Last night I dreamt of blue

Last night I dreamt of blue

Flooding us all and I thought it was the oceans

Come to reclaim the land for itself once more

It was, but not yet, 

It said

This blue is made first in the human realm and then,

Oh then, when the waters really come

Will the inundation happen and

No sandbags of trust, loyalty and faith

Can hold 




A bomb went off and ripped the plinth of a Colonial icon

so that sherds of rock flew and a man cried out in grief

Roman numerals exposed and counting

Time is ticking

And we are still repairing the plinth

Be careful which deities you Invoke

For we are real, oh yes,

More powerful than your temples and altars ever could hold

Too destructive and too




The flames of small candles burn and banish the darkness

Even if for just a short while

For a small space in existent matter

And sounds ring through the realms

Onto the ears of Other Gods

Om gum ganapatayei



And so it shall be

Sisters of Light

Sisters of bravery

Sisters in time and space

For a moment there

I saw my heart beating

Raw in the candlelight

Lessons from myself


Oh my, I feel unheard, irrelevant, as if I am not speaking, or as if I have spoken the wrong words, in the wrong order at the wrong time… How come there are so many voices out there doing a better job at it than me, or when I do raise my voice, there are a million well-meaning and friendly people keen to tell me how I am doing it all wrong?


Can you feel it? Can you hear that voice? You’re doing it to yourself… That voice isn’t You, it is Ego, who you gave the name Harriet to, when you could first speak.


I gave the money to the charities, over and over again, I gave them my wish for it all to stop. And it didn’t work, those fucking pictures are still beamed into my life through the TV and my computer screen. Another child dies, another house burns to the ground, another beach moving to the sluggish rhythm of oil-slicked waves.


If you did nothing, the same truths would still be beamed to you. Your actions are not televised, but felt and they will ripple out into the cosmos just as surely as those images get beamed to you in the ad break.


Why is it never enough?


Because it was never enough. That will not change. Why is this so hard to accept? To act is to be compelled, not to fix.


I am a fixer, I realise that now.


You are also a little bit egotistical.


How do I move from being motivated by my ego to true Service?


Let me take you for a walk….



The dog comes with me into the cave, but then she turns into a She Wolf and we enter into the darkness and descend some dark steps. Out onto a plain, we cannot go forward. I ask her, how do I move from being motivated by my ego to true Service? She says nothing but begins to dig and dig and dig like a puppy with a bone. Down and further down she goes until there is a big gaping shaft of earthy nothing.


 I drop down and find myself in a dark room full of electronic banks, switches and lights but nobody there. The Wolf says this is the nerve centre. Of what, I wonder.


We walk through the centre, out onto a high plateau above a plain, just like the one I went to first, but I know this is different. It feels different. We drop down a track and onto the ground of the plain.


A chamois goat appears and head-butts me. I do not know if it is angry, but it wants me to move. It butts me so I back up against a rock.  I turn and see that it is one of a circle of rocks, placed deliberately, at the foot of the mountain. The Chamois say to me through her eyes that this is where I am meant to be. I ask her, you mean to answer how I can move from being motivated by my ego to true Service?


I jump up onto the rocks and look down into the circle and I see that it is a crucible, waiting to be fertilised. I fertilise it, I see the drops of seed touching the ground and flowers and grasses spring up.


The first little death


The Chamois says Go! Run!


I run and run, the grasses and flowers suddenly shoot up all around me as I run, under my feet, all around me, the fertility and abundance is spreading all around me, rolling up the barren mountainside and plain all around me.


I come to a cliff and under it is a family of humans. The man and woman come to me and I ask them again; how do I move from being motivated by my ego to true Service? They strip me naked and then give me a smock made of goat hide. It has wide shoulders and slits for my head and arms. It smells of Goat and scratches my naked skin. They tell me to lie down.


I lie down and all the family come to gather around me. The woman looks at me with love in her deep eyes. The man asks me, are you ready? I do not know for what. I don’t move. He punctures the vein in my neck and as I hold the woman’s gaze, my blood leaves my body and soaks into the ground.


The second little death


I seep into the ground with my blood. I lie, warm and dark in the Earth, holding, waiting, waiting for something. There is nothing. Then I feel my whole body being taken away from me by tiny creatures, a piece at a time, until I am everywhere.


The third little death


I soar up out of the Earth and hover above the whole plain, bodiless.


I see in the distance the ocean and I fly to it and when I get there I return into my body and Dolphin is there and I ask him; how do I move from being motivated by my ego to true Service? I leap onto his back and, naked once again I swim with him. I feel the water over my body and we swim and swim and swim. I feel such delight and joy to be so dolphin-like and free in the water. I feel so elemental and free.


After a long distance, we arrive at a craggy island. Dolphin says for me to climb up. As I go ashore, a cormorant shits on me and tries to attack me. I ask him the same question: how do I move from being motivated by my ego to true Service?I realise I have kept my Goatskin, so I put it on and walk further up the cliff edge, up onto the soft bouncy grass and the cormorant leaves me alone.


When I am at the top, I lie down once more on the soft grass and I see a daisy who I eat. I feel it going down into my body and I turn into a daisy. Standing in the breeze, I am the flower and I am the Goatskinned human.


Shewolf tells me it is time to come back. I retrace the long journey; back through the ocean, over the plain, up the mountain, through the nerve centre and back up the tunnel, onto the first plain and into the cave.




Do you see now?


Yes, I see. I know now. Thank you. The Wolf and the Stones, the Goat and the Humans, the Dolphin and the Cormorant and the Daisy have weaved their magic.


I can still feel the scratchy goatskin against my shoulders.




Unexploded Ordnance and Toxic Material

I have always known that the northern Pennines hold a richness of ancient archaeology that baffles my mind with mysteries of stories and wonders. I have also been aware that this region has also been a dumping ground for terrible secrets, ones that the perpetrators have hoped time and grasses would finally cover over, making them disappear into the occult of our history.


Having lived here for many years my journeys onto the moors usually reveals some hidden, and at times painful, truth, such as coming across semi-barren land, the remains of tailing of lead mines, where barely anything has colonised the wound. Still raw, after many generations of hiding, exposed on the hillside, they lie, forgotten and shamed in their purpose.


Today, I walked the dogs up on a road that was new to me. The wind was sharp, bitter, ready to rain on me. Suddenly I came across a sign, bright red, standing sentinel and alone on the high moor. It read:




I became suddenly very aware of the lumps and scar tissue in the ground; sheets of concrete, moss-eaten at the edges as it attempted to colonise the surface, ghostly outlines of brick buildings, roads to nowhere. Up on the horizon was a skeleton of some once-huge structure. Now left to collapse and return its abandoned being to the Earth.


What was this place? What on Earth could have happened here? Why was it toxic, dangerous, explosive? Was I safe? Were my dogs safe, as they tried to take bites out of a carcass of a road-killed rabbit?


Amongst the enormous site were farms, and sheep. People remained in this place. To farm, to thrive. My mind went to how they must feel. Was this a landscape they loved? Or was it a landscape that kept others out, a deliberate act of hiding from the outside world? Or was I speculating?


I looked at the map. The entire moor side was marked “storage site (disused)”. Truly captivated, I took out my phone and googled it. What came up stopped me in my tracks:


Experts put residents’ mind at rest over moor’s dangers

RESIDENTS living near a former RAF base contaminated with chemical weapons have been reassured that the site is safe.

[…….] in County Durham, was used by the RAF during the Second World War as a chemical weapons storage and disposal depot.

After the war the site was cleaned up but an investigation completed in February 2008 showed there were still traces of harmful chemicals such as sulphur mustard, lead and arsenic.

Mustard gas causes skin to blister and is also carcinogenic.

As a result of the study the Ministry of Defence launched a second, more thorough investigation into the 85- hectare site, which is used for sheep grazing.

The full article can be found here

I looked up from the screen and took in the land around me. Here, on this lonely hill, hidden from the main road by the natural contours of the land, tons of toxic weapons were held, to be shipped to British and allied troops to use in World War Two. Dangerous work, for the body and mind. Who worked here? Does anyone still remember this site when it was active? Would anyone tell me? Suddenly I remember my old neighbour Jack, who died last year aged 92. He was in the Home Guard. Why didn’t he tell me of this place? Now I realise he probably knew all along, the site was on his patch, after all. He would have been tasked with protecting it, serving it somehow, no doubt. Keep it secret, keep it safe.

Tumbles of questions filled my mind. What was it like when it was in use? When did it get dismantled? What is the true impact of what remains? How long will it take our great Mother Earth to finally, truly cleanse this site of not only the chemicals, but the wounds? Who around me is holding onto this wound? I begin to see how wounds are held, like burning embers of pain, deep inside a soul for all their lives, hidden, occult, and if not carefully, lovingly healed they become the next generations’ embers too. What the Earth holds, is mirrored within us, and vice versa.

It has rained a lot recently. It has rained a lot since the end of the War. The moor gushes water, past the warning signs and down, into the rivers, into the Tees and into the oceans eventually. The water cleanses but contaminates at the same time, if that is what it has been given to carry. I shudder with grief, shame, horror at what we have done.

The rain that has been holding begins to fall, sharp onto my face. I have seen enough and decide to turn back. But before I do, I suddenly realise that this place cannot be an orphan from me anymore. I know of it now and I want to show it that I see it, I see into the occult of our wounds and I want to bring these wounds into the light. I go to one of the trackways that must have once led somewhere, a path through looming workshops and warehouses, but now leads only onto cratered moor land. I stop and look around for things to make a gift with. There is so very little up here, except dead rabbits, gravel and the occasional Pepsi can. I spy two spent shotgun cartridges. How fitting, I think, to make something beautiful with these for such a site. I gather some pebbles and make a tiny cairn, and pull dead reeds from the trackside. I make a bird. The Radical Joy Bird of love.


Disattisfied with what I have made, I fuss, trying to make it more beautiful with what I have. Then I stop, realising that this place has so very little to offer up, but what it has is enough and fitting.

As I walked back, I slow my pace to truly take in what remains above the ground; strange shapes spin my imagination back in time to the hustle and bustle of the War effort; people in RAF uniform, trucks, shouting, laughter, perhaps. I walk back the final mile, deep in my inner eye, reconstructing this whole world in my mind. What a place to have been and a time to have existed up here. Then I look up and realise that I am surrounded by an emptiness of true orphaning. This wound runs deep, I realise.

Yet, I know that I have made a bird in flight, a gift of beauty to this place. I wonder if a baffled farmer will come across it and wonder at the strangeness of humans.

Just as I leave the site, I spy the bright yellow of ragwort by the outline of a building. Such a dangerous plant. The sheep know instinctively to leave it where it grows. But when it is cut it becomes sweet, and deadly. It nods in the brisk wind and I turn from it, filled with its message.

Into the Woods- a night solo


A fox came to me with a piece of blank paper yesterday. I could see that some words were written on it but I couldn’t see what they were. Then today I realise that they say


You have forgotten to kiss the wounded Earth.


He gave me a metal bracket, cream coloured with a screw in the middle of it.  Triangular arms radiating out. It was an object that was familiar, from somewhere half buried in a cluttered outbuilding. In my childhood I think I must have stood at the doorway, looking in at all the treasures left to slowly entropy. It must have been sticking out, once useful, now detached from its original purpose and left, forgotten in the pile.


Five baby wrens flew around me as I entered into the woods, darting in and out of the tangle of wire fencing where their nest must have been. Low to the ground, wings beating like bedsheets in a hurricane.


Wounds all around and within.


A tyre lies right by where I decide to put up my hammock. How did it get here? How come it was left? Was it abandoned by someone who still intends to pop back and get it or has it, like me, slipped out of human consciousness for a while?


I shall bring it back.


It becomes the skull of a bird in flight, with its wings outstretched, flying towards the East. I spend some time collecting the right sticks. This is one big bird, I realise. Its skull alone could weigh as much as an elephant’s so it needs a big, glorious body, vibrant and powerful. His beak could swallow the fox in one gulp. Yet this is a bird of peace. Benevolent. And I am glad of its company.


As the long afternoon draws downwards and north-westward, I stand in the glorious sunlight at the edge of the meadow and enjoy its warmth. Suddenly, a sheep and her lambs come trundling towards my spot, utterly unaware of my existence. I catch my breath in wonder. They are not scared, they are not even aware of me. I have become completely invisible. I watch her as she snickers and grazes, flicking flies as she goes with ears and tail. Her being brings tears to my eyes and I fall in love.


For who did ever ask her ancestor for permission for this relationship? Did human and sheep ever make a pact that she has to live her life by now? I know the answer to this. I am on this side of the fence, she on that one and she is as doomed as I.


As dusk falls the badger comes out of his den. He lollops like a bulldozer in exactly the direction he wants to go. I am nothing to him. Idoes not even exist in Badger-time.


I sleep and sleep. I awake from a deep pool of dreams and lessons and guides and fantasies. Caroline calls me back in a dream: there are four places left she says. Four places for what? I wonder that still. I lie in my gently swinging hammock, slowly pulling the threads of an awake state together and watch the russet-grey squirrels as they run up and down headfirst every single tree. They explore woodpiles and undergrowth. They stop and take note of invisible messages, paws frozen in mid-air, bodies pure muscle and tails twitching. Birds squabble and I feel the beginnings of hunger.


Being makes the squirrels come out

Doing sends them away


I move to reach my bag of nuts and wham! the wood is empty except for the scolding birds and the sound of plastic rustling loudly and unnaturally as I feed myself. I long for this to be over so that they can come back.


When it is, and they do, so does the rain. I sit, deep in the green womb of the wet forest, meditating, chanting with eyes open and I take it all in. I bathe in the green and the chant and the bowl and the drip of the water and the drinking of the trees. I lose myself through a square window of sticks, gazing at the far distance and the green enters into me. I breathe in something rich, perfect, wounded and real. The boundary of my skin dissolves and the wood becomes me, I become the wood. I become the rain and the rain becomes me. I breathe their oxygen and they breathe in my carbon dioxide and I don’t even notice as I am lost in the sea of green.




The Bird I made lies, enormous, in the wet ground elder. Its wings outstretched and I feel the expectancy of first, fledgling flight, like those tiny wrens.


I turn to my little Pocket Rumi book and open it to see what there is to see:


Wings of Desire


People are distracted by objects of desire,

And afterwards repent of the lust they have indulged,

Because they have indulged with a phantom

And are left even farther from Reality than before.


Your desire for the illusory is a wing,

By means of which a seeker might ascend to Reality.

When you have indulged a lust, your wings drop off;

You become lame and that fantasy flees.


Preserve the wing and do not indulge in such lust,

So that the wing of desire might bear you to Paradise.


People fancy that they are enjoying themselves,

But they are really tearing out their wings,

For the sake of an illusion.


-Rumi. From Mathnawi III, 2133-38


I sit back, overwhelmed that such a soul could reach across the aeons and touch my soul like this. Guides and wisdom-keepers have told us over and over in sacred texts of these truths. I am humbled that they have loved so deeply all unknown and unborn people, far, far into the distant future. Tears well up; the rain finds its way to the ground through my tear ducts and down, tumbling freely to nourish the Earth. My lusts are, and have been, illusions and I know what it means to tear out my own wings. I have torn them out, again and again. It has taken me many years and many mistakes in the quest to find where they lay, discarded, and to find a way to reattach them. I made yarn from different things. Many times I thought I had sewn them back on, only to realise that the yarn had broken and the ragged remnants were flapping, useless, in the wind.


Tentatively I am trying a new yarn, one that has taken more than a decade to make and I feel the expectancy of the fledgling as it stands, poised on the brink of the nest. To fly towards a Paradise that was always there, and to discern illusion from Reality.


Humbled, I turn to pack up my shelter and return to the fire.

A walk through ragged beauty….

I am delighted to say that the blog “Anima Monday” has published my story: A walk through ragged beauty. If you would like to read it please follow this link:

“Slowly, the drum began to loosen. The voice of the drum deepened until I knew I had only a couple of more beats before it would become too slack to play. So I finished the drumming and allowed the silence to return. Curlews called as they wheeled about. The oystercatchers twittered, a couple of geese honked as they winged overhead. Dog and I sat and watched sheets of rain pass us by. Perhaps we had found a little foothold of the valley gods, for in here we felt detached, voyeuristic, apart from the elemental dance wheeling about the land.”

A story

Dawn had broken somewhere but not here, under the unbroken blanket of cloud. The wind wheeled the crows high and scattered in the sky and the overgrown wisteria knocked against the window of their bedroom. The letterbox downstairs whistled occasionally. They lay in bed, cosy under the thick duvet.

“The dog needs a walk before you go to work.”


A warm hand reached out and touched the soft skin on her belly. It gently moved over and around it, drawing her close. They lay, touching, breathing into each other, sleepy and peaceful, curled into the warmth of their bodies.

“I’ll go then.” She kissed his closed eyelids and turned to get out of the bed.

In the darkness she put on her socks, tucking in her pyjama bottoms, pulled on her warmest navy blue fisherman’s jumper bought at the coast and went downstairs. Sleepily she pulled on her wellies and after looking out of the window, decided to put on her raincoat.

“You coming?” she asked Dog. “Silly question,” she added, as he started knocking wellies over with his bounds and knocking into her legs with glee.

Buttoned up, she paused before opening the door; the doorway from hearth to elements was clear today. Some days there was barely a transition. But today, as she opened the door, a shower of trapped gutter water dropped onto her head and the door instantly began to pull away from her grasp in the howling wind.

“Some edges are pretty sharp, aren’t they?” she grinned at Dog. He bounded off in hot pursuit of a phantom cat. Shutting the door, she turned and gave herself to the day. The wind was blustery and noisy, the rain had already told her that it was in charge, horizontal and bitter against her skin. “Ouch,” she muttered as it stung.

Most days she liked to be out before the dawn. Liminal times, spaces, and portals had held a special fascination for her recently. Times like dawn and dusk held such clear messages for her. She did her best thinking and intuitive work at these times. These were the times in her life when she felt most in touch, her cup was filled by the Sacred most easily at these times and in those places in the landscape. To feel the slowly brightening day wake up around her was one of her most precious pleasures. She had missed that time today, so the messages were much more earth-bound, such as take your waterproof and be careful in the woods in case you get hit by a falling branch. 

“I must fix that gutter,” she muttered to herself.

The chickens, awake and out of their house were wet, bedraggled and fussy. She threw some crusts over the high fence to them and said good morning. Why do they insist on staying outdoors on days like this, she wondered? Chickens are such calming creatures. They’ve been a domesticated species for thousands of years. They are distant relatives of the European pheasant that had been brought over the Britain by the Romans, but had existed for a very long time before that, dutifully producing eggs for humans. When she was pregnant she had loved to spend her days around the chickens, cleaning out their house, pottering, giving them scraps, or during the long, heavy summer months just sitting in a sunny spot in their enclosure, her and Dog, watching them. Sometimes one would come and peck her bare toes and she would giggle. Even with thick wellies on they still come and peck at them.

“I really love you girls” she said. She meant it. The family had long taken in chickens that had been farmed in battery barns, living in cages the size of a sheet of printer paper in artificial light. When they came to her they were bald, emaciated and terrified. Some chickens died within days of being exposed to pathogens in the soil. Some took weeks, if not all of their lives, to return from the place of terror they had been trapped in, pecking each other, fearful of humans and very scared. Yet all of them were beautiful souls who needed a chance in life to reveal their magic. Industrial food production assumes, erroneously, that a chicken’s only magic is to lay eggs and to do so regularly. Yet what these chickens had taught was that their true magic was in their souls.

This particular group of chickens were just over a year old and had been with the family since the summer. The week before they had experienced snow for the first time, which caused great hilarity amongst the girls.

“This one is saying ‘no way! I’m not going out there, I’ll get super cold feet!’ ” giggled the seven year old, fluent in Chicken.

One ran out into it, making a beeline for a tasty morsel, only to find it was a twig, kicked up by the dog. She stopped, made a reprimanding ‘brrrrrk’ and turned to peck at the frozen water canister. Peck, peck. Mum got a shovel and smashed the ice, as the chicken looked on like a nosy, bossy manager. She smiled as the chicken filled her beak and lifted her head to gurgle the water down her throat. Whatever a chicken does, it does it with completely focussed attention, she noticed. It may seem to us a trivial thing to be so focussed on, but to a chicken every single action grips them completely in its magic until it is done. Like looking at a twig, or drinking water. Even pecking toes, or running after the dog.

One chicken still hadn’t completely grown all her feathers back, after arriving seven months previously; she had been named Afagddu, pronounced Avagthee who was the welsh goddess Ceridwen’s very ugly child, in honour of her utter ugliness. Afagddu still exhibited the deepest wounds from her time imprisoned in the cage; she was still very wary of the other chickens, who would peck her remorselessly. She did not like to be picked up and always waited in the background when scraps were dropped, waiting until her more boisterous coop-mates had barged their way in and grabbed their morsel.

“Here’s a crust for you” she said, throwing it into a corner where Afagddu could run and eat it without being mobbed. Another lesson from the chickens is that they are not kind; they are still wild at heart, living in their own dispassionate world in their own dispassionate way.

She moved on, past the chickens, out of the garden gate and onto the moor. Up the low hill they climbed, battered and stung by the oncoming north wind and rain as they combined to give her a dose of their raw elemental power. Hunched against the dripping rain, she failed completely to stop it going up her sleeves and down into the face opening. Her coat flapped so loudly and the rain clattered on the fabric of the hood that her hearing was nearly entirely impaired, yet something made her stop and turn around. Half way up the hill the view was already opening up beyond the house; she could see the rooftops and the trees, the glint of the swollen river and far beyond that the rise of the southern moors. Now the north wind was at her back, trying to push her bodily back down the hill. Yet she stood, braced, poised and alert. Something had caught her attention.

Looking out, nothing seemed out of place. The world she knew, her house, the village below where her friends lived, the shop, the little school where her children went were all there, lying peacefully in front of her.

She turned back around and kept walking. Dog tore around her in wide circles.

The top of the low hill is marked with a single standing stone. For many years she had been coming up here, to wonder at it. Some say it is a glacial erratic, some that it once belonged to an entire stone circle, or that it was a way marker for an ancient route across the moors. The wind up here was uninterrupted and fierce. She had to force her way through the invisible air to get to the stone. As she always did, she paused, hand outstretched, hovering an inch or so above it. In her mind she doubted she would feel anything in this howling gale, but it was a ritual she never failed to undertake. When greeting a stone, a tree, an animal and most certainly a human, it was important to connect to its energy first. Some beings were like open books; she felt their energy waxing and waning as clearly as reading the moon phases. Some took far more time to connect with and some took forever, much, much longer than the span of her lifetime.

This particular stone had taken its time to introduce itself to her, but one sunny day, in fact when she had been pregnant with her third child and had been visiting for some time, the stone had responded to her hand hovering there. A warm fuzz emanated from the top of the stone that day, a sensation that wasn’t uniform over the entire surface. She had gasped aloud in happiness. Stone magic is slow, it takes eons to understand. Many of the stone circles had been erected long before the particular stone energy had been truly connected to, she was sure of it. She had wondered at this before; what did the builders of the great circles that dot our landscape learn from those stones in that first generation? Is what they learned the same as what we learn today?

Today, nothing at all happened as she put out her hand. No sensation met her palm. But again, suddenly she was gripped with a desire to turn around. A voice, it seemed, shouted a clear instruction to her: look.

She turned and saw.

To her left, in the east, the sun had suddenly broken through the ragged clouds and made a slanting ray of light that illuminated her. Sheets of rain in front of her face sparkled and danced as each drop caught the light as it bounced and refracted all around her. Drips forming on her hood shook like crystal balls, iridescent and brilliant. Her wet eyelashes caught the light and she was suddenly blinded, cocooned inside the water as it split and made rainbows, over and over again around her. The wind and the rain rewrote patterns of light before her, swirling and falling, bouncing on blades of grass, on her coat, on the dog’s fur as he stood, quiet now and lolling his tongue. Nothing stayed still and yet for a long, long moment this broken, glorious light-show played all around her as she smiled and sobbed and sang with joy, not sure if it was of the rain or her tears that she was a part.

Then it was over. The sun hid behind a bank of cloud and the brilliance diminished. She caught her breath, deeply alive to the moment that had just been, trying desperately to not let it go. But it passed, as all beautiful moments must.

Sighing, she looked at Dog, who looked back at her, now just a wet and fed up animal, ready to go home for his breakfast.

“Me too,” she said.

In companionable silence, they allowed the wind to push them back down the wet moor, through the gate, past the chickens and through the door. A little shower of gutter water fell on her as she opened it.

“I’ll sort that today”, she thought.

Her gaze fell upon a small feather that her daughter had picked up in the autumn on one of their walks. It was a pheasant feather, a short and inconspicuous one. One of the little hidden ones that keeps the bird warm and flying. The wind had picked it up off the window and dropped it on the floor. She picked it up, putting it back on the windowsill. Smiling at small magics, she went to get the children ready for school.