Monday, 23 March 2009
Just wanted to post a quick note on Ostara or the spring equinox, which took place on Friday. We spent it with friends around a bonfire after an egg hunt amongst the wood anemones. Am just reading The Idle Parent (which is hilarious, subversive and quite brilliant) so it was timely to watch all these home educated children running free, climbing trees and enjoying self-directed play with other kids of all ages. And hasn't the weather been gorgeous and uplifting? I have had the chance to get really stuck into my garden and that has been blissful. Also brewed up my first batch of nettle tonic of the season and it's taste is spring encapsulated. Anyway, back to Ostara... Cultural connections Ostara is a time of balance, as the equinox is the point at which the day and the night are of equal length. After this night the days become longer than the nights which is a special cause for celebration in some cultures (such as Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey), and actually marks the beginning of their New Year. For the Anglo-Saxons, the equinox also heralded the beginning of the New Year. The celebration honoured their Goddess of Spring, Eostre, and this is believed to be the forerunner of the Christian celebration of Easter. The themes of these celebrations throughout the world are very similar, all of which focus upon new beginnings, fertility, and new life. Embrace fertility Ostara is a wonderful celebration, the second of the fertility festivals (Imbolc being the first). Falling at such a beautiful time of year, there is much to celebrate! The days gradually lengthen and the beauty of spring is all around. The air is fresh and sweet smelling, and there is a sense of ‘lightness’. Our heavy winter clothes are shrugged off, and most are feeling a renewed sense of hope and happiness as the sun prepares to smile down upon us for a little longer every day. Personal celebration It's a good time to reflect upon the balance of your life. Springtime heralds change and transformation, and the opportunity to hold a mirror to yourself and ask, ‘what do I see?’ This is not a physical question, rather one of honesty. It is a time of clarity and new beginnings, a fresh outlook. All that we resist will reappear continually until we confront and accept what we fear to change. We can manifest new intentions just as easily as flowers spring up from the earth. Ostara blows in on a fresh easterly wind, (usually accompanied by cleansing showers as we have seen today!), as its element is that of Air. Accept change Allow the winds of change to move you. This may be gently, blowing away the cobwebs of winter, freshening the space between your relationships, and cleansing your communication with others. If you have stagnated, hibernated or stayed stubbornly in one place allow the sweet easterly breeze to flow around you and through you. Savour and delight in the fresh fragrant smells it brings: spring blossoms, warming earth, awakening fresh greens. Permit yourself the youthful perception and clarity of spring; it’s flexibility and strength. Once you embrace this, you yourself will bend gracefully under the fiercest of winds like a strong, young sapling. Living life lightly and affecting positive change is all about acceptance – of others, yourself and your situation. Spring is a special time to invite new challenges, or face old problems, with a renewed sense of purpose. This evocative pentagram image is created by Jennastasia
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Well, tonight is officially the end of our raw week - we shared a cheeky dinner of mango and raw chocolate brownie. No-one complained! I am thinking about doing a Master Cleanse starting next week to help shift some of my own stuff in preparation for the spring as the raw week was very much about everyone else and I didn't really get a chance to go deep into the detoxing process. I fancy putting together a programme of journalling and massage, inner truth seeking and yoga to lead up to the spring equinox. We are organising a big Ostara egg hunt though so will have to curb all those chocolate cravings! I'll let you know how I get on.
Monday, 9 March 2009
Hey lovely folk, Just an update on being raw as a family for a week. Well Jez and I are on Day Five and feeling pretty fantastic. I started introducing cooked foods again for my children on day three because I didn't think that raw was really working for them. They ate loads of fruit, a bit of seaweed and quite a few raw veggie crudites but my youngest in particular was not keen to try anything more complex so when they started to get hungry I made some soup and the next day jacket potatoes and so on (they are now eating raw for two meals and cooked at lunchtime).
Making mylk One of the most successful things has been hazelnut mylk which I make fresh every morning by blending two handfuls of hazelnuts (that have been soaked overnight with two dates) with about a pint and a half of water. I drain this for a lovely creamy mylk to accompany raw granola. 1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 1 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked 1/2 cup agave syrup 1 cup almonds, soaked 1/2 cup raisins (not usually raw as they are coated in oil, so omit if on a strict raw diet) 1/2 cup hemp seeds 1/2 cup flax seeds 1/2 cup coconut flakes Put all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until well mixed and nuts and seeds are broken down a bit. Put into dehydrator overnight. If you don't have a dehydrator - put in the oven on lowest heat with the door open for an hour or so (although environmentally this is a bit of a disasterous use of energy!)
Crisps and other snacks We have also dehydrated parsnip and courgette crisps which went down well and made tomato nachos by blending five tomatoes in a food processor and dehyrating the mixture. When ready I broke it into triangle pieces and we have them with sprouted chickpea humous (which is made in just the same way as normal humous, just with sprouted chickpeas instead). Mains and salads Vegetable pasta (peelings of carrot and courgette) has featured prominently either with raw tomato sauce or spinach pesto. Am going to try nettle pesto as well this week. I have become addicted to a brassica leaf mix (finely chopped with a hemp seed dressing), available from the local farmer's market and have had to phone the lovely farmer who grows it to ask if I can go and pick up some more because I've run out and have been eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days! Detoxing and cleansing One of the things that has struck me is that we have all gone through a detoxing phase and that I have been so anxious about how everyone else is feeling, what they need to eat etc that I have not been able to tune into my own detox at all. I love fasting and doing equinox and solstice cleanses so will probably carry this through into next week and do a Master Cleanse to finish the clearing out. Oh, and clearing out has been another good thing to come out of this going raw experiment. I have taken lots of things to charity and done some regifting of books and clothes. Will keep you updated with our progress!
Early on Wednesday morning the moon reaches its fullest point. So what does this hold in store for us? Well, she will be full in the sign of Virgo so we can expect this to be a time for healing and serving others. Its also ideal week to concentrate on our body and to take responsibility for our health. On 11th March at 2:38 the moon is full and the energies that surround this event will affect our lives for the day before and will continue for several days afterwards. So let’s look at the impact of this Virgoan full moon. Virgo is the healer, nurse, doctor and therapist. According to Astrolger, Lisa Dale Miller, “This sign is the true healer of the zodiac because in its mind, if it causes pain, it warrants attention and a cure. For Virgo, caring comes in the form of finding workable solutions to everyday problems.” This is the time to take full responsibility for our health. The current alignment of planets invite in depth questioning of our beliefs about medicine, healing and disease. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you about your life. An interesting exercise is to do a body scan. Lie down in a warm, candlelit space and relax deeply. Take your attention to the top of your head and listen to the message of your skull, then take your attention to your eyes – what are they trying to tell you. The message might pop up in your head as a thought, you might hear a voice or perhaps see a picture in your mind of the body part and what it is feeling like. Some parts of the body may not give a message. Others may have lots to tell you. Once you have completed this exercise, scanning through the whole body, write down what you can remember of the observations. It makes for interesting reading and gives you a deeper insight into how your body is really feeling. Its a good opportunity to start a detox programme of body, mind and space. So embark on a few days of healthful eating, decluttering and addressing any issues that come up through journalling or talking them through with a close friend. Volunteering and helping others is also key at this time. Celebrate your hard work as a carer for your children and extended family. Take a walk in a beautiful location, book a massage or treat yourself to a candlelit bath. Enjoy the bountiful full moon energy and let us know what you got up to when the moon was bright!
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
Amid today's scary headlines about the food industry - declining bee population could cost millions in terms of crop loss, fruit and vegetables being grown in factories devoid of natural light and the unveiling of aggressive marketing techniques used in the food industry in a new book - we have decided to go raw for a week. We already eat quite a lot of raw food but we have decided to try going raw for a week and charting how this dietary change affects our moods and emotions. As spring approaches it feels like the right time to do a bit of a clear out and transition to some lighter, juicier foodstuffs. I ordered a bumper selection of fruit instead of our organic veg box this week and have started sprouting seeds on all available surfaces in the kitchen. Have made some raw granola for breakfast tomorrow morning and will get some nut milk started before retiring tonight. Tonight is the last supper and I'm out at a workshop on Nutrition for Children, appropriately, so I won't be around to eat it. The last few days we have stopped eating wheat, sugar (a few blips!), caffeine (coffee, choc etc) and alcohol. I'm excited and I'll keep you posted about how we get on.