1) What did you learn in 2017 – on a practical level?   With all that was going on last year, it’s amazing I learned much of anything practical, but my studies in feline health and nutrition have deepened and I took an Introductory course in TCM, to augment my work with dogs, cats, horses, birds….   Herbal knowledge is always deepening!  so I would say, just learning some Chinese veterinary formulations and how they compare and contrast with Western, as well as my Oxford diploma in feline studies, those two things. I learned a fair bit about the legalities of forcing a longterm tenant from their home, and how to stand up to  a bad faith repossession, but I hope it’s not a skill I ever have to use again.

2) What did you learn on a spiritual level? Probably that I can withstand heartbreak and still thrive, that no matter how long one practises a spiritual path there is always more to learn (but I knew that) so perhaps, that as we cycle through our years we need to re-learn things, from time to time. I’m completing my second Saturn return, and grateful that I made it with the equanimity and grace I aimed for – more or less.

I also learned, from my dog Amara’s death, that an animal who basically drives you insane can also tear you to pieces when she goes. It’s not that I didn’t think I’d miss her, it’s that I had grown way too tired, and distracted by stress,  focusing more on her endless defecating in the house and pathological level of gluttony than I did on her sweetness, sadness and beauty. Once I knew I was going to lose her I was flooded with emotion. There’s much more on Amara, but that’s all I can give words to at this time.

3) What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment of the year? Surviving the move, no question.  For the last 16 months I was never really sure I would.

4) What did you struggle with most – and have you resolved that struggle, or are you carrying it into 2018?   Taking care of my health, and no, I have not resolved it. I still treat myself as a machine, much as I know the damage that creates. Working on this is high priority in 2018.

5) What did you lose? My home of 12 years, which was more than a home, it was a cosmic landscape into which I was wholly, completely, spiritually embedded. All the plants and trees and animals and spirits that surround and inhabit it – teachers, friends, family, all.   After that, everything else seems small, but also, I lost a huge piece of my history and so much money and time(career momentum).
And, my dog Amara.

6) What did you gain? An amazing house  in an oak forest (MUCH better house, not comparable, really) a renewed sense of my own resilience and strength in the face of adversity, and in spite of all this, the best year financially on record (BY FAR).

7) Can you name your three best moments? Three worst?

Three best…hhhmmm. First court date when the judge threw the bogus repossession suit out, on a legality, there is a sweet, SWEET memory there Alex and I relive periodically. Second would be finding and renting this house, at a time we were so scared we’d have no place to go at all…and third, when the judge awarded a financial restitution to me (not nearly what I was due, and of course they never paid it, but something) after all the total shite we’d been put through. yeah..those three. 🙂

Three worst….leaving the Zoo. I hugged my trees, I cried and cried, I got drunk, I walked around in the bleak, smelly emptiness of what had been such a place of  energy and Spirit and love.  We just loaded all the animals in the two vehicles and drove away, from 12 long, powerful years, from so many “deaths and entrances”, from a place that was more than Home to me, it was Everything.   It was totally surreal.  Second, would be coming back in a couple of weeks, and seeing the garden overgrow,  dried out, dying…all the negativity that remained once I had withdrawn the love and protection.. That was rough in ways I can’t articulate.  And then…later… Amara’s death. There were a few other doozies in there, falling and breaking a rib whilst scrambling after a shrub, for example – but those three were the hardest of all.

8) How would you describe 2017 overall, in a few well-chosen words?   Powerful…Challenging…Transitional….Determined… Triumphant. 🙂

9) What do you hope most for in 2018?   On a personal level (because I can’t even start with the global) just continued good health for my family and myself, for Danny to be with me this time next year, for my work to continue to flourish.. the usual things, health and peace of heart and mind, the power to bring some good to the world, and a little pleasure in this strange and magnificent gift of Being Alive..


2017, in Images
Saying Goodbye

Rowan from a past life, guards the Gateway to Faerie

Someone loves dandelion

I have no words for this image, only tears, gratitude and love

Rowan in bloom

Comfrey announces the Spring
Yarrow and Elfwort

Mallow and White Pine….



Saying Hello

My little kitchen nook

Sunset from the 2nd floor
When we were first here, I had to use the livingroom for my office…distracting wild view…

The Nemeton…oak, hemlock, beech forest surrounds us

Sumac and Red Oak

Danny leads us into Faerieland

These woods are full of owls..and I am watching.

Gorgeous Goldenrod, I made salve and tincture right away

And then there were two..

Goodbye, my darling.

A corner of the mantle above the fireplace…weary and disoriented but we start now anew..

A very Happy and Blessed 2018 to all my friends. ..and the Wheel turns, and the story goes on.



The Heartbeat of Memory, Heartbeat of the Earth

I moved to this house in March of 2005, less than a year after my brother’s death.  I was completely in pieces. Beyond my inexpressible grief, for months I’d  been having trouble finding a place to live in the area, suitable, and then this amazing house came up – right across the street from where the TTouch trainings are held !  I was heavy into TTouch back then..and this house was quiet, pretty, large enough for me to have an office, a temple, a snake room. It’s right on the road, but there was little traffic back then. There was a garden… not huge but adequate, and the whole area is surrounded with open fields, little lakes and forest, and enchanted trails deep into woodlands. Some of those woodlands and fields were the same ones my paternal grandmother walked as a girl; she was born in a house around the corner. All of this felt more than lucky; it felt fated. Luke and Lila and Alex and multiple cats and my rat Kala and several reptiles, and I *think* a rabbit or two,  and  me! all moved in. I can barely remember those first few weeks, but come April it starts to get clearer. First snow melt, I walked out onto the back deck, slipped and went down hard on my knee. No dogwalking for weeks. And then as the year went on, I lost 60 pounds and went into a very…self-focused phase.  It was as if losing John propelled me into a phase of determination to achieve the things I’d been putting off, and it started with health. As the years rolled by, I lost both Luke and Lila, and many other beloveds, but Danny came into my life, and now Zeke and Amara..and Korky (my parrot and really, kind of a soulmate).

Today I am reflecting on some of the things that happened, and that I did, while living here all these years.
I completed my training in canine nutrition, or one level of it; I went through a portal of deep growth with my herbalism, something I’d more or less dabbled with since the 1980s,  but over the past decade it became so much more.  I rescued a blind horse, lost my father (and thus, all hope of reconciliation, ever) and in 2015 three of the people I loved most in the world just walked out on me, in the middle of much personal struggle with coping here, n my own. Later that year, Alex almost died,  and to make it all worse his crisis happened while he was in Saskatchewan and me here, with no way whatsoever to get to him. That was also the year I was given a prestigious column in Plant Healer Magazine, and saw my business start to expand dramatically (I hate saying ‘my business’, when what it really is, is my calling)… Alex and I moved through estrangement into togetherness and back again a few times, finally settling into the comfortable, connected and contented place we now are.

Somewhere in there, I went through menopause.

Disillusioned with Wicca, I committed to studies in the Western Mystery Tradition with Mara Freeman, but found myself more and more drawn to Druidry, a craving I have neither  fully explored nor resisted, with the result I am not entirely sure how to define myself, or if that really matters, after all. The entire OBOD course is sitting in my upstairs cabinet, waiting for that magical moment when I know I will have time.  After I make time for more exercise, for yoga and to send more time with my animals…more cooking, playing my bass  again.

I lost several of whom was a soulmate to me and precious beyond what I can convey . Not that the others weren’t – Howard the Duck and Batia and Ogden and Quinn the Eskimo – cherished, all. It’s  just that Amidala and I have known each other through many cycles,many incarnations.  Her loss was monumental for me, even as I know without question we will be together again.

I watched Danny grow from a wide eyed, completely hyperactive little boy, to an elegant (but still crazy) young man and then into midlife and now, a distinguished and somewhat less wound up senior. It had been my deepest hope that he would be able to live his whole life in one place, but that is not to be. He is 11  next month and while I look for several more years, the final ones will not be in his beloved house. I hate to move him now, but Hell.

We’ll just have to make them the best years of all.

“Love” is nowhere near a strong enough word.

I learned to love deer, and made friends with a small herd whose presence changed me in ways I could never share on a simple blog post…my understanding of the wild, first and foremost.

The chunky,bossy  littleWhitetail with the rounded ears on the right, is Goatdoe, with whom I have had a blessed and beautiful connection for years. I had prayed to see her one last time, but it’s ok. Not knowing what happens to them, is the Way of the Wild. She is in my heart forever. The others are Tulsi and Tilia, one of whom came to me last year when she was struggling to give birth. I helped her gain strength, and she, and her twins, went their own way back into the forest, as it should be.

I grew herbs – all the herbs I had loved for years but only knew through purchased tinctures and teas, and even ten years later I walk the garden everyday and just say their names, a magical litany of everything in the world I find so beautiful….Elfwort…Artemisia…Lady’s mantle…Wood Betony…Hyssop, Motherwort, Self Heal, Borage, Horehound, Catnip, Sage, Comfrey, Lavender, Avens, Thyme, Salvia,  Calendula, Monarda, Melissa, Althea…. and then the ones who showed up just to teach me, Evening primrose, New England Aster, Mullein, Cleavers,  Meadowsweet, Goldenrod, Bidens, Nettle, Agrimony…and then again, the trees.  All teachers, guides, all so dear to me that it tears my heart to write these words,  as I know I am two short weeks away from saying goodbye.

Evening primrose, Oenothera biennis, from whom I learned so much and came to cherish as such an ally

From this land I have taken nine sacred woods for Beltane, for incense, for runes and charms and wands and staves.
From this land I have collected antlers, from a little spiker and a larger buck, left at the Gateway from my garden to the fields out back.

I have sheltered an owl three days on my porch, right after the dog we nicknamed Minerva was laid to rest there.

I have gathered feathers and made Witches ladders to protect this magical dwelling.

Made rose beads from the gorgeous wild rosebush right outside the back door.

And innumerable rowan crosses from the trees I planted after one of the departed friends gifted me with three.

Solar crosses from the Virginia creeper… pot after pot of healing salve from the resinous buds of the trembling aspen and my beloved balsam poplars.

I set a little Faerie corner, with a huge piece of natural quartz I found in the woods, a teapot of my grandmothers,  and a mask that represents the spirit of our house and life.


I rescued more wild birds than I could start to recall.

Just two of so many; top pic is a red eyed vireo, I had actually rescued two of them and brought them around, released. The bottom is a female rose breasted grosbeak and man, was she feisty! I hope to post a few more images of some of the birds I’ve encountered here.

I learned to live alone, to carry much hurt, to manage my fierce and sometimes reactive nature, and how important my work is to me, how inseparable from my spiritual path. In this house, I grew into a more deeply authentic self than I would have believed possible. I am not remotely the person I was, when I moved here 12 years ago last March. I had found my centre, found my way through the ancestral patterns and baggage and pain, and was on a very strong trajectory towards my goals, when  the sky fell, sixteen months ago last week.

16 months ago, after a pleasant, casual chat via email with the owner, I was perfunctorily handed an notice of repossession, informing me  I would have to leave, that the long standing repairs would be more easily done if the owners moved their son in, and despite my horrified pleas for clemency, and offers to pay for many of the needful things myself,  there was no quarter. We did take it to court, and we did receive a stay of execution, so to speak, and a minor indemnity for our losses (not close to what we actually lost, but better than nothing). I  went through months of Hell – gut wrenching anxiety and confusion – my partner lost a significant position out West due in part to my need to have him here, until we discovered that the owner’s initial demand for repossession was procedurally invalid, and we had grounds to protest. A very intense course I set up online became disrupted in development after I realized I’d have to continue consulting fulltime and try to develop the course in the small amount of the day that’s left over. And on and on. It cost my  health, it cost a ton of lost income and I cannot describe the anxiety of not knowing where we could go anywhere closeby, now that this area is so trendy (and thus expensive) and we wouldn’t have references (and just a “self-employed herbalist” as an employment check).

But… now it is all  behind me. ..the struggle of the last while, the growth, the losses, gains, deaths and entrances…as we move heart and soul, body and mind,  all the animals and, err, my books…to a new place and a new beginning.

We found an amazing house, so vastly superior to this one in terms of condition, there is no comparison. Clean, new, good floors and windows, no mold, HUGE ( my office will be three times the size of this little space) and so on.  Yes, there are drawbacks and yes, we see it as a bolthole – but, a gorgeous bolthole and one where I can spend the next few years moving to the next level, publishing, completing work, learning.
And to honour this passage, I had a very special thing made – a drum that carries the impressions of several leaves from my surrounding land, trees that were and are profoundly sacred to me.

Balsam poplar

Now, after this long and cathartic entry I don’t feel I can do justice to the beauty and power of this drum, so I will break into another part and show you some images now that it is here, on this land, the land which birthed it’s creation. Right now I am simply filled with gratitude and a sense of balance, of the..rightness, of this passage. As I hold my drum and let the heartbeat of the land resound all through me, I know that in the years ahead, as time moves on, I can call the memories, the spirits of the land, and come back to the loves and losses and lessons that this very old house and this ancestral land bestowed upon me and brought me through. When the new occupants raze my beloved trees to the ground to sell for firewood, and chemically blast the sacred herbs into oblivion, I will drum their spirits into a new reality, I will call them to the land to which I have been heading all my life.

And without hesitation, I know that they will come.

My gratitude has no limits. 

At the end, as at the beginning, stands the archetypal power of the Divine Feminine—the goddess. She is our future as she was our past. With her drum in hand, playing her sacramental rhythms, women can once again take their place in the world as technicians of the sacred. In the pulse of my drum, in the beat of my heart, I erect an alter to her forever.”
Layne Redmond, When the Drummers Were Women: A Spiritual History of Rhythm

When in doubt – cook something!

This summer has been challenging – well the whole year really, with our terrible news aobut having to move, and then the death of my precious Amidala…another year where Alex has been gone much more than home and I am literally aching from head to toe with the burden of doing two jobs.  My hope of a regular helper fell through, and it’s a battle to get anyone to cut the grass, as it has been for over a decade now. Today, my hands and feet literally ache, ont *just* my usual joint pain and sore back. I’m so exhausted! But  when I reflect on 2015, with all that happened in that transformative year, 2016 seems pretty light. So, crazy as it sounds, even though I am overworked and very  sore – I have to make room for what keeps my heart light and my spirits high. And that can mean different things at different times – working on Materia Medica under the silver maple, with a bottle of spicy cider, or binge watching some fantasy tv series (I’m on Round Three of Fringe… and never tire of GoT) or just spending time with the garden, the birds, the forest. All pretty reliable methods of helping me stay positive – but truth be told, there is not anything as reliable and as invigorating to me, when I need a break from it all, than cooking.

And, I might add, not for dogs or birds, although I think the need to keep Korky supplied with fresh veggies and bird bread has re-ignited my passion for food.
This, by the way, is Korky. Isn’t he amazing? He’s even funnier and more amazing in real life, but then he also clams up and won’t say much around new people, till he gets to know you. With me, the conversation is nonstop, except when he’s sleeping.



With my dogs, I often make a week’s worth of food and freeze – if I have time I make two weeks. Then I add steamed fresh veggies and garden herbs plus their extras and oils daily.. Korky doesn’t seem to like foods I freeze , like the popular CHOP or Grainbake recipes.. the exception is  bird bread, and trust me, bird bread is THE best thing on the face of the earth, fresh from the oven OR freezer. SO I am spending time in the kitchen more these days, and with a dire need tot feel as well as I can, my own diet has to be important along with the animals. But there is so much more to the  magic of cooking – the peace, contentment and satisfaction it brings – then simply meeting nutrient requirements and getting all the antioxidants one can.

For some of us, cooking feeds the soul, and in my case, reconnects me with my happiest, most grounded and peaceful Self.

So, despite having nowhere near enough time to accomplish all that I am called to do in a day, I am insistently doing more cooking for myself and partner (the infamous HouseViking of Facebook fame). Because it makes me happy, and we have to eat anyway, so why not enjoy?

My earliest memory of this cosmic draw to the  kitchen, came courtesy of my Nana, who reminded me a few years ago (this Nana who lived to be 99 and was one of the stalwart Scottish ancestors to whom I owe a specific debt of obstinacy, erudition and strength) that often, as a child of 8, 9, 10 who came to visit her over the summer, I would decide, at about 8 pm, I needed to bake a cake. And she had learned to  allow this little eccentricity, mostly because the  products of my inspiration were, pretty delicious. ..and even the failures brought me so much joy. The deal was, if I started baking I had to do the clean up too – no dishes left overnight in THAT kitchen! and I always did. I don’t recall the recipes, but apparently they were mostly taken from the side of a Fry’s cocoa can, or a cereal box. I wish I remember it all more clearly. But, 50 years later , and with possibly more sophisticated taste – – I still often turn to the kitchen to work through sorrow, to calm my heart, to just have fun. And, these past few years in the midst of stress, striving, turmoil and growing presence online (that requires a LOT of maintenance..) I haven’t been cooking nearly enough.


That’s all about to change.

First in a series of my adventures in the kitchen. And no – not dog food recipes. You have to check that other blog, for those.
Stay tuned.

A Song of the Earth

So, here it is – almost June, with Beltane gone by so quickly, the Spring so strange, and all of my life in slow motion. What is this that happens, when your world is turned upside down and inside out, all of a moment and everything we think we know changes? I thought I knew, having been through a few of these events, in past. But new ones arrive and you are stricken again, all over again, like the very first time.

After the first death, there is no other.

Dylan Thomas

I love Dylan Thomas, but I think he had this wrong. I recall all the recent shocks, starting with my brother’s death, and then Luke, and then my father, and last fall, the call from Saskatchewan that was not my partner of 25 years, but his uncle, telling me that Alex was in surgery, that he had a complicated appendicitis, that he would update me. And then the updates, making clearer and clearer that had the uncle not been there, to drag Alex to ER, he most certainly would have died. Two weeks in hospital, and then months of recovery, he did NOT lose his colon, but it was touch and go for a while.

You think you get used to this – you go through it again and again, you rally, you deal with it in your own way, whatever way that is.
And then the storm settles, and you think you are ok – again.
I was ok last March, working on a course I am very proud of – coming to terms with the losses and struggles of last year, and then the gateway to Chaos opened again and there it was.
So, as of March 9, I am basically homeless. My centre, my spiritual home, everything I have loved and tended and yes, struggled with for 11 years is about to be taken from me. I have been told my lease will not be renewed, and I’m not going into the details here. It is unjust,  the worst possible timing but n amount of pleading will soften a heart that does not exist.  Ok than! Let this be, yet another lesson.

So – today. Is this a requiem or a door opening? Obviously, to me anyway,it is both. . As much as I have loved, written about, celebrated my geographical surroundings, there are many problems here. Some, drive me up the wall. Some are fixable, others are not. At the end of the day – this is not my property, and everyone who allows themself to fall in love with someone else’s home, runs the risk of suffering as I have this past 3 months. We run the risk of losing everything and at a moment’s notice. We invest in something that is never ours to invest in at all. We place ourselves at the mercy of others, whom we may not even know.
I am, on one level completely devastated not only that we have to move, leave this enchanted place that is also the place I have lived longest, ever in my life – 11 years. I am, on one level, inconsolable. I awake with the dawn and watch the light outside, kiss the cedars and sing to the birds, who sing louder probably to stop my atonal noises. I feed the deer, the foxes and the squirrels, not t mention birds. Trumpetflower wraps the front porch,feeding the hummers, and a hundred times a year, I catch something wounded, bring it in and help it heal, release with a prayer of both blessing and gratitude.
Both of my dogs died here, and I sat in this office for two weeks, waiting for news my father had died.I finished two diplomas and countless other courses on route to becoming the herbalist I like to think I am now. I watched both inside and out of this house crumble with neglect, and I thought, as recently as last month, about rallying everything that I can and buying it. But in the end, I could not save it, not as a rental, not as the sanctuary it has been for me despite all the problems. For weeks, I could barely function with sorrow and anxiety.

But still…didn’t I mention something about…celebration….

It is 2 pm on a hazy late spring Monday and I have just come in from bringing water to the valerian and St.John’s wort, the two herbs I grow that are suffering the most in our extreme heat and lack of rain. To get to the garden I walk past a glory of lilacs, a rapidly blooming wild rose and underfoot is an unbelievably soft carpet of Ground Ivy, Mouse-ear Chickweed, Speedwell and Wild Strawberry.  The lot is ringed with white pine, Northern white cedar, trembling aspen, wild cherry, balsam poplar, white spruce, several small ash trees, the two rowans I planted a few years ago in memory of my brother, and one corner features two apple trees and a struggling, but magical hawthorn. In that corner, a few years ago I started a fairy shrine – using a gorgeous triangular piece of quartz I found hiking nearby as a centerpiece,  and adding incense, statues, crystal glasses filled with cream and honey and home made incense, year after year.  And suddenly last year, a red elder popped up right behind the shrine. There is no red elder anywhere on this property or adjacent to it. I love that, and honestly could not ask for a more meaningful sign.


Over the years here I have developed a deep relationship with several deer who visit in the autumn, I have walked out back to come face to face with a black wolf, staring me in the eye, and then walking slowly away.I have sheltered a small Saw-whet owl who took to my porch in deep winter and hunted voles under the thick snow, leaving me a bezoar when he departed.I have made medicines of all description from the wild plants here, learning their ways intimately, growing much more into my herbalism than in years past.I have learned a fierce independence that was not defiant or shrill, but simply my sanity asserting itself after years of bewildered longing. I have seen, finally, the shift in my consciousness I sought from an early age, looking for it at university and in Wiccan circles and in love relationships and in Jungian analysis and endless self examination (there it was, in nature, all along). I have put out a call for Motherwort and awakened to a yard completely covered with it (careful what you ask for, the Plant Kingdom has a sense of humour!)  All of this and oh so much more, while watching the sun and moon change positions, all year, every year, watching sunrise over the ridge of wildwood out to the east and sunset over the winding stream,lined with hawthorn and white willow, just outside my front door.


And all of this, I will carry with me to the new land, to the forest and streams and enchanted spaces that – this time – I will call my own, will build a permanent home and mark the quarters, build gardens everywhere, make magic in seclusion and safety and without the threat of suddenly, having my life ripped apart, on the whim  of another.

So, over the next year, as we seek our Home and prepare to leave this one, I’m planning a series of posts here about the trees, plants, bird and animals who have been so much a part of my life here, such teachers and soul-friends.  In ways both tangible and not,  I will bring so many with me when I go…and leave behind much, as is always the way when a magical link is broken.

Next up, then, reflections on the trees I loved first and perhaps best of all – Trembling aspen and Balsam poplar.
And then, pheobes, avens, catbirds, snapping turtles, bur oak and silver maple, white ash and saw-whet owls, and foxes who come to the  house to die.   Rose beads and hyssop, apple runes and mugwort…mockingbirds, orioles…and always, the deer.



Herbs from the Dreamtime – trusting the process

So – the day begins with magic.. Here I have ID’d the strange little plant who popped up in my garden beside the other pink and purply ones I put there on purpose (lavender, prunella, lemon thyme).


This is Stachys officinalis, or Wood Betony. Just like Motherwort, which evaded me for years, I just woke up one day and there she was.

After years of trying to start Betony, or FIND Betony, as opposed to reading about and ordering betony online – this morning I made the ID. Well, I didn’t but some combination of my unconscious, Paul Bergner’s classes and the Spirit who wants the best for us,  did.
A few weeks ago I noticed a straggly little unrecognized plant grow in my raised bed,and- curious creature that I am – I had to let her be. I’ve kept an eye on this plant but aside from IDing that she’s a mint family member, I wasn’t sure which species, nor all that bothered, really. Just keeping an eye.

And then – I had a dream last night. In it, the little plant was larger, brighter and spoke directly to me.

“You need me” she said. There was no mistaking this message.
And then this morning as I tidied the kitchen, I played, quite spontaneously, a tape I have in which herbalist extraordinaire Paul Bergner was talking about messages from dreamtime, from the unconscious, and that we should listen to them(I did know that, but it’s always interesting when something like this arrives as a kind of prompt or reinforcer) . Uh-oh! There is synchronicity in action. Better go look at the little pink plant nestled beside the Self Heal…
and to my amazement, upon some scrutiny – there she is – Wood betony.

Internet pic


Now, I am more – MUCH more academically acquainted with this plant than I know her intimately, as in growing/wildcrafting/medicine making. I may have the species wrong (although I don’t think so, this is a Stachys of some sort and I’m 95% sure officinalis) whatever the case, this plant wants to be heard. I am a very tired, anxious, worn out individual who has yet to find *the* nervine, and has always wanted to know Betony more intimately. I think when things line up like this – garden appearance, – dream – synchronicity – one is a fool not to listen.
Will keep you posted! For now, here’s the little plant beside my selfheal and lavender. There’s coriander, purslane and who knows what else in there too.


Spending some time out there today. I always suffer when I don’t listen to my garden.
And my dreams.

Omens continued the time of rest and renewal passes, I find myself already stretched too thin. This will be a year of changes. For now, I need to keep up here… So, rather than put off my entries, because it’s dinnertime and I am rushing about! here is what I have discovered since the last entry.

There have been four, corresponding to June, July  August and September.And these were:

June: Very simply, I saw the wren again. It is probably a Bewick’s – rare in the extreme in these parts and even more unlikely to fly up and sit outside the window.  I first saw him on Christmas Day; on New year’s Eve he was back. Much, much folklore and mythology surrounding the wren; deserves a whole entry. What I am taking relates to my Druidry.  ’nuff said for now.



July: I had a  day of rest. No going out, no seeking. So I pulled a card from my Tree Angels deck, which is very special to me. I received the Cherry Spirit.Self acceptance, self-love, bliss.

Do not judge yourself
By your achievements
You have nothing to prove
You are already loveable
So love yourself, spoil yourself
Draw the nectar from the chalice to your lips!

Bliss is the birthright of all creation

Fred Hageneder, The Tree Angel Oracle


August: That was yesterday. The first day I’ve taken a car – a safe, reasonable car – out for a spin in soo long. Years. I still feel ill – have had a flare-up after working so much last year and then straight through he holidays, cooking/cleaning etc – and while I’m on the mend I wasn’t 100% good. The sign of the day was not a thing in nature, but three times, I was helped or entertained by strangers. all very French. I drove through the village wondering what freedom would be like if I could keep it (the car, as I have been completely dependent on others for years now).  The word “Carol” is involved. Carol a person, carol as in a song.  I feel this is an omen of kindness and generosity, for sure I do…but I can be distracted too easily by the hope of community. I’ve been in this house ten years and only NOW do I start to connect with anyone close by. I need to be careful, I am easily influenced by that which I have longed for.


September. Today I saw a strange S shaped pattern in the snow outside. It looks as if a bird laded, wandered through the snow making a sign, then flew off. It’s just…a serpent shape. I don’t know what it means. Renewal, rejuvenation, as in a snake shedding it’s skin? That might make sense, in the larger context of things.



I hear the stockpot boiling and I have 30 sweet potatoes peeled and prepped to go. I’m not very inspired today, but I’ve kept my promise to record what I notice.

And so it goes.


The Cherry Tree, by Catrin Welz-Stein


Omens Part Three

Right now I am revelling in solitude and rest. So this will be a quick one, I have a sofa to get back to.

Day before yesterday, December 29, corresponds to April of 2014, and I spent the day feeling ill. It was somewhat self-induced, as I allowed myself to become pulled into one of those pointless Facebook arguments where everyone claims to want input from an “expert” but as soon as that arrives, they get defensive and start attacking.I’m not going into details but the topic was, sigh, turmeric (you know that one herb every dog should be taking copious amounts of all the time, as it cures cancer? yeah, that one)… I then felt pretty “jaundiced” (too much fatty food and sugar, too much beer and wine, I never ever drink daily anymore) and so I came to understand the  significant factor as the colour yellow. I am hoping this points to early arrival of dandelions this year, but it carries a huge range of potential meaning, and the one message I take away from that day is, don’t do things that make you ill..engage in Internet arguments, eat and drink too much.

No signs in nature but I was not feeling up to a walk that day anyway!

Yesterday kicked off with my driving Alex to the airport at 8 am – driving back, still feeling a little “yellow” and certainly not used to driving! I went from the airport to Westboro via Kanata, losing my way in a city I’ve known well for two decades.(Ottawa people will appreciate this remarkable idiocy).I got home about 11 or so, and got straight to work cleaning up. (Alex cleans the kitty litters, but he is a real kitchen-pig, and we just had a week or so of more cooking than I normally do in a month or more). I realized we have extra bread from the stuffing and decided to take it out back for the birds (mostly starlings, blue jays, crows and the occasional black cap right now, feed on the bread). I had thrown out some chicken parts the previous day, after making Dan’s food, without paying a lot of attention to where they landed, there is too much snow to walk very far. And what greeted me when I arrived with the stale bread, was a perfect circle of bird tracks, all the way around the rowan tree I had planted in memory of my brother. I didn’t take a picture, and today the nonstop light snowfall has covered it up. But in the bright sunny morning, the track of little bird feet around this symbol of so much love, was very stirring. For May, I look forward to something magical indeed – haven’t nailed it yet, but it is connected to love of place (I planted several rowans for my beloved waxwings to feast on) love of one’s family, generosity(I do give every day to my birds and other familiars) and safety..the circle. No need to rush meaning – taking note is what counts in this exercise.

Spent the rest of the day at rest, in this deep cold, surrounded by dogs, cats, books and music,  and I think I will do that again right now.

Omen December 28

Yesterday was the third day of my Omen-alert, and I did get out, well out, into the bush yesterday. I have not walked my beloved  Danny as much usual recently; yesterday was mostly for him, but also, of course, for me – as I am looking…opening to…whatever March’s message may be.

Walking that line between calm, open acceptance.. and “goddammit I want an Omen!”.

Yesterday made it kind of easy.

First let me say that there are trails and wooded areas and lakes and streams all around this little nexus, my house, here in the wilds of Rupert. <g> Dan and I wander them all, we have done for 7years now – although sadly – some are sprayed with herbicides, some are being developed, some are now hunting retreats (for the Native American wannabe’s in our midst, and there are many) and so I do not have the same freedom here as I once had. This trek we took yesterday, it is still pretty wild, stirring and unaffected by humans.


I brought a camera, but it didn’t hold up. I need new batteries.

Dan was ecstatic, and I was therefore happy; his joy is my joy.(Note gratuitous picture of my beautiful dog, above).

I looked for things; Y-shaped trees and odd snow patterns and, you know, the white hart and all.I know it doesn’t work this way, quite, but this is a new exercise..

squirrel tracks..many rabbits…white tails…a coyote…

Well, I found something of great power, to me anyway – deep into our trek, I found a long, long row of white spruce and balsam fir that had had their lower branches cut off, and were offering a HUGE amount of resin – probably more  than I can even use ( and I can use a lot). In years past I have looked and looked and not found anything even close to this. Yesterday I was looking only for an augury and then…there it all was.

I left a gift of seeds and prayer; I kept my eyes open (somewhat)on the way back, and then I flopped on the sofa and watched movies and slept the day away.

Was spruce the omen? Conifers? Get yourself geared to the gifts of the earth? Respiratory flu on the horizon?

Nah, I think it was subtler, much as I love spruce tip elixir and fir-scented…everything.

I think March’s omen is slanted towards the healing recovery we can find even in situations that look so hurtful, like the conifers all along the snowshoe trail I trekked yesterday.
It’s about wild medicine, and the power of the immediate and the underestimated.
It’s about following one’s biss and not what keeps the bills paid(can I still indulge myself, at this ripe advanced age?)

It’s about breathing into the mystery, not being bought, living simply and restoring the Old Ways and ancient knowledge.

It’s about hope.

That’s March – and we shall see…what will today bring, and what news for April?

Omen December 27 – February

I know, I know, I am always going on about “containment” and being careful with too much disclosure and so on. All this sharing doesn’t negate any of that. I simply want to show that augury is NOT superstition, much as it may appear to be so –  and that looking deeply into the holy interface between the spiritual and the material(where signs and portents appear)  is a valid and powerful practise for all us esotericists. I want to explore this accompanied by the ones who Get It. That’s about all, really, as a preface to yesterdays Omen.

First let me say, I used to think that taking pictures of food was kind of hokey. Much like sharing 4863729 pictures of your face on FB  might just indicate a bit of self-importance (or maybe, working out some personal stuff? but then one day it has to stop or slow down…doesn’t it?) I felt – judgemental, I know – that photographing your breakfast and sharing it with the world might incline to narcissism (LOOK! EGGS!!TOAST!! ) but then, the Jupiter in Libra that defines so much of who I am (in a good way) considers the opposite; what if it’s not narcissism but a deeply joyful revelry in life?
Ah, I can never make my mind up about stuff. (Gemini…Gemini…Libra.)

Back to topic – yesterday was all about wheat – wheat on Caitlin Matthew’s page, wheatfields all over a movie I watched (Prairie Giant) and wheat in the sticky toffee pudding and dinner biscuits I made for us(and did not take a picture of). Everyone these days hates wheat! Well, more of a love/hate relationship – we continue to rely on bread, pasta and baked goods to sustain us daily, at the same time many of us can’t really cope with so much gluten. Taken out of the modern role, wheat is sacred stuff indeed:

“Wheat – In the Old Testament wheat and bread re symbols of the fecundity of the earth. The New Testament associates the fruits of the earth – a gift of God to humankind—with the symbolism of wheat and associates the gift sof God with the hearts of humans (grace), especially in the parable of the good seed and the bad seed. Bread becomes the symbol  of the supreme gift  from God to humankind—eternal life, the body of Christ in the Eucharist: “Take this and eat, for this is my body”.

In Shakespeare’s time, sheaves of wheat were carried in the wedding procession and sometimes tucked into the Bride’s veil.  Wheat, while synonymous with Fall and all its bounty, is also a symbol of fertility.  It is referred to as the “Giving Grain”, and because wheat was historically a sign  of bounty and prosperity,it was also the incubus for the advent of the Wedding Cake.”

Okay – prosperity works for me, at least the more superficial me. In Pagan symbolism, we find Demeter/Ceres, the Graeco/Roman goddess of agriculture, and the power of the life-giving earth is probably nowhere better expressed than this image:

So, gluten be damned, I am taking the reiteration of wheat on Day Two as indicating that sustenance and prosperity become forefront issues in February. It can indicate many aspects but I am thinking that prosperity shines here… and let me finesse my remarks on augury a bit – this ins;t New Age tarot, where a symbol *might* mean this or it *might* mean that – in this discipline, a thing MEANS SOMETHING or it doesn’t.
So, I am going to say,it means February is a month of prosperity, not without drawbacks(damn, all that gluten).

Is money making hazardous to my health? I’ve thought so for a very long time.

Points to ponder, February.

On to March and the power of conifer resin, in a moment or so.

I am off to the forest. Let’s see what March will bring, need me to know, offer, take away.

The 12 Omens of Christmas

Last week I came across Caitlin Matthew’s wonderful blog, on the newsfeed at Facebook. (You see, there are good things about FB!) Caitlin is an authour and Tarot deck creator whose work I have admired for many years. I’ll share some links at the end of this post; anyone interested in Celtic magic, GrailMysteries, Goddess spirituality, tarot and more will want to check this blog. I’ve been there many times too, over this past  year or so, but as is often the case, with so many blogs and sites of interest, I can lose touch. When I connected with Caitlin’s post a couple of days ago, I was delighted by her latest offering; as a longtime practitioner of augury ( and I mean longtime, I started, without knowing what I was doing, in childhood) this idea is right up my alley. The title of her blog entry is”The Omen Days: The Twelve Days of Christmas” and here is a very brief summary of the idea:

  “….you treat each day of Christmas as the opportunity for an augury for the month it represents in coming year.  This might be experienced during a daily walk, or perceived in the nature of the day itself and how it falls out. Personally, I like to make a frame for each Omen Day, by asking to be shown an augury from nature and allowing the next thing I experience, see or hear to be the sign I am expecting.  It helps to find the right place to do this on a walk, to close your eyes, to spin around on the spot and then be attentive.

Many of my students have been doing this for a while and last year I shared it with an online group of Lenormand Card readers, who are now using the Omen Days to divine for the year ahead, choosing one or more cards each day to discover the nature of the months of the year.  There is no right way to do this, only by the unique interaction you have between the world that is seen and the world that is unseen, but just as real.



So I decided to try this, and blog about it here. It will be interested to see what appears to me as an omen, and then how each sign manifests in the corresponding month.

The first Omen, which was yesterday, was really a plethora of signs that challenged me a little to sort out what was what. It’s been snowing and very cold here all December and Dan and I have subsequently missed a lot of our walks. We headed out yesterday, fueled in part by my commitment to get outside and see what I might see. It was colder than I thought at first! By the time we made it to the edge of the forest(on the Eastern side) Dan was already holding up a paw (a little bit of drama, but not entirely). The air was still and heavy with fat, white snowflakes, falling on us, the pines and cedars, the deep uneven trail left by the farmer’s last foray into the woods. Walking was not entirely comfortable. I looked at a pale, soft sun showing faintly through the thick covering of grey cloud and thought, hhmm, beauty even in the cold, maybe that’s my sign. But I wanted to practise on the first day as I always do; simply to walk through the woods with awareness, centered deep into my body, and listen. No assumptions, and no urgency to figure it all out right away. You know, unless a white hart leaped put of the woods, or a snowy owl flew down and sat on my shoulder.

Or maybe a wild boar? (Especially as we don’t actually have wild boars up here..)


But no, nothing life-altering out there yesterday. Stillness, conifers, the stream almost frozen over and no one around for miles and miles, but nothing out of the usual. 🙂

Reaching the woods, I was on higher alert than usual, although trying not to be. The first thing I noticed was a noisy white breasted nuthatch, cavorting around the entrance to the woods. Not exactly uncommon! but there were no other birds. So I took note. Later a black cap or two..and lastly the nearby  croak of “my” solitary raven,  of whom I will write more later. None of this felt especially inspiring. “hhmm” I thought “pale sun means January will be a month to hold onto faint hopes”.

As we left the woods to head back to our warm house and hearth, Danny cold even in his super cozy Chillydogs coat, something caused me to stop abruptly and look North. A large tree branch had fallen – not certain what type – and formed a perfect, oversize(maybe 12 feet high) letter Y, leaning against two very old  and almost dead white cedars. It was a startling image, for some reason. I thought at once of the many prayer wands (shaped in a large Y, following something I read once and felt called to do) I have started to make and not completed over the years – birch, elm, beech, maple, wild cherry, hawthorn, willow. Something right there grasped my senses – that’s often how it works. I had said I wasn’t going to hunt my omen, but I had done so anyway; letting go, the song of the forest pitched me one clear note and I turned to see something that I was sure, was significant. No maybes, no guessing. Yeah, that’s often how it works, for me.


It’s too easy to allow the day to get away from me; happens all the time. I wound up not writing anything down at all when I got home…it’s the holidays, I’m distracted, you know the drill. Somewhere around 7 pm or so I flopped down to watch a movie, and let myself drift.Now I can’t even say which film, or even what significance the scene actually had – that’s how tired I am these days – but I recall sharply, a similar image in one of the films – a large fallen branch that formed the letter Y,  clear as a bell. So, evidently, this wanted to be seen.

Still not sure 100% what it meant, but as I live a hermit’s life, more or less, I can take my time.


Some  ideas, at this time; The Y struck me right away as a prayer wand, so the concept of prayer will be important for me to work with in January. I am good at a few things but praying regularly isn’t one of them. I consistently pray a brief psalm of gratitude for Danny every night, I never miss it. Otherwise, I can “forget”…which brings me to, the concept of completing things. Since I have half finished Y-shaped prayer wands all over the house and yard, this symbolism cannot be ignored. I am thinking, January is a good month to  go more deeply into my prayerwork, and also to commit myself to completing all the various loose end projects I’ve started over the past 5 years(and there are many).
Yes, the more I think of it, the more this feels right. If anything else comes to me,  will add it, of course.
And now, on to February..and what I might need to know, be aware of, focus on in that cold quiet month, as well.

More from Caitlin – including her SIXTY books, courses and blogs – here.