Gillian Monks

'Making Fairytales Come True'

Category: Thoughts From My Fireside

Cerridwen’s Cauldron

Ancestor TableOctober is upon us and deepest autumn has arrived. This is the month of the goddess, Cerridwen, Welsh deity of endings and death, but also of rejuvenation, rebirth and hope. The Celtic year ends at Nosen  Calan Geaef on the 31st October with the completion of the harvest as winter closes in. In this month’s Walking With The Goddess, experience for yourself the magical, transformative journey to Cerridwen and her mighty cauldron and what it might bring you for your ‘new year’.

This time of year is also when we remember, acknowledge and celebrate the Ancestors; those who have lived, worked and worshipped/believed as we do now, as well as those connected to us genetically by blood. As part of our endeavours to heal our society and our world, I invite you to also heal your ancestors with kindness, remembrance and love. Many of us unwittingly carry the results of the efforts – and mistakes – of our forebears, buried deep within our genetic code. On the other hand, we are also now struggling to live in and come to terms with a flawed world which our ancestors helped to create. There is much to understand, to forgive and to now change.

This month, Walking With The Goddess also asks you to turn your hand to doing something practical to change this faulty world of ours – from adopting unwanted, derelict or abused land, forming action or community groups, or inspiring a lot more outdoor communal activity as a way of us being together safely, read some of my suggestions on how we might all become more pro-active or think up your own ideas of how we might support others to get things moving in the right direction.

We all have the capacity to work some ‘magic’ in our lives. We are all responsible for our world. Come Walking With The Goddess – our own sacred planet Earth – on an adventure of discovery and creative inspiration and begin to make things happen.

Each monthly module only costs £5 with a sliding scale for those who are experiencing financial hardship.

To find out more or to purchase, click on the link: https://www.earthwalking.co.uk/walking-with-the-goddess/

We can formulate our plans for a bright new future around the rim of the cauldron, and we can bring them into being through our own endeavour.

With gentle blessings of the dying year,
And my love.

Access, Honour, Celebrate!

View from Caer EnganYou can do something life-changing and life-affirming today. You can improve your life. You can change the world. It is really very simple.

In Walking With The Goddess this month we shall be working with the energies of Math ap Mathonwy who will provide us with the key to access our memory codes stored within our DNA. We have memories of all the life that we have ever lived stored within it and in challenging times such as the pandemic has produced, we need to remember how we have previously faced and successfully got through similar experiences. We need to call on our strengths and courage to discover the inspiration to formulate a new way of living – one which does not replicate our old, destructive and dysfunctional ‘normal’ from before Covid-19 but a bright new future which encompasses a nurturing and loving community and nourishes and honours all life on the planet.

There are many ‘keys’ to achieving this. A major necessity is to harmonise our lives with that of the natural world and to reconnect to the rhythms and cycles of the Earth. The first steps we may take to do this is are to literally become aware of the Earth we stand upon and to notice, acknowledge and celebrate what is going on around us in nature. This month there are suggestions for gathering the natural bounty of the wayside and woodland to bring into your home to decorate and enjoy at this time of year.

Hand in hand with this is an active participation in cleaning up and eliminating from our lives activities and substances which are damaging to the environment – and, in a roundabout way, damaging to us too. This month we take a look at the fabric we use to clothe ourselves and decorate our homes with. This needs long, hard consideration and sustainable long-term action – new habits forming and definite decisions making.

Every good thought, each small action does make a difference. We can make a difference. Together, we can achieve a great deal. So why not come Walking With The Goddess today? Each monthly, on-line module contains around 7,000 words (or 24 pages) of background information, inspiring ideas and practical tasks and challenges, as well as a 20 – 40 minute audio guided meditation for you to listen to and join in with. It only costs £5 – and if that is financially too challenging for you, just get in touch with me and we can make some other arrangement. Just click on this link for more information: https://www.earthwalking.co.uk/walking-with-the-goddess/ or this link: https://www.earthwalking.co.uk/checkout?edd_action=add_to_cart&download_id=576 to purchase the September module.

May you be safe and well in these difficult times.

I look forward to hearing from you,
With my love.

Looking At The World Through A Chocolate Wrapper

Quality StreetDoes the world around us really change, or is it just the way we perceive it that alters? In other words, what do we really see? What is real and what is illusion?

For instance, after the past glorious days of pale spring sunshine, clear blue skies and dramatically clear mountains we are once more plunged into a grey and weeping landscape. This morning, the low cloud has completely obscured Mount Snowdon and the craggy Nantlle Ridge, mist in the valley has blurred all the edges, lack of light has robbed what is left of the vista of its light and skewed what were bold spring colours to paler, washed-out shades.

Yet the landscape itself remains the same. The mountains are still there behind the cloud, the natural world is still beavering away preparing to raise new young and burst out in growth and blossom… it just looks dead… and ultimately so much more depressing. But nothing has really altered… just how we are seeing it today through a different colour.

I always have great fun with this concept at Christmas and Easter or any time I come within range of some Quality Street chocolates. Ever since I was a child I have loved choosing my chocolate, carefully unwrapping it, luxuriating in the sweet creamy confection, and then gently smoothing out the coloured plastic wrapping and looking through it, delighted and intrigued to see how a different coloured filter makes my familiar surroundings suddenly appear so different.

Gazing into a newly opened tin of chocolates is a feast for the senses in itself – the deep jewel colours are glorious to behold – like a chest of pirate’s treasure – and that indefinably enticing scent of… chocolate! Since Christmas I have gathered a little collection of six coloured cellophane wrappers; peering through the blue, purple and green makes everything look cold or as if I was suddenly living in an underwater world. The pink, red and yellow transform everything into an intriguing, enticing, warm or sunny environment. But it is, after all, just the same room or view from my window – it is how I am choosing to see it that is different.

Try it for yourself next time you have access to coloured plastic. It works best if you have several colours so that you can compare the differences… and also compare how your mood also alters with each colour.

Next time you don’t enjoy what you are looking at, aren’t happy with the life that is yours, perhaps you might like to try changing your internal filter. The places around us, the people, the situations we live in, do not change from day to day… just the way we perceive them. Therefore, you have freedom of choice; you are in control – do you put in a nice rosy coloured filter or do you opt to depress yourself by insisting on glaring out on the world through blue or purple? Don’t blame the world you live in – it is your choice – it is entirely up to you.

Today I am definitely drawn to pink!

A Very Happy Christmas!

Me with Father ChristmasAfter such an eventful and truly magical Advent, nearly all the pre-Christmas preparations and activities are complete.

Today I have presents to wrap and one or two gifts and cards to hand deliver around the village. I have listened to my own advice and ditched my plans to make a wonderful savoury hot dinner this evening set around a festive table – yesterday evening my darling husband made us all chips while I finished making the last of my gifts and this evening, my lovely son is going to do a stir fry for us all while I put my feet up and celebrate Mother’s Night!

All the baking is done (for now!) and later this afternoon, I shall be setting out a grand afternoon tea with stollen, spice cakes, mince pies, biscuits and all manner of sweet delights. As the light begins to fade we shall all gather around the hearth to light the candles and sing carols and open our gifts from friends, near and far.

This is the last day of deep darkness. Tomorrow morning, the Sun/Son will be reborn and the Light truly with us once more. The Earth which has been ‘standing still’ since the Solstice early on Sunday morning will once more move on and we shall begin to travel the long journey back towards the warmth and springtime.

In the meantime, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas Eve and a very happy Christmas. Celebrate truly what is happening around you and within your hearts. As I light my ‘Mother’s Candle’ tonight, I shall think of each one of you and be sending out my very best wishes and love to you.

Good Yule!
Merry Midwinter!
A happy Christmas!
Gillian.

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:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alternative-Advent-Calendar-Secrets-Christmas/dp/1527249425   

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 2.pm. 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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