This strange year of 2020 has been challenging for many people around the world, not least owing to the Covid19 pandemic, layered on top of political upheavals, conflict and disasters and a great degree of uncertainty. I am sure you know those who have sadly lost loved ones, friends or colleagues during the Covid crisis or perhaps they have been struggling through the virus themselves, or have been laid off work.
For me, I have lost two people dear to me this year – not, I hasten to add, to the Coronavirus itself, but nevertheless I have felt the grief of the parting of my dear friend Fiona and my lovely Auntie Josie, even more acutely because I could not be there to see them before they died, owing to Covid19 lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Fiona walked with me for part of my first pilgrimage along the Camino Frances in 2015 and unfortunately, she passed away from terminal cancer in May. My beautiful Auntie Josie made her transition peacefully in her sleep in September, from old age at 90 years old. Although I was able to speak with both of them by video calls from over here in Canada, it is not the same as being with someone in person, and I am sad that I was not able to accompany them on their end of life journeys, as I was able to for my mum and dad.
Thankfully, I was able to fly back to the UK in October, in order to arrange Auntie Josie’s funeral, pay my respects and attend to the usual things that one has to do when a loved one passes on. I seem to have drifted through those dark days of melancholy, that linger still, now that I have returned home to Salt Spring Island.
Whenever I experience dark and troubled times I like to find solace and comfort in memories of happier times that have gone before. One of these times was our Handfasting and Hawks Day that took place on Earth Day on 22nd April 2017. Both Fiona and my Auntie Josie were present on our special day to witness my husband Brett and I re-commit ourselves to each other during the ancient, Celtic handfasting ceremony at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, followed by a Celtic Christian blessing in a wildflower meadow and reception at the Hawk Conservancy Trust, just over the county border in Hampshire.
I have been able to put together the photos taken by our wedding photographer Chris Squire, from Squire and Squire photography in Warwick into a short iMovie, with some narrated reflections and an original lover’s blessing I have written as the accompaniment.
I hope you enjoy this video and can feel the magic of these ceremonies and the places they were held in.
If you enjoyed it and would like to read the reflections and the lover’s blessing called “Arise in Love”, then you will find those here:
If you would like to see the full handfasting ceremony then you can watch it here:
I am grateful for my ancestors, who have gone before me, my soulmate Brett and to the many friends still alive and walking our beautiful earth, who are my family.
Peace, love and light,