A New Year


For several years my writing has been aligned to the four seasons, and in following the seasons more closely, I believe that I have changed too!  Towards the end of December last year and through the Winter Solstice, I became aware of the need to return to a journey that began many years ago!

The Winter Solstice is a time when our inner wisdom moves out of the dark unconscious into the slowly increasing light.  We can name our dreams and allow them to expand as the new year brings light and warmth.

Not so long ago I read a biography of Tenzin Palmo and some of her words resonate with me now as I write:

The purpose of life is to realise our spiritual nature, to go away and practice, to reap the fruits of the path, otherwise you have nothing to give anyone else.

You can find out about her here:

I have been writing for a very long time, since my teenage years, but I also have a passion for the visual arts especially illustration, and as we approach Imbolc at the end of January, I am reminded that intuition, inspiration, and the healing powers of this celebration of the life-force need to be addressed.  Imbolc, Candlemas, Brigid’s Day, the earth awakening; these things are approaching. 

I also think of Anthony Gormley’s words:

In creating art, participating in it, doing it, we become our true selves.



Those words are important to me, right now, to become my true self, my whole self, and so I have decided to stop blogging and to concentrate on my art, my writing and my drawing.

For now, to all my followers, keep well and safe, and have a great New Year.


56 thoughts on “A New Year

    1. Like you, I cannot give up reading and learning, so you will probably see my little tree icon on your posts. Thank you for your good wishes 💖💝💌🤗🙋‍♂️

  1. I understand what you are saying, although I will miss you beautiful blog. We must evolve. Please keep writing and drawing. I hope to see your work at a later date. Let’s keep in touch, my hokku brother!

    1. My dear hokku friend, I assure you that we will stay in touch via email. Thank you for your continuing support and friendship 🙏🙋‍♂️

  2. Ashley that rings so true. Go for it and may you find what you seek in your writing art and drawing – poems too!

    I am reluctantly also mostly stopping blogging to concentrate on writing haiku which fits better with looking after my family – none of us are getting any younger – and we still have grown up kids at home.

    All the very best


    1. Hello Clive, I’ve missed your wonderful posts of late and understand how life interrupts the creative energy within us. One day we may meet if we can overcome this dreadful pandemic and travel can resume. I want to get back to Anglesey and to the north of England before I become too ancient to drive! 😊🙋‍♂️

  3. Blessings for a bountiful journey however you decide to express and explore your spiritual path.

    I used to do a ceremony for Imbolc. One of the kids at my then apt. place asked if I was a witch when he saw me in the little forest area doing my ceremony 🙂 So I will remember to celebrate Imbolc this year on Feb. 1-2nd.

    Take care!

  4. You feel the need to change and concentrate on other things, which are important to you. Go for it and you will feel more fulfilled and more you. Wishing you all the best, we will miss you. Be happy, be you! Bless you .

  5. Although my immediate response was “Oh No!”… I know exactly how fundamentally essential this is, so I can only say: Happy Creating and I look forward to see the fruits of this! Be well, my friend!

    1. Dear Marina, I think your artwork might have tipped me over the edge! 🤣 I need to do this before it’s too late! I’m into my 70s now and time is running out but that will not influence me. I write and I want to illustrate and that is not an easy combination. Thank you for your good wishes, Ashley 🌹🙋‍♂️

  6. Hi Ashley, I totally understand the pull towards your creative passions! Have a great time creating and hopefully you will share some of your art in the future! Best of luck!

    1. Thanks, Mark, I certainly hope to share some of the artwork here but that is still a way off. PS. I finally found a copy of David Hinton’s book about the Wilderness poetry of ancient China! Fascinating! 🙋‍♂️

      1. Hi Ashley, so glad you were able to get the book. I hope you enjoy it and it can provide some inspiration for your art work.

  7. This makes me a little sad, but also happy for you. I hope you will come back and share your art with us. I understand more than I can say the importance of creating. Pessoa said something along the lines of « To tell a story is to create, for to live is only to be lived ». I believe that, until we find the path of creation, we are only half-born. Creation does not need to be a recognised form of artistic expression but it has to do with love. Bon courage et bon voyage, chère Ashley.

      1. Dear Ashley, I don’t think I read the last part of your post so I have been wondering how you are and when you are going to post again (looking forward to seeing your post) but now I realize that you are not planning to blog for now. You will be missed /are missed by me 😢.

        I am well but have been under a lot of pressure. We moved house the day I read your blog, have had to put down our two dogs and much more. The packing and sorting is mostly done for now. Now we are just waiting for the right time to move over to Scotland… Bit of a complex situation as we are waiting for Ellie and her husband to find a new home and move in. We don’t want to arrive on their doorstep when they are in turmoil.

        I hope you and your wife and family are well. Take care. Morag 💐🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️

    1. Dear Morag, thank you for your update. I will write to you in more detail via email as I don’t want to lose touch. I’m sure such a major move will have a huge impact on your situation there but you are in my thoughts and prayers that you and D will keep well and safe 💐☘🙋‍♂️

      1. Thank you, yes let’s not lose touch 👍👍thank you for your kind words. I look forward to hearing from you. 🌷🌹🙋‍♀️

  8. Dear Ashley,

    Thank you once again for your wonderful and inspiring words and images.

    I fully understand you ‘going back to nature’, but I will really miss your words, pictures and artwork, which first caught my eye.

    All my very best wishes for you and yours,
    health, happiness and heaps of trees, bees, all the best of Nature and the arts


    1. Dear Marina, I have delayed too long. Thank you for your lovely wishes. I hope I will return later in the year with some artwork and more verses. Best wishes to you and yours for a happy new year 🤗💐🙋‍♂️

  9. I’ll miss your kindness while you take a break from blogging, but I also understand. I created my Nature-Led blog after a 10-year hiatus from blogging. It can feel like an added pressure sometimes even if we enjoy doing it. I’ve recently noticed my own artistic endeavors seem to have their own pattern. I jump into sewing projects October to December. Drawing/Illustration practice January and February. March sees a burst of writing and ideas and project sheets for Spring and early summer yard work projects. The writing weaves in and out of all of it with upticks about every three months. It’s interesting to see the pattern. I don’t know if I should try to change it to be more productive at it seems to take forever to get any one thing done. I’m slightly jealous of those who can focus so singular on one task while I hope around like a bird. Take care! Please share your artwork with us from time to time!

    1. Hi Melanie, there is nothing wrong with your “pattern” of creativity. I wish I could be that “organised”😊. I have been following the 4 seasons for a few years now, writing about winter in winter and so on, but I want to add artwork! The artwork has been “suppressed” for years and years and I’m hoping that by stopping my blog I will make space ideas to come to the surface.
      As an extra thought, are you aware that in Japan the seasons are divided into micro seasons, 72 in all?
      Many thanks for your good wishes. Happy New Year. 💐🙋‍♂️

      1. Hi Ashely, Thanks to Mark’s blog I have been learning about Japan’s micro seasons! I love Japan. I have been many times and have friends there. They like to tease me about “Drinking (Sake) like a fish.” -Which means I drink it like water and don’t drunk.- I think I can thank my German heritage for that. Hahaha.

  10. I had a girlfriend named Bridget and she was a Wicca. She taught me a few things about the seasons and the cycle of nature and the Wicca holidays. but she was not a good person, I left her because she was cheating on me. So now I follow my perceptions of nature without following any religion. I received some oil paints as a Christmas gift from my sister and now I can paint again. I didn’t paint anymore because I couldn’t buy the colors and therefore I had thought of creating natural colors but it is too cold and there are no flowers and therefore I had given up. I hope you will talk to me again because I am very pleased that you are there and your presence is important to me. It’s nice to know you’re doing the same thing as me. But I’m not an illustrator, I’m an abstract artist.

    1. I have read some things about paganism but like you it’s the cycle of the seasons, life on earth that I am more interested in, nature!
      Your sister did well! It sounds like you just needed some oil paints to get you started again! I would love to see your work. Abstract is good, it’s what I would have done if circumstances had been different.
      To stay in touch, use email. Check your junk file later! 🌹🙋‍♂️

  11. I love the adage of Anthony Gormley’s words here. This is definitely something I will be putting into my Imbolc celebrations this year. I’m translating it as ‘a time to create one’s own future’

    1. Indeed, Jen! The 1st of February is only a few days away and Imbolc (or Brigids Day or Candlemas) is a time to celebrate the re-emergence of the life force. There is definitely a potency of fresh beginnings 🙋‍♂️

    1. Dear Lisa, I have not stopped reading and learning, so you should continue to see my tree icon on your posts. Already I’m missing the conversations, but turning my attention to art is something I must do! It may not work out, in fact, it has been a difficult start, but I’m prepared for setbacks. I’m currently going through a lot of de-cluttering, literally as well as metaphorically, and shortly I will be on the road ahead. Thank you for your wonderful comments; I have gathered them into my heart, along with many others and they will help sustain and nourish me. Blessings 🤗🌹🙋‍♂️

  12. Querida Bárbara, gracias. Continuaré siguiéndote y leyendo pero sin comentar. Estoy aprendiendo pintura con tinta, japonés y chino, y espero producir mi propio trabajo muy pronto. Gracias por tus buenos deseos. Un gran abrazo a cambio.

    1. I have been blogging for some years but felt I needed a break to do some artwork, something I’ve been putting off! When that learning process is up and running I hope to return especially since I enjoy writing. Thanks for visiting and for your comment. 🙋‍♂️

      1. I understand. I often consider quitting altogether and devoting my time to music production. But it hasn’t happened yet. As the Jungians say, we just have to follow our “energy.” 😀 Enjoy!

  13. Excellent Anthony Gormley quote. I hadn’t considered creative writing in terms of becoming “our true selves,” but now that I think about my own writing, I can see it. Oh — my poor readers: “The horror. The horror!” 😉

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