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.


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.


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.


The Trouble with Druids


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I was thinking, at Druid Camp, that my initial impression of druids was not favourable.

I grew up a half hour bus journey from Avebury. When I was 18 I spent each of the 8 neo-pagan Festivals camping in Avebury. During the summer months I saw a particular group of Druids performing open, public rituals there. So far so good. Except that the leader would start with “Let’s do this quick so we can get to the pub!” and end it with “To the Pub!” with a fair amount of alcohol already having been imbibed.

I was not impressed that the ritual seemed to be done as an obligation, rather than as a devotional act, or an offering, or a joyful service, or a celebration, or whatever. It felt like a public show of “Look at us! Aren’t we great! Honouring the Old Ways ™!” getting in the way of drinking, rather than something that was important to the druids officiating.

It didn’t help that at this point I was teetotal.

Now, I’m certain it was important to them. I’m certain this was a bit of a joke, and I’m all for irreverent reverence. But when you are performing public ritual in a very public place then, surely, you have to expect that you are giving some people their first impression of pagans in general and druids in particular? Surely you need to take this into account?

For me, this was my first encounter with druids, and I was not impressed.

At one festival there was a second ritual, run by Bobcat and others (I only remembered Bobcat’s name because, well, bobcats!)  which I really loved, but it was too late. I actually thought it was part of the same group. I’d dutifully attended all the rituals I came across whilst there in order to learn as much as I could. And because I’d assumed these were the same kind of practitioners – i.e. they’re all druids, right? So they’re all part of the same thing, right? – I didn’t really want to be involved in a group that had the opening and closing of a ritual revolving around getting wasted.

This is not to say I didn’t have good experiences with druids there. I had some lovely conversations. I also had some amusing ones where very high (as in stoned) druids attempted to educate me (conflating youth with inexperience – by then I’d been practising (neo)Witchcraft and magic for 7 years!).

Their case was also not helped, in my eyes, by the fact that I only saw them doing their public rituals in the summer. Now I suspect they performed their winter rituals somewhere sensible, or on a different day so I can’t really hold that against them!

The other issue were the moots. I got so frustrated at the few I attended with the lack of discussion about the things we shared in common – i.e. an interest in magic/paganism/druidry/stories/etc – and, when I asked someone if we were going to talk about anything, well, magical, their response was “Why would we talk about that? This is a moot!” And off they went to get drunk.

Anyway. The point of all this reminiscing is this: when we are out and about in a visible role as pagan, druid, witch, magic-worked or whatever, we are representatives, rightly or wrongly, of the group we present ourselves as belonging to. I was desperate for local pagans to connect with at that point in my life and could only find people who either patronised me or put me off! 

For years I understood druids to be drunken show-offs who only paid lip-service to magic and the gods. Eventually I met some who clearly weren’t like that and slowly came to understand that that kind of group was a minority, though a VERY public minority.

This has me thinking about responsibility of visibility. 

So should we make ourselves visible if we believe we are able to counteract some of the negative stereotypes and representations of our groups? Do we have a responsibility to provide an alternative to those who we feel are being unethical in their presentation? How? And, really, to what end?

I haven’t got answers, just ponderings. And a growing desire to offer workshops in ritual skills and ritual etiquette! But that might just be showing my Reclaiming Witchcraft roots…

Anyway. It isn’t really a problem with druids at all. It can be found in any group. The racist Heathens of the AFA are likely to drive good people away from Heathenry as a whole. Bitchy Witches can put people right off attending a moot or a gathering a second time. And I know of plenty of people who won’t come to Pagan Soc meetings because the society is made up of newbie pagans who haven’t found their feet yet, and they find it tiring/etc. So the questions are the same; What can we do about it? What should we do about it? Or is it just one of those things? And who am I to judge them for how they want to present themselves and their path?

Thankfully my impression of druids as a whole has changed… and I still love Avebury!

A Faery at Druid Camp


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Before I pontificate, let me just say: Druid Camp itself was marvellous! A community of like-minded people, on many different paths, all made welcome. A sharing of magic, of song and dance and learning, delicious food, laughter and sunshine. Each morning we’d gather in Morning Meeting to hear about the offerings of the day. Each afternoon we’d gather for a talk by a prominent (usually academic) member of the community. And each evening we’d meet for ritual and then music in the cafe tent. Throughout the day volunteers would teach their skills or support the practical running of the event.  Community, learning, sharing, celebrating and ritual. Magic in all it’s forms. I fully recommend it to even the just-curious as a gentle, relaxed event with plenty of space to choose what you will engage with, no pressure to know anything beforehand, and a very welcoming place which gives you the chance to meet many people on different paths.

On that note…

I’m not a Druid, not really. I’m not a member of OBOD or ADF or BDO or any other religious group with a name made of alphabet soup. I don’t introduce myself at pagan gatherings as a druid. It’s not a word or an image that resonates with me (and there is probably a good reason for that, which I’ll tell you about one day). And yet I feel very at home at the Rainbow Spirit Druid Camp.

I’ve done a fair amount of studying druidry (or at least neo-druidry, the modern pagan practice inspired by tales of ancient druids), and what I’ve found most often in recent years is that the ethics and attitudes align strongly with my own, the stories often come from the land I call home and I do love a good public ritual.

I still don’t feel like a Druid – though my path is very similar – and that’s ok.

I took an active part in the opening and closing rituals. I volunteered my time and skills to the community by working in the kid’s area. I danced to Morrigan’s Path and Hawkwind’s Nick Turner’s band Space Ritual. I was made welcome.

Part of me wonders if all that makes me a Druid in denial. But we never fit into neat little boxes, do we? I’m coming to accept that my Faery path weaves through several different groves, round the cauldron and into the wildwood. I can stand with the oaks, toast the gods, gather herbs and howl at the moon.

I often catch myself thinking that I’d like a tidy label for what I do, so I knew what I was meant to be doing, and then I remember, I know what I’m meant to be doing. I’m meant to follow the magic of my heart. The guidance of the spirits and the gods and of my deepest truest self. That’s what we’re all meant to do. For some that means finding an official path early on, for me it means that I can find myself at home in many temples. It’s an understanding that I may not be a Druid, but I’m certainly Pagan.

Black Candles and White Witches


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I recently bought black candles. This is not unusual. What makes this time notable is the look a friend gave me. A raised eyebrow, a smile both excited at the possibility of something taboo afoot and nervous that I am perhaps more wicked than I appear.

A little later the in-laws came to visit. Afterwards I remembered that the black wax, half melted, stands clearly visible on my altar and may have elicited a feeling of worry in this instance too. (True to British form, nothing was said even if it did.)

We have a pattern, a story we’ve learned, one of duality. Of Good vs Evil, of Kind vs Wicked, of light vs dark. I am a witch. I am a healer, first and foremost, – though I heal through inspiring joy and creativity (I hope) more than fixing physical ailments – which labels me a lightworker. And I honour, every day, the fertile darkness of sleep and dreams and space, and of the earth which nourishes all that we are.

The black candle on my altar is not there for wickedness, it is there for the darkness that carries the promise of light.

Cult of Busy


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I’m a fully-paid-up, signed-in-blood member of the Cult of Busy and I love it! This time of year is wall-to-wall events, performances, classes and inspiration.

Dancing from one thing to another!

Dancing from one thing to another!

Let me show you what I mean… These are the events I’ve been at this summer:

  • Dancing at Ceithofest, Lampeter Food Fest, Cardigan Belly Dance Festival, Brynog Arms, A Hawai’ian birthday party and the Steampunk Extraordinarium
  • Herbal Foraging Day in Longwood
  • Crafty classes most Wednesdays in July/August
  • Goblin Circus at Ceithofest, the Steampunk Extraordinarium, a friend’s daughter’s birthday party, a Wellbeing Day in Porthcawl, & Wyrd and Wonderful Fest
  • Plus a trip to Druid camp, my 31st Birthday (and thus an Unbirthday party) and our second wedding anniversary, a visit from Mother, socialising, working the day job… and AT LEAST a day’s worth of preparation for each and EVERY event or class!!!
Shall we take a day off Maurice?

Shall we take a day off Maurice? Nah, I agree, rest is for the sleepy and I’m not tired at all… What do you mean I haven’t stopped yawning today?!

Busy summer, right? I’m flagging now though, and finally learning to make space

without resenting my limitations.

This week I’d booked off work to go adventuring. Whether touring living rooms with the Goblin Circus or visiting Edinburgh Festival or whatever, I knew I wanted to be out enjoying the last of the summer season. As August began and I looked at the weeks ahead however, I did something important. I checked in with myself.

Halo Quin, with pixie ears and knitted wings, signing a copy of her book by candlelight.

I love writing! I should do more of it.

And myself reminded me that I also needed to rest and wanted to write.

Writing, whether for the thesis or creatively always takes a chunk of time for me. All the excitement and inspiration from my travels needs a little space to catch up and brew.

I was then invited to another event for this period. I realised my other plans had fallen through or not materialised and I could finally get to this event I’d wanted to go to for ages, and be both useful and inspired… and I declined. For once, I’m not regretting it. I’m not feeling like I’m missing out, I feel, instead, like I have space to create.

And yes, I’m still a true believer in the Cult of Busy (“Better busy than bored!” is a favourite saying of mine!) I love the thrill, the excitement, the stimulation… but perhaps, just for a week, I’ll sit on my garden steps with my blossoming roses and be a heretic as well.

Now, who’s for a cuppa?

There are still THIS many things I want to do!!!

There are still THIS many things I want to do!!! But one step at a time.