Tag Archives: The Standing Stone – Silence is broken

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.

 

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

A life less sensible

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Sensible has two definitions in the dictionary:

1. done or chosen in accordance with wisdom or prudence; likely to be of benefit.
2. (of an object) practical and functional rather than decorative.
My mother was a practical, prudent woman but whether by nature or because of living through WWII and the following eight years of rationing, I will never know. Either way, her parenting was of a very strict, sensible nature and I learned how to manage money from her. Living a ‘sensible’ life, however, did not sit well with me.
My first marriage was to a ‘sensible’ young man, training to be an accountant with his own car and with aspirations to own his own home….I was beaten on my honeymoon.
My second marriage was to a less ‘sensible’ man, who made me laugh and was kind and generous. We were friends first and it was the arrival of our first child that pushed us to do the ‘sensible’ thing and buy a home together. We got on well but, like many friends, we had different ideas about many things. His new job in the City boosted his aspirations to make money and though I tried to be the executive wife (I even bought the blazer!) after twelve years together, this relationship ended.
Now I was torn….I needed to be ‘sensible’ as three young lives depended on me being their rock and supporting them and yet, having been married the first time at nineteen years old, I longed for the pressure to be lifted. Meeting my present partner gave me times of bliss, laughter and naughtiness which helped me maintain my ‘sensible’ parent status, seeing the children through school.
Turning fifty was a landmark moment, a time a lot of women dread but for me, with a new, exciting adventure in Wales to look forward to and my children through school and University, for the first time in my life, I felt carefree. Antonyms of sensible include foolish and stupid but for me, carefree means not automatically taking the prudent option but sometimes just ‘going for it’!
This last weekend I partied in a yurt in a field on Friday night, dancing of course, before performing at the Cardigan Bellydance Festival on the Saturday.
On Sunday, I taught morning and afternoon workshops. On Monday, I barrowed logs, made up two boxes of kindling, cooked, baked, washed and cleared up after the weekend. None of this was ‘sensible’ but I loved every second! Today, Tuesday, I’m spending the day writing as my body gave me a nudge to say it needed a rest.
Organising a building site requires me to be sensible with resources and time and organising the household, the same but for the rest of the time, I enjoy a less sensible life….paddling in the sea on Christmas day, getting my first tattoes Wales 2014 020

Eight pointed star, one of the symbols of Ishtar

Eight pointed star, one of the symbols of Ishtar

Dancing with my friends in the sunshine…..11053065_1610337169224773_4219450298485072431_ntaking time to dress and make up for a performance….10556448_727027910700917_1801320681454343591_n

welcoming the sun and moon in the sky….11012386_10153650985507802_1147847422645631772_n ….drawing pictures in the sand and writing the books I care passionately about….books for women….m_DSC01109 about strong, fabulous real women….Wales to 21st June 2014 013books to bring magic into your life every day, books about the beauty of Nature and the part women play as the goddesses of the world….Standing Stone Home For Christmas Cover drop shadow….as they deal with real life (including all the ‘sensible’ bits that make others lives run so smoothly) while embracing the women they really are….DSC_1413

Let go your inhibitions and join me, living a life less sensible.

You can find out more about ATS® Belly Dance at http://www.tribalunity.co.uk.

For links to all my books, please visit my author pages: http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365459567&sr=1-2-ent

Love and light xx

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.