Wheel of the Year

The energy of Samhain

Samhain (pronouced sow-ein) is one of the eight seasonal festivals that make up the wheel of the year, an ancient way of observing the yearly cycle, and the transition of the sun and the seasons. Samhain is celebrated at the end of October/beginning of November (the origins of modern day Halloween) and marks the final harvest period of the year and the birth of the Winter. At this time of year we can observe the natural world preparing for the Winter months that stretch ahead. Trees lose their leaves, plants die back, and animals stock up and may begin to migrate or hibernate.

Samhain was considered both the end and the beginning of the Celtic New Year, honouring the understanding that all new life and beginnings, emerge from endings.

For me, acknowledging the 8 festivals throughout the yearly cycle provides points at which I stop and observe what is going on in the outer world as well as my inner world. A moment to reflect on how things currently are, how they have been over the last season and how I would like to move ahead into the new one.

My most precious insight from observing the wheel of the year is the element of change within it. Light and dark, growth and decay, beginnings and endings. In the modern world we are often expected to be as productive and efficient no matter the season. A striving towards a fixed state of happiness, vibrancy and certainty that isn’t present in the natural world, certainly not all year round.

At Samhain, the hours of darkness outweigh the hours of light as the Sun’s strength and energy wanes. It marks the end of the growth part of the year’s cycle. The seeds of the harvest have now fallen and lay dormant deep within the dark earth before they emerge in Spring.

Observing the energy of each season can guide us to reflect on those themes in our own lives. At Samhain these may include endings, letting go, losses and the lessons we have learned from adversity. We may feel called to embrace rest, wind down and nourish ourselves whilst dreaming of what the seeds of next year’s growth may hold.

Some seasons may feel easier to connect with than others, depending where we are at. Some may pass us by without much significance while we feel much more aligned to others.

We have felt especially connected to Samhain energy this year, crafting jewellery from Yew and Elder wood, gathering apples, cooking hearty meals and exploring damp and mossy woodlands.

You can find out more about our Samhain offerings on Instagram or our Etsy Store now.

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.

Foraging

Spring Greens!

Eating seasonally is one of my favourite ways of feeling more aligned with earth’s cycles and come Spring I really start craving fresher, zingier and lighter meals with lots and lots of greens. And just as if Nature intended, our gardens and woodlands are bursting full of Spring greens, that nourish and cleanse our bodies after a heavy winter.

After consciously gardening to keep and enjoy wild edibles over the years, there has been plenty coming up over the past few weeks. They have filled our teapot and topped most of our dishes and both my mind and body are starting to feel lighter and clearer after the long Winter months.

One of our favourite ways to enjoy wild greens is in a pesto. It is simple, quick and delicious. We use it to dress salads, vegetables, pasta and potatoes. We don’t follow a recipe and embrace it varying each time but start by popping a big handful of greens into a blender along with a squeeze of lemon, some seeds (or nuts) a glug of olive oil, salt and pepper and I often add a handful of peas to give a nice freshness and sweetness.

We also add chopped greens to the top of almost any dish, or into soups, salads and pasta dishes.

Some are wonderful enjoyed in a fresh spring tea or cold water infusion. My favourite for this are Cleavers and the Nettles.

As with everything, once you get your eye in, identifying plants becomes almost second nature but it takes time to learn, we are always cautious, avoiding anything unless we are sure – there are poisonous lookalikes out there so cross reference, learn from someone and take your time – it is worth it. We still enjoy adding a few extra plants to our repertoire each year.


Here are just a few greens I use on a regular basis as they are local and abundant to me. They are often an important nectar source in early Spring so we only ever take a small proportion of what is growing leaving lots for the wildlife who depend on them. There are lots of other tasty greens not listed here and getting to know those in your garden is a good place to begin.

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, 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

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Autumn Equinox

As the Wheel of the Year reaches the Autumn Equinox on September 22nd, day and night length reaches equal balance once more as we pass through the doorway to the dark half of the year. After this point, the balance tips as hours of darkness increase and day length shortens. This heralds a time to begin slowing down, give thanks for what we harvest, release the old and turn our gaze inwards.

In astronomical terms, the Autumn Equinox marks the beginning of the Autumn season in the Northern hemisphere. The Autumn Equinox is thought of as the second of three harvests of the year; the fruit harvest. This time is also referred to as the festival of Mabon.

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 declining from its highest point at the Summer Solstice in June. It will now continue to decline, until it reaches its lowest point on our shortest day at the Winter Solstice on December 21st.

At this moment of balance between the dark and the light, it can be a good time to pause and consider the balance in our own lives. Energy being extended to others compared with the energy being spent on ourselves. Focus on our outward goals and future, compared with our internal world and present.

The is also a good time to pause and take stock of our year so far. What has gone well? Where may we need to clear out or make space.

In general the darker colder months can be thought of as a time to rest and restore. Return to our roots. Focus inward. carving out some time and physical space where you can build a meditation or journal practice to support you for the winter, make your surroundings more cosy, and let go on anything no longer needed in the months ahead.

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 Autumn Equinox season that runs from 22nd September up to Samhain on 31st October. 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.

Mabon blessings

Botanicals, Wheel of the Year

Autumn Equinox Celebration Box

As the wheel of the year turns towards the Autumn Equinox next month, we have been busy creating an offering that is intended to help you celebrate and welcome the new season with a little plant and crystal magick.

Continue reading “Autumn Equinox Celebration Box”
Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Creating a space

One of my earliest indicators that Autumn is nearby is my desire to retreat. Woodland walks followed by cosy, quiet evenings, warming foods and the urge to make my space feel cosier and more relaxing.

In my previous post about transitioning to Autumn I discussed how typically this time of year can bring with it a more quiet and reflective energy that guides us inwards, as opposed to the bright and expansive days of the Spring and Summer months just ending.

As well as the call to make my general environment feel cosier at this time of year (blankets, candles, slippers at the ready) I also find myself wanting to create a more dedicated space where I can connect to my inner self through yoga, meditation, reading, reflecting or journalling. Having a dedicated space to quieten the mind can help us to strengthen and commit to our practices, especially if it feels soothing and inviting to be there and doesn’t require setting up each time.

Some people use the word ‘altar’ to describe a focused sacred space, but it can be whatever feels meaningful to you. I have been lucky enough to have a whole summer house as a dedicated meditation room in an old house. Now whilst we are staying with family I have a chest of drawers in front of where I place my yoga mat. I have also used a shelf or a windowsill to put things that are meaningful to me. The key is the intention that your space holds. Things precious to you. Things that have meaning and support you to practice self care. Things that help you to reflect, quieten your mind and encourage you to return often and feel safe.

I would love to hear about any pulls you have as Autumn approaches, and also whether you find having a space supportive. We will be continuing to share suggestions to help you connect to our new season ahead, in the run up to the Autumn Equinox.