So this February I joined FAWM – an online challenge to write 14 songs in 28 days. I decided I’d aim for 7 rough songs, to both make it less pressure and to get myself over sharing things that aren’t perfectly finished.
And partly because I approached it as play… I ended up with 16 songs.
All bar one with melodies. And quite a few with some backing beats to go with them. More than meeting that target, however, I got to practice sharing my creations while they were still raw, with others doing the same, and a community of musicians committed to lifting each other up, and it stretched my courage.
Last night at the local storytelling cycle, Fables, I shared one of them live.
I messed it up several times, but it was still much fun!
It was particularly healing because I’d spent the week before feeling more and more overwhelmed by all the little things that needed my attention. All the things that need sorting and fixing and doing and… Finally I remembered my tools. As an ADHDer I need to externalise the processes my brain struggles with, like prioritisation and short term memory, much more than someone might expect for a Dr. When I start to feel overwhelmed it’s often because I’ve been trying to keep it all in my head so… I sat down with a cuppa, told my FB friends what I was up to for accountability, and emptied my brain onto the page. (credit to Talis Kimberley for the wonderful term “listifying”!)
Then I sorted the things that needed doing into a list… And then filtered that into my diary pages so each thing has a time to be done. Suddenly I only needed to worry about the task for that afternoon: Fables.
Today, according to my new list, is a day of goblin wrangling with my lovely helper, the Folklore Faery, and a plotting session for something exciting I get to go do this summer! Tomorrow I might record a version if this song to share with you lot… We’ll see 😁
It’s been a month of magic here, in the darkest coldest part of the winter I’ve been lucky to be conjuring love and light and warmth. Last night was my online book launch for “Crimson Craft – Sexual Magic for the solo witch” and it was an honour to share some magic with those that came (even with the tech trouble!)
Then this evening was spent hosting the local moot’s cocreated ritual, celebrating the growing light of love and inspiration. Brigid made an appearance, we sang together, and there was light, of course.
Imbolc is the festival where we mark the emergence of new life, from lambs to snowdrops to baby songs to tiny humans to the rising hope that we’ve made it through the winter, into the world.
This month is also FAWM – February Album Writing Month – a challenge to write 14 songs in 28 days. I love that it starts on Brigid’s day, the festival of Santes Ffraid (in Welsh), saint/Goddess/midwife of creating, healing, and, importantly, inspiration.
I’ve been secretly writing songs and been mostly too shy to share for years, and now I’m ready to change that. This past year, I’ve been practicing making the songs… But haven’t felt ready to show them to many people. I finally realised that truth, which is so often the case: we rarely feel ready. There is always something else to tweak, to edit, to perfect. And so, in the supportive space of FAWM this month, I’m aiming for 7 sharable songs as the light blossoms brighter.
I asked for Brigid’s blessing on this Imbolc night to overcome the perfectionism that holds me back from sharing the joy that arises when I make music, however unpolished it is…
And as declarations have their own kind of magic, let me be clear on my intention: Over the next month I’ll be sharing a little about my musical journey, the lessons it’s teaching me on magic, and, of course, some of my music.
And I’m offering a new workshop rooted in the magic of the Crimson Craft on “Courting Divine Love” on 15th February ’23. In this workshop you’ll be guided by the gods in connecting to Divine Love, uncovering both self-love and self-trust within yourself, and laying the foundation to manifest the magical life your heart desires.
Well, in case you’re not following me on social media, or have missed my emails on my mailing list, here’s the short version of the subsequent events of 2022:
Goblin Masquerade! Great success!
I had a couple of weeks off adventuring in Glastonbury with my coven, and then at an Aurora gig.
And then I ended up in hospital for a night in so much pain I couldn’t walk. Still not sure why.
Recovery. And more recovery. And very, very very slow walking. (I’m much better now, btw.)
I did mentoring for the NDSA (NeuroDivergent Self-Advocacy forum) and studied for my Life Coaching Certificate.
Aaand I learned songwriting and music production. I’ll be sharing more about that very, very soon…
As much as the world was opening up in 2022, I was back in hermit mode, adjusting, healing, rebuilding my foundations. As autumn went on and I got stronger I returned to teaching cycle 3 of Star Club (multi-disciplinary training for Magicians), opened a little space in the local market – The Rabbit Hole – and an online space, The Crimson Coven Collective. All with lots of rest-time factored in.
Adjusting Course with the Witches Compass
It’s not unusual to have to adjust course, for something unexpected to happen (plot twists abound!) and we can look for the story of “why”, or we can focus on the “next right thing” as the trolls advised in Frozen 2.* While this certainly felt like a stumbling block, I didn’t feel like I’d been thrown entirely off course, which is always a risk if you’ve got a dream.
Instead, I came back to my heart, my compass, my guiding star.
I definitely spent a bit of time wondering how the hell I was going to travel if I could barely walk, when one of my big dreams has always been adventuring and exploring the world, but I didn’t wallow in this too much. Instead I asked myself the questions that guide much of my life.
What do I dream of? How do I want to feel, today?
What can I choose, at this point in time, that feels like a step towards my dreams?
How can I take that next step?
Rather than relying on a set plan for the journey ahead, I follow my compass, my heart. Asking in each moment how I can make this now closer to what I most long to feel. Perhaps the next step isn’t the last one needed but allowing myself to be guided each day in what brings more joy now means I’m enjoying every part of my life as much as I can.
I invite you to try it. When life gives you a plot twist, look for how you can feel more like you choose to feel in this moment. Ask yourself what the next step towards your dreams is from here. Ask yourself what tiny change you have control over that will support you in your adventure-called-life and help you feel more joy today.
Not everything is fun and games – ouch, seriously – but when we carry our compass with us we can always point ourselves towards our True North, our dreams. Let your heart guide you.
The witches pyramid is a useful model to help with this, and is sometimes called the “witches compass” because it is a guide to the steps of our magic.
And that’s what we do when we find our path disrupted. We ask questions of ourselves so we KNOW what we dream of, and the feeling we desire that we think the dream will bring. What we long to feel. And then, we set our WILL toward it. We choose to orientate ourselves towards our chosen feelings and our dreams. And then we DARE to take that leap. The final step, of KEEPing SILENT, means we don’t reveal things before it is time. Often our dreams are tender things and there is a lot of pessimism that can encourage doubt before we take the steps we need, so they need the nurturing dark of the soil, the silence of the night’s sky, to hold them safely while we carry them into the world.
(*I finally watched this and I loved all the elemental stuff, the animistic environmentalism, the magic, there’s some fun music… it’s far from perfect but there is a lot I liked.)
Well, firstly, you can join The Crimson Coven Collective where we’re exploring how to embody our magic more fully! There are journaling and creativity prompts, and online circles, and I’m active there every week.
From the group description:
“The Crimson Coven Collective is for magical, creative, and ritual exploration of embodied, sensual magic.
Do you want your life to be magical, filled with playful, pleasurable, practice?
Do you want to be curious, to get creative with your magic, to explore what feels good and learn how to feel what’s right for you?
We aspire to be…
* Open hearted explorers of wyrd, enchanted, possibilities.
* Creatives conjuring beauty and desire.
* Divine beings embodying sensual spirit.
* Witches delving into the darkness and light of magic.
And that’s it. This month, on Imbolc eve, I finished my PhD corrections and submitted the final FINAL version. This week I got confirmation that it has been accepted!
I’m officially Dr Halo!
I celebrated with a trip to the bookshop, hot chocolate with friends, dinner for one and a movie… Then cuddles from my fella the following night, of course!
I started by letting my brain decompress and dealing with those bits of life that now need dealing with, like clearing out some old books to make space for the new ones! And contemplating where I go from here… With a foxy companion for Imbolc reminding me that spring is emerging from the dark, just like me. 🥰
If you’re on my mailing list you’ll know that I’ve got a whole bunch of monthly discussion based classes that I’m offering through Patreon, or which you can sign up for individually if you’d rather, starting with an online elements of magic workshop next month, on 16th March at 7pm GMT. (And in April I’ll be kicking off a ten week course working with them too…)
And the Goblin Masquerade is coming together! Last autumn I was chatting with fellow changeling poet Kate Garrett, and somehow got the inspiration to host a goblin market followed by a Masked fairy ball this spring. Everything is coming together and we have music, talks, dancing, and even the steampunk debut of an Ominous Folk of Hopeless Maine show. It’s going to be a lovely day of community and play, and I’m considering it my party for escaping studenthood with a Doctorate at last!
I’ve also been researching ADHD and neurodivergences… There’s so little support for adults with ADHD and we can do amazing things with the right help! So I’m writing occasional thoughts on that over here… On the newsletter “Living with Squirrels” not sure where it’ll go but you’re welcome to sign up if you like.
So I guess I do know where I’m going next… To play with the goblins and re-enchant the world!
PS: If you want to get workshops, extra posts, advance access to material, and more things as and when the goblins inspire me… And support my adventures so I can keep building the academy into something sustainable you can sign up to my Patreon here:
Oh books! You glorious creatures of paper and print and pixels, light and shadow dancing before our eyes in invocation of mind to mind, heart to heart, spirit to spirit communication!
The chanting of audio books summoning otherworlds and deep knowing. The arcane sigils of the alpha-bet holding fast the hard won wisdom and wit of moments past.
Until we open you, oh wells of wisdom, and allow you to weave your spells upon us, losing time to your enchantments, and finally returning, forever changed.
All of which is to say ; I’m glad I’m reading more widely again, and I’ve got some book reviews lined up for you all soon!
PS: if you too like books you can buy mine here, and support me to write more here!
Eleven years ago I wrote a piece about what it means to me “To Be a Witch” because I was wrestling with the title I’d claimed for myself as a teen, trying to work out whether I really felt like I was entitled to it. In recent years I’ve gotten more wrapped up in the tension between its history and the way it is used today, but still, it is what I am. I have recently reached a new stage in my magical journey and so I’m reflecting on what I choose to carry with me into the next chapter… Looking back over what I wrote then, it is still true, so I’d like to share it with you, once more, tonight:
I wonder what it takes to be a Witch, what it means.
I feel like it is a title that should be earned, and I feel that you earn it by working on yourself, constantly working to be the best you can be as a human being; as part fey, part animal, part divine.
I feel that it represents an inner power, earned through clearing yourself and connecting to the realms beyond the physical, beyond the so called ‘mundane’. To be a little Fey, deep down.
I feel that it involves a balancing act between the light and the dark, in yourself and in the world.
I feel that it involves a deep sense of Pride which, in its true form, includes humility. Pride is knowing your place in the world, knowing your value and valuing all other beings in the world, knowing everything has a place and a function and is sacred, including yourself.
I feel that it involves acting in alignment with your values, your beliefs, walking your talk and speaking your mind.
I feel that it involves constant attunement to the flow of nature, the flow of magic, coming back to yourself when you notice you are distracted, reconnecting at every moment possible.
I feel that it involves magic, striving to know your True Desire, True Will, who you are fundamentally, and changing consciousness (and the world) in accordance with this.
I feel that it means someone fiercely joyful, deeply compassionate, righteous in their anger when necessary, powerful in themselves, truly honest and eternally loving.
I feel that it involves doing your best, not Perfection, but a process of improvement.
I feel that to be a Witch is to do all these things, and with a particular flavour, of deep forest greens and cool nights, of full moons through starlit skies, of Northern landscapes before the snow. The emerald lands of home.
I strive, every day, every moment, to do these things, to live connected, aware, to reconnect when I find myself scattered and distracted, to know myself and act in accordance with my Self, to be passionate and compassionate and full of joy. Mine is not a path of yellows and oranges, of sand or smoke or baking sun, but of cool deep forests and winter’s rain, of the hearth fire that holds the damp at bay, and the sun which warms but rarely burns. I am not perfect, but I am in process, and so I claim the title ‘Witch’
by Halo Quin, June 2010
It is all to easy to get wrapped up in the academia of things, and whether or not something is correct. And that does matter. But also, so often there is something utterly essential in remembering what is in Truth. Within magic there is an important piece about being True to your self and having faith in your Truth, in knowing when to trust your feeling, or more accurately intuition, about something. And in reaching into the heart of the matter and finding spirit there.
So I still stand by this today.
I am a witch, of the cunning folk,
I am fey and human and divine.
I dance with the gods and the shining ones,
and weave magic with this heart of mine,
I sing the song of the forest-folk,
and honour the dead of my clan,
and under the light of the moon, sun, and stars,
I've enchanted since all time began.
Do you call yourself a witch, dear reader? Or a druid? Or magician? Or Seeker? Or maybe something else? What does it mean for you? Drop a comment below.
PS: You can support my work and find guided meditations, resources, and ponderings over on Patreon. You can follow me there for free, or become a Patron yourself to get early access, bonus material, writings and courses (depending on the tier).
And you can subscribe to my newsletter for notifications of updates to the blog, and occasional announcements and excitable thoughts of a happy Halo seeking her witchy way through the world, here; Halo’s mailing list.
You know I’ve been pulling my offerings together into The Enchanted Academy (AKA TEA)? Well if you’ve seen my social media today then you’ll know that I’ve built a shiny shiny new website for TEA, which launches officially today! Please go and check it out and subscribe to receive regular “Grimoire Pages” and announcements for new courses at www.TheEnchantedAcademy.com.
Which does mean that I’ll be continuing my more rambly posts here… Which I’ve gotta assume you enjoy as you’re still here! Honestly, the biggest news on this front is that I’ve finally taken the plunge and gone full time freelance witch, or “professional pagan” if you will (which honestly makes me giggle a little every time I hear that!)
Like many (though far from all) of us I’ve had plenty of time to re-evaluate my life over the past 18 months and I’ve found myself in a really good place so I figured, really, it’s now or never! Oh, and I passed my Viva (with minor corrections) last month so by this time next summer I’ll have finally finished my philosophical studies.
Time to seize the day, and walk my talk, and all that.
Thank you for being along for the ride with me, as ever. Life is such a huge adventure and, although the path ahead is unclear, we can choose to follow our hearts each step of the way, closer to the magic.
In delight and enchantment,
~Halo (nearly Dr) Quin
Writer, teacher, witch
Now go! Check out the very snazzy professional glamour and come back to let me know what you think!!!
I found this monument to the sun* this week and thought it was very striking. By the following day it had been washed away by the tides and that got me thinking about the practice of creating fleeting beauty, as an act of joy and pleasure rather than as a construction of permanence.
Cycles and change.
There’s no going back… All we can do is cherish our happy memories, appreciate our strengths, and be present in the now.
Of course, the now is where we lay foundations for the future… And honestly I’m really excited about what this next season is bringing, the space being made by that which is ending and the warmth and joy that is growing still.
Happy longest/shortest day, dear ones, what foundations are you building and building on today? ☺️
PS: Last summer I recorded this meditation for Solstice days when the sun stands still, as a gift for you, and if you’d like to support me there are various tiers (which I’ve just updated, building on old foundations in the face that is opening up!) at which you can do so there: https://www.patreon.com/posts/solstice-38437372
One thing I love doing is Priestessing. Facilitating ritual and magic for others makes my heart sing.
Holding that space just for myself though? Prioritising that can be really hard. Making the time to let go of what I’m told I *should* be doing to perform a ritual just for me feels decadent sometimes.
And yet, it’s important.
We can engage with the world magically every day, but making time for ritual adds an extra layer of connection, of honouring our selves and our gods and spirits. It can give structure to the passing of time, and support us through changes. More than that, it gives structure and space to our relationship with the divine in our lives.
We can nurture this relationship by praying and making offerings, but also by consciously wearing jewellery or colours that honour them, by keeping an altar, tending a garden, by dedicating our creative acts to them. Like any relationship, doing things with our gods brings us closer together.
I am both a witch, weaving active magic everyday, and a Priestess, honouring the Divine in the world. You may be one or the other, or both. You don’t need to work with gods to practice magic, and you don’t need to practice magic to honour the gods.
But if you do walk the path of priest/ess/x/hood, then I’d love to hear about how you connect with your gods every day, in the ways that aren’t flashy, that people outside might not notice. Please do comment below…
One of the ways I enact my devotion is through my writing, so my first two books are offerings to the Faery Queen and Gods of Wales. You can buy them here.
I am also a devotee of Freya, as Lady of Magic & Passion and The Crimson Coven is a collective or creative, magical folk founded to honour her and the other gods & powers of the Divine Erotic… You’d be very welcome to join us.
Spring arrived, and with it went my focus. It’s always an inspirational time of year for me, the rush of energy bringing so many new ideas, so much potential, that I find myself led astray by beautiful new possibilities… And some things get dropped in the whirlwind romance of life. Like consistency.
Once upon a time I’d have felt guilty for that.
Coming to honour my cycles is a really important step in not beating myself up, and I don’t think I’m alone there. Each of us has cycles and seasons, and for some of us the effects are more pronounced than for others… Have you noticed that? Have you noticed your energy and attention fluctuating with the moon, or the sun?
I definitely go with the seasons, the kiss of the sun on the land… Each season feeding into the other, a circle that repeats every year.
And each year I know a little more, recognise it a little sooner, so the circles become spirals, the same shape but a little further ahead, building a little higher than last time.
At least, that’s my goal.
And so far it seems to be working. I’ve noticed myself wanting to chase all the gorgeous idea-bunnies and remembered to pull myself back to centre. Those inspirations are wonderful, and if I follow them all I’ll forget the garden one been tending.
Do you find this? Do you find you cycle through patterns each day, month, year? Do you tend to overdo it in the summer, like me? Or do you let it go and take a holiday when the sun shines?
This Spring I’ve been nurturing a few writing seedlings which are strengthening day by day. The Enchanted Academy (TEA) with my courses on magic is one, the Crimson Coven is another, and if you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen today that I’ve just signed contracts for two new books!
I decided years ago that I wanted to write books and teach, and that’s the spiral staircase I’m climbing each year… Each revolution, a little further along the path of doing what I love, even when my energy waxes and wanes with the seasons.
Whatever the sun is doing, I keep my dream in mind. If you hold true to who you choose to be then, every season, every revolution, you’ll have spent a little longer doing what feeds your heart’s garden. Don’t let the down times make you forget that.
Oh and learning your cycles and patterns, recognising the flow of the world around you, and learning to work in tune with both, is part of the craft of the witch, too.
In an attempt to get better at this while “making a living writing” thing, may I just remind you that I have books for sale! You can find them in my new online bookshop, Quin’s Books, or at your local bookshop. Or, if you’d like, you can support me on Patreon and unlock bonus audio content and early access to magical writings…