Sunday, 10 January 2016

Weaving the Web of a New Year

Blessing the Apple Trees, Wassail 2014.

Last November I received an email from one of my blog readers in the US which moved me deeply. She explained that she lives somewhere where she is surrounded by people whose politics and ways of being are very different from her own, that she feels that she is "starving for connection with like minded people", and that my blog and other writings, which she found by some magical and circuitous route, have become a lifeline. Her email made me cry and touched me more than I can say. We all understand how it feels to be alone, whether we are surrounded with people or not. Blogging can be a lonely business and, unlike much social media which has a more immediate response, can feel like communicating into a void, and so I thank the person who wrote to me, who shall henceforth be known as 'Inspiring Cindy', for making me aware of how important it can be to share ourselves and how we might be making connections with, and touching the lives and hearts of, people all over the world without even knowing it. I will be ever grateful for this reminder of the webs that we weave.

Which brings me to the New Year and recent thoughts that I have about how to use my blog differently. I haven't been posting a great deal here for some months due to the frenetic nature of everyday life and, having been reminded that posting matters, I am now inspired to use my blog in a new way. When I began the Radical Honey blog in 2014 I wrote a piece about 'small beauties' (click on the link here to read it), which, briefly, are a practice in noticing and mindfulness that I try to do every day. I have been sharing these reflections on Facebook for several years and many people have commented that they have become an important part of their day, reminding them that, even in the midst of the darkest of times, there are moments of magic...writing them reminds me of that too! Some people have even started to write their own 'small beauties' and it is always wonderful and heart-opening to read them. And so, I have decided to begin sharing mine here too, beginning today. Today has been a special day as I have been involved in the wassail, or blessing of the fruit trees, in our local community orchard so there are many small beauties to share. That feels like a good place to start, with this act of hope and belief in future abundance performed in the depths of midwinter. I am still intending to write longer pieces, and hope to write more about the wassail in coming days, but perhaps these daily small beauties can become a part of sharing more of myself, honouring the inspiration that Cindy's words gave me, and weaving stronger webs of connection amongst us all. And so, here are my 'small beauties' for today. Blessings on all our days and the sweet moments that they contain.

Today's small beauties:

Waking to sun and blue sky when I had expected rain.

Dressing in green and sequins with flowers on my bed. I am definitely going to wear flowers on my head more often!

Winter flowering Hellebore blooming in the little wood near my house; such a beautiful blush of pale pink and I thought of the ladies who I met planting them there in the summer. They will be pleased that they have created such beauty in a forgotten corner.
Lovely times at today's wassail in our community orchard; handmade red bunting shining in the sun, the smell of fresh bread being torn up for the blessing, hot mulled spiced cider warming my hands and my belly, two small people proudly telling me all about the choices of decoration that they had made for their wassail crowns, good friends and much girly excitement about my engagement to Himself, a little girl's wide open mouth when I explained that the wassailing tradition could be over a thousand years old, lovely Paul unexpectedly bringing along some New Forest scrumpy cider and filling our wassail cup, meeting Conrad, a friend from Twitter, wonderful singing group Morrigan asking me to stand with them as the Ivy Queen when they sang an ivy song, friends Clare and Scott's small son Alfie dancing with my bells and showing us his hip hop moves, the tiny voices of the children making their wassail blessing to the trees, doing our worm charming dance and the magic and wonder of finding worms on the grass afterwards, the children's enthusiasm in soaking the bread in cider and taking it to the trees, much magic shared and huge community good feeling created. Lovely!

Seeing my friends' dog, Cleo looking so well, happy, and engaged in life, having being ill for a very long time.

Visiting the little orchard on my own after the wassail was done and seeing bread in the branches of the trees. Such a heartwarming sight. The ancestors would have been pleased I hope.
Heavy clouds that felt as though they were filled with snow and the most strangely beautiful deep violet sky looking one way and the pale winter sunset looking the other.

A cosy evening at home planning the weeks ahead and paving the way for new life and new magic. Feeling blessed.

Thank you Cindy!


  1. So beautiful. Thank you for being an inspiration to me, all the way on the other side of the world.

    1. Thank you so much Sarah. That means a lot to me. Hoorah for connection! xx

  2. I am reading about wassail, so that I can begin the tradition here in my own very newly planted apple trees. I wish to make myself a crown too! any ideas on how to do that? I have no idea what a wassail crown is xox


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