The Winter Soltice

The winter solstice is an ancient European ceremony that is widely celebrated. This pagan festival and its ceremonies are about, Mother Earth Goddess and Sun King; the midwinter ceremony calls the Sun King back to life to bless the land with fertility. In long winters where most of Europe was covered in snow a successful summer/autumn harvest of grain, fruit and vegetables was the difference between life and death in the cold months. With none of the todays modern conveniences the ancestors got through by using the knowledge passed down through families, being intuitively connected to nature and praying for guidance from the Gods. The gods and goddesses where part of everything they did, intrinsically imbedded with trees, animals, fire, housing, weather, fertility, crops, stars, moon and sun.

This winter ceremony is asking you to bring back spring or bring back the warm light of the sun that brings fertility to the land. Winter is on its way out in favour of spring. As some people begin a journey of re-wilding themselves to better understand nature, those that live on the land have always felt that interconnectedness. Spending more time in nature, even in cold seasons is vital for good health. Nature is a healer; walking in the light of the day, breathing fresh air and just looking upon the beauty of the natural world is a healing experience.

Yule or the Winter Solstice has many variations. Many of these ancient European traditions were Christianised, examples being the Christmas tree and its decorations, fires with the Yule log, gift giving, Father Christmas, families and friends gathering together and Mistletoe. The northern cold countries of the Germanic and Vikings brought evergreen pines branches into their houses and decorated them with gifts and food. Legend say Odin may actually be the first Santa Claus as he wandered the land and visited homes at Yule with his long white beared. In Celtic Druid traditions, mistletoe is a healer and protector, Holly is believed to repel unwanted spirits, Ivy was a symbol of immortality, the Yew brought regeneration and rebirth and the pine was a tree of purity. The Celts revered trees for their wisdom; forests were alive with magic and wonder. Look up your favourite town and read about their Winter Solstice/Yule traditions.

Created your own winter solstice evening ceremony at home or gather with a local group. Enjoy chats by the fire, light candles, wear traditional outfits or capes to keep warm, connect with the spiritual, cook a feast, share food, give small handmade gifts, decorated a tree or branches, create a door wreath, think about what you will plant in spring vegetable garden, ask the sun to come back and bring prosperity. Spend the next day in nature.

Sharon D Bush

Writer   Historian   Artisan   Sage

Sharon D Bush, B.A. Double Major History/Ancient History University of New England

When to Introduce Spiritual or Religious Practices to Children

When is the right time to introduce children to spiritual practices and religious philosophies? These topics contain many big questions and you need to be ready with some reasonable answers. This is no easy task for parents and guardians, even if they are practicing their principles daily. Spirituality is a fluid belief system, where the eclectic mix allows for change and growth. There are elements of flexibility in most religions that don’t interfere with personal growth; however those attached to the extreme conservative are not afforded these freedoms.

Have no doubt that your children or teens will ask the same questions you did. Questions about creation, Darwinism, Gods, Goddesses, reincarnation, time travel, spirits, life, death, and whether our planet is the only life giver in the universe will continue. Tell them your view as honestly as possible, while adding that some of these questions may never be answered. It is so important not to taint children with firm doctrines, they need to explore and open the heart and mind with new possibilities. Indoctrination from early childhood is very dangerous; these one-sided fixed views lead to aggression towards those with different beliefs. Cults also fit this scenario; rules and restrictions designed to control do not have any spiritual context. Before set religions came along paganism was the normal state of affairs. Most pagan beliefs were focused on nature, with a pantheon of Gods/Goddesses assigned certain duties. Shaman and seers were employed when big decisions needed to be made. Many pagan cultural traditions were carried into the modern religions. When new philosophies and science sprung up and began to run parallel to religion there were many violent clashes, though some had always welcomed new theories or inventiveness. If you add the suppression of women and slavery to this, it is so easy for children to be confused.

Introduce children to multi-faith beliefs and interesting ceremonies and spiritual festivals, many schools are taking this approach. These can be practiced at home or you can take a family outing to a colourful festival or parade. We are bound up in the stories of our ancestors, that is who we are, but we can learn even more! Start with something simple like Ostara, it’s about birth, renewal, spring and fertility (Spring Equinox: September 21st Eve in Southern Hemisphere – March 21st Eve in Northern Hemisphere, but anytime is spring will do for a practice). Gather your family to set up your dining table with an evening feast, with all the fruit and vegetables you love. Gather decorative eggs or paint some papier-mâché ones. Many of the traditions of Ostara were adopted by Christianity and called Easter and connected to Jesus rebirth. If your children have toys or ornaments that are rabbits or hens, add them to the table. Tradition colours for tablecloths, candles, ribbons or other decorations are soft greens, mauve, pink, apricot, white and lemon. Go outside and find some flowers or greenery for the display. Once the table is set and food it served, give thanks for the season and each other. Let the children decide on any other parts of this nature appreciation ceremony. Traditionally the next day is spent in nature.

There is so much love, happiness, and beauty in ceremonies, stories and beliefs, why wouldn’t you want to explore them as a family? With so many ceremonial traditions in the world, it makes sense to offer this knowledge to your little ambassadors of peace and harmony.

Sharon D Bush

Writer   Historian   Artisan   Sage

Sharon D Bush, B.A. Double Major History/Ancient History University of New England


A New Focus on Love

So many of our daily tasks are centred on love, yet we really don’t talk or think about it much. Our sensitive emotions are sparked when we cared about others or if we see wonderful things that fill us with joy. We look at the night sky, vast oceans, birds flying above and new babies born with deep unending love. This understanding and belonging gives us peace. Equally love can also be defensive in nature, as we try to protect ourselves from the imbalances that impede our world. Because bad news often travels faster than good, our love and positive thoughts can easily darken. Without some form of self-love it is hard to get through the difficult times that we all eventually face. Love is the strength that keeps us going and smiling along the way.

As children we naturally know love and are taught what love is in the outer community. Before long we are told about those who do not know what love is and their wrongful intent to harm. This beginning of fear makes children tread carefully, they see the daily news and they know what is taking place. Guidance is crucial at these times; let children know that love gives them the strength to be themselves and change what they do not like about the world they see. Empowering children gives them what they need to flourish as they grow. Hiding the truth is not helpful as social interaction and multimedia quickly inform children in more drastic ways. Age appropriate information is an important decision for parents and guardians. Give children a way to show love towards people, plants and animals.

Trying to describe love as a basis to all things is difficult and belongs to the individual. Love is; joy, kindness, compassion, understanding, good relationships and life itself. If angry people and global situations like war, climate change and environmental destruction are distressing you, find love and express love to renew your energy and create calm. We cannot ignore the problems that need to be solved, but we can speak to people, even strangers on social media with respect. Hate has never produced anything useful. If we want to live in healthy communities, we need to take guidance from love. Let love flow in and around you, there is enough to go around. This is not a blind ignorant love; it’s an awareness of growth and compassion that we take with us. Love is the ultimate creator.

If you have a special interest, you continue because you find the activity joyful. As long as this activity does not cause harm to any living creature, it is worthy of pursuit. Equally in our employment, there must be some element of love for that job; otherwise it is hard to continue in that role without damaging your mental health in the long run. Occupations that continue to damage the environment, the very planet that keeps us alive, must continue to be phased out. Love for our planet has never been more important.

Daily love and appreciation makes people strong, happy and productive. Notice love in others, in the things they do and say. Be the love you want to see in the world-wide community. Say the word love, more often. Love is who we are, what we desire and how we express ourselves. Focus on the spiritual love that makes us better people.




Spiritual Renewal in 2021

The experiences of 2020 have given us time to think and contemplate. Abrupt disturbances to the flow of daily life always bring change. When the world’s problems reach our home towns, lessons are learned in fast drastic ways. We have the capacity to adjust like our ancestors did so many times before. Bringing forth that deep spiritual nature within us has never been more important. Humanity can be profoundly inspiring and creative for the good of all in visionary eras. Moving away from self-centredness is essential for productive communities. Moral fortitude by example will teach right actions to the young. Aggrandising corrupt individuals will meet its end as streams of exposure reach legal outcomes.

As individuals we need to find our spiritual renewal in 2021. Calmness and clarity make firm foundations for our daily lives. Choose love and let it be your guide in the changes we are all making. Do not fight the changes that come with difficult years, create solutions that work for you and your family. Give thanks that you are alive and have the capacity to transform when needed. Honour the dear departed, light a world candle and remember what made individuals so special. Immerse yourself in meditation, in-depth reading, spiritual practices and the natural environment until you reach a place of awareness. Remove any facades and be yourself.

Do right by mother Earth in your daily activities, reverse the damage that’s been done.

Do right by the animals under constant threat of extinction and harm.

Do right by other people; treat them as you would like to be treated.

Do right in your employment; transition to work that does no harm to the living.

Do right in your language; use positive and encouraging words.

Do right by yourself; be calm, kind and continue your personal quest.


Sharon D Bush

Writer   Historian   Artisan   Sage

Sharon D Bush, B.A. Double Major History/Ancient History University of New England


Samhain Celtic Harvest Festival, Halloween

Halloween originated from the Celtic celebration of Samhain. Samhain (pronounced sah-win) was Christianised by the early church in order convert the populous of many Gaelic villages. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scottland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, the Isle of Man and those following the ancient traditions of Gaul. The Druidic traditions could not stand the pressures of the Christian conversions, though ancient pagan ways held fast in cultural traditions. During Samhain it is said the veil between worlds in thin, allowing communication with the ancestors or the beloved departed. Elves and fairies are also said to be visible on this night. Samhain is also Celtic New Year’s Eve – autumn ends and winter marks the start of the ancient calendar. The season of sun is going away, but will return in spring.

Ancestors are honoured and invited into homes and bad spirits are scared off with scary masks to avoid harm. Bonfires are a favour of this fire festival; while mulled wine and the harvest feasts are on offer for the living and the dead. Animal bones were thrown into the fires giving it its original name, bon-fire. The household fires were put out and relit with the bonfire. Scary stories are told, frightening masks are worn and extra chairs are put out for the departed. This isn’t a sombre festival, it’s a celebration, Samhain could be compared with the Mexican festival, Day of the Dead.

When Samhain was transported to the Christian faith it emerged as All Saints Day/All Hallows Eve, with All Souls Day on the 1st November. Halloween eventually became commercialized, like Christmas, but though the message has become a little lost, the focused and origins are slowly becoming recognised. If a little more emphasis was placed on the on family and ancestors, Halloween is not that far removed from Samhain. Unfortunately if you live in the Southern Hemisphere this harvest festival will not suit the spring season, Halloween/Samhain should be held on the 30th April in autumn, in Australia. But Halloween does sometimes supersede its seasonal date. It is actually the spring fertility festival Beltane on the 31st of October in Australia. So confusing isn’t it!

Anyway, whatever you are celebrating, have fun!

Sharon D Bush

Writer   Historian   Artisan   Sage

Sharon D Bush, B.A. Double Major History/Ancient History University of New England

Recovery Through Revolution

In difficult years the heart and mind find it hard to cope and retreating seems the right thing to do. The sudden rise of the pandemic and government restrictions provided rest to a worn out populous. Working from home or not working at all settled in. Children studying in their own environments reconnected families and reaffirmed what parents were working for. Love, safety and togetherness in frightening circumstances gave light to many needed changes. Just small things around the house initially, but that soon moved to problems in local communities and global issues. Political inadequacy’s surged! A frightening world game played out as leaders balanced a duty of care with acceptable financial losses! A chess game paid for in human lives.

Bad times create new ways of thinking, because hope and creativity are needed to relinquish old patterns that no longer serve individuals or the community. We considered what we could live without and what problems could be solved. The sparks of discontent surged, the face of injustice showed no fear. New principles rose up within individual lives and the wider community. Stagnant governments showed their failings, trapped by the red tape they created.

Quiet revolutions emerged at home; routines that no longer worked were apparent. The spiritual and practical revealed a better purpose to our lives.   Isolation helped us see things differently; we were quiet, we contemplated and the path looked different. While essential workers helped keep the sickness from spreading, a kind of calmness took hold of the general population at home. Calm energetic thinking created profound new directions. Change was forcing its way into the open.

Recovery through revolution lets us to do better. Reconnecting to people and the raw spirit of nature shifts our thinking. Reinventing ourselves is vital. Rewriting competitive work systems is imperative. Resisting unhealthy lifestyles gives us strength. Revisiting the meaning of life is essential!

Sharon D Bush

Writer   Historian   Artisan   Sage

Sharon D Bush, B.A. Double Major History/Ancient History University of New England



The Virus and You

A storm in raging; the rain filled skies move branches in alternate directions as the cleansing begins. The air is full of sound as wind chimes make desperate sounds in the fierce wind. Mother Earth is doing everything she can to maintain balance as millions of lives are altered forever.

When the virus first began it didn’t have a name. The emerging disease sent fear across nations and while some countries prepared, others felt untouchable. The insidious spread left people shocked as this sort of global experienced had not been seen for one hundred years. The great grandparents who experience this and survived are not here to teach us, though history and medical books explain the devastating influenza pandemic of 1918. Millions were lost to the global pandemics of our ancestors, all we can do is reflect, research and educate.

Our modern world should be capable of defending itself, but fighting the invisible is a problem we all have to face. Global pandemic unite all countries as they struggle through changed situations. Petty political squabbles mean little now, though negotiation for medical supplies in certainly apparent. The source of the virus must never be forgotten, we must learn from humanities disregard for animal life. This is a time for humanity to evolve and create new laws that separate animals from human contact and greed. We share this earthly existence with so many sentient beings, we are not the masters! The cost of disrespecting nature is paid for in human lives. At this point in history, with people confined to their houses, wild animals have their first reprieve from financially inspired assaults.

But for now, for you and your family, all that matters is compassion, understanding and togetherness. Isolation is different for everyone; some have families or friends in their households, others are alone. Communicating with comforting language can get us through this storm. Just a phone call, text or online meeting can bring heartfelt warmth to the situation. Meditation and contemplation of the situation can bring fourth the creative change that will take us forward. Few workplaces will be the same as we eventually reach a recovery stage; even cultural practices will have to shift to meet regulatory changes. This is everyone’s chance to start new as social change brings the sun back into dark places. Create a new world for yourself.  Smash old limitations!

Sharon D Bush

Writer   Historian   Artisan   Sage

Sharon D Bush, B.A. Double Major History/Ancient History University of New England


Elysium; Ancient Thoughts on Death and the Afterlife  

The afterlife wasn’t a pleasant place for people in ancient civilisations. Work and toil most of your life to have no inspiring place to rest after death. No wonder life was short. Even the very wealthy couldn’t buy themselves a softer place in the afterlife, though frequent offerings made them feel at ease. Obviously places like Hell, Hades (Tartarus), Sheol, Jahannam, Naraka and the underworld where not conducive to a productive happy life!

As human thought, spirituality and philosophy evolved so did some more progressive cults and religions. Initially the Greek Elysium (Elysian Fields) was reserved for mortals related to the gods and those of heroic status, though this changed after time and mortals could hope for something more. Elysium was the abode of the blessed after death in the Greek tradition. Jesus believed heaven was a glorious kingdom where good people would be accepted with open arms. Those who accepted that they had done minor wrongs might also be forgiven, though hell was still an option for extreme wrong doers. Christianity developed a kindness regarding daily life and after death. Hel for the Northern people was a beautiful place people looked forward to, similar to this world but without the workload. Hindus believe in death followed by rebirth, so no permanent afterlife here. For many ancestors life was a place of survival, so prayers and offerings to the gods/goddesses for a better afterlife was the tradition. There is no doubt that as civilisations evolved people leaned towards spiritual groups that had better things to offer.

People had different ways of dealing with the deceased, some showing great care to wash, anoint and bless the body before burial. Cultural death practices were an important part of saying goodbye and were done by the women or family. Priestesses and priests would perform the graveside ceremonies and funeral pyres to send the loved family member along on their journey to the afterlife. A person is still just a person after death, there soul may be gone, but they are still someone special. The modern western world seems to hold some fear of the deceased and ambulances quickly take them away unless you say otherwise. If you need more time to care for a loved one, to talk to them, to care for them, to make a mini ceremony, please ask for more time. This is important for those that were not there at the death and those that need a little more time to release the shock. When people die elsewhere in sudden accidents, they are sent to hospital mortuaries, in that situation you could ask for 30 minutes in some other room nearby to say goodbye properly. When you have loved someone your whole life say goodbye like the ancients families did.

Sharon D Bush

Writer   Historian   Artisan   Sage

Sharon D Bush, B.A. Double Major History/Ancient History University of New England


Mabon: Autumn Harvest Festival  

The Autumn Equinox, known as Mabon in Celtic lands, celebrates the second harvest, sacred mysteries, balance and the season’s changes of colour. Mabon is celebrated on the 22nd of March in the southern hemisphere. As the days get shorter we are invited into the deep mysteries of the season, while nature puts on a spectacular show in amber, burgundy, purple, red and brown. There is still green on and beneath the trees and certain flowers still bloom in the more settled weather. Life slows just a little and people have time to appreciate the natural world and each other.

Mabon is a harvest festival, especially for fruits and vegetables. This is the time for harvesting, processing and storing for winter. Make jam, shell nuts, pickle vegetables and freeze what is left over. Gather what you need for a Mabon feast, for your immediate family or group. Share the cooking chores as you appreciate the things you are grateful for and the things you have accomplished.

Setting up an altar or table centrepiece where the feast will be. Use the colours of the season, add apples, pears, vegetables, nuts, berries or whatever you have harvested or bought, and then add candles and leaves. This is the time to honour Mabon the son of Light, Modron the Mother Goddess (his mother), the Green Man of the forest and any wise older gods/goddesses. The seasons are sometimes presented as an age scale; spring-childhood, summer-young adult, autumn-middle age and winter-older years. This is also a good time of year to smudge the house with white sage or incense, this helps remove any stagnant energies.

The ceremony is centred on balance, achievement and thankfulness. The light and dark are equally balanced during the equinox, so focus on the balance within and feel perfectly calm. Place things on the altar that represent your growth, creativity and study, this is your personal harvest! If you put effort in – claim your reward by acknowledging your achievements. Light your candles and say a few words about what makes you thankful. A quick meditation might be nice, think about the wonders of this planet and its inner mysteries. Thank Mother Earth and enjoy your feast!

Sharon D Bush

Writer   Historian   Artisan   Sage

Sharon D Bush, B.A. Double Major History/Ancient History  University of New England

The Divine Equality of Modern Feminism

( For – International Women’s Day)

All are equal in the eyes of the Goddess or God. No divine presence has ever lessened the status of women. The ancient written word is subject to the culture of patriarchal societies that could not or did not want to let women fully participate in their religion. The cultural beliefs of men in positions of religious or political power left most women bereft of education (for more than 2000 years), the one thing that could have given them equality a lot sooner than 20th or 21st century. That said – women still found an even greater way to communicate with the God of their family or state religion; by feeling, praying, loving, sensing, listening, teaching, receiving spiritual guidance, caring for community and using their own unique ritual practices away from prying eyes.

Those that were born in pagan times where Goddesses held precedence over life, love and harvest, knew a freer world of respect and reverence. These nature Goddess’s reflected the life giving nature of women as mothers, healers, lovers and guardians renewing the land  and offering guidance to those in need. The witch hunts are over, no one can tell women what to believe and how to behave.

Women were once currency as slaves, wives and concubines, yet the armoured sisterhood stood with sword and shield in troubled era’s in an effort to be heard and to have equal rights. So don’t sit silently, use your voice and know that millions of women have fought for you! Bless your ancestors and closer relatives, any of them, both male and female that have stood up for equality. Remember that being equal does not lessen the journey of men; it just draws the union closer. Spare a thought for the women who are in countries that did not emerge into the freedom of modern feminism, help them if you can? Delight in your chosen spiritual beliefs and the world is balanced with divine majesty.

The Sage   Sharon D Bush

(my other blog) 28-04-2012, The Illuminated Life