Practical Magic

Oct 14, 2014 by

And if you were to ask me | After all that we’ve been through | Still believe in magic? | Yes, I do | Of course I do – Coldplay, Magic



Do you believe in magic?

When I was being interviewed by the sparkling Sas Petherick, she asked me about what I thought about magic. I remember laughing and teasing her about what a big question it was. Some people might not agree, but for me it is one of the biggest questions.

In the movie Willow, the shamanic character says: “Magic is the bloodstream of the universe. Forget all you know, or think you know. All that you require is your intuition.” I must have seen that movie when I was about 15, but that quote has stuck with me ever since.

When I am talking about magic, I am not talking about card tricks and pulling rabbits out of hats. I am talking about the moment, the space in time when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is more at play here than you can possibly comprehend. I am talking about the second that holds the intake of breath – and the sound/spirit you let out – when you experience complete connection.  Magic is the sparkle in your eye when you have glimpsed the numinous, the synchronous, or the mystical.

Magic, for me, is in the moments when we know we are a part of something wondrous.

But if magic isn’t hocus pocus, how do we make it practical? How do we actively participate in it?  In her wonderful book, Making the Gods Work for You, Caroline W. Casey invites us to, “Believe nothing, entertain possibilities.” She says that, “through honouring the invisible, we gain a strategic power: we need never be daunted by the limited logic of the visible again.”

Can I get a hell, yes?

So the answer is: magic requires our active participation. Magic is the dance that happens between us and God, the universe, and everything, but we have to be looking, imagining, cultivating and courting it. We need to use our intuition, follow the nudges, listen to our instincts. What is here and around and within us is so much bigger that we can imagine, and it is so willing to play with us.

We just have to pay attention.

Oh, and we also need to believe.


“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl


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Friday Passage – Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD

Oct 10, 2014 by

One of my great loves in this world is language, so I have decided that on a Friday I will share a bit of writing that caught my imagination and stayed with me long after the book was closed.



The exotic locale is not necessary to apprehend her. She is
found in a shard of glass, in a broken curb, in a hurt heart, and
in any soul knowing or unknowing, yet crazy in love with the
mysteries, with the divine spark, the creative fire – and not
quite so in love with mundane and petty challenges only.

Think of her not in the ways you’ve been told/ sold.
Rather, seek her with your own eyes without blinders
and your own heart without shutters.
Look low instead of high.
Look right under your nose.
She comes in many guises and disguises.
Hidden, right out in the open.
And you will know her immediately by her immaculate
and undivided heart for humanity.

- Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD, Untie the Strong Woman


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The Importance of an Anti-bacterial Wipe or 10 Ways to Have a Healthy, Happy Trip

Oct 9, 2014 by

Travel brings power and love back into your life. – Rumi


paddington meghan genge


When you become an ex-pat, you learn a few things. One of the biggest things you learn is how to fly places and not get sick. I used to get sick every. single. time I went anywhere. It sucked. The low point was lying in a hammock in Grenada praying – literally praying – that my husband would be able to find cold medicine at the IGA.

Over the 16 years I have been en ex-pat, I have learned or come up with a number of remedies and solutions. I thought I would share them here. If I can save anyone else a snot-filled, or jet-lag clouded holiday of a lifetime, it will be worth it.

(Please note: there are no guarantees in this post, and I am not a Doctor or health professional of any kind. I am just sharing what works for me. If you choose to try these, it’s at your own risk!)


10 Ways to Have a Healthy, Happy Trip

1)  Buy a small package of anti-bacterial wipes. When you first sit down in your airplane (or train, bus, whatever) seat, wipe EVERYTHING you might touch – especially the underside of things – and every inch of the tray, screen, buttons, armrest, window shade, seatbelt, etc. Whenever you go to the loo, also take a wipe and wipe down anything you might touch. Sounds like a pain, since starting this ritual I have not been sick after traveling. Not once.

2) Pre-book your special meal or seats as soon as you can! I always choose aisle seats so i can walk around.

3)  Include eye drops, lip balm, Rescue Remedy or similar, gum or a tiny toothpaste, moisturizer and eye cream in your plastic bag of toiletries. It will make you feel like a whole new woman if you use them all an hour or less before you land. (I used to also always carry a Lotus Wei Elixir of Divine Love or Pure Energy but I can’t get them in the UK. They were brilliant for keeping me clear and centered.)

4)  Buy several packs of Kleenex. Airplane bathrooms always run out and if you get a runny nose, you’ll be glad you have them!

5)  I carry an eye mask, wax earplugs (I have found they muffle the sounds the best) and two (yes, two) neck pillows (one inflatable, one stuffed). It has meant I can always sleep on planes, no matter how the seat works, where in the cabin I am, or when they decide to turn off the lights.

6)  Again, I am not a doctor, so I am not prescribing, but when I get my meal on the plane I take a magnesium, a zinc, and a vitamin c supplement. The reasons for the last two are obvious, but since taking magnesium I rarely get twitchy legs.

7) While we are on the subject of twitchy legs, get up and walk. A lot. Make sure you drink enough water. I feel a lot better afterwards if I don’t have any alcohol, but that is a personal preference.

8)  Pack some healthy snacks that make you feel nourished, buy some fun magazines, a novel that feels like a treat and a bottle of water at the airport. Flying is such a privilege. Try to make the trip feel decadent.

9)  Lots of people swear by Melatonin for a few days before and after a flight. Do your own research and see if it might be for you. (For me it makes my dreams so crazy, it defeats its own purpose and I can’t sleep.)

10)  I absolutely swear by going barefoot in the grass or dirt or sand as soon as you possibly can after I land. It may sound crazy, but I was told once that once you’ve been out of contact for awhile, you need to let the earth find you again. When I spend 15 minutes barefoot outside, my jet lag is so much better than if I don’t (in Canada at Christmas for example!)

That’s my go-to list of happy travels tips. Do you have any to add?



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I Am

Oct 7, 2014 by

Now, in a shift of light, the shadows of birds are more pronounced on the gallery’s white wall. The shadow of each bird is speaking to me. Each shadow doubles the velocity, ferocity of forms. The shadow, my shadow now merges with theirs. Descension. Ascension. The velocity of wings creates the whisper to awaken….

I want to feel both the beauty and the pain of the age we are living in. I want to survive my life without becoming numb. I want to speak and comprehend words of wounding without having these words become the landscape where I dwell. I want to possess a light touch that can elevate darkness to the realm of stars.

- Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds



In yesterday’s post I talked about archetypes and God, witches and the divine feminine. I claimed back a little piece of who I am. I’ve done this many many many times before: claiming back a little bit of myself each time.

The trouble is, each time I claim a little bit back, I can see how much bigger, braver, bolder and more magical I could be. Each time I try to write a bio, or choose my ‘thing’, I am given a glimpse of who/ what/ how else I could be.

I read somewhere that, “I am” is the most powerful affirmation. I read somewhere else that it is the most powerful spell. It’s also is part of a common English translation of the answer God gave when Moses asked for his name: “I Am that I Am”, he answered. (Hebrew Bible, Exodus 3:14)

So “I am…” is actually the most powerful invocation of all.

And very worthy of our respect.

Last week we went on an adventure to Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol. I don’t know very much of its story, but much of the cemetery is overgrown, many of the graves crumbling or falling down, lost or being lost to the trees and vines. It is a place where you cannot help but be reminded of your own mortality and of the complete impermanence of anything physical.


This brings me back – pulling all of the cliches around me – to the eternal question: who am I? I guess at this stage my answer is simple: I have no idea who I am. I am so much bigger, bolder, and more magical – more divine – than I can possibly imagine. Anything I can dream of and for myself isn’t big enough to match the possibility of me. I am a brief moment in time, a sparkle in my parents’ eye, and an eternity.

I am an embodied soul: a little bit of God, having a human experience.

Just imagine the possibilities!

“I am larger, better than I thought, I did not know I held so much goodness.” – Walt Whitman


(This is the second of three ‘coming out’ posts that will be coming out this week. Here is the first one. I’m making some changes around here. Stay tuned!)


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The Sacred Who?

Oct 6, 2014 by

Observance of the soul can be deceptively simple. You take back what has been disowned. You work with what is, rather than what you wish you were. – Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul



Are you a witch?

That question has been asked of me several times in my life. Once was when someone saw a book of spells my brother had bought for me. Once was by my husband who is convinced I have bewitched him. Other times were not as innocent.

Say the word ‘witch’ to any modern, spiritually seeking woman and I guarantee they will have an emotional reaction. Our collective, ancestral memories of the witch burnings – both of the women and men who were killed and also those who betrayed them – are still very raw on a cellular level. We know that anyone who had any sort of magic (that definition will be covered in another post) was not safe then, so it is obvious that we are not safe now. The passage of so many years between then and now means nothing.

If you are a woman and you believe in magic, if you are connected to nature, to your own instincts, to the healing arts, to your own fiery spirit or to the moon, if you dance to the beat of your own drum, you risked being called a witch (the archetypal witch, not to be confused with those who follow the Wiccan religion.)

But the feminine archetype of the witch is simply one chapter in the story of women, power and the divine feminine; just one facet of God. And as I studied the story of Hestia, I was also drawn to read about the Holy Mother, to listen to the story of the Dark Feminine, and to delve into the chart of my birth and be surprised and yet not surprised how much it was ME. I could feel my cells shifting as I thought about how it is all the same. It’s all energy. It’s all love. It’s all God.

But I was left with the lingering question of whether it was okay – if it was safe – to think this way. Is it okay to embrace the powerful feminine side of the Divine? To use the archetypes of goddesses and witches and healers and the moon and the stars to better understand God? (Because the God I was told about in church didn’t like this sort of thinking.)

And then, I found her. In the very front of Salisbury Cathedral. It wasn’t a Catholic Church, so I wasn’t looking for her, but I found her anyway. She and her baby have been through a lot. Their heads have been bashed and chewed, chipped and bruised. Her feet are discoloured from all of the attention.

Everything around her was stone and marble and glass and gold, but not her. Everything else had a plaque telling its story, but not her. She didn’t make any sense in the gilded, shining building. But I knew her story, deep in my bones.

She was the answer to my question.

It’s all love. It’s all God.

Though I may stumble and fall, I know that this universe mothers me, that I am held on the lap of infinite compassion, infinite patience, infinite unconditional love. – Michael Bernard Beckwith

So, in answer to your question, yes, I am a witch: if by ‘witch’ you mean that I am a woman who has power on my own terms. It is one facet of who I am; one facet of the sacred. And before you ask: yes, I am also deeply spiritual, a writer and a creative, a teacher, a seeker, and a woman. I feel as deep a connection to the natural world as I did to the church I attended growing up. I am also currently healing my ignored instincts, regularly talking to God, and finding inspiration wherever I can.

I also occasionally howl at the moon.

It’s all love. It’s all good. It’s all God.

She told me so. ;)



(This is the first of three ‘coming out’ posts that will be coming out this week. I’m making some changes around here. Stay tuned!)


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