Want to Learn to Read Tarot?

Top Tips to Get You Started

Whenever I tell someone that I read tarot, responses can be mixed. Some give you that strange look that very clearly tells everyone in the vicinity that they think you’re not quite firing on all cylinders. Others look at you as if you’re the very definition of evil and the spawn of the devil. Each to their own. They’re entitled to their beliefs, just as I’m entitled to mine.

But my absolute favourites are by far the majority I’m pleased to say – the ones that are curious and interested in the secrets and mysteries the tarot has to offer. Often these folk would just like a reading and that’s fabulous of course, but every now and then I come across a person who would like to learn the tarot themselves, to do their own readings. As a reader myself, that’s always something of a thrill to discover about someone.

But Where to Start?

It’s the same with any new skill isn’t it – there seems so much to learn and it’s not always obvious where to begin. When I began, I was 12 and got a free pack in a magazine so that’s always a good place to begin looking, just to see if you’re interested without spending too much cash.

The tarot is, by its very nature, deeply symbolic being linked to astrology and its various glyphs, myths and legends and can be interpreted both upright and in the reverse. With 78 cards in a standard deck, that’s 156 different meanings to learn! That’s before we consider different spreads, how the cards placements affect matters and how the cards can even affect/be affected by other cards in the reading.

A good alternative then might be to invest in Angel Cards, Goddess Cards or Oracle Cards as these often come with their meanings literally written onto the card.

If you’re interested in seeing how this works in practice, I have recently uploaded a video on this very topic to our YouTube channel which I’ve included a link to here:

A good way to get yourself started as a reader…

If you enjoy the video or find anything helpful in it, please do like, share and subscribe to help support the channel and of course feel free to share with anyone you think might enjoy the content themselves.

And, if you’d be interested in more of these “How to” videos, let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Until next time…

Climate Change: Making a Difference

Be a Part of the Solution, not the Problem

Flicking through the news channels is enough to strike fear into the hearts of the best of us, at the best of times, which is why, as a general rule these days, I try my best to avoid them. What with Brexit, Coronavirus and usually at least one country at war with another country or even its own people, it’s enough to depress us all, or worse still, we become indifferent and immune to the suffering all around us.

Another reason I’m a news-avoider these days though is that I just don’t think that they concentrate on the things that truly will affect us all one day. Things like climate change for instance.

Whenever there are floods like there are in parts of the UK right now with it having been the wettest February since records began, yes the media reports on it. Same with the horrific bush fires in Australia these last few months or with the glaciers in the Arctic melting more and more each year. But these events are reported on as if they were isolated incidents with no connection to one another. Madness.

Towards the back end of 2019, activist group, Extinction Rebellion, made headlines with some fairly extreme levels of protesting. That too made the news. Just in this last week, following the Court of Appeal’s decision to block proposals for a third runway at Heathrow, this too made the news – briefly.

I don’t mean to downplay the importance on a day-to-day level that issues such as Brexit, Coronavirus or the like have on individuals and businesses that of course should be reported on. But I can’t help thinking that, in the grand scheme of things, compared with the issue of climate change that is already affecting some of us and that eventually will affect us all, the media is either being exceptionally short-sighted at best and downright deceptive at worst.

Climate change is not something that happened overnight. Nor is it something that we will fix overnight. I don’t say that to scare people unnecessarily. I’m a realist and I believe that eventually we will all be affected by this issue; it’s just a matter of time.

What I would like to see and hear more about in the news more often is about what is happening to reverse climate change, what is working, what isn’t and what the ordinary person like you and me can do to help the cause to avoid these extremes of weather or certainly the frequency of these extremes, because otherwise, not to scaremonger, but how is it going to improve?

Some will say that it is already too late and they may well be right. Personally, I am encouraged every day by what I do see others doing and they inspire me to also try to “do my bit”. What I’m finding on my journey to zero-waste living is that it is as much about lifestyle choices and awareness as it is about the big fundraising activities and protests.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start – here’s what I did/do:

  • Buying bamboo straws and making sure I take them with me when I’m out and about just in case;
  • Investing in a good quality water bottle (or coffee cup for those that like a brew on the go!) and taking it everywhere I go;
  • Taking a tote bag everywhere I go to put in all my recyclable stuff, straws, water bottles, coffee cups!
  • Switching off lights and unplugging chargers not being used;
  • Cutting down on car journeys and working from home as much as possible;
  • Thinking before buying goods – do I really need that or could I upcycle something;
  • Thinking about where my goods came from, were they ethically sourced and if not do I want to support that business or organisation just to save a few pennies;
  • Meat-free days each week that the whole family have taken up, even my husband who I never thought would be up for it!
  • Bugging your MP (so easy to do – sign up to emails from Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, etc and they email you a link periodically that takes about 2 minutes if that to send an email/letter to your local Member of Parliament);
  • Share details of climate change and ways you can help with others on social media;
  • Educating yourself by signing up to climate change groups like Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, WWF, etc;
  • See if you could switch to an energy provider that provides renewable energy – we recently did this with EON and saved money!
  • Up your recycling skills – most of us are probably pretty good at separating our general waste into paper and cardboard, food waste and tins/glass but what about the less well known but still fairly frequent rubbish items such as batteries – would you know how to dispose of these in an eco-friendly manner? Could you start a collection pile for things like this that you could drop off at your local recycling centre next time you’re passing?
  • Reduce chemical cleaning products in your home and challenge yourself to find the most eco-friendly yet still affordable and effective household cleaning products on the market. The choice out there is impressive and, as consumers, we hold a lot of power!
  • Learn to cook in an eco-friendly (and cost-effective) way. Turn the oven off shortly before the food is cooked as the oven is still warm and finishes off the cooking as a result; use pan lids to conserve heat and make use of your microwave;
  • Make your own health and beauty products – so many of these on the market contain bits of plastic like microbeads that are not biodegradable so hang around the planet for years and years. Learning how to use essential oils safely and effectively is my current go-to hobby and really makes you realise the absolute selfishness of some of the items we think we need to be beautiful;
  • Get a pet/get out into nature – this has been a huge one for me. Taking our dog out every day, in all weather, has been a real eye-opener for me. I’ve been able to notice the changing of the seasons more than I normally would and you can’t help but gain an appreciation for the sheer beauty of the planet when you’re out in it every day (okay, maybe not during the trio of storms we just had admittedly!).
  • Turn the thermostat down and before you switch the heating on check if you’re wearing at least a couple of layers (t-shirt, jumper or hoodie), pants and socks and even throw a blanket over you first. You’ll definitely save a few quid!
  • Take part in Earth Hour on 28 March 2020: https://www.wwf.org.uk/earthhour

I’m always keen to learn new ways I can do more to help in the fight against climate change, so if you’ve got any ideas definitely add them in the comments so that I can start finding ways to build these too into my lifestyle, and for other readers too.

It would be great to know too which of the above ideas you think you could start adding into your life. Maybe sharing this article on your social media would be a fantastic place to start! 🙂

What’s Your Sign?

Check Out Your March 2020 Sun Sign Reading Now!

So, guess what – I did a thing. I faced my fears and created my very own You Tube channel today where you can find a reading for each of the 12 Sun Signs now available for your viewing pleasure.

We’re all busy people right? So, as much as I love to sit and watch long, in-depth reads if I have the time, there are times when I fancy watching a reading but haven’t got much time to spare. Hence why I created the “3 Cards 3 Minute” readings – tarot readings for busy people!

So whether you’re a Gorgeous Gemini, a Clever Capricorn, a Saucy Scorpio or an Audacious Aries why not go check out the channel and subscribe by clicking the little bell in the top right corner, which by the way is a great way to support the channel. An added bonus is that you’ll get notified whenever new content is uploaded so you don’t miss a thing (although you can alter this if you wish to in the settings):

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmooI7savAfP5lNHOZ8-zWg/.

As we’re in Pisces season, I’ve uploaded their reading to this post to say Happy Birthday to our Pretty Pisceans:

Happy Birthday Pisces!

Bearing in mind that none of this was planned or scripted content and was something I simply followed my intuition with today to just create, please bear with me in the You Tube content creating learning process!

Also bear in mind, that as these are general readings not all of the messages will resonate with everyone – for that you’ll need a private read, full details of which you can find on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HolisticLivingWithCarla/services. As such, take what applies for you from the free readings and leave the rest.

Other than that, I really hope you all enjoy and feel free to like, share and subscribe:)

What’s in Your Mental Health Toolkit?

How Stable is Your Mental Health?

On 15 February 2020, as I scrolled through my Facebook news feed, it soon became apparent that the TV and radio presenter, Caroline Flack, had unfortunately taken her own life at the relatively young age of 40. What soon became even more apparent, was just how many of my own family, friends and associates had been affected by this sad news.

As someone who doesn’t watch much TV, especially reality TV, the name Caroline Flack didn’t really mean much to me. When I saw her picture, I did recognise her as a TV personality, but even so I was somewhat surprised by just how many people were shaken by her untimely death. Not just my family, friends and associates, or even Caroline’s, but many celebrities who knew her or had worked with her too. I guess Caroline doesn’t fit the bill for what many of us imagine mental health issues to “look” like.

Whilst I wasn’t really familiar with Caroline’s work, I do recall feeling a similar level of grief and shock when Chester Bennington of Linkin Park took his own life back in July 2017. Whilst I obviously didn’t know him personally either, his music had been in the background of my life for 20 years or so such that it hit me a lot harder than I expected at the time. I think it’s the thought of what these people must have been going through mentally to think that suicide was their only way out that hits most of us so much harder than, say, a tragic but unexpected accidental death.

At the moment there does seem to be a bit of a witch-hunt against the media in the stories printed about Caroline following a domestic incident between her and her boyfriend back in December, which no doubt added to the mental torment and stress she was already clearly under that night, and which only got worse with her arrest and looming court date. Whilst I fully agree that if the media played a part in her death by publishing untrue and unfounded stories about Caroline and what really happened that night, without at least first checking the accuracy of the stories they published this needs to be addressed, by blaming the media I think we’re all missing an important opportunity to look at our own mental health stability here.

Caroline Flack’s family have recently released Caroline’s own final unpublished Instagram post as a way of helping her to have her voice heard in the aftermath of her death, and a lot of what Caroline says here warrants a good hard look at just how well any of us would cope with a major life change. It’s a stark reminder as to just how quickly things can turn on a dime: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-51557180

Speaking as someone who had a mild, but long-lasting, depression for several years and who is only now getting to the stage where I feel able to taper off the anti-depressants completely, I know well how quickly one’s mental health can have a “wobble”, and just how very much longer it can take to feel fully recovered. There is a lot of great advice out there on the internet from reputable sources like the NHS, Mind and even other bloggers who’ve been there themselves too. The difficulty is that for many people already mired in a depressive episode, following that advice can feel like climbing a mountain.

For those already feeling depressed, the starting point has to be to reach out to your healthcare provider and if even that feels too hard, speak to a close friend/family member and ask for their help. That too can feel an impossible task, so reaching out to a service like The Samaritans or even talking to others in a (healthy and supportive) internet chat environment where recovery is promoted, can be other excellent alternatives when those first important steps feel just too hard to take.

It’s also important to remember that depression takes many forms – it isn’t always crying and sadness. For me it was a constant, lingering apathy, weariness and fatigue with life, work, family, friends, hobbies – everything! It was only after suffering in silence for months that I eventually went to the doctor to find out just why I was so tired all the darn time that I even began to entertain the thought that I could be depressed, at the doctor’s suggestion, and it all started slotting into place – slowly!

A key part of my recovery has been accepting just how fragile our mental health is, as well as my absolute responsibility in preserving it. There was no huge life event that led to my depression – just quite simply a lot of little stressors that became so unmanageable that I eventually snapped. Looking back, it’s quite amazing that it held out as long as it did!

The real key for me going forward will be to plan to protect my mental health as much as possible so that I never find myself in that situation again, or, if I do, I already have the tools to manoeuvre myself back to mental health wellness via the most straightforward route. It’s the same “prevention is better than cure” message that we’ve heard about our physical health for years that we now urgently need to incorporate into our mental health wellness and well-being toolkit too, if we’re to reduce the sheer volume of these sad instances of suicide, regardless of celebrity status. Incorporating these tools only once somebody is already depressed is, sadly, sometimes too much of an ask.

My Wellbeing and Wellness Toolkit currently includes:

  • Staying active – walking the dog once a day and yoga at least 4-5 times per week might not sound a lot but it adds up to a big difference!
  • Getting a pet – game-changer! We’ve had fish and rabbits and guinea pigs but, firstly, you don’t really get to walk them so that doesn’t help in staying active, but having a reason to get up out of bed some mornings and someone to look after and yes, even talk to, can help a body stay positive and feel connected.
  • Care for others – a good alternative if you don’t want to commit to a pet is to do something for others. Volunteering might be a great place to start.
  • Talking about it – I used to hate reading that being more social was all that I needed to fix my depression. I knew that it wasn’t. But it doesn’t have to mean going to see a friend or even going out. There are of course professionals, many of whom you can self-refer to and have telephone appointments with, or see getting a pet above – they’re great listeners! Another option I see a lot of, being a blogger, is to start a blog or comment on someone else’s blog. Talking about it with someone who has been there, done that, can be great reassurance that you’re not alone. Just be sure that you come away from the interaction feeling more, not less, positive about yourself.
  • Keep in touch – I’m seeing a lot at the moment on social media that we should all check up on our friends more and whilst that may be great advice for some people, I think it shows a lack of understanding at just how well those suffering with mental health issues are at hiding their problems from their loved ones. I also think it puts an unfair burden on loved ones, most of whom are not qualified mental health professionals, to be able to recognise a mental health condition in their nearest and dearest. Talk about a guilt trip! Having said that, if you are feeling down but up to keeping in touch with your loved ones, do try to find a way to do so. I love a good meme myself – has a nice personal touch and tend to be funny as well and we all know that laughter really is the best medicine.
  • Drink in moderation – many of us like drowning our sorrows when we’re on a downer but, as I’m sure we all know, that’s just adding fuel to the fire and we’ll likely end up feeling worse. When I massively reduced my alcohol intake to no more than once or twice a month at the most from several times a week, my life improved. Not overnight but it stabilised. There’s even such a thing as alcohol-induced depression. Now I’m no doctor, so I can’t say with any certainty, but interesting that once I sorted out my drinking levels, my depression lifted…
  • Eat well – follows on from the point above really. If you’re just chowing down on processed foods and/or on a blood sugar roller-coaster on a daily basis, you’re not going to feel great. Food is medicine. Learn how to heal yourself from within – there’s an abundance of information out there whether on the web, book store or even library. Educate then heal yourself with food.
  • Take a break/ask for help – I used to think that I was Wonder Woman and that I could, or should, be able to do it all. What awful pressure to put myself under?! I now recognise my limits and believe me it’s a wonderful thing. A great way to risk your mental health and sanity is to expect far too much from yourself. Tip: if you’re feeling like you’re doing too much, you probably are. How could you reduce the stress you’re under now before it breaks you? And then how will it all get done? Trust me, time well spent!
  • Re-connect with hobbies/interests – what do you like doing that genuinely makes you feel good about yourself? Do more of that!

What’s in your Mental Health Wellness and Wellbeing Toolkit that you couldn’t be without? Let me know in the comments.

And if there’s anyone at all you think would benefit from anything written here, please do share this post with them 🙂

What’s Your Vibe Quiz

What’s Your Soul’s Energy Vibe?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, or even done, an online quiz on the site so, if you’ve got 5 minutes to kill and a burning desire to know what your soul’s energy vibe is, why not follow the link and find out? https://play.howstuffworks.com/quiz/whats-your-souls-energy-vibe?utm_source=share-copy&utm_medium=referral

I got:

Healing Vibe

When you answered our questions, your soul was open and giving. You give off such a kind and healing vibe that a lot of your energy seems to be focused around wellness. People feel drawn to your calm nature, and you are always there to lend a hand. Your friends have learned that your brand of caring is rare, and they cherish your soul’s energy!”

Kind of interesting given the purpose of this site!

I’d love to know what you got in the comments and if you think your results were accurate.

Want to Feel Younger?

The Real Secret to Eternal Youth

Whilst many of us may tell ourselves that age is just a number, the message we receive externally is often very different. Books, magazines, films, TV shows and adverts repeatedly allude to our supposed innate desire for eternal youth. And why not – who doesn’t want to both look and feel younger from time to time?

Of course, there are all manner of products and gimmicks out there promising to knock years off our appearance in an effort to encourage us to part with our hard-earned cash, many of which may well even work. But such products are likely to be, quite literally, only skin deep and, as such, are of limited usefulness in our ongoing quest for the fountain of youth.

What’s the alternative?

Well hopefully something that has you glowing from the inside out – playing! As George Bernard Shaw famously stated:

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing”.

George Bernard Shaw

I don’t know about you but that quote definitely has the ring of truth in it for me! How often these days do we just “play” for the sake of playing? Not to amuse the kids or because it’s a team-building day at work, but like we used to when we were kids – for no other reason than for the pure fun of it?

I suppose that now we’re “grown-ups” we’re all far too busy and important to take the time to play. It’s actually quite amusing just how seriously most of us take ourselves on a day-to-day basis over things that, in the grand scheme of things, really just don’t matter. Amusing, if not a little ironic really for those of us who do want to look and feel a little younger!

Learning how to play

Sounds strange doesn’t it but I would think most of us haven’t played for fun in a long, long time! So you might wonder where to start. I accidentally came across a good place to start last weekend when my 8-year old daughter was invited to a party at Total Ninja, an indoor obstacle course. With 2 hours to kill whilst she was at the party, my husband and I decided we thought it looked fun and might as well have a go too. So much fun! http://www.totalninja.co.uk/

Wow, used muscles that I’d forgotten I had and I’m still feeling it 4 days on but well worth it just to remind myself to just run about and have fun occasionally – even if I did have to come home and have a nap to recover afterwards!

So, maybe the real secret to eternal youth is to make time to play – be sure to share this secret with someone you think might need to hear it and remember:

“Keep adventuring and stay not a grown-up.”  

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Idyllic Imbolc

The Wheel of the Year Continues to Turn…

January is often described as feeling like the longest month of the year. After the fun and frivolity of Christmas and New Year celebrations, the first few weeks of the year in comparison can seem bleak and boring, devoid of anything to look forward to.

But, slowly we begin to notice little signs that the harshness of Winter is beginning to fade: the sun rises a little earlier and sets a little later, greenery starts to sprout in the soil and in the trees. Mama Earth is beginning to awaken.

In the Celtic calendar, this time of year, around 1 February, was known as Imbolc, said to mean “in the belly”, or pregnant. It is as if the earth is pregnant, expectant and alive with the promise of the coming of the Spring once again. Just like an expectant mother feels the quickening of the child in the womb in the weeks before its birth, there are signs of life stirring starting to emerge.

Those who celebrate Imbolc take this time to honour the Irish Goddess Brigid, particularly known as a Goddess of fire, the sun and the hearth, of healing, poetry and smith-craft. She is the Goddess of fertile lands and people, with obvious links to midwifery and newborns. She is the maiden of the Triple Goddess.

Traditionally in the farming calendar, this time of year was also known as Oimelc – ewes’ milk – because it marks the start of the lambing season, whilst in the Christian calendar it is celebrated as Candlemas. The Goddess Brigid was so popular amongst the Celtic people that she was supposedly carried on within the Christian faith as St Bridget.

Our ancestors would have celebrated this time as one of their several fire festivals held throughout the year as well as a time of renewal, dedication and purification, with feasting and decorating of their homes, particularly their hearths, with a Brigid cross or doll.

Ways for you to mark the promise of Spring might be with the planting of a few seeds, a cleansing ritual bath with salts and incense for purification or going on a nature walk to see what signs of the coming Spring you can spy! It could be a simple meditation or prayer of thanks, a goal planning session, wish-making or offering of dedications. Alternatively, you might choose to decorate your home and/or fireplace with a few white and green candles, snowdrops, daffodils or crocuses.

Whilst Winter is not yet fully behind us, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and for me this is what Imbolc is really all about – hope that warmer, brighter days are coming soon after the cold, dark harshness of Winter. Indeed, as John Steinbeck famously said:

What good is the warmth of Summer, without the cold of Winter to give it sweetness”.

John Steinbeck

You may already have very own way of marking this “pre-Spring” occasion and if so I’d love to hear how in the comments below.

If you’d like to know more about traditional Celtic celebrations and how to get more in touch with nature and ways to celebrate it throughout the year, take a look at some of our other articles by clicking on the following links:

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/09/21/merry-mabon/

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/12/21/why-we-really-celebrate-christmas/

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/11/02/happy-celtic-new-year/

Until the Wheel of the Year turns again…

Trouble Sleeping?

Try a “Head Orgasm”!

Or to give it its technical term, ASMR, short for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Fans of the relaxation method have also referred to it feeling like a brain massage, similar to how background or white noise is used by some people to lull them to sleep.

What is it?

Basically, it’s a tingly sensation in your head and/or body caused by hearing certain sounds, usually tactile, soft and repetitive, such as whispering, tapping, scratching, using scissors, striking a match or ripping of paper, for example. In fact, on You Tube there are literally hundreds of videos of folk doing just that which until I tried it, frankly, I was certain would be more annoying than relaxing to listen to. I was wrong.

Is it for You?

There’s probably an ASMR video for pretty much every scenario you can think of. Some take more of a healing “reiki” based approach. Others are role plays where questions are asked of you in various settings whether at a doctors, a make up artist or a hairdressers, all whilst various other noises are made in the background. Then there are the more imaginative role plays: a vampire’s snack, alien abductee, zombie apocalypse!

Does it Work?

I can only speak from personal experience and I find it intensely relaxing, but of course some videos are more relaxing than others. If you’re trying it for sleep-inducing purposes, I’d suggest a reiki/healing-based ASMR video, at least initially. I rarely make it to the end of one of these videos without drifting off into a deep, relaxing sleep.

Is it Safe?

The general consensus on the internet at least seems to be that where ASMR is used for relaxation purposes in adults, then it is thought to be relatively risk-free. As with any new practice, I’d always recommend doing your own research, speaking to your own health care provider and factoring in your own specific health needs before giving it a try yourself.

If you’ve factored all that in however and are ASMR-curious, why not give it a try and see how much better you sleep? Or feel free to share this article with someone who you know needs a good night’s sleep.

Energy Reading: 2020 Rune Reading

What Does 2020 Have in Store for You?

Check out your 2020 12-card spread below – I’ve purposely left it vague in terms of timelines. You may wish to link one card to each month of the year starting January through December or take all the cards as a whole for a general year overview. A further option would be to start with your Sun Sign (often known as star sign) and follow it in order from there. For example, my Sun Sign is Aquarius, so my 2020 rune reading could start there, followed by Pisces and then back to the start, Aries, Taurus, etc.

Have fun with it and remember, the future is never written in stone – even with the runes! We all have the power to change our destiny.

LAGU in the position of Aries:

Lagu is symbolic of flowing water, our emotions and unconsciousness. Aries, a Fire sign, whilst creative and energetic, can be impetuous, impatient and overly dramatic with this pairing. Both the rune and its position suggest a strong intuition.

Work with the watery influence of Lagu to quench overly fiery emotions. Maybe listen to your intuition and pour your creative energies into a hobby or interest you’ve been meaning to start or return to for some time.

KEN in the position of Taurus:

Think of Ken as like fire; warming, illuminating, lively and exciting but also as an element that must be controlled to avoid its destructive tendencies. Taurus, an Earth sign, forebodes stability and solidity, reliability and standing strong.

An unusual mix – stability twinned with excitement. A good time to start/add to your family or start branching out in your life/career.

WYRD in the position of Gemini:

The blank rune of Wyrd denotes that you have reached a crossroads – think carefully before determining your future path. Fate is foretold. Gemini, an Air sign, being the Twins suggests a choice, communication, fun and thoughtfulness.

The start of a new year and decade is indeed a crossroads. Whilst it’s important to think through your options carefully and to communicate your plans to those closest to you, be sure to factor in time for fun and lightheartedness on your future path.

WYN (reversed) in the position of Cancer:

Being reversed, Wyn foretells that 2020 does hold a challenge that you may be unable to overcome. The maternal and nurturing Water sign of Cancer, whilst sensitive and moody at times, is also gentle and all about home and family.

At first glance, this prediction might seem frightening but look back on previous years – was there something that one year you just could not do but then another year overcame it? The prediction is not that you will never overcome a particular challenge, just maybe not in 2020. Call on the support of your nearest and dearest to see you through any challenging times. Take this message as a warning especially if you have an important test or exam coming up, not to be complacent.

SIGEL (reversed) in the position of Leo:

Similar to The Sun card in tarot reading, Sigel denotes spirituality, good health, energy and vitality and even reversed remains a positive influence. Be wary of taking on too much, showing off and/or a tendency towards the dramatic. Fire sign Leo’s ruling planet is also the Sun and Leo often loves to take centre stage and show off but is also loyal, generous, creative and expressive.

Through 2020, be gracious and magnanimous in the good times and in the bad and be sure to share the stage of your life with those who positively add to it to avoid coming off arrogant.

HAGAL in the position of Virgo:

Hagal is a hailstorm whose meaning is similar to the Tower card in tarot – sudden, disruptive and often unexpected change, usually over as quickly as it begins but with the damage caused often lasting longer than the storm itself. This can often relate to health and the Earth sign of Virgo has strong associations to health and well-being as well as strong analytic tendencies.

There may be a sudden and unexpected health change indicated for 2020 – remember prevention is better than cure. Heed the warning now and start taking care of yourself to better prepare for any coming health “storm”. Take time now to analyse where you most need to improve your health and act now and it may well be a blessing in disguise.

IS in the position of Libra:

Is – the rune of ice, cold, lonely, independent but frozen. Combined with the Air sign of Libra whose ruling planet is Venus, you may find relationships and emotions frozen in time. Use the infamous Libran fairness and equality to balance both sides of any argument.

Relationships may reach an impasse in 2020 leading to feelings of loneliness but also independence. Give it time and wait for the warmth of the Sun rune, Sigel, to come and melt the ice.

GYFU in the position of Scorpio:

“Offering to the Gods” is the meaning of Gyfu, symbolic of gifts of love, spirituality and friendship and linked to Venus, you may give or receive an actual gift or provide some other sacrifice, e.g. time, money, advice. Whilst a positive rune, it is important that all gifts are given freely if our relationships are to run smoothly or resentment and bitterness creep in. Scorpio is a Water sign ruled by Pluto, God of the Underworld, brooding and intense, possessive and controlling, powerful, passionate and exciting.

Be sure the price of the gift is worth it.

PEORTH (reversed) in the position of Sagittarius:

Peorth represents a mystery or secret in your life that, being reversed, will be revealed. Sagittarius, a Fire sign, is linked to travel, honesty, education and intellect.

Are you being honest with those around you or yourself even? Is it time to face some honest truths or to reveal a secret that you have been holding back?

FEOH (reversed) in the position of Capricorn

Abundance is generally foretold by Feoh however as it is reversed, the opposite can be true. Conservative and resourceful Capricorn, an Earth sign, disciplined and wise, could be just what is needed to avoid or make the best of financial difficulties.

The ever-practical Capricorn influence dilutes the potential financial calamity foretold by this rune – provided you work with it. 2020 is a time to grow up financially. In debt? Make a plan to get out of it. Want to get on the housing ladder? What are your options? Just like with health, when it comes to wealth, prevention is better than cure.

ANSUR (reversed) in the position of Aquarius

Ansur is strongly linked to the wise, ancient God, Odin and being reversed, suggests a need to listen to those older and wiser than ourselves and to watch for a tendency towards problems with those in authority. Positioned in the Air sign of Aquarius whose watch words include “I know”, intellectualism, individuality, and rebelliousness, this could indicate a need to watch our attitude to others.

Make 2020 a year where you really try to listen to others as otherwise Ansur placed in Aquarius, with its rebellious and eccentric nature, could stir up a world of trouble for you across all areas of your life. Instead treat 2020 as a year for you to become the student not the master and benefit from the wisdom and knowledge of everyone around you who is willing to share their expertise with you.

GER in the position of Pisces

Ger is the rune of cycles, linked to the Wheel of Fortune card of the tarot, seasons, harvests and karma. Pisces, the final Water sign, is dreamy and emotional, sympathetic, sensitive and artistic.

2020 will be the year where you will reap what you sow. Dream big and be creative and artistic to uncover a new direction for yourself. Be there for others but be sure to take time to recuperate and try to link your daily life more closely to the seasons.

Your 2020 Rune Reading

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All the best for 2020!

Why We Really Celebrate Christmas

The Winter Solstice

And it’s nothing to do with Jesus! Not originally anyway. No, Christmas (aka “yule” here in the UK), was a time when the Celts celebrated the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year.

That’s a pretty bold opening statement! I should say before going on that I have nothing against celebrating Jesus’ birth at this time of year. My sole purpose in writing this post was to explore the origins of this celebration, see what traditions we still stick to today and their believed original purpose. If anything, it is written as a way to bring us together, regardless of personal beliefs and reasons for celebrating so apologies for any offence caused.

So far this year I’ve already posted about other celebrations such as Midsummer/Litha, Harvest/Mabon and Halloween/Samhain. Each time, I’ve been delighted to discover more about our ancestral origins and just how many of these are still celebrated, whether under a different name and/or for different reasons, today. Our past history and heritage it seems is very much alive and present now – as long as you know where to look.

Of all the celebrations of modern times, in the UK, Christmas seems to be the most popular, despite the fact that many of those celebrating don’t attend church, read the bible or indeed consider themselves of the Christian faith. Could it be that remnants of the old faith and beliefs of the Celts are inadvertently celebrated without many of us realising?

Before becoming known as “Christmas” or Christ-mass, a day to remember Jesus and specifically that he was born to die for us all, the Romans celebrated this time as “Saturnalia”, held in honour of the God of Agriculture, Saturn. Even before that, the Celtic people celebrated this time as “Yule”, a term which is still synonymous in modern parlance with Christmas today. The term Yule is believed to have come from the Celtic word for wheel “houl” as it linked back to the Wheel of the Year, the solstices, equinoxes and the changing of the seasons.

Wheel of the Year

Yule was a time when it was believed that the Sun stood still for twelve days, with the Druids (Celtic priests) lighting a yule log to overcome the darkness, expel evil spirits and bring good luck for the coming year. Mistletoe would be cut from the sacred Oak trees, symbolic of life continuing even in the darkest of days. Essentially, it was a time to celebrate the return of the days getting longer and the nights getting shorter – the rebirth of the Sun.

It’s almost impossible not to see the parallel with the later Christian faith and tradition of Christmas of the “birth of the Son” with the “rebirth of the Sun” as well as the Twelve Days of Christmas, with the Twelve Days of Yule, mistletoe and burning of the yule log still celebrated in modern times, often without ever realising their true origins. We celebrate Christmas as the day of the Son of God’s birth; the Celts celebrated Yule, in essence, as the Sun’s birthday. Are we not all celebrating the same thing just under a different name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Juliet Capulet, Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare

Some other traditions of Yule the Celts celebrated:

  • Hanging of evergreens such as mistletoe and holly around windows and doors. Mistletoe’s white berries were said to represent the white semen of the life-giving male hence kissing under the mistletoe today. Holly, with its red berries, is representative of feminine blood;
  • Evergreen wreaths were made symbolic of the Wheel of the Year decorated with evergreens such as mistletoe and holly but also ivy, yew and pine and hung on doors;
  • Living tree brought indoors to keep wood spirits warm throughout the winter and decorated with treats and food for them to eat;
  • Exchanging of gifts in celebration of the festival of light out of darkness and the birth of the Sun.
  • Drinking of spiced cider (apples representing the Sun) and eating of fruits, nuts, turkey with sage, cinnamon, nutmeg and the like being used for flavour;
  • Offerings of spiked oranges to also represent the Sun;
  • Lighting of bonfires;
  • Wearing of colours red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow and orange;
  • Singing of carols generally and wassailing of trees.

I love that regardless of faith or background, so many of these are still celebrated at this time of the year today, whether originating with the Celts or other ancestors, as of course we’re unlikely to ever know the true original source of many of these traditions.

This year, the Winter Solstice falls on 22 December 2019 and I for one am really looking forward to celebrating Christmas with this new knowledge of how my Celtic ancestors were celebrating themselves at this time. Which of these traditions will you be keeping alive?

Wishing you all a very happy Winter Solstice celebration!