Making magical connections

We all need more magical connections. By connection I mean any link or relationship you have with the world around you. With other people, of course, but also with the other living beings and objects around you. All these connections keep you alive and make you the person you are. These connections become magical when you feel [...]

Harvesting the strength of community

What a year it has been. As I contemplate my year’s harvest at the Autumn Equinox, I give thanks for what Alex and I have achieved. For the fact that the weather has mostly been very kind. For the continued health of our bodies and our relationship. But the thing that strikes me most is how [...]

A safe space for dangerous emotions

“Ritual. It’s an interesting word. It has a certain flavour to it, heady and dangerous.” - from Ritual Toolkit Our culture, and as a consequence most of us, are a bit funny about emotions. We don’t quite know what to do with them. We are afraid of them, scared that they will get someone hurt. So [...]

Calling peace in unsettled times

I have been out of sorts, in more ways than one. As I was committing more of my time to the renovation project, my spiritual practice slipped. And when that happens, trouble is usually soon to follow. It’s not always obvious though, when things start slipping. I have been very busy working away and feeling very [...]

A meditation for personal healing

It was a beautiful day yesterday. In the morning I was out early, climbing our scaffolding tower to get to the upstairs windows. At the level of the trees’ canopies, I was applying filler to the gap between the new windows and the wall. The wind made the trees speak to me as I worked. In [...]

Weaving ritual for a new world

Slowly, slowly, we are weaving a new world in the cracks of the old. Everywhere, people are coming together to make communities closely connected to the land. Last week, I had the honour of speaking at the Rainbow Druid Camp, where hundreds of people came together to celebrate and find inspiration. At the same time, [...]

Westacre Newsletter #19 – A Midsummer Meditation

In this issue

Westacre’s latest
Meditation: the flow of green power
Featured link: the Great Story
What you can do

Westacre’s latest

The greens of Westacre have matured and darkened. Little green apples and damsons are swelling on the trees. We’re watching our first raspberries grow on the canes we planted just this spring. Life is full of promise.

The next couple of months promise to be very busy. We are about to start implementing the centre piece of our eco-renovation: the external wall insulation.

Alex has carefully calculated how many boards of insulation we will need. And how many rolls of mesh and pots of render. On Monday a man came to do a test to determine the length of fastenings we will need to fix the boards to the wall. And we have finally decided exactly what colour our house is going to be. We have quotes for scaffolding and the materials are ordered. Everything is ready to go!

With 15 cm of polystyrene added to the outside of our house, we hope to be able to live all but the coldest days of the year without additional heating. That will save a lot of carbon dioxide, especially if we manage to heat all our water with solar panels as well.

Just as well we have these long summer days to do all the work. We are not really morning people, so it is good that the sun is still out into the evening as we carry on working right up to dinner time.

The long days draw the fullness of life out of the trees and plants, making them flourish towards their life’s purpose. What is the power of the Sun drawing out of you at the moment? The meditation below will help you align with that seasonal flourishing.

Blessings of the summer days,

Hilde
Meditation:

Less than a week ago, we passed the point of greatest light at the Summer Solstice. From this point, the days start to shorten and we begin our journey into the darkness of Winter.

But for now, Summer is here and warm days will be with us for a few months yet. At this time of year, the natural world fulfils its purpose. Animals rear their young and plants ripen their fruits and seeds. They use all the energy they receive from sun, soil and rain to reach their highest potential.

This mediation can be done anywhere, but it is great to work with the energy of the Sun directly. Do please be sensible, though. The Sun is very powerful at this time of the year. Depending on your skin type, you may choose to sit in the dappled shade of a tree. Do your meditation in the first few hours after sunrise, when the Sun hasn’t reached its full power yet. Drink plenty of water before and after your meditation.

Sit down in your chosen place and get yourself comfortable. When you feel settled, turn your attention to your breath. Just allow it to do its own thing. Simply notice its rhythm, flowing in and out of your body.

Take your attention deeper inward. Become aware of the area around your heart. Stay with the sensations you feel there. Don’t judge or try to change anything. Just notice what your heart feels like.

Notice now, that a small light is burning in your heart. A tiny light in the darkness. Watch it for a while. Stay with the light at your core.

When you feel ready, shift your awareness to your whole body. Feel the warmth of the Sun on your skin. Enjoy the light and the heat. Be with the Sun.

Then take your awareness out a bit further, to the edge of your aura. Can you feel where your awareness ends? How far do you reach outside your skin? Try to get a sense of that. When you do, feel where your aura touches the light and warmth of the Sun. Notice how the two interact. Is there any resistance? Is the healing power of the Sun flowing in freely? Just notice how that is.

Only you can judge if your aura is too tight, too resistant to the Sun. If you feel it is, try consciously making it a bit more transparent. If you feel overwhelmed by the power of the sunlight, you may want to make it a little denser, so you have a little spiritual shade. Have a play around with this until you and the Sun are comfortable with each other.

Then begin to breathe the Sun into your body. Gently breathe the golden light in through your skin. Let its warmth and light slowly, gradually fill you.

Eventually, the light of the Sun you are breathing in will meet with the tiny light of your heart. Notice what happens when it does. Your experience will be unique and all your own. There may be another area of protection around your heart. If you feel that, just notice it and let the Sun touch it. Play with making it more or less transparent.

Let your heartlight and the sunlight talk to each other for as long as you like. You may only want to stay there for a few moments, or you may want to let the Sun light you up for a long time. Don’t judge yourself or your experience. Just let it be as it is.

When you feel ready, become aware again of your heartlight as separate from the light of the Sun. Feel your body, strengthened by the radiant light, as your own body again. Feel the edge of your aura, still dancing with the Sun but clearly there as your edge.

Now ask your heart what it would most love to do next. Just let that question drop into your heart space and listen for an answer.

When you hear the answer, give thanks and commit to your heart to follow its advice. Our deepest heart’s desires are the way Spirit shows us the way to our fullest potential.

Now let any excess energy flow into the Earth. It is pure sunlight refracted by your own unique self. It will go to feed and heal the beings that live around you.

When you are complete, gently start moving. Do drink and eat something to ground yourself. And do something practical and tangible towards your heart’s desire.

May you flourish in the warm light of the Sun.
Featured link: The Great Story

The links I feature here are usually ones I have stumbled across while surfing the internet for things that interest me. They speak to my world view and hold a seed of a new culture taking seed in the cracks of the old. I hope you find them interesting too.

This week I have learned about The Great Story. It is the story of the origin and evolution of our Universe told as a myth that gives meaning to our human lives. In the telling of the story, we emerge as stardust come alive, able to reflect on the beauty of the world we have inherited.

The Great Story stands in contrast to the Judeo-Christion creation story where humans are made in the image of a god who is outside and separate from his creation. We are given dominion over the Earth, able to use it as we please.

It has become abundantly clear that this vision of ourselves as separate and superior isn’t doing us and our brother and sister creatures any good. It is time to tell a new story about ourselves. One where we stand together with each other and the more-than-human-world as beings emerging from the same origin, sharing the same world.

The Great Story isn’t over. It is still telling itself, and as humans we are responsible for how it will continue here on Earth. It is a story that can be told by people who have faith in the Divine and those who put their faith in science. It is a great epic that we are part of and continuing to write together.

For more about the Great Story and ways to use it in education and the growing of the culture in the cracks, go here: http://www.thegreatstory.org/what_is.html
What you can do

Take some time to listen to what your Sun-empowered heart asks of you. We are following our own hearts’ desire at Westacre. We continue to tell the story on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Westacreproject), Twitter (https://twitter.com/HildeWestacre), and our blog (http://www.westacre.org.uk/category/project/).

You can find all our contact details at http://www.westacre.org.uk/contact/

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Making community with the natural world: a first step

So where do we start? We are in this predicament where millennia of seeing ourselves as separate has brought us to the brink of disaster. We need to create a new way of seeing ourselves in relation to the natural world. In the past week or two, there has been some controversy among my friends on [...]

Froth Pak for the foundations

It finally feels as though our renovation adventure has properly started. The first few square metres of our walls are covered in insulation. The process of insulating the foundations is simple but labour intensive.

In order to give the house a good air tight envelope, we need to insulate the outside wall past ground level down to the concrete foundations. We will also be putting insulation boards underneath our new concrete floor when we start work indoors. Leaving the foundations bare would create a cold bridge that would compromise the effectiveness of the floor and external wall insulation.

The first step in the process is to dig a trench a couple of spades deep by the

Trench dug down to the concrete foundations.

Trench dug down to the concrete foundations.

outside wall of the house. While we’re at it, we’re changing the way the drain and waste pipes are configured, ready for when we build our new bathrooms. We are also laying a path all around the house to keep vegetation away from the relatively vulnerable EWI. Lots of digging required, but we’re up for it, with a little help from our friends.

Having revealed the brickwork below ground level, we took a stiff brush to it to remove the last bits of earth. This gives the spray foam the best chance of adhering to the wall. Next, we

Attaching the plastic edge to the wall.

Attaching the plastic edge to the wall.

screwed an L-shaped plastic profile to the wall, just underneath the damp proof course, marking the top edge for the insulation foam. It turned out that this really helps to keep the edge clean and the foam away from the damp proof course.

Then came to fun part: spraying the Forth Pak foam onto the wall. We are using a product called Froth Pak, which comes in two canisters, red and blue. The two products combine in the spraying nozzle. Once they are mixed, they harden very quickly to form a hard coat on the wall.

Froth Pak comes with some very specific instructions. You need to attach the tubes to the

Froth Pak canisters with tubes, nozzle and vaseline

Froth Pak canisters with tubes, nozzle and vaseline

canisters correctly, blue to blue and red to red. The disposable nozzles are clipped in with some vaseline. This keeps the trigger nice and clean. Once you start using the nozzle, you can’t stop for more than 30 seconds before the combined products start to harden inside and you have to throw it away and attach a new one.

Because of that, we put the canisters in a wheel barrow they could stay close to the person spraying. the tubes are about 3 metres long, which is shorter than our walls. We managed to keep going quite smoothly that way, even though the route took us from one side of the house to the other, via some dug trenches.

Our first coat of insulation.

Our first coat of insulation.

At our first go, we didn’t know how frothy the product would be, so we ended up

with a coat that was too thin. We learned that you can’t go back over a bit you’ve recently done, as the new expanding layer will pull the layer that is already hardening off the wall. If you need a second coat, you need to give the first coat some time to harden completely.

Unfortunately for us, the second coat had to wait. As we opened the valve on one of the canisters for our second go,

The blue canister developed a leaky valve. This isn't supposed to happen.

The blue canister developed a leaky valve. This isn’t supposed to happen.

foam started frothing out of the valve. That’s not what was supposed to happen. We took the faulty canister back to the shop. Thankfully they were very understanding and helpful and gave us two new canisters. Apparently this fault is rare but not unheard of. The second coat went on smoothly after that.

Finally, we painted the top 30 cm or so of our foundation insulation with bitumen paint, to weather proof it. This is the bit that will stick out above ground level, so it needs some

The finished insulation. Our path will raise the ground level further.

The finished insulation. Our path will raise the ground level further.

extra help. We soon worked out that a daub of diluted PVA is needed to help the bitumen paint stick to the shiny surface of the insulation.

We have done about a third of our foundations. With a few more days of nice

weather, we should be able to finish.

Next, we’re getting ready for scaffolding. Watch this space.

Weaving the Magic of Connection

The world is changing, and the change is human-made. In response, we are weaving a new world of community with all beings. We have, in a very short time, degraded the environment so far that some of its creatures cannot survive. The rate of extinctions is speeding up. News of mass deaths, of fish and of [...]