Halloween (Samhain) Blessings and Honouring our Ancestors
Halloween has become ghoulish in the Western world, but traditionally, is an important festival in the Celtic year.
We are half -way now between the Autumn equinox and the Winter solstice and the final harvest has been completed. Samhain celebrates the harvest, and is also the point of the year where the veil between worlds in the thinnest. Traditionally, this is the festival where we honour our ancestors. Lighting candles and saying a prayer for them is a simple way for us to connect with them and honour them.
Loving the colours of Halloween, and had to create a doorstep altar of course! The Autumn colours are really starting to emerge now and it’s joyful to be in the country lanes, especially when the sun is out, and see the myriad of colours on display – nature at her best for me!
Many workshops coming up and I hope you will join me. I am covering menstrual health, menopause and a lovely December two hour class on Yoga Nidra and Meditation to bring some calmness into the crazy Christmas period.
New Year and New Beginnings workshops too. These are a lovely mix of yoga, dance, ritual and a gathering of like-minded women who want to honour the year gone past and the year to come. Last year was full and we had a gorgeous ritual to finish. This year fire is our ritual and we’ll burn away the old to make way for the new to come in.
The wheel of the year turns and we arrive at Autumn Equinox – and the weather turns at that exact moment! Still warm though as we start to crunch leaves underfoot.
Autumn Equinox signifies gratitude, for the harvest of the land, and also for the things we appreciate in our own lives… family and friends, warm days, nature, that we can choose what food we eat…there are so many things in our lives that we often take for granted. Starting a gratitude journal and jotting down three things daily starts to have a really positive effect on our psyche and our lives, definitely worth giving it a go!
So as we ease into Autumn, loving the seasons as I do, we had a heart-warming yoga class Friday evening. Very little yoga actually happened as it goes, we were busy making an Equinox mandala and chatting. A lovely Autumn yoga nidra was included though – time for deep rest and relaxation. The best tool I know for women who do too much…like most of us!
I have run a few Practical Magic herb workshops this year, sharing knowledge on how to work with wild plants and herbs and how to make natural skincare products – they have been sold out and I am so delighted that many of us want to return to the ancient knowledge we once had. Big thanks to Sussex Prairies for hosting me, and if you haven’t been there, it is absolutely worth a visit. Their last weekend is next weekend and then they will reopen in June. They also happen to have the best home-made cake by the way! I will be running workshops there again next year so keep an eye on the calendar.
My biggest challenge at present is getting up early to teach a Rise and Shine 7.15am yoga class in Haywards Heath Friday mornings – quite proud of myself for rolling out of bed and getting there! But I have to say, the energy is so still at that time of the morning, I am actually enjoying getting up at dawn!
Lots of things happening in the next few months, full details on the events page of my website.
I am in the process of changing my website so bear with me, it changes daily at the moment!
I am also working on a brand-new range of natural skincare and am very excited about it! Watch this space!
Blessings and I hope the Autumn is a great time for you. Really looking forward to the change of the colours as the trees turn, a trip to Sheffield Park on the horizon!
Upcoming events for the rest of the year include the following:
Imbolc, time of frosty mornings and new life stirring….
Isn’t that good news? We are at the half-way point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, and moving in the right direction as nights already draw out. And yet we are in the coldest days of the year too. The earth is frozen tonight, but it hasn’t stopped those determined little beacons of light – snowdrops- from making their welcome appearance! The earth is still resting, but she’s kind of having a little stretch and yawn as she contemplates putting in some hours to dedicate to the birth of the coming Spring! She’s not quite ready to throw off her blanket of snow and get to it, but she’s certainly on the case on the quiet!
Life stirs beneath the surface, the heart of the earth is beginning to pulse with the promise of new life yet to come. Those tender little snowdrops are a real symbol of hope, showing that anything is possible. And Imbolc signifies new life beginning to stir in us too as we dream into our ideas and start seriously considering what it is we are going to sow in the spring. Plants and herbs no doubt, and also our ideas and aspirations for new projects or new ways of being.
Moving towards Spring can be quite a challenging transition as the weather can be bitterly cold and icy winds seem to strip us clean of all that needs to be left behind. So take things easy, there’s no rush. Let ideas simmer gently now and let your imagination do the work. Still a good excuse to indulge in hot chocolate! Imbolc is also the festival of Brigid, the Celtic Goddess of the hearth, bringing a little welcome warmth into our hearts with her fiery nature.
Use our healing herbal allies to stay well – echinacea to boost the immune system, sage or thyme tea to soothe colds and coughs and fight infection. Maybe you collected some rosehips from the wild rose in Autumn to make some super Vitamin C rich elixir? Ah, well, don’t worry if you didn’t, just stick it in your diary for this Autumn.
Lots of great events going on this year, check in on the classes and events page for more details…there’s a lovely mix of stuff including new nourishing yoga and nidra classes, menopause workshops, lots of healing Dancemantra, and a Practical Magic herb workshop in June at the Sussex Prairie Gardens (first time at this new venue, it’s amazing!). A second date is about to be added in September too..so if you want to come make some of that magical rosehip Vitamin C stuff, here’s your chance! Nature has so much to offer us for natural healing without having to head off to the chemist. Nettles will be shooting up soon, perfect for making a spring detox tea. Well, maybe not right now but it won’t be long!
Just loving the glorious start of Autumn, sun is shining, garden still colourful and the boots are out! (I love summer but sooo look forward to boots season too!)
Mr B, my lovely cat, is cozying up already next to the radiator, a bit disappointed that the wood stove isn’t blazing yet! How blessed we are to have these warm, sunny days still. Much as I love my wood stove, I am happy not to have to lug wood around yet.
Sweeping up leaves and watching them fall gently from the branches now in the breeze – nature demonstrating for us how healthy it is to let go so that we can make space for new life to come, just as they do in the spring. The majesty of the seasons, so much to teach us and each one has its own mystery and magic with gifts for us.
So what does Autumn hold in store for us? Autumn is harvest festival, Halloween, the wheel of the year turning as we move into longer nights and more inward times after the fullness of summer. What have you reaped in the harvest of your own life this year since seeding ideas in Spring? Maybe it’s a deepening of friendships, a new job, a project underway, or simply gratitude for all that you have.
Halloween, despite all the hype, is a magical time when the veil between the worlds is thinner and our ancestors are closer to us. There is no separation between us but delusion puts a veil over it which we can pierce in meditation or at times like Halloween. Went to the garden centre to meet my dear friend for breakfast on Sunday….and of course couldn’t help but buy some plants! Went for plants to start preparing my Halloween doorstep, I love the creativity involved in gardening and use it as an excuse to mark each season differently as it comes into being, that’s my sort of art.
I have been out and about running workshops and new classes on meditation and yoga nidra so please come along and join me for some delicious down time, and to learn some great techniques for handling the bumpy parts of life that come as we walk the path. We have everything we need inside of us to respond to whatever life presents to us – when we are quiet enough to access it. Learning to meditate is one of the best things you can ever do for yourself.
A great workshop (New Beginnings) on the calendar to inspire our entrance into the new year so do come and join us for a morning of sacred dance, ritual, candles, intention…and set the new year off from the heart.
And I am so excited to announce that my “Practical Magic” herb workshop will be at the gorgeous Prairie Gardens in Henfield at Summer Solstice next year – yayyy!
Upcoming Events and Groups (full details on events page)
New meditation group starting Monday 5th November 5pm at Iriness in Horsham
Regular yoga nidra and relaxation class in Handcross Parish Hall Mondays at 10.45
Shakti – Dance and Yoga Nidra – Yogaananda Holistic Centre Reigate, Sat 3/11 and Sunday 16/12
Dance of Awareness with Dancemantra in Horsham: Sunday 11th November
New Beginnings Workshop – Sunday 20th January in Horsham
Practical Magic – Saturday 22nd June 2019 (I know it’s early but space is limited!)
Nalini Natural Skincare – great gift ideas….
I have been experimenting with different packaging this year and have the thumbs up from many of you on the tissue paper packaging for gifts. Many lovely ideas for a really unique and heartfelt gift for your friends and family – it’s always lovely to receive something made by hand…and with a lot of love! I am happy to post, or you can get them from me in Horsham or Handcross, just let me know. Gift boxes made to order to accomodate two or more products. Nalini Natural Skincare range is suitable for all skin types, smells amazing and is deep, yummy nutrition for the skin.
Wishing you all a fabulous Autumn, enjoy the beauty and colour of this season and start wrapping up! Felt a real chill in the air this afternoon…hot chocolate needed!
The seasonal wheel of the year turns…and we arrive at the half-way point of summer solstice – longest day, shortest night, and the wheel tips into the dark half of the year! But don’t despair, the best is yet to come as we enter into a period over the next few days of hot, sunny weather, gardens and the countryside ablaze with life and energy as Mother Earth flows into full manifestation.
Summer is the time for enhanced creativity as we align with the seasonal magic and take a leaf out of her book, using this energised time of the year to get things moving. Projects seeded in the spring can start to flower now as the creative juices flow! Summer has much to offer apart from the usual sun, sea and sand. The power that nature displays gives the impetus to flow with it and bring our dreams and aspirations to life.
Summer solstice is also a time of deep gratitude, for the earth and her abundance and sustenance, the people in our lives, the gifts that we take for granted like drinkable water flowing from a tap in our kitchen…and a deep gratitude for ourselves and all our inherent wisdom and beauty. Gratitude was the theme tonight at our meditation group…we celebrated solstice by creating an altar reflecting summer (which included flowers, fauna….and flip flops! Perfect!) and then meditated on all we held gratitude for. ‘Thank You’ – the simplest and most effective form of prayer.
Take a moment this weekend to reflect on your own life, the direction you are taking, where you are heading, and to give thanks giving to our beautiful planet and commit to walking more lightly on her, taking what we need with gratitude and giving something back in return – bless her with respect and love, without her we wouldn’t be here. Create a simple ritual – rituals take us out of everyday life for a while so that we can slow down and ponder on the path of life….
Two summer dances on the horizon too, first one this Sunday with Kathryn in Horsham, next one in July with me at Lower Beeding. Come and join our growing group of dancers and ride the wave of energy through the dance and let your heart move your feet, more info here at Dancemantra
Head into summer catching that wave of full-on life force while it lasts, before we head towards Autumn and shorter days and longer nights, with a different sort of magic yet to come…
Oh my! It’s that blissful time of year….and an unexpected free day today! Loving hearing the birds singing, astral green leaves everywhere, sun shining (hurruh!), being in my garden, and blissed out by wild flowers and the wildness of this time of year. Jack in the Green has been busy and the earth has woken up and thrown out a myriad of colour all over, who needs a TV?! There is always a special, new kind of magic in the air this time of year; waking at dawn to hear the birds welcoming in the new day, sunlight filtering through the trees, bees busy at work, smiley faces everywhere as the energy lifts the spirits. The seasons are so cool! I love the beauty each one has and the gifts it contains. I’m in heaven today with the unexpected day off, ahhhh, what a blessing! Pottering in the garden, relaxing in the sunshine, nowhere to go, marvellous!
Orders coming in for calendula oil, and I’m out of stock! So waiting on my plants to grow so I can harvest those gorgeous orange and yellow flowers and transform them into the best oil for skin, to keep it looking great or to heal those sore places, including nappy rash. I have a secret store left for myself, not sharing it though as I can’t live without it!
Really looking forward to our June workshop at Sedgwick on how to make all those lovely, natural skin and health products from the glorious array of herbs and ‘weeds’ in our gardens! Early bird price closing 15th May so book now if you would like to come. Sedgwick House is a treat in itself, amazing gardens, labyrinth, magical woodland, it’s a great place to spend the day and learn how to make the best products for your skin. Our skin doesn’t need the stuff from the shops, it does a lot better with pure ingredients like shea butter, almond oil and the herbs we find easily. This is pure food for the skin and body, easy to make, costs very little, not tested on animals, no rubbish in them! This is the third workshop I have done there and this time we’re going to make elderflower cordial as well as face and body products, love doing this stuff! And the calendula should be ready for us to use too!
Huge blessings for this wonderful spring, long may the sunshine continue, England is magic when it’s sunny.
And now….GDPR, grrrr! Perfect yoga nidra, working with opposites! Sun, bliss and greenery one minute, terms and conditions, privacy policies and brain-aching stuff the next! Got to be done though and thank goodness for my web lady who is on it, thank you!
Snow…. Mmmmm! Finally! One of the things I have missed since living in Italy is the sight of freshly fallen snow laying a thick blanket over the earth. I have only seen a sprinkling here in the three years I have been back and was yearning yesterday to see a winter wonderland again. So, the power of our thoughts! Draw the curtains this morning and lo! Desire satisfied. Standing outside early this morning, I listened to the silence that only snow can bring….it is as if a hush has fallen over the world, there’s nothing quite like it. Stunningly beautiful, a little inconvenient…didn’t make it to work today! It was thick and falling where I live and roads that just don’t melt. An unexpected day off; some risks I’m happy to make in life, others are better not taken so I decided to stay safe, stoke up the fire and work from home instead.
The moon is shining now in a sky studded with diamonds… and have just returned from a venture outside to witness the glitter that sparkles on snow – it’s quite awe-inspiring, and to soak up a little more of that surreal silence. My cat is not quite so keen! He has ventured out very briefly with a look of puzzlement on his face, followed by disdain as his paws sank into the snow! Now, my Italian cats were old hat at it, they used to fly out and dive headlong into it with utter abandonment and thoroughly enjoy themselves! No help when it came to putting snow chains on though, must admit I don’t miss that part!
So though we are fast approaching Spring Equinox, we have some full on weather to deal with, minus 5 tonight and more snow forecast for Thursday. The birds are out there so remember to help them out as they will have trouble finding food now – proper bird food is best as bread doesn’t sustain them very well. And outdoor animals need plenty of warm bedding and straw if they are sleeping outside in these temperatures. Despite their thick winter coats, dogs and cats can die from the cold and it isn’t good for them to be inside cold houses either. I read an article recently that said if you feel cold, for sure so does your pet. So make sure they are warm when you are out. And for us? Well, lots of nourishing food, echinacea tincture to keep our immune system boosted, fresh ginger tea and lemon. Thyme tea is great for colds along with loads of vitamin C and try a steam inhalation with a drop of eucalyptus to clear the airways. If you have those achy flu symptoms, there is nothing like a hot bath with a few drops of lavender and marjoram added to bring some ease, 3 drops of each maximum. And sometimes we just have to listen to what our body is trying to tell us and slow down a little… Just added the first herb workshop to the calendar for this year…’Practical Magic’ at Sedgwick Park House 10th June to learn how to use nature’s goodies for our health and wellbeing. Keep an eye on elderly neighbours too at this time of year.
Stay home and warm, and know that spring isn’t far away now….and as winter has been pretty dramatic this year, I reckon spring will be warm and glorious!!
Thank you to all you lovely dancers who braved the elements this morning to come. It was heart-warming to witness your openess, movement, voice,stillness. It brings me such joy to be able to offer sacred space for us to dance this life together, to let go, to share, to trust, thank you xxx Next Dancemantra is with Kathryn Premshakti Varley Sunday 19th April, same time same place.
If you haven’t tried conscious dance, come along to one of our monthly events. People from all walks of life join us for these wonderful sessions. If you love dancing but don’t fancy the nightclubs, try this alternative possibility. Conscious dance is free dance, with some guidance from the facilitator (Kathryn or I). No special steps are needed, it is about expressing authentically and freely in the moment. Please contact me if you would like to know more, are a little nervous of taking the dip, and I am happy to talk to you about what it is we are all getting up to! Love Nalini xx
Autumn Newsletter, tips, events, ideas for Easing into Autumn – transitioning into a slower groove… news from the Hedgewitch!
Summer draws to an end and we ease into Autumn. Still some warm, sunny days ahead of us and the magic of watching the leaves start to turn and grace us with a myriad of colours and beauty.
Nights are drawing in quickly now, and many are sighing with discontent! But wait! Can you imagine how it would be to live near the equator? To have equal day and night all year round, always the same? Gosh, I would be so bored with that. I can remember working in Africa, finishing work at 5 and it being a hot day. No looking forward to sitting outside in daylight, all dark by 6pm, every day without fail. Light at 6am every day without fail! Sigh. Now THAT’s something to sigh about!
So, look on the bright side, isn’t it marvellous that we have those long, summer evenings with so much daylight? And the opposite coming in during the dark half of the year. Magical!
I love the seasons, they have so much to teach us about how to live. Autumn always points the way to slowing down on the energy of high summer and starting to quieten down a little and begin the descent inwards into deeper waters. Time to reflect on the harvest of my year so far, what has happened, what has grown? And with the changing of the season, changing colours of the earth, what needs changing in my own life? We always ponder these reflections in my regular meditation group on a Friday evening. We have a special evening to celebrate each solstice and equinox and to mark the transition. It’s a lovely thing to do.
Soooo… Autumn is easing in as we pass the equinox when day and night were equal, and come into the darker time of year. So many magical things around now though! Look out for shiny conkers bursting forth from prickly shells, I can never resist having a few in my pocket. Seeing the squirrels with nuts in their paws, stocking up their larders for the coming months. Spider webs sparkling with morning dew. Halloween on its way, the most important festival for the pagan community – a time when the veil is the thinnest between worlds and we remember our ancestors. So looking forward to getting creative with a door step altar again this year, will it be different from last year’s?? My American friend was here last year – and you know what they are like about Halloween! I kinda got into the groove with her, especially after she bought me my very own broomstick!
Mother Earth has laid a quilt over the land of differing, more subdued colours now as she starts to turn her gaze inwards towards deep rest and renewal – hmm, maybe not such a bad idea for us too! Lovely, long evenings cozyed up with books, cats and hot chocolate. Wood stove not lit yet, that is a winter pleasure yet to come! Plenty of candles though to shed a warm glow to my home.
So don’t be blue because of the shorter days, look for all the beauty in nature, both physically and also to what she teaches through the changing seasons. And my boots collection is on its way out! Can you imagine life without being able to wear boots!! Unthinkable!
AUTUMN TIPS FOR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
So, what about our health and well-being in this season? What can we do to look after ourselves? Well, let’s have a look at the plants and what we can utilize for free.
Rosehips from the wild dog rose – go foraging, fill a glass jar or bottle with them and cover in apple cider vinegar – leave on a sunny (or not!) windowsill for a couple of weeks to allow all that gorgeous Vitamin C to pour out. Then strain your liquid, and take a teaspoon daily in warm water as a great immune boost.
Nasturtium flowers – those lovely bright flowers are a natural anti-biotic, just eat a few! Don’t go too mad, two or three will do.
Sage – love her! Make a strong tea, leave to cool and use as a gargle if a sore throat is challenging.
Thyme – makes a wonderful herbal tea, good for when we have a cold but drink it regularly too to keep the winter blues at bay. Just put a sprig in a mug of water just off the boil, leave to stand for 5 minutes and then drink – it tastes amazing! Add honey to help soothe if you like.
Echinacea – a well-known immune booster. Buy the tincture and take it daily during the build up to winter, it is really a great preventative measure. You can tincture the roots if you have it in your garden. Dig up the root, wash thoroughly and chop into a glass jar. Fill with vodka and leave to mature for about a month. Strain and bottle. Add 10 to 20 drops to water twice daily. If you want to buy it, A.Vogel are a good company to buy from.
Conkers! – Those gorgeous shiny horse chestnuts are great for varicose veins and thread veins! Chop them and tincture as above. Only 5 drops twice daily, they can be toxic if overdone so be careful.
You can use them in the bath or in an oil if you do get caught with winter ailments.
At onset of a cold or flu – hot baths with a blend of 3 drops lavender and 3 drops marjoram OR 3 drops lavender and 3 drops eucalyptus. Add to a little honey or milk and add to a pre-run bath, shut the door and inhale the steam. Use the marjoram blend if that achy body symptom is present, it really helps.
Steam inhalation. Add water just off the boil to a large, pyrex bowl, add two to three drops in total of one or a mix of eucalyptus, camphor, thyme or ti tree. The steam in itself fights germs and the oils ease coughs, congestion and are anti-viral. Just put your head over the bowl, cover with a towel and breathe in the steam. Stay for at least 5 minutes.
More recipes to follow in the winter newsletter, I hope you won’t need them but it’s great to use natural stuff rather than medicines to help.
And if all else fails, come and see me for a warming session! I can always make you feel so much better. Lovely, warming aromatherapy oils, yummy! And try mixing that with a hot stones massage for a real double whammy! Just what the cooler days call for! Mmmmmm, nice!
Had a great workshop at the end of September on making natural products from the Autumn plants and herbs! Always such a joy for me to share the magic and teach how to make lotions and potions. More workshops coming in Spring if you missed out on this one. Keep an eye on the calendar next year.
I just love doing these. I will be sharing lots of tips in my blogs so keep up to date and learn some interesting fact and folklore…
‘Right Here, Right Now’ – A Dance of Awareness Event
Sunday 12th November – Lower Beeding Hall 10.30 – 12.30
Come and warm up those bodies and join us for a Dancemantra two hour morning class – see website for full event details. These dance workshops are a great success and everyone is enjoying them, no special steps required, this is free dance, moving how you feel in the moment.
Regular events held by me and my friend Kathryn Premshakti Varley
Inspired! New Year one day workshop
Saturday 30th December – at beautiful Sedgwick Park House, Horsham
An inspiring and motivating workshop to enter into the New Year with calmness, clarity and ease of being.
Join us for a great day that will include yoga nidra, some meditative practice, dance and journalling and will conclude with a glorious outdoor fire ritual for letting go of the old and bringing in the new. Breathe life into your very being and go forwards with vision and trust.
Full details will be available from September but please do contact Nalini if you would like more info.
Prem Kathryn Varley (Horsham Yoga) and Nalini are holding the space for this day together.
Hope to see you on a workshop soon, please do call if you would like to chat about them before deciding.
Many many Autumn blessings to you, get into the magic and enjoy! Love Nalini x
Delighted to say that our first Dancemantra dance event was held today in Horsham, led by Prem Kathryn Varley and attended by a great group of people. It was a lovely space and so good to dance. Conscious dance is such a freeing practice, a real retreat from the mind into the intelligence of the body, moving from the heart and soul. We raised £220 for the charity Ourmala too.
The turnout today was good and it is so inspiring to be creating space in Horsham for people to move, dance, connect and open their hearts. Thank you to Prem for her energy and idea in getting this together!
I am holding the space for our next event – “Move into Life” – a Dance of Awareness event, 20th August, see our dedicated FB page – Dancemantra for more details. If you have never tried this type of movement and dance before, come along and give it a try, many beginners came this weekend.. and really enjoyed it! No formality involved! Just space to move freely and do what you feel. View the full calender here.
“Move into Life” – a Dance of Awareness event
20th August Lower Beeding Village Hall
10.30am – 12.30pm
Dance of Awareness is a free-flow approach to dance and movement and consciousness in which we are able to develop our connection to ourselves and the world around us. When we move and dance with awareness, we experience our authenticity, our heartfelt desires and release places where we may have become stuck in patterns of habit that no longer serve us. Feeling into the body and allowing the mind to rest brings us into our felt sense from where we can touch our innate wisdom and joy.
The Dance of Awareness cycle embraces our developmental years through a ‘wave’ of movement and energy, inviting us to move through old imprints into new ways of being. We dance to explore, express, release and connect, and to come home to ourselves
Please come and join us for our second event and let’s continue the journey of exploration, connection and openness together. It’s fun, it’s freeing, it’s relaxed. No special steps needed, just an open heart and curiousity.
Book with me directly 07432 404229 or go to fb Dancemantra. If you would like more info before booking, please call.