Guest post by Ayla Willow
On 21st March we gathered around the fire at elfwoods to celebrate Ostara, also known as Spring Equinox. It was our first gathering in these woods, and the Mamas and children could be heard sighing in delight on arriving, commenting on how peaceful the place was, and how ‘at home’ they felt. We have been gathering to celebrate the Wheel of the Year for a few years now as a growing community of Mamas, women & children; finding our first home in Fernhurst, later in Chithurst, and now in elfwoods.
Blessed with a day of beautiful sunshine and fresh early Spring air, we began our day settling into our new space and connecting with the land that would hold our day and our prayers, our songs and our shares; which often include a mixture of both laughter and tears, and everything in between.
These circles are all about connecting with Nature, and with a circle and community of Mothers & women, as we have done and our ancestors have done for thousands of years. There is something that happens naturally and yet magically when women gather together in this way. It is visible and palpable, and the children feel held in something so much bigger, which also allows them to settle into the space and find ways to explore with a newfound sense of belonging and safety.
For our Spring Equinox celebration we sang songs to welcome in this time of the year – a time of birth and rebirth, of new life and new beginnings, the awakening of the Earth’s energies for another cycle after the death and necessary letting go of Winter. We sang and shared to breathe life into our dreams and visions, bringing these further into being through creating a group nature mandala. We chose to create this together on the area of land where the Community Pavilion will be built, and we weaved in prayers and intentions for this project to thrive and create a beautiful future space for all to enjoy. It felt a poignant time to be celebrating the Spring Equinox at a time when elfwoods seems to be coming alive with more activity and life after its own journey into becoming.
We drank gorse flower tea made over the fire from the surrounding gorse bushes to invite sunshine and hope into our lives. Gorse is the Bach Flower remedy for hopelessness, and it really does look like sunshine in a cup. You simply forage the flowers, taking care to ask permission, and leaving enough for our furred and winged friends the bees and butterflies, and add a handful to your cup of boiling water. Steep for up to 10 mins for a delicious, slightly coconut flavoured tea.
In our circles we remember our place in the natural world as kin and guardian of the Earth, so we cultivate practices of asking and thanking whenever we take of her bounty, and also providing offerings of thanks, songs, words, water or natural items and objects as the ancestors of these lands would have done. Remembering the old ways.
All in all it was a beautiful day. The joy and relaxation visible on the faces of the Mamas and wildlings, and the sound of more lightness and melody in their voices, is what these days are about. As we said our goodbyes and thanked the spirits and elves of elfwoods, until we would meet again, there was a lingering sense of the deep appreciation of the land and of our day.
Ostara & Spring Equiniox blessings to all, and to elfwoods, celebrating our dreams and bringing those into fruits and bounty for our communities.
If this sounds like something you’d enjoy being part of, you could join us to celebrate Beltane in these beautiful woods. Please contact Ayla Willow if you’re interested in attending.
We’re also starting up our weekly Mother’s Fire circles on Mondays afternoons, available now for booking.