected and in balance, our foothold may have been shaken but in unity we find a sure grasp.

It is time to grow our humanity.

Beltane Blessings

Written by Vanessa Anderson

The rhythm of life, our life, woven closely to the changing of the seasons. The warm glow of a summer harvest nurtures the body while stoic the preparations of a cold winter night feeds the soul with the promise of things to come. The Wheel of life, forever turning, reliable, predictable, a comfort in the ever-changing landscape across the journey of time. It is no wonder our ancestors placed great importance on the rising of the sun, the phases of the moon and the constant symphony of stars dancing their way across our night sky.

We are both One and a part of the universe, our performance, protagonist or heroine, but a fleeting twinkle in a grander saga.

In the comfort of the coming season we give thanks for what has past while embracing the fruits of our intention set to come. The thread of all connection is present in every culture and across all spiritual teachings. We are nothing without the Earth we walk on, the Air we breathe, the Water that holds us and the Fire that ignites.

Many are returning to this knowledge as the crescendo of dis ease around us reveals itself as more and more at odds with itself. That slow and steady rhythm of life invites us back to a time when we could feel the inhale and exhale of the Earth as it prepares itself for another season, another cycle. Where we released our own breathe and with it thanks for the passing of the old, and renewed our welcome for the coming months. Come take a walk with us down the garden path, and remember.

Borrowed tradition had the whole world celebrating Halloween at the end of October, but as the summer solstice* tiptoes closer here in the Southern Hemisphere, the earth’s calling does not align. Halloween, or Hallowed Eve is in fact an adaptation of the Pagan, Celtic or Wiccan celebration of Samhain (pronounced Saah-win or Saah-ween) and brings in the new year. It coincides with the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. As we are woke from our winter slumber down here in the South, you can understand the confusion. No, Samhain is celebrated, in the Southern Hemisphere as the ground cools and the promise of rain approaches, 1 May. So as the ghoul-faced spectres rapt at our doors for treats or tricks what lore prevails and was it pure?

The wheel of life represents the cycles or rhythms of nature, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, for every season, an equal and opposite season, a yin yang = balance. If Samhain is winter, the end to the harvest, the gathering inward, then Beltane is summer, the time to sow, to venture outward.

Whether you are Wiccan or no, you may recognise and resonate with some of the ways that welcome this season, that honour this phase in the wheel of life.

Like Samhain, Beltane, the celebration just past is fire festival. Fire creates, it gives life, it ignites passion and creativity. The word Beltane comes from the Celtic God Bel which means the Bright one, and the Gaelic word ‘teine” meaning fire and together they are Bright Fire.

Fire is an essence of life, the protagonist in our expanse across the globe, keeping a blazing coal to carry fire allowed man to conquer the cold and reach new land, it can provide warmth and destroy life. We hold fire in every tradition to light candles, to celebrate life and death. On Beltane Eve the change of season is marked by putting out all hearth fires and candles, to relight them in the morning from the flames of the communal bonfire.

Whether you handed out candy to neighbourhood children donning menacing disguises or whether you are searching for a connection back to the patterns of life, there are many other ways to celebrate Beltane.

When winter sheds its gloomy coat we often feel the need to dust off our spaces, open the windows, let in the fresh air, we call it spring-cleaning. We forget that we are also tinged by old energies and negative patterns. Honour your sacred space and person with a sacred cleansing with a sage smudge or incense.

1 September in the Southern Hemisphere is celebrated as Spring day, synonymous with flowers. Honour the season, gift back to nature by planting flowers for the bees who help to pollenate your other edible plants, remember, the cycle of life, wear a flower in your hair for beauty compliments beauty.

Let the slow rhythmic pulse of the earth guide you back to yourself, with a slow breath in activating your heart chakra (green) towards compassion, understanding and balance. A balanced heart chakra can more easily gift joy and kindness to others.

The wheel of life has eight days of honour closely tied to ebbing seasons of the year. Walk on the earth, within its forests or on its shores, hear its sounds, breathe its smells, feel its pulse. Collect the gifts it offers along your walk, these can be feathers, flowers, stones, bark. Give thanks and remember to return a gift, water the ground, plant a seed, speak to the earth. Connect with each season by spending time in nature.

Blood is not the only tie that binds. Love, friendship and soul connections, our soul tribe come and go, we honour a forever connection with hand fasting, a tradition that is often observed in Gaelic weddings where a couples hands are bound together with a braid as they recite vows. Be you blood, friend, tribe or love that binds, fasted hands are vowed to last.

Each season invokes its own memories and feelings, sounds and smells and Beltane or the calling summer was a treat for a palette, earthen browns and fleshy greens, romantic pinks and lunar whites warmed by the gentle solar yellows. Be you Wicca or no, if you have enjoyed this walk down the garden path we challenge you to celebrate with us. We will be sharing information on the Wheel of life as the months proceed. Come find us next at Litha, ( 21 December 2021 in the Southern Hemisphere) the Summer Soltice to learn more about Wiccan celebrating life, love and happiness.

So mote it be

Ebb and Flow of Life by Vanessa Anderson

In the beginning we were connected, rooted within communities in which every member of that society had a purpose, a place and a gift it honoured its collective membership with. There were the protectors, the teachers, the gatherers and the collectors of truth and all were welcomed at the feast and each had their story to share, the old and the young alike and those who wove words threaded a fabric that clothed their past and guided the path to come.

There were deep roots to source through the healers, the medicine men and women ordained through insight to help others recognise the light in themselves. There was a knowing, a trusting in the accounts that were to follow as well as those had had passed, an understanding of the role that each had to play and all of this had us firmly rooted, connected and within reach of each other, an interdependent web of creation that ebbed and flowed in a thriving symbiosis.

Over the eons that stretched from the beginning, the threads grew taut, some held, some snapped and recoiled, spiralling helixes in the network of time and we were left with memories held only in the flight of our dreamtimes.

Over this time that we all now find ourselves, the implausible peculiarity that has catapulted our already fragile connection to source – I find myself in a foreign place, longing for that familial embrace. It is that dread of finding yourself in the centre of a room, it is grand with high ceilings and gilded mouldings and everywhere people in conversation both gaudy and muted, familiar in faces and frequent embraces, I should feel acquainted, a consort, included. Instead I am found to be alone in a room full of people.

I flit and I flutter from one to another, my voice is as soft as the skirt on a flower but inside my head it’s a thundering bellow. A stumble of words over numbers and matters that matter in truth neither value nor substance, we dance and we flirt around what really matters and discount our senses and truth on the matters.

So far from the ebb and the flow we have travelled that the stars that once lit our night sky have faded from memory. In my dreamtime I sit beneath those distant stars, held warm by the fabric of our story tellers, the teachers, the healers and the warriors. I smell the fires, see the flames and dance with the wisdoms of the ancients.

I long to meet you there, where you and I do not need to feel alone in a room full of people, where I see you, and you see me, to connect with the familial that is who we really are, for you and I are not alone under the stars, we are the stars, a twinkling pin hole in a dark sky, a gathering light in a darkness whose time has come to pass.

Come, sit with me and let us talk – free of ego, an unrevised, unedited and unapologetic conference of truth and if words do not come, let us sit together in silence, in the quiet that recognises the ‘us’ in each other. Let’s start a conversation under the night sky, let us be the spark in each other.

Handmade by Vanessa Anderson

I recently read something that piqued my interest. It was posted on a social media platform and it spoke of a challenge that is facing many people at this time, a direct result of attempts by government, not just ours but across the world – to flatten the COVID-19 curve that has left many individuals and families divest of economic opportunity, or to put it more bluntly, the ability to put food on the table and shelter at our backs.

The post spoke of a trade in services, a bartering of skills, not a you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, scenario but an honest, stripped bare and exposed, this is what I can create, grow, fix, build vs this is what I need, that I cannot build, fix, grow or create myself – how can we help each other thrive during this time when we can no longer earn what we need to survive.

Money, well that’s a topic for another day, but let me just leave this thought here because it speaks to the point. We live in a world where our value has become something determined by certain skill sets and some of the highest valued skills sets having nothing to do with the ability to create, fix or build things with our own hands but more to do with managing or controlling those who can.

But here we are in 2020 living in world where for the moment, industry has ground to a halt, food production is at risk, companies are closing and people are losing their jobs, their income and their freedoms. Some of those high value skills are scrambling for footholds in the cobwebs of yesterday as we are stripped back to the bare essentials.

And let us be brutally honest with ourselves here, because if we aren’t, we are fooling no one but ourselves. Most of us have forgotten how to weave a fabric of existence that does not rely on money, forgotten the feel of soil under our nails, how steady a root holds its ground or the pleasure of nurturing a food source from seed to harvest. Our fingertips caress tiled letters on a keyboard, fashioning reality from the microchips and fragments of quartz embedded in technology instead of connecting to the tangible textiles of our existence. We have forgotten how to be self-sufficient, we have become the soft underbelly of complacency. It is these thoughts that have sat and debated with me over the past few days, days I too have spent tapping tiled letters, grappling problems and searching for solutions, all the while feeling the cold numb my fingers.

There is scientific evidence linking the use of our hands to cognitive ability, a reason why we spend the formative years of our development using our hands, experimenting with touch, textures and the feeling of our environment, why crawling is so important and why we learn to write in cursive. We have spent an inordinate amount of time getting to know our hands. They are unique, the fingertips that sense, that touch and feel are embedded with nerves that send messages to our heart, soul and to the brain, they interpret the world and send us signals. It is our heart and soul that uses the same hands to hold, caress and heal, to create, grow, fix and build.

So, despite the cold weather, why are my hands so cold? My brain is using them to send messages, typed on tiled letters, embedding my thoughts into the microchips and fragments of quartz inside my computer. My heart is open, my thoughts are pure, but the chill persists and it is only in the malleable fabric of creating something with my own hands that they find relief.

My hands have fixed and they have built and they have had seasons to grow where the harvest has been good, but it is in creating, through knitting and more recently crocheting that they make sense of things, where the pieces fit and where I have found a quiet akin to meditation.

I have been knitting since I was a child, in fact when I was old enough to start learning needlework and knitting, as was expected at school, I opted to rather learn woodwork – much to the horror of my teachers and peers. It wasn’t a snub to the art, I simply wanted to use the opportunity to learn something new.

Knitting has always been my staple, amongst the many new skills I have learnt over the years out of necessity, such as learning how to decorate cakes – because that is an expensive service to pay for – or simply curiosity, such as engraving – because everything deserves to be decorated. Yes, knitting has always been the staple and I have whiskey tins full of needles (plastic, bamboo, round, straight) and yarn (baskets and project bags) and even scrap cuttings here and there to prove it, but crocheting has always alluded me – until now.

COVID-19 has caused some major upheavals in our lives, but I always try to look for the positives and time to learn new things must be included on that list. I have always admired the intricate weave of knots and twists that fuse colours and bend shapes like only crochet can. I have marveled at the skill and mused at ways to fund the purchasing of those luxurious crochet blankets that I have desired, understanding the costs involved, the prices have never shocked me as they do others. It is an art and as I have read, you are not paying simply for the time it takes to create the object but also the years of dedication to the skill. Something that is made by hand embodies the energy and intent of the creator, it can be made for purpose but it is most assuredly also made with meaning and that is priceless.

So when I hear talk about people wanting to share their time and skills not for money but for something of equal and desired necessity, it gets my attention. It starts to feel to me like another item to put on the positive list, it fits most resoundingly with a return to self, an acknowledgement of the power we have within our own hands, to fix, to build, to grow and create and I can’t help but wonder how differently we would start to value ourselves if the experience and skills we listed on our CV’s had less to do with the building empirical economies and more to do with our ability to craft by hand the world we deserve to live in.

Yesterday is an experience lived, today is not too late and tomorrow is not a given, if we have learnt, as we should have from this experience, should we not start gifting ourselves the opportunity to learn new skills, to stop resting the value of our worth on the mechanics of industry and instead remember what it meant to make our own clothes, grow our own food and start carving the value of our place back into our existence.