I think that Christmas is an incredibly magical time of year. I’m a big fan of fairy lights and the feeling of enchantment that this brings along with the excitement of spending time with loved ones. The smell of cinnamon and a warming glass of mulled wine is enough to bring a smile to my face and the landscape dusted with frost makes me think of wild and fierce fairies.
I am lucky to have a family and a 6 year-old-daughter who is very much into the magic of Christmas and it’s special to be part of this. However I am not immune to the pressures of buying too much and joining in the general frenzy that the season brings.
It’s almost as though there is a collective energy that sweeps you along and I think it’s useful to pause and breathe.
More than ever I think it’s important to consider the environmental impact of our spending habits. There is so much waste. So much packaging. So many choices!
It’s the thought that counts
My creativity has been utilised for many years in making gifts and I think that this is a lovely way to give someone a piece of your heart and soul. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive.
I often think the greatest gifts are found in nature! I love finding feathers, acorns, leaves, pebbles. These things can be wrapped in tissue paper, painted on or made into a special tag to make the gift feel extra special.
Layer it up
Unwrapping presents as a child was somewhat of crazy experience. It was amazing and exciting and full of ‘wow’ and ‘thank you’ and then ‘next!’ which is unrealistic as an adult. You can’t keep recreating that experience (unless of course budget is not an option and you haven’t already bought these things for yourself).
Instead, I think you can replace that sense of wonder with a slowing down of the experience, by adding the special little touches. Sometimes it’s hard to think of something special to write other than ‘happy Christmas, or thinking of you’ and to be honest by the time I get to the tag writing stage I’m pretty tired!
This year I’m starting backwards. I’m starting with the sentiment, the hand printed wrapping, the tags. I’m going to use lyrics, jokes, quotes from Elf and collect little things to layer the gift giving experience.
For me this is the fun part. The part with magic and soul, where I hope the receiver will be able to tell that I love them and I think of them often even when I am not nearby.
I don’t have a lot of disposable income and so I have to think pretty carefully when it comes to planning my gifting. I start by writing down everyone’s name that I am buying for and then brainstorm potential ideas.
Obviously you know who you need to buy for, but writing it down and leaving spaces for gift ideas helps to get the process started. It makes it a bit more real which helps me feel a little more in control, which therefore leaves space in my head to enjoy the process.
I have started earlier this year as my business also gets really busy at this time and I need to be packaging up lots of orders too!
I am lucky in that I am really involved with the handmade community in Cornwall, after having a stall at the farmers market in Sennen and also helping to organise the FLAME Christmas event at the Acorn keeps me in touch with all the wonderful things that people are creating.
Buying handmade is a great way to spend ethically as you know that the money is going to a person that is passionate about their work and also part of your local community.
Craft fairs are a great place to find gifts as you often get original items, ethical goods and less packaging. This isn’t the cheap option. This is the artisan option, where the maker is valued for their skills and time.
It’s important that cheapness is no longer recognised as cheap... there’s normally a reason and the best one is that they can buy in bulk and therefore afford to sell at discount prices. The worst is that the conditions of the makers is appalling and they are underpaid and overworked. That’s not something that I want to support.
I’d much rather know that my choices are making someone do that happy dance.
Buy better not more
I have been thinking about this a lot recently. In order to avoid wasted gifts, you know the ones that just don’t get loved - no matter how hard you tried - sometimes it’s best to just upgrade everyday items. How about some amazingly packaged organic soap (you could even make your own!) Shampoo and shower bars from an ethical/sustainable outlet ( look on Etsy!)
With so much thought going into thinking of others I also think that the magic is within you and you need to look after yourself. Don’t get burnt out by trying to do too much. Take time to relax and dream about what you want to manifest in your life. It doesn’t have to be about things. I think there is something liberating in considering what you want for Christmas. It’s like you have the permission to think about what would make you really happy. Write it down! Breathe life into it. Become the you, you really want to be.
It was a couple of years ago now that I started paying more attention to the moon and it’s phases. I set my intention to live by the moon cycles, but at first I found myself losing track of whether the moon was waxing or waning and I felt frustrated because the moon wasn’t always visible to be able to check up on it.
I designed my first moon phase calendar so that I could see at a glance what was happening and also know the ‘old name’ for each moon. To me the names of each month’s moon, such as ‘hunter’s moon, cold moon and wolf moon’ all held their own energy that helped give me a sense of connection to nature.
This has been really useful to me and I want to share a bit about how I approach working with the moons energies.
What I like about paying attention to the moon’s phases is that it is a cycle, there is a beginning and an end. I think of it a lot in terms of yoga, where the new moon is the in breath, it is the beginning of the movement. Even before you make your first movement in yoga, you would connect to your foundations, become aware of how you are feeling and prepare for movement.
This is new moon energy, it is the moment before you step out into action. A good time to do some journaling and write down your overarching goal for the month. Once you have this clear in your mind you start moving forwards and taking action. The waxing moon has a feeling of new beginnings to me. It’s like a mini new year every month! You can start afresh.
I tend to use the energy for my art and my business, it’s a time for goal setting and planning and pushing forwards, but it could be used for all areas of your life. It all depends on your personal needs. Do you need to focus on health and exercise? Relationships? Diet?
You can then use the first quarter to check in with yourself. Are you moving forwards? What didn’t go to plan? What do you need to do next in order to reach your goal for the full moon? It’s important to remember that it only takes two weeks to go from a new moon to a full moon, so it’s good to be realistic!
The full moon has a lot of energy and you can feel it 3 days before and 3 days after the actual full moon. It’s a good time to charge your crystals and yourself! You might well be feeling a bit tired as your consciousness shifts through becoming more self aware and the extra energy available to you.
It’s also worth noting that each moon has an astrological association and this is something that I am still learning about. It’s worth following Kara Melendy and Jordanna Levin to get detailed reports on the particulars!
The full moon is also the out breath and it’s useful to take a pause and reflect and start to let go of your efforts.
I was listening to a podcast by Jessica Lively and she was doing a channeled session. Some of her words really stuck with me. She was talking about how you can have fun baking a cake, mixing the ingredients etc, but you are not the oven!
This is the feeling of the waning moon. You have put things into motion with your intention and action, but things don’t happen overnight however much we wish them too. So this is a good time for taking stock, cleaning your home, decluttering and self care. It’s restorative and reflective.
The process then puts you in a really good position for the new moon when you get to decide all over again what you want and what you want to achieve.
Now of course, things don’t always run like this! I have entered new moons feeling pretty wiped out and low on energy. We are all different and each cycle will be different. What I think is important is that this is a natural cycle that we can use to check in with ourselves.
It’s a tool for going deeper into our minds because the more we do this, the clearer our habits become. We can learn what our blocks are and we can also learn to accept the times when effort is not required.
So this is how I use the moon. Of course there is much more you can do, especially if you like working with spells/ritual magic and/or like to garden! I’d love to hear how you use and interact with the moon’s energies. Let me know in the comment section or follow me on Facebook www.facebbok.com/glitterandearth
You can also buy my moon calendars in my Etsy shop www.glitterandearth.etsy.com
It feels weird to say that I’m a witch. I’m not the biggest fan of labels and I think I carry some of the fear in my dna of witches that were burned or hung.
I’ve always been drawn to the esoteric though. My love of fantasy as a child made me continue to look for it as I grew older. It felt real to me and so I sought out books on magic, shamanism and astral projection as a teenager.
I practiced drawing a pentagram in my minds eye just like one of the books instructed, I threw crystals for divination, I visualised my chakras, attempted to leave my body and practiced my tarot cards.
Throughout my life I have noticed many synchronicities, moments of wonder and deep connection with nature. Spiritually however I found myself following a more yogic path and have taken much inspiration from Buddhism and shamanism.
It wasn’t until last Christmas though that I found myself creating my first true spell. I felt emotionally and physically spent and was running by sheer will alone.
And so I gathered ivy for resilience and strength, Rosemary for health and created a wreath with them. I surrounded this with some shells and crystals which brought me joy and placed a candle in the middle. I burned incense to purify myself and the house and set my intent for healing.
This practice came to me so naturally and it was exactly what I needed to do.
I have spent a lot of this year in appreciation of nature. Witnessing the unfurling of buds and leaves and feeling that essence within me. I felt the transformation that was happening outside was also happening to me.
I also noticed a shift happening through social media through the plethora of #witchy #pagan posts. These things were not longer in the shadows, but people were sharing and celebrating their path.
There were very few books on the subject when I was growing up and the ones that were available were pretty heavy in their language. Nowadays every type of witch is catered for with books for spells, moon phases, garden witches, hedgewitches, kitchen witches etc. It no longer has the aura of the dark and forbidden, but more of a reawakening of a sacred path.
It actually gives me a lot of hope to see this as I believe that as women we have immeasurable power. We have long been distracted by images of superficial perfection. Told a story of how we should look a certain way and behave a certain way too.
I have no doubt that the hundreds of women and girls awakening to their true potential as healers, empaths and leaders will rattle a lot of bars on the old establishment. And a good thing too. This is exactly what the world needs right now.
A few moths ago I went for a chakra session. I knew that I was out of alignment and I needed self care at a level that was beyond a hot bath and a few candles.
The session was pretty revelatory to me as I got in touch with my energy at a core level without my mind getting in the way. I felt my connection to the witch I was in a previous life and I saw the witch that I was becoming - accompanied by a beautiful silver hare. I was surrounded by silvery light.
It was days later that I was reminded of the phrase ‘drawing down the moon’. I couldn’t remember what that meant so I looked it up and saw how it is a full moon ritual whereupon the goddess is called into your body.
This is pretty much how I felt during the session. It was profound and incredibly healing and it has left me knowing that this is who I am.
I still feel the weirdness of the word witch. I still don’t really like labels, but I want to be able to reclaim this word because there is a lot of power in it. Women all over the world are rising up and I need to show up too. So here I am. I am witch and it’s a special thing.
It’s kind of funny how I always thought that I wanted to be a writer, but nowadays I find it so hard to start. It’s because there is so much to say, but strange times can make words insufficient. That’s why I like illustrating and printmaking. It’s easier to reach for the next line, shape or colour than the right words.
Here I am though, working through what it means to be human in the face of environmental chaos and trying not to lose my faith that things are going to be okay.
Many people have written about the shifts in consciousness that would occur in the 2000’s and if you don’t feel that then I would be really surprised.
I might not be marching with Extinction Rebellion, but I am with them in spirit and hope that their action wakes up the people that still aren’t aware of the situation we are in.
It’s tempting, I would imagine, for lots of people to ignore the protests and pretend it wasn’t happening. Waking up is hard, painful even. It’s creating a level of stress and anxiety that is close to unbearable. I have felt it, but know that I can’t sustain that level of feeling without breaking apart and I don’t want that.
This planet will continue to thrive in one form or another - it has already seen so much and I wonder what new creatures and inhabitants will evolve to find this earth a happy home?
Our future is on pretty tenuous ground though. It reminds me of the shamanic practice of keeping death over your shoulder. Our existence has never felt so precarious and yet simultaneously beautiful. The more I consider my own death, the more I consider the beauty of the current moment.
Of course I recognise the contrast, the people in power that are riding rough shod over this planet with only self interest in their minds.
I don’t understand how we ever got this far away from our spiritual practice and yet I feel that the shifts are happening. More and more people are reconnecting with nature, exploring the Akashic records, channeling intelligence from beyond our mortal existences. We are embracing the subtleties of moon magic, engaging with nature spirits and working on our own personal shit.
This world fascinates me - I love nature and all it’s manifestations with a passion and I think if more people felt this connected then things would be a lot more harmonious. But we are evolving. I am holding onto this feeling. That this current discomfort is like the dirt that creates a pearl in an oyster. Perhaps this is a necessary growing pain in the collective consciousness.
People used to ask nature spirits where they could build their homes. They used to put stakes in the ground and if they had moved during the nighttime then that was a warning not to build there. This loss of sensitivity to our environment has lead to our loss of sensitivity to ourselves. Nature heals us because we are part of it. No wonder we are in so much turmoil.
I see the pearls of goodness forming though and I think that these are precious and the beginning of a new time of communal growth. I have much hope that a future can be created where communities support each other and the land is cared for because we are part of it and it is part of us.
Every moment we have we can choose to be kind, to reach out, to learn, to let go, to embrace our true selves, to plant a seed, to love ourselves, to help, to think with love. Don’t give your power away to anyone else. The work right now is inside all of us - learning what is of value and learning to value what we have.
I value you. Thank you for reading my thoughts - I really do appreciate it. Sometimes they just have to come out. Now to get back to creating little pieces of magic.
Drawing is often a meditation for me - it gives me time to feel what I need to feel and focus on where my heart needs to go. I gave myself time to take part in Kara Melendy’s full moon Facebook tapping session and the words ‘soul aligned action’ really resonated with me. It reminded me of Eckhart Tolle and ‘The Power of Now’ - that there really only is the now. It’s so easy to push ourselves beyond what we need in the moment - we are thinking that we ‘should’ or we ‘need’ to do it. For me that manifests as working a lot and not taking time for myself. I am beginning to realise that if I look after myself, I am going to be much more effective when I do my work. Anyway, this picture helped me to set my intention and I intend to listen to my body and intuition a lot more from now on.
I’ve just had a month of Make Art That Sells Editorial course and it’s been a lot of fun. There is something about Mats and being part of a community that makes the process really addictive and reassuring. There are so many fantastic artists that take part, many of them professional and resented by top agent Lilla Rogers herself. It makes me feel part of something and there is a lot of inspiration!
Editorial illustration covers all the images you see in magazines and newspapers and can provide interesting and challenging work. I really enjoyed learning some techniques on how to break down the conceptual process and also different ways of presenting your work.
I now feel empowered to start building my portfolio and start approaching editors. It’s going to take a little while, but at least I know the steps now. I’m really interested in areas such as spirituality, wellness and the environment and want to focus on those topics.
I was listening to the Kelly Trach podcast the other day, which is generally about finances (something that I am constantly having to adjust my mindset about) and was surprised to hear a conversation about manifesting and moon phases. It was totally my kind of thing and so affirming.
While Kelly Trach was talking to Jordanna Levin about raising your self worth they discussed how everything in nature has an active phase and a resting phase. You can see this in terms of the waxing and waning moon and also the inhale and exhale of the breath.
It reminded me of how important it is to stop with all the constant effort and how to focus on your own vibration. I think that sometimes we push beyond what is healthy in an attempt to be more successful. We learn from an early age that you have to try hard and that hard work is rewarded.
It’s a tricky mindset to shift, but I do know that art is energy and if you are in a bad mood then your art will have some of that vibration in it. I haven’t felt very well this month - I have been getting the same cough and cold over and over and so the permission I felt to let go was huge. It felt so life affirming to know that rest is part of the process and that I should embrace it rather than just try to push through the resistance.
I’ve been watching She’s Gotta Have it on Netflix - a Spike Lee joint - and loving this tale of a black female artist in Brooklyn. Nola Darling is such a strong character, but I love her passion for her art and culture. I love the music and how real it feels. It’s so good to see stories about artists living in the real world and the struggles they face in terms of authenticity and surviving. None of it is easy!
The struggle is worthwhile though. More and more I am finding the world to be such an amazing place. There is so much that makes me despair, but I feel that my work is not to go there, but to focus on things that bring hope and magic to the world.
I’m looking forward to learning more about myself as I let go and open up to the opportunities that the universe has waiting for me.
Much love. 💕
I got some screenprinting done and printed the last two unicorn t-shirts! I then destroyed my screen and am thinking about what design to do next....
i really enjoy taking photos of my products! It does take a bit of setting up, but I feel as though I have got the hang of it now!
I’m enjoying doing a bit of watercolour painting too. There is something about how the paint and water work together that you just can’t create digitally -yet!
This is going to be a somewhat random blog post into my thought processes! If you follow me on Facebook you might remember me posting about how I had to finish a picture before I could move onto my next project.
I also said that the same followed for books and Netflix... That is all fine and good, but some series can go on for 8 seasons and that’s like entering another world for a substantial time.
Anyway, my Netflix addiction is not quite the issue, it’s more about the thought that I have to do something without fully questioning i
So I decided to flip the thought and mix things up a bit. I COULD watch other things! I stopped watching Teen Wolf and started watching The Order. I could work on other projects! It was pretty liberating and energetically freeing. I could focus on where/what I most wanted without feeling obligated to carry on with something past the initial sense of enjoyment.
This initial thought flip proved so successful that I decided to flip lots of thoughts around, especially those ones that began ‘I always do this...’ or ‘I’m this sort of person’ or ‘I would never do that’.
It’s been actually very revealing on a personal level. A lot of thoughts can be quite negative or limiting and simply changing the script around helps to allow for something new to come in.
For example you might think to yourself ‘I always have a biscuit with my cup of tea’ you could flip it and say to yourself ‘I never have a biscuit with my tea’. (Notice the extremely safe example I am using!) How does this new statement make you feel? You might feel angry, you might feel disappointed... I just think it’s interesting to notice your level of attachment/alignment to the statements and then work with it.
You don’t have to act on every flip. You might need a little time to renegotiate. Eg ‘I sometimes have a biscuit with my cup of tea.’
Am I writing bollocks here? Anyway, it’s what I have been doing and finding the results interesting. It’s like trying a new version of yourself on for size. You don’t have to keep the new thought, just see how it feels.
There is something about hares that I have always seen as somewhat magical - indeed I have used one as part of my logo because of that association. I was drawn to use it in my work because of the hare’s connection with the moon, but I didn’t realise quite how interlinked the hare was.
The hare is a totem animal for the moon goddesses, Freyja, Hecate and and Holda and also the goddess Ostara is said to have the head and shoulders of a hare.
Ostara is another name for the Spring Equinox and the hare has become intertwined with this season of renewed fertility.
The hare is also seen as a positive sign and is even associated with immortality due to its strong connection to the moon which disappears from view and then appears to be reborn every night.
This link has even given rise to tales of witches shapeshifting into the form of a hare and running wild under the light of the moon.
No wonder hares have such power to enchant and spark the imagination.
My lino prints will be available at Know Thy Self, Falmouth, Cornwall, as well as a range of artists work as part of an evolving exhibition celebrating the hare and the 40th anniversary of Kit Williams Masquerade.