Articles and News

Is there a certain subject you’d like to find out more about in a way that doesn’t require you to join a class or put yourself out there? Maybe you’re thinking of taking up a new hobby and want to see what your options are, or perhaps you want to find out more about something you’ve read a bit about that sounded interesting.

How To… Thursdays are a series of free informal talks on the subjects you’ve always wondered about. Introductory and accessible to absolutely anyone, we’ll present you with all the information you need and then leave you to take it wherever you want.

The holistic world is vast and various, encompassing everything from massage to crystal healing, and, despite the “weird and wacky” stereotypes often associated with some of its more esoteric offerings, all holistic really means is “whole”. It’s about being aware of how mind and body are connected, looking at the bigger picture rather just treating a symptom, and helping you to help yourself to live healthier and happier. It’s a fascinating field, full of practical and empowering skills and tips that are there for the taking!

Our launch night on Thursday 11th May features Colin Clark with How To… Avoid Being Psychic, and we’re pushing the boat out and throwing in some free nibbles to celebrate this exciting start to the series!

There’s a bit of a stigma attached to “being psychic”. But what if you’re curious about the more unusual skills and abilities we have? Is it possible to explore and develop these without having to conform to traditional stereotypes? Colin Clark will talk you through how to more freely explore the fascinating power of your own mind without ever needing to think of yourself as psychic.

Come along from 7.30pm and see for yourself!

Makhad Trust Project Manager Helen Cranston

For the last two years I have been doing my dream job as Project Manager for the Makhad Trust, a sister charity to The Isbourne College & Holistic Centre. It all started in 2004 when I saw an exhibition of photos by Ruskin Mill students from their trip to the Sinai Desert in Egypt. The exhibition room was deserted when I passed through but a strange feeling of expansiveness, a ringing sound that was not a normal part of the room, and a sense of stillness, instantly made me feel as if I were in the desert of the photographs and it filled me with excitement so that I knew that I had to go there one day. 

In 2008 I got my wish and joined a trip to build a dam in the high mountains of Sinai. We worked alongside the Bedouin to build Oda’s Dam which provides water for around 40 Bedouin gardens. In this high desert environment water is scarce, access is difficult and the people struggle to survive. Afterwards we trekked up Mt Sinai where Moses received the 10 Commandments, and then went out to the desert. The sound of the silence and feeling of expansiveness was just as I had experienced in the exhibition room years before. A few months later I went back for a desert retreat spending 3 days of alone in the beauty of the desert. Next, I joined other journeys to build dams, then organised journeys and led them, at least one a year, until 2 years ago when Susie Drummond, my predecessor, handed over the job of Project Manager.

The bulk of the work is to facilitate the wells project, where funding from UK pays for the restoration of garden wells and community drinking wells belonging to the Bedouin of South Sinai. So far we have helped to restore 328 wells bringing fresh drinking water to 155 small communities and enabling 173 orchard gardens to provide food and an income to bedouin families. The job involves assessing all the wells to be restored, checking on progress of ones we start and writing reports to sponsors when the work is finished. Many of the wells are half way up mountainsides so a good head for heights and nimble footwork is essential. The rewards of the work are seeing what a difference it makes for families to have fresh water. The Trust is doing amazing work in Sinai and helping a disadvantaged community of people who get little assistance from any other source.

In October this year, tutors and therapists from The Isbourne will have an opportunity to experience the expansiveness, the silence, and the stillness of the desert for themselves.  I will be leading them on a journey to build a dam in the high mountains working alongside the Bedouin.  Then we will trek to Mt Sinai for a short visit before going out into the desert for the silence and inner contemplation. The trip will last 12 days and will be from the 8th to the 20th of November. For further information contact Kelly Peacey.

Action For Happiness, one of the organisations supporting the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness, says that happiness has nothing to do with what we have and everything to do with what we do. Among the things they recommend for happier living are taking care of your body, living mindfully, learning new things, and working on your resilience, all of which you can tick off the list with the programme of events running across Happiness Week at The Isbourne from 20th - 25th March!

There are plenty of things for everyone to try across the week in a series of free taster sessions on Tuesday 21st, including Sound Healing, Intuitive Light Healing and Wellness Massage.

You can enjoy dipping into several of our regular classes, such as Evening Meditation For All and Avocado Pilates on Wednesday 22nd, Yoga for Beginners and Pilates on Thursday 23rd, and Tai Chi on Friday 24th.

If you’ve always fancied having a go at Belly Dance you can bring a friend along for free on Thursday 23rd! Perfect for mums and daughters with Mother’s Day just around the corner.

If you're more of a watcher than a doer you can come along and be entertained by our specially selected movie, Choice Point, on Monday 20th at 7pm.

Our two special Guest Speaker talks will introduce you to how to take control of your own happiness. Hear about the power you can have over your own mood and mindset with solution-focussed hypnotherapist Andy Workman’s ‘Cavemen and Polar Bears’ on Wednesday 22nd, and discover ‘The Five Side-Effects of Kindness’ and how simple acts of kindness can benefit you physically, as well as mentally, with the fascinating David Hamilton on Friday 24th.

You can finish off the week on a high by getting the whole family out in the fresh air for the morning with our Family Cycling Fun, a free event at Pittville Park on Saturday 25th March.

For full details of these events please visit the relevant date on our calendar of events.

What's Your Moon Sign?
 
by Graham Boston

We all know our Sun sign (or 'star sign' as it is sometimes called) and most of us will take an occasional peek at our astrological forecast for the day in a newspaper or magazine.

Real astrology however takes into account not only the Sun but also the Moon and each of the planets - though the two luminaries (the Sun and Moon) occupy a central place in a person's birth chart - the map of the sky the astrologer draws up for the moment of a person's birth. Like yin and yang the Sun and Moon are equally important and mean little without each other - but how many of us know our own Moon sign?

Unlike the Sun, which in its annual journey round the zodiac changes sign every thirty or so days, the Moon leaves one zodiac sign and enters another approximately every two-and-a-half days, so to know your Moon Sign it's important to know not just the date but also the time of birth.

To find out your Moon sign visit www.thecheltenhamastrologer.co.uk where you'll be able to cast your own complete birth chart.

So what does the Moon mean, astrologically speaking? Well, whereas the Sun represents your basic approach to life and where in your life you tend to shine brightest, the Moon reveals what you are like on the inside - your needs, feelings and inner life. Which zodiac sign it was in when you were born can tell you a great deal about your emotional needs, what gives you security, your home and family life - as well as your relationship with your mother. 

The twelve signs of the zodiac are divided into the four elements - earth, water, air and fire, each representing a different realm of experience. Earth represents the practical world of work, career and possessions, Water represents the fluid world of feelings, relationships and needs. Air connects to the realm of social and intellectual exchange - friendship and communication, whilst Fire symbolises vitality, identity and energy. You can begin to understand your Moon sign firstly by understanding the element in which it is located.

Read the description of your Moon sign below and take note of the special gift that would make you feel valued. If it's not entirely your thing, think of something else that would have the same effect. You could give yourself a gift or drop some heavy hints to your loved ones. Alternatively, you could make someone close to you feel special if you know their Moon sign.

If you are inspired to learn more about this fascinating subject, Graham Boston is running An Introduction to Astrology starting on Tuesday 21st March 2017 (five evening sessions).

Moon in Earth (Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn)

There is a need for solid security in life. Work, stable conditions, material comfort and money in the bank are what make you feel okay! When these things are missing there can be anxiety and even depression.

Moon in Taurus loves comfort. You love collecting things and surrounding yourself with treasured possessions. Contact with nature, art and beauty nourish you, and you need lots of physical affection. A Moon in Taurus who isn't being hugged enough will gravitate towards the chocolate and the ice cream! You need to feel that your life is settled, comfortable and rich, either in material or spiritual terms, or both.

Special gift: a meal at a top restaurant or massage vouchers.

Moon in Virgo has a need for order, clarity and stability. Work, and in particular doing a job well is strongly related to your self-esteem. As a Moon in Virgo you love to feel needed, and there is nothing you like better than to be asked to help someone practically or intellectually. Although naturally modest you need to feel appreciated. Cleanliness, simplicity and a feeling of having your life settled are the keys to your security. Anxiety or unhappiness will often show itself as chaos, mess, health problems or self-criticism. Work is a great comfort and makes you feel productive and useful. Because Moon in Virgos are dedicated to self-improvement, learning new skills and polishing existing ones gives you a particular feeling of accomplishment.

Special gift: a weekend at a wellness spa or a craft or cooking workshop.

Moon in Capricorn needs work, career and social status in order to feel at peace. There is a strong need for achievement, to feel you have accomplished a goal you have set for yourself, and for the feeling that comes when one is moving up the ladder of success in life. Some Moon in Capricorns are workaholics however so be careful not to throw yourself into your work as a substitute for love, or of tying your self-esteem too closely to the external badges of success such as wealth, fame or the right home or car. Important though reaching external goals is, more important is to accept and love yourself for who you are, not what you do or have.

Special gift: sessions with a business coach or a weekend in a historic home or castle.

Moon in Water (Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces)

Moon in a water sign indicates emotional sensitivity, a receptivity to the world of feeling and intuition, and a good understanding of other people. 

The Moon is most 'at home' in the sign of Cancer. Those of you born with the Moon in Cancer have deep feelings and a strong need for emotional security. Home and family life are thus particularly important. Above all, you need to feel 'at home', loved and cared for - without this life feels empty and loses its savour. Your home is a shelter from the outside world, full of old photo albums, heirlooms and hand-me-downs - those things some less kindly souls might consider clutter. Treated with kindness and understanding you repay with great warmth and care. Having someone (or something) to care for - be it a child, a house, an ageing parent or a pet - brings out the best in you. You love to express your care for others by cooking, providing, building a secure home and supporting your family. You have a preference for warm, homely houses with plenty of room for children to play in.

Special gift: Lots of hugs or a family reunion.

Moon in Scorpio needs security through intimacy, power and transformation. Your feelings run very deep, and your reactions to people, events and situations are often surprisingly powerful. However, perhaps because of painful early experiences you may have learned to protect your vulnerability by keeping your feelings hidden. Trust is a big issue for you, and there is a sense in which someone seeking to earn it from you has to go the extra mile before you will truly open up to them. You need to be allowed to process your own feelings, memories and experience in your own way - for example, you may need to encounter yourself at a deep level by putting yourself into challenging situations.

Special Gift: a pack of tarot cards or a murder mystery weekend.

Moon in Pisces seeks security through transcendence, imagination and spirituality. You are a sensitive person who is at home in the realm of art, music and the imagination. Highly creative, you seek to escape the harsher or mundane aspects of life and enter a more beautiful or ideal realm. Without outlets for your imagination, or if trapped in harsh, dull or ugly circumstances, you may seek to escape through the less creative routes of drugs, alcohol or endless screen time. Spiritual ideas and experiences can be a source of great comfort and offer a way of understanding your often confusing feelings and psychic intuitions. Because you are emotionally receptive, you may often act like a 'psychic sponge', absorbing and often unconsciously identifying with other people's feelings, fears and problems. You need to periodically withdraw from the world and 'recharge your spiritual batteries'.

Special gift: concert tickets or a spiritual retreat in the country, by the sea or on an island.

Moon in Air (Gemini, Libra or Aquarius)

Moon in air signs seek to communicate. They need contact with other people and participation in the wider social world. There is also a need for learning and the exchange of ideas.

Moon in Gemini needs to communicate. You need to talk to people - it's your way of dealing with your feelings and also of feeling connected with the world. You enjoy being part of a community and exchanging news, ideas and gossip. You need variety in your life and the sense that there are lots of people to see and things to do socially. You enjoy being on the move. You need bright, light surroundings and to be in a young and vibrant part of the town or city. If insecure you may seek distractions such as parties or constant activity. You need to feed your mind and stimulate your mental faculties.

Special gift: a signed edition of a favourite book or being interviewed on a chat show, podcast or blog.

Moon in Libra needs harmony, balance and relationship. You are naturally sociable and have an easygoing charm that draws people to you. You are at home in social or fashionable settings and seek to be approved of and liked by your peers. Beauty, harmony and balance are prerequisites for your peace of mind, whilst strife, conflict and discord upset your equilibrium. You need to be in a relationship and seek out romance. Being part of a couple is important to you and being alone for too long begins to make you wonder about your attractiveness. You prefer light, spacious or elegant surroundings and enjoy beautifying your home.

Special gift: a romantic weekend for two in Paris or an objet d'art for the home.

Moon in Aquarius needs friendship, freedom and the exchange of ideas. Like Moon in Geminis and Moon in Libras you are instinctively friendly and seek social contact. You are independent-minded however, and pride yourself on your modernism and freedom from convention. Ideas are especially important to you and you need to have space to think, study, learn and reflect. Sometimes you feel different from everyone else and alienated from society, in which case you need the hand of friendship to make you feel included. You care for their friends and are supportive in times of need. You prefer airy, cool and possibly minimalist surroundings.

Special gift: the latest piece of wearable tech or an invitation to join a protest rally.

Moon in Fire (Aries, Leo or Sagittarius)

Moon in Fire sign people need activity, play and stimulation. They need to be rising to some form of challenge or experiencing some form of excitement otherwise they feel bored or dispirited.

Moon in Aries needs activity, challenge and movement. You feel most secure when life is moving quickly and you are using a lot of energy. You believe in yourself and are adept at making quick decisions. You feel comfortable in competitive or adventurous environments  such as in business or sport. Paradoxically you find security in insecurity, seeing it as a challenge to overcome rather than something to be feared. You express your feelings openly and frankly - sometimes to the alarm of more retiring souls. Others always know where they stand with you however. You prefer a home that is full of life and activity, and in which there are hot colours and bold designs.

Special gift: tickets to the big match or a gym membership.

Moon in Leo needs creativity, admiration and respect in order to feel confident. You are instinctively creative and enjoy such activities as painting, writing, performing, dance or music. There is an emotional need to express yourself and to be admired or appreciated for your talents. You can be loyal, generous and giving with those who like you, and feel hurt when ignored or treated with disrespect. Some Moon in Leos hide their feelings behind an imperious wall of command, and when feeling down may retreat into splendid isolation. You need occasionally to be told how wonderful you really are.

Special gift: art lessons or tickets to see a favourite musician.

Moon in Sagittarius needs freedom, adventure and learning. You experience life as a journey, and feel good as long as there is a sense that life is going somewhere and that there are options and opportunities open to you in the future. There is a sense of optimism and faith that life will work out well that gives you great confidence. Religion may be important to you and if so you may play an active part in your religious community. Your positivity usually enables you to take setbacks philosophically and to bounce back quickly when hurt. You may fantasise about living 'on the road' and indeed at some stage in your life set up home within a culture very different to your own.

Special gift: a plane ticket or a workshop gift voucher.

Lois Hastings

I live in the small town of Witney, Oxfordshire, where I have my own thriving practise as a Tarot Reader, Past Life Regression Therapist and Spiritual Development Teacher.

What's your role at The Isbourne?

I am lead tutor on the Introduction to Holistic Living course which is a fabulous life-changing course, and I learn as much from the students as they do from me. I also teach other courses including Introduction to Past Life Regression, Hypnotherapy and Past life Regression and Learn the Tarot. The Isbourne is a unique place to work, there’s nowhere else like it anywhere and I appreciate the freedom it gives me to teach the subjects I love.

How would you describe your journey?

As a child I was very intuitive but didn’t realise it. It was just who I was although I always had a sense of being different somehow. I was extremely sensitive to energy and found school a particular struggle. I was constantly being told off for daydreaming and looking out of the window!

I was born with itchy feet and have done a lot of travelling, the USA being my favourite place, especially Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada. The land really resonates with me as does the Native American culture and I even lived in Santa Fe for a year at one point, making frequent forays onto the Navajo Reservation. It was hard to settle down when I finally returned to the UK in 1997 and I harbour a secret longing to live there again one day.

As much as I love the desert, I also love the ocean and am never happier than when I’m on a beach, preferably walking my dog Gracie along the beautiful Dorset coast.

My own spiritual journey started with an interest in astrology in my teens and has since taken many twists and turns along the way. I bought my first pack of tarot cards in 1988 and was immediately hooked. I taught myself how to read the cards and am passionate about all things tarot. I see them as a tool to tune into the energies around someone and combine my tarot readings with my own intuition and clairvoyance. I can talk about the cards all day long and love to share my passion for them with others.

My other passion is past life regression and reincarnation. It’s a very long story but my own experiences have produced some amazing results and I’ve learned a lot about my soul’s journey as a result. I also love to help others develop spiritually and teach various groups and classes to do just that.

I’m just coming to the end of an Open University English & Creative Writing degree, with a book or two of my own in the pipeline. I’ve been working on a book about spiritual development for a while, so watch this space! I’m also bit of a linguistic and find words fascinating. Give me a dictionary and I’ll be happy for hours.

Over the past thirty years I’ve attended countless workshops, classes and courses both here and in America, learning about angels, crystals, reincarnation, tarot…. the list is a long one, and I’m still learning! The fabulous Louise Hay is my greatest inspiration and I even got to meet her at a Hay House conference in 2007, a dream come true. I never imagined I would one day be teaching my very own workshops but here I am, a qualified teacher, and all thanks to the Isbourne College.

What are your favourite holistic treatments/practices?

It’s safe to say I have tried every therapy under the sun out of sheer curiosity as much as for the healing. The human body and how it works fascinates me.

I have now got a fantastic team of therapists, and regularly have Bowen, Shiatsu, Kinesiology and Crystal Healing. Each one works in its own unique way and I have learned not to wait until I feel unwell or off-balance, but to get regular treatments to keep myself healthy and grounded. Dealing with other people’s energies all day long means I need to take care of my own energy so I don’t become too drained and can be of help to others.

What did you do before you joined the Isbourne 'family'?

I was a children’s nanny for 16 years after leaving college, living in Germany, Russia and the USA along the way. It was a great time in my life and was when my spiritual development really began.

However, I never quite fitted into any particular box and spent the next 10 years being fairly miserable in various office jobs. I was made redundant ten years ago which was the best thing that ever happened to me. I realised I finally had to be true to myself and live the dream of becoming a full time light worker. It was a gamble but I trusted that the Universe would always provide for me and it always has. I have trained and worked as a massage therapist, reflexologist, aromatherapist, hypnotherapist and Reiki practitioner but had never heard of The Isbourne until someone mentioned it to me in passing. I emailed straight away to ask if they wanted a new tutor!

Tell us about your interests/hobbies

I love being outdoors and walking in nature makes me happier than anything else. My companion is my 9 year old jack russell/chihuahua cross Gracie. I’m a huge advocate for animal welfare and have been a veggie since the age of four or five. My dream is to set up a rescue centre one day.

I love angels and crystals and have them all over the house, garden and even in the car. I’ve lost count of how many angel statues I now have but there’s always room for more.

Gardening is my other passion and not surprisingly, my garden is very wildlife friendly. I put a pond in last year and was thrilled when four frogs immediately took up residence.

Friends are very important to me and I am lucky to have some wonderful ones who I have been through many ups and downs with. Family is equally important and I see them as often as I can.

I recently joined a contemporary choir and absolutely love it. I will be singing Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall in November, something I never thought I’d be saying and I have my first music festival in two weeks’ time. I’m frantically learning lyrics and harmonies as we speak.

I’m also quite crafty. I’m currently in the middle of making a rustic-style angel doll for a friend and have made countless samplers for family christenings and anniversaries, as well as various other projects. I’ve got several bags full of wool and material stashed away that are bound to come in useful, one day…!

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