Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Cerh Deer Priestess and Keeper of the Drum - Day Workshop

Last year you may recall I went on the Elen of the Ways retreat. (you can read about it here)
During my time at the retreat, I sat next to a altar dedicated to a rather sinister looking image of a deer skull masked pregnant woman holding a shamanic drum. This was not Elen, the Goddess I had come to call my patron, but a much older figure and something about her resonated with me.

I asked Suzi, who had painted the picture, who she was and she told me that her name is Cerh. A deer priestess who demanded to be painted. At that point in time that is all I knew about Cerh but I wanted to know more!
Altar to Cerh at the 2013 Elen retreat.

Via Facebook I learnt about a day workshop focusing on Cerh, run by Samantha and Suzi and I booked my space eagerly.

I travelled to Esther's early last Sunday (27th July) and from there we would get a lift with Si├ón 
to the workshop venue.
We arrived on time to Suzi's house and was warmly welcomed by many familiar and new faces. All drawn to to learn about Cerh.
The Temple of Elen was set up in the back garden and a thrill ran through me as I recalled my dedication to Elen in the same space last year.

The altar was set up with two paintings of Cerh and I felt it was quite profound for me as I am pregnant, which is how Suzi depicts her.

Cerh painted by Suzi Edwards Goosec

I won't go into too much detail here about the workshop. Sam and Suzi shared with us their thoughts about Cerh and slowly the deer skull mask was lifted to see that she is not a scary as she first appears. Yes, she is primal, reminding us of humanities true roots. Of blood, bone, feather and fur.
She is not a deity like Elen. She is Us. Our ancestor, our past. When the land is all we knew and we lived closely with the Earth, not against it.

During the workshop, we drummed and sang to Cerh. We were taken on a me dative path working to connect with her and we were blessed with a gift. mine was a fossil stone, like an ammonite. The spiral of life.

We broke for lunch and then journeyed on to Epping Forest to continue our own exploration of Cerh.
We stood in a large circle and we each painted ochre on our foreheads using our fingers before going off into the forest.

I went and sat by a tree which was surrounded by ferns. I felt like I was quite hidden from view, like a fawn hiding waiting for it's mother to return.
I sat and sung softly to myself, feeling my baby move inside my womb. I was content. This was much better then work.
After a while we were summoned back to circle by drum beat and as we gathered we all joined in on the drumming and chanting. We were even joined by some yapping dogs!

As we walked back to the car, Esther showed me the stone she had found during her quiet time and I was shocked to see it contained a fossil. Coincidence indeed!

The fossil Esther found in Epping forest. Photo used with permission.

I really enjoyed the workshop day. The other ladies (and gentleman) were all lovely and they all wished me well in my pregnancy. It was suggested that a pray tree was set up so that when I do go into labour, the participants of the workshop could send me love and healing.

photo of the Cerh workshop attendees by Lisa Hill

Cerh is still lingering in corner of my thoughts, next year a whole weekend retreat is planned to discover more but I have a feeling I will be too busy to attended.

To find out more then please join the Elen of the Ways page on Facebook:

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Return to War... And peace

After the great time at last years War and Peace Revival show, I had already planned that I would go back in 2014.

I brought my tickets well in advanced and this time my Mum was coming along too.

I had been really looking forward to the event and been gathering pieces for my 'costume'  two months in advance as I have never done a 1940s style before.
This included some coral sandals from "Miss-L- Fire" shoes, which I had to stretch to fit into.

 I picked up a wonderful maternity red gingham and cherry dress from Pin-up parade and I had been doodling what I was hoping to look like on the day.

We decided to go on the Wednesday as it was set to be the best weather. I woke up early wanting to do my hair with a suicide roll at the front and two victory rolls meeting in the middle, with the rest of my hair in a red snood. Suffice to say, my hair was not cooperating and I should have got up an hour earlier to achieve the look I wanted. In the end I had to settle with a single roll at the front and all the rest tucked into the snood. 

We were running late now and still had to get to the Folkstone racecourse where the event was held. However, because I had brought my tickets in advance there was no queuing up when we got there. Result!

Me and my Mum made a bee line for the vintage market as my Mum wanted to buy herself a dress, either vintage or repro. We found the trader I got my lovely red and white dress from last year and Mum got a gorgeous blue flowered dress.
While I was browsing the racks of beautiful dresses I found a dress with Antelopes, acorns and oak leaves. Well it was the red and white dress all over again! I had to have it, won't be able to wear it for much longer as my numb gets bigger but It will be something to look forward to wearing after baby is here.

I haven't go a photo of me wearing the dress but here is what it looks like.

Close up of pattern.- I love it!

After browsing the stalls, we went to the Home Front Cafe and had cream teas. Someone in the cafe asked me if I worked there and I told her no and she was quite embarrassed, apologising and said how well I matched the ww2 deco. 

While the boys went to see the battles going on in the main arena, me and Mum headed for the Vintage marque to see what was going on in there. It turned out to be not a lot. The program specified that there was to be a introductory to vintage at 12:00, followed by Jive lessons at 12:30. This did not happen.
In fact the organisers seemed flustered that there was a audience gathering and they had nothing planned. 
They quickly put on a quick dance demonstration and I learnt how to do 'The Stroll' and then we headed to the Victory Marque to see the Jive Aces perform.

The Jive Aces
Enjoying the show.

Like last year, we could have stayed in the Victory marque all day as it had a steady line up of great performers but we decided to have a wonder around the venue. 
We went and had photos taken next to the impressive Mechasmit model and talked to some of the home front Re-enactors, who are always pleasant and interesting to talk to.
There is a little village set up to teach people what life was like at home during the Second World War. I couldn't help but pose in front of a wireless. Listening out for news from the front line.

Before we knew it, it was lunch time and afterwards we separated from the boys again so they could do a tour of the vast army camps and Mum and me headed back to the vintage Marque to catch the second part of the fashion show.
When we got there we were disappointed to learn that the schedule for the day had to be scrapped. Apparently they had so many children visiting for the school open day wanting to learn how to dance, that everything which was written in the programme had to be reshuffled or cancelled all together. I was quite disappointed to hear this as the vintage side of the show was what I had enjoyed so much about last year.
We were told to go back at 4:15 for the 'best dressed person/ couple' competition and then there would be the group tea dance.
So we took ourselves back to the Victory marque to watch more of the performers.
We saw the Swingtime Sweethearts and they sang one song which made me feel very emotional. It made me think of my Grandma and I could imagine her singing along to the song and I had a few tears in my eyes.

I checked my watch and saw it was for 4:14 so we headed back to the other marque in time before the competition... For it not to happen. 
Instead they skipped that and went straight into the group tea dance, which me and Mum decided to join in with. I absolutely loved it. I learnt two dances, including the Gay Gordon's, which was a favourite dance of my Grandma's.

Feeling out of breath, we then went for another browse in the trade stalls and spent more money and I got Leon a lovely shirt from Steady Clothing, an American company. The shirt cost more than my dress but it's so difficult to find vintage repro clothing that Leon would wear.
With slightly sore feet but happy hearts we waved goodbye to War and 
Peace revival for another year.
We will be going again next year but I have learnt a lot from this year.

1) We won't be going on a Wednesday. This is the same day all the children from local schools go and they were everywhere! It was lovely seeing them dancing to the Jive Aces and taking a interest in our history but for me it really spoilt my day.

2) If I can afford to I want to go for two day. One day is not enough but they only sell day tickets and it is a shame they don't do a two day ticket deal.

3) I can pull off a 1940s look! I had so many compliments about my style and my accessories, especially my glass bird and leaf necklace I brought off eBay a week in advance.

If you are thinking about going to the show next year, go! You will have a great time!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Big, big news!!

I feel terrible for neglecting this blog. I didn't even get round to posting about my trip to the Steampunk Glastonbury event, which was fabulous!

Steampunking up the Faery ball in Glastonbury. How amazing does 
Esther look? Please check out their new website for amazing leather crafted goodies.

With the very talented Linda Ravenscroft and Laura Daligan. My friends.

The months have gone by and we are now in June and I would normally be looking forward to going on holiday in Cornwall and partaking in 3 Wishes Faery festival, but not this year, or the next...

You see I am pregnant!

Yes, yes it is a complete surprise. Especially after my in depth post I made just before my 30th birthday about how I felt about having kids. Well the choice has been taken out of my hands and I am now 13 weeks and 3 days pregnant at time of writing.

I had my 12 week ultra sound scan and everything is looking very good. There is just the one Baby (phew) and all limbs seem to be present and correct.
Yes that is a Baby!

Everyone I have told are so happy for us and both mine and my partners parents are over the moon. This has definitely been the boost my mother has needed after everything that happened last year.

My due date is 11/12/14 so after my birthday and will be another Sagittarius.
I am not sure yet if I want to find out if it will be a boy or a girl. Some say it will be a boy and others are sure it is going to be a girl. What ever we have, life will never be the same again!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Overtones

 Oh gosh would you look at that! It's March already and this is my first blog post of 2014!
To be fair I have been posting on my other blog about my pyrography which you can read here.

So what has been going on?
We have a new fluffy member of the family. Her name is Izzy, she is a keeshond and a rescue. She is such a sweetie and I adore her. Luckily Keijo adores her too but a little too much if you get my meaning.
Keijo and Izzy

Now on to the main subject of this blog. The Overtones.

I have liked this male singing group for quite a while and I have all their albums. It is great music to drive and sing a long to. For my birthday my brother and Sister-in-law got me tickets to see them in concert at the Brighton dome on the 1st March.
Now for those that don't know, I work for a rather large car retailer and as such the 1st March is extremely important in the car industry as it is when new number plates are released. I had booked the date of well in advanced but it had not be authorised. It wasn't until the weekend before he gig that I was told I couldn't have the time off!
Panicked I had the awful realisation that I wasn't able to go! Lucky for me a work colleague agreed to a shift swap so I worked their Friday afternoon and they covered my afternoon on Saturday meaning I was free to get to Brighton in the afternoon, have dinner and then see the boys!

We had very good view from the stage and was only a couple of rows from the front. I hadn't been told who was supporting the guys in concert so I was really excited to find out it was Si Cranstoun. I had found out about Si at the same time I heard J D McPherson's music, so to finally see him singing live was a real treat!
Si Cranstoun's video- check him out!

The Overtones themselves were fab! It was music from their newest album, Saturday Night At The Movies, including the song, Do you love me?, Pretty woman, King of the Swingers and More.
The stage had a Hollywood glamour feel to it and the backing band was very good as well. All in all a great night out.
Afterwards we queued to meet the boys and get merchandised signed. I got a kiss on my cheek from Mike as I said I was there for my birthday present. Even though my birthday was back in December... Oh well. ;)

This is their newest video. Superstar. 

Oh yes, it was a good job we did get to Brighton late as the Collectif shop was closed and I needed to save money for Glastonbury. That will be in the next blog post. :)