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,


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 [...]

Westacre Newsletter issue #17

In this issue

  • Westacre’s latest
  • Interview with Cilla Conway – a chance to win The Devas of Creation
  • Featured link: Alliance for Wild Ethics
  • What you can do

Westacre’s latest

We’re still digging. Digging out old pipes and reconfiguring them. Digging trenches and holes for new pipes and inspection chambers. And filling it all back in again with gravel and soil.

It can be quite back breaking, but there is nothing like sitting down at the end of a day’s work and feeling happy with what you’ve achieved.

We’re mostly finished with the complicated bits now. The rest of the digging is straightforward by comparison. That’s why we’ve called on our friends to come and help us dig out the foundations ready for their foam insulation. We’re having a digging party this Saturday, 31st May.

You’re very welcome to come and join us, if a day of communal digging appeals to you. The weather forecast for Saturday is very promising. You can find the details here: You can find the details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/653990894691786/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

The other landmark this week is that I’ve finally managed to make the next episode in the Westacre video blog. It’s been a long time coming, but finally you can see some before and after pictures of Roger’s bungalow, with his comments. Episode 7 is here: http://youtu.be/QW11Zy31YLw

I’m also very proud to include in this Newsletter an interview with Cilla Conway about her relationship with the Devas of Creation and the publication of her divination deck. Cilla is offering a free deck exclusively to readers of this Newsletter.

I hope you enjoy this issue.

Blessings of birdsong,


Interview: Cilla Conway and the Devas of Creation

Cilla has been a dear friend of mine for over a decade now. We met as members of OBOD, have shared bits of our life journey, and have taught courses about the Tarot together.

When we first met, Cilla had started a daily practice of working on paintings representing the forces that underlie creation. She met them and got to know them through painting them. She calls them the Devas of Creation.

This week, she received delivery of her self-published deck based on these paintings. The images are powerful and speak directly to the reader’s deepest self. In this interview, Cilla tells us more about them.

Who are the beings you depict in the Deva cards?

The beings depicted on the Deva cards are the invisible energy patterns of the universe, multi-dimensional beings that hold the blueprints for every aspect of existence, from the smallest sub-atomic particles to the universe itself.

Why did you start painting them? And what kept you going for 72 images?

I started painting the images because, very unusually for me, I went to a talk on angels in November 2002. The man giving the talk was lovely, very inspiring, and at the end of it I had a brief chat with him, saying that it was a pity he only had Doreen Virtue cards there, as I felt there should be a deck that depicted the angelics as they really were – powerful and awe-inspiring, but never sweet. I had already painted a couple of decks of tarot and (thinking aloud), said, ‘Maybe I should paint one.’ ‘Go for it’, he said.

When I woke the next morning I realised that everything I had painted up till then depicted some sort of Otherworldly being – not angelic, but energetic, vibrational. I thought of them as the eldils (from C.S. Lewis), or the Devas. Many years back when I was still in Zimbabwe (I was brought up in Africa), a friend had been to Findhorn in north Scotland, and told us about these these beings: multi-dimensional beings that were the blueprints of everything in the universe (in Vedic lore, the Devas are the Shining Ones).

So I started painting – no plan, just went into it. As I painted, I was startled to find some immensely powerful angelic images appear. That makes it sound as if I wasn’t the one painting, and indeed that’s how it felt. I would find a piece of card and more or less see what came down my arm onto the card. It was an amazing process.

After a while, I realised the images were falling into patterns – there were the angelics, then energies that were numinous but not angelic, a few much darker energies and then images of the natural world (spring, summer, mountain). I love the hermetic saying ‘as above, so below’, and saw that the ‘earth, below’ images could reflect the ‘upper, above’ images, so I began to work with that underlying structure.

Towards the end it became a bit difficult as I had to make a decision about whether to have 64 cards (8 x 8, which felt very symmetric) or 72 (8 x 9, which would allow me to keep the planets in the deck). I decided to keep them, and by a bit of judicious juggling the Devas – as depicted in the deck – have 36 depictions of pure energy, ad 36 that reflect that energy in manifested forms.

Would you say that the process of painting put you in touch with the Devas themselves? Are there other ways you communicate with them?

Yes, I would definitely say that the process of painting put me in touch with the Devas. When I began, I could never have imagined their scope – I had a vague idea from previous artworks, and of course from Findhorn Foundation, but most writers and people working with Devas concentrated on communication with the natural world – plants, vegetables, and animals. Being able to communicate with moles, for instance, i.e. asking them to go and dig in an field rather than a vegetable or flower garden, was something people found useful.

But as I went on painting the breadth and depth of the Devas’ remit became much clearer – these were the creative energies that underpinned and co-created the different levels of existence – the multiuniverse, as some call it now.

Communicating with the Devas is more about awareness than anything else – long before I started the deck, I realised that the wind responded to questions and thoughts, especially when spoken aloud. Wind, rain, the sun and moon – all these are highly responsive (I guess the stars would be too, if I knew anything about them but unfortunately I’m woefully ignorant about astronomy and astrology).

The Devas will also answer questions – usually through synchronicity although I have known them to take direct action if they don’t agree with something. They have a pretty active sense of humour, too (you remember the saying ‘be careful what you ask for, you just might get it’? Well, the Devas are great at supplying things that you’ve asked for – to the letter – and as you gaze at whatever it is in rueful amazement, you can often hear the echo of devic amusement.)

I have to admit I’m not aware enough to communicate or connect with the Devas 24/7 – I wish I were – but I know they’re there all the time, watching over us with impartial compassion, even as they test or chuckle at us.

You are a professional Tarot reader, and you also use your Deva cards in your readings. What do you use each type of card for? What different information do you get from them?

I use the tarot as a basis for most consultations, reading intuitively (I hardly ever refer to the book meanings apart from when I read for myself!). The tarot reflect the day-to-day realities of the client’s life, and the Major Arcana indicate when there are big changes round the corner.

The Devas look at the energy around the client, and indicate the higher-level information the client can access in the future. I also work through some of the archangels in the deck (Raphael, Worlds, and Mikhael) to offer healing, help, and/or a reboot where appropriate!

Having said that, though, I’m aware that these are beings whose remit is the universe, not only humanity; they can and will ignore requests if they don’t feel that the question is in the best interests of all. The lessons and interventions aren’t always gentle, but they are true.

The tarot can be quite ambivalent at times – particularly when I want a specific answer. It can be infuriating. But it is an oracle, and woolly, ambivalent answers are what oracles do best. The Devas, however, are not oracles, they are sentient beings with their own universal remit. So their answers can be much more specific, completely unambiguous and surprisingly down to earth.

They often repeat specifically what the tarot has said – for instance, a woman was asking about her son who has Aspergers. She wanted to know if he would ever be able to manage on his own. As the answer, the tarot gave The Moon, which is often about walking in the shadow realms, and not being able to return to normality. I then asked the Devas, and the Devic Moon appeared there as well. It was such a clear emphasis, like an underscore, that I realised her son had chosen this path and wouldn’t come back until and unless he wished to.

Do you work with the Devas for your own spiritual development? If so, how do you do that?

I wish I could say yes, I work with the Devas every day. Unfortunately I have been very lax recently (a house renovation and the design of my new tarot have been taking all my attention the last few months). However, a new garden room with transparent ceiling and patio door (which is now my studio), is a wonderful means of checking in – the celebration in birdsong that greets me every morning reminds me of the Devas, and I say good morning and check out whether there’s anything they want me to do. Also, of course, I connect with them through every tarot reading, so I have a certain amount of on-going communication.

So in the next few weeks, when I can get back to doing my own spiritual development with the Devas, it will focus on remembering, listening, and watching – about developing what Arnie Mindell calls ‘secondary attention’. This is not just about being present, it’s about becoming aware of what is going on around you in the widest sense (in your peripheral vision, within your body and in the energies around you, picking up the synchronicities and communications that go on constantly).

Most of us wander around half asleep, and I became aware of my own lack of wakefulness a few years ago. So my work with the Devas is to keep as present as possible, and to listen and watch for their communications. Buddha said that the difference between himself and other people is that he was fully awake, and that wakefulness is not just about normal life, it is about secondary attention, because that’s where the Devas will be present.

What’s the theme of your new Tarot and when can we expect it?

The theme of my new Tarot is very different from both the Intuitive Tarot (my first deck), and the Devas (which is very abstract). This one is the Byzantine Tarot, and is (perhaps unsurprisingly) about the Byzantine Empire. Based on original imagery, it’s full of very fine detail and has lots of gold. It will be published in 2015, and if you want to check it out, there is an image on my website (http://www.cillaconway.com) and on my Facebook page.

Cilla is giving away a deck of The Devas of Creation exclusively to Westacre Newsletter subscribers. To win a deck, send an e-mail, before midnight on Sunday, 8th June, to competition@westacre.org.uk with an answer to the following question:

How would you connect to the Devas of Creation in your own, very individual way?

em>The deck will go to the person who gave the most interesting answer – by Cilla’s standards. The winner will get a reply to their e-mail.

Good luck!

Featured link: Alliance for Wild Ethics

In their own words:

The Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE) is a consortium of individuals and organizations working to ease the spreading devastation of the animate earth through a rapid transformation of culture. We employ the arts, often in tandem with the natural sciences, to provoke deeply felt shifts in the human experience of nature. Motivated by a love for the more-than-human collective of life, and for human life as an integral part of that wider collective, we work to revitalize local, face-to-face community – and to integrate our communities perceptually, practically, and imaginatively into the earthly bioregions that surround and support them.”

If you read my most recent blog post (http://cauldron.firetree.net/journey/682/), you’ll know why this resonates with me at the moment. I’m particularly enjoying the articles on the site by founder member David Abram. They speak so eloquently of the communities we need to build to ensure our future.

By co-incidence I also recently ordered Abram’s book The Spell of the Sensuous. If it’s as good as the articles, there will be a review in one of the future newsletters.

Meanwhile, go and read about AWE: http://www.wildethics.com/the_alliance.html

What you can do

You can keep in touch with all of Westacre’s news and progress on Facebook and Twitter.

We are about to start insulating the foundations of the house, which requires a lot of digging. Come and join the Westacre Digging Party on Saturday 31st May!

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