Gillian Monks

'Making Fairytales Come True'

Category: Thoughts From My Fireside

Afternoon at Home

A typical late autumn day. Rain is rattling against the windows and the mountains are totally obscured by cloud. It is almost twilight, although only half past three in the afternoon and I have switched all the lights on in the kitchen and living room, including the little coloured fairy lights above my stove.

This picture of the top of my Aga says it all, really. Two different kinds of fungi drying at the back. A basket of rose hips also nearly ready for processing in the dispensary. A tray of hot fruit scones just out of the oven, ready to eat with clotted cream and home made raspberry jam for afternoon tea by the drawing room fire. Classic FM playing softly on the radio in the kitchen… clock ticking loudly… Labradors snoring sonorously.

Ah, the pleasures of being at home and able to snuggle up cosily in peace. My idea of heaven!

New Book Published Today!

A very happy moment!

Today is the day!!! The moment I have been waiting for… to hold my latest book in my hands, ready to present it to the wold! ‘The Alternative Advent Calendar’ is an inspiring read which will – hopefully – propel you off into all manner of actions and adventures. Published by Herbary Books, ISBN 978-1-5272-4942-4 and available for £7.99 through bookshops and on Amazon:   

Celebration!  Furthermore, for any of you who are in my area, I am holding a book launch on Sunday, 6th October at the Hirael Community Hall, Ambrose Street, Bangor, North Wales at There will be a short talk about my new book, copies will be for sale along with ‘Merry Midwinter’ and there will be home made treats to eat and drink. But the main thing is that I want to celebrate… and everyone is welcome!

Very happy reading – with my love!

Beginning a New Book!

February tree

Life is like a tree – so much is hidden, buried deep beneath.

The most important news is that I have begun writing my next book, ‘Spring in Your Step’ which is a direct follow on from ‘Merry Midwinter’ and is all about how to satisfyingly and authentically enjoy and celebrate the spring season. I takes up the dialogue at the end of January where ‘Merry Midwinter’ ended and will cover the downside and depression of January, the celebration of earliest spring at the beginning of February followed by all the springtime activities and high days and holidays. I am currently working on Chapter Four and writing about Valentine’s Day so am already a quarter the way through.

I definitely had a ‘Eureka’ moment yesterday. I have been finding my work a bit lacking in spontaneity and sparkle and quite hard going in places and I have realised why. In my attempts to be politically correct and all inclusive I have been trying to include lots of festivals and events from Europe and other places around the globe but their details have been taking all my time and thought – not to mention manuscript space – and I have rather ‘lost’ my original direction and drive.

But not any more! Except for a few important or favourite examples, most details are going to be listed in an extended appendix at the end of the book, leaving me free to bumble along, making my comments, observations and suggestions as I best like to do. I am definitely back on track!!! Watch this space!

Something Fresh For Your New Year

Lammas RitualIf you enjoyed reading my book, ‘Merry Midwinter’, or following the simple suggestions in the Alternative Advent Calendar, why not delve a little deeper to discover the ethos behind them? Come and join me on the next cycle of ‘Earthwalking’, a practical, down-to-earth way of interacting with yourself, the rest of humanity and the natural world around you. Over the course of a year you will enjoy seven weekend workshops full of simple activities and discussion which help you to foster a greater connection to and basic love of our own human journey.

The next cycle begins on the 19th – 20th January, and due to last minute cancellations there are still s couple of places left. Or you might wish to join us later in the spring when the next cycle begins in early April. For those of you who live too far away to travel to North Wales, I shall be placing the ‘Earthwalking’ course on-line within the next few weeks.

Each weekend costs just £125 (including all meals and some basic accommodation); the on-line course will cost £50 per module, including personal tutorials and support throughout. (Concessions available,)

New Year is a really good time to begin something fresh and new. There is much about our world and our life within it that we have little or no control over, but what we CAN do is to change the way we respond to it… and that makes a total difference!

Please do get in touch with me for more details, or to have a chat about the options available.

Blessings and love for a nourishing and productive 2019.


Three Questions and Answers

Oak tree at Bodnant

Be like the mighty oak, well rooted and connected to the place you live in, strong and firm.

Here in North Wales it is fine, sunny and mild today- very spring-like in fact. Already the darkness of the Winter Solstice feels a long time ago… even though, in reality, it is only just over a fortnight. Before the calendar was changed back in the 1750’s, today would have been Christmas Day and is still known to some as ‘Old Christmas Day’. We have passed Twelfth Night. Most of us have now taken our decorations down and put them away for another year… well… eleven months at least!

Time to turn our faces firmly towards the new year and all the opportunities, challenges and excitement that it might bring with it. What will you do with your year? Like an enticing blank sheet of paper, we metaphorically stare into the endless distance and ponder what to write – fleeting impressions of ‘all that we have planned to do in the new year’ flash before us and we feel… suddenly totally overwhelmed. An overpowering impulse to turn around and run back to the other side of Christmas with all its promise of comfort and excitement assails us, but here we are, with our backs to the wall of New Year Passed and nowhere else to go except forwards into the huge unknown.

Like everything else, it is a case of taking tiny little steps, one at a time. Most of us have just come through the Christmas festivities and regardless of how much or little we enjoyed them, it is the one time of year which is definitely guaranteed to be deeply emotional. We actually need time to recover from it all. We have been whizzed about on an emotive and emotional merry-go-round for weeks before we even reached the 25th December. Now is the time to access your feelings, your position and reground yourself. Literally.

Go outside. Doesn’t matter what the weather is doing, even if it is tippling down with rain. It also doesn’t matter where you live. You can still reconnect with nature and the Earth, even if you live in the middle of a huge city. Yes, you can. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Perhaps you are standing on fresh grass or earth? Perhaps there is a hundred feet of concrete and piping between you and natural ground? It doesn’t matter. Know that your feet rest upon our natural planet – our man- made jungles are also a part of it. Feel your energy flowing down into the ground, seeking the true centre of our Earth, consciously connecting yourself to it, and in return, the energy of the Earth pulsing up into your feet, your legs, your body. Feel that strength and allow yourself to smile as you welcome it… allow that smile to grow into joy as you sense the power and strength of our natural home course through you, filling you with courage and healing.

Look up into the sky. Allow your mind to wander with your vision. Do not try to focus on anything in particular… in some circles it is called ‘soft gazing’. All this space, all this air, all this potential is yours. Breath deeply and pull the energies of the air into your chest. Feel your mind calm and clear as your mental processes fall back into rhythm and harmony.

Stretch your arms above your head… out to your sides… be aware of the space you inhabit, now, this moment. This is your space… your time… your place. And now, start from here.

Answer yourself three questions:
What is the most pressing thing that you need to do first?
What are you afraid of?
What can you do that will make your heart sing?

Go back inside. Perhaps think about it more deeply. Write your answers down.

Don’t keep panicking about what might happen or what you should/could be doing. See where these three answers take you. As you progress, repeat the practice and see what three answers you next come up with. If they are the same, they might need to be refined – split into several/many answers, or more questions and answers. Write them down like a family tree, beginning at the top of your page with the main issue and splitting, refining, defining the issue until you have a pattern of answers and consequent actions.

(A little tip here is that you can always ask other people what they might do in a similar situation. You do not have to copy them, but they might have suggestions to make that you have never thought of.)

NOW you have a plan.

A very happy new year to you all!

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