Gillian Monks

'Making Fairytales Come True'

Tag: Ancestors

Hallowe’en Greetings!

This is a big celebratory weekend for my family. The house is warm with all the candles, lanterns and illuminated pumpkins; decorated with photos and mementos of past family members and fragrant with spices from baking the baking of ‘soul cakes’. The Ancestor Tree stands on the table in the hall. Two cauldrons adorn the hearth, reminiscent of Ceridwen’s mighty Cauldron’s of Regeneration. A glow of connection and coming together permeates the whole house and a frisson of excitement tingles through the air.

This is Calan Gaeaf… Samhain… Hallowe’en… the ending of the Celtic year with the last of the harvest when we enter into the dark time, to pause and reflect, which is only brought to an end with the rebirth of the light at Midwinter. A time between times… a threshold… a liminal space where worlds – different levels of life and energy – may draw closer to one another, when we are able to look back into the past, and forward into the future. A mysterious, unsettling time time of magic.

Yesterday evening we began our celebrations with a Dinner for the Ancestors. We gathered around the dining table where an extra place was set for each person attending the meal, so that they could invite any of their past antecedents to sit and join us. After serving the main course, we all ate in silence to allow everyone the space and opportunity to fondly recall their loved ones who have already entered the Summerlands. I have to say that I sensed our cosy dining room to be absolutely crowded out with folk – a wonderfully heart-warming feeling of loving presence and reconnection.

Later today, we will be gathering with friends to let go of this past year – to literally cast what is no longer relevant or necessary in our lives into the fire where these energies will be transmuted into something more positive and useful. We shall be writing out our hopes, wishes, plans and dreams for the coming new year and carefully placing them into the cauldron where Ceridwen shall keep them safe, allow them to germinate and return them to us as viable new strands to our life. We shall, again, give time and space to remember those who have gone before – not just those genetically connected to us by blood, but those we love and honour in our spiritual and professional lives, or any other aspect of our existence – brothers and sisters who have walked facets of our own path before us, and who we now acknowledge and remember with loving gratitude.

Tomorrow, the day of All Souls, we shall finally come together to remember ALL our ancestors… the hundreds of thousands of people from whom we are directly descended, right back to the beginning of time.

Then, as the last remnants of autumn fade into the dark of true winter, we shall sink back into the shadows, with time to think, to reassess, to visualise and dream, before we set our faces towards the Midwinter and the return of the light.

May this hurly burly time of year, of chaos and temporary lapse in ‘normality’ treat you gently. May you courageously touch infinity with a loving heart and allow it to inspire and illuminate what comes next in your life.

My love to you all, always.

Census For The Future

I have just completed our household census for 2021 and added my signature. All the time I have been working on it, I have kept wondering if one day, one of my distant descendants in a 100 years time might be eagerly reading the same digitised document and wondering about the names of the people and the details which appear here.

What possible picture will they paint from these sparse and often quite stilted entries? In my turn, I have often sat looking at the even more meagre information provided on census forms from the past as I worked on tracing my own ancestors. Tricky things are words – they can be interpreted in so  many different ways. They can convey so much or say nothing at all… or give a totally erroneous impression.

And what will people think of us in a hundred years from now? The world which struggled with the global pandemic? The society which pulled together, suffered so much, squabbled, objected, sacrificed, struggled, grieved, loved and won through – or lost… What kind of a world shall we rebuild now, on the back of all this challenging upheaval? It really shouldn’t just come about by accident; it is something we should all think about carefully, plan and put into action. We all have a responsibility. We need to make it something which future generations can look back on and be proud of.

At this time of the Vernal (spring) Equinox, we seek harmony and balance… we celebrate the spring season and the coming of the lighter, warmer half of the year. We make plans for the summer. What else – of a more lasting and fundamental importance – can we decide upon and bring into being?

Sign your census forms with great mindful presence – it is not simply providing information for our authorities now – it is a snapshot of our time… today… which will speak to the future. we are composing living history… now.

Greetings For Calan Gaeaf!

Ancestor Table

The Ancestor Table is set and awaits the names, photos and memorabilia of those to be remembered and honoured… a time of soft light and deep shadows.

So, here we are… at the end of Summer and the beginning of Winter. The seeds of all our endeavours for 2020 have been sown – and harvested – and what a curious year it has been.

Now it is time to draw all the threads of our year together. To take all that we have hoped for, striven for and achieved, all we have failed at or lost, and pull them within to be reviewed, reworked and reborn in resolutions for the coming new year. In the summer months of the year the light is all around us… it pervades, intrudes, even disturbs our sleep as it demands our attention and constant activity. But here we are at the very threshold of Winter – with barely eight hours of daylight each day, less in stormy times of heavy cloud and driving rain, and growing ever shorter as we journey on to Midwinter.

The focus of our lives shifts. The undeniable light which suffused us throughout the summer has dimmed. It is time to harvest that too, and take the light within… to shield and nurture it… to sit and be present with it… to bring it to the very edge of our own inner cauldron which represents the roiling, moiling inner source of all that makes us ‘us’ and illuminate what we discover there. For this is also the time of our own inner harvest. Then we may rest, recuperate, and await our rebirth with that of the Sun at Midwinter. Take time to breath and reflect… to decide where you go from here… what you wish to see and do in the new year… and, perhaps most importantly of all, how you wish to achieve it.

Be bold! Be daring! This time of pandemic is not one for holding back and being timid – it is a time of make or break, a time to play your hand and aim for the very highest goals.

As Darkness envelops us (in many more ways than one) and the northern half of the  Earth judders and sighs as she settles for her rest, all that has passed and gone before – along with all possibility of what may be to come – draws near us at this liminal time, the transition from this to… what? It is for us to choose. And at this time of decision, all the Ancestors, our ancestors, of blood, of place, of belief, draw close once more. Do they come to support us? To chastise us for our follies? To seek forgiveness and love? Welcome them. We need solidarity at this particular time. They have faced it all before. They can help to guide us through. Simply open your hearts and minds to them with love. You do not have to know who they are, just acknowledge that they have been… must have existed, or else you could not possibly be here now. Buried deep within your DNA are genetic memories of all that they have experienced, and they will help you remember now, so that you may learn by their own personal collective triumphs and failures what to repeat and where not to go.

I do not wish you a mere ‘good weekend of festivity’, or a jolly, enjoyable or exciting ‘Hallowe’en’ with silly masks and make-up and fancy dress and all the theatricals which humanity employs when it is really seeking to dodge important issues.

I wish you a mind-bogglingly transformative weekend, an experience of such depth and colour that it will take your breath away. But to begin, simply sit with yourself, light a candle, and be silent, with love in your heart.

May the true blessings of Calan Gaeaf / Samhain / Hallowe’en be yours!

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.

Happy Hallowe’en!

To all my friends, everywhere, I wish you a deeply peaceful, nourishing and joyous Hallowe’en/Calan Gaeaf. The autumn is rapidly drawing to a close and winter is impatiently waiting in the wings. It is time to withdraw into our homes… into our selves… and take some time out to rest, re-evaluate and regenerate our energies, just as the natural world is now doing.

As the seasons slip from autumn into winter and we enter this still dark time of ‘in between’, remember that this is also the time when the veils thin between the worlds… beings from other levels of time and place can now come among us which means that this is also the time when our loved ones and more distant ancestors can once more draw close to us. This is a good time to remember those who have gone before us… to bless them and surround them with our love and gratitude.

Go gently… do not disturb!

Stepping Through The Archway

Earthwalking ArchwayHere is a picture of the Earthwalking Archway – symbolic commitment to entering the Earthwalking cycle. There are still a couple of places left on the next cycle – do any of you reading this feel that you could step through the willow into the space beyond?

We all had a lovely time together on Sunday at the Earthwalking introductory day. Numbers gradually grew throughout the day and as the weather improved, by the middle of the afternoon we were able to move outside into the hot sunshine.

The morning began with lots of grey cloud, damp and cool, as we tramped around part of the land and I was able to point out the stream, (which provides our water), the willow bower where on hot days we sometimes retreat into the shade while we journey or hold discussions. We also walked around the ritual grove area where the embryonic circles of oak saplings are flourishing and past the willow labyrinth with its four interconnected spirals and on to the tiny island of apples… the water channel around it being mightily overgrown at present but bursting with wildlife.

We also took time to connect to the four elements, to spend time with and savour them. People sat besides the lively stream who’s waters were swollen by the recent rain and bowls were individually drawn from it, peaty brown and stirred from the depths of the Earth herself. Tiny fires were carefully built and lit upon the bank of the stream and time spent entering into the dancing flames and appreciating their warm… their cleansing and transformative abilities… their potentially destructive power. Hands were muddied from digging out the earth and cheeks were cooled by the presence of the gusty wind.

Coffee and mint tea (picked fresh from the herb beds) were brewed and home made flapjack passed around before we went on to discuss why it might be necessary to regularly cleanse oneself psychically/spiritually; some of the ways to go about it and the best times to do it.

By one o’clock we were all ready for lunch – thick farmhouse tomato soup, cobs of brown, crusty bread studded with crisp seeds, blocks of cheese and piles of fruit followed by pieces of moist lemon drizzle and sticky chocolate cakes. By this time we had been joined by our youngest visitor to Earthwalking ever – a very small little lady who only celebrates her first birthday at the end of this month. She was  absolutely charming and impeccably behaved and quite stole all our hearts!

The afternoon was spent looking at the Celtic Spirit Wheel which is in fact a

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