Spending time in nature is not only good for our mental and physical wellbeing , its good for our soul. We were created to live in harmony with the natural world not to be seperated from it.
When you reconnect to this earth you belong too , you reconnect to a lost part of your own being.
Regular time spent engaging with the wildness of nature , observing its cycles , noting the effects of the weather , learning the cycles of growth and decay – puts you in touch with a much wider circle of life – it brings a greater understanding of our own innate being.
It allows you to become aquatinted with other. That which is other than human and to see how we are deeply interconnected to a wider web of living and life .
You begin to notice the similarities and differences in being and realise how diverse this marvellous creation called Earth, really is.
Thats why I trained as a Wild Therapist.
For me there is something that happens when we take healing connection outside and allow nature to become part of the process. Something profound takes place. Sometimes obvious , sometimes much more subtle – but things always move and shift.
Perspectives change. However temporarily. Room gets made for new connections. Space is created for exploration and enquiry , curiosity and playfulness.
We allow ourselves to drop deeper , tensions abate , breathing deepens , even in our raw edges and painful places we feel held by an invisible love.
A love we may not know yet. A love we may find hard to bare. But it is there.
The love from nature. Silently waiting for us to reach out to it .
Patiently waiting for us all to come home.
If you would like to explore this healing connection with nature in a therapeutic capacity contact Alexa at firstname.lastname@example.org or look at the Wild Wisdom page for more information.
You don’t have to go far to look for the medicine you need, its often right on your door step ,or in your garden. Its in those flowers that keep catching your eye and those trees you keep being drawn to sit beneath .
It’s in those plants in fields you dismiss as weeds and in the energy of the woodland or moorland you are drawn to visit .
I have always had a connection with trees and plants long before I trained as an essence practitioner , learning to tune into the needs of others to discern the essences that can best support them come back to balance .
I’m often suddenly drawn on a whim ( though not by accident ! ) to create an essence that helps address a particular state I happen to be experiencing. I’ll have got stuck usually and be lost as to how I can move forward so I turn to the nature kingdom and my guides and ask if there is an essence I can take to help . Sometimes the reply will be to make one as the one I need doesn’t exist .
Last Autumn Equinox I was guided to make an essence from the energy of this time of transition, in my own garden. The process actually started two days before the equinox itself but it was part of the alchemy of the essence .
It was a windy tempestuous day full of sun then rain and wind and hail and cloud then blue skies . I was given a process to follow and I did . I wasn’t even sure at first what it was for or if it would “work”, but those intentions became clear as the making unfolded.
The next day was so still even the clouds didn’t move . No leaves moved . No breeze blew.No sounds in the space at all . All the chaos of the day before had dropped into absolute calm. And I sat hearing the traffic around me ,the turbulence of the world out side my garden and marvelled at the stillness , presence and calm within it .
As time passed and I noted the subtle signs of the environment around me , the messages of the energy of the space and it became clear the essence is to support us find calm in chaos , balance in turbulent times , our center when we are scattered.
It’s medicine from the Earth. She has all you need to heal .
I have used this essence numerous times when things seem to be moving too fast or become too hectic. It helps to settle and bring inner calm and a centred space , clearing confusion and helping bring clarity. Its supportive during seasonal transitions or when there is a shift into rapid movement that can overwhelm or disorient us.
We can learn so much from our world if we take time to listen and follow our inner prompts .
Embodiment requires you to drop out of the head space ,the place of thinking and judging, observing and questioning, answering and processing external stimuli.
It requires you to drop down from the mind space and in to the physical space of the body you inhabit, the space of feeling and sensing. We can often believe we are in this place as it feels impossible to conceive that we are in fact existing outside of ourselves , in our thinking , in our heads , separated from our bodies by our minds.
I recently found a space , over a weekend , to be completely still for a prolonged period of time and in this time I journeyed inwards. It was a spontaneous decision that arose from wondering ‘what happens if I choose to do absolutely nothing ?’ So I followed the impulse.
I lay down and did nothing but consciously bring myself and my attention into my body. For several hours I came back into myself .
For the first time in nearly 2 decades I experienced a profound sense of contentment , a long forgotten yet familiar experience of oneness with myself and my environment. An echo of a memory of womblike safety and comfort . Nothing required of me , except to be . A blissfully euphoric experience.
I encountered many profound realisations in this place that I continued to process for several days afterwards – most notably my desire to return to that state and live within it permanently – followed by another realisation that it is not a state we can inhabit all the time in this world . There is too much going on. But it is a place we can visit and restore ourselves in from time to time .
On the one hand this was a very easy journey to make in and of itself , however its been years of work to arrive at a point where it became possible. The conditions just happened to be the right ones .
So I share with you here my journey , my Embodied Initiation. The poem is in 2 parts . The second part, Entering The Void will follow in my next blog .
Initiation Embodied- part 1
I drop down , down from the mind space ,
down ,down, down ,into the body space
and meet the numb indifference,
the pain, the anger, the sadness, the rage,
The fear, the anxiety, the empty spaces where ‘I’ used to be.
The hollows where ‘I’ used to feel .
The absences where ‘I’
I sense the breaks , the fractures, the rips in the fabric of my being and
I follow the painful and uncomfortable sensations;
The awkwardness, the restlessness,
the bruising and the stitches.
The aching and the cramping,
the heaviness and the stiffness.
The conflicting need to run and be motionless,
petrification and endless turmoil; flowing in,
only to be catapulted out again in fear,
in anxiety , in shock.
In shame , in guilt, in bitterness,
Back and forth between body and mind
I can anchor a sense of safety in myself.
I can find the part of me that is always standing strong .
Unshakable and present.
Until I trust this part is here for me.
Until it has proven itself to me a thousand times
and never let me down.
I keep coming back to myself , until all is well
and then I drop down.
Down , down ,down into the body
that I used to know;
that I used to feel;
That I used to love,
before it was broken.
And I drop down deeper ,
under the skin.
Into the abyss.
And enter the void.
(All words and image copyright The Well of Belonging 2018.)
Having had a short break from the computer to gather myself in and do some inner work to bring myself back to centre , I thought I’d share another of the artworks I created as part of the Journey cards.
This one , as the name suggests, holds the energy of the centre of the Sacred space, the place where all things meet in balance ,where all is connected and held in love awaiting the right time for its potential to become manifest . It is the space between the spaces, where all things come from and to which all is returned. In the medicine wheel it represents the element of ether , the place of spirit. A place of stillness and paradoxically movement from within.
I often visualise it as a cauldron with all the other elements combining to create a potent potion , the brew of inspiration that will bring forth new ideas and new perspectives or offer a space to drink of the healing medicine contained within it. A medicine that takes us on a journey, to a timeless place of limitless possibilities and allows us to glimpse the threads of the web we are weaving our lives upon. Where we enter the void of beginning and ending, dying and being reborn , in each moment , over and over again.
This is one of my favourite images, I find it very powerful and evocative for a number of reasons , non of which I am able to share.
Some of what we are shown and taught by our guides is not for others to know. Its is for us to keep and work with as we reclaim our inner power . To tell all abroad to others is at times to diminish the energy and medicine of what one has learned. Its called The Sacred Mystery for a reason xx
As those of you who have visited The Well of Belonging will be aware , I have a life long connection to and awareness of ‘Other’. That which is other than human. Land spirits, plant spirits, animal spirits. I have felt drawn towards exploring and discovering a deeper connection to the beings that co-exist with us on this earth and those that support us and work with us in the other realms.
A path that is often termed these days as Shamanism. Whilst I would say the way in which I work could be considered shamanic in nature , I do not and would not consider myself by any stretch of the imagination to be ‘A shaman’ .
Striclty speaking a true Shaman is one who is called by the spirits themselves , receives numerous initiations by them and is usually apprenticed to another in their lineage for a number of years before being allowed to call themselves Shaman. The spirits themselves decide if you are up to the job – one which is actually full of pitfalls and dangers and needs to be navigated with the utmost care and with full knowledge of what one is doing.
Shaman means ,one who knows. A shaman is often a well respected member of the community, whose life is dedicated to mediating between the human and spirit realms on behalf of both, to support the wellbeing of the place, the spirits and the people. To maintain harmony and balance for all concerned. You can’t become a shaman in a weekend. But you can utilise some of the practices, such as journeying, to enhance your own connections to your helpers, guides and teachers in spirit.
For a lot of people in Western cultures sadly, our connection to our native spiritual heritage was severed long ago with the advent of Christianity- and those who had the knowledge were either murdered or went into hiding. So we have had to patch together fragments from our oral history and combine them with borrowed practices from other cultures, likely to be similar to our own ancient practices and do our best to reconnect the threads of our spiritual and nature connected heritage .
There aren’t many who are connected to a lineage and most people, like myself are in effect taught through their relationship with their guides.
The majority of people in the modern world who are drawn to shamanism , those that aren’t part of an established tradition or culture, work within what is termed core shamanism- which is a set of practices gathered by western anthropologists studying other tribal cultures , that are utilised to help dissociated and disconnected westerners re-connect to their own innate capacity for relationship with beings beyond the physical , human realms.
One of the main ways of doing this that is often taught is Journeying. The prescribed method is to lie down , with eyes closed and listen to the repetitive beat of a drum and journey on its sound into the spirit realms of upper, middle and lower world. The concept and knowledge of these 3 realms is shared by all cultures across the globe.
You journey first to a beginning place , somewhere that has a familiar counter part to a place you know well in this realm. Then you ask for a guide to connect with who will be your helper and obviously , guide, around the inner realms. Time is spent forming a relationship with these guides before you are then ready to be taken to the access point for the Lower, Middle and Upper realms. Usually the most common presentation representing these 3 worlds is the World Tree. The roots represent connection to the Lower world. The trunk Middle world and the branches the Upper World.
Some people connect to this practice very well and very easily – but it requires an ability to be able to both be relaxed in body and mind enough to leave this world behind, whilst remaining conscious of what is happening, so you can bring back the information /healing you need. It is essentially dreaming whilst being awake.
But this isn’t the only way to journey , nor is it the only way to find or strengthen your connection to your own guides, helpers and other realms. Its a method I’ve found quite frustrating and difficult because it doesn’t always happen the way its described.
There is a big emphasis on the visual aspect of the journey and of seeing what is going on – but not everyone sees clear images of what is taking place.Some experience the journey as a purely physical event -with bodily sensations providing the information. Some see only colours or hear messages.
Every one is different and so it makes sense that we will each have our own method.At the end of the day the purpose is to learn to work with your own guides and helpers and not everyone is destined to travel between the realms this way . I spent years wasting time being overly concerned with getting it right , until I eventually gave in and accepted the fact that this way, may not be my way, and my guides and helpers will show me what I need to know , in ways that work for me .
Some people, like me , can’t travel to the sound of a drum beat , its too loud and intrusive for me to be able to relax enough. So I don’t bother with it . The drum beat is there to help you shift your brain waves from one state to another so you enter into a state of consciousness that is between waking and sleeping. But there are many ways of doing this.
Some people can do it at will , some do it with breath, some do it with meditation, some do it with rattles . I find silence and stillness quite helpful. Singing and chanting is another good way. Dreaming is another way of learning to journey.
One of the ways that works very well for me and no doubt lots of creative types , is though creating art. I find working with story, a very powerful way of journeying, that brings imagery and language together to bring awareness of what needs to be healed . Creativity using the imagination offers a way to connect with and bring back information from the spirit realms to this one. For many people, the creating of the art work is the Journey.
So here, I offer the second of the images from the Journey cards series , as well as a Journey Poem I have been given permission by my guides to share with you.
Old Mother Raven
came to my door ,
to tell me of wisdom and ancient law.
Dressed in fine feathers, with eyes darkest black,
My next offering will be a series of artworks I created for use as Journey Cards. Each of the images were created with the help of my guides and helpers in Otherworld, the beings of the elemental realms and local places in nature that are willing to offer their energy and support as a way of encouraging us humans to re-connect with our oldest ancestor- the very Earth upon which we live.
They want us to know that we are not living here alone – we are part of a vast web of consciousness that is interrelated and interconnected – and we always have been.
As humanity has raced ahead with its technological advancement we have left behind and forgotten our roots, our real family, our true place in the cosmos, our only home. We have forgotten how to dream, how to journey to connect with the other than human. We have been torn from our Sacred heritage and understanding of the seasons and the natural cycles of birth, life and death and the rituals and ceremonies that honour them and in so doing, remind us of our role as stewards and guardians of the Earth.
Imagery is a powerful way to connect to our subconscious memories and to open us to our source of deep connection through the psyche and the intuitive senses. We put our rational minds to one side and allow ourselves to sit in stillness and open to the language of the Soul . We allow ourselves to been shown what it is we need to see, in the mirror of the image and we allow what comes to lead us on a journey of discovery, to the medicine we need .
Fire is our oldest ally. Our most ancient human ancestors learned to create fire to keep warm, ward off anything that might want to eat us, to cleanse with smoke and burn away with heat the dross so it can be transformed.
We learned to cook food with fire.We learned how to use it to create healing medicines by heating the plants in water to bring out their medicinal properties and we learned how to use it to heat metals and alloys to craft tools and weapons.
Fire, as an ancestor, has kept us alive and given us many inspirations to help us to thrive and evolve. We owe much to this humble element. By connecting to its energy we can learn a great deal about the fire in our own being and we can contemplate how its nature has shaped our own .
I call this Card – The Ancestors- and it holds the energy of the fire element in the South (or East direction of the medicine wheel for me, depending on which circle I am working in).
In the Old traditions of Britain the Element of Fire was placed in the South, however when I began to work with the Goddess in circle, I was told to place Fire in the East.
You may place it somewhere else entirely. It’s actually a very interesting exercise to consider each element, in each direction and see what this reveals to you.
As you may know if you have been following my Facebook page , I have set myself a challenge to share one creative post a day to help me to both connect with my self and my own creativity and to reach out more to you.
I was having a look for something that felt like it wanted to be shared. Something that had energy and relevance at this point in time and I came across the following poem and painting .
The Painting was something I did following one of the ERT training weekends . One of the body areas and character positions we learnt about is the Boundary Position and the Boundary Character.
This area is located in the top part of the head and includes the eyes and brings up material relating to our experiences whilst we are gestating in the womb, prior to us coming into the world , our birthing experiences and the effect that has on us and the period from birth, relating to our bonding with care givers and the world around us . Working with this area can bring up issues/difficulties with making/creating/maintaining healthy attachment to others , trauma related to being born, pre-conscious issues of contact, connection, safety and belonging and later issues of how we keep and maintain our own personal and energetic boundaries with others or not.
There is initially no boundary between a mother and her unborn child. They are one . What effects the mother affects the child .We come into the world already imprinted with the energy of the environment our developing form was exposed too, from our mothers experiences of her own inner/outer worlds and the effect this has on her, physically, emotionally, psychologically and psychically, including the people and places she is exposed too and the ways in which she relates and is related to.
We are formed from the DNA of both parents and so we inherit cellular memories from them and our ancestors in our genetic make-up. This genetic imprint will inform the basis of our developing personality and character without our conscious awareness. Something that I found deeply fascinating.
That those who have now gone, possibly generations before us , who we may never have known or met in this life , can have an influence on who we become. With some aspects only occurring randomly because those specific DNA keys happened to be activated as the cells we were to become, began to divide. We are a totally unique signature of this latent genetic information, passed down in the atoms of our parents to us. Its why siblings can often have such different characters and personalities despite coming from the same home and environment.
I remember my mum showing a black and white photograph once of a young woman dressed in 1800’s clothing – I was a bit shocked to see my cousin , who isn’t usually found wearing a dress of any description, in a lace collared pinafore dress and smart shoes. Had she started modelling ? Had my uncle started another photographic project ? As it happened , as you may have guessed, the photo wasn’t actually of my cousin at all. It was of my Great-Great Aunt Rose I f I remember rightly – who my cousin just happened to look identical too. It was slightly spooky to see the two in photos side by side – one face from the past and one from the present as though aunt Rose had popped into a Tardis and time travelled to the 1990’s 100 or so years after dying.
Its not just our looks that are influenced but our whole way of being in the world . Which traits from our ancestry do we have affecting our experience of life at this moment in time? whose humour did we inherit ? whose skills and abilities are present ? whose undesirable personality quirks do we have the misfortune of being stuck with?
Which brings me on to the poem that accompanies the picture. This was done months later , on a whim, as a fleeting moment of inspiration drifted into my awareness whilst I contemplated writing an article about Flower Essences and how they help us to work through our ingrained and habitual patterns , some of which we bring here karmically and ancestrally.
The energetic blueprint of all that has gone before in our family line is coded into the very fabric of our own energy system , offering those of us who have come here to help heal this material for our past and future generations, an opportunity to do so. Often guided into a path of serving others initially and then one of discovering various modes of healing and energy work, at some point, we will discover we are experiencing material that doesn’t feel as if it is directly our own and yet it is also our own.
It has been unconsciously working itself out through us , until such a time that we are able to consciously work with it – with the awareness that it belongs to a lineage, not an individual. This forms part of the lessons we have come here to learn and the knowledge we have come here to activate and utilise as the worlds decent into catastrophe and greater imbalance, forces the need for us all to do our own inner work to help bring the balance back.
As we work through these old stories we have a chance to rewrite the code for ourselves and those who come after us. What we heal in ourselves we heal for everyone connected to our line.
So here is todays creative offering , I hope you enjoy it .