Beltane is the halfway mark for the sun to reach its zenith, signifying the beginning of summer. Life becomes more sensual at this time, and the increasing warmth brings us new vigour and zest for life. A healthy balance of Fire within each one of us, at this time of year, translates in playful and joyous interactions, a dynamic force that is met with optimism and excitement.
Feeling your body and spirit-heart right now, has the Fire within you arisen from within your core? Are you feeling the free flow and abundant expansiveness of your life force rising up and out, or is there still some stagnation to clear?
To help ignite the Fire within you, I invite you to gift yourself a Tibetan Herbal Foot Soak.
Invigorating herbs are sourced directly from local farmers on the Tibetan plateau, and made potent through the heat of the water to promote change on a cellular level. These foot soaks improve blood circulation and immunity, eliminate toxins and regulate the nervous system so that deep relaxation can take place. Heat penetrating at the feet and allowing that heat to rise -like a fire with a kettle over it- will leave you feeling your inner flow more abundantly, welcoming a return of vitality and a passion to fully participate in the forthcoming summer.
Ann is a therapist in the house and will be offering Herbal Foot Soaks on Tuesday 30 April, 12-2pm – 30 mins session, £15.
Cerridwen is often depicted as the old Crone at the end of life, but this is a misconception, as She is actually the Goddess of Rebirth and Renewal. She is also a renowned Wise Woman, who holds the ultimate magic of creation. Her cauldron brews potential and power. All herbs are at Her disposal for the ease and healing of humanity. Her own three children show Her essence of fertility: one born from the light, one born from the dark and one born from Otherworldly magic, together they become symbols of all that is beauty in the world, all that is courage and all that is wisdom.
Cerridwen Priestesses have created a magical womb blessing ceremony for you!
If you wish to get pregnant or if you are already pregnant, we will create a personalised ceremony, individually tailored to your wishes, for you and up to three loved ones who wish to participate and accompany you on your journey. We offer the following:
Consultation prior to Ceremony to gather knowledge of your wishes for this ceremony.
On the day you will be welcomed by at least two Priestesses.
The sacred temple to Cerridwen in Goddess House will be dressed for you, including carefully chosen music and yummy fragrances especially blended for sensitive mother-to-be noses.
You will be made very comfortable, dressed in beautiful ceremonial wear provided by us. (You can bring your own). A sumptuous nest will be provided for you in a warm environment.
We will create a safe space for you and call in your ancestors, spirit guides, angels, sky beings, grandmothers of the tribes and whomever you wish to have present from your Motherline.
We will call in the aspects of the All-Mother and Her elemental representations.
We will prepare you by cleansing you with an individually blended herb water and release any unwanted energies, obstacles, discomforts….
Then the sacred, secret, ancient ceremony begins: using touch, sound, song and other ingredients you will be blessed by Goddess’ energy through Priestess healing hands, making sure you feel supremely cared for throughout.
Your loved ones can be part of the ceremony if they wish to be. A reclaiming of the times when women joined together in sacred sisterhood to prepare for the birth of a child.
*Our mothers-to-be tell us that the babies love it.* Gifts will be bestowed upon you, by the Priestess-‘faery goddessmothers’ to signify the blessings conferred on you and the baby. Grace, joy, bliss, strength: whatever comes through to our Priestess Seers will be placed into your womb/your baby, should you wish for it. After the ceremony a small feast will be provided for you before you leave the temple. Ceremony will take at least one and a half hour.
Please contact Bee on 07906 098284 for further information, and to discuss your individual wishes and price of ceremony.
* Louise is a Certified Iyengar Yoga teacher offering private yoga tuition(individuals, or 1:2s). Beginners welcome. Louise is running a 4-week Iyengar Yoga Spring Course, Wednesdays at Goddess House from 15th May, 10.30am-12pm. Please contact her for details and to book (places are limited):firstname.lastname@example.org
I love the time of Flora. It reminds me of the song ‘Nymphs and Shepherds’ – Mancunians will know about the history of this involving local school children in the 1930s. It gives a real feeling to the joy of this time of Beltane in which we take that time out to enjoy the start of summer, when we feel the rising power of nature and her fertility at this time. Celebrating Rhiannon, Goddess of our sensuality and sexuality, is not a time of hedonic self-indulgence – although it can have some of that too – but is a time of the reclamation of our bodies and the wresting of our sacred sexuality from the harm that patriarchy has inflicted upon us. The second wave feminists said, ‘The personal is political’ and the depth of this personal liberation for women and men cannot be underestimated.
Returning to Flora we come to the flowers of June which are used in Aromatherapy as powerful essential oils and absolutes. Walking in parkland at this time, the air is perfumed with the blossom of the lime tree – known as Linden. As an absolute, the oil is expensive, but nonetheless has a beautiful aroma that transports you into mystical realms, so helps with meditation and relaxation, as it helps with reducing stress and promoting peace. It makes for a really effective facial oil for that very reason. The Jasmine shrub blossoms at this time too giving us another intensely fragrant absolute which has a variety of uses, including that of being a powerful aphrodisiac as well as being effective for skin conditions. Carnation, another exotic absolute is also an aphrodisiac, seductively intoxicating in its rich sweet scent. It is an expensive oil that is not widely used in aromatherapy, but valuable in perfumery.
It is Rose oil, both the Damascena essential oil and the deep Rose absolute, known as the Queen of oils, that really comes into her own during the Beltane season. Rose has the reputation of having great affinity with a woman’s body, helping with everything from menstrual problems to menopause. It is also aphrodisiac and promotes a sense of sensuous well-being. I like to think of Rose oil also as a mothering oil as it reaches the heart, the loving heart and the hurt or broken heart in need of nurturing and healing. For this reason, it is a most helpful oil where there has been injurious sexual experience of child abuse or rape, domestic violence or any experience of violation to the female body including the pain suffered through suppression of sexuality and gender identity. I feel that Rose oil is a gift from Rhiannon to heal the feminine in all of us, but most of all those whose lived experiences as women has known the pain and suffering endured in a patriarchal world. To be enrapt in the heart essence of Rose is to experience the healing love of the plant, of nature, of the Goddess no less.
But the spirit of Beltane also has a lighter mode and what better expression in the light fresh aroma of Geranium, balancer of mood, emotion and bodily process that blends well with any of the above mentioned absolutes, but on her own, Geranium reminds is that Beltane is Flora’s holiday, a time to be happy and in the words of the song’s author, William Turner.
‘Lightly we tread o’er all the ground
With music, with dancing and with poetry.
Then we trip round with merry sound,
And pass the day in jollity.’
Our workshop exploring the oils of this season, ‘Essentially Beltane’ will take place on the 2nd May from 2-4pm in the Rhiannon Room, Goddess House, Glastonbury. £5.
Poised in balance of dark and light we can really appreciate our place in the universe. At this time, I would like to share Virasana, a pose used for meditation. As we practice we can pause and bring balance to our own lives.
The photo was taken at a friend’s house in Kerala, India, on a recent trip, but my daily practice was always indoors, on a firm floor. I only practice some seated postures outdoors due to the unevenness of ground generally.
- Refreshes and relaxes tired leg
- Stretches feet and ankles
- Helpful for seated meditation
- Works the shoulders and arms
- Opens the chest and rib cage
- Aids digestion
- Sit on a folded blanket or a block to lift the lower back and make the legs comfortable
- Place a folded towel behind the knees to ease any strain
- If the feet or ankles are stiff, kneel on blankets with the feet over the edge
Start kneeling up. With the fingers draw the calf muscles from the backs of the knees towards the feet.
Sit between the legs, toes pointing back and touching the floor. Knees together.
Rotate shoulders, turn the arms out and place the hands on the feet, fingers on the toes.*(*Or just rest the wrists on the knees, palms facing up.)
Lift the trunk evenly on both sides and lengthen the spine upwards.
Look straight ahead with soft eyes, breathe evenly, and take the attention inwards.
Stay for up to 5 or 10 minutes.
To finish, rest the palms on the knees for a few moments. (At this point you can also interlock the fingers and stretch arms over the head, palms up, repeating with the opposite interlock.)
Straighten the legs slowly.
All sessions are personalised to the client’s needs and aspirations.
I love this time of year as the wheel turns away from the darkness of winter into springtime, when I wake up in the morning and its light, so I don’t have to get up in the dark anymore. I look forward to changing the clocks to BST and once more enjoying those light evenings and as the warmth returns, I can take out the garden chairs from their hibernation ready to enjoy peaceful moments in my garden where I can inhale that smell of spring in the air.
All around now are the blossoms that precede the foliage on the trees displaying their pastel shades and delicate shapes, their stamens offering the dear pollinators delicious pollens and nectar. At this beautiful time, the great rite of Nature gently beckons playful participation in the early greening of spring. The pastel tones of yellow, pink and mauve of crocus, daffodil, hyacinth and narcissus releasing exquisite subtle aromas into the air around.
Ostara is here, dancing her way through the land, the streets and playgrounds that are now coming alive with the sounds of children’s play (if they only free themselves from their Nintendo’s). And with her return, we too feel as if we are coming back to life, unfurling ourselves from winter coats, hats, gloves and thick boots. How we yearn to be free of all that restriction so that we may walk unhindered and literally put spring back into our steps.
And as we loosen all the winter hibernatory coverings from bodies it’s time to think about refreshing them so that we may feel that we too are blossoming, fresh and revitalised, as we prepare ourselves for the activity of the warmer months. Skin brushing and salt scrubs are great to bring our skin back to life, exfoliating accumulated dead skin cells, opening the pores, stimulating the lymphatic system, releasing toxins and bringing glow to our skin’s tone. Salt scrubs also add oil and other added nutrients to the cleansing process. Our systems can become sluggish during the winter months so waking them up with the addition of citrus oils, such as Sweet Orange, Bergamot, Lime or Grapefruit, to the scrub brings the benefits of giving us a bit of a kickstart.
Work and Care in the Practice:
– If the action is too strong on the inner thighs, either from the start or after a while, support under the knees with a block or blanket;
– To avoid strain on the lower back be sure to draw the flesh of the back hips and buttocks towards the feet. If discomfort is felt in the lower back despite the above action, try laying on a slightly higher support. Don’t work through pain.
– If experienced in the pose you may want to intensify the stretch of the legs by placing gentle weight at the top of each inner thigh. Support under the thigh also if needed.
– You can work the arms and shoulders by extending the arms up then behind the head and laying them on the floor, parallel to each other, palms facing up, shoulder blades always moving towards the feet.
Our previous season’s Essentially Solstice event was well presented, and we hope that Aromatherapists and Aromalovers will be able to attend future events that we are offering at each of the festivals on our Lady’s Wheel. These sessions are jointly presented by Stephanie Mathivet (a Goddess House Aromatherapist) and Karen Elliot (Core Business Manager at Fragrant Earth International). For each season, we are guided by the essential qualities of the Goddess and the meaning of her festival to select oils that resonate their essential nature to that. It’s purely intuitive, but we think it works, even if we do need to stretch that aromatic imagination a little.
Essentially Imbolc picks up some of the themes associated with this time and with Brighde. She is associated with the expression inner child and inspiration, with new beginnings and with the inner flame of the earth that sparking the cycle of life back into manifestation. There is a connection, too, with Brighde’s sacred wells for our healing, through clean, uncontaminated water for drinking as well as for washing and cooking. Brighde is also a protectress of mothers giving birth and therefore with maternal care of babies and young children. Her green mantle can be a metaphor for the green earth and for the green plants that grow for our healing and our pleasure. So, with these themes in mind, and without giving away too many spoilers (for we would like you to come along to the workshop to experience rather than just read) we will be looking at the Lavenders and othe green herbs from the Labiatae and Asteraceae families.
At Imbolc 2019, on Monday February 4 February, a Circle of Oracle Priestesses and Priests of Avalon are initiating the Oracle of the Lady of Avalon at Goddess House. Together we will create and hold a Ceremonial Oracular Space in which the Oracle of the Lady of Avalon will be present and will answer questions from those who approach Her with honour.
The earliest Oracles in Greece were Priestess Sybils who spoke directly for the Earth Mother Ge or Gaia, from deep inside caves within Her body, the Earth. They embodied the Nymphs and Muses who inspired the people. At Delphi Priestess Oracles first spoke for Ge in trance, sitting on a high rocky outcrop, or above a crack in the volcanic rock from which intoxicating gases emerged. In classical times as the patriarchal gods took over the ancient places of the Goddess, the Sun god Apollo killed the chthonic female Python or Earth Serpent and claimed Delphi for himself. Throughout classical times travelers came from far and wide to consult the Pythia, the Priestess of the Oracle, whose mumbled words were then ‘translated’ by Apollonian Priests. The Pythia could predict the future, often speaking in riddles, and affecting the course of politics, wars and ordinary human lives for over a thousand years.
Here in Glastonbury within the Goddess Temple we have been reclaiming and practicing the ancient arts of Oracling and Embodiment of Goddess for many years. This skill is now practiced without the use of intoxicants, as we connect energetically and deeply to Goddess within our own Priestess bodies. Here we are called especially to Oracle for the Lady of Avalon, She who is Goddess in this Sacred Land of Avalon.
Glastonbury Goddess Temple will begin to offer the gift of the Oracle of the Lady of Avalon to the public and will do so at each of the eight festivals of the year. The process will take 45mins to an hour, although it may be longer depending on how many people attend. Please arrive at Goddess House at any time between 11.00am and 5.00pm in the day of the Oracle.
Querants are asked to prepare their question before arriving at Goddess House. On arrival they will be taken through a blessing of the four elements of air, fire, water and earth to help refine and ground their question before approaching the Oracle of the Lady. There will then be a ceremonial approach to the Oracle, listening to Her Words of Wisdom for you as She answers your question. After visiting the Oracle there is time for reflection and integration of Her answers.
Oracle dates in 2019 are Monday 4 Feb, Thursday 21 March, Friday 3 May, Monday 17 June, Saturday 27 July, Thursday 19 September, Friday 1 November, Friday 20 December. We ask for a minimum donation of £20 per person and upwards. We hope that a visit to the Oracle of Avalon will become a highlight of your journey in Glastonbury Avalon.
(“Priestess of Delphi“by John Collier, 1891
One of our newest creative offerings is our Goddess House Monthly Ceremonies! From this month Priestesses will be running monthly Sacred Ceremonies at Goddess House. These are powerful ceremonies designed to transform and empower ourselves. They will include Cord Cutting Ceremonies, Despacho Ceremonies, Empowerment Ceremonies, Womb Blessing Ceremonies and more! Our first one will be a Cord Cutting Ceremony with Priestess Anna-Saqarra Price on Friday 25 January 2019, at 7.30pm.
Also new for this year are our inspiring Seasonal Goddess Ceremonies. These will be run by priestesses and students from the different Priestess Trainings offered in Glastonbury, at each of the eight seasonal festivals throughout the year. The idea is to give experienced priestesses of the different faces of Goddess and those in training the opportunity to work together and to share their particular priestess gifts with the public.The first Ceremony will be offered by trainee Priestesses of Brighde on Thursday 31 January at 7.30pm – by donation. The second will be offered by trainee Priestesses of Avalon on Thursday 21 March.
By Angie Twydall
As the wheel turns towards Solstice do you allow your body and energy to slow down? Gaia, Mother Earth is slowing, resting. My bees in the Avalon Apiary at the base of the Tor are clustered, conserving heat, food and energy. This time now, She is showing us through Her nature that stopping is not only essential but is Her way.
But how to stop when modern day living seems to be so full, and so many expectations to conform to commercial and cultural norms?
Over the years I have taken myself away, off on a retreat. Once we did a Silent Buddhist retreat over Christmas..much to our then, teenage daughters stoic acceptance! This year I have made more time during the year, and have consciously gifted myself time to stop, to reflect, to experience Her world.
So I invite you to gift yourself the most precious gift of all; time and self-love, time and self-care. In that gifting you will then be able to be fully present, healthier and happier. This is a simple blessing, a gift from Goddess to remember who you really are.
Come join me on on our Swan Sisters Retreat 12-15th March 2019 in East Sussex.
By Stephanie Mathivet
Here at the Goddess House we love the essential essences of plants. There is something so sacred about the purity of aroma. We breathe it in and it becomes one with us. We create a connection at a deep soul level allowing the essence of the plant to communicate with us, and we respond with our hearts. When we receive the beauty of aroma into our senses, and when we receive the physical molecules of plant essence into our bodies, we enter into a relational space of heart, mind and physicality with that oil. It might sound odd to talk about having a relationship with a substance or to suggest that there is something within a substance that seeks to communicate with us, but this is exactly what happens.
The olfactory neurons in our nasal passages detect aroma and relay information from aroma to the sensory limbic area of the brain. The fine hair-like receptors at the end of the neurons key into the molecules in aromas, creating a ‘vibrational song’ or ‘osmic frequency’. This happen at sub-molecular levels, so we are barely aware of it happening as a process, although we are likely to be aware of the result. We smell an odour and recoil because we don’t like it. There is no vibrational resonance; maybe it jars as it triggers an old buried memory and our limbic brain activates our amygdala to react. Or we may smell an odour and become immediately transformed into blissful peace and relaxation. The osmic frequency creates a resonance that triggers a range of responses in the body and mind, just from that little sniff.
Our bodies like essential oils too and it is still a mystery as to why. Over the years there has been more and more research into the properties of essential oils and how or why they work. The old theory, that aromatic compounds formed by plants contain sets of chemicals that can be measured, and their effects predicted, is no longer thought to be helpful to our understanding. Somehow the chemical processes are more complex as it is the assembly of compounds, rather than the singular, which has the effect. This is why we like to blend oils, to create a ‘synergy’ where the compounds work as a united team. The constituents of oils can change according to the chemotype, what time of year it was harvested, weather conditions, soil conditions etc all have their bearing on an oil. Our individual bio-chemistry too is very different between people so it can be suggested that we all have our own way of relating and responding to, the effects of essential oils. Also, as we progress our own healing through the stages of a cold, for example, our body’s needs change so a new blend is needed. Our response to an oil tells us as much about how helpful it is as a list of chemical constituents can – although it is still important to know this information.
However, we use our oils and whatever theoretical windows of learning we look though when applying them, one thing we can agree on is that good quality oils are important. The more true they are the more we are able to communicate clearly with that oil. So many oils are adulterated, and it is hard to know how to choose oils. Organic and wild crafted oils are going to have something special that mass cultivated oils are going to miss and plants that have been lovingly cared for are going to vary widely from those that have been farmed over acres. Large international companies might grow a plant in various countries, bring it all back to the production plant and distil the whole lot together so you get a very hybrid product. If we think about a plant such as lavender, hardy though it may be, climatic conditions can affect crop yield – yet the same amount of oil is out there on the market. How can this be so? Dilution and adulteration is rife, especially where the production of essential oils happens on an industrial scale. As a rule, the larger the oil company is, the more likely it will be that the oil is not true. Marketing materials may claim to show chemical constituents of an oil even by the serial number on the bottle. Chemical constituents such as linalool or geraniol can be laboratory made and added to a compound to make it chemically close to an oil and this is what adulteration means.
Relational seems to be a key word here. Just as we, the user or aromatherapist, finds healing power in the relational connections we have with the plant oil, so there needs to be a relational element between small scale growers and their crops as well as a relationship of honesty and trust between a grower and supplier. As therapists and we need to be able to have a relationship with our supplier so that we can trust that the oils we receive are the very best. When we then smell our oils, we have a sense of that bond between ourselves as humans and the sacred essence of the plant, opening ourselves to receive its magic and share that with our client.
At the Goddess House we are creating an opportunity to explore this relational aspect of choosing quality oils. We will be holding a series of 8 seasonal mini-workshops where we will be looking at groups of oils that resonate with that season. Our first meeting will take us into the wintry forests of pine, fir and cypress as well as into the clear air of the eucalypti family, tea tree and myrtle. Of course, these are our anti-viral oils too, that help prevent spread of coughs, colds and flu and which are our best friends when we are under the weather. We will relax with short, gentle journey into the aromatic wintry landscape of a blend of oils, so we can really tune in to how we respond to their aromas. We will learn a little bit about the meaning of colours for each season, as well as about the oils and their hydrolats where available. We will also look at a couple of different vegetable or herbal oils and think about how these also help us at this time. We will learn about some of the latest research as well as correct some of the misleading information that is currently out there about how to use essential oils. Leading these sessions will be Stephanie Mathivet, one of our House Aromatherapists, and Karen Elliot from Fragrant Earth International. You will also be able to order any of the oils we get to know and receive a 10% discount.
These workshops are more than just a marketing and sales opportunity, though. They are a time for aromatherapists and lovers of aroma to get together, to create relationships with us at Goddess House and Fragrant Earth as well as with each other. Moreover, our workshops will be a time for a shared experience and an intimate moment with aromas that connect us to plants as well as the energies of each season.
Please come along if you can. The next one will be at Imbolc. Refreshments will be available just beforehand. Donation £5 to cover room rent.
After the darkest night and the shortest day, we feel gratitude now for the return of the Sun to grace Earth with its light and life-giving warmth.
As we celebrate with fire and joy the longer days to come and the fresh start that awaits us, I would like to offer a posture which resonates with the Winter Solstice and links with two of the other asanas I have presented this year. These connected poses are:
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dog Head Down) for the Summer Solstice
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) for the Autumn Equinox.
Anjaneyasana works well within a varied Sun Salutation sequence and feels a natural move from Adho Mukha Svanasana. It continues the work of Virabhadrasana II while offering a different way of practising and is good preparation work for the stronger and more demanding asana of Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) as it stretches the front thighs and groins and encourages a full lift in the pelvis, chest and arms
- Improves balance, stability and core strength
- Opens the chest and rib cage
- Lengthens the spine
- Tones abdominal muscles and organs
- Works the shoulders and arms
- Strengthens the quadriceps
- Stretches the front thighs and groin
- Neck problems: Look ahead rather than upwards
- High blood pressure: keep the arms down – try hands on hips or in Namaskar instead
- Back problems: Ensure the trunk is lifted, and stop if there is any pain
- Pregnancy: This practice may help keep the core strong during pregnancy and improve muscle tone for delivery, but please be guided by your doctor or midwife
Her Moonbreeze is our fingertips fluttering through our Sibylline Chronicles.
Moronoe’s Moonbreeze is the Wind of Change.
By Marta Wroblewska
Tuning forks are very powerful tools for shifting the vibrations of our whole energy system. They are made of a special aluminium alloy, and by generating different sound frequencies they can be applied on different parts of the body or around it.
Dissonance outside and inside the body’s energy field is caused by particles vibrating at a disharmonious frequency. All ailments can manifest themselves within the body as a consequence. Tuning Fork Therapy utilises the resonance process to produce benefits whereby the primary vibration can cause the secondary vibration so that they both start resonating at the same frequency.
As sound waves travel through the body’s energy field, they help to establish new patterns of balance, replacing the detrimental ones of ill health. A domino effect takes place while vibrational shift begins at a cellular level, encouraging the body to return to its natural harmony. These profound changes are initiated by unblocking meridian pathways. Also, by strengthening energetic centres – the chakras – it enables the body to distribute their own healing energy to the places where it is needed the most.
The benefits of Tuning Fork Therapy are wide ranging. The most common are soothing effects on the nervous system, tension release, relief from pain, relaxation and an energising of the body as well as uplifting the spirit in times of deep sorrow, grief and depression. I apply the Tuning Forks to certain health issues using my intuition and logical assessment of the patients symptomatic condition combined with a Body Scan to detect health problems.
At the Autumn Equinox day and night are once again in equal balance, and with the Harvest Moon we celebrate the Earth’s abundant provision for our survival through the colder, harsher days and months to come. After this celebration, the journey into winter begins as dark starts to conquer light, the days shorten and nights lengthen. To mark this point in the Wheel of the Year I was moved to focus on Virabhadrasana II.
Virabhadra is a warrior from Indian mythology, and we may take an awareness of that – and an inspiration – into our practice of this dynamic pose. One of three ‘warrior’ asanas, this standing posture builds stamina and brings energy and heat to the body. With a focused intent we can work on it and in it to build our physical strength and mental resources to face the challenges that deep winter may bring.
- Improves stamina, posture and balance.
- Strengthens legs, feet and ankles and helps correct fallen arches.
- Opens the chest and shoulders and firms the arms.
- Tones abdominal muscles and organs.
- Neck problems: keep looking straight ahead throughout the pose.
- High blood pressure: keep the arms down – try hands on the hips instead.
- Pregnancy/back problems: step the feet apart to start – don’t jump.
- Stand in Tadasana (feet together).
- On an exhalation, jump or step the feet 4ft or so apart and stretch the arms to the side, palms down.
- Turn the left foot and leg in slightly (about 15 degrees) and the whole right foot and leg out 90 degrees. Right heel in line with the left instep.
- On an exhalation, bend the right leg down to a right angle – keep the trunk upright.
- Press both the back foot and front foot down firmly to ground the posture.
- Relax the arms and shoulders while actively stretching them away from each other. Keep the wrists straight, fingers together.
- Turn the neck and head to look along the front arm with a relaxed gaze.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds, breathing evenly.
- Come up on an inhalation pressing the back foot down.
- Repeat to the other side.
- For full benefit, repeat the pose twice on each side.
Work and Care in the Practice:
- Keep the bent knee in line with (above) the heel, and ensure it does not extend beyond the ankle to avoid pressure on the knee.
- The shin bone should be perpendicular to the floor – ensure the feet are wide enough to achieve this.
- The front thigh should be parallel to the floor, so forming the right angle.
- Take care not to tighten the shoulders, but rather draw them down away from the ears and lengthen from shoulder to fingertips.
At the time of the Autumn Equinox we celebrate Banbha, Gaia and Nolava of Earth. This can mean many things. Some see Gaia representing the earth as the world, mother of all forms of life on this wonderous planet or Banbha as representing the earth beneath our feet, upon which we stand, thanks to gravity, and provider of food that sustains us, home to creatures great and small and place of hibernation. So when we bend to touch the earth we find we can take up handfuls of it, crumbling it between our fingers, smelling the distinctive musty odour that we have come to describe as ‘earthy’. Some people have mixed feelings about earth on their skin – do you wear gloves when potting plants or do your hands love to feel of earth as you embed your plants into their new homes? Do you encourage your children to play in ‘mud kitchens’, making mud pies or malleable mush or gloopy goo with various proportions of earth and water? Or do you tell them not to get their hands dirty or get mud on their nice clothes? When factors of time and place are accounted for, no one can deny the deep satisfaction children have from playing with earth. Likewise, with sand – especially at the beach – or with clay – real clay, not substitutes of ‘playdoh’ or plasticine, although flour and water dough is very earth-like. There is something primal about this in our natures which speaks of our indelible connection to the land, to the earth, to the soil that sustains us.
Human beings discovered the incredibly useful properties of earth as clay millennia ago when they found it hardened in the sun, later a fire or kiln, and, when dry, could be utilised for all sorts of marvellous creations. In Crete the museums are full of the most divine craftware as well as more rudimentary pieces, no less full of meaning and intent than the ‘posh stuff’. Perhaps the potter’s child picked up scraps to make models of animals for fun, as children do now, or sat with their families as each person made a piece that went in a loved one’s grave. A priest or priestess maybe made a model of the appearance of the Goddess to teach children the stories of the mysteries. Couples wanting babies made rather rough models showing lovemaking, pregnancy and childbirth to leave in sacred caves, full of divine love and earnest intent.
But there is another quality to this primal draw that earth or earthy substances have for us. There is a wonderful sense of connection that our feet have with earth; that sense of delight as we remove footwear and place bare feet on soil, sand or mud. It’s like skin to skin connection we had as babies to our mother, or, as adults, to our lover. There is something that is healing and relaxing about it. When you are tired and have aching feet, it feels good to put some soil in a bowl with some cool water and sit with your feet in it. Try one foot in that and your other foot in a bowl with just water. Feel the difference. Both feel cooling and refreshing, but the bowl with the earth and water is energetically quite special. Whether you are meditating, snoozing or browsing social media while you sit with feet in the mud, the earth is working its magic, drawing out negative energy accumulated through the day as stress or tension. Not only do your feet feel great, but your energy levels are revitalised too. If you have a cut or blister on your foot soil might not be such a good idea but salt or clay are other wonderful substitutes. For there is healing to be found in the treasures of the earth.
Packs and compresses have been used through the ages for healing. To draw out pus and poisons from wounds or boils, to make casts for broken limbs or as components of medicinal compounds. The world of beauty is also no stranger to clays for making masques to tone and purify the skin. There are many different clay treasures that can be used. Bentonite for example is popular (often marketed as Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay) and said to have properties for both external and internal use. Its safety is a matter of controversy as it contains quite a high proportion of lead – a known neuro-toxin- and the jury is still out as to whether it is safe to use or not. Fuller’s Earth is another old-fashioned compound used by our grandmothers and still used today. It has very strong drawing properties and has been used to lighten the skin. Kaolin or white clay is mineral rich, mainly used as a disinfectant and astringent, it is widely used in cosmetics. It was also teamed with a low dose of morphine to make Kaolin and Morphine, a compound used to ease vomiting and diarrhoea. Rhassoul (Ghassoul) is a wonderful Moroccan mud or clay which is used in soaps, or traditionally it is used in hammams as mud wraps and scrubs for its detoxing effect on the skin and good for drawing out impurities, such as blackheads. Green clay is quite a strong clay too, so is helpful for oily skin and acne, and yellow clay is a stimulating exfoliant. Sensitive and mature skins benefit from pink clay, which is milder, soothing and calming. Clays are effective skin treatments on their own, but the addition of oils (but not undiluted essential oil), dried fruit powders or hydrolats adds to their efficacy as a ‘prescription’ facial.
Mother Earth, we give thanks to you for the endless joy you give us in your many forms as our healer, teacher, provider of our homes and sustenance; your earthly treasures are endless.
Stephanie offers Lomi Lomi, Aromatherapy, Swedish Massage and Facials. Get in touch with the Goddess House to book a session with Stephanie.
22nd & 23rd September or 24th & 25th November 2018
Indian Head massage has been used as a treatment to promote well being, relaxation and de-stress for over a thousand years in India. Indian Head massage is a detoxifying treatment to the upper back, shoulders, neck, scalp and face, increasing energy levels. Nandini will make you feel comfortable and relaxed in this learning environment and you will be encouraged to communicate freely and openly in the class.
Chakra Balancing Therapeutics:
6th & 7th October 2018
The Chakra Balancing Therapeutics Diploma Course explores the concepts of chakras and auras, giving full and clear explanations of how blockages in our chakras (energy centres) can lead to mental, physical, and spiritual discord. You’ll discover how to recognise the symptoms of these and how to heal yourself and others of specific conditions, through energy healing. Having learnt about the chakras system, how each can become disordered and how to go about bringing back balance, the course finishes with guidance on how to conduct a healing session. This includes instruction on how to prepare yourself, how to conduct the sessions, post-healing advice for the client, and some information on your ethical responsibilities.
Healing Touch (Hands, Arms, Leg and Feet Massage and Hand Reflexology):
10th & 11th November
This course will prepare you to give an arm, hand, leg and foot massage. Plus, you will learn techniques to improve client’s well being via hand reflexology and how human touch is a powerful healing tool to help with stress and anxiety management. You will be able to perform this massage in a massage couch or in a chair, depending on your client’s needs. It is a good introduction to a full body massage course, helping you get comfortable with longer massage routines or as an add-on for massage therapists, looking to work with the elderly and with people with less mobility.
As part of all trainings, you will be practising and receiving a treatment yourself. Nandini believes it is as important for you to learn the different massage techniques as to experience them. Only experiencing, you will know what your future clients will feel during their treatments and time with you.
Being at a certain age myself, I know how important it is to look after one’s skin. A few weeks ago we were enjoying the hottest summer since 1976 (oh how I remember those golden days of my youth) and many of us were caught in the delicious, but often damaging, rays of the sun. Having observed many people on the Devon beaches this week, who look like lobsters, it got me to wondering how much the average British person actually knows about the healing of sun burn? Most grab the factor 50 or 30 from the supermarket shelf, whose ingredients include a very long list of some Latin names no one can pronounce or understand. The same goes with products for after care. Those are just as important as the sunscreen. Does everyone know that we can only be exposed to the sun for 20 mins, even with sun screen on? Or that most sun screen actually washes off once we are in the sea or swimming pool?
I have to admit, I don’t trust over the counter make up. My grandmother, who was from Andalucia, the hottest region in the south of Spain had a myriad of wise woman remedies, and her skin was luminous, even into her 70s. “Never put anything on your face you wouldn’t put into your mouth”, was one of her favourite bits of advice to us young women when I grew up. “You make yourself, you know what is in it”, was another. That went for meals as well as medicine and skin care. One of her favourite rehydration liquids was olive oil, usually made to smell a little better with some essential oil like orange blossom. This was mixed in a little brown bottle, 1/10 and lastet usually a week. “Never make too much, make less, make often, fresh is better”.
Her facial scrub consisted of peach kernels, very finely ground in a pestle and mortar, then cold cream was grated into it, mixed and packed into a small tin and pressed. Only she alone was aloud to use this concoction and woe betide if we were caught with her things. Cleansing your face was all important in a dusty country like Spain, and I was fascinated by what I called her ‘face ballet’. To cleanse the face she would use tiny circular motions, working counter clockwise, then rinse with hot water. Repeating the process with the soap and the movement a second time but then rinsing with cold water. Then patting the face dry, never rubbing.
For toner she would use witch hazel or her home made herbal vinegar toner (see below), a small cotton cloth, and once again repeat the counter clockwise circular motions, whilst applying the toner.
25 ml of dried rose petals, 25 ml of camomile, peel of one orange, 125 ml of vinegar, Kilner jar, 5 drops of olive oil/orange blossom oil. Combine the rose petals and chamomile, place them in the jar. Bring the vinegar to a full rolling boil. Pour the vinegar a little cooled over the herbs and close the Kilner jar. Shake the jar well every day. When the herbs lose their colour strain them out, the add a cup of water and the oil to the liquid. Leave the jar in a dark place for a week, strain again to remove any sediment. Apply to clean dry skin with the cotton cloth, avoiding the eye area.Give it a try, you may be surprised at how well it works.
Once a week she would spend a good hour on her beauty regime, which included the slapping of her neck and chin 60 times, to prevent sagging. I do this myself now, and it actually works.
Thankfully nowadays at Goddess House we have several wonderful massage therapists who also do facials for those of us who can’t always manage the regime by ourselves in our busy lives. Taking 30 mins and just allowing ourselves to relax and enjoy is the least we can gift ourselves. When we are happy with the way we look, then we are much better company for others, and our family and work colleagues will thank us.
I let you into one more little secret my grandmother shared with me: crystals are the greatest healers and if you have caught the sun a bit too much, take a little piece of rose quarz or blue lace agate and rub it gently over your face and body to cool the burn. Ask the crystal to take the sting out of the burn, to turn it from an angry red into a golden glow. Don’t forget to thank the crystal for its help. Place it into a small dish with earth to cleanse. Crystals are our best healing friends.
Crystal Healer, Soul Midwife, Swynwraig (Wise Woman)
At Lammas we welcome Ker as mother of the abundant harvest and Grianne, summer sun Goddess, who ripens the grains and fruits that fill Her cornucopia, Her ever-flowing basket of nourishment and nurture. In the late summer the sun queen shines a golden light across the land, imbuing the fields of ripening grain with warmth and Her life giving energy. As massage therapists, we celebrate this time as we receive the gifts from the Goddess as Her seeds and grains that are made into the luscious golden oils we use in our treatments. At one time the generic name of ‘carrier oils’ was given to them, referring to the oils as simply a medium to carry the added essential oils around the body during an aromatherapy treatment. For non-aromatherapy massage, these oils were considered as providing lubrication for the hands or ‘slippage’ and often substituted for a mineral oil, such as baby oil, which can go further, as it is not absorbed by the skin. However, we now have a much deeper appreciation of the values of nut and seed oils or vegetable oils as they are more commonly known.These sun ripened, energy rich oils provide far more than ‘slippage’ or medium for essential oils. Each one carries its own signature of nourishment to our skin being rich in vitamins and ‘fatty acids’ essential to our health.
In 1917 Dr Edward Bach collapsed during his rounds on the ward where he cared for injured soldiers. He was rushed into surgery, a large tumour was removed from his bowel but he was told that he had, at most, 3 months to live. He returned to work, and later in life he always maintained, that it was his sense of purpose and his belief in alternative remedies, the healing power of the natural world, that saved his life. His research into homeopathic remedies eventually brought him to understand that it wasn’t only the physical properties of plants that healed, but also the more ephemeral parts – what the great shamans in the indigenous tribes across the world already knew – the essence and the spirit. Of Welsh descent, he returned to his heritage of healer, and reclaimed the knowledge of his land. In his first remedies he used only flowers, as he felt they were the highest expression of the plant. The most important ingredient though and one of his original 12 healers, was pure spring water, or as he called it: rock water.
Rock Water is part of the designated cures for Overcare for Welfare of Others. In our lives we all have people who need us. It is a wonderful thing to be present for others, as healers we know this calling to our compassion. It is a noble and kind gift to the world. Yet, when we become dependent on that feeling of being needed, when our ego drives us to ‘be strong’ and ‘please others’, even to our own health’s detriment, then we have to listen to our bodies, and our souls, telling us to be kind to ourselves. If we are constantly exhausted and tired, we are no good to anyone, and in dire danger of falling ill ourselves. Rock water was recommended by Dr. Bach when we “deny” ourselves “many of the joys and pleasures of life” because we may be afraid that it interferes with our work. I use Rock Water from the White Spring myself, charged up with the required hours of bright sunlight, to recharge my batteries and plan a more ‘conducive to health’ workload. Rock Water gives us clarity of mind, it allows us to see when we fall into unhelpful and unhealthy patterns.
Use the remedy whenever you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tasks waiting before you, but also take time to find a brook, a well, a spring and sit by it, taking time to watch the water babble over the stones at the bottom, and throw in your feelings of inadequacy, of not being enough, of needing to be needed, in order to count in the greater scheme of things. We all know about the cleansing properties of water here in the Goddess community, but this knowledge is by no means ours alone. Dr. Bach’s recommendations, and his use of spring water in every remedy, shows us that this is one of the most important carriers of healing in this world of ours.
Dip your hands into the cool water, let it rinse over your palm (healing chakra) and over your wrist pulse, letting all that does not nourish you flow into the water. Allow it to show you how truly amazing, capable and wonderful you really are.
Bee – Bach Flower Practitioner at Goddess House
What is Lomi Lomi Massage? It is a style of massage that originated many generations ago in Hawaii and practised in families long before the missionaries came. They said it was sinful, all that touching on naked flesh, and banned it. But like other Polynesian traditions, such as the beautiful Hula dancing, it did not die out because of European decrees, but held securely in the hearts of the people until it was safe again to bring it back into the world. As with all things indigenous, there is a danger that the secret arts will be stolen, bit by bit, until they become the property of others, so for a time there was a reluctance to share with westerners. The men and women specialists in lomi lomi and spiritual keepers of sacred traditions held various lineage styles, handed down to new initiates in a complete form so the traditions would not be lost or watered down. Bit by bit they began to train western therapists in their art, rooted in Hawaiian philosophy of Aloha or Love. In many schools the initiate must keep to the traditional style, but this is hard for a flowing healer to resist creative improvisation as this too emanates from the heart. Styles then are ever evolving as each initiate grows in their art. Lomi Lomi means massage, to rub, to squeeze, to stroke and smooth, to claw like a cat on a blanket. It is a dance incorporating the movements and breath of the giver to keep the energy flowing and responding. It is a meditation, deeply connecting soul to soul as the giver moves over the receiver’s body. Lomi Lomi moves energy through the body, it moves the fluids of the body – blood and lymph- restoring their natural flow where they have become stagnant and blocked. It works deeply on the muscles, gently pressing, stretching and pulling so that the fibres and tendons relax and become supple once more.
Imagine you are by a sea, listening to the waves as they fall against the shore, maybe lying on the beach and feeling the water ebb and flow over your body. That is the rhythm of the lomi lomi massage, ebbing and flowing as hands and arms glide back and forth at a pace and pressure that is hypnotic and soothing. When the receiver surrenders into the flow, the experience is deeply nurturing and emotionally nourishing. This is a massage that is truly in the domain of Domnu, mother of the oceans, mother of the waters, the moon and the tides. Lomi Lomi offers her gift of cleansing, balancing, releasing, renewing through this queen of all massage styles.
To book your session with Stephanie, contact the Goddess House.