Tag Archives: inspiration

Connecting with the stars…and ourselves

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There’s a lot going on in our solar system in August…a full moon and partial eclipse today, peak of the Perseids meteor shower on the 12th and a new moon and total solar eclipse on the 21st. “So?” I hear you ask, “What does that mean for me?”

Continuing my blog posts about finding magic in your life, connecting to the universe is an easy way to begin so let’s begin with the sun… the sun is the star at the centre of the Solar system, made up of hot plasma, whose diameter is 109 times that of the earth, consists of hydrogen and helium plus a little oxygen, carbon, neon and iron and whose mass is about 330,00 times that of the earth. Wow! A huge, almost spherical ball of energy, 149.6 million kilometres away, is the main source of energy for life on earth. And you know what? Carl Sagan said that we are made of star stuff, the death of ancient stars helping to create us.

Whether we like it or not, we are linked to the universe. We are made up of the same molecules. The universe was there before us, creating and uncreating until all the elements and conditions were aligned and life began on our earth.

Our ancestors understood their connection to the universe, you’ve only to look at the legacy they left behind to see it.

Stone circles and avenues, temples and pyramids were created and aligned, markers of the sun, moon and stars. Our ancestors linked to the past and the future, making themselves a part of a cycle of life that sustained and informed them. They knew about the seasons and the best time to plant and harvest; their link with the universe was life giving….and so can ours be today.

Tonight, like others on this amazing rock we call earth, I’ll be taking a few minutes to connect with the stars. For me, it’s about focussing on a bigger picture. We get hung up on the minutae, the earthly problems we face each day (I did it yesterday attempting to file my tax return!) and forget to look wider…we are part of a world family on a beautiful planet, abundant with diverse wildlife and we have our own star to thank for giving us the opportunity to be here in the first place. Attempting to comprehend the universe, we may be a small speck on a little planet but inside each of us is the potential to create and to open our hearts and minds to compassion, love and warmheartedness. We’re held back by the ‘old stories’ we carry, causing doubt, fear and anxiety when we attempt to break away and try something new yet, we all have the capacity to write ‘new stories’ for ourselves, living our lives full of hope, creativity and love. For me, the inspiration comes from the universe, above me, and my connection with the earth, below me.

Join me at 8.08pm for 8 minutes, linking yourself with others on the earth and to the stars from which you came.

Connecting with the stars, we connect with ourselves.

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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.

 

The spring in my step

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When I’m depressed, I lose the spring in my step.

I function, exist in the hours of the day and night but I don’t live. Creative pursuits lift me but focussing, using the joy of inspiring, helping and healing others, is tough when I’m depressed, really tough.

DSC_1431And of course, real life, the every day labyrinth of work and bills and relationships, has to be negotiated.

Summer wanes, autumn beckons and I sink into the yawning pit of despair. The Wheel does not cease to turn because I cannot climb aboard. The leaves begin their fall in a blaze of fire and fury, pelted to the earth by the gathering wind. Scuttling eddies announce my way through the lanes, raining flames on my misery.

And then I dance. DSC_0005I still carry my burden of darkness but the bliss of those few dances lightens my step allowing me to appreciate the moment: a chilly Autumn morning, surrounded by friends I love, talking to new people, dancing to live music, dancing with friends, spreading the love of ATS® and making people smile.

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My steps are lighter. My heart is lighter.

Surround yourself with those who love you and find the spring in your step this Autumn.

 

In search of the sun

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Wales to 1 August 2014 005It’s been a wet, grey summer spattered with a few glorious days.

From the moment spring arrives and crocus takes her first breath, I use the momentum of new life to begin new projects and look forward to the sunshine. DSC_1234 I look forward to the prospect of hot, sunny days to fuel my passion and drive my intentions to fulfillment. Living with depression, this concept has served me well.

We had two hot days at the end of May 11053065_1610337169224773_4219450298485072431_n but Midsummer’s Day was a wash out when it should have been the peak of the sun. Four days of solid rain led to a sunny day for the Lampeter Food Festival 17005_1637467316511758_8560746038090504212_n

and the momentum of this fabulous dancing day carried me on to the Cardigan Bellydance Festival 11875606_10153165243553867_114847764_obut I’ve struggled.

We’ve made the most of every glimpse of sunshine, spending time on the riverbank and working on the land but I’ve found cold, grey mornings a real damper on motivation. On the days I’ve rallied, I’ve been writing and the third Standing Stone book, The Gathering, is finished and being edited. I’ve attempted to cook new food, create new recipes and put good food in to get the best energy out. It’s been hard work.

So now I need to get to December 21st, where the Holly King passes the crown to the Oak King and his strength uplifts and inspires me to look forward to spring.

At Mabon, 21st September, the day and night are of equal length all over our amazing planet. It is the time to think of and support our wonderful ‘world family’. Where people live in fear and without basic rights and needs, I shall support and give wherever I can.

As we wend our way to Samhein, a time of change and of choices and a time to look back as well as forward, I shall focus on the aspects of my life that make me smile. I shall surround myself with family and friends, indulge in dancing, sharing, cake and writing. I hope to bring the sun into my life and warm and brighten the days of others.

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If you need help and inspiration at this time, Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles gives 100 ideas, used by me to enable me to live my life with depression, rather than suffer from it:

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

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=la_B007VZ1P06_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1354202723&sr=1-5 http://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

The Standing Stone book series is inspired by the beauty of Wales, allowing the reader to connect with the forces and elements of nature. It’s easy to lose sight of where we came from, who we are and where we fit in this amazing world but the Standing Stone brings people together, to support each other and to look within themselves to the beauty and power that lies within.
http://www.amazon.com/Standing-Stone-Home-Christmas-ebook/dp/B00OCPBVV6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414328713&sr=1-1&keywords=wendy+steele
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Standing-Stone-Home-Christmas/dp/150272278X/ref=asap_B007VZ1P06_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415177277&sr=1-1

Standing Stone Home For Christmas Cover drop shadow

A new book…a new beginning

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Today is launch day for The Standing Stone – Silence is Broken. This is the second book in the Standing Stone series. It’s longer, faster paced and features the Goddess Ishtar.

Ishtar, or Innana, came into my life over 15 years ago when I picked up a book about goddesses in the children’s library and was inspired to paint her, my first ever water colour. Since moving to Wales, she has been a constant in my life and with her support and guidance, I’ve embarked on a new spiritual and emotional journey.

When I stand beneath the vast skies in rural Wales, the stars from her belt shine on me, reminding me that I’m part of an amazing universe. On wet Welsh days when the weather changes from torrential rain to sunshine in minutes, the rainbow necklace at her throat gives me hope, showering my life with a myriad of colourful blessings.

As Ishtar, the warrior goddess, I carry her with me always.

Eight pointed star, one of the symbols of Ishtar

Eight pointed star, one of the symbols of Ishtar

She inspires me to dance and teach others, even if my classes are depleted. She inspires me to share my stories, even when my book sales are low.

Every day can be a new beginning with the goddess and today begins the life of a new story, sent into the world to be shared.

Embrace Ishtar in your life today.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Standing-Stone-Silence-Broken-ebook/dp/B010NUJALG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435824840&sr=1-1&keywords=standing+stone+silence+is+broken

http://www.amazon.com/Standing-Stone-Silence-Broken-ebook/dp/B010NUJALG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435824925&sr=1-1&keywords=the+standing+stone+silence+is+broken

 

Standing Stone Silence Is Broken ebook cover proof

 

Summer Solstice…the build up

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Since the new moon on Tuesday, life has gone from chaotic to manic…and I’m loving it!

Tuesday is always a busy dancing day, teaching a Beginners class at lunchtime and a Beyond Basics for two hours in the evening but this week, classes were buzzing and we’ve two more events in the pipeline where we’ve been asked to perform. The amazing thing is, we are not a performance group and most of my dancers have only been dancing for a year. Let me tell you our story…

Barefoot Festival 2014

Barefoot Festival 2014

I had been dancing with Tribal Unity for four years when we finally sold our house and prepared to set off for our new adventure in Wales. My wonderful ATS® Bellydance teacher, Deana Lawman, asked me if I would like to be Tribal Unity in Wales. I was overwhelmed and delighted to accept such an honour so from August 2013 to February 2014, from tent life, to caravan life to a house with no heating, I planned how to begin teaching ATS® Bellydance. I found a venue, advertised in the local free magazine, The Grapevine, and began teaching in March 2014.

First Tribal Unity Wales selfie

First Tribal Unity Wales selfie

I met the most wonderful bunch of ladies! I planned to talk to them about dancing at the Lampeter World of Dance Festival in October, just one dance to show everyone how much fun we have in class but they way laid my plan by asking if they could dance at the Cardigan Bellydance in August…and we did! 10603378_10202597850844530_906991781996694645_n Everyone had so much fun they wanted to perform again…and again and again! ATS® Bellydance allows you as the dancer to bring yourself to the group and before my eyes, a Tribal Unity family was born. From May 2014, my Mum’s dementia worsened and frequent trips to Essex were exhausting and painful but these wonderful women supported me throughout and we danced together, for each other. Indoors at the Cellan Beer Festival Dec 2014 to outdoors in the park at the eclipse in March, we have been there and danced.

11012386_10153650985507802_1147847422645631772_nWe’re now preparing for the Lampeter Food Festival on 25th July and the Cardigan Bellydance Festival on the 8th/9th August. We’re dancing at The LongWood Open Day on 6th September as well as two performances in October, also confirmed.

And we danced together to celebrate the Summer Solstice, welcoming back the Holly King as he takes over from the Oak King, bringing in the harvest and preparing the Land for the winter.10346537_1624424897816000_5432437501420269489_n

ATS® Bellydance is an inspirational dance form, combining influences from Egyptian bellydance, Kathak (classical Indian), Flamenco and African Tribal. This unique style of dance is lead by a leader who gives cues to her dancers so there is no choreography to be learned, just moves and cues. It’s hard work! Our bodies get into bad habits so muscle memory has to be created and that means repetition but when you have as much fun as we do, nobody seems to mind. For more information http://www.tribalunity.co.uk

Our house is coming on…we have a roof now! The new thatch is holding up well to the rain but we still need to finish the ends of the walls so they meet the roof so, we need clom…clay, sand, cow/horse poo and straw.

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But first, we need a man with a digger and he has been booked for Friday and Saturday, firstly to dig out our clay (we’ve removed the battered shed and agricultural asbestos sheeting that was in the way…don’t ask!), mix with the straw we have left from thatching and poo we will collect from friendly farmer on Thursday night and secondly, to dig us a meandering pathway down to our riverbank. Last year we cleared Bramble Avenue so we could walk from one end of the riverbank to the other and this new pathway will mean easy access for the barrow and mower and a clear area to start working out from to plant our new trees (ash doing well, beech still a bit wobbly) for coppicing.

As well as all this excitement, I’ve been writing the third book in the Standing Stone series The Gathering, while editing the second book Silence is Broken, getting it ready for publication on 2nd July and guess what arrived in the post this morning?

DSC_1413I love it when plans start to come together after months, even years, of hard work. Staying focussed on what I believe, trusting in myself and sharing warm heartedness helps with those difficult days. Solstice Blessings to all my friends around the world.

Facing the fear

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I remember the day ‘Destiny of Angels’ was finished. Written, edited and the button pushed to publish, I shook like a leaf in a hurricane. I already had published work ‘out there’, dance articles and interviews in magazines, but this was my first published novel, a work of fiction and I was asking the public to read it. Then the paperback arrived.

575517_2923802914446_700076725_n The joy of holding my first book in my hand was wonderful and I bathed in a glow of contentment for days, until the fear began again as I attempted to market my book online. As my ‘baby’ was downloaded, I read the reviews with trepidation until I realised that readers were enjoying my story. I was inspired. ‘Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles’  soon followed and I published two volumes of short stories. With the addition of ‘Too Hot for Angels’, my first venture into erotica, I believed I was showing the world the kind of writer I was, adaptable, prolific and fearless, so I launched my big birthday celebration by giving away my books and waited for the 1800+ readers to respond….and nobody did.

Disappointed, disenchanted and defeated, my writing pad and pen sat idle for a while until the story of ‘Wrath of Angels’ refused to be suppressed and I wrote the second book in the Lilith Trilogy. Time for marketing my books became minimal as we sold our house and moved to Wales. Through those years, the fear of failure hung over me.  How could I call myself a writer when nobody read and reviewed my books? Inspired by my new surroundings, a new story began to form so I made a few notes, faced my fear and edited and published ‘Wrath of Angels’.  I returned to social media and was shocked but delighted to find good friends who remembered me and my books and helped me restart my writing career.

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On Saturday, I faced my biggest fear of all. I stood behind my table, in a large hall surrounded by talented creative craft folk,  and when anyone approached, I stood up and said ‘Hello, I’m Wendy Steele and these are my books.’ Why is that so scary? Because I have a real fear of meeting new people. I remember the first night of my City and Guilds evening class on teaching adults, having to stand up, introduce myself and tell everyone why I was there and how the teacher had berated me ‘If you can’t stand up in front of us, how are you ever going to teach anyone?’

I believe life is about facing your fears, challenging your preconceptions, allowing  you to explore paths you may otherwise miss. I’ve been teaching dance for almost seven years now and I have a ‘trick’ that helps me…during the warm up, I find it difficult to make eye contact, even while I’m speaking but I promise myself that when the music finishes, I will have my ‘teacher head’ on and all will be well. Sometimes I get my words muddled at the beginning of a lesson but I’ve learned to laugh at myself and my ladies laugh with me.

At the festival on Saturday, I spoke to lots of people and I enjoyed it. Talking about my passions makes me happy and listening to other people and their hopes, likes and ideas is inspiring. I took a tin of my homemade gluten/dairy free chocolate cake, cut into tiny squares to give away and that proved an interesting talking point. I sold a few paperbacks and gave out my promo postcards (handmade with recycled paper, card and glue!), promoted ATS® dance, next week’s World Wide Flash Mob and the Lampeter World of Dance Festival the following week but, best of all, I spoke to a number of people who want to write. I started a list with contact details so I hope to run a ‘Getting Writing’ workshop before Christmas.

Facing the fear makes for a challenging but exciting life. My first book written in Wales,  ‘The Standing Stone – Home for Christmas’ will be published at the beginning of November and I’m not afraid, just excited.

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You can find all my books on my Amazon author pages http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365459567&sr=1-2-ent
http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

The Witch is back! You can buy Wrath of Angels for just 99p/99c until 10th October.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wrath-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00KTH2E4Y

http://www.amazon.com/Wrath-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00KTH2E4Y/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402305692&sr=1-7&keywords=wrath+of+angel