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Yesterday was a wonderful day. As some of you will know, I feel I am very strongly connected to the element of Water and have been for most of my life. I’m completely in love with dolphins, turtles, whales and fish, I feel incredibly at home around rivers and the ocean, and I have been known to cause heavy rain when I work with elemental water. The dolphin is a very important spirit guide for me, and I have always wanted to meet them up-close in real life.

The team: four bubbly, excited witches. The mission: swim with seals and dolphins. The task: jump in the car and get there before the boat leaves. The last one turned out to be more difficult than expected – after 2 hours in the car we found ourselves literally running along the pier as we watched the other people putting their wetsuits on and climbing aboard. Thankfully, we made it just in time and jumped onto the boat after them. It was already an adventure…

It was a 20 minute boat ride to our first stop – swimming with the seals.

The seals

The beautiful seals in their home! Image by Moonraker Charters

We were greeted with an overwhelming fishy smell and some barking (what do they call the noise seals make?!) before we saw a few little heads popping up from the structure in front of us. This man-made structure was built for the seals to laze around on, and clearly it fulfills its purpose!

What I love is that the seals were not kept enclosed in any way. Rather than being kept in captivity for humans to gawk at they were built a little house that they love and we go to them. A really wonderful idea.

I was very surprised that I didn’t find the water cold when I first got in. People were screaming and giggling at the freezingness of it all, but I managed to slip in without incident. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I realised my wetsuit was too big and huge amounts of water were pouring into it. That was cold!

The seals themselves were so beautiful. On land they are so lazy – the lie there and move their heads and that’s about it – the Homer Simpsons of the ocean! But as soon as they dive in the water they are as graceful as any fish. Amazing to behold, and even more amazing when they are swimming all around you. I had seals swimming under my feet, around my body, and one gorgeous little fellow who kept swimming straight towards me as if he wanted to tacklehug, and then turning around at the last minute. So cute!

Being in the ocean is always spiritual for me. As crazy as that may or may not sound, I feel an incredible connection there – I feel like the ocean spirit is hugging me the whole time! At one point I got a bit carried away, closing my eyes and meditating lightly with the sea… I opened my eyes to find I’d drifted all the way back to the boat! Easily distracted? Me? No…

The next bit of the trip was the hardest for me. Climbing out of the water and back on the boat with all that seawater that had leaked into my wetsuit… I swear I have never been so cold in my life! I went to get a hot chocolate and was shivering so much that most of it had found its way out of the cup by the time I sat down! But, the dolphins were next and that’s what kept me going…

Or were they? After what seemed like a long time shivering and giggling with the memory of the seals, we stopped at Pope’s Eye Marine Park, with not a dolphin in sight. I sat on the boat for a while, because I was so incredibly cold, but I did spend a few minutes in the water getting acquainted with the fishies! It was like a little reef – lots of kelp and plants, beautiful fish of different colours, absolutely beautiful. My fishy adventure wasn’t to last long though, sadly, as I was so unbelievably cold I had to get out of the water. Stupid huge wetsuit!!

A bit more sightseeing and sailing along, and then the moment I’d been dreading:

“Ladies and gentleman, unfortunately the dolphins have alluded us today – we can’t find a single one, and so we’ll take you back to the pier….”

What?? No dolphins?? All that waiting, all that bouncing up and down in excitement, and no dolphins for us. I was obviously very upset, but after a few minutes of feeling sorry for myself I was at least able to take the wetsuit of evil off and dry off/warm myself up.

Apparently not finding any dolphins is very unusual on these cruises, as usually they are as excited as the humans are! But maybe today it was too cold for them, or they had decided to be lazy like the seals!

Despite the lack of my favourite creatures, and the teeth-chattering chill, it was an incredible day that I will remember for a very long time. And, if nothing else, this just means I have an excuse to go back!


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New Video!

It’s shameless plug time.

Yes I am working on the next few entries for the 30 days meme, and will have lots of exciting belly dance stuff to write about very soon, but for now have a look at this. Recent video of my a cappella group towards the end of a mammoth 2 and a half hour gig we were asked to do!


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Hello world, it’s been a while! I’ve found it very hard to write of late. I’ve recently had to make the decision to leave my coven, which has been very hard on me and everyone involved, I haven’t been the healthiest little witch and I’ve also had writer’s block as to what to actually write here. Ironic, considering the reason I started the 30 Days meme in the first place!

To me, my thoughts on cosmology are something that is so innate, so deep within me, that I rarely think about it consciously. As a result, I’ve found it really hard to write about!

I’ve always been of a very animistic view. For me, there has been no difference between “the universe” and “Divinity/God/Great Spirit/All-that-is/whatever you want to call it”. They have always been one and the same. I believe, as many Wiccans do, that divinity exists everywhere: in trees, plants, animals, rocks, the ocean, the air we breathe, space… Everything is spirit. Everything is divine. As I’ll get on to in later entries, this is how I believe magic works: we are all in touch with a spark of this divinity, and can therefore get in touch with it on a grander level in order to create change.

For me, I’ve never seen it as so much “God created the world”, it’s more of a “God chose to manifest as the world”. I believe that the Great Spirit (the name I usually attribute to this) has always simply been. There was no clear beginning. That is something that, in this incarnation, is mind-boggling to try and contemplate. We’re so used to thinking of time as a linear thing with a clear beginning and end, but I don’t believe the universe quite works like that. I am inclined to believe that the Big Bang occurred, but I don’t believe that was the beginning of everything. I think the Great Spirit was before that, but the Big Bang was a way for it to manifest.

I believe that there are other worlds apart from the physical world we are used to – I’m still not sure what they all are, as I haven’t experienced them fully, but I have no doubt they are there. I believe these are just more manifestations of the Great Spirit.

I have always loved this song to bits, yes I am a self-confessed Disney nut, but I think it’s such a simple, beautiful way of expressing some of what I’ve talked about. Enjoy 🙂

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So, this is a long overdue post, but the last couple of weeks have been insane with a new job, billions of gigs, the Summer Solstice and Christmas coming up!

Anyway, a week-and-a-bit ago was the end of year concert for our belly dance school. This was only my second-ever belly performance in front of not-just-a-little-group-of-friends. I’ve actually found that I don’t really do the nervous thing anymore, which is kind of scary in itself. As someone who has been dancing since the age of 5 and is now in two bands and studying performance, I think I do it so much I don’t even think about it. I miss that nervous energy!

So we got to the theatre fairly early to rehearse a bit and get ready. I spent most of my sitting around time balancing my teacher’s sword on my head – I reeeeally want to learn sword technique next year. My wonderful friend Jess did make up for a whole bunch of us who are make-up n00bs – she did such an awesome job!!

My make up

Make up by Jess!

Group shot

Before going onstage - that's me 2nd from the right, and our teacher in the middle.

This was the costumes for my first dance – the big class veil dance. It was particularly awesome because the beginner class (black skirts) joined us for it as well (they usually don’t perform).








Veil Dance

Mid-dance shot. This is the intermediates in the veil section.

I was pretty happy with how everything went. I was disappointed with the moment of truth – scary solo-y butterfly turns towards the end. I just did one turn too many to the right and was out of time for the change of direction. I can just hear the audience: “oh, that girl clearly has problems with rhythm….”. Yep, the one studying music. Oh dear.

But I think that solo-y bit being just me and my teacher, who has danced for over 10 years, always meant I was going to look a little bit silly. I’m so glad I did it though – I love spinning with my veil!




2nd Costume

My costume for the troupe dance!

Second dance for the night was our student troupe – we’re the group that go out and do charity gigs and school fetes and nursing homes and stuff. We ordered these costumes online, going for the “Wiggles” look (ie, each person has a different colour). I love these costumes so much – they’re so shiny and beaded all over and make me feel like a “real belly dancer”!

The dance was so much fun. I was really comfortable with the space by this stage and it was just fun. It’s an Arabic pop piece – what we like to call “ham and cheese”. Just bubbly, energetic fun. I love it.

Troupe dance

Troupe mid-performance










So – the performance has left me bubbly and happy and most of all, hungry for more. Uni starts back in March, so until then I’ve got loads of time for practice. I really want to improve my technique and make my dancing cleaner.

Goals for the summer:
– improve my posture while dancing. My shoulders and swayback in particular.
– make my shimmies cleaner and more controlled
– work on layering
– learn some new moves
– choreograph a solo for myself

And probably loads more. I have no idea how realistic my short term or long term goals are, but we’ll see how it all goes.

So to any dancers reading this – how much do you usually practice? Do you use DVDs at all? I have a few, but I don’t use them all the time. How do you structure your practice in terms of warming up, drills, choreography etc etc?

Expect lots more catch-up entries soon…..

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After a stressful morning of waking up early and running around like a crazy person, I got to spend some Earth Path time wandering around the beautiful area where my boyfriend lives. It’s such a lovely place – houses all built on hills, untamed areas of trees and plants, birds chirping everywhere, big paddocks…. It’s one of my favourite places to spend time. My two favourite spots are the willow tree that sits by the pond, and the little creek that runs down right in the middle of the “forest” area.

Today, though, I spent my 20 minutes or so with this massive oak tree just up from the pond. I’d only really noticed it in winter when it was fairly unassuming, and didn’t get very close because there was a grumpy magpie living nearby (yes, love of trees, fear of birds. Go figure…). But today, there was no magpie in sight and the tree was richly covered in leaves. It’s such a beautiful tree – very old, branches going right down to the ground. Sitting near the trunk was like stepping into a completely different place. It was just me and this gorgeous, old, wise oak.

I spent a little while just noticing the tree. The poor thing must get so neglected; it’s fairly out of the way. Trees love just being noticed, having people actually bother with them. I cleaned up some of the litter people had thrown around, and I sat down and just looked around. I watched the branches waving in the wind and felt the little drops of rain falling on me from the branches. I felt the texture of the trunk and the leaves and I found all the little hidey holes that the birds use. It was a really beautiful experience. It’s such a beautiful old tree.

I then just meditated with the tree for a while, we did a bit of an exchange of energies and got to know each other a bit. I let colours and images come as they pleased, and I think some of these will be messages to meditate on later.

Anyway, that made my morning – evening was the last belly dance class for the year. Only two days til our end of year concert. I’m really looking forward to it. I remember towards the end of my time doing ballet I used to think it was really lame that people looked forward to the silly little studio concert, but I can’t help it. Performing is just fun. Full stop.

Our intermediate class is doing a fairly simple veil dance, but the music is lovely and veils always look pretty. I think the challenge with veil stuff is trying to make it look graceful and effortless, despite never quite knowing whether you’ll end up stepping on or dropping the thing! The scariest bit by far, though, is where Prue (my teacher) and I have our little solo-y bit, featuring very fast and numerous butterfly turns.

Then there’s the student troupe dance, which is a super-fun, fast, “ham and cheese” affair. Again, looking all smiley and happy when you’re actually dripping with sweat and gasping for air takes quite a bit of effort!

So right now I’m all pepped up and happy, the way I am after a good dance class and with a gig coming up! I need something to work towards during the holidays dance-wise… Methinks I need to fish around for some tricky moves that I want to try and perfect or something. Ideas?

Anyway, I think I’ve rambled enough for today! Still getting used to this blogging thing….

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Hello, people who find themselves reading this. Welcome to my humble corner of the internet.

I decided to start a blog because I want to share the goings-on in my head and in my life with people who have similar goings-on. I also want to hear about said similar goings-on. I’ll ask you for opinions on things, I’ll probably spam you with recordings and videos from time to time, ask questions, etc. etc. That’s if people are actually reading it. We shall see…

There isn’t just one thing I want to write about, so I’m not going to try to limit it! There are four things, though, that you’ll hear (or… read) about most:

Druidry: I’m just beginning my year of study as a candidate with the Ancient Order of Druids in America. I’ll be writing about my experiences, things I need to achieve within the year, challenges I’m facing and so on.
Wicca: My spiritual path of 5 years now, this is a topic close to my heart. I’ll probably post about Sabbats and rituals I’m involved with, books I read, spells, debates and ethical stuff.
Belly Dance: So, I’ve only had a year’s training but I’m kind of obsessed. After 12 years of ballet and jazz, belly dance has been a breath of fresh air for me. I’ll probably be writing about classes and performances and shiny costumes and that new move I finally got right.
Music: Of which I am a complete and utter nerd. Just finished my second year of my BMus, majoring in voice, I’m also singing in a 5-piece a cappella group and a jazz/pop band. As well as teaching piano, flute, clarinet and singing and going to see gigs and listening to things… You’ll hear about some of it at least!

So feel free not to like all of the above things. That’s what tagging is for!

There is, of course, the very real chance that I’ll be terrible at blogging. I’ve never done this before and I’ve got not a clue as to whether I can write! Bear with me, though, and hopefully I’ll get better. Do let me know if you like what I’m writing, if you don’t like what I’m writing, if there’s some super-duper-fancy Blogger’s Rule that I’m not following. I like hearing from people.

So, welcome, and enjoy your stay…

Shel 🙂

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