Post festival musings


So that’s it. Finished. Rammylitfest 2015 done and dusted. It was fun, it was exhilarating, it was bloody hard work.

Was it a success? Yes. Very much so, according to those who took part and some of those who came along.

Would I do it again? No.

I met some wonderful people, experienced some amazing performances, made some new friends and was left with a couple of potential collaborative spin off projects that look very interesting, but no, I would not put my time and energy into running another festival.

Financially it was a disaster. My life and my work got put on hold, my relationships strained to breaking point. Now I have to pick up the pieces and carry.

A festival needs youth, energy, creative vision in new media; I have none of those things. I am poet and a writer, a nature photographer. I crave solitude, quiet, time outdoors. Organising the festival stole all these things from me from months on end and left me exhausted.

All I want to do now is curl up somewhere warm and be still. I want someone to take care of me for a while. To support my creative output.  To do the housework that has not been done and to make that sure I eat properly while I get my work written, typed up, organised and out there into the world.

I have a book, The Simple Path, about to be published in paperback next month. I have had to trust my publisher that it will be fine, because although I read and approved everything he sent back to me. I have no idea whether the text was ok or not. I do know the cover picture is fine.






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Remembrance (1)


The Wall at Tynecot Cemetary. Picture ©  Star Speakman

It started as a request for help to organise a poetry competition earlier in the year, which came to nothing due to an unsuccessful bid for Heritage Lottery Funding by the Ramsbottom War Memorial Project.

On Remembrance Sunday, an idea mooted previously by the Ramsbottom Writers Circle for an anthology of their work to be produced and sold, to help raise funds for the project, was transformed by several members posting poems they had written in remembrance of family members that had served in the two World Wars.  The concept of a book of war poetry gathered by means of a poetry competition was very quickly born.

ramsbottom writers circle logo

Then synchronicity struck (don’t you just love it!)…  I got the permission of the Ramsbottom War Memorial Project to use their original idea of a poetry competition on the theme of ‘Remembrance’,  just as the Relationship Manager for the Arts Council appeared on the horizon offering help with the Rammylitfest.

‘Its a bit late for the festival’ I said, ‘but I have another project brewing that I would like to talk to you about.’

Since then an artist has asked to be involved and  a musician has come forward who has written a hymn of remembrance. Suddenly the project is taking on a life of its own, as a multi-media creative collaboration.

Next step… the meeting with the Arts Council.

To be continued…Keep Calm

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Reflections at 62

At a recent Permaculture gathering, we were investigating how our values could drive the development of a sustainable bio-region. My own core values are love, integrity and honesty.

From the discussions I took part in it became evident that these very personally held values emerge for people when, to coin a colloquialism,’ their buttons are pushed. So for example, if someone close to me is hurting, I reach out for them with love; if someone tries to cheat me, I get angry at both their dishonesty and their lack of integrity in being dishonest with me; if a situation I find myself in seems unfair or unjust, I may get angry with the person who is driving the situation for their lack of integrity.

In all of these situations, it is my anger that reveals my deepest held values to the world. It was my own increasing spiritual awareness that revealed them to me. As a result, as I at first struggled to become a ‘better’ person, I was forced to examine my own actions and reactions to situation and in doing so began to make conscious decisions about my behaviour and the person I wanted to be. That person was very different, I had a lot of difficult realisations about myself and my life to date to deal with.

I don’t always get it right, but at the very least I am trying and at best, I am generally aware when I have failed, so can reflect and do differently in the future. Am I a better person as a result? I would not say better, I would say changed. Change that has cost me lost friends and support mechanisms but that has brought me a love of myself that allows me to have compassion and generosity of spirit towards others.

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Changing the world – one patient at a time – how healers are at the forefront of the new world that is emerging.

Dynamics of the Healer/Patient relationship

One of the roles that life has given me is that of a healer/tutor for the Lancashire and District Healing Association (LHDA). This puts me in the position of observing trainee healers giving healing to patients – which gives me the opportunity to observe and reflect on the dynamics of the healing session as it is taking place, rather than being actively involved.

After the healing session has taken place, patients increasingly want to know what the healer ‘felt’, seeming to want more from the session than they felt themselves. They are seeking answers, firstly as a confirmation of what they may or may not experienced and secondly for information of an illness or condition that they think they have, but that has not necessarily been diagnosed by the mainstream medical profession. This is when healer has to be very careful not to overstep the boundaries between healing and their psychic gifts. It is the time to encourage the patient to share their own experience of the session; to voice their concerns and to seek medical advice. However tempting it may be, it is not a time to tell what the healer has experienced during the healing session in other than very general terms and only when responding to what the patient has said – for example ‘yes I felt a cold sensation when my hands were there, have you talked to your GP about any issues you think you might have there?’

But there is more going on here. There is a major shift taking place right now and I believe that healers are experiencing it first hand. Patients not yet fully awake to  subtle energies can’t ‘feel’ them physically as a healer might, but often are aware in their heads of things – sensing people behind them or who is on the phone before it rings for example. If you talk this idea through with them, they usually say something like ‘it is funny that you should say that because…’

They have come for healing – often with chronic conditions – as an ‘alternative lifestyle’ choice, or often as a last resort when medical treatment is not making things better for them. Healers need to be aware that the patient’s condition may well be a precursor to a shift into spiritual awareness, especially if it has stopped them dead in their tracks, often by something that is not necessarily life threatening, but which is powerful enough to take them out their ‘old’ life; something which they usually express a strong desire to return to. However if they do manage the return, it may not be long before the situation presents itself again and they become ill a second time, often much worse than before.

Whilst these patients are not necessarily ready to accept a shift from their current lifestyle, it what will happen, in order to allow their spiritual self to express itself fully. Drs may diagnose stress related illnesses for such patients who show an inability to cope with their everyday life as it was , showing itself as rashes, swelling and pain, both localised and non specific, even loss of blood – all of which have no apparent cause, but which demand a swift change in pace of life in order for specific conditions not to develop further.

Healers as creative souls – co creating a different world

Many healers came into their gifts down this route of chronic illness and I am coming round to the conclusion that there is a suppression of the creative self
involved in chronic disease, especially with the recent development of chronic fatigue from where I have personally watched healers, poets, potters, writers, card makers, glass makers, artists and permaculture designers emerge – not necessarily to their financial advantage – and all of these people now choosing to live a life that is more friendly to the earth than their previous one was.

Healers have a role to play in nurturing these emerging creative souls. It is not something that you may read about in the older healing text books, as it is a 21st century development. Having clients who are needing on-going support to change their lives is no longer just the province of the business life coach, it has overlapped into the healing field, demanding new skills of healers , a development that I will explore in another blog. Up to now, some people have been trying their hand at this – ‘spiritual life coaches’ – stumbling along, each with their own theories of how it should be done, trying to make a living from their gifts, competing for clients in a businesslike way, but the world is sifting again as more and more people are awakening. The few are becoming the many and the many are looking for a different way of doing things than we have now.

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4 am: I can feel a blog coming on

Debunking the theories of why I currently have difficulties writing (and sleeping)

My ability to spontaneously find the words to write seems to have gone missing at the moment, despite lots of potential artistic stimulation in my life. With a little help and much prompting, I am able to write something, but I have lost the creativity that formally found flowed very easily.

I take a pain killer/muscle relaxant for neuropathic pain three times a day and am beginning to wonder if it steals my creative self, as I only seem to find words on waking in the early morning, when I am in pain and in need of the next tablet. Just before 4am. That’s the time.

The Chinese Medicine Theory

A Google search reveals that physically, at 4am it’s my bladder meridian kicking in…

The key responsibilities of this meridian are when to use resources or being controlling and being a water element, the notion of fear and anxiety about these issues. All of this makes sense on the light of my day to day life, but that does not solve the problem of the missing words!

The New Age Theory

Apparently around 4am is the time when spiritual connections are more easily made…

But the first piece of advice in dealing with this is to drink some water, which really does not help the bladder problem! But at least the words that come are supposed to be some sort of channelling from spirit, so hopefully I am writing stuff that helps other people.

Most certainly when I was becoming aware of myself as a spiritual being some fifteen years ago, I was waking up at 4am every single night, but this broken sleep pattern was explained by my doctor as being due to several things happening simultaneously – the menopause and fibromyalgia being the main difficulties I was wrestling with.

The ‘It’s your age’ Theory

Now, at 61, apparently it is ‘my age’. The daft idea that older people do not need as much sleep needs revisiting – I am knackered the next day if I wake in the early hours – even if I do manage to get back to sleep.

The ‘Exercise will make you sleep’ Theory

The evenings when I have attended my yoga classes make things even worse – I cannot get to sleep easily afterwards – even though my body is tired, my mind seems to be stimulated, but there is no focus, I struggle to absorb written words on a page and if I watch TV, I seem to daydream through it, with no recollection of what I have watched when I finally turn off.


In fact this sense of being in a day dream is spreading through all of my life, like I am not quite here most of the time. I lose hours to I do not know what and yet, I seem to get some things done, but I do not know how, as I often do not remember doing them.

Is this the early onset of something sinister? Is my spiritual self doing the work and forgetting to notify my conscious self about it? Or is just a revisiting of chronic fatigue? Which means I should really sit in the chair and watch the clouds go by for a while without trying to do anything else until such time as I can work out a pacing schedule for my energies.

Any positive contributions to my thoughts on this matter would be appreciated. Message me.

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Recording a thank you to the source of all things

On 14th October 2005, Mark and Ian Foster came into my life and turned it round from despair with their 21 day protocol for feeling good about yourself and your life. Thank you both, I feel blessed to have known you and Mark, to still have you around to keep me on track.  Two of the essential things that the boys taught me were to remember to be grateful for the good things in your life and to work with the law of attraction.

In those early days of our friendship, part of their feel good protocol was to have a ‘rave on’ each morning about the positives – setting the tone for the rest of the day. Being a keen photographer, I decided to make mine visual and so I bought myself a lovely journal which morphed into a gratitude book. Near the beginning is a ‘feel good’ flip – something to take you out of your present situation into a place that make you feel really good – mine is one of my photographs of the harbour in Nanaimo BC – my very favourite place for sitting and watching the world go by (and somewhere I do not yet get back to as often as I would like)

I look at that photograph and keep a record every day – not just of the good things that happen and the abundance that flows through my life, but also of the new spiritual lessons that freely come my way from books, workshops, meeting new people and the internet – now a valuable tool for spiritual connections. I cannot begin to tell you how many of these things cost me nothing in monetary terms, thanks to the generosity of spirit that exists amongst my friends. I pay it forward nowadays, sharing with those who do not yet have the abundance that I enjoy.

My gratitude book records the good things in my life for the past nine years. It is now almost full and I will have to start another one. The law of attraction has it lined up somewhere ready to arrive on my desk, I know that, but before it does, I wanted to say thank you to that book. As I look back through it, at all the things I have received and also the people who have come and gone through my life, as well as the lifelong connections that are still with me, I understand how blessed I have become, just by recording a thank you to the source of all things.

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Is spirituality a philosophy or a newly emerging religion for our time?

It’s a question which I recently formulated for discussion at the philosophy in the pubs group which I attend and I seem to have picked a fairly topical subject.

The Guardian referred to a recent survey in which found that ‘a fifth of people are religiously unaffiliated and 37% of those regard themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious’ Mark Vernon, author of How To Be an Agnostic, believes that such people are ‘driven by a sense that religion is out of keeping with modern values’. Tom de Castella, writing for the BBC in 2013, described the people concerned as ranging from ‘pagans to devotees of healing crystals’.

What is this spirituality that they refer to?

‘Spirituality has been defined in numerous ways. These include: a belief in a power operating in the universe that is greater than oneself, a sense of interconnectedness with all living creatures, and an awareness of the purpose and meaning of life and the development of personal, absolute values. It’s the way you find meaning, hope, comfort, and inner peace in your life’

The Dali Lama says he believes ‘the dominant force of our mind is compassion and human affection. Therefore, usually I call these human qualities spirituality. Not necessarily as a religious message or religion in that sense’

Wikipedia offers the following explanation: ‘Traditionally spirituality has been defined as a process of personal transformation in accordance with religious ideals. Since the 19th century spirituality is often separated from religion and has become more oriented on subjective experience and psychological growth. It may refer to almost any kind of meaningful activity or blissful experience, but without a single, widely-agreed definition’.

So there appears there may be a perceptible division between those people who believe themselves to be spiritual and the traditional organised religions, which takes us neatly into exploring the second part of my question.

At what point does a belief system become a religion?

The Anglican Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend David Walker, in response to the results of the 2001 UK Census, when 390,127 people – or 0.7% of the population described themselves as Jedi, suggests that for a belief system to become a religion, ‘there needs to be a significant number of adherents and crucially, it will need to have been around for a long time – but there are no hard and fast rules.’

Beth Singler, a researcher in the Divinity Faculty of Cambridge University, writes that “feel the force’ has become a rather tired cliché, but behind it is a New Age mysticism similar to many of the ‘holistic’ ideas that emerged in the 1960s and 70s and which is a patchwork quilt of Taoism, Buddhism, Catholicism and Samurai’.

The number of people identifying themselves as Jedi had dropped to 176,632 by 2011, but was still by far the largest group amongst the 240,000 people put ‘other religion’ on their census form.

One of the first international writers in the field of what is now commonly known as ‘New Age’ spirituality was Carlos Castaneda, a controversial American anthropologist whose first book ‘The Teachings of Don Juan’, about his shamanic experiences in Mexico, was published in 1968. His twelve books alone have sold more than 28 million copies in 17 languages and other more recent spiritual writers such as Paulo Coelho and Deepak Chopra have gone on to have similar volumes of book sales.

As long ago as 1996, Heelas suggested that over 10 million people in the U.S. alone had had some contact with New Age practices or ideas. It seems therefore that there may well be that ‘significant number of adherents’ to this modern spirituality which has been written about for going on 50 years now.

The writings of the three largest established religions also emerged over a number of years:


The compilation of the written Qur’an (as opposed to the recited Qur’an) spanned several decades Muslim accounts say it began in the year 610. Throughout his life, Muhammad continued to have revelations until before his death in 632. Muslims agree that the Qur’an we see today was canonized by Uthman bin Affan (653-656). Upon the canonization of the Qur’an, Uthman ordered the burning of all personal copies of the Qur’an.

Some 46 years for the Qur’an


It is generally agreed that the Book of Mark was the first Christian Gospel written and that it was written between A.D. 50 and 75. Of the four Gospel’s, John’s is considered to have been the last one written, around A.D. 85. The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is believed to have been penned by the Apostle John between A.D. 70 – 95.

The Pauline Epistles (the Apostle Paul’s letters to the early church) were authored between A.D. 50 – 67. The author of Hebrews is unknown, but the book is commonly thought to have been written around A.D. 70. The epistles of the other Apostles were written between A.D. 48 – 90. The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is believed to have been penned by the Apostle John between A.D. 70 – 95.

Some 47 years for the New Testament

Judaism (1)

The first five books of the Old Testament (known as the Pentateuch or Torah) was written by Moses during the forty years that the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness (1450 – 1410 B.C.). The twelve historical books of the Old Testament span the history of Israel from 1050 – 465 B.C. The seventeen Prophetical books of the major and minor prophets span Israel’s history from 700 – 450 B.C.

Judaism (2)
The Torah, or Jewish Written Law, consists of the five books of the Hebrew Bible – known more commonly to non-Jews as the “Old Testament” – that were given by G-d to Moses on Mount Sinai and include within them all of the biblical laws of Judaism. However, there is also an ancient tradition that the Torah existed in heaven not only before God revealed it to Moses, but even before the world was created. In rabbinic literature, it was taught that the Torah was one of the six or seven things created prior to the creation of the world.

40 years for the Torah

Is the definition of religion dependent on it having a written set of rules?

Alcoholic’s Anonymous describes itself as spiritual rather than religious and has such a book and a ‘Course in Miracles’ is a ‘new age’ book of revelations from God, which people are expected to study and learn from.

The three main religions say that God stands separate and apart from His creations. ‘New Age’ spirituality says that God is unified and one with everything; that humans may express and experience themselves as God-made-manifest; that everything they touch and see and feel is likewise God in manifest form. There are probably thousands of not millions of books been written in the Western World about this form of spirituality, but unlike the main religions, no one book, no Bible, Torah or Qur’an equivalent has emerged as the focus of this new philosophy.

So is a new religion emerging?

I found this during my research and it amused me:

With the rebirth of pagan goddess worship and Christianity in decline, or at least being re-imagined … we believe that we’re set to see the great apostasy (Christians turning away from the true faith) spoken about by Jesus (Matt 24:12) and the coming political, economic and religious system under the control of the Antichrist (Rev 13).

I have my own views on this, but I will leave it here


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A New World Order

I wrote this on the 29th May, but as some of you know, I have been away gallivanting for a little while…

People are calling for a new world order, yet it already exists. I do not know all of the people speaking out about it and for that I owe no-one an apology, but the ones I do know are speaking mostly from the ‘new world’ – the Americas and Australasia.

There is a new class of leader – people encouraging the rest of us to follow their lead – to grow spiritually, to care for the planet and each other; to seek to return to harmony with the natural world and the divine.

Some are now close to passing over and some have already gone and so here is my personal top ten of the ones who are still alive, still writing, talking & broadcasting in order to help others find what they themselves have found:

In no particular order…

Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, EckhartTolle, Neale Donald Walsch (NDW), Bill Mollison, Pablo Cuello, Anastasia, Marianne Williamson, Joanna Macy, Mark Nero.

and not forgetting the recent firebrand who is stirring things up – Russell Brandt.

They are all people who can start you on your way to becoming part of this movement of change that is reaching out to engage people of all ages, backgrounds and means across the world. There are others, depending on what interests you. My own reading has taken me into a gentler, more friendly interaction with the universe and I am feeling now that I am hanging onto the cliff of what is considered ‘normality’ by my fingertips in order to be able to continue to relate to the people important in my life.

There seem to be different stages to this:

1. something ‘unusual’ happens to you and you pitch headlong into frantic reading, therapies, workshops and classes looking for an explanation for whatever it is

2. the ‘something’ deepens and you feel the need to withdraw, reflect, contemplate, read and mix with other people of the same mind-set – in the certainty that there is a bigger picture than is being sold to you by those people you found in stage one

3. you start to give back, to share what you have learned with others without leaving stage two behind

It’s a cyclical development – leastways I have found it to be so. You continue to discover ‘new’ people & ideas, to have more new experiences; but it is a spiral development, each loop taking you further away from normality, rasing your vibration (to use new age speak) to a new level and bringing you closer to an understanding that is too big to put into words. It has to be experienced to be fully understood.  People call it lots of names, god, universal energy, christ consciousness. After meeting a new friend recently, I now call it ‘Gladys’  but it is my understanding that there is only one of her, although many different ways to find and interact with her.

When you do find Gladys – and we all get there in the end – it gives you a framework that your whole life is contained within and which permeates your whole being. My Son said to me the other day that something I wrote on his Facebook was a ‘bit deep’, but as I am living with Gladys guiding me now and so ‘a bit deep’ is how I am, even to my nearest and dearest.

Is this who I am? NDW gave us all that question as a decision-making tool – and yes,  it is.







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Angels in my life

Angels came into my life to save it – twice – a story for another time.  They became part of my life.  In 2012,  I moved to Hope Street and have been waiting for whatever was to come next, as this is a magical place where abundance flows and revelations occur … today I woke with a message:

‘In order to reach the truth, you must first empty yourself of all beliefs, of all religious dogma, of all previously held theories and suppositions and become what you are – an eternal consciousness currently residing in a physical body. To do this you have to go within, to examine your innermost thoughts and feelings. See them for what they truly are and let them go, holding fast to the understanding that you are part of the eternal whole, no more, no less and that all the rest is not of significant consequence in the greater order of things.’

On my bookshelf are two of Lorna Byrne’s books – ‘Messages of Hope from your Angels’ – which arrived in Hope Street as I did in November of 2012.  Today. after getting the message above,  I sat and read her first book, ‘Angels in my Hair’, in which she describes the Angel Elijah and the Tree Angel – both of which I recognised as beings that I have met myself. Angel Elijah appeared to me in the middle of the night in 2003 and the Tree Angel, I have been calling my ‘Nature Spirit since 1999. The descriptions Lorna gives, leaves me in no doubt about this.

The appearance of both of them brought about big shifts in my life, so I am very excited today because I think the next shift is about to happen. I have a dear friend who is painting me an angel and in talking to him just now, he has another of Lorna’s books which was given to him some time ago,  but which he has not read – but he will do now for inspiration. it will be interesting to see what transpires. where is this all taking me? I have no idea, I am just enjoying the journey.




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Living in Hope Street

I have moved to a very special place – unexpectedly and with a flow of abundance that has  both astonished and delighted me. Now the magic is really starting to happen…

Hope Street, Horwich was home to Pamela Young who has written a book about her spiritualist upbringing – a book that has come my way since I moved into to my Hope Street.

I found out about it via  Mark Foster,  Pamela was working at the Monastery with him on 21.12.12.

A good friend, Mark has already brought his marvellous energy across the threshold of my new home.It was Mark who first introduced me to working with the law of attraction which has turned my life around.

A second book,  ‘A message of Hope from the Angels’ by Lorna Byrne arrived about the same time…

as did a gift of ‘Sailing on a Sea of Hope’ from Janine Rose which I will put by my door.

I found the picture in my 2013 Earth Pathways  diary – it starts the New year

The diary plays a part in my daily spritual meditation practice, which in 2012 was guided by angels via two wonderful books and

The next step is to spread this wonderful energy into the village and help build a spiritual community here.


One year on and the abundance is still flowing… the spiritual links are beginning to fall into place and the community is beginning to form around the ‘Hope Street Green’. More to follow soon


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