Tag Archives: Creativity

Ogahm: Iolo – Yew

I – Iolo: Yew

Samhain & Winter Solstice

Metal – Lead

Planet – Saturn

  • I am the tomb to every hope
  • Death & Rebirth

Iolo is one of the five vowels of the ogham tree alphabet, representing our letter I.

Yew Cauldron

Yew is the longest lived of all British trees, holds great knowing and wisdom. It’s been the coffin-maker’s tree for ages. It was also the tree of weddings, the bright red yew-berries were thrown as good-luck charms over newlyweds, offering their sweetness.

Normally I would talk about this tree at Samhain but I saved it for winter solstice this year. Here in Britain this year we have snow, lots of it, an unusual occurrence for us for the past 20+ years. Now global warming is really cranking up the winters are changing and becoming more severe. No-one knows yet how the new patterns the Mother is making in the weather will pan out, we may get a set of hard winters and then a set of wet, soft ones … we must wait on her and see what she gives.

In case you didn’t know, Solstice is 21st December. Astronomically this may be slightly different each year but for purposes of celebration many folk stay with the 21st. this year we had the added blessing of a blood-moon this morning. The energies were amazing where I lived but I couldn’t physically see much because there was a high mist covering the whole sky. I could sense the covering of the moon, the eclipse, but not see it with my physical eyes.

The 21st is the beginning of the solstice period, the period of three days when the sun appears to rise at the same point on the horizon. This is very well marked at Stonehenge, and at other less well known stone circles. Our ancestors knew …

The three day period of apparent standstill ends with the sun appearing to move forward, rise in a slightly different place on the horizon on the 25th December. In our tradition it’s called Sun-Return and signifies the birth of the King. In early mediaeval myth here in Britain this became the birth of Arthur but before that it was the birth of the Mabon, the eternal child who brings us the journey of the soul. It’s not surprising that the Christians took it up and used it for the birth of their winter king who – like all puer eternis – shows us the soul journey.

Sun-Return is the day the sun begins to move again after the 3-day standstill of the Winter Solstice; i.e. 25th December, and is a symbol of birth out of death. Archaeologists still seem to like to say our ancestors would have been afraid the sun was never going to come back but this is a highly denigrating view. You only have to watch the sun return one year to see it will. If you’re particularly fearful then maybe it takes two or three years … so you’re probably aged five or so when you’ve got the hang of it, especially if your parents take you to rituals and give you the stories.

Besides, people who could build such accurate time-pieces as Stonehenge and the other circles would hardly be so dumb as to not know about the seasons, that would make no sense at all. Sometimes we appear to have gone backwards in our common sense and be trying to pull our ancestors back into the childish habits of thought many people live in now.

Yew’s watch-words are “I am the tomb to every hope”.

What does this mean? What is a tomb? The thesaurus offers the following …

  • Ossuary Grave Sepulchre Mausoleum Burial place Charnel house Necropolis,

A place where things/people are buried after they have died. In the case of ossuary it is a place of bones, a charnel house where the relics – the bones which take perhaps millions of years to decompose – are stored. The word necropolis refers to a city of the dead, a physical vision of the place where the ancestors live. It makes some sense of the habit the Christians picked up of “relics of saints”, the bones. They again use the idea from the far more ancient pagan tradition of keeping a small part of the body an ancestor had once worn as a link back to the ancestors. Unfortunately they mostly don’t know about this tradition and meaning, however the innate human knowing does usually get some sort of a handle on it.

But why the tomb of hope? This can sound frightening to many. Hope … what is this? The thesaurus offers lots of possibilities for this word …

  • Confidence Expectation Optimism Anticipation Faith
  • Chance Likelihood Possibility Potential
  • Desire Aspiration Dream Plan Wish Goal Yearn Long Look forward to

Hmm … what do you make of all that?

And then there is the Greek story of Pandora’s Box. The story goes that

Pandora, whose name means “giver of all” or “all-endowed”, was the first woman on Earth. Zeus command Hephaestus, the god of craftsmanship, to create her, which he did using water and earth. The other gods granted her many gifts – beauty from Aphrodite, persuasiveness from Hermes, and music from Apollo.

After Prometheus stole fire from Mount Olympus, Zeus sought reprisal by handing Pandora to Epimetheus, the brother of Prometheus. Pandora was given a jar that she was ordered not to open under any circumstances. Despite this warning, overcome by curiosity, Pandora opened the jar and all the evils contained within escaped into the world. Scared, Pandora immediately closed the jar, only to trap Hope inside.

This story is very like the creation of Blodeuwedd by Gwydion and with perhaps som of the same purposes. Hope is a funny, tricky thing. W often say things like, “my hopes were dashed”, “there’s no hope”. Hope can turn very sour and evil when we have pinned all our faith on it and it doesn’t come to pass as we expected … as we’d hoped!

This takes me to a gift I was given many years ago. One of my teachers told me he went into every situation “full of expectancy but without any expectations”. Do you get that?

He is open to anything that may come but without pinning his own ideas, wants, needs, expectations on it. He leaves room for the universe to be, he walks the universe’s path rather than trying to constrict the universe into walking the path of his own small desires.

So the watchwords of the Yew make some sense now?

If we bury our little personality hopes, desires, wants, then we make room for the big gifts the universe wants to offer us. The yew takes in these petty personal desires and composts them for us, buries them, allows them to decompose and go back into their constituent atoms so they can be remade anew into the good things that Life, the Universe and Everything really needs.

It also makes sure we don’t try to make everything live by our own scripts. We put space and boundaries around ourselves and allow others to be different. We can still grumble about the difference – inside out own space! – as long as we leave space for others.

So we put our hopes into the tomb the yew provides for us and go out to find the new path.

This is the death and rebirth thing of this time of year, of the going down of the sun and his/her return after the three days, to begin a new cycle, to begin the stirrings of springtime, of the herbaceous plants who demonstrate this so beautifully for us by dying down into the ground over the winter and then springing back up out of the soil as the seasons change.

Ponder on all this for the season of Sun-Return. I’ll talk more about the planet Saturn and the metal Lead later on today.

Biodynamic Course

I’m running a biodynamic course over 6 Saturdays in 2011 – Working with the Moon & Stars

1.      16 April – Using the Calendar. This first Saturday gets you going with understanding the basics of biodynamic gardening, what it is, what it does and how to work it.

2.      21 May – Prep 500. Using the horn manure preparation. We make the preparation today, bring a jam jar with lid and you can take some home for your garden

3.      18 June – Prep 501. Using the horn silica preparation

4.      23 July – Cow-Pat-Pit. Making and using this starter preparation

5.      1 October – Horn Stuffing. Making horn manure, preparation 500

6.      12 November – Composting. Using the compost preparations
Cost: £45/day or £250 if you book all 6 days together

Venue: Archenland – details of how to get here sent when you book

Time: 1030-1600

Lunch: bring a dish to share with everyone

Contact us to reserve a place for the series – get going with biodynamics, it’s organics with Oomph !!!

Wye’s Women

Elen Sentier & Jennie Russell-Smith

My profiles: Blogger Facebook WordPress

Compost in the early winter

Paul beginning the leaf mould process

Paul is composting like there’s no tomorrow! And doing leaf mould. At present it’s just about getting the heaps together. We’re using Mausdorfer to each layer for now, when the heaps are big enough we’ll put the preps in and leave them to cook until March/April.

Again, we’re a bit behind – due to my shoulder op, Paul’s got to do all the other work until Midwinter as I’m not even allowed to push a mop around the kitchen floor. However, we’ll get there and we know we can rely on the preps to speed the compost along.

With leaf mould, if you run the lawnmower over them, chop them up and, at the same time, add a bit of grass in with them, the leaves go a hell of a lot faster. If you then add cow-pat-pit or Mausdorfer, then the compost preps, the whole thing can be ready by next autumn which is pretty good for leaves. As we’re putting both starters and preps on the leaf mould this year we wonder if it might even be ready before then – we’ll keep you posted here.

Elen Sentier

behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …

Wye’s Women Elen’s Books Rainbow Warriors

My profiles: FacebookBloggerWordPressYouTubeAmazonTwitter

Veg Beds in November

Stirring 500 with a friend

I’m a bit stymied on this work this year because of the shoulder operation. It was very successful but it means I can’t do any heavy gardening – like turning over the veg beds – until February. I’ll just have to manage! It will mean the beds will have to be done all of a rush in the late winter though.

I managed to get some winter crops sown before I went into hospital and am allowed to do light weeding so I can keep the beds clean, no competition for my precious veg. the chinese greens are doing well, wonderful, tough plants they are that get going and keep going very well. The perpetual spinach will be sine too and the overwintering sprouting, broccoli, caulis et al are doing OK. The swedes and parsnips are amazing size already. As we’ve had a couple of frosts now they’re all very good to eat – winter stews are being added to the cookathons!

I didn’t get much winter salad into the poly tunnel before I went into hospital so I hope to get some going indoors and then gradually put it out for the spring. It’s far too cold to germinate out there now! As we’ve got leaf days in the NPT on Thu/Fri I hope to use them to sow some winter salad. I’ve been collecting old plastic boxes that the supermarket veg comes in for planting tubs, they’re very good and often already have holes in them, all I need now is something to stand them in to catch the water … a good hunt round the kitchen and scullery should find me something.

I also use the cardboard inners from toilet rolls as root-trainers – they come with the loo-roll and will decompose in the soil when the plants are transplanted so there’s no need to disturb the roots. Or to spend pounds on posh plastic (which won’t decompose and cost loads in energy to produce as well!) root-trainers from magazines and garden centres. I’m afraid I don’t subscribe to the spendaholic method of getting us out of recession!

I intend to sow some very early tomatoes, peas, beans – as I didn’t get the outside ones in the ground before hospital either! – for cropping in the polytunnel and greenhouse early next year. Not having had a greenhouse before I’ve not been able to do this for a long while, this year will be a bit of an experiment to see how it goes – have high hopes.

Elen Sentier

behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …

Wye’s Women Elen’s Books Rainbow Warriors

My profiles: FacebookBloggerWordPressYouTubeAmazonTwitter

New Strawberry Plants

Strawberry Albion

Gardening with the Moon and Stars still involves all the ordinary work J.

This month I’m catching up with the soft fruit. We needed new strawberry plants so I decided to go for a new breed – Albion ever-bearer – rather than just taking runners from the old plants as I have been doing. The originals came from a friend, and to him from his Dad, and so on down the historical line. They’re good strawberries, and I still have them in a side bed, but they’re the old style that just fruit Albion and have the fruit for 3+ months every year.

The plug plants have just arrived and been stored in a bucket of earth through the cold weather we’ve just had here. It’s still cold but the sun’s come out so I’ll be out there doing over the strawberry beds preparing to plant up the plugs over the next couple of days – making the best of the weather.

As part of this I’ll be giving the beds a dollop of prep 500, horn manure, along with compost, some well-rotted cow manure, rock dust and wood ash. There’s not a root day between now and the weekend but we begin the Northern Planting Time (NPT) today which means the Earth is again drawing energy down into the soil for the roots. Doing 500 in the afternoon, in the NPT even if not a root day means I get 2 out of 3 right and will help the beds and the plants along.

Today is a flower day, as is tomorrow, then it’s leaf until Saturday when It’s fruit from the afternoon on, and through Sunday. I won’t be planting up the strawberries until the weekend as I want to do them on a fruit day to enhance conditions for the new plug plants, give them the best chance of doing well. But I can certainly get their bed ready for them.

As we go into the NPT today I can do the work in the right season. What I’m aiming for here is to get as many things on the side of the new plants as possible so I’m going to

  • Plant them on their own day, fruit day
  • In the afternoon
  • In the Northern Planting Time

o   The last two are both when the Earth is pulling energy down into the soil which will help the roots establish well – vital for you plants being transplanted

I’m very much looking forward to eating the strawberries next year! Planting them now, in November, in the late autumn/early winter means they have six months to establish themselves and get to good fruiting size for next summer. You can plant strawberries, all soft fruit, in the spring but don’t expect much of a harvest from them in their first year if you do, they haven’t had time to get going. Planting now gives a better harvest next summer.

Elen Sentier

behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …

Wye’s Women Elen’s Books Rainbow Warriors

My profiles: FacebookBloggerWordPressYouTubeAmazonTwitter

Ogham: Ruis – Elder

The moon-month for Ruis is  25 Nov – 23, the time of the Winter Solstice.

Elder is the tree of doom … Tree of the Cailleach, Hag, Crone

It is a witch-tree, along with rowan and blackthorn, associated with death, magic, magic wands and enchantment. It’s a chancy tree as we say in Britain, one to be very careful with.

Its berries are black, carry the black cup of forgetfulness. This is forgetfulness of the little self, the personal self.

If we do not learn to forget ourselves, to put our personal needs behind those of the planet, then we bring doom onto all, look around the world now, think about the harm that has been wrought by human selfishness … how humans consider all things must be for our good and trying to make sure that only the things we want exist or happen. The unfortunate biblical phrase “gave dominion over” suggests to most folk that god gave us this planet as a kiddies playground and that it’s fine if we pull the wings off flies, etc.

Elder Berries

Take all these thoughts into your work with the spirit of Ruis and see what comes.

  • Doom, Kismet, Karma, Fate, Destiny, Luck, Fortune, Chance
  • How do these words relate to the old word geas, the word for duty, one’s soul-job, life-job?

Take these words into a sit-with to bring you closer to the essence of Ruis.

The Elder is again about endings and beginnings, maturity. Although the Elder is easily damaged, it recovers and is rejuvenated easily.

The Elder is also strongly connected with the workings of the Faer. The soft wood has a lightweight core that can be pushed out to create a hollow tube – perfect for a Faerie flute!

Elder was also planted near dairy barns, in the belief that its presence would keep the cows in milk, and prevent collected milk from spoiling.

Elder Flowers

The flowers and inner bark are famous for their therapeutic qualities often brewed to fight fever, cough, and sore throats. The flowers make excellent wine and champagne. The berries are very good for a cordial that helps with winter colds and such as well as being an lovely drink in its own right.

I make elder-flower cordial every spring and always keep a bottle to be opened at Midwinter and drunk over the time of the solstice – from 20th to 25th December. The 25th December is Sun-Return, when the sun again appears to move forwards after his standstill from 22-24 December. I use this to remind me that death and rebirth are two faces of one coin. As the sun arrives at the shortest day so he pauses, waits for the three days, then moves on ensuring that the light increases again. It is a time of the rebirth of Sun, a time of new beginnings.

Hopi Prophecy …

I came across this prophecy again today as I was editing this piece … it’s very apposite.

The 6 things to consider are exactly what I’ve been saying to myself since the autumn equinox. And the last line, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” is a fundamental part of the Rainbow Warriors course. I’m glad to be reminded of this now as we come up to Sun-Return. The Rainbow Warriors are the 144,000 warriors of the Rainbow … the sum of the petals in the seven chakras that are the life within each of us. We are indeed the warriors who can save the Earth, and we are the ones we have been waiting for.

This knowing, nouse, goes all around the Earth, from the ancient eastern sutras, the Hopi, and the Celts … and everywhere else throughout the world.

The prophecy …

You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.
And there are things to be considered …

  • Where are you living?
  • What are you doing?
  • What are your relationships?
  • Are you in right relation?
  • Where is your water?
  • Know your garden.

It is time to speak your Truth.

Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This could be a good time!
There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of
the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

See who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally.
Least of all, ourselves.
For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a
halt. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

–The Elders, Oraibi, Arizona Hopi Nation

Work for Ruis

I think taking the following, from the prophecy, and sitting with them, working with them, is a very useful at this time. They are all about taking a clear-sighted (clairvoyant) look at where you are and then asking Otherworld’s opinion on how appropriate this is for you now.

  • Where are you living?
  • What are you doing?
  • What are your relationships?
  • Are you in right relation?
  • Where is your water?
  • Know your garden.

It is time to speak your Truth.

Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

Where are you living?

This is more than just your physical house-address.

Are you living in your …

  • Body? Do physical things rule you?
  • Feelings? Are you pink & fluffy?
  • Thinking? Are you a head-case?
  • Intuition? Are you off with the fairies?

I chose some tough examples of where you might be to give you an idea of what I’d like you to think about when you do this exercise. It will undoubtedly link, thread, to you physical abode as well but don’t be narrow and simplistic in your work on this.

What are you doing?

Again, don’t just think about your job, although this will be an important aspect for your work on this subject.

Are you doing anything? Or are you just faffing about, stuck on the fence, not doing anything really, just marking time?

What might you be doing?

What would make your heart sing? This is really important! Likely it’s your soul-job and so very necessary for you to get in touch with … and right now is a really good time!

What are your relationships?

Oooo! This is a tough one! We all come acropper here, probably several times in a lifetime. And we are all very touchy and tetchy about having anyone say we’re getting our relationships all round the backs of our necks.

Who do you have relations with?

  • Husband/wife/partner?
  • Children?
  • Boss?
  • Staff?

And now we come to the less well-known ones …

  • Your home – the place where you live, that you are guardian to
  • Your garden – ditto
  • The animals who live with you

o   And what about all the ones who are squatters in your home … mice, spiders, rats, flies, fleas, bed-bugs, bats …

o   And the germs, microbes, viri, bacteria, etc. …

  • Then there’s your car, bike, mode of transport
  • The neighbours
  • The trees and plants around you
  • Your furniture, fridge, curtains …

Hmm … had you thought of all those are part of what you have relations with?

It could be quite a long session, this one, where you first of all need to say Hi to all the things you’ve been ignoring for the past umpteen years …

Are you in right relation?

And are you in the right, the appropriate relations with all of these things?

If you weren’t even aware there could be a relationship then that was likely a bit off for a start, so you’ll need to do some mending with those things.

Where is your water?

Ha! Another deep one.

Did you know that you are about 70% water?

So where is your water?

And then there’s the water that enables you to live … it comes from the tap? Yes … but where does it come from before that? And what’s been done to it along the way, before it gets to you? Are these good things?

Some of us are still fortunate to have our own springs, water that bubble up from the land where we live. This is sacred. All water is sacred. The Earth, Terra, is called the Blue Planet because, from space, the enormous masses of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans dominate what you see. Earth has a fantastic amount of water, it’s what enables life as we know it here.

So … where is your water?

Know your garden

As a gardener, this is just so important to me but it’s not just about a physical plot of soil.

Garden – the Persian word for garden is paradise. What is a paradise?

  • Utopia, rapture, joy, delight, nirvana, ecstasy, bliss, heaven

Take these words into a sit-with and see what gifts they bring you.

Truth

The prophecy goes on to say …

It is time to speak your Truth.

This is often the hardest thing for us to do. Too often we fear to be ostracised if we do it and so conform! In psychology we call it living by someone else’s scripts. A sign of maturity is when we can say this is me, no matter what you say or think.

How much do you live by other people’s scripts?

The work you’ve done on the other questions will help you let go of this and speak your own truth.

Look within …

And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This comes out of finding ways to speak your own truth. All the gurus who brought you to where you are now must go. As Buddhists say … If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him!

Can you understand that? It’s very important. As long as you rely on others, have gurus whose precepts you follow devotedly you are still living by other people’s scripts, however “worthy”. No guru worth her or his salt wants you to follow them, they all look forward to seeing you break away, find your own path, your own truth.

To return to the mythos I love and work within, the Arthurian one, all the knights who entered the Enchanted Forest in search of adventure – the adventure of discovering themselves – were expected to do so by finding their own way in. No knight followed a path already laid down by another knight.

Take this idea into a journey, see where you enter the Enchanted Forest, and what you find there.

Good questing on this time of Midwinter and Sun-Return.

Reviewing the year …

A friend did this review of his gardening year, I find it really inspiring. I must sit and do my own review. Thanks Rob 🙂

Here is the link …

Elen Sentier

behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …

Wish ListElen’s BooksRainbow Warriors

My profiles: FacebookBloggerWordPressYouTubeAmazon

 

Twitter Latest tweet: Just watching Attenborough’s “Birds” and the magnificent dance of the Grebes … climaxing with walking on water…. http://fb.me/tTM77NVS