Trees.

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I do love a good tree… I don’t actually have any of any great size in my garden, other than the apple tree which my partner lovingly grew from a pip about twenty years ago.

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Its apples are horrible, but the flowers are beautiful, and I love the goodness, the symbolism of my apple tree. It has had many a wish made on its branches, and next year, in the Spring, it will have Tibetan prayer flags draped around it.

Trees are inherently symbolic and packed full of meaning – just look at the Tree of Life. I feel the bareness of tree branches in Winter, reaching out their empty arms and pleading with Mother Nature to return soon with their leafy covering…

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There is something very primitive about walking through a wood in Summer, harking back to our lives centuries ago, when the first upright walkers left the safety of the trees for the open plains.

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Every step taken through these enclaves of trees is a passage to the past when Mankind was far more intimately connected to the cycles of Mother Earth. Our lives have been entwined with trees like ivy round a trunk… they provided shelter, fuel, symbols, myths and legends.

Every time I see this tree I fully expect the Green Man to be just around the other side…

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There is a stark beauty too, woods in winter, naked, bare and beseeching reaching up to the sky, the very heavens, Nature’s own cathedrals; while down below their roots grip Mother Earth secretly, drawing hidden life to the surface.

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Another bridge, another link in Life, chapter in this Book … And when all is bleak and bare, there is comfort to be found in the promise of returning Life.

Bismuth… By Gosh…

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What’s that…?

Bismuth…”

Yes, we’ve been here before… Indulge me…

I watched a film last week, called “The Lost City Of Z”, starring the rather lovely Charlie Hunnam… (he’s going on the beautiful hands list – have a look… ) and in brief, it details the efforts of an explorer called Percy Fawcett and his search to find a lost civilisation in the Amazon.

It’s worthwhile watching… and then I saw this Bismuth. It’s beautiful. Metaphysically, it is good for reconnecting, finding your place in the Universe and realising your part in the Great Pattern. It can be used to help with the acceptance of change, and it is also a wonderful crystal to use for focus, shamanic journeying and visualisation….

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Walk with me, a little way then, if you will in the forest of your mind…

I held the Bismuth and all at once I was there, the heavy, steaming heat of the jungle fell like a woollen weight across my shoulders, and pooled like soup in my lungs. Forty, fifty, more different shades of green all around me, a loving, tendrilous embrace.

The jungle, alive with the sounds of tiny worlds, cushioned and softly heaving, breathing, with every step. The lungs of the world and so much more. Then, as I watched, and as I waited, a random ray of sun struck magic from the leaves. The veil parted and so – gold. And so much more…

A sacred path, a stepped pyramid, and with every step the knowledge grows… the golden step, leading us back to the beginning.

Start again with the stars, calendar your life, ordered passion and love for life, coloured by those we meet as we climb the stairs…

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Unicorn

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A magical Selenite spiral wand, from Lizian 

It was a summer morning, an early summer morning. It had rained overnight and every blade of grass wore a delicate crystal drop, the whole garden outlined with a glassy sheen.

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It was so early, so fresh and early, before the sun had risen and burnt away the magic. A gentle mist wreathed the base of my apple tree, cat-pawed and soft at the bottom of the garden where it is wildest.

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I like the garden to be a little untamed, a place where I can find the little people of my childhood imagination, the Fae, the smile of the Wild in the turn of a leaf; where Mother Nature walks with careful, loving steps trailing her fingers tenderly through the pathways of my garden.

I know we have hedgehogs, and sometimes a fox, birds fly through untroubled by my cats, as if they know a little bit of magic lives there, there at the bottom of the garden.

I gazed around, enjoying the freshness, and turned, alerted by the sound of a slapping fishtail from the pond as one of the goldfish rose to surface to capture a fly.

And then I saw…

creature of silken grace and delicate air
silver faced and spider web hair

Well, this was some Wild magic indeed. Mother Nature smiled at her little lost one and it stepped out further from behind the tree to return my gaze. Large dark enquiring eyes looked at me. I looked back and any idea I had of unicorns as horned horses fell away as this little creature was far more ethereal and dainty.

Barely a blade of grass bent under its weight or drop of dew stirred as it moved. The morning mist caressed delicate fetlocks and rose up to run loving tendrils through the silver mane – oh yes, silver and gossamer fine and plaited with girls’ dreams draped across a slender neck and fine-boned face – that face. Mother Nature must have felt truly blessed when presented with this little creature to love and cherish.

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And yes, oh yes, a rainbow curlicue of pure shimmer and shine adorned its little face, dainty and fine-boned, yes, but with an air of such Wild magic it took my breath away. For Wild Magic is not governed by man’s rule or human regulation – it simply is.

And as I looked, and looked again, the unicorn met my eyes and I wanted to cry, for there, within those liquid depths I saw love and knowing too. The sun rose higher and a random sparkle struck magic from that twisted horn and in a rainbow flash, a coloured turn, it was gone. And yet, and yet, I knew I was awake, and did not dream, for here…

unicorns shed their horns you know
to learn in love and kindness grow
as do we – with each year
grow in grace and keep love near

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Walk!

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As I no longer have my own dog and the girls pretty much take care of their own exercise regime, I help my mother walk her dogs.

Not only is this practical – she had a fall at the beginning of winter last year and lost a lot of confidence – but it also gives me a chance to poke about in Nature in our local country park, draw creative inspiration and my mother to do some training with Rocky while I occupy Erin.

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It should be a serene, calm time… but Erin generally has other ideas. The dogs know their walk time, and as I set foot on the garden path I see two eager faces appear at the front room window.

Then the drama starts. I’m trying to put my walking shoes on, Rocky is thundering about and Erin is jumping up and down screaming – literally –

YAROOO – AH! Wah! Wah! GRRRR!!”

This last growl at Rocky as he ventures too close…

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Dogs safely on leads, we are on our way. We have to walk down a particularly narrow, steep flight of concrete steps. A Staffordshire bull terrier lives in the house to one side and regards the whole area as his property. Rocky objects to this and consequently I am pinged back and forth between the two sets of fence like a pinball.

Mum and Erin descend in a generally more sedate fashion, Erin resembling a Victorian lady lifting up her skirts and tripping daintily down the stairs.

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Having reached the bottom and asked to sit, the dogs are given a biscuit each and allowed off the lead, and armed with plastic bags and more biscuits we set off.

I enjoy these walks as they are also an opportunity for me to practise my photography on my phone camera. I like to look at things in miniature and see the wonder of all creation in tiny scale, trying to capture it so I can share.

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However, I have discovered that photography and dogs don’t really mix. Well. Rocky and photography to be precise… I was tracking the flight of a beautiful butterfly, hoping it would settle for a photo – SNAP!

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No… not me. The dog. A tiny yellow flower, that caught my attention… SNAP! An empty pigeon shell, carefully nestled in the grass… SNAP!

But how can I be irritated, as despite my howl of anguish, Rocky beams at me cheerfully:

Come on! Let’s WALK!”

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Round To It… Or Getting Things Done

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Once upon a time there was a fairy, and her name was Roundtuit. She tried to be kind, and she tried to be good, so as a result of this, people were always asking her to do things for them.

She didn’t mind – how could she, for she was nothing if not a good-natured and pleasant fairy. Consequently, every passing squirrel popped in for a manicure, every travelling hedgehog, a haircut, and the neighbourhood foxes, a regular shampoo.

Added to this, the fairy villagers were forever popping by asking for help with little odd-jobs, like brushing the mushrooms and beating the dust out of the moss. All the poor fairy could do was say cheerfully: “Oh yes, I’m getting round to it!”

Her own house fell into disrepair, her neatly painted shutters began to flake and warp, while her garden became overgrown and unkempt.

After another day of helping everybody – she had re-varnished some ladybirds so they were bright and shiny again and helped several sparrows with their dust baths – Roundtuit came in, looked at her formally pristine and sparkling home, now shabby and dirty with piles of washing up left in the sink growing mould, she burst into tears.

And so it was, half an hour later, her friends found her sobbing on a heap of broken promises, spoiled dreams and dirty disappointments. Her friends’ names were Help, Hope and Reachout.

In no time at all, Roundtuit’s little home was sparkling and cosy once again, and all her jobs for the fairies and creatures of the community had been completed.

So, the moral of the story is: don’t always say you’re getting Roundtuit – Reachout in Hope and Help will be found.

Trees, Ting… And Tinkerbell!

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I quite like trees. We don’t actually have that many in our garden, there’s four miserable looking leyllandii, that my partner insists are his topiary project, which to me just smell of cat pee… We have an apple tree that he grew from a pip, which obligingly puts forth a fantastic display of beautiful, delicate blossom every year and produces apples as hard as bullets and that are the sourest thing that Mother Nature has ever made.

We have a lemon tree, lovingly grown by my partner from a pip. (But we won’t talk about that…) My son likes trees and has spent a lot of time photographing them, drawing them and painting them.

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But none of the trees in my garden are particularly large. Our house has a park adjoining our garden, and right next to our boundary fence, we have two large trees, I think they’re ash trees. They make a mess, anyway, dropping dead leaves into the garden, the sticky bud cases get in between the cats’ toes and only the most determined plants will grow in their shade.

However, they can come in useful, I suppose. The squirrel uses them as a quick getaway route, goldfinches and blue tits sit in them and pigeons fight in them. Ting likes to sit on the garden table and watch them.

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Now. Our neighbour has a cat. Nothing wrong with that at all, apart from the fact she’s a bit dim… the cat, not the neighbour that is. She’s a beautiful cat, a Chinchilla, but she just has no concept of boundaries, or personal space, or danger… The neighbour is forever retrieving her from under cars, other peoples’ houses and so on… The other day, the cat, Tinkerbell, thought she would investigate our garden. Luckily for her, my girls were having their afternoon siesta, as my partner – never one to resist a pretty face – made friends with Tinkerbell and accompanied her on a tour of our garden. Tinkerbell thought she would repeat the visit the other day… this time, however, Ting was awake. I never thought Ting was a particularly fierce cat – she tends to flirt with passing males:

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Ooh, you’re a big boy…” and apart from her sister, has little to do with the other girls. Well. She took one look at Tinkerbell and CHASED her… right out of the garden and straight up the larger of the two ash trays… trees… Freudian slip there.

Charlie told me what happened. Not that she’s a tell-tale, but she obviously witnessed the whole incident and as the responsible adult, felt she had to come and warn me. Ting sat at the foot of the tree:

Hi Mum, look! I’ve chased that funny coloured thing up the tree, let’s leave it there…”

Tinkerbell looked down at me miserably:

I only wanted to be FRIENDS! Where’s that nice man from the other day?!”

I went to fetch my partner. He looked at the tree and looked at the cat.

I’LL NEED MY LADDERS FOR THAT!” (He’s quite a small man, and it’s quite a large tree, and the cat was quite far up…)

I looked back at him impassively. Charlie and Ting looked at him. Tinkerbell chose that moment to change position and balance on one of the thinnest twigs…

He fetched his ladders. He wanted me to video his heroic rescue, but I felt I had to hold the ladders. Large tree… small bloke… wriggly cat… I managed one picture though, to show the neighbour. Although Ting suggested I make a ‘Wanted For Trespassing’ notice from it…

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Iolite And Impressions

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A lot can be learned from first impressions. Generally I am a reasonable judge of character, but sometimes I just get these… feelings. I would hesitate to claim any psychic ability, but these impressions have been strong enough, or made a lasting enough impression on me to the extent where I avoid the person or place.

An ex-neighbour is a case in point. My partner thought he was all right, one of the lads. I hated him. Wouldn’t give him house room. My partner couldn’t understand this, since the man was always perfectly pleasant to me; but we later found out that he’d been arrested for domestic abuse.

Another instance of impressions… my son’s class were doing a performance in a pub in the city so of course I went along to support and watch. It was actually taking place in an old music hall that had been restored – there has been some sort of public house on that location since the 1400’s. I was uncomfortable from the word go… the whole place felt like a musty old jacket from a charity shop… too many echoes, too much going on, too many voices to process…

Iolite – pronounced “eye-OH-lite” – ( I didn’t have any on me that day!) is a vision stone… it switches on your ability to tune into your surroundings, your gut instinct, if you will. Not surprisingly then, it’s a crystal of journey and insight, often used in shamanic ceremonies. Iolite can bestow the understanding and clarity of a clear night sky, which it so closely resembles, dark blue with paler flecks.

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Thus it helps with the clarity of thought, banishing negative ties and releasing your true self. It makes you aware of yourself and your place in the Universe, a kind and gentle stone to help with spiritual growth and creativity.

Always trust an animal’s first impressions… that’s what people say, although if I trusted my cats’ first impressions of people who come to our house I would spend a lot of time a) up in the apple tree b) running across the park or c) under my bed… nothing would get done…

It’s always interesting to watch an animal meet someone new. I remember the first time my old cat, Walter, set eyes on our new next-door neighbour, a tall, good-looking man à la Sidney Poitier… Walter couldn’t stop staring. To the point where I was so embarrassed I had to get up and remove my cat from the room, in case he asked for an autograph…

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Impressions then… knowledge and hints from others and our surroundings, built in responses and learned behaviours… Nature vs. Nurture, almost as we impress upon others our own self-images and interpretations. Listen, learn, absorb, but always trust your own self, your own judgement.

From the moment of conception our feet may be placed on the path we choose to lead in this Life; walk lightly, my friends, and be aware of every step.

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