NaPoWriMo 2021

You may have already noticed that I’m partaking in NaPoWriMo 2021, the annual poetry writing month that inspires writers of all abilities to try and compose a poem every day. Recently diagnosed with CPTSD and suspected ADD, I’ve discovered that my always terrible time management may actually be linked to one or both of these conditions. Embracing that, I am posting my poems, and indeed, this introduction, in no particular order! I have a rigid schedule for my paid work which I find exhausting, so to allow myself to randomize the writing I love is actually very freeing.

This first poem was actually written pre-NaPoWriMo and the only poem I’ve performed live in many months. I don’t normally explain my poems, as I think it’s kind of like explaining the punchline of a joke, but I hope it’s clear that this poem is about my own anxieties around our returning freedoms, and how we may or may not adapt to them.

April Fool

I’ve been tricked before

Thinking that the rain had gone

Then soaked by selfish

April showers

Thinking that the sun was stretching

Cranking it up to 11

So I left the jumper in its

Yearly cocoon

But Sol was still

In bed

I’ve been fooled once,

Shame on me

Twice,

Shame on me, me, me…

Thinking that the snow

Was done, that Cailleach’s cry

Could not reach my ears

Thinking that seedlings soft and

Fragile

Could pop outside for a time

What an April Fool I’ve been.

Now can we pop outside

Is it truly time

To stretch our roots and tendrils

Back towards the dense forest

Leaving our individual copses

Ours stands, our hedgerows.

While March Winds blew

Through aching leaves

We longed for May-time flowers

Are we truly built

To wait, to want,

To withstand April showers?

NaPoWriMo Day 5: Mystery Haiku

“Why is this?!” I asked

The cards answered, “Mystery”

Guess I asked for that.

NaPoWriMo Day 3 – Slap

A slap to the face

Leaves a red mark

Obvious, critical, easily criticised

So we shun

Physical violence.

A heart racing

Blood pumping

Veins jumping

Throat popping and retching

Hands tingling

Muscles twanging

Tired, old guitar strings

Tired of being played;

Not so obvious

So criticism

Not so easily received

Believe

Just believe

You don’t have to understand

But a slap to the mind

Is still a slap.

NaPoWriMo Day 6 – Companions

Seen and unseen

Felt, always felt

Trailing thoughts like fingers

The blackbird in the fence

Guardian at the gates

Of heart and mind

Turning energy into matter

Words into action

Idea

Into

Reality.

Hermitage Haiku

Bathe in the white warmth

Of words well met, for even

The hermit has friends.

Global Recycling Day

Alder cones, Yorkshire.

Global Recycling Day is tomorrow and the international event offers folks a chance to nominate their recycling heroes and give a shout out to those who have kept up their work for the planet during the pandemic.

In honour of this, I will be taking a very short, local walk to a copse of alder trees by some council offices, with the aims of cleaning the area up and recycling as much of the rubbish as possible. The offices have been empty since last year, with the amazing staff now working diligently from home. The area has, in their absence, become something of a dumping ground and isn’t visible enough to warrant any attention from the refuse collectors.

Litter can be very harmful to local wildlife, and it’s an important part of my spiritual practice to do what I can for wildlife, local plants, and the environment at large. I’m currently working (very slowly) through an amazing Ogham course with the Irish Pagan School. It involves journeying to try and communicate with the spirits of Ogham, which of course have some strong tree associations – and many other associations, too! My journey with the fid, Fern, led me to a discussion about Alder trees, and a commitment to help them – although at the time, I didn’t grasp quite what this meant.

One sunny Sunday, I was out with the kids and we were all taking our government-sanctioned exercise. I’d long known that the grounds of the council offices were full of interesting trees: an apple, rowans, and birches. This day, I discovered that at the path side of the building, there are some old and beautifully gnarled alders. I decided there and then that the area needed cleaning up, as it’s currently full of litter which will not only discourage wildlife but actively harm it. As I made this commitment, a crow flew down and sat in the top branches of one of the tallest alder trees. Although no stranger to coincidence, in this moment I felt like this offering of service had been accepted.

Learn more about following an environmentally-kind spiritual path in my upcoming book, Practically Pagan: An Alternative Guide to Planet Friendly Living

Click image to visit the Practically Pagan Facebook group.

Elemenpals: Our New Favourite Story

Have you ever wondered about introducing the elements to your children? Or how to get them enthused with nature? I don’t expect my kids to follow in my footsteps religiously, but I’d love for them to develop an appreciation for the world around them, and for their own sense of spirituality, as a source of comfort and resilience – which we need now more than ever!

That’s why I was so thrilled to read Debi Gregory’s book, The Elemenpals: Meet the ‘Pals!, and discover that this beautifully illustrated and gorgeously written volume introduces children to elements of nature both large and small, plus emotions, playfulness, and a sense of inclusivity that’s rare if not non-existent in most other books for children.

Here’s what I had to say in my initial review:

“Quality books for Pagan children or children growing up in Pagan families are a little thin on the ground, especially when it comes to early readers. This imaginative and adorable creation fills that gap beautifully, with a gang of elemental beings who spark the desire to learn about the world and nature. I showed this book to my nine-year-old and my one-year-old, and they both loved it. The nine-year-old related to the emotions displayed by the Elemenpals, and was immediately excited to know what further adventures they would be embarking on. My one-year-old found it soothing and was very interested in the pictures; it was a lovely way for us to bond together. This beautifully illustrated and engagingly written book is for any parent who wants to gently introduce the ideas of the elements, nature, reverence for our planet and even healthy expression of emotions.”

I wrote this last year, after being lucky enough (thanks Debi!) to get a sneak peek at the book. I now have two copies; the now ten-year-old has stolen one, and my toddler insists it’s “MY STORY” every time I pick it up. She loves the emotions, and is always telling me which ‘Pal is grumpy, or happy, and I think she knows the book off by heart now.

I’m hoping to do a reading of the story on the Pagan Federation Children and Families Group towards the end of this month. The group runs weekly threads for kids and families, promoting the sharing of resources for Pagan families and suggesting fun ideas, so come along and join in!

Above all, get your copy of Elemenpals if you have kids, know kids, are a kid, or are involved in any groups or settings involving youngsters who would benefit from a fresh and inclusive introduction to nature, the elements, and the world around us.

Did I mention you can colour the pages in? Because you can!

My guest Blog Over At Druid Life

I was delighted to have a guest blog over at Nimue Brown’s fascinating blog, Druid Life. Here’s a little snippet, but do head on over to Druid Life for the full piece.

The Spirit in My Laptop

I believe there is a spirit in everything. My animism is not exclusionary. I honour the spirits of the land, or try to, but I am aware of spirits in other things too. My favourite teacup. The pen I scribble my notes with. Even my laptop.

Animism and Technology

I think it’s very common to dismiss the possibility that things which aren’t “natural” are somehow excluded from animism. But natural is a strange word when we think about humanity. If we mean natural to means the state of things before humans got involved, then most areas of woodland are not natural – yet plenty of people feel a connection to them. Most fields and meadows aren’t truly natural, yet they veritably hum with life, from the tiniest aphid to the great, surging seas of grass.

To turn this idea on its head, everything is natural at some point. The keys I’m tapping on are made of plastic, which at some point was oil, which at some point was probably prehistoric trees or animals. It’s not too hyperbolic to say I’m tapping on dinosaur bones…

Read the rest of my wonderings on technological animism here.

Online Imbolc Festival!

Celebrate the coming season from the comfort of your own home!

The Pagan Federation Online Imbolc Festival starts soon, intro at 11 am then full range of activities between 1 and 3 pm, all on Facebook so content will stay up all day too. Lots of child friendly content including info about the coming season and a quick and easy scavenger hunt.

Enjoy!

https://fb.me/e/3zkisRBgw

Cover Reveal!

I’ve been a bit quieter in here over the last few months, mostly because I’ve been busy finishing off my latest project. Here’s a sneak peek, more to come soon, look out for excerpts and a publication date in the next few weeks!