Wellbeing

Lessons from a Primrose

After a shaky few days, taking my morning cup of tea out in the garden this morning felt like an act of restoration. Walking barefoot across the lawn, moving from the shade into the sun I came to sit down in front of a small patch of Primroses. I noticed that the petals of most of the flowers were wilting now, nibbled (not by me) and turning brown in patches as they were reaching the end of their blooming period here in the UK.

Their name translates from the Latin meaning ‘first’ and these little pioneers led the way, opening their delicate yellow petals to a cold and tired world just a few months before. To the earliest of Spring days they brought a reminder of renewal and hope from the woodland floors.

They hold such an important role in our ecosystem – as an indicator of ancient woodland they offer an important early nectar source for insects, most notably brimstone and small tortoiseshell butterflies.

As I spent time observing these precious little gems this morning, I became aware of their niche. Flowering early, they bring joy and valuable nectar sources before they become overshadowed by larger plants on the woodland floor. They don’t bloom all year round, or attempt to be like another flower. They just bloom when conditions are good for them and then retreat when they are not.

As a human being, I often find myself trying to fulfil so many roles. An array of options are always available to us that it can be easy to stray from our true nature, or feel less than in comparison with others. Do you sometimes feel as though you should always be blooming, or be more like someone else? If so, perhaps spend a few moments just observing a plant in nature and be reminded of her lessons of embracing our individuality and niche. Just another little dose of nature’s medicine, always available to us.

With love and plant magick,

Nicola

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Beltane

The next festival in our Wheel of the Year journey is Beltane or May day, celebrated From the evening of April 30th to May 1st in the Northern hemisphere. Beltane is the peak of Spring, a celebration of fertility and the height of the earth’s growing energy. At this time of year we begin to see the very first signs of Summer emerging.

This is a time of abundance, union and life force. Flowers are blooming, new life is being born and the Sun’s strength is increasing. This is a fertile time in the natural world, and can help us to ignite projects, cultivate new actions and reflect on what we need to bloom. This increase in active energy, can leave us feeling a little worn out at times, so it is good time to ensure rest, self care and nourishment is established to balance this busy time.

Our Beltane Seasonal Wellbeing guide is available now with journal prompts and guided practices to help you connect with the energy of the season.

Beltane blessings!

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Spring Equinox

In astronomical terms, the Spring Equinox marks the beginning of the Spring season in the Northern hemisphere. This year; in 2021 the Spring Equinox falls on Sunday March 21st.

The word ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin word meaning ‘equal night’ and twice a year, on both the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, night and day length are in balance. The light has slowly but surely been increasing from it’s lowest point at the Winter Solstice in December. It will now continue to expand, overtaking the hours of darkness, until it reaches its peak on our longest day at the Summer Solstice on June 20th.

In the natural world the Spring Equinox heralds a time of birth, renewal, new beginnings and an increased energy. As the light increases, the days warmer conditions become more favourable for life to return with vigour. The time of year can be symbolic for us too as a time to shake off the Winter and welcome new ideas and energy.

Being aware of what is going on in our outer world can help us to connect to and learn more about our inner worlds. In this article I will discuss where we are currently in the seasonal cycle and suggest ways in which we can use this to cultivate inner reflection and growth.

Element: Air

This time of the year is associated with the element of air. The energy of air can encourage movement, change, new beginnings and a freshness in ideas or perspective. It can bring lightness into our mind and bodies and dissolve the stagnation that may have gathered over the winter months.

As with all the elements, air can possess more and less helpful qualities. When in balance this energy can feel like a ‘breath of fresh air’ in our lives. It may feel cleansing, stimulating and renewing. When out of balance this energy may leave us feeling rushed, unsettled, overwhelmed and with racing thoughts.

Outer observations

The word that resonates with this season for me is growth. This time of year is a feast for the eyes, ears, heart and soul. It is impossible to spend time outdoors and not witness signs of colour and life bursting out. Green rushes back into the colour palette, filtering its way through the ground and out through unravelling leaf buds. The energy of birdsong alerts us to a new season and as the first flowers open, their delicate yet vibrant petals uplift and expand.

Other words associated with this time of year include: birth, renewal, life force, opening, expansion, growth, new beginnings.

Inner reflections

The time of year can be a guide for inner reflection. It may help to spend some time in nature, and just notice and observe the season that we are in. What words would you use to describe it? Be aware of what feelings it brings up for you. This will be different for us all, depending on where we are in our journey.

Our Spring Equinox Wellbeing Guide is now available to download for free. It contains journal prompts, and a guided mindfulness practice to help you to connect with the energy of the season.

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Imbolc

Traditionally celebrated over 1st and 2nd of February in the Northern Hemisphere, Imbolc marks the earliest signs of Spring and falls midway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. At this time, the earth is beginning to awaken from Winter’s slumber. Light is increasing, encouraging changes in the behaviour of our animal friends. Most growth is still occurring in the darkness of the Earth’s belly but some little pioneer plants bloom first, signalling the quickening of the year.

Imbolc is a period of transition. The inward focus of the Winter months making way to a more external focus of growth once again. A tender time where we tentatively begin looking outwards towards the coming months. It can feel challenging or overwhelming particularly if we are feeling under nourished.

This can be a good time to assess where we require more rest or support. To clear space in our homes and lives to make way for what’s to come. And to reflect on the things that light us up, restore our energy and tend to our ground ready to welcome the tender new shoots of Spring.

For guided Mindfulness practices and journal prompts inspired by the season of Imbolc, you can download our Imbolc Wellbeing Guide now.

Wellbeing

Earthing

Earthing or grounding refers to making bodily contact with the earth through walking bare foot or sitting on the ground.

A recent review highlights the impact of earthing on our health concluding that ‘bodily contact with the Earth’s natural electrical charge stabilizes the physiology at the deepest levels, reduces inflammation, pain and stress, improves blood flow, energy and sleep and generates greater wellbeing.’

Further research also demonstrates a reduction in inflammation and pain in the bodies of individuals who implement earthing techniques alongside changes in the wound healing process and the immune response.

Now I have to say, I love being barefoot at the best of times, feeling the sand in between my toes on the beach, or the soft grass in my garden. During Spring and Summer there are lots of opportunities to do so quite easily, without looking too odd.

In Midwinter however it isn’t so common to see someone walking through a woodland without shoes on.  During our recent Winter Solstice walk through our favourite woodland I felt the urge to free my feet and get them on the ground.

After doing so, I immediately felt more awake. Pulled straight into the present moment, aware of the sensations under my feet (albeit mainly cold) noticing my every step. Energised, I made a commitment to get my feet on the ground more often during the Winter months and I certainly haven’t regretted it so far.

Is it cold? Well yes it is, but I am wrapped up and have a hot drink afterwards so it is certainly manageable. Other alternatives to connect with nature if you don’t fancy going barefoot during the Winter are resting your hands on trees as you walk past them, doing some gardening or having a sea salt bath.

Do you practice earthing? How does it impact you?

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Winter Solstice

We have now arrived at the darkest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere. Energy and light levels are low. Today the sun stands still at its furthest point, before slowly returning once more with its light and warmth.

It has been a strange year, perhaps the strangest so far so we do hope you find some moments over this time to rest, and tend to yourselves.

Alongside our Winter Solstice/Yule Wellbeing Guide, we have also filmed a short Mindful Moment in Nature video which you can find a link to in the guide.

We have created these with love, to capture the peace we experience in nature and hope they support you too.

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Samhain

Samhain is a seasonal festival that falls roughly half way between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. It is the third harvest festival (following Lammas and Autumn Equinox) celebrating the time to collect the last of the year’s berries and nuts. Samhain is the end of the growth part of the cycle and the origin of Halloween. It can be thought of as the birth of the Winter and dark half of the year.

As the light wanes, this time of year is associated with an increase in darkness, a time where the seed has now fallen deep into the dark earth and rests before it begins a new cycle of life. Trees and plants let go of their old growth and we may feel a call to honour people and things that have been lost.

We can sometimes find this time of year somewhat uncomfortable. Generally society and us humans have a preference for the warmth, light and growth. Death and decay, whilst essential can be painful and something we may wish to avoid.

Aligning ourselves with the seasons, is to learn the lessons of the natural world. To practice letting go of things, allowing them to nourish new parts of us and our lives.

Connecting to the cycle of the seasons can help us to reflect on changes in our own mood and energy which naturally ebbs and flows. We have created a new seasonal guide for the Samhain season that runs from 31st October up to the Winter Solstice on 21st December. You can download it below. It includes a mindfulness practice and journal prompts that can be used at any time throughout the season. If you do find this helpful, or wish to share any insights you have whilst using the guide we would love to hear from you.

Samhain blessings