Litha/Summer Solstice at Newbold by Allan Gray

Litha/Summer Solstice has had spiritual significance for thousands of years as communities have been blessed by the power of the sun. The day where the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky.
Solstice translates as ‘When the sun stands still’ with origins in two Latin-language morphemes, sol, “sun”, and -stitium, “stoppage

IMG_4801The Celts celebrated with bonfires that would add to the sun’s energy, Christians celebrate the feast of St John the Baptist and celebrate abundance many also celebrate the festival of Li, the Chinese Goddess of light.

Pagans are in awe of the incredible strength of the sun and the divine powers that create life. For Pagans this spoke in the Wheel of the Year is a significant point. The Goddess took over the earth from the horned God at the beginning of spring and she is now at the height of her power and fertility. For some Pagans the Summer Solstice marks the marriage of the God and Goddess and see their union as the force that creates the harvest’s fruits.

IMG_4771Newbold Celebrated the power of the sun, the longest day and shortest night, with an intention setting ceremony for the year ahead, held by Celia McKenna, followed by an evening of song and dance with many of our friends from the local community.

Solstice is a time to show gratitude for the light in ourselves, celebrate abundance of life and look forward and set intentions for the future. A time both to reflect on our gratefulness for what has come before us and a time to look forward with hope and purpose.

We thank everyone you joined us in celebrating the light and setting intentions for the year ahead.

IMG_4761By Allan S Gray

Allan, local to the area of Moray and a graduate of the University of Highlands and Islands, Allan has a key interest in environmental protection, adventure and for the community of Moray


Eating at Newbold by Kerstin Walz

My university background is in urban sustainability: how can we achieve more resilient and sustainable cities?  We haven’t figured that one out just yet… still working on it.  So sometimes I feel the need to visit places where sustainable living is already happening.  Newbold is perfect, since the people here are trying to implement concretely and actually live what I’ve studied as conceptual sustainability.  I am volunteering at Newbold for a few weeks as a residential HelpX volunteer (Newbold HelpX Page) , diving into the daily routine and experiencing a new lifestyle.


IMG_4349Right from the start, I’ve been impressed by how food here is grown: in a stunningly beautiful and traditional walled garden.  The kitchen’s aim is to use as many seasonal and regional ingredients as possible, preparing, processing, and preserving organic food – whatever is not eaten right away.  The approach is to make the best use of available resources, i.e. delicious vegetables and herbs from the garden, and to obtain additional food from organic farms in the local area. That includes fish and meat, eaten once a week, which are ethically sourced, and happy chickens to provide eggs.


I was interested to find here an incredible amount of knowledge connected to seasonal and regional food.  I am grateful to Christopher who led a class about re-discovering needed food-related skills.  Christopher has been baking his own bread for 30 years, and during his skillshare we baked 12 loaves of crusty wholemeal bread – which does not last long in a community like Newbold…


IMG_5766And it is learning by doing!  Meaning by eating, tasting, strolling around the garden, and discovering all the vegetables I didn’t have a clue existed!
For instance, there is not just mint. There is apple mint, peppermint, spearmint and even chocolate mint!  I don’t have enough room to tell you about the whole family of cabbages available…  If you want to get to know the gardens around here, one perfect opportunity is the Garden Tasters on Saturday mornings (


Another related series is the food preservation on Tuesday mornings.  What kind of preservation methods are out there?  How do we avoid ending up with only pickled vegetables in the winter?  I learned about canning, drying, and freezing; about questioning common eating patterns and developing new ways; about maximizing our use of the surrounding abundance. This can include very practical issues: like cleaning the outdoor kitchen, looking around for space to hang drying herbs and discussing which products get priority when it comes to the hotly contested freezer space.

So far it has been an amazing experience and I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks.

By Kerstin Walz

53616_1351546682554_8166762_oKerstin is a social scientist from Hamburg, Germany.  She enjoys reading, acrylic painting, and swimming. While she has travelled to five of seven continents, this is her first HelpX position, and her 2nd time in Scotland. She grew up with a huge garden, needed 10 years away to appreciate it, and is now looking forward to having her own garden someday.

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ERASMUS+ Youth Leader Mobility Scheme by Deborah Benham


Newbold believes in a life sustaining society where we can thrive personally, co-exist in harmony, feel interconnected with the living system of the planet and therefore protect and conserve this for future generations. We believe in empowerment and positive leadership. Newbold believes that to build a more positive society we must empower leaders to face the challenges of today.

Reports from a wide range of Youth charities show that young people face unprecedented challenges in the modern world. Finding meaningful employment is increasingly difficult, and with record levels of unemployment and decreasing job security, many feel a sense of anxiety about the future. Collectively, young people will be the most affected by alarming global trends like climate change, environmental degradation, and social tensions based on culture, religion, or class. At the same time, it is our young people who have the most potential and often the most drive to contribute to a sustainable future.

We aim to harness and empower that potential through recently awarded ERASMUS+ funding. Newbold have been awarded 50,000 Euros by the ERASMUS+ Youth Leader Mobility scheme to run two fantastic 8 day trainings for Youth Leaders in August and September.

In the training participants will learn how to empower young people to identify and use their unique strengths and qualities, in service to themselves and their communities. This will enable them to develop more rewarding careers and take an active and positive role in their local communities.

deb_poppyBy Deborah Benhan

A PhD Marine biologist and animal behavior expert, Deborah is an environmental educator and sustainability designer working to support the emergence of regenerative culture and the recovery of healthy ecosystems through innovative design, stakeholder engagement, multidisciplinary education and deep nature connection.

Ten videos about protecting the planet

April 22nd 2016 will mark a significant day in the transition towards a more just and sustainable future. On this day we celebrate Earth day; we celebrated the signing on the Paris Accord and action from over 160 countries towards protecting our environment.

The environmental movement has come together every year since 1970 until present to show solidarity for change. Earthday is now celebrated by over 192 countries with over 220,000 partner organisations.

Below is are 10 videos/movies around protecting the planet.

1. Sylvia Earle – Protecting our oceans

2. John Francis – Walk the earth – 17 year vow of silence.

3. Give earth a hand

4. Planetary: Movie

5. An inconvenient truth

6. Louise Schwarzburg – Nature/Beauty/Gratitude

7. Our Future

8. Save the oceans / Feed the world – Ted Talk

9. Nature is speaking series

10. A case for optimism on climate change



XjnMopamBlog by Allan Gray

Allan is local to the area of Moray and a graduate of the University of Highlands and Islands with a degree in Sustainable Rural Development. Allan has key interests in environmental protection, cycling and in the community of Moray.

Newbold House Garden ‘Stupa’

Stupa.pngThe location of this garden feature, formerly a potato patch, was chosen after consultation with the house management in the summer of 2001. Ramon, from Spain, Myrta and Helen, were the Managers at the time. Preliminary work on the foundations in the form of a 6-foot diameter concrete base, was begun in the autumn of that year. Helen, a New Zealander who was in charge of the garden, reported that her spiritual guidance informed her that on an energetic level, such a structure would be of benefit to the garden. The house was always keen to encourage individual projects in the past – beginning with a rush of enthusiasm, only to fizzle out some time later, when the instigator, for whatever reason, become discouraged or, as inevitably happens, left the community.


Charles C’s intention was to peruse the project whenever he visited Newbold from the north of England, where he was then living. The stones used in building the ‘Stupa’ came from a  variety of locations : in the surrounding forests, the beach, the garden itself and eventually from a working sandstone quarry a few miles south of Elgin. Collecting suitable materials took a long time, work was often interrupted by the weather, but the ‘Stupa’ was eventually completed over the course of the following two summers. It is about 12 feet in height. The House generously contributed to the costs in form of a donation. The simple landscaping in the immediate vicinity of the ‘Stupa’ including grassing and the planting of a protective hedge, was done with a tee-pee maker, woodsman and traveller, ‘Tree Paul’. He donated the various seedling trees which together form the crescent shaped border.

The ‘Stupa’ remains in our garden at Newbold decorated and studded with a variety of items; most of the crystals and fossils were found around the hills, mountains and seashores of Britain. Some were, however, donated by individuals. A small space was left in the ‘Stupa’ to accommodate a shallow box which holds a few items connected both with the house and world at large; photos of some of the house residents since the mid 1980s, as well as a few newspaper cuttings telling of some major national and world events of the time.

Why not come a see our ‘Stupa’ and the rest of our walled gardens at our garden taster events.



Star Beings by Sonja Grace

People around the world have practiced some sort of spiritualism throughout history. The human experience lends to our soul body having physical form and the opportunity to feel achievement. Our natural state is in spirit form. The pain and bliss all rolled into one when we incarnate is the threshold of transformation spiritually. This is why many religions have pursued everything from fasting to self-flagellation. The body can endure so much with our constant need to test and measure our strength. What did humans believe in and pray to prior to our known history? Archeology has provided much of the evidence with carvings, art and inscriptions of figures that were revered. But who are these beings and where did they come from? The number of star beings that have visited earth far exceeds the imagination of humans. We have experienced higher intelligence and their ability to cut stones with precision that can’t be reproduced even today.

We have monuments in the earth that tell time and mark the seasons with mathematical and astronomical accuracy and yet we refuse to look beyond our own earthly existence. How can God create such a magnificent place and out of an infinite universe only create life on earth? This is the limited thinking of our species. Scientists today are finding other galaxies with earth like planets. They have even stated that life on other planets seems more and more likely. Extraterrestrials or star beings come in all shapes and sizes, some more advanced than humans and with physical form. Some aliens have no form and try to inhabit other bodies that are already here. We have limited our minds to believe if we can’t see it then it’s not real. That negates your energy systems, what you feel and the entire spirit realm! The unseen can be scary to many people and this comes from living in a society that has nurtured the wounded child. Until we parent that inner five year old and comfort their fear we have a tendency to experience ‘fear’ as if we were still five years old. This results in a lot of adults running around acting out their wounded inner child. Our beliefs coupled with our fear about facing the truth has perpetuated this problem resulting in a wide spread denial. It seems nearly impossible to ignore the facts that science has discovered thus far.

We once thought humans existed for the past 200,000 years. That number recently jumped to 400,000 years. That is mind bending in relationship to religion and puts what people worshiped in the past into more perspective. Star beings have come to earth to help our species, educate, experiment on and simply observe. Others have already integrated and cross pollinated with humans. There is an influence from above that has marked many sites around the world from Stonehenge to the Great Pyramids. We have been intercepted by the Gods in many lifetimes and those who experienced such an encounter left us the messages carved in stone with a much different understanding for the star beings that came to earth.

sonja desert-2

By Sonja Grace

For over thirty years, author and Mystic Healer, Sonja Grace has been offering her international clientele, immediate stability, clarity, and guidance. Sonja is an energy surgeon who works with the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. She helps clients process emotional wounds, clear karma and gain inner peace. Sonja’s new book ‘Spirit Traveler’ will be available through Findhorn Press this October and her latest book ‘Become and Earth Angel’ Advice and Wisdom for Finding your Wings and Living in Service is now available at Findhorn Press. Her companion film series ‘Earth Angel’ can be found on her website

BookExperience and learn with Sonja Grace Earth Angel Training in the Spiritual Body. May 11th-May 15. It includes meditation, processing, healing and ultimately a deep inner peace. This 5 day intensive is about releasing all resistance and attachment to who you are and discovering what it feels like to sit in deep meditation and feel inner peace. Experience the soul body as Earth Angel Sonja Grace guides you to your original consciousness.


My journey to connect the Gift Economy with intimate embodiment…

Many studies have shown that regular sexual activity can benefit our health in a myriad of ways: boosting immunity, reducing stress, and even preventing heart attacks. Yet so many of us still struggle with intimacy and sexual expression. More and more people, though, are becoming conscious that they can change this.

I passionately believe the power of the work I do as an Embodied Intimacy Coach can be transformational and that everyone should have access to it if they need it. I invested and trained so that I could make a real difference to peoples’ lives and wellbeing. So recently I’ve been asking myself ‘If I’m serious about this, why should only those with a certain amount of money benefit?’

lilytorso1Through my work with Newbold Trust I was lucky enough to be part of a presentation and discussion about the Gift Economy with Fabien Barouch. In brief this is based on the principle that my work is my gift to you and you may choose to show your appreciation by making a gift to me in return. Your gift may be monetary in value. But it may be that you feel better able to offer me a gift which has some other kind of value, or even a combination of the two. Most importantly there are no obligations or expectations.

And – as many of my clients experience a ‘lightbulb moment’ when they start to really connect with their body – I experienced a sudden inspiration that if one of the key principles of how I work is through co-created experience (working collaboratively with my clients to explore the path that is right for them, and taking that journey together), then shouldn’t I also be using a ‘payment system’ based in co-creation?

This is a radical step in a world where practitioners and therapists are urged to value their work more fully, and many often don’t acknowledge the true worth of what they do. And, of course, it also raises questions about what we actually mean by ‘value’.

Money is a key factor in how most people approach the idea of value. And often doing things ‘by donation’ are seen as cheapening. But for me it helps to think of it differently: that there is a difference between a donation and a gift – not so much ‘PAY what you WANT’ but more ‘GIVE what you CAN’ – acknowledging the real value to you of the work you receive from me, and understanding everything which has gone into enabling it.

This way of doing things involves trust for both of us. But, after all, trust is a crucial part of becoming more conscious with intimacy. Engaging with this work is all about building relationships – with yourself, with others. Without trust it’s hard to have an authentic relationship, or to explore what you really need.

So I’m about to embark on an experiment in trust, value, reciprocation and authenticity which feels exciting: from now on I’ll be offering my work on a Gift Economy basis – helping folks rediscover their connection to their body, intimacy, touch, and their erotic potential as a gift rather than a transaction.

I believe that putting trust at the heart of ‘value’ will bring an authenticity to this work that money alone can never achieve. And bring rewards to both me and those I work with far beyond even the importance of the work itself. I’m grateful to those like Fabien and the Foundation who have already begun to tread this trail for allowing me to make this profound realisation. We can never truly know the wider benefits our actions may have on helping others to feel things differently. I’ll let you know how I get on – and maybe you’ll be inspired to explore this path with me!

quintasensual profile picBy Michael Dresser

Certified Embodied Intimacy Coach, Newbold Trust Operations Manager and Homecare Focaliser.

With a background in music, theatre, graphic design, and office and project management, Michael brings creativity to the Homecare department, and order to the rest of the team!