Women are naturally cyclical. We do and do again, and it's easy to get trapped in that and just go round and round. But if we cycle consciously, every cycle will be more expansive and enlightening than the one before. This is true Feminine energy: a spiral outwards, covering more ground, taking in more each time, glancing sideways to how it used to be and what you have learned.
Hysteria. There's a lot of it about. The entire world is in turmoil, and the news seems to jump from one crisis to another. But I'm going to talk about where the word hysteria comes from. If you don't already know this story, it will surprise you.
Balance. Ultimately, it's what we're all aiming for, right? Whether it's balancing our work life and home life, balancing our gut flora, our circadian rhythm, or our dreams with our reality. There are so many things that knock us off balance, though.
You've probably heard people use the phrase 'survival mode' (usually in the context of women, usually mothers). We use it to describe lives that are chaotic and so full that there is no space to relax. That phrase, though, is actually spot-on. When we feel like this, our bodies literally switch onto another setting where survival is the only thing that matters.
So, it snowed in Athens again! I've been here since the end of 2011, and the first time it snowed 'properly' was last winter. Don't get me wrong, it often snows in Greece ... just not here in Athens. Then, Storm Elpis hit us at the beginning of last week. Where we live, on the western edge of the city, things weren't too bad. Our council salted the main roads and we didn't lose power even for five minutes. But in other parts of the city, the damage was severe. Roads were impassable, trees were down, and some areas had no power for days.
It is bitterly cold here (for Athens!) and I’ve covered up my pot plants to protect them from the frost. The lowering grey clouds may look bleak but down on the ground, the plant life is far from dead.
Once upon a time, all women were healers. We had to be. There was nothing else. We sought out plants to staunch bleeding, to minimise infection, to combat the symptoms of diseases that had no names. We supported our sisters, our nieces and our daughters through pregnancy and childbirth. We shared our knowledge, their joy. We held their hands through suffering and pain. And when there was nothing more we could do, we closed their eyes and held the broken people left behind.
Midwinter. There is such magic and mystery in the word - a connection to people and times past, and an invitation to sink down into the comforting dark. This is a time for rest and rejuvenation, for re-evaluation and sowing the seeds of intention. But modern Western Christmas culture rips that from us in the mad rush and the insistence that we need to buy more, do more, see more, even eat and drink more at this time of the year. I'm taking it back.
Hestia is the anglicised version of her name. Her Greek name - Εστία (pronounced es-tee-ah) - means dwelling. She was the goddess of home, and goddess of the hearth. On Olympus, her job was to take the good stuff from every sacrifice, to any deity, and feed it into the fire on the mountain. And so, part of every sacrifice belonged to her. Every hearth-fire belonged to her too. And, in those days, there were hearth-fires everywhere: in every home, every temple, even up on Mount Olympus.
I love the Christmas season, but I have to admit the waste and excess makes my stomach churn. I know lots of people feel the same way. Over the past few years, I've been consciously downsizing Christmas for me and my family - cutting back, but keeping all the heart.