A Walk in the Little Puckmoor woods …

s well as feeding the lambs yesterday Margaret took me for a walk in her woods. I’ve never been able to make it before because of the knees so this was a real treat!

The way is uphill from the field where the main flock of Shetland sheep and their lambs are. Entering was decidedly to meet the Spirit of Place of the wood. I stopped, bowed (as I always do) and asked if I might enter, a feeling of pleasure swept over me. I went in.

Much Marcle Yew

The land is steep and quite slippery at the moment as we’ve had a lot of rain over the past few days – much needed – and the soil is clayey. We climbed up to the glade where Margaret planted her yew tree last winter. It’s a good sized tree, taller than me, perhaps over six foot and (at present) single stemmed. Maybe, in a couple of thousand years, she’ll be as big as this one at Much Markle where my cousin lives at Hellens, just up the road from Margaret.

We were all worried about her (the yew tree) as she had to be transplanted from a hedge where a new gateway was put through but Margaret had a big pit dug, loads of “black gold” (well rotted, biodynamic cow manure) put in the bottom, well filled up and another mulch of “black gold” over the top. And 20 gallons of water! She looks good and the tips are showing new growth so we’re confident she’ll do OK. Her glade will need some thinning this year as there’s a couple of ash trees too close – and ash makes the best firewood! It’s lovely to stand beside her and look out and down over the fields to the Tan House farmyard.

Wood anenomes at Astwood, Herefordshire

We walked on up the hill to where the wood anemones are being thoroughly profligate! There’s a great mass of them under the trees stretching for many yards to either side and further up, the ground covered in white stars under the dim, grey ash branches. I love then and want some for under my ash tree here, Margaret says she’ll dig me up a patch after they’ve flowered – gorgeous! These are at Astwood, not to far away from us in the same county.

We went westward a bit, up a slope and down a dip to under the cherry tree. Just the ordinary wild cherry and now going over so the ground was again starred with white flowers … very appropriate for the time of Olwen of the White Track, Moon Lady.

Lime Avenue

We turned back down then, coming down under the lime trees – oh! the scent in June will be fabulous – to go back around to the Yew Tree Glade.

Margaret’s limes are nothing like this size as yet. I love lime avenues :-).

I gave thanks there for being able to visit and walk in the woods. The yew-tree spirit and the spirit of place both seemed to be smiling. As was Margaret, she senses and feels her land very deeply, listens for the unvoiced communication from things not-human and often not-seen.

English Bluebell

I’m very much looking forward to my next visit when the bluebells will be out. Margaret has quite a good lot of the English bluebells but the Spaniards are creeping through the hedge from the golf course beyond.

Spanish Bluebell

The bees go for both sorts and so cross-pollinate them, the English bluebell is weaker so tends to die out … it’s sad.

Elen Sentier
… behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …
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Celtic shaman – Elen Sentier Margaret’s Lambing

New Reviews Are Up!

The Pagan and the Pen Book Reviews is now posting on the 5th and 20th of each month. Reviews posted for May 5, 2010 are:

Reviewer Top Pick: Her Master’s Gift by Dena Celeste

Bogonoun’s Wonderful Songbird by John B. Rosenman

Firefly by Madison Night

Do As I Say by Penn Halligan

Letting Go by Michele Zurlo

Yule Fire by Lena Austin


Message forwarded from Rie McGaha.


Note: The Book Reviews have their own web site now. All links will open a new window to there.



Why Divination is Dangerous

To put this in context, I’ve been working with divination tools for twenty years, but there are reasons to be careful of them. Used in the wrong ways, or for the wrong reasons, they can cause far more harm than they alleviate. I believe that fortune telling can and does work, which is why I take it seriously and encourage caution, and responsibility. Here are some things to be mindful of.

Invasion of Privacy. It’s nigh on impossible to cast runes, tarot cards or anything else in a way that only reveals things about you. We all exist in relationship, and quite often when it comes to fortune telling, relationship is what people most want to know about. Is there a partner in the future? Does X really fancy me? Is Y having an affair? Casually poking about trying to find out private things about other people is invasive and irresponsible. You can also get it wrong. If you can’t avoid it in dealing with your own issues, tread gently. Information gathered through divination should not be worked with alone. Look for other sources. Be sceptical, consider alternative interpretations. If you need to know something about a person, frequently the best method is to ask them.

Asking the wrong questions. Think carefully about what you ask. If you seek information in a yes/no sort of way, you close down your options and may miss the relevant information. ‘Am I going to get this job?’ The answer may be no, but going to the interview might open up a different opportunity. Hearing ‘no’ and deciding not to bother, you might miss your big chance. Ask open questions. Don’t ask things you don’t actually want to hear the answers to. E.g. ‘Am I going to die young?’ If you get the question right, the chances of getting a useful answer are much improved. Avoid divination methods that only give binary answers, unless you’re asking very simple questions like ‘is it a boy or a girl?’ ‘did I leave my car keys in here?’

Dependence. Divination is not a substitute for making your own choices. It’s a tool for helping clarify thoughts and issues. However, when times are challenging, it’s always a temptation to reach for the runes or tarot (or whatever you use). They can be comforting, and take away the feeling of pressure and responsibility. This is a trap to avoid. Divinations cannot, and should not make your choices for you, and if you are using them on a daily basis, you need to cut back. The exception would be things like oracle cards, where it’s as much about sparking meditation as seeing what the day will bring. More than once a day with those would be unhealthy.

The future is not cast in stone. Perhaps the greatest danger with any divination tool, is believing it. I think the future is open to change, and the act of contemplating it alters the possibilities before us. Nothing is certain. Divination is one tool amongst many, for getting a sense of where life’s currents may be carrying you. It does not offer absolute, unassailable truth. If you see a future you don’t like, think very hard about how you can change it, roll with it, survive it. Do so with great care. There are plenty of ancient tales (Oedipus Rex springs to mind) where an attempt to dodge fate actually brings it down upon a person. Even if you firmly believe that we cannot cheat the fate we are dealt, there is scope for finding the best possible way through, with honour.

Used wisely, and in moderation, divination tools help deal with some of life’s challenges. They are not things to be ruled by or in thrall to. When it comes down to it, you still have to decide how to act.

Pagan Holidays for May 5, 2010

Image from the album of Double Army Brat

If we peak back in time into the Calendar of the Ancient Egyptians, then we’d see something marvelous being planned. Today would have been known as THE DAY OF THE LIVING CHILDREN OF NUT.

Nut, (Nuit, Newet, Neuth) happened to be their Goddess or mistress of the sky. That meant stars, planets, and all things existing in the sky. Her name translated to Night, but in time she began to represent Night and Day and without her, the Sun God Ra, who was said to be of her design, would not have been reborn day in and day out.

Older writings show her name drawn as a pot, which represented a Uterus. Because of this, human women were often called by the name nutrit which translated to little Goddess for women had the same gift as Nut–the ability to give life.

Weren’t the Ancient Egyptians smart?


Egyptian Sky Goddess Nut by Caroline Smith

Now when Nut is depicted in Egyptian Art of the Ancient variety, she is usually drawn  as above. Her star dazzling body stretches over with her hands and feet which hold the four compass points –North, South, East, West.

According to the Egyptians, Nut protects the world (and all things in it) from the outside darkness existing beyond her shields.

Now while some myths tell of Nut as the mother of Ra, she is also said to be the mother of Isis, Osiris, Nephysis, and Set by that of the God Geb. Geb represented the Earth or was the Earth depending on how you personally interpret myths.

Not only is she responsible for the rebirth of Ra, but legend says Osiris could not have been reborn if it wasn’t for the sacred sky Goddess, his mother Nut.

Hope you enjoyed today’s Holiday and learned something.

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