New Year’s Blessings…

December 31, 2014 at 11:26 pm (Magic, With thanks) (, )

Tonight I am grateful for a beautiful night with my hubby, dreaming a new year into being, celebrating a year just gone, and being happy to just be together and exist in the moment.

I’m happy that I did three workouts today (they were only 30 minutes each)… and glad that PiYo is almost over. I’ve enjoyed the program, but eight weeks is a long time for a set of workouts that you like but don’t love. Can’t wait for the new Jillian one to arrive 🙂

I’m glad I had time to make salad and yummy new dips, for a healthy start to the new year 🙂

And I’m grateful for the year just gone – the good, the bad, the sad and the joyful.

I’m grateful to my beloved, for love, adventure, support, encouragement, fun and sharing of dreams and hopes and love and laughter, for soothing frustrations and celebrating success, and all the myriad moments in between 🙂

I’m grateful for my friends and family, for visits to spend time with them, and catch-ups over cups of tea, and long distance friendships and laughter and love.

I’m happy that Into the Dark was published, and glad I wrote the first 53,000 words of Into the Light in November, and grateful that I made it through another crazy year at the magazines.

I’m proud of my hubby for doing a new EP and a cool video, and following his heart and his dreams and his muse, no matter what.

I’m grateful to my fitness friends, and especially my workout buddy Claire, for sharing another awesome year and pushing each other to do more and strive for more and be more – the best us we can be – and I’m so happy that we met Jillian together and worked out with her 🙂

I’m grateful for beautiful messages from people who read my books, and while talking is a little out of my comfort zone, I’m happy that I could meet people at Supanova, Book Expo, Mind Body Spirit Festival and Festival of Dreams, and glad that I’ve been able to meet even more online…

And I’m grateful for all the promise and potential held within this threshold moment, as we move from one year into the next – while being mindful that we can make a new start every day, every minute – we can change our mindset and our life whenever we choose to… That’s the real magic I think, the magic of intent and creation which exists always, in every moment…

Happy New Year! xx

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Solstice blessings…

December 22, 2014 at 7:18 pm (Magic, Moon phases, Wheel of the Year) (, , , , , )

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and the shortest night, and the moment that the sun halts its journey southward and stands still, before turning back and heading towards the north. (Of course it’s not really the sun doing the moving, it’s us and our position relative to the sun, but that’s how it appears to us because of our belief that everything revolves around us 🙂 ) It’s a time of magic and enchantment, of late sunsets, blue skies, and immense potential and promise…

Of course in the northern hemisphere it is Yule, the winter solstice, a time of new beginnings and new light…

Adding to the magic of the seasonal wheel, it’s also a new moon today, which brings new energy and inspiration – it’s the perfect time to start thinking about what you want to achieve in the coming month, and the coming year…

Wishing you much love and happiness on this enchanted day, and a wonderful festive season, however you celebrate it!

bloglithaLIn the southern hemisphere today is Litha, the summer solstice. It’s the longest day of the year, and the shortest night, and a time of energy, reawakening, passion and hope. It’s a time to celebrate all you have achieved, to soak up the fruits of your labours and bask in the abundance of your life and the joy you find in your friends and family. That’s why so many pagans still celebrate the traditional idea of Christmas at this time of year, in addition to their Litha rituals. It’s a time to be close to loved ones, to feast and celebrate and honour your own wisdom and how far you have come in the past year, to celebrate power, joy, and the courage to walk boldly into the new year. It’s a bountiful, abundant, fertile time, a time of flowers and ripeness and heat. Breathe in the scent of red, gold and orange blooms, of herbs like chamomile, honeysuckle, lavender, yarrow, thyme and elder, light an oil burner with inspiring, activating, energising oils like orange, lemon, rosemary and jasmine. Breathe in the power of the sunshine, the warmth of the land, the energy of the universe that you can attune yourself to in order to motivate you to move forward. Litha also brings the magical, mystical, enchanted Midsummer Night’s Eve, the famous time of fairies and fun and mischievous sprites who dance through the air, and through your heart, and encourage you to enjoy the beauty of the world, and the magic of your life.

blogyuleLIn the northern hemisphere however today is Yule, the winter solstice, the day of magic that celebrates the rebirth of the sun, and which the traditions of Christmas are all based on. Pagans in the northern hemisphere celebrated the winter solstice – the longest night of the year, and the shortest day, which indicated the return of the sun – for centuries before the coming of Christ. For them it was symbolic of the goddess giving birth to the god, of the turning of the wheel of life from the barrenness and death in the fields to the rebirth promised by the lengthening of the days. It was the time of the great feast, when the last of the winter’s stores would be used up, knowing the sun was on its way back to bring new life, and of gift giving and celebration.
On the same day, the ancient Egyptians celebrated the birth of the son of the goddess Isis, the Arabs the birth of the moon, and the Romans the winter festival of Saturnalia, focused on Saturn, the god of the harvest. Feasting, celebration, partying and gift giving were common to all of them.
(For the first three hundred years AD, there was no festivity of the birth of Jesus, and from the biblical description it’s highly unlikely he was born in December. But in 350AD, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25, to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans to convert to Christianity. The new religion went down a bit easier, knowing their festivals would not be taken away from them. At the end of the fourth century the Bishop of Constantinople wrote: “On this day the Birthday of Christ was lately fixed at Rome in order that while the heathen were busy with their profane ceremonies, the Christians might perform their sacred rites undisturbed. They call this the Birthday of the Invincible One (Mithras); but who is so invincible as the Lord?”)

Some of the pagan traditions of modern Christmas
The tree: Live evergreen trees were brought into homes during the harsh winters as a reminder that their crops would soon grow again. Evergreen boughs were carried as totems of good luck and were present at weddings, representing fertility. The druids used the tree as a religious symbol, holding their sacred ceremonies around them. Trees were first decorated for Christmas in Germany, with candies, fruit and paper roses.
The Yule log: Magic, with its tenent of “As above, so below,” meant pagans believed that to have a blazing fire on earth would encourage the sun to grow stronger. The winter solstice is a fire festival, with bonfires being lit to help the sun grow stronger. The Yule log also served a more practical purpose of warming the home during a cold night in which many people stayed awake for longer than usual. The word Yule means wheel, the wheel being a pagan symbol for the sun. Armenians make a wish on the Yule log when it’s ignited and sometimes make divinations by the cinder patterns left over.
Mistletoe: This is an old pagan symbol of regeneration and eternal life, and is associated with healing. Mistletoe was considered a sacred plant by the druids, and the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began as a fertility ritual. The Romans valued it as a symbol of peace, which led to its use as one of the common symbols of Christmas. In Scandinavia, it is associated with Frigga, their goddess of love.
Holly: Pagans placed holly leaves around homes in winter to provide shelter for fairies, and holly berries were thought to be a food of the gods. In ancient Rome holly was associated with Saturn, the god of the harvest. Early Christians probably adopted this tradition to avoid persecution. It was later reinterpreted with Christian symbolism – the pointy edges are said to represent the crown of thorns and the red berries Christ’s blood.
Candles: For pagans, it was customary to light a candle to encourage the sun god, and the sun, to reappear next year. Candles are also for protection. Later, in Victorian times, candles were placed in windows of homes to let the poor know there was shelter available for them there.
Christmas carols: People used to dance and sing to celebrate the shortest day of the year, and this evolved into the singing of Christmas carols. In ancient Rome, their winter holiday Saturnalia was marked by much merrymaking. It is there that the tradition of the Mummers was born, groups of costumed singers and dancers who travelled from house to house entertaining their neighbors. From this, the Christmas tradition of caroling was born.

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Meet My Character Book Blog Tour – Felicity Pulman

December 22, 2014 at 4:26 pm (Interesting stories, Publishing) (, , , , )

felicitybookAustralian author Felicity Pulman’s latest book is I, Morgana, a beautifully written story about King Arthur’s half-sister, a woman loved and loathed in equal measure. Just as exciting for readers, a reworked version of her brilliant six-book medieval crime/romance series The Janna Mysteries, about the daughter of a herbwife and healer being trained in the Craft, whose life is turned upside down when her mother is murdered, is being republished from January 2015. Felicity has also penned A Ring Through Time, The Shalott Trilogy, Ghost Boy, The Little Penguins of Manly and more.

You can read my interview with Felicity here, and visit her at Felicity Pulman.

Sophie Masson invited Felicity to be part of the Meet My Character Book Blog Tour, for which she wrote a great article about her character Morgana. There’s also still a chance to win a copy of the I, Morgana ebook, just check out her blog post.

From her post: “The character of Morgana has always fascinated me. Throughout the legend she’s portrayed as a wicked, scheming ‘witch’, bent on Arthur’s destruction, and yet it is said that after the Battle of Camlann she took Arthur by boat to the sacred Isle of Avalon to be healed of his wounds – which seems such a loving act, and completely out of character after what has gone before. And so I set out to understand why she does what she does in the legend, and I, Morgana is the result: the story of a proud, ambitious and passionate woman, bent on revenge, and who is ruled by her heart and not her head, a flaw that lies at the heart of this story.”

Enjoy Felicity’s blog post, and I’ll be joining the book tour next week to talk about Carlie… xx

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Meet My Character Book Blog Tour – Sophie Masson

December 16, 2014 at 4:15 pm (Favourite books, Publishing) (, , )

trinity-koldun-code-coverAuthor Sophie Masson is the award-winning author of numerous novels for children and adults, on such diverse topics as Ned Kelly, Shakespeare, Marie of France, and other novels set in France and drawing on Sophie’s French heritage. Her latest series, Trinity, is set in Russia, and book one, The Koldun Code, has just been published.

Sophie invited author Felicity Pulman onto the Meet My Character Book Tour, and Felicity in turn invited me. I love it, it’s kind of like a chain letter in reverse or something 🙂 I’ll be posting mine in a week or so…

You can read about Sophie’s character Maxim Serebrov, one of the main characters in her new book Trinity: The Koldun Code, on her own blog tour post, as well as learning about author Wendy James, who tagged Sophie (reading about her books inspired me to buy a few…), and the two authors she tagged.

Read more about Sophie’s work on her author site, and stayed tuned for Felicity’s tour entry soon…

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