As talented early music songstress, Heloise Pilkington, launches her new album, Initiatrix, she shares some heartwarming hygge tips on how to celebrate winter, make time to nourish our minds and bodies, and above all, slow down.
When we attune to the Celtic Wheel of the Year and the cycles of nature – Samhain, the old pagan festival we now celebrate as Halloween on 31 October – is the point of the year when we begin to descend into the darkness of winter. It’s a time associated with death, dying and letting go.
As such, Samhain makes a potent time for sacred sound priestess Heloise Pilkington to release her new album Initiatrix, a collection of enchanting songs that evoke a mythical and archetypal journey of initiation.
Heloise explains the journey of her new album: “Initiatrix is the story my own personal journey of healing and transformation following a period of loss and adversity three years ago when I went through an internal death and letting go process. The album also mirrors the shaman’s initiatory journey of descent and the odyssey to the Underworld of Goddess mythology. Such voyages usually involve a meeting with shadow – typically a repressed fear or deep wound – which having been faced and integrated by the initiate, leads to a powerful transformation.
The Cycle of Life
“These journeys also mirror the natural cycles of nature, a constant process of death and regeneration,” she continues. “I am launching the album on Halloween, the ancient pagan festival of Samhain, as this is the point on the Wheel of the Year when we come into the darker days of winter – the time associated with dying and letting go, both in the natural world around us, and internally in our own personal growth processes.”
As we prepare to enter Samhain, ‘All Hallows Eve’, on 31 October, the traditional time for honouring the dead and the ancestors, Heloise shares five ways to honour the darkness that lies ahead on this inward cycle of the Wheel of the Year.
2.Take time for reflection: It is also a time to reflect on what we have harvested from the last growth cycle. Are we happy with what we have created over the last nine months? What are the lessons we can learn? What might we wish to change? These are all poignant questions to ask ourselves at this natural time of reflection.
3.Letting go: As we enter this time of year, we can begin to contemplate what we may be ready to let go of in our lives. What is no longer serving us? From Samhain to Imbolc, the shedding of dead wood is what takes place in nature, leaving space for new growth. This is the perfect time to clear the dead wood in our own lives, creating space for new seeds to take root.
4.Grieving: Traditionally this is a time for remembering the dead and honouring the ancestors. This can include a revisiting of the grief of their passing together with a reflection of our own mortality and the stark reality that as living beings our lives will also come to an end. This is a reminder of the preciousness of being alive in every moment and the choice is there to live life fully.
5.Transformation: We have an ancient relationship with fire. Our ancient ancestors learnt to keep warm in the winter cold by burning the dead wood of the year as they told stories of times gone by and dreamed of what was to come. As we enter the dark part of the cycle it is helpful for us to light a fire, even if it is simply a candle. By doing this we can ritually let go of the old dead wood of the year and envision the new cycle to come when the light starts to return after the solstice.
Time to Slow Down and Cocooon
‘It is important not to treat winter as an inconvenience you’d rather not have but to honour it as an essential part of the cycle of life,” Heloise Pilkington concludes. “In our culture we’ve come to fear the darkness because our culture only values and honours the growth part of the cycle, but in doing so it’s become massively out of balance. We are encouraged to be continuously outward focused, busy and productive, overlooking our need for downtime and inner nourishment so essential for avoiding burn out and fatigue, and for enjoying a balanced, vital and happy life.”
Like her first two albums, Initiatrix is produced by celebrated multi-instrumentalist and BBC award-winning producer, Gerry Diver whose production credits include albums for Tom Robinson, Sam Lee and Lisa Knapp.
Gerry Diver says: “Heloise treads a unique path in today’s musical landscape – one which she has fearlessly carved out as her own, combining ancient spiritual traditions with stunning modern musical innovation coalescing to create a rich tapestry of sound – all held together with a voice of wildness, strength and purity – pure magic.”
Heloise Pilkington’s new album Initiatrix is released on Tuesday 31 October. To pre-order, or order a copy of the album after this date, visit Heloise’s website: www.heloisepilkington.com. The album will also be available on iTunes and Amazon.