Non-Violent Martial Arts Hag?

Picture by Harald Hoellrigl
Woah, what happened to the “blogging regularly” thing? It’s not that I don’t want to share, or don’t have anything to tell you, there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day sometimes! Tonight I’m finally reaching out again.

The moon is full and I feel all twitchy from all the energy flowing through me. One of the things which happened since my last blog post is that I’ve arrived in Gort safely and love my new home, although having a wall-to-wall neighbour once again is as challenging as it has always been for me, as in, I have trouble sleeping (although they are awfully nice and are really trying to be quiet!).

What I was going to say is, the moon shines into my new bedroom window and it’s the best thing ever. I have blinds, which I keep tilted just enough to allow me to see Her in the sky whenever it’s not too cloudy. And then I lie there in my heavenly comfortable bed, all cuddled up and warm and with Her gentle light on my face, magic pulsing through me. I love it so much!

Gort is lovely in other ways as well: I’m that much closer to many people I know and have already had more visitors in my first month here than I had in an entire year in Ballinrobe. Coming here was definitely the right thing to do! I also have Coole Park right next door, one of the central places of the Celtic Revival around the likes of Lady Gregory and W.B. Yeats, and the first thing I did on my first morning here was visit the park and admire the famous signature tree with my wonderful Inga, who had come over to help me move in (because I had a broken rib. Yes, that happened too in the nearly two months since the last blog post!):

I’m definitely going to write more about my new home and what’s been going on, but my main subject today is something I’ve been sitting on for a while, so to speak. It concerns the way people seem to be confused about how I can describe myself as a non-violent pacifist and anti-militarist whilst practising historical martial arts and field archery. Why, I’m glad you asked!

Before I proceed to share my views, though, I will answer the other question, the unspoken one: How can a peace-loving hippy like me have friends who are in the military, or hunt live animals? Simple, because of tolerance. None of my “military friends” are in their respective country’s army for reasons of power gain; they are there because they believe in things like honour and responsibility. These are values I share. We may disagree in our approach, but the underlying values are the same, and therefore tolerance allows us to be friends. In other words, I don’t expect all the world to agree with me on life choices, but I do expect those I call friends to be decent people – and they are.

Now as for me… You might know that I am an omnivore but I tend towards veganism. In practice, I eat about 80% vegan food, about 15% ovo-lacto (meaning about once or twice a week) and 5% meat (once or twice a month). So I don’t judge anyone, I just reserve the right to eat what makes my own body happy and energetic.

At the same time, I practice archery on 3D plastic targets, which have a circle called the “kill” roughly where the heart would be in a real animal. So you could say that I practice how to kill. I do this first of all because it’s way more fun crawling through the forest and kneeling down, shooting near and far, up- and downhill instead of the ever-same distance at the ever-same targets the way olympic archers do. But I also do it because to me, it makes sense to learn how to kill an animal if my choice not to do so is to carry any actual meaning. If I have no clue how to kill, it’s easy to say that I won’t – it’s like the tale of the sour grapes. Learning the skill makes non-violence an actual choice.

It’s similar with my practice of martial arts. Simply put, what we’re practising there is based on old training manuals used for people who went to war, who learned to kill others in order to stay alive. Now I don’t really expect to ever use these in an actual combat situation but it’s a good feeling to develop strength and skills, especially as a woman living on my own. Even if the best defence in a real-life situation would still be running away, it feels good and gives me confidence to get some experience in fighting and defending myself.

Picture by Caroline Walsh

Again: If I know how to hurt someone, I can make a real choice to stay non-violent. It won’t just be the default option because I couldn’t defend myself anyway. See the difference?

It might not make sense to everyone, but it’s important to me. Call me a weird hag.

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Where My Soul Originates


One of Ireland’s best-kept secrets is that it’s actually MORE beautiful in bad weather. Much as I – and everyone else here – grumbles about it, something about the deep grey of the sky brings out the colours of the landscape, most particularly the many shades of green here in the West. They look like they are illuminated from within when it’s overcast.

I meant to go shooting today, but the forecast showers had turned into incessant, lashing rain by the time I arrived in the North of Mayo. I spent some time with Harry, picking up a few new arrows and bits and bobs, and then decided to do a good-bye tour through my county, although it is a bit silly really – after all I’m not moving to Tibet or Africa next month but only a county away (no, I still don’t have anything definite, but there will be a decision in the next few days). My eyes teared up anyway on a few occasions, and I’m sorry but I didn’t photograph the most breathtaking views along the journey, mostly because I couldn’t stop the car on the small country roads.

Horses and sheep on a hillside

Mayo is heart-wrenchingly gorgeous. I love all of the West, but the likes of Clare have a more sweet, “tame” kind of beauty. Mayo is rough and wild with its stark, bare brown hills and windswept coastline. It’s the county of Grace O’Malley (if you don’t know who that was, look her up. Do it. I’ll wait here). Parts of it look like they could be on the moon, like a wide plain of not much of anything, that I drove past today. Others are dramatic, lush, and green. There are loughs so huge they have waves almost like the sea, there are forests and streams, and especially in the North-West, the sea intrudes everywhere.

Something happens to me in Mayo. It happens more in some places than others, for example the stretch of road between Castlebar and Pontoon, which is never as beautiful as it is in August with the heather blooming. It’s where I suddenly hear the wind whispering: “This. This is where you belong.” Every time, without fail, from the first time I set foot here over 27 years ago. Don’t even bother asking, I have nothing resembling a rational explanation, only a bone-deep knowledge:

This is where my soul originates.

I’ve always gone to Mayo to heal. At 21, I was heartbroken by the end of a relationship with someone I’d loved very much. I got sick with bronchitis and the cough settled in my chest and wouldn’t budge even two months later. I knew what I needed to do but I was a broke university student and so I begged life for 1,000 DM (German Marks). The next day, I got a letter about a student job completed two months earlier, that I had forgotten about. It contained the pay: 1,018 DM.

A week later I was on a plane, and then I stayed in a youth hostel on the North coast of Mayo as their only guest (it was March) and walked 4-5 hours every day, in the rain and wind, to the rocky beach in my wellies and wax jacket. I found a small cave which wasn’t flooded when the tide was out, and there I’d sit reading Lord of the Rings. After four days, I forgot to cough. A week later, I had recovered completely, and left to travel the county some more.

You may remember me writing that I was coming here to heal, last year when I moved to Ballinrobe. And did I ever! My life is completely unrecognisable, and so is my health. Therefore, much as it hurts to admit, there might be a reason why I can’t stay now.

I can absolutely see myself living here when I’m old, a weird hag gloriously on her own, wandering amongst the trees and talking to birds. It’ll be brilliant. One day! But, as Aragorn put it, it is not this day. My soul may originate in Mayo, but my tribe (new people I’ve connected with recently, as well as some older friends) are in Galway, Clare, and Tipperary. I have so much life to live yet, people to love, and love some more, songs to sing, swords to swing, dances to dance, and conversations to have. That’s why I’m leaving. I hope I’ll end up not too far away, but in any case I’ll come back to shoot in Massbrook Woods as often as I can.

Windswept hag!

Not being able to shoot today made me grumpy at first, but then it turned out to be a perfect afternoon surrounded by all this beauty. Eventually I stopped in Newport and fled from the rain into a gorgeous, cosy craft shop / cafe where I met a wise, beautiful soul. We ended up talking for ages, discovering so many things we have in common (Amanda, if you read this: Your shop really IS magic. When I stepped outside, the sun was shining, and my Googlemaps started working again, haha!).

I drove home smiling.


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Free Fallin’…

I have so much to tell you, I don’t know where to start! Life continues to pour its abundance over me in every conceivable good and bad way, it’s overwhelming, scary as shit, and I’m enjoying it waaaaay too much. Right now, the feeling is particularly intense because my hayfever is finally on the decline and I feel like an escaped convict. My head is clearing, I’m once again coherent, and I have more energy than I know what to do with!

I also got a tattoo last week, and because it’s on my left forearm I decided to refrain from shooting my bow until it was healed. I got incredibly grumpy and couldn’t figure out why, until I realised the other day that these 1 1/2 weeks are the longest time I’ve gone without picking up my bow since starting archery again in April. I went straight into the garden and remedied this… oh gods, the bliss! There’s something so sensual about the smooth, living wood under my hands and the whole fluidity of shooting. I can’t describe it – try it out if you haven’t already, you’ll see how utterly addictive it is.

I’ll go to our club’s range in Massbrook Woods later today for a bit of shooting. I’ve got to use the time I still have here in Mayo, because the thing I hinted at in my last entry is the fact that the house I’m currently renting is being sold (after I spent so much money on furnishing it only last year), and I’ll have to move out by 5th September. The rents have gone through the roof over the past 12 months, so by rights I should be worried and sad – I do love Ballinrobe – but in actual fact I’m giddy with excitement. I’m in love with change and insecurity, and now I get to make another change and nobody can accuse me of being flaky and inconsistent because I can point my finger and say: “It wasn’t me! THEY MADE ME!” I love it. I’m also absolutely certain that something perfect will come along.

About the video in the header of this post: Last weekend, my swordfighting club met up for three days of fundraising, tournaments, and workshops in the middle of absolutely nowhere in County Clare. It was insane amounts of fun! Still a beginner myself, I made myself useful by donating some food and helping sell it for the fundraiser, and also filming practically every fight. I’m very proud of the resulting video, check it out and let me know what you think.

The most remarkable thing about the weekend was all the amazing people I met. You see, the first thirty-something years of my life I was used to being surrounded by folks I could relate to. I have a lot of interests so it’s usually easy to find something I have in common with whoever I’m talking to. But then came the horrible years and me withdrawing from everyone. I’ve reconnected with many old friends by now, but I no longer take wonderful people for granted.

To meet several who are into any combination of practically everything I love – be it music, archery, swordfighting, sustainable living, books, paganism – that was just overwhelming and made me slightly drunk with happiness. I wanted to hug the world, which wasn’t quite appropriate with people I’d just met, haha, but fortunately the people I was staying with have a lovely cat and another couple brought their puppy to the event itself, so I got plenty of cuddles from the furballs.

I got to talk about swordfighting and archery all weekend without anyone falling asleep with boredom. It was sheer bliss! I’m still starry-eyed.

One of the reasons why my impending homelessness is a blessing is that it gives me the chance to move closer to where I actually know people. I’ve recently connected to a number of lovely pagans in the midwest, Shane is in Tipperary, and now there’s the club in Galway and Clare as well, so I’ll probably end up at least a little further South. Just as long as it’s still in the West, and within a reasonable distance to my magic town Galway, I’ll be happy.

I may have something in the pipeline already, but I don’t want to jinx it by writing about it now. Keep your fingers crossed! I’ll post pictures as soon as anything is settled.

P.S. Hopefully Tom Petty will forgive me for stealing his song title.

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Kinetic Energy

New Toys detail

I’m getting my ass kicked these days, oh boy. I’m being reminded of the fact that I dedicated myself to Life unconditionally eleven years ago, and I suspect it delights in these reminders. You will notice I haven’t been blogging in a while, and that’s because some weeks ago, life decided to pull out rugs from under my feet, yes, plural, and I was reeling and crying and trying to cling on to anything, anyone – and nobody was there, that’s the worst part.

Whenever things get really tough, we’re on our own. Isn’t that so true?

The thing is, it’s part of the deal. I am still happy. There is ALSO sadness, grief, and loss. It’s not things “going wrong”. It’s the deal. Functioning as an agent of change also means that I get hurt fairly regularly. When it happens, I curse it and wish I could return the gift, because it’s, frankly, awful, and it doesn’t get any easier or less painful through the years. However, I have been me for 46 years and I know that a. I have a 100% track record of surviving these things and b. it’s all happening for the highest good of everyone involved (even if I don’t believe it right now).

Life does look after me, but it does so in its usual blunt way.

One of the “rugs” being pulled was Ray announcing he might give up the Village. Those of you who’ve known me for a while, will know what a huge factor the Village online community has been in my life (about 50% of the people close to my heart, I met through the Village; my own spiritual development leaped forward in my first years there; to name but a few things). I’ve been away from the Village for six years, so I’m in too much of a glasshouse to throw any stones, but to hear this bit of news just when I’d found my way home, was devastating.

Right now it looks like the community might pull through, but we do need more members. People who won’t just sign up but spend some time there once or twice a week and actually participate in conversations. If you don’t know how forums work, they are open places where everyone can jump into any topic and add their two cents to it. There’s no “but I don’t know these people, what will they think?” going on; as long as people are respectful, everybody’s invited.

So if you read this and are pagan, get thee over to, sign up, wait until you’re approved, and then bookmark the page and start posting. You’re welcome.

The last weeks have also reminded me that I promised myself I’d never stop feeling again. The crap IS worth it. And I’m finding my happiness again, especially since something else happened – which I’m not quite ready to share publicly yet – which looks like another calamity at first glance but which I’m actually fairly excited about. Don’t worry, I will share it, perhaps as early as next week. I am still determined to find a more regular blogging rhythm again!

In the meantime, I deal with all the emotional storms in the tried-and-tested hagish way: by dancing. You see, I have come to finally, fully realise that my energy is indeed kinetic. What I mean by that is that I’m most completely me when I’m in motion. It’s why there are so few good photos of me – I’m just not suited to being frozen in stillness. Video me and I start coming across as authentically me.

The tragic thing is that because of my weird hip bones which make me so stiff in the back, I’ve been ridiculed so much growing up that I had this image of myself being “bad at sports”. It’s taken me most of my life to move past that and discover that not only do I “like” moving, it’s actually the ESSENCE of my being. Kinetic energy. Motion. To be quite honest, now is the first time in my life that I really, truly live according to this principle, apart from maybe the years in Austria where I walked 1-3 hours in nature every day. Now, I dance, shoot, swing around my sword, spear, and axe, do yoga or aerobics, and am happy. So, so happy.

This relates to something I mentioned in the last blog entry: The observation that junk food and things like wheat and dairy make me sluggish to the point of dropping off. Recently, I’ve been feeling exhausted because of my hayfever. This made me crave food that’s bad for me more than usual (I usually keep it to a few times a month), and in turn I was getting even MORE tired. Last week, I finally gave in to it. And gods, was I miserable! Thankfully, the season of the pollen I’m allergic to (grass) is drawing to an end, and so I’m resurfacing now, I eat the gorgeous food which fuels me and I move again. I’m determined to be back to my full workout intensity by next week.

This is not about “being good”, it’s about doing what makes me feel alive, living my own truest nature, expressing my Self. Will the real Sibylle please stand up! Everything else is not “indulging” or “being good to myself”, it’s thinly disguised self-sabotage and I’m not ready to tolerate that any longer, from anybody – including myself.

Hugs are still very welcome…

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My Big “Secret”?

Old Head

I spent most of Sunday by the coast in wonderful company. Even my hayfever behaved  this close to the sea!

I’ve made a funny observation. When things are dramatic and heavy, there’s usually no lack of conversation – people will leave comments on my blog post and really step up to help me. But when I post that I’m happy out, there’s often nothing at all, or very little.

I adore my tribe for being so incredibly supportive – you guys are zee best – but at the same time I think, shouldn’t we be talking MORE about happiness? Share the bliss, add our own, or simply bask a little in the warmth of another if our own is lacking at the moment (as mine has done plenty of times…)?

I’m writing this partly because I expect to be posting a lot of happy entries yet. Right now I’m probably the happiest I’ve been; my life is exactly how I want it, and my only challenge is to keep finding goals to strive for lest I get complacent. And when I look back to where I was only five months ago, I’m in awe and so deeply grateful I want to drop to my knees and kiss the ground that carries me.

People have asked me how I managed to pull myself out of depression, being sick and constantly exhausted as well as slightly overweight, to being active and healthy and blissfully happy within four months or so. I’ve been thinking about it, and I don’t really know the answer, or whether there even is just one answer. I believe it may be a combination of several things:

1. Not pushing myself. I started off so gently, I just know the majority of people would scoff if they could see it, and tell me that’s no way to get in shape. Most days I did about five minutes of gentle Yoga stretches (from – they rock!), as I couldn’t keep up even moderate exercise for any amount of time. Many days I didn’t do anything, as I was too tired.

And thus, bit by bit, I clawed my way back, and in such a short time it still astonishes me, I was doing half-hour aerobics workouts and short but intense Yoga sessions of 15-25 minutes, as well as intense dance sessions. Then came archery, and then the swordfighting, and by now I’m happy to push myself because my body can take it. I have a loooooong way to go yet, but the worst is behind me – now that I’m “in motion”, nothing will stop me. I went from never wanting to get up off my chair, to someone who has real problems sitting down for any length of time. Yes, four months.

2. Food. I’ve left behind all “should”s and “must”s and the warring factions of food ideology and radically follow what my body tells me. One piece of advice I did implement was the statement that we only need about 1/3 of the calories most people consume, and I find that it’s doing me incredibly good to eat far less. This is not about starving myself, mind you – especially with physical activity, it’s important to nourish the body, so the key is to consume foods with a high nutritional density.

I’m nowhere near perfect, I believe food is a sensual pleasure and should be enjoyed, and I do still eat greasy chips or pizza. But I’ve made an interesting observation: Junk food makes me tired to the point of dropping off to sleep, almost instantly. And I’d rather feel bouncy and full of energy, so I listen to my body and mostly eat stuff that makes me feel great. Mostly – again, I don’t strive for perfection.


In practice, this works out at about 85% vegan food which I love most of all. The sheer explosion of flavour of an organic carrot with hoummous, oh my… and Magic Mayan Chocolate… yum! I mostly avoid wheat and rye because they tend to upset my gut, but I do eat them sometimes. About 15% of my diet is dairy and eggs (about once or twice a week), and about 5% meat (once or twice a month). I feel wonderful and have lost ALL the weight I’d put on since 2010, without effort – and now my body naturally maintains the weight. I like it, and I’ll keep it up for as long as it keeps making me feel so good.

3. Theta waves. I can’t explain how it works, but I know there is some science behind it. Theta waves can’t actually be perceived by the human ear, so people have created “binaural beat” tracks, so the Theta waves are created in the space between. Or something, haha. The point is, I’d heard they “re-arrange” your brain and since I’ll try anything, I looked up a track on YouTube and have been listening to a good hour of Theta Waves per day since.

A few days after starting this, the veil lifted and my happiness came through. It was just like the clouds breaking up and letting the sunshine through… exactly like it, in fact. I felt so light I wanted to laugh and sing all day. That’s when I started feeling my emotions again, in January, and with the happiness came a lot of heavy shit at first – there’s no light without shadow – but by now, the light outweighs the shadow by far, far, far, and I credit the Theta Waves for most of this.

This is the track I listen to every day, with headphones (apparently this works only with headphones). If you’d prefer the pure Binaural Beat without music around it, try this one instead.

4. Radically doing what I want. I started by writing a novel-length story, just for myself. Creative work is so therapeutic! I’m also doing a whole lot of nothing at all. I have given myself so much leeway lately. I’ve been slacking on re-launching my Coaching business (getting going now, in fact – finally!) and I refuse to feel guilty about it. I’ve always needed a lot of time and space to process my emotions, and there are a lot of emotions going around at the moment! I welcome all of it, it’s such bliss to feeeeeeeeeel! And yes, I get put through the wringer at times. It’s all good.

Every day, I consciously radiate love to everyone I know, and I make a point of reaching out to people in my life. I’ve been withdrawn for so long, I still need to remind myself sometimes! I have this vision of bathing all the world including myself in love and affection, and appreciation. It’s a state of constant bliss.

When I feel my vibration lowering, I usually do something physical, dancing mostly, or shooting my bow, or swinging around my sword or axe. Twenty minutes later, I’m back in bliss. It really is that simple.


All right, this has become very long – I hope it wasn’t too boring to read! Midsummer is almost here, and I’m going to write about that too, but in the next entry. The energy is incredible right now, a Waxing Moon which is going to be full right on Solstice Day (Monday), and in spite of hayfever I’ve managed to spend some time outdoors lately.

Sending you all so much love!

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Luminosity And A Delicate Subject

1 Lough

We have now entered what I refer to as “The Luminous Weeks”, the time from ca. four weeks before the Summer Solstice to four weeks after. I’m nowhere near the polar circle, obviously, but the length of the days is still very noticeable. When I turn off the light in the budgies’ room and go downstairs around ten, it’s still bright enough to see without much problem, and in the mornings I wake up at five and think it must be eight. It’s not doing my sleep any favours – I’m far too happy to go back to sleep once I’m awake – but I love love love every minute of it.

Or at least, I will until my hayfever sets in around the Solstice. Then I’ll spend six weeks groggy and grumpy, with a swollen face and looking like my own grandmother. Not exactly looking forward to that.

I have something to share with ye today, which I’ve been a little reluctant to talk about. I first shared it in the Village – thanks guys, for “proof-reading” it for me – and now here’s a slightly extended version of it. It might even go into my articles list. I titled it “The Wild Woman Over 40”! Here goes.

Advance warning: This post may turn out to be a little rambling. It’s a subject I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. As well, there has been tons written about it by far wiser people, so I’m aware I’m standing on the shoulders of giants here.

It’s about the perception of women in our society, but I don’t mean to make this a feminist rant. What I want to write about concerns me personally.

You see, I find – to my amusement – that society as a whole just doesn’t know what to make of me. To an extent, they never have, but as long as I was “young”, it was a little more accepted to live as I do. They could still put me into the “wild years” category. A young woman is allowed, to a certain extent and at least by more liberal minds, to live out her desires including her sexuality.

But what on earth should the world do with a woman in her mid fourties who is a. single, b. sexually active, and c. picky?? As well as being childless, if I may add.

I see this in almost everyone I meet, with very few exceptions. The first assumption is usually that I “just can’t get a feller to settle down with”. When they begin to realise that’s not quite it, they are confused (or they think I must have been “hurt”. I mean, yes I have, I doubt there’s anyone over the age of 15 who hasn’t been hurt in love, but I have no bitterness and I adore men). 

I think it’s to do with restrictive notions of how women are “supposed to be”, and considering how long feminism has been around, that’s astonishing. It’s the same reason why women seem to disappear from Hollywood movies once they hit middle age (except in very specific roles, usually as comic relief, or the “frustrated housewife” or similar). Yes, I know there are exceptions, but that’s what they are – exceptions, and far far fewer than the men of equal age.

Basically, a woman my age should be married / in a relationship, or a sad case. Since I am neither, the people I meet are at a loss. 

All my life, I’ve been used to being the weird one in the way I approach the whole subject of love (I wrote about this in the last paragraphs of my previous post). It’s hard for people to understand how I can love someone and not necessarily want a relationship, but this is just part of what I do: I adore people, I get starry-eyed about them, and I love them. In the case of a gorgeous man, this may include sex and last anything from a few nights or weeks to years. The entire construct of a “relationship” often just gets in the way of this (though not always; it does fit me at times). It’s a wild-woman thing.

I’ve ALWAYS had problems explaining this approach to people, but the way people don’t know how to react to me at all, has got a lot more pronounced over the last ten years or so.

Again, this isn’t a “problem” as such, it amuses me more than anything else, although it can get a little tiring. I’ve been fortunate to always know a few people who were above such idiotic ideas, and if the world has a problem with me, then that’s the world’s problem – I’m far too busy being happy! It’s just puzzling to me, and fascinating, how little has really changed in perceptions.

I own my age, my body, my intense-as-ever emotions (highly sensitive…), and my sexuality. Sorry, world. Not!

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Weird And Wonderful Things

Tour                               At the end of the tour, still slightly shell-shocked from all we had                                                               learned. Lee in the middle, Inga on the right, and me third from left.

I’m in a state of hagish bliss, which may seem over the top to some, but it’s actually authentic. With all the intensity that comes with being me, I know myself quite well and know what I need at any given moment. Recently, I’ve moved across the country and healed from a period of isolation, and I’ve only just started reaching out to people around here. These things take time, and so what I needed was an injection of people, inspiration, mental floss, and hugs in abundance. That’s exactly what I got this past weekend in London.

Usually I dislike cities, but earlier that week I’d had a heart-opening experience (I love it when people do that to me without even realising it) and I was radiating so much love and warmth that I attracted/met only the kindest, funniest, nicest people you could imagine, even complete strangers like the cabby on the way back to the hostel on Saturday night. As for my friends, I have a lot to make up for after years of withdrawing into myself, and it was doing me so good to reconnect and spend quality time with the utter blessing which is Inga, and catch up with my lovely “adoptive daughter” Penny.

Yesterday, Inga and I spent much of the afternoon and evening with the thoroughly wonderful Lee, starting off with his tour “Egyptian Magic and Enlightenment” in the British Museum. I’d been meaning to take this tour for so long, and I’d had sky-high expectations but Lee still managed to blow them out of the water. He proceeded to spin a web of symbols and meaning and context all around us in so many layers and dimensions, it was staggering. Apart from his vast knowledge, he has such passion and joy in the subject, it would be impossible to listen and be left untouched.

The sheer amount of facts left me reeling – in the good way! Seriously, if you are ever in London, if there’s only one thing you do, make it this tour. You can thank me later.

We went for a cup of tea afterwards and amazing Japanese food in the evening, and it was an all-around perfect day, with lots of talk and laughter and red wine, all combined with a mild spring evening in a wide-awake city. I felt a little surreal after a night of 1 1/2 hours sleep, but it was strangely appropriate for the experience – no chance of hiding anything, when I’m sleep deprived I carry my heart on my sleeve and I felt like hugging the world, not just the two people in front of me, simply because it’s been so long since I’ve spent any significant amounts of time around people I actually resonate with. When Inga and I got back to the hostel, we kept talking – seriously, we must have talked ourselves hoarse over the course of this weekend, and we’re not nearly done.

One of the insights I gained from talking to Inga is that there’s no need to figure out an ultimate destination in my life. I’m exactly where I need to be, and if “where I need to be” changes in the future, then that’s the way things develop, rather than the correction of an error (huge difference!). This refers to my living situation, as in the whole question of living in Ireland or moving to a different part of the world, as much as it refers to relationships. I’ve always struggled to explain to people how I remain flexible in the way I relate to the men in my life. I’ve been in relationships at times, but for the most part I’ve had what I call “loving affairs” which suit me much better most of the time, because they honour my contradictory needs for independence and a deep connection. The point is, both have had their place at different times in my life, and that’s how it still is.

It is SO GOOD to finally, once again talk to people who actually get these things. Who get this weird, happy, cuddly mess that is the hag. I’m back home today and while I’m still tired, I can’t stop smiling.

Life, I love you, all is groovy…

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Emotion In Motion

Bealtaine hag

This is me at around 3 a.m. on Bealtaine, partied-out, sweaty, exhausted, and ecstatic. I had done my ritual on Bealtaine eve, and then drove an hour to Spiddal to go to a Retro Club with some of the best 70s and 80s music I’ve heard in years, and great people who made me feel welcome. I proceeded to dance my hagish ass off for hours, chatted to some of the aforementioned lovely people, and then drove home feeling like someone had lit me on fire, in the good way. I took the picture just after stepping through the door.

A few minutes later I discovered that my period had started a full 2 1/2 days early, and so I spent Bealtaine (and the following two days) curled up with a hot-water bottle, grumpy and ache-y, and VERY far from feeling sexy and up to all sorts of things the way I should have. It’s times like these when I actually look forward to menopause!

Luckily, this is Ireland where “Bealtaine” means the whole of the month of May. So it doesn’t just all hinge on the one night and day, and there’s plenty of time for mischief. I’m a very happy hag these days, most of my time is spent running around and doing things, and dancing until I drop so I’ll stay grounded enough to not float away.

The process of slowly gaining back my strength and endurance is ongoing, and will likely take another while. I’m well past the point where I had to push myself to do exercise; these days, I have to stop myself before I do damage to my body. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, actually – you all know that Prince died about two weeks ago, and as it turns out, he wasn’t a junkie but died from complications of his medication for chronic pain, which he suffered from as a result of his dancing (here’s an article about it).

Music has been one of the few constants in my life. I’ve wanted to sing and dance since I could stand on my own feet, but a problem with my hip bones means that my lower back is fairly inflexible – other people struggle to touch their toes, I can hardly reach below my knees, and I’ll never get any better at it – so dancing professionally was out of the question.

And so I danced on my own, in my room and later in clubs. Just freestyle jumping-around, to whatever music inspires me at the time. I dance to 70s disco music and to prog metal (if you think metal is only good for headbanging, think again) and everything in between, and I often say dancing is my sanity, because it’s my way of processing my intense emotions.

It’s a sign of how much of myself I had shut down in the past years, that it was the only time in my life when I wasn’t dancing. I was numb to my emotions, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to bear it.

Now that I’m active again, I find it scary when my back hurts, or my shoulder. Often, it’s simply muscle stiffness, and that’s a good sign and means I’m getting stronger again. But other times it’s clearly just overuse, and I’m painfully aware of the fact that the years of sitting on my ass and eating crap have taken a toll on my body. I’m determined to find a way to keep moving and currently I think that building muscles is the key. There are plenty of examples of athletes of very advanced age; if you’re on Facebook, just check out the pages “Growing Bolder” and Alex Rota’s photography. I’m not going to slow down, not when I’m 70 and certainly not now. Moving my body, actually USING my body the way nature designed it, makes me way too happy to give it up.

The happiness also means that the darkness has mostly passed. I knew it would (if you remember, I wrote about it a few entries back), it was just a question of time. When I first started to truly feel my emotions again, there was a lot of shit which bubbled up with the happiness. It was quite a rollercoaster for some time, with scary lows. But now that the first wave is over, I’m beginning to settle into myself again, and the highs and lows are more manageable. I’ve always had them, it’s part of being the hag and also part of being highly sensitive, but the extremes are gone for the time being (normal people still find my emotions extreme, but they do anyway).

In the meantime, I’ve gotten so much done, I’ve been to Germany to see my dad, my sister and her man, and my dear friends Andreas and Karola. Next weekend I’ll go to London to spend a two days with my favourite Hulder! I’m not planning on sleeping, I’ll be too busy painting the town red. I’ll be home by lunchtime on Monday, and I’ll have the rest of the day off so I can catch up on sleep then.

I hope you’re having an equally beautiful month of Bealtaine!

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Aaaaand Action!


Ahem. I really do need to get back into the habit of blogging regularly, as in, once a week regularly, rather than once a month (I first typed “hagit” here. What would that be, I wonder – a hagish habit?). I promise I’ll work on it! The thing is just, there’s so much going on, the days are flying past and I never get to do everything I am planning to. It’s a great way of being, after the inertia – or rather, the one-sidedness of sitting on my ass and working day-in, day-out – of the past years, but it can get a little hectic.

So what’s keeping me busy? My new bow, among other things, check out the picture above. Isn’t it gorgeous? I’m currently working on re-building muscles in my shoulder and back after not shooting for so long, so I’m doing 30 shots every day in the garden. I’ve also fiiiiiiiinally started with HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) after really really wanting to for years. Only a few weeks in, I’m already getting used to the dialogue every HEMA person knows by heart:

Me: “I’m into Historical European Martial Arts. In other words, swordfighting among other things.”

Other Person: “Oh, is that like fencing? Like at the Olympics?”

Me: “No, it’s historical fencing, the way people did way back when.”

OP: “Oh, more like re-enactment then.”

Me. “No, not that either. It’s *actual* fighting, based on historical training manuals dating anywhere from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.”

OP: *blank stare*

There’s a lovely documentary if you’re interested. Even just the first five or ten minutes of it will give you an idea.

I’m also still doing yoga and aerobics, and I dance to at least a few songs every day, so I think it’s safe to say I’ve healed and regained at least part of my old strength and endurance! I’ve also lost around 40 of the 47 pounds I’d put on between 2010 and 2014, which I know because I finally weighed myself when all my clothes fell off me and I got curious. I don’t care about the number on the scales but it’s yet another sign that things are definitely back to normal with me.

And in my case, “normal” means ecstatic, happy, and intense.

In the meantime, I continue to do my rituals and looking forward to spring, such as it is around here. I also still wonder what’s going to happen to me in the future, as in, where I’ll live. In my head, I’m making lists of pros and cons, along the lines of:

Ireland cons

  • I miss seasons. I am used to lush spring and sunny summers (and, you know, actually wearing t-shirts and shit. Irish people do too, but I’ve long determined that they are genetically incapable of feeling cold) and outdoor rituals, lying on the ground instead of in a puddle, seeing the sunrise on Solstice morning rather than clouds, seeing the moon more often than twice a month, and all that stuff. Hmph.
  • The almost complete absence of walking paths is getting to me. I used to walk all the time, spending 1-3 hours outside daily in “my” fields and by the river. Here, I walk along roads. This really interferes with my pagan practice.
  • No proper internet outside of towns. I’d like to live somewhere even more rural than here, but I need wired broadband for my job and my business.

Ireland pros

  • Whenever I go, well, anywhere here in Mayo and also Galway and surrounding counties, I breathe a sigh of, hm, relief? Recognition? This is where my soul originates. It’s simply where I need to be.
  • I love the people here, and now that my life is finally taking off again, I definitely don’t want to leave.
  • The air. THIS air. The intoxicating, ravishing, beautiful, yummy air. Every breath here is a joyful ritual.

I don’t want or need any “advice” on this, it’s a purely subjective thing and right now, only an abstract thought experiment anyway, so don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere! It’s just where I’m at and I thought I’d share it with you.

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Blood, Sweat, And A Flood Of Tears

Forest Husband

This astounding painting, “Forest Husband” by Mychael Lee, hangs behind my altar, a fitting representative of Earth/North. Check out Mychael’s website!

I just noticed that I never explained where I got the title for my previous post. When Judith Jannberg published her journey from a 70s housewife and “wife of…” to becoming a force of nature and witch, and completely independent, she wanted to title the book “I am an Earthquake Zone” (in German), but her publishers talked her out of it and the book is called “Ich bin Ich” (I am me) instead. I’ve always liked the intended title, and it was so fitting I had to use it for the post.

The whole re-awakening process is ongoing and at times, extremely painful, hence *this* post’s title. Don’t worry, it’s a good thing, I’m working through stuff, and while it’s horrible at times, it’s a process and leading somewhere. I’m still clawing my way back out and being fully awake and FEELING also means feeling a lot of crap I’d suppressed. Can’t have one without the other, but this is the dam breaking and it’ll calm down eventually.

I’m also back in the very reduced remnants of what used to be the several-thousand-users-strong Pagan community The Village. It’s very small and quiet these days but even to see those who are left is like a homecoming and blissful. I owe this place so much, I’m determined to pour all my love and care into reviving it properly. I’d love to see some of ye there.

Also, Happy Equinox! I think I mentioned in some previous post, that I have started to actively practise my religion again but it felt awkward at first so I didn’t do proper rituals for the Solstice and Brighid. I wanted to avoid “play-acting rituals” and forgetting the chants and invocations so I got into a regular everyday practice again first.

Well, I’m happy to say that today I did my first full ritual in seven years and it was amazing! I’m giddy with happiness. It feels like I’m really, truly the hag again. How I could have lived so long without feeling this particular power pulsing through me, I don’t know, or rather I do: by shutting off the largest part of what makes up myself and mostly exist, rather than living.

I was giggling with joy during my invocations, and thankfully seven years are nothing to the Powers That Be (I know people use this expression to refer to politicians, but I’m talking about the *actual* powers in this universe), and I was welcomed back with more of an “oh hi there” than the indignation I had half expected, haha.

It didn’t go without hiccups either. Note to self, old charcoal might malfunction! I had two tablets which refused to ignite properly and I felt like an idiot standing there all ready and then wasting 20 minutes to get the effing incense going. In the end, I laughed. I’m not the only one who’s a little rusty, apparently.

There was so much joy and ecstasy in this ritual. I’m in full spring mood, and I danced and stomped up a storm. I could never be part of a coven! I need to follow my own direction and do what comes up. I half expected something sexy, but that wasn’t happening at all, probably due to the lack of a suitable horned-god type these days, but I held a lot of anger which needed releasing, and gods was it powerful. By the time I danced to my Equinox song, I was all soft and joyful and ecstatic again.

Dropped on the floor when the song ended, and trance just happened, easiest thing in the world. I’m losing my focus faster these days, but that was to be expected after the long break. Kept it short and planted three sunflower seeds with intentions, before grounding and opening.

Afterwards, I walked around with my lavender candle to say farewell to the wintry spirits in every room of the house (which took forever. What possessed me to rent a 4-bedroom house??). Closing with “… and merry we meet next winter again” every time, I was tempted to add: “… and now kindly fuck off,” because it’s been rather cold again the last few days. Ah well, spring is definitely on its way. I forgot to mention that I took my Equinox walk with the last light of the sun in the afternoon, and it was beautiful! Blossoms coming forth everywhere, the day was glorious and the jackdaws have built so many nests in the tall trees next to the main road, it’s like a cawing, feathery city up there. I look forward to all the young ones visiting the feeder in my garden in the coming months.

Have I said “Happy Equinox” yet? Have a beautiful one, my dear tribe, and enjoy the light and the new life bursting forth everywhere. It’s such a magical, ecstatic (and sexy!) time of the year and just so fitting with my current state of awakening.

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