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Joanna Bristow Watkins

November Issue - Slowing Down & Hibernation

Autumn view square

November in Britain, with the clocks having gone back, features darker, colder nights, but is peppered with the explosive lights, sounds and smells of bonfires and fireworks, as Guy Fawkes Night, and this year Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, are celebrated on 5th and 12th November respectively.

We are giving a special mention for our troubled times to Diwali, with its uplifting focus on gratitude, family and friends and spreading light. Diwali  falls on the new moon between mid-October and mid-November, and is a five-day celebration with a different daily focus, starting with home cleaning and preparation, then bringing in the light to every corner, especially with clay oil lamps. These represent the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, which are all welcome.  Days 3, 4 and 5 involve plenty of visiting family and friends, feasting, gift-giving, fireworks and grateful offerings to Lakshmi on Day 3, Diwali itself, and Krishna on day 4, which is the official Hindu new year. The last day is dedicated to celebrating the valued bonds between siblings, with yet more visiting and feasting.

In the UK, animals like hedgehogs are starting their hibernation period over winter. It seems that some hedgehogs are falling asleep in unsafe spots, including piles of sticks and leaves prepared for bonfires. If you come across a hedgehog which appears to be dead, it is best to assume it is in hibernation. Ideally, put it in a safe protected spot, under a bush or (non-bonfire-ready) log pile that won’t fall on it, cover it back up with plenty of dry leaves or straw, if possible, and leave it until it emerges naturally in warmer weather next year.

Sometimes we humans can feel like hibernating too, and in times past we would naturally have made changes to our daily lives to take account of the lower levels of light and warmth.. The magic touch of frost on the winter landscape can be utterly charming and provides a different kind of light.

This is another mild autumn for us, so there’s still plenty of greenery about, along with the traditional colours of purple, brown, red and golden yellow, which will mostly be shed this month. Seed heads from 'old man's beard' in the hedgerows look magical as they catch the low sunlight and the morning dew. Seasonal in the kitchen this month we have Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, carrots, beetroots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, kale, potatoes and winter squash. It remains good for harvesting chestnuts (prolific this year), hazelnuts and walnuts, plus late-fruiting apples and pears, with a plethora of fungi, for those who know the edible from the ones best avoided.

Our November Forest Bathing event is in Shere on Sunday 12th November. This is also Remembrance Sunday, so we will start wih a 2-minute silence.

Monthly Traditions and History 

The month of November was named after 'novem' meaning 9th in Latin, as November was the 9th month when the year started in March. To the Anglo-Saxons, November was called Blotmoneth, meaning “blood month” as this was traditionally the month of slaughtering and preserving meat to last through the winter.  It was also a month of feasting, as all the meat cuts which couldn’t be preserved were cooked up, making it a bountiful month, and helping folks keep warm.

According to author Robert Graves and 'neo pagans', our month of November is mainly covered by the Celtic Reed Moon or Negetal (28th October to 23rd November) after the Celts' 'ogham' tree alphabet. Depending on the source, you may come across this period referred to as Elm Moon, in more modern Pagan works.

Ivy leavesReed reminds us of the beautiful and haunting sounds which come from instruments made from the reed, and these soulful sounds may be thought of as appropriate in this time of remembering our ancestors, as celebrated between 31st October and 2nd November, in a variety of ways in many cultures around the world, referred to variously along the lines of  'All-Hallows Eve, the Day of the Dead, All Souls Eve/Day'. Reed month is also a good one for energy work, divination and meditative work for inspiration, as well as for getting in touch with our spirit guides.

During November, as well as Guy Fawkes Night, we can also look forward to the British Celtic Festival (specifically Irish, apparently) of Samhain (Celtic New Year = 1st November), which was a feast spread across three days, including bonfires representing the sun, and marking the start of the dark or winter period of the year, or Samonios. While Samhain marks the end of harvest and nature dying back, nature needs rest and renewal time, ready to burst out again in spring. For us, it is about nurturing ourselves, completing projects, and thinking about which aspects we want to bring forth in spring. 

Elder Moon imageThe thirteenth and last moon month of the Celtic calendar is the Elder Moon, taking us from November 24th to December 23rd, and covering the winter solstice. Elder Moon month is related to creativity and renewal and rejuvenation, as reflected in the qualities of elder itself, which can be damaged easily, but recovers quickly. Known as Ruish by the Celts (roo-esh), this month is also a time of beginnings and endings, of births and deaths. Elder is also said to protect against negative entities, and may be used in magic connected to nature spirits. We can use this time to reflect what we are willing to let naturally die away, to make space for birthing the new, whether relationships, habits, work or leisure time.

Joanna's Full Moon Meditation takes place this month 7.30-9.30pm (UK time) on Monday 27th, with the Beaver Moon peaking at 11:02. We also have the Leonid Meteor Shower peaking 17th/18th.

 
Article in The Telegraph, Monday 18th September

Telegraph article of Forest Bathing with Gary 18th September 2023Last month we featured a summary of journalist Sam Delaney experience of  a Forest Bathing event with Gary Evans, with whom we trained, in The Telegraph.

From stressed out urban cynic, via moving slowly, and awakening his senses (even hugging a tree, which he says feels fantastic), by the time he is doing some guided breathing and lying on the forest floor the whole combination leaves him in a state of 'mild serenity'. 

Read the full article in the life section of the Telegraph archives. 

Forest Bathing and Epiphanies

Epiphany lightbulb moment

Reminder: University of Derby Associate Professor Kirsten McEwan and her colleague Stephen are conducting research into epiphanies while forest bathing.

Have you experienced (during, or afterwards as a result of, forest bathing) a sudden profound moment of clarity, clear thinking, and/or awareness of something that previously seemed inaccessible in your thoughts? If you have, let us know the details and we'll tell you more about the research and how you can be involved. Email us on  

Here are a couple which we know of, to start you off.

 "I was thinking I should get out of the city, and now I KNOW I definitely need to move."

"This has reminded me of how much I used to love mindfulness. I let it go, and after 5 years I really want it back in my daily life."

Festive Events by our Surrey Hills Collaborative Partner(s)

Willow Swedish StarWhilst we slow down over the late autumn and winter months, offering occasional sessions to showcase the the winter beauty of the forest to the more hardy folks with the right clothing some of our collaborative partners offer their pre-Christmas themed events, as is the case for Hedges & Hurdles with their festive willow workshops.

Join Lorraine for her Traditional Swedish Star workshop. Bring some rustic charm to your garden and home in time for Christmas.

Suitable for adults and teenagers the workshop includes

  • All materials to make your Swedish Star
  • Music, Mince Pie and Mulled Wine!
  • Take home your completed craft

Venue: Birtley Woodland Art Space, Birtley Estate, Bramley, Guildford, GU5 0LB.
When: 1.30-4pm, Friday 10th November  Cost: £45 (adult), £35 (teenagers)
Book at Hedges & Hurdles website which also details their December willow workshops.

Harmony in Nature Events in Surrey/London - What to Expect

Our nature immersion sessions involve a leisurely amble through woodland, observing and connecting with nature in its current season. Every event is different, though we may see the subtle movements and patterns of nature, smell the scent from vegetation or the earth, touch bark and listen to birds or a breeze.  The session culminates with a treelaxation, our unique nature meditation under the canopy of trees, and an optional woodland tea. We aim to leave you feeling deeply relaxed and rejuvenated.

Forest Bathing is an evidence-based wellbeing activity. Spending time in woodland has been shown to potentially boost our immune system for 2-4 weeks, balance blood pressure, reduce blood sugars, stress and cortisol levels, amongst other benefits. Participants may feel a reduction in anxiety, depression or rumination, and an improvement in concentration, memory and creativity, as well as improved sleep. Connecting with nature has been shown to reconnect us also to ourselves and to others, and this has certainly been our experience.

Several venues are available for private bookings, themed events and corporate sessions, so do enquire for details, and about the possibility of using other venues.

☕ We go out rain or shine, since, with the right clothing and footwear, usually plenty of layers, and a spare, we can happily stay outdoors for hours, especially if we take a hot/cold drink and a snack to sustain us.

Private and Corporate Sessions

If you have a group of friends or colleagues who would enjoy this experience, we are offering 3-hour sessions for up to 10 participants for just £333. See Harry Edwards section below.

  
Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary, Burrows Lea (near Shere) 

HiN Apr issue Bluebells at Harry Edwards
We will take you on a mindful journey through the private semi-ancient woodland of the lovely Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary. 
 
Immerse yourself in the healing elements of nature and connect deeply with all your senses.
 
Sunday 12th November, 11am - 2pm, £39.77
Saturday 2nd December, 11am - 2pm, £39.77
 
Provisional for 2024
Sunday 21st January, 11am - 2pm, £39.77
Saturday 24th February, 11am - 2pm, £39.77
Sunday 17th March, 11am - 2pm, £39.77
Saturday 20th April, 11am - 2pm, £39.77

Book at the Harmony Shop

Private Sessions
£333 for up to 10 participants
Contact us for other group sizes and suggested timings.

This and our other venues are also available for private bookings, themed events and/or corporate sessions, or ask about a venue of your choosing, subject to having a suitable route and risk assessment.

Our Other venues

We can also arrange private bookings, themed events and/or corporate sessions at a selection of locations in Surrey Hills (Guildford, Shere, Woking & Epsom) and South London (SW20 and SW14). Contact us for details on

Katies NC picture 27 May 2021

  • For our full range of Harmony in Nature therapeutic sessions, see www.harmonyinnature.uk (currently hosted on harmonyhealing.co.uk) 
  • You can find our Forest Bathing and Nature Connection video, on the benefits and our experiences, with 'green' social prescribing and business events, on Nadege's YouTube Channel

Other Offerings from Jo and Katie

Through Harmony Healing, Joanna runs other online esoteric/energy healing practitioner and self-empowerment courses, as well as 1-2-1 energy healing sessions. Joanna's online monthly Full Moon Meditation takes place 7.30-9.30pm (UK time) on Monday 27th November (please book by 5pm on the night as there is pre-reading material to send you), with the Hunter Moon, £20. Joanna also produces a monthly Celestial Forecast featuring Moon Phases, Asteroid Showers, Ancient & Modern Festivals. 

Katie offers health mentoring as well as 1:1 places for Nurtured by Nature, One-day Reset Retreats (Facebook link), for those needing a complete mind and body reset from their usual work and duties. Individually tailored, depending on what is most helpful for you, these can include a selection from nutrition, breathing, mindful movement, sounding or chanting, essential oils, ‘de-chemicalising’ your lifestyle, natural first aid, Reiki, as well as concluding by reconnecting to ourselves through sensory nature connection forest bathing practises. Whole day for £366, half days available on request. Message Katie on 07596 830910 to discuss your aims for your ideal day retreat.

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Katie Robinson & Joanna Bristow-Watkins
Nature Connection & Forest Bathing Guides
 

To receive our Forest Bathing Updates, sign up at https://harmonyhealing.co.uk/newsletter-sign-up  or email  

To receive regular Blog updates as each event unfurls (headed with a title detailing the occasion or event so that you can choose whether to open it or not), featuring New and Full Moon, meteor showers, eclipses and other meteorological events, interesting anniversaries, ancient festival dates plus notification of dates of numerological significance, you can sign up at https://harmonyhealing.co.uk/newsletter-sign-up or at any page of the Harmony Healing website. The nature of the Blog means that whenever there are several key dates in close succession, there will be frequent mailings. The sender e-mail address is  (and the sender will show as Joanna Bristow-Watkins @ Harmony Healing). You may need to add this email to your safe list and check your junk filter initially.

Celestial Forecasts

Forthcoming Events and Workshops

VIRTUAL EVENTS

New Moon New Vision - £177
Lunar Cycle Alignment
Group Mentoring Programme
Starts 29th January 2025
Held remotely on Zoom
Late starts accommodated

Full Moon Guided meditation - £20
7.30-9.30pm UK timings
Saturday 24th February
No live meditation Monday 25 March*
Tuesday 23rd April (Supermoon)
Thursday 23rd May
Friday 21st June (Solstice Full Moon)

Violet Flame of Amenti - £88
(online courses are UK timings)
Level 1 including attunement

30th Nov, 6th &19th Dec
6¾ hours, 3 x 7.30pm-9.45pm (UK time)
Recordings of each Zoom session available
Late registrations accepted


Worth 1 unit towards the RSE Level 1
Held remotely on Zoom

Mindful Chakra Alignment- £66
(online courses are UK timings)

And reconnect with the Earth & Sky

Tuesday 30th April Revision
(1 day - repeaters only) 
7.30pm-9.45pm (UK time)
Full course (when offered):
6¾ hours, 3 x 7.15pm-9.30pm (GMT/UT)
Recordings of each Zoom session available
Late registrations accepted


Worth ½ unit towards the RSE Level 1
Held remotely on Zoom

Introduction to Khemitology - £88
(online courses are UK timings)

Thursday 2nd May Revision
(1 day - repeaters only) 
7.30pm-9.45pm (UK time)
Full course (when offered):
6¾ hours, 3 x 7.30pm-9.45pm (UK time)
Recordings of each Zoom session available
Late registrations accepted


Worth 1 unit towards the RSE Level 1
Held remotely on Zoom

Planetary & Elemental Essene Angels
(online courses are UK timings)
4½ hour course - £66

Thurs 19th Oct & 9th Nov
4½ hrs, 2 x 7.30pm-9.45pm (UK time)
Recordings of each Zoom session available
Late registrations accepted


Worth ½ unit towards the RSE Level 1

Held remotely on Zoom

Forest Bathing Events
For dates, costs and locations of our
Forest Bathing Events, see
Harmony Shop Forest Bathing


New Meditations Since 2020:

555 Spiritual Expansion Meditation
MP3 555 Numerology written for 2021
Created for 5th, 14th & 21st May

Chakra Balancing & Global Healing
MP3 Meditation Recording @ £9.99
or £4.44 to Harmony Healing subscribers

Unity Consciousness plus Axiatonal Alignment
MP3 Meditation Recording @ £9.99
or £4.44 to Harmony Healing subscribers

RSE 2 available as modular units
cost is £330

The following are on hold since lockdown:

Reyad Sekh Em (RSE)
Level 1 - Introduction

Next 2-day Course: TBA
A modular version is available (£266)
as separate units taught virtually 

Reyad Sekh Em (RSE) - £500
1 & 2 Practitioner Intensive

Next 3-day Course: TBA
Withdrawn during Covid restrictions
But a modular version of RSE 1 is 
available as units taught virtually

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