Starting off a bit personal here, but hope this mirrors what you may have experienced during the past couple of months. Then I offer a Ne’er’s resolution idea ….
I regard Samhain, beginning of November, as our New Year and the celebration of that time is very much a closure of the year before.
From Samhain to Winter Solstice for some folks its a time of survival and for many a difficult transition as this is the “run up” to Christmas. Personally, I try to use this time for setting intentions for the new “growing” season that we are given here in the northern hemisphere. I tend to think over what has been experienced and accomplished during the year so far as well as what has been nurtured and given strength to live at least another year. I find I do not particularly use this time from Samhain to Solstice for building and cultivating but for assessing what has passed and even considering what will survive the winter and live through this next year.
Life Is A Garden
One of my all time favourite films is “Being There”, with Peter Sellers, which I think was his last film. In this film Peter is a gardener called Chance who spends all of his time away from the garden watching television dressed in suave clothes. The film includes Chance’s rise from being an unemployed homeless gardener to being the President of the United States, simply through explaining life and policies with gardening tips.
In addition to some remarkable group tours I am already booked to guide this summer we will be completing the restoration of Tintean Clairseach cottage and commencing on building its labyrinth garden. The sequence of thoughts for this garden project inspired me to think that this sequence is quite fitting to all elements of our lives, a bit like Chance in “Being There”.
Clearing The Garden Debris.
Before we can plan our labyrinth garden we have quite a bit of clearing work to do, and this is the same essential chore for this present time for anyone with a garden. Its also an essential chore for those of us without gardens.
Now that winter solstice is past and we already recognize a few extra minutes of daylight in our day we seem to be instinctively inspired to make more room in our lives to provide space for new growth. For one, this must be the busiest time for recycling collection sites as we attempt to “clean house” and throw out what we do not need. This action well and truly extends into our thinking, planning, deeper psyche and into the content and purity of our souls. On all levels this is essential action before we plant anything.
It seems to be a time of when we question what takes up space and we practice our abilities to say “no” to things may clutter us again. For some reason, January seems to be a month of us trying to create structure, order and more space.
This also seems to be a time to assess what we are going to commit too. What do we want to keep in our “garden”, such as what is strong, healthy or about to bloom and provide wonder. What dormant seeds from last year are going to germinate this year? Overall, what is going to feed and nourish us this year? What is going to provide abundance that we can share with others. What is going to make us the best stewards of the gifts of the goddess so that we multiply her gifts for the benefit of our family, tribe, clan, friends, people and planet?
Tilling The Soil.
Around January 6th, “12th day of Christmas”, there are several types of celebrations in different countries that seem to be symbols of either the fresh tilling of soil or preparing for new fishing and hunting. In north west Co. Mayo the people allow oils of the last herring to drip over the remaining potatoes to provide an end of old harvest feast. Through parts of west Scotland and some of its isles there is a tattie and herring feast. England has its Plough Sunday Blessing Of The Plough, followed by rituals on Plough Monday and the fresh tilling of the soil on the Tuesday.
Ploughing loosens the earth to provide aeration to host new life and support new roots. Likewise we tend to try and loose our thoughts at this time because we feel that hard and stiff thinking will not allow us to accept sowing new seeds for the months ahead.
People tend to re-arrange their furniture at this time, paint their rooms different colours, driving home from work along different routes, on sunny days visit places they have not been to for a long time, check out “how to” and “diy” books for new ideas and sign up for new courses for new knowledge and skills.
Its a very busy month for booking vacations because people think of vacations that suit their new fresh thinking and feeling of this time. Of course I would love to plug in a link to our Celtic Ways vacations at this point
When The Soil Becomes Fertile
When the soil is tilled it also needs a little nourishment. What will fertilize your life, maybe a slow release fertilizer for the months ahead? This is fun and easy, really, as this is largely about choices of books, entertainment, music, movies, stories, poetry, art and, of course, vacation . Its about whatever inspires you to create and follow your intent as well as nurture what is about to bloom on your journey.
Perhaps, most important is what you do with your garden, if you have one, and to equal this would be time taken to walk in the country. Country walks are so important for connecting our intent and new inspirations to nature, because if they do not we are not gardeners. If we are not gardeners the problems that will develop can become deep, dark and overwhelming. I personally feel that afflictions of loneliness, depression, drug dependency, emotionally seeking attention, and health challenges are largely due to us not being “gardeners”. So, I feel this is an excellent time to figure out how to become gardeners again. I know that I tend to think this way every January.
Plan Your Garden.
The fun part here is that this kicks off as dreams, and these are dreams worth sharing with others. Whatever your “12th day of Christmas” celebration is, it can be quite fulfilling to be with friends sharing dreams for the year as this inspires and encourages one another.
Some of us love this month best of all because for many people this is when our imagination is truly at its peak. We can surprise ourselves with what we can imagine we can “grow” this year, especially with a sudden realization that “I can do this!”.
Good gardeners turn inspiration and imagination into plans. Actual professional gardeners get into draughting scale plans but for most of us this is not essential. Its very powerful just to assemble some kind of collage or collection of photos, maps, video clips, and text quotes that collectively provide a physical incarnation of your dreams, imagination and longings. For these to truly incarnate you must have something that visually reminds you daily.
Visual imagery of your dreams converting to plan to incarnation is not only extraordinarily powerful but incredibly simple to do today, because most of us tend to use pcs and mobile phones during part of every day. I use the wallpaper and screen saver utilities of my computers and phone to host pictures of my dreams and intent.
For the past couple of years, my travelling laptop has carried a picture of a nearby thatched cottage. I am moving into a thatched cottage within a few months. Before that my laptop had scenes of places I like to visit and share in Ireland. Since then I’m now managing and guiding a successful Ireland tours company that does share these places.
Planting Your Garden.
There is a thin veil between planning and planting your garden.
I believe I use my web site as my tool for planting seeds and freshly sprouted plants . My web site home page always has two purposes. One is to be a shop window to invite visitors in to see if what I do can help them in some way. The other purpose is to be a personal collage of my dreams and plans. Both these purposes feed, nourish and grow my garden as well as, hopefully, doe the same for other gardens. Its such a joyous warm tingling experience when we can share seeds and plants.
Currently on my Celtic Ways home page there is a labyrinth plan there to remind me about my labyrinth garden goal of this year. This is re-enforced by a picture from Brigit’s Garden Galway to remind that this is a gardening as well as meditation feature. The Shannon Pot photo is remind me that the water feature in the centre of the labyrinth will be the most important thing and that the whole garden is to look more of wild nature than a groomed garden. Hennigan’s Heritage cottage photo is there to remind me to re-enact the traditions I was brought up with and share with our vacation visitors as part of their restoring vacation. The music ceili photo is to remind me of the intent of our cottage hearth is to host and share music ceilis with others. The Uragh stone circle photo is actually a reminder to visit a similar structure that can be seen on the Bricklieve Mountains from the front door of our Tintean Clairseach cottage, that I have not found a way to visit yet. The little Claire and myself photos are also extremely important, but will not go there with this post.
Anyway, the point here is to show that you could do the same by either creating your own web site home page, or do a personal page on your own PC that uploads as the default when you open your web browser, or collage the home page on your favourite social site such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo etc.
This is all about personal seed planting but the blooming and fruits are what you can abundantly share with others to aid their planting, nutrition, blooming, fruiting and harvesting, i.e. the total wheel of the year.
From experience I know this is powerful and does truly work to bring imagination into physical experience (commonly called “reality”).
Once you truly know what you want to grow in your garden, its quite easy to take the appropriate steps. Want to creates something? Begin jotting down ideas as they come to you and create that visual collage, and use your pc, mobile food, refrigerator, or something you see each day to remind you. Need help with your creative project? Let your friends know what you are doing as friends often find people, something I can constantly thank my friends for. Social sites now do wonders with this in addition to your local friends and family. If you are young, single, ready to date and have a family, same thing as this is about creativity and sharing too.
Want to feel healthier? Country walks are a good start but if you are like me you probably need some kind of tool or goal to make this happen. Having a dog is a good start because dogs need walks, but that’s a challenge is you travel a lot, not fair on the dog if he or she cannot come along. With myself its a list of ancient and sacred sites I have not visited yet. Getting to these sites requires very healthy walking and climbing. You cannot drive near many of these sites.
Blooming, Fruiting and Harvesting
The exciting cycle of the year we have ahead of us until once more we return to this point where we clear and compost our debris again.
Most of all I, and I’ll include Claire here, we so look forward to greeting, sharing and journeying with you all who visit us as part of our garden’s cycle while you are also tending to and growing your own gardens through your experiences here.
Space is still available in our “garden”
Work in progress, with a rare snowfall for here.
That’s the womb of Morrigan in the distance middle right,
Cheis Coarran mountain, where Bhride (Brighid) was born
and our friends await you