Meditation


I first started meditating in a psychic group in 1997 when I lived in Portsmouth.  This was your standard guided meditation.  I bought a tape the leader made and after leaving Portsmouth in February 1998 played it on and off – mostly off.

Some years ago I picked it up in earnest when I learnt of Immramic mediation.  It’s an Irish journeying meditation, and if you want to know more about it, http://eblannaraven.com/ is the best one.

In May of this year (or thereabouts) I was asked by The Morrigan if I wanted to be taught by her.  I considered the invitation and told her that I couldn’t at the moment as we were moving house and I wouldn’t have enough time to properly devote to it.  About a month after we moved house I was given a large hint by an entry in The Witch of Forest Grove’s blog http://witchofforestgrove.com/2010/08/28/botanica-burnt-offerings/ where she said that anyone who did not accept a deity’s teaching request would have things go wrong in their life.  Of course I went back to The Morrigan, accepted and thanked her for the reminder.

So at the moment I do one teaching meditation a week, plus an Immramic one with my study partner.

Meditation is not always easy.  I’ve found you get the best results with all phones off and the curtains drawn.  You also need to make yourself comfortable.  If you have any aches and pains, make sure the parts of the body that ache are comfortable.  This is best done by lying down and if you are still aching, put a small, rolled-up towel to support the part that is aching.  If it’s a headache you have, don’t bother trying to meditate.  Leave it till the headache has gone away.

I always count down from ten when going into a mediation and count up to ten when coming out.  It is the way I my leader did it in Portsmouth and I use it because I never count up or down to ten in my normal life, so doing it only for meditation gets my brain into a meditative state.

When I get my aromatherapy oils out of storage I will experiment with various blends and inform you how it goes.  It may also be that certain blends are best for meeting various deities, so I’ll avoid using anything when I’m going to meet The Morrigan (until I know better) as I don’t want to annoy her.  Besides which, this means that one night I have a meditation without a blend (a as control) and the next night one with a blend, so I’ll be able to compare.

Sometimes meditation attracts what I’ll call undesirables.  You’re talking to someone in meditation and you get the feeling that things are not quite right.  It’s then that I protect myself and the entity has always screamed and gone away.  I’m going to try making a circle each time I meditate, as in my ‘umble opinion it’s better not to meet these things at all.  I don’t know what these undesirables are or what they want and I’d prefer not to find out.

Four times I’ve had the feeling that something in a meditation isn’t right.  Three times it turned out to be undesirables and the fourth was Angus Óg (Irish god) pratting about pretending to be Herne the Hunter!  I told him “hang on, you’re not Herne the Hunter” and he took off the headdress and laughed.  I wonder how many people he’s fooled into believing he’s Herne…

The Witches’ Almanac


This was recommended to me on a message board, and unusually for me I bought it without reading it first.

It’s a small book which has information on the moon, horoscopes and what’s going on month to month, plus a range of articles and comes out yearly.

The articles are informative and some of them brought subjects to my attention that I hadn’t heard about before.  I liked most of the articles, but disagreed with a few, especially the one about The Morrigan.

I recommend this book to you and I’ll be buying this one yearly.  The site address is : http://thewitchesalmanac.com/ but I ordered mine from Waterstones in Britain on a Friday and they texted me on the Monday to say my copy had come.

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men and all that…


If you read the last entry of this blog, you will know that I planned to live my life more according to the seasons.  So much for that.

I meditated last Sunday, and one of things that happened was that I met Flidais, the Irish goddess of woods, who demanded that I go to my local woods once a week.

So last Sunday afternoon, I found myself going to Linslade woods.  The woods themselves are five minutes walk from my front door, but I was first diverted by a willow tree who wanted to meet me.

The willow is a weeping willow, and unusually for weeping willows, the branches go all the way down to the ground.  The local councils usually cut the branches a foot or so off the ground, but this one has been left to grow naturally.  So I now have a natural outdoor working circle.

In general, I don’t really know willows, but obviously that will change in the future.  I’ve not been consciously avoiding them, but (apart from the odd one or two) I haven’t really come across them.

The second diversion was a small blue butterfly that fluttered near me.  I followed it till it stopped with wings open and observed it for a while, taking in the colourings and markings so I could look it up later.

Then I went off to the woods, and after a few false starts found the trail that leads to the woods.

Linslade woods are deciduous woodland, and it’s a fairly new wood at that.  It has plenty of character, but you get trees that you don’t see in Forestry Commission woods, like Field Maple.

So the first things I saw in the woods were that blackberries were starting to come out.  I picked a few on my return journey, and they taste good, so I’ll be coming back with some Tupperware next time.  It just shows how out of touch with nature I am.  When I was a child I’d pick brambles (blackberries) every year.

This is why I’m abandoning my attempt at living with the seasons, because it’s become obvious to me that I’m so out of touch that I don’t really know what the seasons are.  But I’ll attempt it next year and the year after that until I get something that works.  Just because you don’t succeed on the first attempt it doesn’t mean that you should give up forever.

I had a good walk in the woods, and yes, I’ll be going back next week.  I identified the blue butterfly as the Common Blue and identified another in the wood called the Speckled Wood.

Seasons


I am trying to live a life more in accordance with what my ancestors would do.  It is not possible to totally recreate their life, as if I did I would be living in a long-house, which is a one room house with the fire in the middle and the animals inside for warmth.  You can just imagine what The Authorities would say if I were to try that – plus I’d fall badly ill within the first week as we don’t have the immunity to diseases that our ancestors did.  So I decided to follow the seasons instead.

When I read Irish texts they mention two seasons, Summer and Winter instead of four.  I’m also going to be following those two and doing tasks that are applicable to both of them.

Summer is a time for doing things outside, and in the period from Imbolc to Samhain I will be concentrating on the outdoors.  I now have a jungle, sorry garden, which I will be redesigning this winter, so next summer I will be doing lots of gardening.  I will also make an effort to take whatever I am doing into the garden to do – as long as there is not an unseasonal rain shower.

Winter is the time for doing things indoors.  I will be concentrating on my knitting and crafts skills, as they were traditionally done in the long winter months, when it was cold and people didn’t have as much to do.

One myth that seems to have sprung up about Winter is that vegetables don’t grow in the Winter.  Farmers often have winter crops : some of them are kale and turnips (called swedes in England), of which the swedes are often used to feed the sheep.  Wintergreens also grow in the Winter, hence their name.  Rosemary and thyme are herbs which are available all year round.

So I have divided the time between the eight festivals and allotted tasks which I will do in that time.  This means I have eight seasons instead of the usual four.  I’ve done this because I think it’s a good way to divide the year up into seasons, instead of using the weather, which is very changeable here in Britain.

This year we had a long winter, short spring, average summer and we seem to be getting Autumn weather at the moment.  Someone once said that you can get four seasons in one day in Britain, which is true.

I can see people saying “wait a minute! they didn’t have eight seasons…” which is true, but different plants come into season at different times.  It just so happens that cereal crops ripen in August, but elderflowers are in season in June and elderberries in September – if you are having average weather conditions.  So that is why I am having eight seasons.

This is my plan so far for living in accordance with the seasons, like my ancestors did.  It’s just a rough plan and will change as it goes along, so I will keep you updated with how it’s going.  I do wish I had more activities for each season, but it’s a start.

Summer

  • Walks – once a week if possible
  • Identifying wildlife
  • Weeding the garden

Winter

  • Knitting and any crafts
  • Tidying up the garden
  • Doing research
  • Identifying coniferous trees

Winter Equinox to Imbolc

Spring cleaning

  • Sort out books and clothes
  • Sort out magazines
  • Clean sideboards
  • Clean under everything

Imbolc to Spring Equinox

End of Winter

  • Polish hat
  • Get winter coat dry-cleaned
  • Wash winter scarves
  • Wax ends of scarves

Spring Equinox to Beltane

Planting Season

  • Put plans for garden into effect

Beltane to Midsummer

Floral season

  • Make elderflower cordial
  • Make infused oils from flowers
  • Make bath salts

Midsummer to Lughnasadh

Hot season

  • Make ice creams and sorbets

Lughnasadh to Autumn Equinox

End of Summer

  • Wash summer coats
  • Wash summer scarves

Autumn Equinox to Samhain

Berry and Nuts Season

  • Pick hazelnuts
  • Pick blackberries
  • Pick elderberries and make cordial

Samhain to Winter Equinox

Dying Times

  • Get skeletons from leaves
  • Make plant food

Introduction to This Blog


Hi, I’m known on forums as Quercus Robur.  I’m going to teach you all that I know and in forty days you’ll be a real witch.

Er, no.  It doesn’t work like that.

Firstly, to become a witch takes a lot of reading, being taught and trying things out.  Yes, you can read a book, but you will not fully understand what you have read until you have tried it out.  What you are reading is the theory.  To become a witch you need practice and experience.

Secondly, there will be things that I don’t want to share with you.  Some of them are too personal and/or private to share.  Others I feel are simply not meant to be shared.

Thirdly, I don’t feel I know enough to call myself a witch.  I’ve called this blog “What Witches Do” because it deals with things that witches do.  I’m still learning new things every day.

I’d also like people to remember that what I am telling you about is my own practice.  Other people’s practises, views and opinions will definitely vary.  I have thought for a long time that the only true answer to the question “what is your path?” is “my own” as even people who follow the same path will have different practises.

This is because people have different talents.  One may be talented at divination, while being not much good in the kitchen.  Another may be able to whip up a five-star meal, but not much good at divination.

People are individuals, and this is what makes everyone’s practice different.  Even in the same path people read different books or use different systems of divination.  One person may find the tarot the best system for them, while another may favour the runes.