The stirrings of the new year

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The first month of 2018 is reaching its end and there is now a sense that the new year has firmly begun, the cogs of the wheel of the year re-engaged after the pause and call for hibernation around the Winter Solstice. One month on and the hours of daylight have increased noticeably. Our hens now stay out for a whole hour longer and they are laying more eggs. The snowdrops are out and each day, I notice a new clump of beautiful white flowers blooming along the lane. Crocus, narcissi, daffodil and tulip bulbs are popping up in pots ...

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Happy Winter Solstice!

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Today is the Winter Solstice, an important point in the calendar as it marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It is a celebration of the returning light that goes on gaining strength until the Summer Solstice in June. The Winter Solstice also marks the start of a new season: Winter, when nature is dormant, wildlife hibernates and the trees that have shed their leaves now put all their energy into their roots deep underground.

Very appropriately, I spent this morning at a Winter Solstice Mindfulness event in woodland at Erddig Hall near Wrexham. Our group ...

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Samhain, gateway to Winter

Celebrated by the Celts, Samhain is the festival that marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the darkening months of the year. At mid-point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, we are now entering darker times as we journey through the last quadrant on the Wheel of the Year before the Winter Solstice when the light returns. The clocks went back at the weekend and I have noticed how the energy of the sun is now much weakened, like it is getting tired and ready for its last breath.

While I was out gardening yesterday ...

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Reflection and contemplation at the Autumn Equinox

The area where we live is rich in ancient woodlands and, at this time of year, it is a delight to witness our hillside change colours: the lush greens of Summer are now being replaced by the golden and rusty tones of Autumn. It is a beautiful scene that not only takes my breath away but also offers a wisdom to me.

This show of yellows, oranges and reds is an indication that trees are responding to the weakening power of the sun, the shorter days and the dropping air temperature. In preparation for Winter when there is not enough ...

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Birdwatching as mindfulness practice

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Over the last few years, I have developed an interest in birds and have taught myself to identify some of them and their songs. Moving here has been such a treat because of the many bird species that frequently visit the feeders. We also have a neighbour, Paul, who is very knowledgeable about birds and I have enjoyed many conversations with him about our feathery friends. Paul has put up many bird boxes in the area, a few on our land, and he takes records of what species make their nests where. Last week, I went with him to take ...

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