Living with the Heartbeat of the Land: a year’s journey celebrating and marking the Celtic festivals and learning from the magic at Hazel Hill Wood.
For over two decades we have been listening deeply to the rhythms and the heartbeat of Hazel Hill Wood, a magical 70-acre woodland south-east of Salisbury, and are delighted to offer this journey of events, celebrating ancient traditional festivals which mark the rhythm of the Wheel of the Year.
Our intention is to create space where you can learn to live with the heartbeat of the land. These landmarks following the Dance of the Earth around the Sun date back to prehistoric times and mark the seasons on our Land; they are often referred to as Celtic Festivals. While we honour that tradition at Hazel Hill Wood, we like to follow the 8 festivals like the unfolding journey of manifesting a yearly Dream.
Lammas sometimes known as ‘Luchnassad’
27-29 July 2018. Caring for the Sacred Circles at Hazel Hill Wood. Agatha Manouche & Marcos Frangos
Although imperceptibly the days become shorter, the sun is still high and strong, and it continues to help the fruits of our harvest ripen. The journey between Summer Solstice and Lammas is a time of embracing what has manifested but also a time for reflection, when we ask ourselves: “what has my Dream been about?”
It brings a sense of honouring of its gifts and limitations. Lammas has a quality of seeing things as they truly are and being open to learning from what’s happened thus far; this attending to our learning is vital so that our next Dream in the cycle becomes richer and more real.
This is a time of counting our blessings. Although the Sun is descending faster on its Southern journey, our Dream continues to bear its fruits. At the wood we notice the start of wilting as the leaves of many trees begin to turn to browns, golds and reds indicating the turn to Autumn. Great time to honour gifts, beauty and blessings.
Autumn Equinox also known as ‘Mabon’
21-23 September, A Dance of balance: with Sian Lalita-Alcock & Daniel Koerner, supported by Agatha Manouche.
As we complete the last stages of our harvesting, we are truly with the energy of thanksgiving for all that has come. Squirrels teach us about harvesting and storing in preparation for the winter. As the Sun crosses the Equator again, on its way back to the South, we take another opportunity to check what is in and/or out of Balance, it is the beginning of Autumn; the light is fading and now growth either slows down or stops entirely. We look at how we can best store and harvest for ourselves the lessons that came with the journey; before the days grow shorter we check again what is in or out of balance and slowly we prepare ourselves for the descent into the dark.
2-4 November 2018 – Celebrating our Ancestors. Maddy Harland & Marcos Frangos, supported by Agatha Manouche
Half way between Autumn and Winter, the festival of Samhain marks the time when we begin the slowing down process. Like the leaves falling of the trees, we let go of whatever is no longer needed or helpful; as we look at the shape of the tree trunks devoid of their ornaments, we allow the Dream of the year to lose the illusion of its form, yet keeping its core essence. With the nights growing longer and the cold taking over, we learn from the creatures of the wood as they embark into their hibernation. Like them, we begin the descent into the dark cave of the Earth, where rest and decay transform into vital organic nurturing.
Samhain coincides with Halloween; it’s the time when the veil between the world of the living and the world of spirit is at its thinnest; for many indigenous traditions, this is the time when ancestors come and are most present. They help us go down into our own ‘underworld’, to re-connect with our spirit, the Source of all Dreams. Samhain marks the end of the year’s cycle and the necessary preparation for the beginning of the next; from then on, we prepare ourselves for the renewal that Winter solstice will bring forth.
At Samhain we go underground, we adjust our pace and enter a deeper dreaming. We review the year that’s passed, and for better or for worse, and we look at what’s worked and what hasn’t. We learn to see the essence of our Dream of the Year and let go any illusions we may be carrying. We discover how to bring our ancestors closer and connect with the ones that can help us manifest the cycle of transformation.
Winter Solstice, sometimes also known as ‘Yule’
Thursday 20 December 2018 Sacred song & dance. Clare Chitty
On December 21st, the sun reaches its furthest point in the Southern hemisphere; there it pauses on its course before it starts moving Northward again. This pause is called “solstice” from the Latin words “sol” meaning sun, and “sisto” meaning stop.
Like the tide at the point when it is neither in nor out with the sea, there is this moment a few days around the Solstice when the sun doesn’t move. For us this time calls for stillness also, as we observe and experience nature hibernating. To reach this state, we attempt to slow down our human activities consciously from the previous festival (Samhain) throughout the Autumn months. Invited by the natural rhythm of the wood which seems to be falling asleep, we watched the leaves steadily fall down and slowly dissolve into the ground as the rain and the cold settle and the days become shorter.
Symbolically we have looked within and attempted to let go of what’s no longer serving us: attachments to old habits, patterns of behaviour, grudges etc. So, when Solstice arrives there is a sense of a turning point. We have come to a place called the Static Feminine: apparently doing nothing, yet restoring the vital nutrients provided by our inner process to prepare for the New Year, the New Dream.
Like in the very old days, at Hazel Hill Wood we call the Sun back to our Land with celebrations of songs and dances. We prepare to receive the New Seed of the New Dream, a journey that will unfold through the year to come.