Happy Solstice!

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I’ve just finished giving a talk based on my book, Gods and Goddesses of Wales, at an online moot for a group in South Wales, the sun is shimmering on the waters of the bay outside my window, and I’m filled with joy. I shared the tale of the Birth of Taliesin, about my philosophy for connecting with deities through stories, and about how we are our own authority in our relationships with the gods (just, y’know, don’t claim it is an independent truth if it’s a personal one!)

I’ve been so busy doing that I’ve not been updating here as much as I used to, but I’ve got some major projects in the works which I will share with you all very soon, so watch this space.

For today, however, I wanted to share a little meditation for the Solstice. Light a candle if you can, read the following, and then reflect. You can listen to the audio and sign up to support my work on Patreon here.

Today is the Solstice, where the sun stands still in the sky. In the Northern hemisphere we are bathed in light, and we can feel the sun strengthening our spirits. In the Southern Hemisphere it is the longest night, where the stars are held in the deep dark sky. There is a saying that every flame is part of the same fire, from the flame in your candle to the fire of the sun and the stars, so we are all connected in community together through the flame and the light.

The light casts a shadow, it illuminates and it obscures. In the darkness is the potential of all that could be, it is the belly of Ceridwen’s cauldron and the darkness of the fertile soil. We stand, bathed in light, whilst the world turns to head back into the darkness of potential and dreams. Even at the greatest point of light, darkness is, just as at the points of most darkness, light resides.

Place your hand on your heart and feel the sunlight fill it with golden light. Let that light grow with each breath. Spend some time reflecting on who you are when you are your biggest, brightest self. When do you feel most fully who you are in all your glory? When do you feel strongest, most powerful, most alive? Breathe in that feeling. Hold that feeling for a moment as you let yourself relax into this space. Feel the light of the sun filling your heart holding the light of your brightest self. Know that at any point you feel like you are struggling and the world is darkening, you can place your hand over your heart and remember this light, remember your strongest self. This is always a part of you, no matter what, so you can let it guide you through any darkness you encounter ahead.

Happy Solstice, lovely folk.

To listen on Patreon, click here.

And Happy Pride Month. For those that are still in the closet-shadows, and those that stand in the light, may we all be safely seen and accepted for who we are.

In Delight,

~Halo

Folkloric Faery Magic – Online Course!

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Folkloric Course Postcard

What is Folkloric Faery magic?

Faery magic is working magic in relationship with faery spirits, who are primarily (arguably) spirits with close ties to the land and the “green” world. I’ve spent my entire life working with the Fae in one way or another, from greeting them everywhere as a child, to my current practise of prayer, honouring the Land Spirits, storytelling to share their magic, and travelling to Faeryland (in a manner often described as shamanic).

In this course I will be guiding you through some folkloric elements of faery magic so you can deepen your understanding and build your own practice in relationship with these spirits.

The six main lessons are:

  1. What is Folkloric Faery Magic? Getting Started, altars, and understandings.
  2. Opening the Way: A Foundation for working safely with the Fair Folk.
  3. Beginning On the Path: Recognising Faery Magic, making contact, and offerings.
  4. Crossing the Rivers: Magical Housework, Faery gateways, and the Beloved Dead.
  5. Entering Faeryland: Faery taboos and customs, and dreamwork.
  6. Returning Home: Finding clues to continue onwards, house spirits, and your path ahead.

How does this Online Course work? Beta Testing!

This course is delivered by email, six main lessons sent out weekly for you to work on at your own pace. For this first round I will be taking questions each week and potentially adding in new material in a variety of media – for example, I intend to send out audio recordings of the stories, weekly Q&As, and to be on hand for support via email.

Special Offer for beta testers!

Alongside the six main lessons you will receive:

  • Email Q&A – ask me questions and I’ll send out a weekly round up of questions asked by everyone on the course and my responses, advice, and recommendations for resources. This has the potential to be a huge resource for everyone as every individual brings something to the table and questions inspire new connections and information sharing of what you find important in your practice.
  • Random extra materials – audio, video, art, poetry, suggestions for creative projects… who knows! I’ll be listening to the spirits and responding to the participants so this beta testing round will be growing and expanding in new and interesting ways.
  • You get to shape the course! The main lessons are all written, but there is so much more to play with and explore. Tell me what you want from it as we go along and there’s a good chance it will appear!
  • The option to connect with others working through this in real-time. In future I will be setting this up as a home-study course so folk will be engaging at different speeds, so not only do you get my feedback and support if you join this time around, you also get to make like-minded connections and support, inspire, and encourage each other!

As you’ll be helping to improve this course and I’m excited to create it with you, but I’m going to be offering a lot more support than in future cycles, I’m going to limit this course to a maximum of 12 participants and offer it at an introductory price…

£60 (GBP) for the 6 weeks through Paypal (click here!)

Deadline for Booking: Midnight (BST), Sunday 28th July, 2019.

Course starts Monday 29th July, 2019

Your place is secured on receipt of payment. Contact me for installment plans, or alternative methods of payment.

Any Questions? Email me on haloquin (at) gmail (dot) com!

About Halo:

I’ve spent my entire life pixie led, and have been explicitly devoted to the Faery Queen for about a decade, with two decades of faery relations, magical work, and training under my belt. I’ve taught classes on working with the elements, the spirits of the land, stories old and new and many others, but my favourite classes are always those working with the Fae. It is my honour to share this work with you. My book, “Pagan Portals: Your Faery Magic” has found a home with over 1000 faery lovers and my storytelling show The Goblin Circus, born of a union between faery magic and performance, has appeared at many events across Britain, enchanting as we go. For more from me, explore this site

 

NEW BOOK RELEASED!!! – Gods and Goddesses of Wales

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It’s here!!! Midsummer 2019 has completed a piece of devotion for me…

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Pagan Portals: Gods and Goddesses of Wales is out!!!

I’m really excited to announce the manifestation of my newest book, a practical introduction of Welsh deities and their stories, through their stories. It’s designed as a primer to get started on your journey with beings such as Rhiannon, Blodeuwedd, Taliesin, Gwydion, and more. There’s even a pronounciation guide at the back (thanks Sarah!)

Here’s the official blurb:

An introduction to Welsh deities through traditional myths and practical exercises. Written by a practising witch, living in the heart of Wales and working with the deities woven into the land, this book contains the major stories and backgrounds for the Gods and Goddesses of the heartland of the Druids. Within its pages you will find information on the major deities and where their stories can be found, alongside suggestions on how to connect with them and weave relationships with them into a modern pagan practice.

You can order this through your favourite bookstore, they’ll find it under author “Halo Quin” (publisher: Moon Books) or through amazon.

Looks like I’m living the dream… a published author 😀 Thanks to everyone who supports me, who encourages, proofreads, inspires, shares, buys, reviews and generally cheers me on. Couldn’t do it without you (In fact, without you all, there’d be no point.) This last year has been a wild ride and in amongst it all the gods of this land have been woven…I’m glad to do my part in sharing their stories. What is remembered, lives.

Happy Thoughts,

Halo Quin x

Overlooking a sunny Ceredigion Bay in wild, West, Wales.

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My first “Moon Book” can be found here!

 

Feeling Falsely Fraudulent

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Creative Writing Pic

Creative Writing Classes… because apparently I’m a teacher?

 

I know, I know, we all get it. But damn imposter syndrome is REAL and hard.

I’ve just (after several weeks of not because… resistant brain?) made event pages for two writing classes I’m starting next month. I’ve been running one in Carmarthen for the last six months and it’s been wonderful. The students came with such a wide range of experience and backgrounds – from the jewellery maker who hasn’t written since school, to the professional non-fiction writer who wanted to stretch his story-crafting muscles – and have each inspired me with what they’ve achieved. Their feedback has shown me I can teach these classes, and yet…

I hit post on the event pages and immediately began doubting myself. What if people turn up and I discover I can’t do it? What if I let them down? What if I’m kidding myself and this is not remotely viable for me as a possible career thread… What if these classes were just a fluke? What if they discover I really haven’t got a clue?!

My sensible brain knows that I am, actually, good at this. I have some major challenges around making the classes happen and promoting them (ADHD non-linear butterfly brain, anyone?) but when I’m there, in the space, it’s wonderful.

But oh gods, I really just want to hide now!

This is a good opportunity to practice self-acceptance, however. I am not just my limitations, and not just the easy parts of me. I’m also someone who loves to teach, and who can and does get up in front of a roomful of people and takes a risk on being seen for who and what I am. Hopefully, I’ll continue to prove myself worthy! Either way, I am apparently a brave person because it takes courage to do the scary thing.

So… to honour that…

Classes start…

…in Aberystwyth, Wednesday 8th May, 11am – 12:30pm at the Dragonfly Bistro, 7 St James’ Street. £6/£5 a session, £20 for first four in advance. (Facebook Event Page)

… in Lampeter, Tuesday 14th May, 3:30 – 5pm at the Mulberry Bush, 2 Bridge Street, £6/£5 a session, £20 for first four in advance. (Facebook Event Page) 

Any questions, or to book, email me: Haloquin@gmail.com

 

Happy Thoughts and Pixie Dust,

~Halo x

 

A new chapter…

This last year was a roller-coaster of changes. I left my husband, spent 6 weeks officially homeless (actually staying in a friend’s spare room), moved to another county, ended up back in halls, and finally  last weekend, moved back north again. All of a sudden I’m living on the beach.

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I’m healthier,  happier, and more hopeful than I’d been in a long while. There are challenges ahead, but then there always are!

I’d love to share something profound or useful or beautiful or entertaining or whatever right now… But really… This is just about turning the page to the next chapter with gratitude.

Who knows what stories are waiting to be told now?

After the Tower, The Star Rises

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Two violet booklets with a butterfly emerging from a crysalis depicted on the cover, on a wooden surface. Title: "Showing My Hand: a Poet's Tarot, by Halo Quin".

XVII: Star

Tell me,
my dreams,
which of you are true?
Which celestial spark points North
and leads me to my cave,
my court,
my stage?
And which is the lighthouse,
warning of the shallows
where sirens live?
Where do the rivers
of sleep lead?

 

 

In the spring of this year, I fell apart.

Some wonderful things happened. Some hard. I railed against the limitations I felt caged by. I explored ways of finding and making space.

The wheel turned, and everything changed. And nothing changed.

A birds-eye view of a lit, large cream candle, lighting a stainless steel pen and a journal page with a quote "the best way to predict the future is to create it." and a purple ribbon bookmark.The trick to magical manifestation, I have always found, is to be clear on what you truly desire. When everything you’re holding together begins to fall apart, struck by lightning perhaps, you can no longer ignore the cracks. When beautiful things appear in your life they highlight the parts you’ve allowed to become stagnant.

 

Under the light of the stars, I find my clarity. I have stories to share, of how I became an accidental published poet, and discovered I’ve always been a Bard. I joined an Order, which makes me chuckle, and I’ve learned that I really am wired differently to the majority of people. And finally, finally, I can see a path ahead for my studies. I’ve wandered for several years without direction, buried under the weight of my thesis despite my gratitude for the opportunity. And now, perhaps, I’ve chosen a destination…

 

An altar lit by a bright lantern-candle in the dark, outside, with apples and drinking cup barely visible.And I’ve found a way to dance again! I can no longer dance for hours every week in ATS Belly Dance, but I can strap my knees and back up (corsetry is surprisingly useful for this!), indulge in some spirits, and relax into freeform dancing as long as I listen to my body.

There is light in the darkness, always, and always more tales to tell.

 

 

Limitations of Flesh

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My knees are burning. My back is cramping. Tears stream down my cheeks in frustration. All I want to do is dance again. To move. To feel alive.

Wall of blank.

Exhaustion rises up, fog descends.

My mantra: I am lucky. This is temporary. This too shall pass.

I don’t believe it.

My body tells me that all there is is Now. Now is all. It might be correct.

I curl up on the floor. Empty.

I catch my breath. Numb.

Noticing, with strange detachment, that the world has become distant. That I’ve been a quiet automaton for hours, days… perhaps longer.

I breathe myself back into my body. Back into my feet. Back into the burning, aching flesh.

At least I feel alive.

I notice. Even restrained, even with the limits of movement, even with the fog and frustration, Here and Now, if I can keep my self in my belly, in my feet, in my hands, in my flesh… I can breathe and expand. The deeper into the flesh I go, the deeper into the magic. The deeper into the world I sink, the more I can expand, the more I am aware of. Oh it hurts, yes, but with each breath is life. With each prickly of goosebumps the wild spirits brush my skin with fingertips, tentacles, lips dripping in nectar.

The more present I am, the more present I am with Them. The gods stand behind me, the ancestors whisper in my ear, the spirits draw near. I can feel my edges, raise my shields, let down my hair, call out the cry of a Witch in the night.

The deeper into my body I can stay, when all my instincts are to flee, to float into painless disconnection, the closer the magic is.

Her and Now. Here and Now at the crossroads of every moment. Here and Now is where the web of Wyrd is woven, where the Power lies.

 

I am lucky, this too shall pass, this too shall return to the Fertile Darkness from whence it came, I am lucky, there are lessons here, if I can just stop running, just be Here and Now.

And in the stillness, I dance.

In the Footsteps of the Maiden

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Screenshot of a tweet by @Haloquin which reads; "Had a marvellous time at Occult Conference this weekend, today included how to make noises and how to walk. Also cake."

In my tradition (as with many) we have the goal of getting back to our true selves, and we consider this to be a state of being natural to children and animals (though please note that this includes connection, compassion, and the ability to use tools we’ve learnt whilst growing up, like kindness and empathy!). This weekend in Glastonbury, I went to the Occult Conference run by the Visible College, and its theme was practice, with an emphasis on embodiment. The workshop I attended, “Flesh of the World”* was run by Alkistis Dimech (of Scarlet Imprint) and focused on the feet; the feet as our contact with the world, our feet as focal points of our awareness, our feet as magical creatures in their own right (metaphorically), our feet as the foundation of our being in the world.

We learnt how to walk.

And I was struck by how often practical magical workshops are about learning to do things we thought we learned in childhood – walking, vocalising, breathing, standing. So much of our lives and culture encourages us to disconnect from our bodies, our selves, our natures, to live in ways which are destructive to our health, to cut ourselves off from the core of us which is embodied. As a result we need to undo harmful habits and relearn how to do even basic things, in order to fully embody and express our core-self.

This weekend I attended a workshop where we just walked, until walking became a dance and the dance became a magical act. And it was still “just” walking.

Thoughts fell away.

Awareness expanded.

I felt myself fill with song that longed to spill from my heart into the world.

By simply walking I was reminded that through following our feet, placed with deliberation upon the flesh of the world, we can return to the state of innocence, of pure, fey, self which the divine child embodies.

 

 

 

*And yes, this is a reference to phenomenological writings by Merleau-Ponty and others, which made me VERY gleeful!

Goblins on The Rock Show

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As the finishing touch for this year’s Samhain-Halloween, after much ancestor work and feasting with friends, I found myself entering The Bunker, from which Big Jim broadcasts The Rock Show each Monday.

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Apparently it has been banned from Youtube, so this was either a genius plan or the worst idea I’d ever had. (Well, maybe not THE worst…)

My friend Eve had led the way from the Pagan Society Ritual to this strange corner of the town and I found myself stepping into another world. This was the second time that evening as the ritual had included an unexpected trip to the land of the dead. At least this meant I had my world-hopping boots on already.

Black and colourful candles lit the space showing band T-Shirts and Vinyl adorning the wooden walls. A clear desk with a microphone standing proud dominated one end, with laptops and hardware glowing like some kind of esoteric portals. I spared a moment for a prayer that the tech be treated kindly by the spirits and felt reassured by their response, Big Jim had that covered.

My Owl feathers still fluttered around my neck and I’d kept my torque and circlet but I’d swapped my purple robes for a white steampunk jacket. The robes keep me warm and show my role when I’m running ritual but the other items have protective functions. I’ve always drifted into the otherworld easily so I developed a habit of wearing talismans during ritual (and activities that might put me close to faeryland) just as back-up to keep me in my body and on the path.

Eve and I joked (kinda) about having just come from a ritual involving necromancy as Jim ushered me round to the mic. We had been contacting the dead so technically “necromancy” is accurate. “Bark at the Moon” (Ozzy!) echoed round the studio and I stood by the mic, ready to… well, I wasn’t sure, but whatever it was, it was going to be fun. The music ended and Jim began.

So, joining us fresh from ritual tonight is Halo! Halo is a White Witch and…”

“No. I’m not actually.

The slightly concerned twitch was amusing. Oh dear, I thought, I’m clearly feeling contrary tonight!

Jim changed the subject onto safer ground and we talked about the importance of the land and our relationship with it. Our position as part of nature. I eventually dropped in…

I said I’m not a white witch, I’m more of a green witch, a faery witch.

Jim laughed, the pieces making more sense. He was right, I take my responsibilities very seriously and have no intention of harming others, but while I don’t tend to curse and my goal is always to be kind, the labels black and white are problematic, oversimplified terms that lead to thinking that serves no-one. Even if they make things easier to understand! I knew full well that I was adding complications to the understanding of Jim’s listeners but it is important. Stories are important, labels are important. Truth is important.

Goblin Circus in the daylightAbout halfway through the interview the subject of Goblins and The Goblin Circus, my storytelling show, *just happened* to come up. From there it got really weird! I’ve no idea how well it translated through the airwaves but They turned up. That bunker is a magical space, and it is very welcoming of the mischievious, playful and darker energies of the Fae. It seemed that They liked it very much! It amused them to raise the temperature too…

Big Jim asked if we could “manifest” a Goblin, but given that they’ve deleted, destroyed or hidden most of the records of the Goblin Circus in action, I didn’t think it wise for Jim’s tech… and had the distinct impression that they didn’t want to be a parlour trick. Off-air Jim’s blue-haired apprentice A. asked if we could travel to the land of the dead. The dead were close enough to make the temperature drop and both Jim and A. shivered. Cue worried looks. I suggested that we stick with the goblins. And thus the experimental 3-minute trip to Faeryland and back occurred. I just described what the Goblins were showing me and we were off.

It was only when the show was over that Jim informed me of quite how many people there were listening in… well, yes. I’m glad that each person had their own goblin/spirit to guide them there and back again, I’m not sure I could have kept so many souls safe on such a trek alone!

Off-air I did hold up my “Philosopher Brain Here” card and remind them that I was well aware that it could all be suggestion, perhaps there is nothing objectively real about any of the energies or beings that joined us… but then, perhaps we’re not objectively real either. And, how does that saying go? “It’s all in our heads, but our heads are much bigger than we think they are.” I’m not stupid and I’m not crazy. But I am genuine. I do have experiences which indicate to me that it is real, and I’m happier and healthier when I let myself trust it… and I believe utterly in the reality of the spirit realm.

Besides, it is so much fun to introduce people to goblins when they were just expecting a harmless chat about Halloween…

Until Monday 7th November you can listen to the whole Halloween show here; http://www.therockshow.co.uk/

Steampunk Enchantment and Glamourie

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Glamour is traditionally a faery magic. The ability to make something look like something else, to make something more beautiful, or ugly, is a handy skill for hiding something, or testing someone.

In many stories a magical being will appear as an ugly or low-status person, hiding their nature to test the human… asking for bread while wearing this glamour the faery asks; “Is this human worth helping? Are they honourable? Do they help others to be helpful or for their own gain? Do they respect the land and all who live here, or only wish for benefits for themselves?”

On the other hand, sometimes you’ll hear of gold that turns into dead leaves when the glamour wears off, leaving the faery laughing in the distance with the goods. Although one can’t help but wonder if perhaps the very earth from which we grow, which feeds us and houses us and receives us in the end, perhaps the earth is more valuable than gold?

On to steampunkerie! This year I’ve taken the Goblin Circus to quite a few steampunk events and I’ve been pondering glamourie again. When we dress up we’re casting a glamour on ourselves. We don’t have to use this to present an image though, instead we can use it to create a space of possibility. When we add an element of fun we open the doors of possibility further because we can relax into the magic! Steampunk is great for this! (If you like the aesthetic!) Fairy festivals can serve a similar function.

 

I wonder what kind of magic can flow when we use these glamours? Could we create “personas” that are simply the best version of ourselves? Our most fully realised Us? And then perform those in spaces full of fun and playfulness in such a way that they then make space for that version of ourselves to manifest in every day life? Or do we tend to relegate those playful parts of ourselves to the safe spaces of themed events? Of course, we can use it to explore our shadows, or personas completely different to our own too… in which case it probably is best to leave those glamours behind, and instead learn from them…

… and share our bread with them so they know they are honoured too.