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Deputy Editor’s Letter: On Slowing Down Dear Magical Creatures,

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ugust is such a pivotal point in the year for me as I start to notice the darker mornings and evenings come creeping in. When I was still working, life was so busy that the approach of autumn triggered anxiety about how I’d fit everything in as the daylight hours decreased.

Back then, I bounced like Tigger between F2F and Zoom meetings, with little chance of preparing for - or sometimes even following up on - what we discussed or agreed. And it didn’t stop there, because modern technology brings with it the expectation and reality that you are always available, always working, even at home. Meanwhile my ‘other’ life was squeezed in around the edges of the office and commute, so we rose at 5.30am rain, wind, or shine, all through the dark of winter. I used to sport a glaringly bright headtorch to tend the horses, and my dogs glowed like little elves, lit up by special collars and coats in the gloom of my local woods and commons. In a spiritual and emotional sense, these activities – walking the dogs, caring for the horses, and back home, laughing at Horrible Histories or Brainiac with the children over a snatched breakfast – were sanity-savers. But in a raw physical way they were another drain in the big, daily tick-list, with little opportunity to slow down during the darker months. No surprise then, that when I was in a position and at a stage in my life to consider giving up full-time work, I focused on how I could have more time: for the things and beings that I loved, and for myself – being healthier, more in nature, more tuned into my spiritual self.

In this modern world, many of us increasingly seem to be sucked into the swamp of ‘doing’ and there seems to be such pressure – and such an inner drive in many people – to be, or at least appear to be, busy. For sure, there is an emerging counterculture of mindfulness, but I suspect most people still feel driven to act like spinning tops, but without the fun. Of course, through our life choices or circumstances, there are things we simply must do each day. And in these tense times, there are many overstretched people struggling to earn enough to put food on the table, heat their homes, make ends meet. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

In many workplaces, there’s pressure about how many meetings we’ve attended, how many emails we’ve sent, how many hours we’ve put in. When we get home, there’s more pressure – tidying the house, cooking family meals, keeping on top of the washing... And, as self-appointed Kings or Queens of Entertainment, there’s the merry-go-round of activities to organise for our children.

If you enjoy all this, and benefit from it, that’s great. But we all know this always isn’t the case. We also know there isn’t necessarily a direct correlation between how busy we’ve been, and what we’ve achieved each day that’s meaningful. I might argue it’s the reverse. For many of us, the constant rush is something we do because we feel we must. Perhaps instead we should look at what real differences we have made – in the places where we work, to ourselves, and to each other. Perhaps, as Pagans, we should practise tuning into the darker seasons ahead, as one of the articles in this issue suggests. Many of us dread the approach of the dark half of the year, maybe because there’s still so much we feel we need to fit in. But nature – and our godds, know better. So let Samhain be your blessing, your North Star guiding you to a slower, more mindful, less busy way of being, as you take time to reflect, learn and restore. I’m certainly ready now for the darker evenings, and for the steady progress of reds, golds and oranges outside melting into greys, whites and blues. Ready to slow down.

Blessed be, Cherry

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