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The Improbable Art of Balance
Or finding peace in the chaos!
Welcome to my ongoing seasonal, circle infused musings. You may wish to grab a cuppa, your pen and journal and cosy up with me for my sharing, reflections, updates, invitations, suggestions and offerings, or you may prefer to have a quick scroll to see the headings, and trust what draws your attention. xx
Hello Dear Circlers
Sending daffodil infused blessings across the internet as we transition into Spring.
When I gathered in Circle with my co-conspirators in The Grove this week, we met the balancing energy of the equinox and the mystery of the dark moon.
Those of us who could, spontaneously gathered a stone, a feather, a bowl of water and a candle. We each created a simple altar aligning earth, air, fire and water with the four directions and we then shared a simple ceremony.
To our circle altar I added a sculpted fly agaric mushroom to represent the online eco-system of our own mycelial networks of interconnection and inspiration, a ceramic butterfly to represent the transformation that takes place in circle, a silver horse to represent the Celtic Goddesses and a small copper bowl representing the strength of our relationships.
We held each other with the seen and unseen, the known and unknown, creation and destruction, death and rebirth, materialism and spirituality, the conscious and unconscious, being active and receptive, what is illuminated in the light and what is hidden in the dark, the fortune and misfortune we have experienced, logic and intuition.
We honoured the in breath and the out breath as a living, repeating experience of balance and embraced our inner journeys and our collective outer journey.
Like energy, balance can neither be created nor destroyed.
We don’t find balance in a particular moment but rather it is woven through our existence, thread by thread. It is there in the swinging pendulum of our lives, the ebb and flow of our experiences, the changing seasons, the cycles of life, death and rebirth, in our joy and our grief, in our rage and our love (see Rage, Love and Curiosity), and in our yearning and our satiation.
And it is this understanding that teaches us how to hold contradictory ideas, embrace contrasting perspectives and reconcile opposing beliefs.
I submit that embracing the improbable art of balance is deeply needed in these wild and (r)evolutionary times.
And I believe that Circles show us one way to do that.
Let’s return briefly to those daffodil blessings!
I recently read a short report about M&S stocking daffodils (not yet flowering) next to the spring onions. Daffodils are toxic if eaten and unsuspecting cooks were at risk of chopping them up and throwing them into their spring inspired suppers!
As I tend to my little pot of Narcissus with their striking trumpet flowers, I remember that in a few short weeks, their beauty will transform as the petals disintegrate into soggy tissues, and turn brown. In this act of death, energy from the leaves will be guided back into the bulb for next year’s bloom.
My little pot contains prettiness and poison, disintegration and death, energy and life.
And the cycle continues. I hope those blessings bring you a dose of peace in the chaos of life on this planet.
I invite you to continue this exploration with me in our subscriber chat.
Circle Practice: Tending to Yourself
One of the core practices that I have been sharing since I started guiding others to create their Circles is one that happens outside of the Circle, but supports you in your role.
I lovingly recommend that you curate a medicine bag that you can reach into to tend to your physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual self, and create personal rituals that honour your wellbeing and energetic boundaries.
The most nurturing self-tending comes from knowing what nourishes and replenishes you and will be different for each of us; here are some suggestions from what Circle Holders have shared with me:
Raising Your Vibration by dancing or singing
Prayer or Invocation
Dressing in certain clothes, jewellery or using essential oil scent
Playing a particular song
My pre-circle rituals include listening to my Wild Mystic Witch playlist on Spotify, dabbing myself with Moonseed Botanical Rituals The Witch’s Garden oil blend and practicing heart coherence.
Spending time in nature - walking, swimming in the ocean, lying on the earth
De-briefing with your co-facilitator or a circle companion who can listen
A cup of tea or nourishing meal
My favourite post-circle ritual is to have a candle lit warm bath with essential oils and salts, and spend time cleansing and releasing. I take out the plug and stay in until all the water has drained away, letting go of anything that I don’t need to hold on to. Alternatively, I love a walk along the river and returning for a cup of tea and my journal.
I highly recommend scheduling your practices and rituals into your Circle plan; we don’t always have as much time as we’d like but just 3-deep breaths and an invocation whilst you’re setting up, and 5-mins lying on the earth after you’ve finished will be so worthwhile!
Grover, Bree Horvat recently shared her post-circle ritual involving movement and journaling in this beautiful video. You can follow her on Instagram @heart.centred.mothering
Circle Resources: Free Introduction to Women’s Circles Course
If you are new to holding Circles or have held a few but are nervous, I invite you watch my free Introduction to Women’s Circles course on You Tube.
In this 10-part course, we cover:
You as Circle Holder
Intention and Meaningful Purpose
Intentional Sharing & Listening
Integration & Embodiment
Self-Care & Reflection
Each video is approximately 20-mins is designed to help you understand the architecture and process of a powerful Circle so that you can apply this to your Circles.
I am absolutely thrilled to start a Featured Co-Conspirator series, sharing the incredible folk who are co-creating The Grove.
I am very grateful to Sarah @hollowbonesacreddrum for being the demonstration of all that she stands for, and bravely going first.
I have had the joy of getting to know Sarah over the last few months. She joined The Grove as she was relocating to Wales. In The Grove we have witnessed her journey of returning home and navigating this huge transition with grace, and devotion to sharing her medicine.
Sarah's love of sacred drum medicine, circles and creative medicine shines brightly. I loved her recent video on Feather Medicine.
Sarah has a deep understanding of rhythm, vibrational and creative medicine and how sacred tools (especially those we make ourselves) can support us as we heal and move towards elderhood.
Sarah says that at the heart of her work and circles is:
To introduce people to the idea that medicine is not just found in a bottle from the pharmacy. To look within themselves for the answers and not rely on someone else to fix their ailments, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual.
I see myself as the first stepping stone onto a new path. A wayshower. A door opener. Holding circle can be that stepping stone into new perspectives.
The Grove is Open
With each turn of the Wheel of the Year, we welcome new co-conspirators into The Grove.
This is our on-line space of sanctuary and rebellion for those embracing circles as collective care and sacred activism, and are seeking a network of co-conspirators to play with!
When you step into The Grove, you join a collective of wellbeing practitioners, community organisers and creatives exploring the heart and edges of holding Circles in these wild times.
Together we are co-creating a brave space to resource and support us, as we reach out across our communities and navigate our interwoven and entangled world.
Will you become a Grover?
The Grove is open to join until (and including) tomorrow (Thursday 22nd March); it will then reopen in May (if there are spaces available). If you’re curious about joining us you can find all the information here, and as I write this we have 4-spaces available to reach capacity.
I am thrilled to be speaking at the upcoming Doula UK Conference 2023.
This is a virtual conference online from 24th - 26th March 2023. The theme this year is 'Stepping up for Change'. Doula UK have put together an exciting and dynamic programme that aims to inspire, challenge and empower. Their intention is that the conference will be an opportunity for doulas and all those working in perinatal support to come together to learn and share ideas as a community.
I attended my first sharing circle when I was pregnant with River. It was held and facilitated by our Doula on the theme of "birthing". I am so grateful for her support during my pregnancy, her presence at River's birth and in the days that followed as we found our way together. It was a couple of years later that I held my first sharing circle, and then went on to create Circle School.
I am drawing on that memory and my experience, and offering a session on the magic and medicine of Circle:
Birthing Your Circle: the (r)evolutionary power of sharing circles as collective care and sacred activism
This is a new training created specifically for @doulauk . My intention is that my session will inspire practitioners to want to start a Circle, challenge you to think creatively about how Circles could work for you within your existing business and offerings, and ensure that you know how to start, and the next steps to take.
In addition to being a fabulous program with opportunities for learning and connecting, all proceeds go to the Doula Access Fund, which provides free support to those most vulnerable and in need during pregnancy, birth and after the birth of a baby.
If you are coming, please let me know. And if this isn’t you, please share with the doulas, midwives, infant feeding supporters, antenatal teachers, health visitors and anyone supporting those in the perinatal period, in your world. 🙏🏻.
Thank you so much for your presence here and your companionship as we continue to honour the old ways and find new ways to be in community together.
I hope that whatever this season holds for you, you are able to tend to yourself and the communities you are part of with compassion and courage whilst receiving love and support.
As always, I feel that I have more to say but have already take up much of your time.
I leave you with these words from Sharon Blackie at the close of her short story, Foxfire, in “Wolfskin, Foxfire” which is the book we are currently exploring in our Book Cabin in The Grove:
Now, I have my own wild-pawed path, and the power of the wood is remaking me. For when last I crept out to the cabin in the clearing and examined myself again in its mirror or truth, the hole at the heart of me was almost closed.
With you in Circle in these (r)evolutionary times
p.s I’m exploring the idea of writing weekly rather than monthly with a view to sharing more musings and being able to spread out the news, updates and resources over the month. I always think I don’t have much to share and then suddenly I’ve written a rather long tome! Sharing your preference below is not a contract (you don’t have to read them!) but it would be helpful to know as I continue to play with this platform. (And yes the podcast is returning….soon!).
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