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Welcome to Mrs Darley's Blog

This blogspot has been created especially for those who wish to share their ideas and thoughts about the natural world as the year turns and the ancient Pagan festivals that were once celebrated by our ancestors.

Poetry, prose craft work, ancient cure craft and general thoughts and feelings on how the change in the weather and seasons makes you feel are all encouraged and welcomed.

Mrs Darley was my once next door neighbour when I lived amongst the wilds of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall back in the early 1990's. Her charismatic ways and unending wisdom lead me on a journey of self discovery as I spiralled ever further into her magical world.

She has since become the central character in the 'Mrs Darley' series of books.

Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers

Mrs Darley's Moon Mysteries

Mrs Darley's Pagan Elements

Mrs Darley's Pagan Healing Wisdom






Friday, 24 December 2010

Seasonal Fayre


Regardless of our spiritual beliefs, many of us will be tucking into what we assume is traditional Christmas fayre tomorrow, including turkey and Christmas pudding, but perhaps surprisingly, these familiar foods are not as traditional as we might think!

During the 15th century, the wealthy ate boars head, which was trumpeted to the table to show its importance. Our ancestors too, held this dish in high esteem as it was revered by both the Celts and the Vikings.

During the 17th and 18th centuries boar was superceded by swan and peacock, then by beef, until the 19th century when the Victorians introduced turkey as a cheap alternative, although records show that turkey was served at Christmas as early as 1542.

Plum porridge was an old Christmas dish, which, over the centuries became thicker and thicker until it took the form of our now familiar Christmas pudding, which first appeared around 1670. It also became the hiding place for silver coins, the good luck symbols which were originally hidden in the Twelfth Night Cake.

Whatever your preference and whatever your path, may the returning light shine bright in your life.

'Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers.'

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Winter Solstice Blessings


On this the shortest day of the year, the light of hope shines in the darkness and heralds a time of renewal and beginnings. The following is an extract from 'Mrs Darly's Pagan Whispers'.

'Leaving for work one morning just as it was getting light, a few days before Christmas, I could just make outthe silhouette of Mrs Darley sitting on her doorstep, wrapped cosily in a warm shawl. Thinking she was locked out, I asked if she needed any help.
She shook her head, "No thank you dear, I'm waiting."
"I see," I said, not wishing to ask for whom.
"I'm waiting for the sun," she said, answering my silent question. "This is one of the most momentous occasions of the northern hemisphere when the sun begins His journey back to full strength. Most people let it slip by without a word, without even knowing. You should stay a moment."
"I can't," I said, "I have an early meeting."
"So have I," said Mrs Darley, her eyes never wavering from the distant horizon.'

Solstice blessings.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Winter Solstice at Newgrange



Next week heralds an exciting time, for the solstice, the full moon and a lunar eclipse all converge on the 21st, the day which heralds the return of the sun.

For the Irish Celts, the winter solstice was held in high esteem as evidenced by the magnificent burial tomb at Newgrange in the Boyne Valley in County Meath, a monument which predates both the pyramids and Stonehenge and which took 40 years to build.

For approximately 5 days around the winter solstice, the rising sun shines through a roof box positioned above the entrance to the tomb and penetrates the depths of the triple chambered tomb. This beautifully crafted burial chamber stands as a testament to the high esteem in which the ancestors were held, by the Neolithic people of Ireland.

Newgrange is well worth a visit however, if you intend to go specifically at the winter solstice, do take note that over 25000 people usually put their names down to be one of the 25 lucky people to watch the sunrise!
From 'Mrs Darleys Pagan Whispers'




Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Ivy


Ivy is traditionally the feminine partner to holly, although some schools of thought take the opposing view and consider it to be masculine, due to its white berries which are said to be symbolic of semen.

Ivy is thought to be protective in nature and if grows on the walls of a house, those inside will be kept safe from misfortune. My Mum's name was Ivy and she certainly went out of her way to keep us all safe from harm.

In times past it was considered unlucky to bring more ivy than holly into the house at Yuletide, however, this was probably due to the fact that patriarchal society wanted more masculine plants in the home rather than feminine. Balance again, I feel is the key to harmony.

Read more in 'Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers'

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Sacred Holly


There has been much debate about whether holly represents the masculine or feminine principal. One school of thought considers it to be masculine because of its prickly nature and see the red berries as being symbolic of the sacrificial God spilling his blood upon the fields. Another school of thought considers it to be feminine, and that the red berries symbolise the menstrual blood of the Goddess.

The Saxons however, recognised that holly could represent both the male and female principal. They called holly without berries 'he' holly and holly with berries was referred to as 'she' holly. If more 'he' holly than 'she' was brought into the house, then the husband would rule the home for the following year, whilst if more 'she' holly was present then the wife would be in charge.

Perhaps we should all aim for a little of each in order to bring balance and harmony this winter solstice.
From 'Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers'

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Oak Moon


Today (5th December) welcomes the new Oak Moon. For the Celts this moon heralded the end of their 13 moon lunar cycle and personified strength, stamina, life, death and rebirth. The oak was sacred to the Celtic Druids as many of their ceremonies were carried out beneath oak lined groves and it was also the sacred tree of Jupiter, Zeus, and Thor.

Often struck and split by lightning, it is actually thought to protect those who shelter beneath it from the same fate. To the ancient Greeks the rustling of the leaves were thought to be the voice of the Gods, whilst to the Irish, the oak was one of seven 'noble' trees, often referred to as 'Jove's tree'.

After the battle of Worcester in 1651, Charles 11 hid in the Boscobel oak tree when escaping from his parliamentarian enemies. In celebration of his restoration to the English throne, May 29th was known as 'Oak Apple Day' in honour of the tree that had saved his life. It became a public holiday for many years when everyone was expected to wear an oak leaf out of respect. Many pubs were subsequently named the 'Royal Oak' and still carry the name today.