These emails are sent out every new moon as a day to particularly remember our beautiful planet in prayer, meditation, awareness or involvement, with love, hope and gratitude. If you would like to be on the mailing list then please Contact Jane.

2nd March 2022

We are now more aware of how beneficial it is for us to spend time in nature and particularly with trees, both for our mental and physical health. Trees of course give off oxygen. But the main cause of these health benefits are chemicals called phytoncides.

Phytoncides are antibacterial and antifungal chemicals that plants emit to create a field of protection around themselves against harmful bugs, bacteria, and disease, but they also protect and help us. The oils boost mood and immune system function; reduce blood pressure, heart rate, stress, anxiety, and confusion; improve sleep and creativity; and may even help fight cancer and depression. When we breathe in these chemicals, our bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of a type of white blood cell called natural killer cells or NK. These cells kill tumour- and virus-infected cells in our bodies.

Exposure to green space also reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death and preterm birth. In comparison to the urban environment, walking in trees lowers people’s blood pressure, cortisol levels, pulse rates, and sympathetic nervous system activity (related to stress), while increasing their parasympathetic nervous system activity (related to relaxation). Hugging a tree also increases levels of the hormones responsible for feeling calm and happy, and for emotional bonding (oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine). So go and enjoy your local green spaces as often as you can.

Wild places

The hazel and hawthorn trees dapple the foxglove and campion. The bracken breaks through like a bishop’s crook, the brambles arch and the nettles gather. They hold silence like a living quality of air, broken by birdsong and bees hum, and the river stroking stones in the hollow. There is a magic quality to wild places that restores the soul.

So what of ourselves? Do we allow wild places to grow in rampant chaos, or do we cut and control our inner being? Is there room for birdsong in our plans and processes, do bees visit our memories? Do we allow nettles and spiders as part of our harmony, or do we prefer manicured thoughts and concrete paths? Can I breathe in an inner silence, can I trust the pillars of trees that border my feelings? Are there rivers I listen to although I can’t see their source or destination? Am I green, can I make my own oxygen?

And when error or disaster have bulldozed pain through my orchards, can I give it time to heal, can I let new growth cover the scars and enjoy the wild flowers that thrive in new-made clearings? Can I trust that the chaos of wild places is as important to my creativity and sanity as my carefully constructed buildings?

1st February 2022

1st February is Imbolc, one of the four Celtic festivals lying between the equinoxes and solstices that divide up the year. These were primarily agricultural festivals. Imbolc saw the beginnings of new life with the start of the lambing season. Beltane (1st May) was the beginning of summer when the livestock were moved to upland pasture and were driven between two fires to purify them from disease. Lugnasad (1st August) was the central point of the harvest celebrations when the grain was brought in for safe storage. And Samhain (1st Nov) was the end of the farming year when the livestock were brought inside.

Because the farming cycle of the year was based around the seasons of the sun, so too were other activities such as social gatherings, marriage and legal agreements. What can we learn from the festival of Imbolc that might be relevant to us now?

Imbolc is the beginning of new life, the return of the sun’s energy, the sap rising in plants, the source of growth and creativity. For the Celts this energy was represented by the appearance of the maiden goddess Brigid which is why the church now celebrates Candlemass on 2nd February, relating to the Virgin Mary. Brigid is associated with springs and wells, and with poetry and song, so this is a good time to enjoy either. I can find the winter difficult so it helps to remind myself at the start of February that new life is on its way.


How good that the most challenging month is the shortest of the year, to hurry us towards March and the coming of spring and sunshine and Easter and revelations and new growth and life and abundance. Goodbye February, thank you for cushioning the winter for us, for being the one to welcome crocuses and catkins, and to allow new buds to grow subtly and subversively, and to tease more of the light out of the winter sky, drawing the sun back again with your string of promise.

Thank you for Valentines and pancakes, and for the hard clay earth waking up from the cold. There is a bee buzzing, you are letting in the workers of summer. The grey skies are like the mother of pearl lining of living shells, hiding secret growth. And the carpet of brown leaves is broken by merry shoots of green weeds and wild things that are always the first to show. Soon we will have bluebells. Soon the sun will choose our side as his preferred companion and the evenings will unfurl into glad day.

But the buzz isn’t here yet, the busy explosion of life under a newborn sun-season. February is still a season of peace, like a mother who rises before dawn and prepares the home while the children are still abed.

2nd January 2022

Christmas is past, the season when we remember and honour God becoming man and so linking heaven and earth, matter and spirit, love and justice. But that promise has fallen short and our world, its people and its planet, are suffering. Too much of so many religions has been caught up with maintaining the status quo, with divisiveness, control and patriarchy instead of the love and justice promised for all. This is a critical time for our planet, and we look to find new ways (which are often old ways) of bringing the healing and understanding we need.

This is a time for acknowledging that the spirit is at work in all of us, whatever our creed or lack of creed, and in all the life forms of our planet. This is a time for recognising that we and God are not best served by the emphasis on masculine terms and attributes for deity, we must restore the divine feminine and so bring that unity in the godhead into our world. This is the time for working together in hope and love and justice.

Symbols of hope

We have just passed the solstice, the shortest day of the year. It hid behind tatters of snow and the fear of more. It hid behind the focus on Christmas and the bustle to be ready. Silently, mysteriously, we have now moved back from the brink and are inexorably heading into the light, although it still feels the same, although the cold still hugs us like a friend.

The beginning of the return of the sun is also the beginning of winter. Like the yin and yang symbol where each has the other in its centre, we are not abandoned to winter, we are climbing back to the light, we are living in the rebirth of hope.

Hope is essential currency when so much of the fullness of living is shut away. We know the sun and summer will return, our hope is a solid substance that pulls us through the night. In the old days the return of the sun hung on our shoulders, interwoven with our celebrations, and our symbols of hope were the living greens that never died, the holly and the ivy.

We no longer honour the ways of the sun and the cycles of plants in the same way. But we all still fear and face the long death. That is why Christmas nestles in its cradle of dark – not just to celebrate the gift of light but to remember the gift of God, coming to live with us when the days were bleak, sharing with us the power to outlast death.

4th December 2021

It isn’t just the conditions on our planet that are worrying, the loss of biodiversity and climate change to name but two. It is the conditions within humanity. I am not talking just about corruption or greed, but rather the oppositional nature of so much interaction. This leads to distrust of folk in other ‘camps’ whatever they may be, ‘othering’ them and wanting to convert them or bar them, sometimes leading to hatred and death threats. Wanting to win.

This demonstration of competition and extreme tribalism has been attributed to our nature, that we too operate on survival of the fittest. However biologists now recognise that this has not been the dominant strategy in the evolution of our life forms. Cooperation, not competition, gives the greatest advantage in evolutionary survival and advancement. Can we change our modus operandi so that in our decision making at all levels we are seeking to work co-operatively with each other and with the planet? Can we make our daily dance a dance of life?

Where the birds sing

Up at the dawn of the dawning, the yawning of the day. It is a sallying forth to come down here as the mornings sharpen and darken. The heat and light in the house hold me womb-like and the garden is strange territory. But here I am, in commonality with the trees and leaves, in community. We all sit with sleep in our systems, the warmth or cool of night in our blood, the slowness of it still heavy in our bodies, responding to the call of the day. Come and creep over us, around us, through us. Come and awaken with verb instead of noun, come and light our fires, stoke our boilers, prepare us for living and breathing and choosing.

The birds are awake before me, they sing gently while the leaves switch on. I am in a cage of quiet with birdsong as the bars. I am solid, I am seated. The rain should be coming later, can they feel it? Does it send a message in the air riding before it? Here is a breeze, sneaking in from the west, pouring gently through the oak tree in soft susurrations of sound, then swaying the ash and apple boughs that line its path before it reaches my right cheek with a cool stroke.

Apples have fallen in the night, full and replete, red and round, submitting at last to the love of gravity, lying as offerings to the new season. The rose leaves at the top of the trellis are catching the light, the new day, and holding it on their plate, offering it shining to the rest of us. It is such a big thing yet it weighs light as gloss, glancing off the leaves in an orchestra of silence.

4th November 2021

Cop 26, the UN climate change conference, is meeting in Glasgow from Sunday 31 October to Friday 12 November and we care about the decisions they make.


Days aren’t always sunny

Days aren’t always sunny.
Grey skies and chilled air
match my mood.
I have problems I cannot solve,
pain and fears I cannot fix.

Sitting here is a comfort,
a wild place floored with fallen leaves
like last year’s hopes,
brown and curled and finished.

Ivy pushes through them
and brambles surge
under the mossy branches,
beneath the dead tree.

There is a stream running through,
cold, clear water
burbling as it runs over rocks,
the sound staying here
while the stream moves on.

I take my troubles
and lay them in the stream.

I take my pain
and lay it in the leaves.

I take my sorrow and confusion
and dig it into the muddy ground.