Tag Archives: dance

The first signs of Spring

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While taking part in an online interview last week, talking about the progress of my Witchlit books and my writing life, I realised that now, the end of January, is the end of the calendar year for me this year  and this fills me with hope.

While there are good things to carry forward to a new exciting year, Awakened Bellydance™ , dancing with Tribal Unity Wales and the publication of two novels ‘The Naked Witch’ and ‘The Orphan Witch’, there has been one sadness I would have done anything to change.

The loss of my beautiful friend, Anna… I , the writer, have no words

But instead, today, on the eve of Imbolc, the beckoner of Spring, I begin a new year in memory of my friend. I carry her spirit, her passion, laughter, humour, song and dance, all of it. After the pain, sorrow and heartache, I am changed, renewed, refreshed.

I stopped smoking ten days ago. I am a non-smoker.

I will publish two more Lizzie Martin Witchlit novels this year.

Somehow, someway, I’ll share Awakened Bellydance™ , guiding women to their inner goddess and to the strength within themselves.

I will teach the dance I love, ATS® Bellydance, to my Tribal Unity Wales ladies and wherever we share the dance with the local community, we will be awesome.

I will be part of the Wheel of the Year, celebrating the seasons and tides.

 

Full moon blessings to you all.

Do subscribe to my YouTube channel for short stories and extracts from my novels, read to you from my Welsh riverbank

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA

 

 

 

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Awakened Bellydance™ – 7 months on

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At the end of April this year, I embarked on a personal journey with eleven other women in Bulgaria, guided and supported by Katie Holland, dancing and learning to facilitate Awakened Bellydance™. I wrote this a few days after returning home…

‘We breathed, we feared but we trusted and within the safe, protected space of our room, we danced, allowing the music to shake up our bodies and free our minds. We let go and the layers began to peel away.

Every day, we learned, shared, discussed and laughed and then we danced again, fear, judgement, disempowerment and pain, relinquished from our bodies and minds, into the earth to be transmuted to the love we craved.

Together, we healed, allowing our minds to be free to think, to create and to manifest and to step closer to our bodies, to feel the emotions and energy rising through us.

Deeper we delved into the closed off parts of ourselves, removing all obstacles and reinstating the power of the goddess, the women we truly are.

We reached up, beyond ourselves, out into the universe, to the stars from whence we came.’

Awakened Bellydance™ changed my life… I was no longer afraid. Without fear, I chose music for Tribal Unity Wales to dance to, confident that I had chosen well and in every lesson I taught, I allowed my heart to guide me.

I published my second Witchlit novel ‘The Orphan Witch’, knowing it was the perfect magical sequel to The Naked Witch’ as Lizzie Martin, my main character, followed her heart. The third novel, ‘The Flowerpot Witch’, flowed from my pen.

I grew a few vegetables in a bath tub and a tractor tyre and cooked plant based food, gathering new recipes and sharing time cooking with my partner.

I sang in the car…and in a hot tub in Essex in front of other people!

And so much more! Everything I did was different…I was different. I shone with a sense of ‘me’ I’d never felt before. There was no ego, just a deep connection to myself, who and where I was and an understanding of where I fitted into the universe.

Life hasn’t been easy. I’ve had a lot to deal with but trusting from the heart, I could cope with anything.

One morning, a few weeks ago, I awoked to depression, anxiety and fear. I wanted to cry. I wanted to stay in bed and hide from the world forever. Why had the fear returned? How had the depression manifested when I was so much more in tune with my mind and body? What had I done to bring this on? What had I done wrong?

But I refused to revert back to the old stories. The past is gone, no longer my story to tell so, I chose to see this time as a different kind of chaos and Awakened Bellydance ™ had equipped me with tools I could use to live in it. If I cared one iota about myself, now was the time to use them. I grounded and protected myself every day, sometimes outside in my wellies and dressing gown in the frosty morning air, sometimes indoors. I danced every day to my favourite song at the moment, ‘Wild Things’ by Alessia Cara and allowed myself to laugh or cry, however the music moved me. I continued to write, sometimes choosing to research or write a short story rather than my novel. I taught my dance classes from the heart, allowing myself to be swept up in the music but always focussed on creating the best lesson possible for my ladies.

I facilitated Awakened Bellydance™ solar plexus chakra, guiding and supporting women to clear away the old stories where they lacked confidence and self esteem and where they sought impossible perfection. We opened our hearts to new opportunities, stories we could create of focus, achievement, perseverence and resilience. We stoked the fires, burned away the obstacles and rose like the phoenix from the ashes.

I’ve focussed on strengthening the connections to the things I care about. On my riverbank, beneath the magnificent full moon, I blessed my physical sacred tools and sang to the goddess of the moon with my singing bowl.

 

I’ve lived with depression since my teenage years and learned to cope in many ways but Awakened Bellydance™ provides the dancer with the ability to reconnect with herself and the universe. It’s not about coping but living in confidence and love. Not only are the old stories confronted but they’re dealt with and binned and new stories are created, ready to manifest and be the story of the life you want to live.

For more information about Awakened Bellydance™ and its creator, Katie Holland, visit https://www.awakenedbellydance.com/awakened-bellydance

Lift the veil and live your life as the person you really are.

 

 

Dance to the music of your soul

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You know the feeling. A song drifts into your ears. Your heart begins to race. Your toes twitch. Shivers fizzle down your spine. A connection is made with the music and your soul. But do you dance?

m_100_1396 As a child, I was surrounded by music. Dad loved to sing. He came from a musical family sat around the piano while Mother played and each child would perform their ‘party piece’. I learned piano from the age of four but was chastised by my teacher (and even during piano exams) for my lack of ability to pitch a note and dancing was out of the question for a ‘fairy elephant’. It didn’t stop me immersing myself in music though and at forty years of age, I joined my first dance class.

I teach dance to inspire women to dance now.

What music inspires you?  I adored Indian music before I started dancing and once I began, discovered Arabic music  for the first time. I’ve always loved a choir and now, in Wales, when I attend book fairs and Christmas fairs, I’m filled to bursting by the luscious lilts and bountiful harmonies of Welsh choral music. Beethoven piano music awakens feelings in me, filling me with a sense of awe and joy while a simple, gentle chant to the goddess can carry me away to the sea.

I encourage my ladies to share music they love and we dance to it together in class.

What about the music of nature? Standing on my hill in the chilly hours of dawn, the birds awaken the day, their song ricocheting between the trees like a greeting echo. The river sings many songs. Sweet, cheerful music tinkles between the stones when she is low but in full flow she bursts like a geyser between the rocks, bellowing her song and her powerful intent as she hurries to the sea.

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Dance anywhere and everywhere! Dance in the rain DSC_0307 dance in the park DSC_0005 dance on the beach 11167955_1610750972516726_7729406917342820848_n dance in your front room, dance on a grassy knoll 13528430_10154418410354739_3392390366723899125_o dance with friends 11053065_1610337169224773_4219450298485072431_nand dance alone 10556448_727027910700917_1801320681454343591_n

Listen to the music…and dance.

 

 

 

 

Summer of magic

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The day of the Summer Solstice dawned…and it rained all day…didn’t stop us having a fire and dancing though! Sometime you just have to dance in the rain! DSC_0298DSC_0301DSC_0307

I also had a rather damp day, foraging through the Long Wood with an expert forager, Jade, looking for herbs and plants to eat and make vinegars and pickles. DSC_0279DSC_0280I have a notebook with notes in and I walk along looking at the ground now saying, ‘Ooo there’s plantain’ or ‘Ooo that’s self heal’ but have yet to put any ideas into practise. I’d love to go on another walk in the autumn.

On the new moon, I helped one of my neighbours with a small ritual, keeping him positive and looking for work after the misery of redundancy. He’s had a lot more interviews since and if not successful, is being told why, rather than just the fact he didn’t get the job.

I’ve begun writing a Witch Lit novel, a light hearted look at the life of a hedgewitch, juggling work and parenting as well as her own emotional well being. I’ve a week off this week so I’m well on the way to finishing it.

We created our own magic at the Lampeter Food Festival, filling the grounds of the university with music and dancing. 13701245_10153561592555672_7997562574212675563_o

It is almost Lughnasagh, a day to give thanks for the abundance of the fields and the plentiful food we eat. The fields glimmer in the sunlight, golden grain swaying in the breeze. As we light our fires and shine the light, it’s time to think of others who have less than us and share the love…5% of my shopping trolley goes in the local Food Bank box and at this time, I try to give more.

I hope you’re enjoying a magical summer. Blessed Be xx

Summer of dance

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13692988_10153561590635672_4965015085609723190_oTribal Unity

We began our summer, dancing at The Three Horseshoe Inn, Llangeitho. We were warmly welcomed and we thoroughly enjoyed our first dance outing.

13528430_10154418410354739_3392390366723899125_oAt the beginning of July, we were welcomed into the Wee Crafty Folk family at their Steampunk Extraordinaire, at the Blaenavon Ironworks. We danced in the sun 13559002_10153651712746700_6105772231861420128_othe rain and the wind 13592700_1758587191066436_4345694993005621029_n on a tiny stage 13582071_862262727212696_7293021555466940758_o and some bumpy ground. We made new friends 13528627_255460211502108_8729822987007473526_o13438956_10154326978680850_5101103827962123973_n13580516_748663858569317_4559449785190045217_o13528436_679809571849_581917443817173174_oand welcomed our newest Tribal Unity Wales performer! (She came to support us and Ashley had kindly offered to take photos so we persuaded her that it was a good day to dance:-))

Last weekend was the Lampeter Food Festival and the rain kept away again! 13693039_1363739183641733_703608656464810052_oWe danced two half hour sets in the entertainment tent plus audience participation and we loved every minute. 13701245_10153561592555672_7997562574212675563_o13765668_10153561595495672_2563386093820760471_o13731820_10153561600885672_335389288742989006_o13692978_10153561600715672_3681990756507417176_o13708338_1363739186975066_5349987637826492300_o13719506_10153561594605672_2555305949072770709_o13737576_10153561597910672_7474765846159049178_o

This Saturday is the Cardigan Bellydance Festival and we’re dancing at a birthday party on Sunday.

Classes are officially finished so my toe will have a week to rest (did I tell you I broke my toe? It’s been a painful month as well as a wonderful one!) and then I’ve two lessons to teach before the music festival on 13th August at the Brynog Arms in Felinfach. Tribal Unity Wales will be performing there between 3pm and 6pm and that will conclude our summer of dance…if the sun shines on a Sunday, of course, there will be impromptu dancing and picnicing in Cribyn!

For more information about Tribal Unity Wales, go to the Tribal Unity website. http://www.tribalunity.co.uk

You can message Deana for lessons in Essex via the website. You can message me here.

Enjoy the rest of summer and dance!

http://www.wendysteele.com has a Tribal Unity Wales page and you can view our performances via the Youtube page of Halo Quin https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAubabZ0MNYMtzHpCFqjM1A

 

The book that changed my life

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More than ten years ago, I was struggling with life. My daily battle with depression was compounded by debilitating and fatiguing IBS. I was dancing Egyptian belly dance but feeling stuck and uninspired. A new lady came to dance class and loaned me a book. It changed my life and the rest, as they say, is history.

Violet Mary Firth, aka Dion Fortune, penned her first short stories in 1919, as a way to bring spiritualism, psychism and inner awareness to readers, otherwise unfamiliar with these practices. Two of her novels, Sea Priestess and Moon Magic greatly influence Doreen Valiente, in many people’s opinion the resurrecter of modern British witchcraft, and it was the first of these books I opened all those years ago.

I devoured every page. My magical practise, until then, had been purely personal but Sea Priestess opened up new possibilities, especially the opportunity to share, heal and inspire, not only through my writing but my dancing as well. In 2007, I created Phoenix Bellydance and began teaching Egyptian belly dance. Over the four years I taught in Essex, I was able to teach and, hopefully, inspire over 300 women and girls.

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At the time, my first novel was underway and I spent 3 years (30 minutes in the car every day waiting to pick up my children from school), writing and editing. ‘Hubble Bubble’ was about an English teacher who lived her life through her passion for literature. I was wordy, over 100k but it started me on the path I follow today. The characters were vivid and the imagery exciting…I just needed to learn how to plot and write story more effectively.

For three years, I taught dance, practised self healing and gathered holistic healing experience. The premise for my first novel ‘Destiny of Angels – First book in the Lilith Trilogy’, ‘what if a traumatic childhood experience sent a woman on a different life path?’ inspired me to write my first novel about the use of magic, contacting other planes of existence and the Qabalah, in our physical life on earth.

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Although my books are fantasy, the characters are real, living live like you and I, falling in love, raising children, finding new jobs and moving house. Relationships are an important element in my novel, often unconventional and sometimes surprising. ‘Destiny of Angels’ relies on the strength of friendship, as Angel’s friends help her dispel the hurt of the past. In ‘Wrath of Angels’, Angel’s love for Aidan is tested, as is her self belief and self worth.

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Bringing magic, inner awareness and affinity with nature into my stories brings them to life. In ‘Sea Priestess’ and ‘Moon Magic’, Vivien Le Fay Morgan, the main character, is both of this world and ‘other worldly’ and this other dimension, almost a secret side to her personality, fascinates me and is always with me as I write.

The three women in The Standing Stone books, inspired by my arrival in Wales, appear to live ‘ordinary’ lives across three different points in time but, all three are searching for something. Even Fern, the only one who already has a connection to the goddess through ritualistic nature worship, is seeking more. In Home for Christmas, they are guided by Binah, the Great Mother, the dark goddess who stands proudly beside Chokmah on the left hand pillar of the Qabalah Tree.

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My only foray into non-fiction is ‘Wendy Woo’s Year- A Pocketful of Smiles – 101 ideas for a happy year and a happy you’, written at the request of friends who kept telling me to write down my tips to combat depression and bring peace and self healing to your life. The book is often practical, sometimes spiritual but never religious, occasionally witty and full of ideas to bring a smile to your day.

Have you read a book that changed your life? Be lovely to hear from you.

 

Welcome New Moon

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Catching up with friends and family in Essex after Christmas was lovely but saying goodbye to my children is never easy, especially as I had no routine to return to.

With firewood stacked in the lounge, my partner set off for a job in Oxford and left me home alone.

I’ve always found the final week of the waning moon a challenge. Though my mind is keen to ‘tie up loose ends’, complete started projects and have something to show for my endeavours, I’ve found it difficult to apply myself.

Edits are going well on the third Standing Stone book, The Gathering and I finished one short story which you can read here https://wendysteele.com/2016/01/06/short-story-scratching-the-surface/ and wrote, edited and polished two more which I’ve submitted for magazines but my energy levels were low and I could feel the tears close to the surface.

And then Tribal Unity Wales came to my rescue! A suggestion of an evening get together gave me something to look forward to and catching up was just what I needed. Inspired by my ladies, I set myself the challenge of completing the lime mortaring/rebuilding of the wall up the stairs.

The tiny window was a later, hasty addition and needed my attention. I mixed one bucket at a time (3:1 sand and lime), pretending to be a cement mixer for ten minutes until the consistency was right. The old earth mortar needs to be scraped out and loose stones removed ready to be reset. All the resident earth mortar needs to be wetted to give something for the new mortar to adhere to. DSC_0195DSC_0197After half an hour, I use a damp paintbrush to remove excess mortar and to give a slightly smoother finish. DSC_0198This side needed a lot more rebuilding, finding suitable stones to fill the gaps rather than just mortar. DSC_0199Two hours on Friday and four on Saturday got me this far…and then I fell off the planet.

I was so pleased with my achievements but with rain pounding the windows, seeping up through the hall floor and leaking through the roof, I despaired that my efforts were worthless and my plans to commune with the new moon seemed hopeless…so I lit candles around the lounge and danced.  I danced hard. Breathless and exhausted I sat in the middle of my circle with Rosie Rabbit and the goddess Isis spoke to me. I scribbled on my pad, tearful but excited and once I was calmer, I turned to my Tarot cards and the future looked brighter. DSC_0160

Taking small steps works for me. Yesterday I set myself lots of small challenges and completed them all, starting this new moon phase with a clean tidy room, notes and plans for the new term of dance and lots of story ideas.

Everyone is different but if you are looking for ways to live with depression or you want to bring happiness to your life every day, my non-fiction book may help. Love, light and new moon blessings xx

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=la_B007VZ1P06_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1354202723&sr=1-5http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354202865&sr=1-3

Winter wonderland

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There was no snow for us this Christmas but the wonders of our universe were brilliant for all to see.

On Christmas Eve, between the downpours, we walked down to our riverbank as the sun set and the moon began to rise. DSC_0166

A cool breeze rose from the water as I lit the fire and invited those on the riverbank to join our celebration. I danced for my family, I danced for my friends, I danced for the goddess and the fae. As the fire dwindled in the basket, the full moon rose between the trees. DSC_0168DSC_0170DSC_0171

Bathed in moonlight, I breathed in the beauty of the full moon. Rosie Rabbit, in her new pixie coat, joined me in conversation with the goddess of the moon. DSC_0172

On Christmas Day, at Ynyslas beach, we arrived in rain but the clouds drifted away. DSC_0177We walked across the mud and sand, around the sand dunes and the force of the wind hit us, almost knocking me off my feet. The exceptionally low tide uncovered parts of the ancient forest, preserved beneath the sea and I tiptoed around them on my way to the water’s edge. I partook of the customary Christmas Day paddle! 894647_1683358131922676_7168951730327024466_o

We caught up with friends and family in Essex and Lincolnshire on the days after Boxing Day…and the sun came out! DSC_0189DSC_0191Arriving home late on 30th December, we found my car beautifully decorated by the frost. DSC_0193The sky was clear and we were welcomed home by an abundance of stars.

Though I’ve appreciated nature’s wonders this Christmas, my heart goes out to those in Cumbria, York and other areas of the country that have flooded. It’s time to put those Ps in order………..put People and the Planet before Profit and Protect this beautiful world on which we live.

Wendy Woo’s Wicked Week

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…and it’s not over yet!

Every other Monday I attend the Cwrtnewydd Scribblers writing group but this week, after a full weekend of chain sawing, chopping and barrowing wood, I needed a day to make my bath bombs. I’ve been making my own since 2009. DSC00684

My house hummed with the fragrance of Magical Bathtime as I hand blended my ingredients and added healing essential oils. Bath bombs are abundant in the shops but I wanted to create some that not only smelled fabulous but did you good too, making skin feel luxurious and soft.

Tuesday is a dancing day, lunchtime and evening so I take writing into town with me and sit in the Mulberry Bush with a mug of green tea between lessons. This week numbers were down in the lunchtime class but they worked so hard! The two hour evening class focussed on dancing in groups and chorus, one hour slow followed by another of fast…even I had heavy legs for the drive home! Love my ladies. I’m a lucky teacher.

Wednesday is a writing day and this week I had four short stories under construction that needed editing but the first thing I noticed when I turned on my laptop was a new review for my novel Destiny of Angels…what a great way to start the day! http://www.amazon.com/review/R2F1U45755VIJ6/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

I edited two stories and submitted them both to magazines…I’ve had three accepted since I started my plan (see https://wendysteele.com/2015/11/09/sharing-my-story/ ), two for online mags and one for an anthology.

Thursday began with a regular private dance lesson which I love to teach. Dancers seeking private lessons are keen, dedicated and embrace the opportunity to improve…bliss for any teacher. Shopping next, making good use of the petrol it costs me to get to town and I frequent a variety of shops, small and large, spreading my limited pennies as best I can. I add items to my trolley for the local food bank and the animal shelter.

Today is Friday, often a ‘writing day’ but I’ve a host of other things to fit in as tomorrow is the Christmas Fayre at Lampeter University and I’m sharing a stall with Hayley (aka Haloquin/The Ringmaster) and her amazing Goblin Circus. I’ll be signing novels and novellas and selling my pixie coats for the first time. I’ve bought pixie coats fair trade from a friend who lives in India, for seven years and thought I would share them with the lovely folk of Wales.

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I can only fit the short length on my rail but hope they make a colourful spectacle at the fayre and I’ll have a range of the long length with me.

If you’re interested in purchasing any of my books, you can find them all listed here:

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365459567&sr=1-2-ent

For more info on the pixie coats, you can contact me here or PM me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wendy.steele.311

Full moon blessings and a magical weekend to you all.

 

 

One year on….missing you

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Approaching the end of the pagan year, it’s time to look back at both achievements and disappointments. Where have I been? Who came with me? Could I have handled that better? What did I learn? How have I grown from these experiences?

In November 2014 I launched a new book, the first of a new series, The Standing Stone books.

Standing Stone Home For Christmas Cover drop shadowMy eldest son came to visit at the Midwinter Solstice. DSC_1200

I danced my feet off with my fabulous ladies of Tribal Unity Wales…we even danced for the eclipse! 17005_1637467316511758_8560746038090504212_n11705339_1637467806511709_6336127877735496573_n11875606_10153165243553867_114847764_o11012386_10153650985507802_1147847422645631772_nOur little house finally has a roof!11150930_1600818576843299_7145038719453612890_n

I worked hard clearing to the end of Bramble Avenue, along our riverbank DSC_000811947900_1654664588125364_5441217376693406600_o(1)Tribal Unity came from Essex to visit and we danced on our outdoor stage

On the beach with my home girls

On the beach with my home girls

I introduced juicing into my diet and changed the balance of vegetables on my plate DSC_1436and published another book!DSC_1413

But my strongest feeling about this year is missing those I love. I’ve missed my children, a constant pain in my heart that though appeased a little by phone calls is only alleviated once I hold them in my arms. I’ve missed my friends, women who have loved and supported me through the best and worst of times. But most of all, I’ve missed my mum and dad. While mum was alive, my promise to dad to look after her kept him alive for me but now they are both gone, I grieve for them both. All year I’ve carried the pain of their loss, silently held within me, only let out in great gulping sobs and screams when I’m alone or the odd persistent tear I cannot restrain.

As the wheel of the year turns, moving us on towards winter, I must let go. My ritual on the riverbank tomorrow night will help me move forward, helping me leave the negative behind while I spend the winter months with my thoughts, working through emotions and emerging anew in the spring.

Samhein blessings xx