Cerridwan and the Cauldron.

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Cerridwan is a Celtic goddess who represents the Crone aspect of the three feminine powers. She is the goddess of Wisdom, Inspiration, Knowledge, Fertility, Harvest, Transformation, Death and the Celtic Underworld.
A shape shifting goddess, Cerridwan had a son named Afagdu who was extremely ugly. Wanting, as all mothers do, to give her child the best chance in life she created a magik brew within her cauldron, which contained all the knowledge and wisdom the world holds and would make her son revered for his inspiration, wisdom and prophecy.
Cerridwen worked on the potion for a year and a day, perfecting the brew with care. She left the brew in the care of her servant boy Gwion Bach. Whilst stirring the cauldron the potion spilled onto his hand. He put his hand to his mouth and took the potion into his body. On doing so he aquired all of the power within the potion. Fearing Cerridwan’s wrath once she realised what had occurred Gwion fled with Cerridwan in pursuit. Using his powers Gwion changed form. As he became a hare, so Cerridwan shifted form  into a greyhound. Gwion changed to a fish and swam through water with Cerridwan behind in the form of an otter. He then took to the sky in the form of a swallow. Cerridwan shifted into the form of a hawk and continued her pursuit. Finally Gwion became a grain of wheat and attempted to hide in a field. Cerridwan became a hen, found Gwion and ate him.
On consuming Gwion in his form of grain, Cerridwan became impregnated. As her baby grew inside her she became overcome with wrath and hatred for the unborn child, whom she knew was Gwion reborn as her child. She planned to kill the child, but when he was born his beauty was such that she could not bring herself to harm him. Instead she wrapped him in leather and set him afloat on the sea.
The child was found and rescued by Elphin who raised him as his own. He was named Taliesin and he grew to be the best and most revered bard in all of Wales.

Beyond the myth of Cerridwan and her cauldron is the importance of Cerridwan and what she represents within Pagan religion. In Celtic mythology, Cerridwan is the keeper of the cauldron of the Underworld. She stirs the cauldron which holds all the world’s inspiration, knowledge and wisdom. As the goddess of transformation, Cerridwan’s cauldron contained in addition all the souls of the dead. She stirred the cauldron and in doing so brought forth rebirth.
Cerridwen is represented by the sow. The sow is highly revered in Celtic mythology and has affinities with the moon and the goddess, as a giver of life and death and a symbol of nourishment and truth.
Cerridwan can also be associated with the Buddhist symbol of the Wheel of Life which symbolises birth, life, death and rebirth; continuous change and transformation which are all of the facets Cerridwen herself represents.

The cauldron is an integral part of Wicca. Symbolically it represents the Goddess, fertility and the essence of  femininity. It is used for practical purposes such as cooking meals (if large enough). It is often the focal point during rituals, it can be used for burning incense in, or filled with water and used for scrying. It can be used during spells or to place items inside for brewing, or charging.

Crochet Diary 1 – Birth of my new obsession.

It was almost exactly a year ago that I did my very first piece of knitting, a stripy scarf of pink and green full of holes, completely skew whiff, and perfectly imperfect for a first piece of knitting.

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After this, I knitted a little snood for my then 8 month old baby girl. I was so very proud of seeing my baby wearing something I had made myself!

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Then I managed to follow a pattern and I made a hat. It looked nothing at all like the pattern, but it was wearable and it did the job it was supposed to and the level of smugness I felt at seeing my baby in a hat made by my fair hands was actually quite sad. But I had the bug. I had never ever thought I would consider myself creative enough to make anything worth making. But I realised that the enjoyment of creating is addictive and I guess I figured that it doesn’t matter if what I make isn’t perfect, or even very good. I loved it and thats enough.

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Soon after, my daughter was given a lesson on how to crochet. I always thought crochet looked so much harder to do than knitting. I watched my daughter being shown how to make a chain and tried myself, and I could not do it. At all. I watched my friends hands moving so fast making what seemed to me to be extremely elaborate stitches, and figured I would never be able to pick up how to do it, especially since I couldn’t even get my head around making a simple chain. I was all fingers and thumbs. But for some reason I was determined that I was going to learn. So I practised. My niece was pregnant and I wanted to make something for the new arrival, so I just kept trying. And after a few weeks I had created a little blanket and even a pair of booties from a kit I bought at Hobbycraft.

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At this point I was totally hooked, but still slightly confused by a lot of the stitches and how to follow patterns. And why did it have to be made more confusing by the different terms used in the UK and the US??

I bought a book which I am probably going to be using for a while to come to learn more new stitches and techniques. I Iove this book and recommend it to anyone new to crochet.

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Forest school week 7

Today at forest school our task was to use the bow saws and cut Sycamore trees down to make a shelter. I worked with my friend Ethan. When we cut the tree down we cut some extra little branches with loppers. Me and Ethan cut about 2 or 3 trees down. Katy showed us how to cut a notch out the side of the where we wanted it to fall then we had to cut a line down the opposite side of the trunk. This made the trunk fall  in the direction we wanted it to fall. After we cut them we put the bows and the loppers away and carried the branches back through the forset to the camp.

After that we put some marshmallows over the fire and hot dogs. I had two marshmallows and I called them “fluff muffins” they reminded me of fluff crossed between a meringue because it was gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Katy showed us how we are going to start to build the frame of the lean-to, but then we had to stash the branches away for next time, and pack up. Its half term next week so no forest school so we will have some pictures of the finished lean-to in a couple of weeks time!

The Raven – from poem to story.

It was a cold, dark and gloomy night. I was feeling frail and feeble, drained and drowsy. I was reading a book in my room, but suddenly there was a gentle tap at my door…
I remember it happened one cold, grim, dark and wintery night; and embers from the hearth were reflecting, flickering and dancing, like a ghost, upon the floor.
I wanted the night to be over and for tomorrow to come faster. I was trying to forget the grief I felt for losing Lenore by reading books, but it was pointless!! Worthless!! Senseless!! How? How can I forget a girl such as Lenore? A girl so beautiful, so fine and rare as the wonderful Lenore? Her name is no longer spoken here, her name is now filled with emptiness and sadness.

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I was locked in fear by the rustling of the purple silk curtains at my window, they sent thrills of horror to my heart. I tried to tell myself it was just a visitor and there was nothing to be afraid of. I tried to talk to whoever was at the door. I gathered my courage until I was brave enough to approach the door. I opened the door…

but there was only darkness, as black as the night.

I stood in the doorway, staring into the darkness. My mind was racing with thoughts of terror. My intuition was telling me that someone was watching me. My senses tingled with intense fear and harsh foreboding. I whispered  ‘Lenore.’ And the sad sorrowful name echoed back from the darkness.

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I returned to my room feeling distressed. My feelings were a storm of agony, a raging sea of misery , flaming in a fit of frenzy.

I heard a louder tapping. I muttered to myself “There is something tapping on my window loud! I must calm down and find out what it is.” I got up and flung open the window and then suddenly a beautiful, elegant, majestic, massive and glorious Raven whooshed in like a flash. It perched on the bust of Pallas above my door.

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I was stunned to see a such a glorious bird land on the bust of Pallas. His manner was so sober and solemn, dignified and dour that I couldn’t help but smile with amusement. I said to the Raven “You’re brave to fly in to my home! Tell me your name?” The Raven replied “NEVERMORE!!”

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I was amazed! The Raven had spoken ‘Nevermore!’ I was in awe, I must be the first human being ever to have a raven sit above my door speaking the word ‘Nevermore!’

I spoke gently, in barely a whisper ‘I have had other friends who have all left me before, I’m sure tomorrow this raven will leave me too.’ And the Raven said ‘Nevermore!’

I was shocked again at the Raven speaking the word, in such a way as to reply so appropriately. Could this bird really mean that he is never going to leave me? Could the bird really be named Nevermore? Could this bird really understand what I am saying? ‘I am sure, that this word is the only word this bird knows. His old master must have been so depressed that he kept on saying ‘Nevermore’ and so it is the only word this bird has ever learned.’ I told myself.

I was amused and intrigued by this Raven. I pulled up a chair in front of the door so that I might sit a while and contemplate what the meaning of this Raven placing itself above my door and speaking the word ‘Nevermore’ could be.

This is all I did, I sat and wondered. I looked at the bird, and said not a word, and all the while, the bird sat and looked right back at me. He stared right into my soul. His eyes burned into my heart. As I sat thinking about the bird, I reclined my head onto the velvet lining of the chair and I became aware of the fact that the feeling of the velvet lining pressed against flesh is something that Lenore shall never again feel. I will never again have her sitting in this room, in this chair.

At the thought of Lenore the atmosphere in the room changed. It became thicker and dense and a scent filled the room. I imagined that an angel was walking in the room swinging a censer. I was filled with hope and I called to the bird ‘God has sent you! By way of this angel God has sent you to help me forget about Lenore! Let me drink the potion that will help me to forget about Lenore!’ The Raven said ‘Nevermore!’

In desperation I begged the bird ‘Tell me please! I implore you to tell me, will I ever forget about Lenore? Will this pain ever go away? Will these wounds ever heal?’ The Raven replied ‘Nevermore!’

I begged the raven to then tell me ‘When I die and am in heaven, will I then finally be with Lenore again. Will I hold her and be reunited with her when I die?’ The Raven replied ‘Nevermore!’

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In that instant, with that one word all hope was gone. Replaced by darkness, despair and a desperate rage. I no longer felt that the bird was an angel sent from heaven, but rather a devil sent from hell to curse, trouble, torture and torment me in my sorrow!! I stood and shouted at the bird ‘Let that word be the last I hear from you! Get lost! Leave me alone in my sorrow! Get out of my house!!’ And the Raven replied ‘Nevermore!’

And the Raven is still there. He is still there above my door. He has the appearance of a demon, with the light behind it casting a long shadow on my floor. And I sit within the shadow and my soul lies darkened inside the shadow. The Raven remains still and his shadow holds me locked in despair. My sorrow complete as I lament the lost Lenore, and from my grief I shall escape – Nevermore!

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By Chloe and Kerry Dawes.

 

 

 

 

Forest School weeks 4 & 5

The last two weeks of Forest School have been focused on food! Week 4 began with a game of 20/20 tag. Chloe enjoyed hiding in the forest and hung around on the edges while player after player ran to home inside the circle. When she was finally spotted and turfed out of her hiding place to be chased through the trees to home, her face was a picture of happiness. Nothing quite like running through a forest to make a girl like Chloe come alive!
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Next we needed a fire so we had a session on fire lighting safety and all the group had a turn practising lighting some cotton wool in a metal dish until everyone had been successful. This took a while. Using the fire lighters is not easy and it takes a long time for the sparks to catch and light up.

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Once we had a fire going, Katy set up a kitchen area and the group all made pizzas over the fire!
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Week 5 was a little overcast and it looked like it was going to rain hard, so a little tent area was created to keep the equipment inside.
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As agreed afterr the success of the pizzas, everyone had brought sausages and buns to make hot dogs, so we needed some skewers to cook the sausages on. We were given some loppers and Katy gave a talk on how to carry and use them safely and we went off in search of hazel to cut.
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Once we all had a branch we were given a pen knife and Katy taught us how to wittle the wood into a point to make skewers.
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Then the sausages were placed on the skewers and put over the fire to cook. The hot dogs were tasty, but the best bit was the Krispy Kreme donuts that Gulsoom had brought to share.

Stream of consciousness 10 minute challenge.

I am new to blogging so I have no idea what this is going to turn into. By that I mean this post I am writing right now and my blog as a whole.
I created the blog to follow my daughter’s journey through her home education. We do a lot of activities and I want a space I can keep track of all she does aside from my facebook album which is dedicated to it.
I also want it to be a place I can talk about things that interest me and I am going to make a confession here. I have recently begun studying Wicca and Pagan religion, and so this blog is likely to include much about that as I am learning as well as posts on nature in it’s many forms.
I also have become rather crafty in the last year. I did my first piece of knitting around a year ago and I have created some quite nice things since then. I never considered myself artistic or creative enough beforehand, but I have surprised myself a few times in the last year.
In fact I am discovering a few skills that I wish I had pursued much sooner than the arse end of my 30s. I have been spending a lot of time learning about gardening and have now finally got the confidence to get stuck into my garden which is a bit of a wild mass of plant life at the moment. I will have it sorted by this time next year and looking lovely.
Stand up comedy is another interest of mine. I find that comedians are far more than just people who make you laugh. There job is to state things that we see and do everyday and make it humerous, and for that reason most comics have a way of putting the world in perspective that is so true and genuine. The comeidians who have the balls can really make people think about the world. I am not exaggerating when I say Bill Hicks changed my life. George Carlin too. They gave me tangible things that I could relate to that helped me make sense of the shitty world and to juxtapose that with the amazing beauty and love I felt for life. They helped me realise so much about life and it’s duality, irony, beauty and hypocrisy that abides on this planet. Anyway, my 10 minutes is up so ciao!

John Muir by Chloe D

John Muir was born on 21 April 1838 in Dunbar and died on December 24 1914. He was a naturalist , he was passionate about nature. He pioneered the study of ecology.

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He was an activist who worked to help preservation within the western forest in the USA.

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Today we are continuing his work looking after the enviroment.

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks”

“The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness”

“The power of imagination makes us infinite”

“The mountains are calling me, I must go”

– John Muir.