How have I managed to be pagan so long without knowing how to draw a basic labyrinth! 

Recently I hosted a Stitch and Witch at my home with invocations to Brigit, great company, great cake and a skills exchange.  I taught sock darning and various aspects of knitting and in return I learned to draw a 7 step labyrinth.  Thank you M!

It is so elegant and simple I want to share it all with you.

1. Starting point.
2. Now draw a connecting loop from the top point of the inner cross shape to the top of the L shape on the right side of the page.
3.  Then working from your left to your right draw loops linking the points of the cross and the points of the L's.  Move out one on each side every time  until all the points have been connected and you have circled the whole Labyrinth.
Just remember that the top of the Labyrinth will be much bigger than the bottom so make sure you take this into account when choosing where start your drawing.

I am so impressed with this technique - I don't draw often and yet I shall always be able to make a Labyrinth, it won't be long because I am embroidering them on prayer flags, icing them on cupcakes and splashing them all over my house. Best of all if I want to lay out a huge Labyrinth in my garden for a ritual working I can just use this template.  Want it to be bigger than 7 steps just keep on adding the L shapes in the four corners.

It couldn't be simpler!

You will be drawing labyrinths on everything for days to come, I promise you.
So I wanted to write more about body-spirit integration. This is such a difficult subject to write about because (especially for women) there are a million myths about how we should look, what we should eat and how we should live. The narratives we hold about food and body are so personal and full of judgment about ourselves and each other.  As a feminist I believe that the stories that Western culture tells about women's bodies are terribly damaging and really diminishes us.

Therefore I know this is territory which should be negotiated sensitively. What extra weight damages my health because of my genes and lifestyle, might be fine and healthy on another person. What healthy foods I can afford, may not be within the reach of someone else.

In our world of abundant junk food making the choices which are "right" for us is really hard.  Most people who are telling you something about food have an agenda and often, that agenda, is selling you something…whether they are selling a Super-sized Mega Burger, gluten-free bread or a weight loss plan.

My belief is that we all need to find a place where we are happy and healthy and that place will be different for everyone. We all have different histories, different environments, different genes so why would one solution fit everyone.  Now I do think that there are some broad principles which apply (as we are all human beings after all!) lots of fresh fruit and veg, not too much fat, protein, vitamins and mineral and exercise.  Living by those principles is really a question of what works for us as individuals. What could be a greater integration than feeding your body according to its individual needs and not according to advertising or guilt.

So this is all really a preamble to saying that when I talk about food and body I only speak for myself.  But hopefully you will find my journey interesting…

My recent journey started with Weight Watchers in September, as I decided to lose weight for my health (I have a history of high cholesterol in my family which I am keen to avoid). It continued with Leonie's Radiant Goddess course.  The first taught me to "respect food" the second taught me that a healthy diet is about consciously eating foods which are nutrient dense - literally feeding your body with great food.  It seems obvious now but how can you function at an intensely spiritual level if you are not keeping your body fed with really nourishing food.  Nourishing not merely filling.

Seeing eating as a form of feeding your spiritual as well as physical body is something which has always resonated with me but discovering the Raw Food Movement recently has made it more and more exciting.

In future posts I want to review and talk more about the Radiant Goddess course (the links will be affiliate links so it that is annoying just walk on by!).

You may remember one of my goals this year was to achieve better
integration of my spiritual and physical lives.

So far things have been going well (despite the lack of blogging!)

I have been getting more comfortable with being open and fluid with my spirituality generally.  In particular I have found walking at
lunchtime has become a cornerstone of my practice.  I take a 50 minute walk by the canal at least 3 sometimes 4 lunchtimes a week.

I use that opportunity to feed:

 - my body with exercise
 - my soul with the rhythm of the water and trees
 - my mind with meditation and space to think away from the internet, phones, people and expectation. 

So far so good.

But a period of ill health and stress in April put a bit of a spanner
in the works.  Nothing too serious but I hit a point where I just
wanted to feel well again.  I came out of that period straight into a
holiday with friends, this was amazing fun and very restful but didn't help me re-establish a healthy routine for getting more integrated. 

Now I am starting to get back into that healthy routine and I am really feeling the benefits.

The reason I am blogging this on a spirituality blog…well this is all
about integration baby!  If my body, mind and spirit aren't all
pulling together then no amount of magick is going to help.  In the
first part of the year I started to merge the two separate areas of my
mind (Work Antara and Spiritual Antara) that has been going well but I have now hit a point where I need to pull my body into line as well.

I have be working on eating more healthily and getting more exercise since September last year and doing well.  But after my holiday I needed to give my body a little extra boost to get over the illness and stress.  So I started by revisting Leonie Dawson's Radiant Goddess course.

This is 21 day course with great videos, recipes, inspiration and
ideas for incorporating more movement in your life.  But above all it
is not a diet, not about punishing yourself but more about including
things in your life which are joyful and supportive.  That is a
philosophy I can really get behind.

More on this coming up!