Posted on June 9, 2021
Posted on May 3, 2021
It’s still Beltane ! It’s more than just a day and probably not on the 1st of May anyway.
Its been a strange one this year but I’ve been out in the woods quite a lot.I love the energy of bluebells – the way they forma a carpet of colour all over the floor of the woodland and the wild energy they exude.This year ,I thought I’d try to capture it in this artwork.It’s seems a,most impossible to capture the feeling of this energy with a photograph.
There’s this kind of wild energy which presents itself at this time like a trigger for the sap to rise and Summer to start.
Bluebell feels like the blue touch paper for the fireworks of Summer.
Posted on April 14, 2021
Posted on April 10, 2021
Re-birth.It’s hard to remember it’s Spring as it’s so chilly today but Beltane is less than four weeks away. Beltane – welcome in the Summer !
Posted on April 9, 2021
Last night I dreamt of crumbling walls and the futility of trying to keep them up.Let them fall – we don’t need them .Then I dreamt about seeing in the dark and how the unseen is wilder than you might imagine.
Within some animistic practices we say we can see better in the dark – I think this may be true.
Posted on April 8, 2021
Posted on April 8, 2021
I’ve recently, slowly….. been making rattles amongst my other activities.
These rattles are powerful tools which can be used for a number of Shamanic or Animistic activities and purposes – meditational journeying , clearing energy from spaces or people and for healing…These are multi use power-tools! They can certainly be used musically and ceremonially too and for sure can make people dance.
When I make theses rattles I keep things slow. It’s nice to work in time with the universe and when things occur naturally. As a results they take ages to make .Each piece of wood is ‘quested’ which means I go out with the intention to find a piece of wood which I can make something out of- when found gratitude and offerings are made.As a result each wood comes from a different source here there’s driftwood from Pembroke , Yew from Wiltshire , Beech from Ireland.
The deer hide is surplus from drum making – here three of the four rates are going along with drums.It is great to have a rattle made of the same skin as the drum itself.
The skins are carefully sourced from the U.K I but from from the keeper and have visited and spent time in the woodland the Deer roamed in.
The ‘rattles’ (the little objects which make the noise are equally quested) and come from a variety of sources too diverse on any cosmic customs form.
It’s a slow process – each stitch, each binding, each rattle and winding is imbued with intention, blessings and magic for the end user and just for the process itself.I may not necessarily share this with the owner as I fear it may disempower them in some way – its up to them how they use them. That said I can’t help adding intention or blessings or magic in as I go- these are ‘power’ tools .Powerful objects deserve respect and good powerful intentions.AS I said the magic is also in the process itself and in that process there’s so much magic healing and lessons which I am gifted – I guess this is my payment for which I’m so grateful for.
To give you one example one of these rattles took a whole day just to punch the holes in – so thick is the hide – it became a warrior tool – if I was using it it would be used to clear spaces and remove obstacles. On the handle I placed the Ogham symbol for Holly -Tinne in Gaelic. My personal meaning for Holly in this context is as an energy which aids in a war over negativity.
So…I wonder how this tool will be used?Well I know to whom it is going and through our initial talks and consultations I know this will be used with the drum to do great things.
Three of these will go with drums but I was minded to make one extra rattle using some red dear hide and a yew handle.As it became the fourth of these ‘wands’ I was of course minded of the tarot card which for many represents celebration , homecoming and harmony.So there’s my intention for whoever receives this one which will be given , gifted to someone/ f.o.c who may need it . I wonder where it will end up ?
Posted on April 6, 2021
Posted on February 2, 2021
The feast of Imbolc sits around the first of Feb and is the first of the three Sping festivals that sit on the Celtic Wheel of the year . Imbolc is associated with both the Goddess Brighid of the Tuatha Dé Danann, (Gaelic: “People of the Goddess Danu”) and the Christain Saint Brigid. In Celtic mythology the Tuatha Dé Danann were a race inhabiting Ireland before the arrival of the Milesians (the ancestors of the modern Irish).Brighit is known as the Goddess of healing as well as of the ‘flame and well’ ( the forge ) in fact all crafts and creativity, poetry and childbirth-she liked to multi-task ! The Christian Saint Brigid the patron saint of childbirth-herself said to be the daughter of a Druid in some folkloric versions of her story – who is also honoured here.
This is the perfect time in the wheel of the year to think about the seeds of our lives and what we should like to see and what we would like to be in the coming year. Can we plant the seeds of unity so our fractured, divided communities may come together? Can we plant he seeds and intention for a better world where we cherish what we have, celebrate the earth and our communities and foster equality for all?
During this time we can tune into the stirring earth , the rising sap, the catkins, birdsong , early shoots and although it feels like deep winter the signs of early spring are all around us if we care to look.
As seeds harbour the ultimate act of creativity ,life itself and Brighid is very much the nurturing feminine archetype of creativity. It was said in Irish mythology that he God Ogma gave the people Ogham script (the original Gaelic script) but it was Brighit who taught the people how to make the art poetry with it. I think this is a great time of year to actually create , make art , poetry as a way to both tune into the energy of the year and to express love for the Goddess and life itself. Within this process we can make creativity a sacred act of honorific spiritual expression which honours the energies of the earth and the Goddess and our true-selves.
It was in this spirit I created his image -as an expression of the season , celebrating the energies of new life stirring in the earth itself…of creation. I don’t see he Snowdrops as delicate symbols of the scared feminine – I see them ( as I do the sacred feminine ) as in possession of raw power – able to push through frozen soil and concrete with grace and ease.Within the ephemeral beauty of the Snowdrop we can also see a symbol of strength, determination and most of all hope.
Without hope …we have nothing.
To hope is to dream.
The season of Imbolc is a space to dream and dream again.
A space to plant positive intentions and plans so our future selves may reap the harvest of the seeds we planted.
What seeds will you plant ?
Posted on August 26, 2020
I was really delighted that the story of this painting was featured on this months DRUID CAST podcast read out beautifully by Damh the Bard. I’ve been listening to this podcast for over a decade and it’s wonderful to be featured in one. This is the official podcast of O.B.O.D (the Order of Ovates, Bards and Druids) which is the world’s largest Druid Order.
All the profits for print sales of this painting are going to Hedgehog charities – the print run is limited to 50.
To listen to the the story click on the link below.
This painting is inspired by a real life Hedgehog called Susan. Here is her story…
Words by Lee Kynaston.
A hedgehog called Susan
There was a time when hedgehogs were believed to be witches in disguise. That may, or may not, be true (and it certainly shows Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle in a whole new light if it is true) but that they are truly enchanting, magical creatures nobody can deny.
Living in a village in rural Wiltshire Seán and I are used to hedgehogs snuffling around our garden after dusk. I’ve been witness to many a noisy standoff (when two males meet an almost comical game of huffing and puffing ensues, reminiscent of two beady-eyed boxers squaring off at a weigh-in) and once, while I was gazing at a small Beltane bonfire, I looked behind me to see two curious prickly visitors seemingly as transfixed by the ceremonial flames as I was.
Being lucky enough to have these most characterful of creatures in my life I’ve become accustomed to the annual hedgehog life cycle: the tentative emergence from hibernation in March or April; the noisy mating season (hogs are notoriously ’vocal’ when it comes to love-making); the appearance of late-summer juveniles trundling across the lawn in search of slugs, worms and the hedgehog food I put out for them and, finally, their customary disappearance come late autumn when they root out toasty leaf-covered hideaways in which to hibernate.
So it came as a shock when Seán spotted a small hoglet (yes, that’s what baby hedgehogs are called) chewing on a fat ball that had fallen from our bird table on a cold early January morning just after New Year.
Having read several books about hedgehog behaviour over the years I knew this was not a good sign – a hedgehog who ventures out in mid-winter, in broad daylight, is a hedgehog in trouble.
These increasingly endangered animals need to reach a certain weight (ideally around 600g) in order to survive hibernation and clearly this hoglet, small and obviously starving, had not. Left to fend for itself there was little chance it would survive so we quickly rushed outside, scooped it up in a towel (hedgehogs aren’t as prickly as you might think but they’re still pretty tricky to handle), popped it into a box and took it to the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital – a local charity who look after sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in our local area.
On arrival the staff quickly ascertained our foundling’s sex (it turned out our little hoglet was a girl), weighed her (she was barely 300g) and logged her in as ‘Hedgehog 3’. Presumably she was the third arrival of the New Year and if you’d seen how many hedgehogs were there already you’d appreciate why numbers are the best way to identify new arrivals. To us, though, she was ‘Susan’ – the name we’d given her on the way to the hospital. (Hey, what can I say? She looked like a Susan.)
After a tour of the hospital and a voluntary donation of £25 – an amount the staff assured us would buy a lot of food for the patients – we left our new-found friend in the care of this amazing charity in the hope that come the spring, when she was fit enough, we could return to collect her and return her to our garden so she could live out the rest of her life snuffling through the undergrowth and munching on slugs and woodlice. Perhaps, we thought, she might even witness a Beltane bonfire herself one day.
Sadly, that wasn’t to be. On calling to see how she was doing late in February we discovered that Susan had passed away the day after we brought her to the wildlife hospital. She had simply been too weak, too malnourished and too small to survive, even with our best intentions and the staff’s dedicated care.
Whilst much of Seán’s artwork is inspired by the animals he encounters when journeying with the drum, occasionally it is inspired by transformative, real-life encounters. ‘Hedgehog and the Moon’ was painted as a celebration of the beauty of one such encounter on a cold morning in January. And in appreciation of the work that organisations like the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital do, 100% of the profits from sales of this print will be split between the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, who provide advice about hedgehog welfare and fund research to find the best ways to assist hedgehog survival.
Back in the 1950s an estimated 30 million hedgehogs trundled their way across night-time Britain; today it’s thought there are less than a million of these beautiful, reclusive creatures left. Sadly, no amount of kindness was able to save our little Susan but, in purchasing this print, your kindness could help hundreds of (truly magical) hedgehogs just like her.
I have included a photo Of Susan here too as she was when we took her to hospital .