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Source: Herbs – just a little preamble prior to getting into the nitty gritty of herbs!

I think I must have tortured myself with every possible reason as to why my partner took her leave of me. I am sure this is true of any person who has broken up with a beloved partner. It is horrible to know you are the only one in pain and the only one wishing that it could all be worked out. There is something intrinsically unfair about still absolutely loving the person that has left when they have left you so thoroughly that they don’t feel anything but the release and freedom (except, maybe some troublesome guilt).

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It was always my personal dread to let go to such an extent that I believed the person actually loved and knew me entirely, I never gave of myself so fully as in this last relationship and gave my all in trust to the heart of the woman I loved. This was no little flirt or slap and tickle to me, this was the real thing. Sixteen years later both me and my children and grandchildren are left high and dry.

I have scoured the internet looking for answers when all the time, the fact of the matter, despite possible other issues, is that she simply stopped loving me enough to want to be with me. I no longer figured in her future plans and that is a hard pill to swallow and I have not yet managed to swallow it. She spent so long reassuring me that I was her everything, her world and her most precious gift, along with pledges of love that would last our lifetime that over time I actually believed this fact and sadly, now, because I gave so fully of myself I have no longer got the defences I once had to protect me from this gaping chasm of pain and hurt.

A hawthorn

I know this is supposed to be a good thing but let me tell you when the other person has washed their hands so thoroughly of you that they don’t even want anything of your life together, being in this dreadful grief and pain is no comfort. It simply tells me how little our life meant to her.

After many torturous nights and giving earache to friends and my daughters as I go round and round in my agony of non acceptance, that I simply am not good enough or wanted or loved by my beloved, I realise that I have put off some of the pain and grief in the vain hope of reconciliation but more than this, I know it to be a dread of going through the pain that I went through with my son. I know it is not the same and I know a lot of people cannot equate their partners of spouses with their children. My partner was truly my life and everything in my life, no matter where that took me, I took my partner with me, at least in spirit and heart, if not physically. She was the rock and pivot around which my life revolved and without her, I am truly struggling to find meaning and a point to my life. I am currently at university and have two months to complete assignments and exams but I am such a mess that I am having difficulty concentrating for half an hour. All that I study, I do not retain and I do not want to defer as I fear that I will truly give up if I do this.

a meadowsweet
I do not want sympathy or platitudes, if you have split up with someone who you knew you would love for life and wholeheartedly loved them without reserve then you know the pain I am in. I also, have to say that the major problem of a split with my partner was that I also lost my best friend. The two in one is very hard to bare. She was all I ever wanted and would have given the moon and stars for.

In my merciless search for answers, (non forthcoming from my ex-partner) I know that she had been withdrawing from me for at least a year. I actually knew this before she left in the eight weeks that seemed to blow up in our faces over last Christmas. However, since then I have looked in detail at every memory of the last year, the incongruity of certain comments, the ambivalence, the change in attitude towards me, the impatience, the change in language and more latterly the change in body language and behaviour. Of course, I had asked about it at the time, not being one to hide behind denial and stick my head in the sand. I feel things acutely and with my ex partner I could feel every nuance of change, both in my body and in feelings/emotions. This became quite torturous as time went on because she would not tell me the truth but simply became defensive or irritated and then would apologise and reassure me that she loved me and that she was just this or that since her accident or that it was menopause or both, or work. I tried many times to help, to suggest possible things that might help and offered support to her. I must say at this juncture, because of my anger and hurt today, which is why I am writing this, to get it out of my head, I am presenting a very one sided picture. My ex-partner used to be loving and attentive, generous, supportive and we were extremely close in everyway. She was my world and I was so proud of her. She made my heart swell with pride to see her coming down the road or opening the door or in her uniform. She made my stomach flip with desire and after sixteen years that is, when I listen to other people, an amazing feat. Sometimes I would feel I would burst with love for her and I know my ex-partner experienced the same things as me for the years before and even at some points during our last year. I was extremely happy with both her and our life together, sometimes amazingly so. I couldn’t believe I was so lucky. I didn’t keep these things to myself, I always openly shared these emotions with her including how much she meant to me in every way. Now that makes me feel like a mug, especially for what I said and did in the last few weeks. I feel ashamed that I let myself be taken for such a ride and tried so hard to deny the nagging feeling of her pulling away. She would reassure me that it was this or that reason. She even took to her bed last summer getting up for merely a few hours except when at work. I remember asking her several times was she bored with me, was there something wrong, was she depressed. I knew, I knew, I knew, it screams at me and I feel so stupid I tried to believe her lies instead of my gut. I asked her so many times about it that she got cross with me and defensive which was like a red rag to a bull. In the end she used my insecurity, which by the last weeks was worse than it had ever been, against me, she tried to make it my fault. I guess that helped her to pulverise us more. She could blame me and get cross with me and justify her feelings and actions. She had to work very hard to break us into pieces because we were so strong together and so close. I believe that for some of the year she may have not quite known what was going on but still she began to remove herself from me emotionally and physically. In the last six months, she began washing her clothes separate from mine, she wouldn’t wear things I had worn of hers, she became different in her speech towards me. I thought on several occasions she was having an affair. That is still a possibility but I will never know for sure. She of course denied all of these things.

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She changed her job in the April of last year and from then on things got worse. By the last three months she zealously guarded her phone at all times, keeping it on her. I am not given to invading her privacy without permission but one morning, I became so acutely aware of this and thought I should look at what she was hiding and stop denying this to myself. I gingerly and guiltily, went towards her phone while she was still sleeping (my ex-partner usually sleeps very soundly so what followed is very unusual for first thing, early morning), as I wavered in my indecision, she awoke and was acutely aware of what my intention was and grabbed her phone, I told her my intention and she burst into tears, making protests about my not trusting her etc etc. I felt that she was crying only to get me to stop, knowing this was not usual behaviour for me and knowing I would feel horrible about it. However, I believe the tears were put on. I knew that previously she left her phone lying about all over the place and often would leave in her bag or upstairs or on the breakfast bar thing in the kitchen.
an OakTree

There are a million and one things that I have gone through from the last year and all times my questions and my concerns were dismissed as unfounded or I was given reasonable excuses for her behaviour. At times it was anger at me for accusations and at other times it would be that she would be more herself and take me in her arms and tell me she loved me and that she was just grumpy or whatever. She also had an increase in health problems over the last eighteen months which gave me major cause for concern and at times I was very worried that she had something really awful wrong. Over three consecutive years she had major health issues that required further investigations, each time I feared for her health and life. I know wonder if some of what was to come was already working its way up and trying to find voice. She of course would say this is not about you! However, now I think, wasn’t it? I am no angel and I have done things that I regret and wish I could take back but I never lied about how I felt about my ex-partner and I never made promises that I knew I would never keep.

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I am currently reading a somewhat boring book about 24 hour lucid dreaming and reading it confirms some of the unsettling sensations, sudden flashes of insight, the vague feelings of unease that got more acute over time, all these things I was feeling acutely in the last year of our life together along with much more. It is now final that she has left me and some of that ambivalence is still visible in a much more diluted way in the few texts that she has sent to me since she left. I have put a stop to these texts for my own health and mental health. I am devastated with this loss and the rejection. I have said more about our relationship in the past five weeks than I have ever said in our lifetime together. I feel disloyal but I can’t contain all these feelings and I am using this space to air them and get them out. They are not meant to read well or be grammatically correct, this writing contains some of my pain and confusion. I am using this as a vent and if it helps someone else to see things in their relationship or to feel some sense that they are not alone then that is a good thing.

a heartbreak

I am writing this to try and help myself really, I have all this awful emotion and don’t know where to go with it or how to deal with it. Maybe it will help someone else as well but at this moment I am trying to give vent to this. I feel like I am overloading everyone, including my daughter’s because I feel like a caged animal. The love of my life quite literally walked out of my life and will not give me any reasons why. Before I go any further I want to say that any persons reading this from facebook, some of our friends will know who I am talking about but please bear in mind that I do not want you to take sides, I am talking from my own perspective and can’t talk for the one I have lost, remember that I love this person and I do not want her bad mouthed or hurt in any way, Please do not feel you have to read this. Sometimes, what I say may sound horrible or make you feel angry or defensive, if that happens, remember this is my side of the story, for hers, she might tell you but she might not, it depends how close she is to you.
a death

I am doing this because I will explode or implode otherwise and I am trying to do lots of practical stuff which is not me at all and trying to bear up under the load of emotion that threatens constantly to engulf me during my studies for university, during courses that I have to attend for the agency I have applied for because I must work as well now to support myself, all the bills need to be moved into my name, getting a bank account, getting rid of our cats, the list is endless and harrowing. Writing has always been my best friend but this is too huge for me to contain and write out into my little note books that I keep. This time I need something more, truly I need the answers from the one I love but she is not telling or giving me any credit or respect, so I need some sort of validation, some sort of release, so I am sending out, rightly or wrongly across cyber space.

I hope to write about this as much as I need to and sometimes I will be angry and other times devastation collapses me and I just want to curl up in bed and hug her pillow and cry my eyes out endlessly until sleep finally releases me for a few short hours, only to wake up and be faced with the same grief and pain again in the early hours of the morning.a heartbreak

Let me give a little background, though I am conscious of protecting the one I love, I am conscious of the harm this is doing me and currently, she is refusing to tell me why this has happened. I only know that in the last two days, she ceased to want to be with me. For me, I don’t believe that she arrived at this of a sudden. I know from how close our relationship used to be that she was withdrawing from me from about April 2013. Before that is muddied because of other goings on which could contain kernals of wisdom and knowledge that I have not yet cracked. I am tormented endlessly with thoughts that go round and round in my head torturing me for a reason, an answer, a why. At first the withdrawal was nothing I could put my finger on, she was moody but she and so I, blamed the car accident for that and then menopause crept into the conversation as a possible blame alongside changes in character because of the accident. Was it this? Or was it something else? How does a person who has professed to love you and idolise you and want you for life stop loving you? How do you become not their soulmate? How does someone who ceases to love you tell you this? Yes, these are the questions that go round and round and now I am sharing them with you all, whoever you are. I suppose when someone loves you so entirely, you must feel terrible when you realise that you know longer feel the same. Nevertheless, that person knows the truth and may be the only one that does and out of respect for the person you used to love and must at least care for, surely you would tell them? Wouldn’t you? Or would you not? I constantly think that she must have known and tried to carry on as normal. Maybe she felt guilty after my son died? Maybe she felt she had to stay, maybe she just kept trying to pretend and in the end she had to be vicious to get out? Maybe, maybe, maybe? I don’t know, you see. alone

Let me tell you a little tale and see what you might deduce from this:
There are subtle, sometimes tiny signs, a change in behaviour, a change in language, a change in reactions to things. She doesn’t offer to buy you things anymore even when you need them like a pair of boots or a new bra. She doesn’t take photos of you anymore. She stops saying the things she used to say like if I asked her if she loved me she would say “I could never mistake this feeling.” When did she last say that to me? I don’t know. She used to say “I love you more and more everyday.” When did she last say that to me? Sometime early last year, I think. Changes in reaction, she used to say, “you can ask me after I have had an anaesthetic if I love you” and she did offer me to put this to the test years ago when she had an operation. For anyone that doesn’t know, when someone has had an anaesthetic it acts like a truth drug apparently when they first come round from it. I didn’t test it because I have a funny honour thing that I adhere to but knowing I could was enough. Every morning when she woke up to my bringing up her coffee before the alarm went off, she would roll over slightly and say “I love you” in the last weeks she stopped doing that and if I questioned it she would get mad and tell me that she hadn’t given her time to wake up. Whenever we might talk about dying and she did a lot before we broke up and I became very worried that she knew something in her gut and was going to die. That scared me terribly and I had trouble sleeping sometimes with worry. We had already had a few scares over the last couple of years. Now I think she was talking in metaphor for us dying. I remember this Christmas gone she said she wanted the Hallelujah song played at her funeral and for me to sing the carol O Holy Night. Another day she talked about her ashes and where she wanted them thrown and I asked if I might keep some and she said, “that goes without saying.” That was recent. Another night in January, not long before we broke up she was talking about living possibly up until she was in her 90’s but when I said I might only live until I am 61 like my Dad or 67 like my mum she didn’t respond as she had always done but carried on about how long she might live. Once, not very long ago, she would have stopped and told me not to say things like that meaning it would be unbearable to think of. My dying had always been something she couldn’t bear to think about any more than I could bear to think about her dying. Subtle changes as she pulled away from me over several months and then more and more over several weeks until she had smashed us into smitherines. She knew she would have to work very hard to smash us and even harder to smash my belief that she loved me. a death7
I am going to stop now, I feel utterly drained and that way I know I have little more I can write tonight as exhaustion overtakes me and I just want my love back. My love, my love, my love who no longer is mine and yet she is the person who I love.a death2

All around me, illusion plays tricks on me, deception wreaks havoc, though everything looks the same. There is coldness, deathlike and creeping through every inch. The house that breathed now drips mildew feeling the lack of you. The food sits untouched in the fridge, the heating makes no difference to the bone broken, lack life, skin that I’m in.

Betrayal 5

My heart beats still but the resounding echo whose voice it followed no longer chimes its soul mate beat. Inside the anger rushes through me like a fire that burns, like the passion, only a few weeks ago. Can love die in the midst of its warmth? Can this screaming, inside my head, ever stop? Can my endless visions of you, that make my pulse race, my body arc, in ecstasy, be only ghosts of dreams that die like dust? Your eyes, the depths of your soul, your heart no longer mine? Sobs rise from the pit of my soul, gushing like a river spewing forth from the depths of a cave.

This surely is the greatest punishment, thrust from loves warm embrace to splatter the street with endless tears. A house, soulless, stark, dreary. The echoing walls, an empty shell, worn, lost, hopeless. I hear your words over and over in my head. Questions rise and I hear your answers come, I know your heart so well. It is so acute at times that I almost think you are inside of me. For a moment, here and there, that connection but no, it is severed like a head from the body, the bloodied corpse lies bleeding whilst the executioner wipes her blade and walks away.

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How sorely one can be cut through, damaged, burned, betrayed. Broken, lost and wretched; my face beyond its bloom, eyes sunken, arms wasting where once they held your gaze and body close. Every moment ticks past, doggedly killing each long, strangling minute, worthless without you. All pales into insignificance. You are free but I am chained in this frightening tragedy.
a betrayal

women laughing

I am going to have a little moan today! I see lots of activities out there aimed at women, both pagan and non pagan and that is great. However, when I investigate a little further, they have the same old gender roles expectations and I am afraid, I get so bored with all of that. Call me strange, or unwomanly or non feminine or maybe I am the odd ball. I don’t know but it fires my bones and annoys me. Yes, I know, there will always be those that don’t push the boundaries, those that are safe with the roles thing and those that actually love the role thing. One of my own daughter’s I jokingly dub Barbie. She loves pink, she is a dancer and hairdresser, she has blond hair and walks on tippy toes, like a Barbie doll might if she could walk without your hand for help. She would be quite happy with pink utensils in the kitchen and a pink bin and pink trimmings in her car and those ridiculous eyelashes on your headlamps. But you know, you could be forgiven for not seeing beyond that. You would miss someone who is amazingly versatile, has the heart as huge as a giant and would give you the clothes off of her back. She has the determination and perseverance of a mountaineer; is able to paint and decorate, put up flat packed furniture, like it was a tea set; work all the hours there are in a day and beyond, can do figures with her eyes closed and can whizz you up a costume for dancing in a day, cut your hair and style it, sort out your accounts, choreograph you a dance, edit the music to fit, be the life and sole of the party, make home made bread for her children and cakes with her children and then go to college one day, work the next and be there for a friend. She is inventive and uses her iniative and can think on her feet. She is loyal and 110% trustworthy. She is even quite astute and psychic, when she isn’t worrying about where the next penny is coming from. That’s my fabulous girl that you might never truly see. But she likes her box!

mums with vigour

barbie

The above is not my daughter! She hasn’t become Barbie!

However, if your like me, then your kind of hampered. I get bored if I am not learning something new, I don’t like fashion, I don’t like having my hair done or my make up, though I wear make up. I don’t like pamper parties or massage or any other form of pampering, (except with my partner but I guess you can’t call that pampering!). Give me a bow and arrow instead or a song to sing or something exciting and exhilarating to do, like a show or a play or walking round the Scottish Highlands and surviving in the wilds, or something to learn like history or ancient ways and crafts. I don’t want to cook or clean (yes of course I have to), or talk about my periods or the peri-menopause or the menopause. I don’t want to talk about men (obviously!), I don’t want to talk small talk or be thought of as an angel. I am not! I don’t want to talk about sex, I don’t need to, I have my partner to talk about those things with. I don’t want to talk about washing powder, or exchange recipes or knitting patterns, though I might admire your cardigan and if I do, I might want the pattern but don’t make me sit and listen to a load of women talking about recipes and knitting. When I was young, I didn’t speak about my children very much because I kept what I thought to myself except for with family because to be honest, who else is really interested? I would feel a swelling pride in my children as they grew and developed but I didn’t boast about them to all and sundry. When I would hear mum’s at the school, it was like a competition. “Oh Craig, got his front teeth yesterday,” “Oh really, how old is he?” “Oh he is eight months old now.” Frown. “Oh that’s late isn’t it? My Jamie got his teeth when he was four months, sat up when he was five months and walked when he was ten months. Does Craig say any words yet?” “Er, sort of, you know, dada and ooo!” “My Jamie said his first word at five months and it was as clear as a bell and he hasn’t stopped since,” followed by a little trill type laugh. On top of that, its a fashion parade isn’t it? Some of the mum’s arrive five hours early in their great big monster four by fours and block up the entire road like they were the most important people in the world. Then they get out with their swanky hair that doesn’t dare blow in the wind but stays where it is put, carefully (“three hours with Julian you know,” the hairdresser not the lover, not time for one of those). Their clothes look like they have just come from the fashion designer and their nails are long, false and freshly lacquered. Then you see someone like me, huffing and puffing as they run to the school, without the car, their hair is a mess, they have come straight from cleaning the house through while the kids are at school, they have been to work before that, popped in to see their sick aunt and make sure she has clean pyjamas and knickers and rushed round the shops and turned up at the school like a ragamuffin. The cool mum’s look away in disgust and continue their wonderfully interesting conversation about the wonders of their children and who their favourite designer is, the problems with hairdresser’s these days, their latest trial at the nail bar and what is the best wine to have with the new recipe for dinner and so forth. Yawn!

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mums at a school gate

Anyway, before you say it, I know not all women are like the above but if I decide to go to a woman’s event that is not a feminist one or lesbian, I often find it so boring. I know that is probably a terrible thing to say and I am sure I am equally boring to them as we have nothing in common. The saddest thing is, that many intelligent women fall into the trap of talking about the mundane and even becoming mundane. You might have been a nurse, a teacher, a solicitor or even an author or a director of a corporate company or a film director but now you have turned into the worlds authority on children and the kitchen, you’ve lost your sense of humour, your witty conversation. Where have you gone? I had a friend once who was so dreadful when she had her second child, I couldn’t bear to be near her. Fortunately, I was studying (nothing’s changed there then!), which gave me an excuse to avoid her but she really was so boring I couldn’t stand it. She was obsessed with diets, childcare, scrupulous housecleaning, her child, her child again, and yes, her child again. She could not hear or see anything else. I decided that after a year, she may have recovered from her baby brain and be human again which she was, most of the time thereafter.

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I am not usually given to being horrible but I think please, are there women out there that don’t want to talk about children all day? Are there women who like to do adventurous things and hard challenging things (but not normal sports), who are funny and don’t want to go on a cooking marathon but want to do something different? Are there women out there that have a life of their own even with children and cooking and what not? Are there women out there that hate mainstream magazines – dubbed as women’s leisure? Are there women out there that love do it yourself stuff? Where are you lady mechanics, aeroplane pilots, women that would love to build a boat, women that sail or go tracking. Women who want to build their own homes, women comedians, artists, musicians, women that have great big hearts and care as well but don’t give their self and their lives to domesticity to such a degree that they are lost in that. Women that don’t like Eastenders or reality shows or agree with women and their little girls looking like Barbie dolls (sorry ria!). Please, I can’t be the only weird person? Let me know if you can think outside of the box, if you are an independent woman, if your quirky or humourous, have a great and wonderful hobbie or career. I want to go to a women’s group where we talk about interesting things, adventurous things, quirky and arty things, where women are bonkers mad, intelligent, funny, dressed up to the nines or dressed down to their joggings, with great hearts, but loads of gusto.

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I want to read a magazine by women, about women doing the interesting, individual and humorous things that women do. How great would that be? I am reminded of that advert, I am not a number – I am not just a mother, grandmother, housecleaning cook, I am a million times more than that, I am not my physical or mental symptoms either, I have intelligence, a dubious wit, I sing and love to write and dance, and perform and sing some more and love herbs and making herbal things, I love history and ancient stuff and woods and trees and druidry and want to do so many things and fit it into however much life I have left as well as be a friend, mother, a grandmother etc. I don’t put partner in the same place, as my partner is my inner and outer life, all and everything, she runs through, holds and is part of everything I am and do.

adventurous women

heroic women

Talking of my partner, she who is amazingly funny, a natural comedian, she is also scary in the extreme. She fears nothing if she sees someone being hurt or if she sees injustice somewhere. In she marches, without thought for life or limb and gives the perpetrators a piece of her mind and ensures that the person being abused or whatever is able to get away or she simply marches them away. She is brave my partner, but she will probably never get a medal for it and she will probably never go down in the great annals of history like the male heroes.

brave women4

Oh and for anyone, who might doubt it, I am also quite feminine as well. I love flowing dresses and sleeves, like to make wedding, christening and costume dresses and the like as they are pretty. I love flowers, especially roses. I love to create pretty things. I love beautiful antique furniture and pretty linen and towels. I love beautifully embroidered or appliqued bedding and clothes. I love pictures of women in beautiful dresses and flowers in their hair and love to paint women. I love fine china and beautiful, finely detailed ornaments of pre-Raphaelite women. I love long hair and have long hair. So that takes me out of the lesbian box as well.

preraphaelite art

Preraphaelite art 2

The point of all of this is, boxes and fixed roles are what make people boring, not the act of having children or cooking or being a stay at home mum or even looking like a Barbie. It is the hiding behind these things. It is the becoming these things and not allowing yourself to be all that you are. Most women are a whole heap of things, they are often intuitive, often fabulous in an emergency, often great organizers ( I am not!). Women are the most fabulous beings in the world, in my humble opinion and yet we only have bits of you. Give the world your all, even if your world, consists of your family and friends and the community in which you live. Don’t stint and become the job you do, shine! You have loads of skills and character, share it. There is a quirky lecturer at my Uni and she talks about herbs and herbal recipes and growing and harvesting herbs but she is quirky and funny with it. Her passion for what she loves shines through. Another of my friends could get caught up in all the diets, fashion and looking good to the detriment of herself and her friends who had to listen to her at these times. However, despite being a stay at home mum who could make the best tuna sandwiches in the world, with so many children in the end, I don’t know how many she had, she was funny, big hearted and her own person with very definite ideas and opinions on things. She wasn’t boring. (I have a sneaking suspicion that my daughter, spoken of above, has the ability to change people’s lives and spread good everywhere she goes, but don’t tell anyone, I am talking about my child!)

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So you women out there, please write a comment, let me know your real dreams, who you are, what you love, hate, what thrills you, what makes you laugh. What would you secretly love to do? Would you, like me, love to head up an army like Braveheart or march in full armour and a broad sword into a battle? Would you love to climb a mountain or canoe up a stream with rapids? Would you love to ride a motorbike and feel the wind in your hair and the trees speeding past you and the exhilaration of nature and bike and you? Would you like to build your own home, (you, not your husband or boyfriend), what materials would you use, what would it look like? What are the things you secretly would love to do but can’t or haven’t or are scared to. What are the exciting things you have done? What is your dream career/s, don’t limit yourself. Let me know.

brave women

Okay, that’s me done and I still need to write the next part of my novel! Have a great day and a happy one!

Herbs and herbalism

At the moment I have started writing a novel and hope to get it done in the period between now and starting my second year at university. It seems that there is so much to do both practically and creatively that I feel as if there will not be enough time to do all of what I wish to do whilst being off of Uni. I am excited about the novel, I hope to incorporate my love of herbs and my love of all things magickal and witchy in the same book.

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Today I gathered some more Hawthorn, carefully and not all from the same tree, just a few blossoms from each tree. This was made up into a fresh tincture. I am really looking forward to it. My tincture that I made of berries and flowering tops previously, tastes so much better than the one I had bought. Also, I allowed time for all the little creatures to move on to other plants and trees before rinsing and chopping up the flowering tops.

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I gathered some more nettle tops today. It is getting late in the season now and so, soon, I will be gathering the seeds instead. I make up a juice for myself and my daughter using the nettle tops. I mix them with two oranges, one to two apples, a little bit of fresh ginger and half a lime juiced. This is then mixed with a bit of apple juice and put in the blender. I then press it all through a sieve and keep the pulp and put it in a jug with added water and leave in the fridge overnight. This diluted version is an added extra, which I drink. The main juice that I have strained, I drink straight away and my daughter does likewise. It really helps when you are feeling exhausted and having to do a mad full on day/days. Nettles are packed full of wonderful nutrients and vitamins. I picked them away from traffic and busy roads and not near farm buildings where bacteria might grow.

Yesterday I strained out the herbs from the tinctures I made and put the liquid in clean bottles. My tinctures are growing in number. However, one I made as an experiment, does taste particularly horrible. I will test it out on me, to see if it makes any difference! Also, made a Salvia officinalis, commonly known as Sage, tincture yesterday. This is the first time I have grown sage successfully in the garden. So I am excited about the tincture. I will also be making a Melissa Officinalis _ Lemon Balm tincture, when I get some more amber bottles. That too is growing in our garden and I am very proud of her!

I hope to make up some oregano and Melissa honey, but that will have to wait until Friday.

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I feel that this post is a much needed post, I feel passionately, that the myths of our lands hold huge mystery, truth and wisdom and we truly need that in our time.

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I often get poems and songs that just come into my head complete and I know if I don’t write that first sentence, that has a kind of pressing in on me, like an urgency, it will be lost, gone. The songs are more difficult, they come and I sing them and they are gone and I cannot recapture them. I have tried recording some of them, but invariably I forget to and besides, the ones I have recorded, I don’t know what to do with them!

So, when this poem came to me, as I was washing the cat’s bowls, I quickly got my note pad and wrote it down as it came into my head. Poor Nikita had to wait a while longer for her fresh plate of food!

So, here is the poem, as it came to me. I don’t want to tamper with it, as I fear it will lose something. Anyway, as a druid, I am more about raw and wild rather than neat rows of prose!

 

I watch as it snows and snows,

relentlessly falling,

yet failing to take hold;

on and on,

 pouring death on the spring,

the delicate blossoms,

the lambs in the field.

My heart drops into the depths of despair;

empty caves, like graves,

of dark and of dank, misery;

longing for the sunshine to take it’s place,

warming the ground,

enlivening the cold and angry places.

It is as if,

the bitterness and wanton greed,

of humankind,

has finally driven the sun from the sky,

and all warmth dies,

in the frozen waste of white.

Fear gathers at the side of conciousness,

like C.S. Lewis’s snow Queen,

and the forever ice.

Is this what we have brought upon the world?

Is this our beginning, of the war, of climate change?

Like a cancer eating and killing itself;

and as we mindlessly,

use up the gifts of Mother Earth,

and peer out at the drear,

we still have the cheek to moan!

For what have we done,

to stop this selfish affliction,

that now mirrors our hearts,

in ice and snow?

Do we run away to warmer climates,

thinking we can escape Her justice?

Do you think She will not find you,

basking on Her finest beaches,

swimming in her magnificent seas?

Think again, my friend.

But, for me, the saddest thing is,

we still don’t see,

we still don’t hear,

we still don’t make the change.

And, worse than that,

the innocent always pay.

Look at our struggling bees and birds,

our lambs and farmers.

How will the harvest be sown,

or ever brought home?

Will the apples be scarcer still?

Will the trees and flowers and plants,

still grow and gift us with their beauty, food and medicine?

Or, will they silently,

wither away,

with frozen roots and buds,

never to bloom?

Yet, with extraordinary denial,

we will go to work,

have a party,

birth more children,

and continue to take from our Mother,

while she heaves,

and vomits blood,

from the damage to Her body,

and Her children.

Carry on, why don’t you?

Bemoan that the sun has gone,

and somehow,

it’s anybody else’s fault,

but ours;

that the snow incessantly falls,

and threatens,

every living, breathing, being in nature,

while we,

humans,

also of nature,

yet deny,

any responsibility.

And seek warmth,

in our central heated homes,

running copious amounts of water,

into our baths,

to warm our bodies,

and,

in so doing,

up our carbon footprint,

even more.

And worse than that,

we couldn’t care less,

not now,

not ever,

or at least,

until death itself,

threatens our very lives,

and the shadow falls across,

our own front doors.

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It saddens me that many women don’t appreciate, what other women and a few men, have helped  to win for them. At university, a couple of weeks ago, two women moaned about the fact that there were no gentlemen anymore. A man in our group said quite bluntly, words to the effect that, you wanted equality, and I agree with that. He also said, “so why should I give up my seat or open doors for you?” I hear this kind of thing all too freqently. I was also lost in terms of what to answer and by the time I had really considered what to say, the moment was over.

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On the one hand, I was cross that women still moan about this and yet, do they really want the rest of what comes with this? Be a lady, don’t speak out of turn, don’t answer back, submit to the men in your family etc etc. On the other hand, can’t everyone give up their seat, open doors and the like? Many of us do that every day. A pregnant woman on a train, an old man on a bus, a woman struggling to get out of the doors with a double buggie, a man with an armful of boxes struggling to hold a fire door open. Why should it be only men? Why don’t we call it common decency and politeness? That way, its not just a male thing, it is a considerate and caring thing to do.

However, the women concerned want more than this, they want their chair pulled out for them at a restaurant, what is that about? I get annoyed because I think, “you want your cake …………….”

The man, I think, knowing him a little, truly thinks he holds equality as something that should be, but doesn’t notice the bag of resentment that he carries round with him. This resentment comes out in caustic comments quite frequently, to some of the women in the class. Where this resentment comes from is not my place to comment, though I might have a few ideas. As such, he feels angry that they want their cake and to eat it too.

I for one, would not swap having ‘gentlemanly’ or ‘chilvalrous’ behaviour, for the freedom that has been hard one, that I now enjoy. I enjoy this largely on the back of others, whose sweat and blood paid the price for my freedom. I never forget that. I also never forget that there is a long way to go.

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This kind of thing goes on every day, I hear women moaning about this and that and yet, I think, well “get off your backside and do something about it.” Laws are in place now that other women fought for, so use them. Other women seem to completely belittle these hard won efforts.

I have heard women actually say, “Oh we’re not as intelligent as men are we?” or “I can’t do that, that’s a man’s job.” Hello! You have a choice. Yes it means you might have to mow the lawn or paint the living room walls or have a go at wall papering, so what? You might learn something and if you don’t, you just might have a laugh! Get your friends round and do it together. 

I don’t know how many times I have said to women in various situations, “its a partnership.” Equality in relationship should be a partnership, and in my mind, that means that the strengths in one, can make up for the weak points in the other and visa versa. Don’t expect that just because a man, is a man, that he is good at DIY. You might be better at it, have a go. If both of you are rubbish at it, you will have to pay someone to do those things. Its not rocket science!

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I feel quite strongly, that many women take for granted the freedom we have and maybe that is because they haven’t fought for it. When you fight for something, you never forget it. Every small win is a plus, a piece of hope towards the bigger goal. I am worried, because I see on the streets, we are losing ground. What our Grannies and Mothers fought for is being eroded. Who will be the ones to pay with these new welfare reforms? Single mums, trying to work and keep afloat with their children. Where are the women? A small amount of women fight for literally millions of others.  They fight while others bask in their winnings and at the same time ridicule it. Every woman should be a feminist unless she truly believes that she is second rate, less than every man, including the drunk on the street corner. Every woman should be a feminist if she wants to go to school and get an education. Every woman should be a feminist, if she wants a career.

Every woman should be a feminist if she wants the right to rent or buy property. Every woman should be a feminist if she wants to inherit property in her own name. Every woman should be a feminist if she wants to have children and go to work. This and much, much more, other women fought for us to gain. Don’t lose this freedom for your children and grandchildren. PLease. Its certainly not worth giving all this up for chilvalry! The time for women to stick together is now. That’s how men do it, the men’s club! Most people have heard that expression. That’s where they deal with the truly “important” things in life. Women need to stop fighting each other and battle together.

Feminism2

Has anyone else noticed that catcalling on the streets is on the increase again? Has anyone else noticed that, with the increase of some men from foreign countries, that sexism is on the increase, some men won’t even talk to you as a woman. Has anyone else noticed, the man only talking to the man in car show sales  rooms or when buying a house or furniture. The “little” woman sits there, not worrying her pretty little head about the men’s talk. What twoddle is this?

The other day, we took our grandchildren and our children to a castle to watch some combat and archery. I love archery and was pleased to see two women in the contest. What I was not pleased about was the obvious put down. Let me explain:

There were, I think, four men, two women and one little boy. There is a man calling the scores, we will call him Fred.  A man wins the first round with nineteen. Fred praises him and gives him a title like, Sir or sargeant and bids him take a bow and calls the audience to clap and cheer. Fred comes to the next man who has scored 17, ( remember that number). Fred again, calls the man by a title and bids him take a bow and calls the audience to clap and cheer. When Fred reaches the little boy, he laughs and says he has scored 675, he too, gets a title, a bow and the audience clapping and cheering. The next person is a woman. She has scored 16. Fred  bids her to take a bow and moves to the next woman.  This woman has scored 17. Fred laughs and shouts to the audience at large, “and she managed to get them all over the line!” There is no bow and no cheering, just a sexist quip that some of the audience laugh at. Fred moves swiftly to the next man who has scored seventeen and reverts to giving him a title, bids him bow and bids the audience to clap and cheer. The  last man also scores 17 and Fred goes through the same respectful routine that he has done with all, and only all, the men.

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Now the above case is a perfect example of the low grade sexism that women put up with day in and day out. It’s said with humour and everyone laughs. It is hard for the women archers, at that point at least, when they are essentially performing, to do anything about it. However, they need to do something about it later but probably won’t. Folks, nothing is going to change if we don’t change it. Each and everyone of us. I remember, I was always on the case of one very sexist member of staff  at my last place of work.  I became a standing joke. He would say, “Oh here we go again, I can’t say anything can I.” How many of us have heard that one. When it is done in humour, it is harder to take up and as the woman, you feel like your always making a fuss, “about nothing.” Men will also use sexism to their advantage, very quickly, if a woman says something negative, about men being less than, they quick, as a flash, come back at you about it. There in is the difference.

I believe that a lot of the issues are a result of self worth. All women have gone through centuries of put downs, belittling and verbal onslaughts. Many women have suffered full blown physical and sexual abuse. This, folks, has not changed, every day, women around the world, including here, in England, still go through this.

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Many centuries ago, there was an Arthurian tale where Arthur is given an ultimatum by a black Knight, Arthur has to return a year later with the answer to a question or lose his life. The question was, “what is it, in all the world, that women most desire.” Arthur agreed to this. The story depicts Arthur going round asking women what they really want. The women came up with many different things and in the end, he had a huge book detailing what women want. Arthur was not convinced that any of the answers were the right answer. After a year, Arthur makes his way back to the black knight.  

There is an old hag, called Dame Ragnell, that Arthur meets on his way back to see the black knight. She is ugly and eats like an animal and she stinks. When she meets Arthur she  tells him that she knows the answer to the question. She tries to make a bargain with him. She says she will give him the answer if he agrees to her marrying Gawain. Arthur is horrified and goes back to find Gawain. After discussing this with Gawain and obtaining his agreement, Arthur goes back to the woman with the agreement and obtains the answer. He then rides on to the black knight.

The answer: What women desire most in all the world, is sovereignty over themselves and their own lives.

Lady-Ragnell feminism 9

This story is centuries old and yet, for the purpose of this blog, it states something very important. I don’t presume to be a mythologist or to be able to peel back the deep layers of this story and interpret the nuances and symbolism of it. However, I would add, that a lot of men have interpreted for centuries countless myths from their own perspectives, not thinking twice about writing women out of the story/history. I am also aware that people do complain when feminists use old myths, as weapons for their cause. However, despite this, I am using this. Little has changed, women want their independence and the ability to make choices about their lives and how they live them. The Patriarchy has spent centuries trying to hide women away, tormenting and abusing them and literally making them so unimportant that they had no part in religion or in business or in anything. Even their very lives, were excluded from the great exploits of men and written out of history.

feminism 7

So, having gone all round the houses, let women be as one voice, standing together, holding together, for this is an insidious war that goes on and on and it is nowhere near won. We have our own heroines and our own stories. Let us tell them round the fire and may we know that our lives are worthy of the telling and  pass these tales on to our children and grandchildren.

So next time you see a woman bus driver, give her a smile, she’s another woman breaking ground, the same for the train driver woman, taxi woman, biochemist woman, microbiologist woman, doctor woman, solicitor woman, the pilot woman, the woman at the helm of a boat. These and so many more are a result of women who fought for us and those who keep fighting. May we be forever strong.

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This blog moved me immensely and I ask those who have not read this, to read it and to go into the bits that are highlighted in red as well. This is real people. Don’t lose the freedom those who have gone before us have fought so hard to gain. Bright blessings

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