I was seeking a solitary space to settle my monkey mind. A place that would inspire me to connect with my inner self, that will blow away the cobwebs of confusion that cloud my vision in everyday life. My intention was strong, and as if by magick, the universe came through. Before I knew it, I was enroute to a faerie-tale cottage in the picturesque town of Bibury, nestled deep in the Cotswold. You couldn’t get more quaint than this. I felt like an extra on Emerdale Farm.
It was surreal to witness the speed at which my vision had become a reality. These moments of manifestation are profound and sacred; they are rare when they occur hence a blessing, which made me feel I have been summoned here to learn something vital…
I was moved to retrace certain patterns of my behaviour and felt compelled to change their direction. It felt liberating. No more grudges or judgements; just simple comprehension of an evolved scenario that no longer affected me in the same sense that it once did. A transition was taking place before my very eyes… Change is easier when you accept that the situation is no longer the same therefore its impact too, no longer affects you.
This is a truly magickal place and as you can tell, I am already beginning to feel the impact of its healing energy. Terri was right, it really is a ‘huggy’ cottage with healing powers.
With Terri and Ronnie getting ready to leave for Glastonbury Festival, it dawned that I would be ‘suddenly alone.’ Though not that alone, specially with Betty the greyhound / cross-border collie and Baggis the cat (DJ name: Bag-puss) for company. I have little experience of ‘babysitting’ animals, however, Terri, who I believe should be known as the Cotswold Dog Whisperer, has taught me how to operate the ‘remote control’ when taking Betty for a walk. She says every dog has its own language. Terri has an impeccable connection with Betty; not just because she’s reared her since puppy days, but also because she knows how to speak to every dog in its own unique language.
Number one rule is to never shout or to use the word ‘no’ because it has a low vibration and Betty will not understand it. Always call her to you in a high pitched tone when she’s lagging behind or wondering off. Let her know who’s boss by eating first. Stop in your tracks and tug her should she decide to take you for a walk instead. What else? Slacken the leash because pulling it will make her pull too.
Following the commotion and chaos that goes with preparing for work and play at an event such as Glastonbury, Terri and Ronnie have painstakingly explained the rules for Betty, Bag-Puss, plants, flowers and general house-keeping. I watched them patiently with admiration and awe as they filled the van with gazebos galore. And before I knew it, they were gone.
I was awash with a strange sensation. Suddenly Alone. I felt strangely comforted by the warmth of the cottage. It was just Betty and I (and Bag-puss upstairs). The most sweet-natured, loving dog I have ever encountered. Despite the fact she missed her owners, she somehow made an effort to stay cool, calm and collected around this stranger who she had known barely 24 hours. I tried to make conversation. There were some awkward silences. Not that I expected her to speak, although I did almost will her to. But I wasn’t sure what she was thinking as she sat in her bed and stared at me from across the room in a bolt upright position.
Sudden change is not easy for any being, not even for intelligent dogs like Betty. Her parents had gone off to party (and work) without her, no doubt she missed them; and here she was, cohabiting her castle with this strange girl she’d never met. Nevertheless, she obeyed when I asked her to (firmly) lie in her bed. She did at one point think she could try her luck by climbing onto the sofa. Betty is intelligent because she dealt gracefully with this huge change and I’m sure we could all learn a few things from her. Learning to connect with Betty will be fundamental to my personal development. I look forward to nurturing a beautiful relationship with her. Thank you Betty for being so fabulous! ❤
I had arrived at the cottage during an auspicious moment. Just as thousands of other well-wishing sentient beings made their way to Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice, I was settling into my own solitary haven. It was just what I had sought. And so now I had it… And contrary to the momentary lapse of indecision before arriving, I realised there was nothing to fear.
Society has conditioned us to be afraid of breaking the rules, of following our dreams, of allowing fear to control our minds, it has taught us to doubt ourselves and our decisions, to be dependent, it has suffocated our will to be strong and to ‘play it safe’. What is it that stops us from doing the things we most want to do? Why are we so afraid to take the plunge when we are given the opportunity to do so? Is it because we’re afraid of change, of failure, of the unknown? I can say these are partly reasons why I almost didn’t make it here. What do I know about dogs? I love them, but like children, I also like to give them back to their rightful owner by the end of the day. In essence, Betty would become my new-found daughter for the next 10 days and I was being faced with a new responsibility that I had never in my life taken on before.
It was, as I say, a momentary lapse, but a lapse that I felt I must confront. As a good friend recently said, ‘the first step is often the hardest.’ His words convinced me to take it. And I knew I’d be crazy not to because this was a manifestation of my wildest dreams: to absorb the magic of a natural wonderland in solitude so that I can free myself from daily pressures and find the courage to connect with the deeper realms of my mind to gain clarity and write again. That’s wild enough for me.
I couldn’t have imagined being in a place more wondrous than this. I am deeply humbled by the power of the Universe to bring me here. We had briefly explored the region as a family just days before. I recall how enamoured I had felt by its beauty, its mystical energy to which I felt a direct connection. How could it not be a cosmic conspiracy to find myself here just days later as Terri and Ronnie prepared to leave me the keys to their romantic 13th century cottage? Terri and Ronnie completed the whole that made it so with their faith in me and by their love, kindness, trust and support.
I learnt that we must have strength of conviction to manifest our dreams. And when the opportunity arises, feel the gratitude, pay your respects to the laws of nature and take it.
So I did and as I sat in the garden of my new-found solitary haven, Summer Solstice celebrations were underway across the land. Lying on the table next to me, I spot a book entitled, Hedge Witch: A Guide to Solitary Witchcraft by Rae Beth (1990). It’s a book of wisdom expressed by letters the author had lovingly addressed to her students, explaining several insights, including ‘the feminine principles of healing and regeneration.” The letter, dated 14 June 1987, reads:
“Dear Tessa and Glyn,
Rather late, as usual, this letter.
How shall I begin about the Summer Solstice? The Sun is at his height, that much is clear (in spite of all the rain and the unseasonable cold: that Beltane promise of warmth didn’t last long!) From now on, in terms of the cycle of the year, things will change. In the Craft, we say that the change is because of the culmination. Now the Sun King has known complete love with the Queen of the Summer. It is because of this fulfilment that he changes his direction. Inspired by love, he begins a new quest, setting sail for the Isle of Rebirth. Thus the Sun God will wane in the outter world, as he gains strength in inner realms, as Lord of Night.
At the Summer Solstice, we can celebrate all this and align ourselves with the change. Because the new adventure of the Sun King is a hero’s quest, we conclude the rite by calling upon the hero/heroine in ourselves. And we call upon the Sun God to bless all the land, and to put to flight destructive forces.
It should go without saying that a witch’s heroism isn’t about wielding weapons or conquering, but a matter of finding the courage to heal and transform. In the face of societal pressures to keep quiet and to acquiesce about oppression, environmental damage, industrial pollution and the continuance of nuclear stockpiling, it is also heroic to protest, politically, on behalf of Mother Earth.
The hero’s quest is vitally concerned with self exploration, with inner-development and a facing of one’s own inner demons, for a full self-knowledge. The Sun God transforms the destructive forces with the light of truth.
The Summer Solstice is a joyful time and celebration is itself magical. The Goddess gives us true fulfilment if we are open to her. In receiving her gift we, like the Sun are changed and filled with the power to bless.”