Summer and exposure

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As summer energy begins to spread through the land in its blooming attire we have an opportunity to come out, lay bare, expose.

Summer is a time for outer expression, exploring potential and examining inner and outer in its full spectrum. As nature steps into its blooming coat, so do we seek opening up and exploring. This is a ‘Full Moon time’ in its energetic signature, if you like, where things have built up within and without and it is time to show ourselves to the world and to ourselves, warts and all.

My trip to the island of Skomer on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales made me see parallels between how nature comes into its full potential and how it is an opportunity for us to expose all that had been hidden, open up to a more authentic way of being. The insight came through my own experience of fully exposing parts of myself that might not seem favourable, ugly even, yet while in nature I felt it almost necessary to go with whatever was manifesting within and it felt safe. This experience was new and I suspect there will now be more chances for me to ‘show myself’ fully. I have been in ‘hiding’ during summer months for as long as I remember, yet, perhaps, the time has come to make changes in ways of expression and authenticity.

With exposure comes acceptance and an integration follows, which is an important part to bringing us back to whole, back to ourselves. Was I scared I won’t be accepted or be judged? In the moment I didn’t think, I simply was in a state I was in. I did and didn’t enjoy it, as one would expect, but with exposure and real experience comes such clarity and awareness, which is so useful. On reflection when an opportunity comes for an exposure so does fear for not being accepted for who we are. As a society certain traits and behaviours might be looked down on, but there is also a chance that people that you surround yourself with will sit through that ‘exposure’ with you and become curious about sides of you they might not have seen before. If they manage to hold the experience and still feel the same those are the people that are meant to be around you, furthermore it gives others an opportunity to do the same, i.e. becoming more ‘exposing’ of themselves, accepting of others and freer as a result. We are all dark and light, beautiful and less so, hard and soft and the ability to be present with it all makes us stronger in knowing ourselves and connecting even deeper with others. We often fear alienating others and seek to conform, hide and comply, but we all know what that feels like. Sooner or later all of our inner pieces that are yearning to be exposed will spill into an ugly mess.

I felt inspired watching nature in its most open state, in its full blooming capacity. Nature doesn’t think or waits to be exposed it just does it regardless every year. Summer is the culmination of that energy manifesting everywhere. With exposure comes danger, as beauty can be just as threatening as ugliness. On some level we are threatened not just by others’ beauty, but by our own. We often do not see or realise our own beauty and potential, so we remain hidden and silent. ‘Be brave’, summer would say, bloom anyway even when someone might step on our blooming heart or cut us down mindlessly without a second thought. The song we sing might be our last, as we take flight into the summer air, but sing anyway, the more beautiful the better. Exposure of the body, mind and spirit is so necessary and summer is a powerful time to explore ourselves in our most vulnerable, naked state. There is a potential to be fully empowered.

I learnt the only way to be authentic is just that – expose. Summer allows that space and a perfect opportunity to seek acceptance from within. If we can stand our own shadow energies, watch it unfold, manage to contain it post-exposure and still be ok, we become more whole. This process is of freeing ourselves from the thinking that is harsh and judgemental, often coming from within. Take inspiration from blooming flowers and singing birds, vulnerable, but free in knowing they are blooming even if just for a short time. Nature is accepting of itself, it is not critical, shy or seeking approval. It just is. What greater example is there of authenticity of being.

 

Forest overdose

Images: Epping forest
copyright RawPagan

An interesting memory was triggered within me accompanied by a powerful experience when having been out in the forest all day on a workshop I felt extremely unwell.

I began feeling it was too much half way through the day as my vision got fuzzy and I felt pressure in my head. I also found it difficult to connect to others while in nature.

The experience took me back to my childhood when I remember spending long days in a forest either berries or mushroom picking and just how exhausted we all felt afterwards. I experienced the same symptoms yesterday, bright red face with a strong headache, blurred vision and feeling very tired physically. Not a pleasant state to be in. Nature overdose. I am convinced it is possible and spending long periods of time out in nature amongst trees can really alter things within us and it can be a difficult adjustment, experience.

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My sacred woodland

Across the road from my house there lies a woodland. It is a short pleasant walk into what is a sacred place to me. At first sight it might seem like nothing particularly special, big or of any significance, yet to me it means everything. It is a sacred crucible, which has been holding my pain and joy, ecstasy and turmoil and provided a solid presence and acceptance for many years now.

The way I would describe it in a way of imagery is a circle of greenery, it is a round shape, not too big, positioned slightly more to the left off the path although it stretches to the right too with a path running all the way round it and across it. It inhibits the lives of many oaks, holly trees, silver birches and smooth-skinned beeches. There are many hidden groves within the woodland where one cannot be seen from any of the paths and it feels like one is in a safe hold of the forest floor, trees above and plants all around. I often feel hugged by my guardian trees and most of them I can climb in between, as they stand in clusters. There is a brook running through the middle, small, narrow, but very alive with vibrancy of the crystal clear water.

In spring the woods change its flooring to vibrant purple of bluebells and the smell stretches all senses in a delicious dance of delirium. The joy is indescribable and it takes my breath away every time. In summer it is near to impossible to go off the path due to overgrowth of ferns and brambles and the air is so still I can hear my heart beat. I hold my breath in surrender to the cooling shelter that it provides amidst the heat of summer days.

In autumn it is very pleasant and paths yet again begin to open up for accessing all the hidden little groves, beginning to invite us slowly into the heart of the woods and our inner worlds. Here I cocoon myself for an hour or so doing magic or simply lying on the floor merging with the earth. There is a notable chill in the air, but so refreshing and, of course, the golden attire of trees never fails to get me to the floor kneeling before its majesty. In winter it is bare in all its glory and I can see the most intricate silhouettes of trees entwining their branches and huddling together against the wind. Stunning in their nakedness they stand strong in their vulnerability.

This woodland has been in my heart for many years and witnessed my process intimately holding all my secret heart desires and painful experiences. I never once left this place without a resolution, an answer or a transformation of some kind. It works every time. It is my trusted teacher, friend, guardian, counsellor, mother/father, the divine. It is something I can’t imagine my life without and its vibration has been aligning with my own for many moons whether it was performing my nature spells, meditating, talking to trees or spending time in close embrace with the earth smelling and feeling the glory of its body and soul. It might be a simple woodland, yet to me it is sacred and precious.

I now intend to take other people on soul quests through this wonderful place where I hope they, like myself, will find resolution, understanding, healing and transformation. I offer OUTDOOR therapy for clients in the UK, Uxbridge area.

Spring forest bathing

My heart is overflowing with gratitude for the spring air filling my lungs and the sun caressing my face as gentle as a feather.

The birdsong is wondrous and exquisite in its multi-tonal spiral of a whistle.

I melt into the earth’s awakening feeling and see the mother welcoming me into her embrace.

Trees are smiling with warmth inside their trunks and wave branches about in ecstatic spring dance.

Spring, oh so gentle and soft in colours yellow, white and purple. Delightful energy of calmness and tranquility.

I love how everything stops when I lie on the ground looking up to the sky through delighted tree tops and birdsong accompanies me into deep relaxation.

 

Winter Sun

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This year for me is intended to be all about the Sun. My relationship with it, its energetic associations, masculine energy and the quality of Fire. The Sun and I have not been friends I must say due to my intolerance to heat, however, there is more to the Sun than the ability to warm and dry the earth. It shows us different sides, I feel depending on the season. Through running my workshop on the four seasons ‘Four Seasons of the Psyche’ I intend to redefine my relationship with summer and the Sun’s heat and the meaning of ‘burning’. I seek to grow into embracing and opening up to what I had often shrunk from. I would like to start observing the Sun in all its seasonal presentations, colours, energies, meanings and its effects on me starting with winter.

In spiritual terms I am drawn to an old ritual and story from Russia surrounding the Sun God, day and night Zorya Goddess

In Druidry there is a tradition to welcome the Sun in the morning and say goodbye to it at night RITUAL, which I do most days and it gives me a strong sense of belonging to the natural world and it also offers a purpose to the day, I find. In the morning I am ready to open myself up to whatever a day would bring, I go about my tasks and musings with intention and focus and when it is evening time I feel grateful to have lived another day and feel blessings inside my heart for all the joys I had experienced and challenges I had overcome. It can be a sort of meditation morning and evening, a daily practice, which roots us in where we are and what we are doing. I adore going out every morning into my garden whatever the weather, the first thing after waking. At night I often bow to the setting Sun and the rising Moon sometimes. It feel sacred, peaceful and meaningful.

For inspiration and devotionals, as part of your rituals and practice I recommend this book containing beautiful musings Celtic Devotional, Daily Prayers and Blessings by Caitlin Matthews 

It is January and the Sun today is bright and glorious. Winter Sun, I find, is not necessarily warming, but illuminating of senses, invigorating of energy within. It takes the film off my sight, so to speak, and clears my senses and I am able to gaze into it with clarity. Instead of Fire energy it has Air qualities to it – penetrating, alert, imaginative, light, and free-spirited. It has a spiritual feel to it too in terms of a visionary and intuitive, it is clear, pure, bright and inspiring. I am finding that I love winter Sun, which also brings crispy, frosty mornings and clear blue sky with it. The whole combination is so rejuvenating that I can never help myself but go out into the clear space of a winter morning. I like feeling a tingle on my face and warmth on the inside as I walk through woods and country fields. I can breathe fully and oh how life-giving it feels.

Image by Katie Still Jackson (Facebook)

I love today

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My heart beats with warmth and love today. There is a dizzy feeling of comforting intoxication. I like many things today. I appreciate many things today within and without and it feels contained and safe. Today I am in love with the process of writing and reading about nature and people, who are in deeply sacred relationship with it. I snuggled into the feeling of belonging, understanding and sharing. I am in a place of acceptance, kindness and compassion. I smile and laugh with my parents today, I talk softly to my partner and shower my son with love and affection. I love today. I love my house, a place of safety, comfort, joy and beauty, I smile as I walk from one room to another. I am aware of everything within me. I hear an internal song, a whistle of a jolly soft tune my heart is humming carefree and settled. I go to my garden plot where my vegetables are in wonderful growth, they are blooming into a wonderful green picture of deliciousness. I stop to admire it all, I smell tomato plants and run my fingers through beetroot tops. Cucumbers are looking beautiful. I love cucumber leaves and yellow flowers. I free potato plants from a sea of weeds, which feel soft and wet under my feet and in my hands. I get into the rhythm and hear that humming jolly song again within my heart. I pause, breathe in, strengthen my back and stretch my arms high to the sky with gratitude and oh, such peace within me. I love today!

Crying your heart clean

This week I am in North Wales surrounded by earth, sky and sea. Everything is in perfect harmony in nature yet on the inside there’s a turmoil, which seems to continue this spring.

I adore the land and its useful teachings and I ask for peace in my heart. I have climbed rocks and mountains, sat by the sea and today I am going into the woods.

The deeper into the woods you go the deeper the unfolding process.

The energy of the moss is one of the most delicious sensations I have ever experienced. It is my point of merging with the earth when I touch the soft moist manifestation of the earth spirit. It is what I experience as the high vibration of soil intelligence. It feels calm, comforting and cooling.

Another sensation which is wonderful to my soul is cool pockets you find in the woods where air is very fresh and still and the whole body begins to vibrate. That feeling covers all senses in me when I become aware of the energy rising from the root up to the crown and I become one with spirit.


I went through the process which, if I wanted it, would have taken me deep into the darkness and out high into the light again. I went further than I did before today yet not completed. The overall message was again that through allowing dark emotions to be one can transcend it into a higher sensation of peace and joy. A relief or a release is always guaranteed. One always finds a way of feeling better even if it might not be clear what exactly happens. It can be subtle or profound. Interpretations can come in, symbols might come alive or it can just be a sensory and emotional experience of releasing whatever needs to go or be transformed. This is my experience in nature.

The first stop was a fallen tree, which laid across a forest waterfall. I sat on it reflecting on its symbolism in that moment. A bridge across emotions. I contemplated walking across the fallen tree and across the waterfall and in my mind I did sensing there’s achievement to be had in taking on challenging situations full of emotions. I sat still acknowledging the metaphor of the natural setting in front of me.

As I continued walking tears followed. I cried while hugging a tree, which was gently comforting me. A striking thing appeared after – that tree was missing its top, it was half dead, one might say, yet it felt very much alive and no more or less part of the whole. I would describe it as a disabled being with the spirit very much alive and its softness was deeply touching. It held on to me as I acknowledged its endurance.

Woods kept pulling me in deeper and deeper showing off its magnificent trails and labyrinth-like formations of emerald branches. The moss got thicker and greener under my feet. The path got narrower and the silence descended with pockets of spirit presence whether through a pure water running underneath branches or gentle white light amidst deep darkness.

I began to run and got tangled in the branches, stepped into mud, got wet and decided to stop. The pull was strong, but I made a decision to turn around. A possibility of what might have lied ahead scared me a bit and felt at that moment in time I was not ready to experience it. That’s ok. We are in charge of what we are ready to face and where to stop. I went further into the process today than I did previously. It reminds me of a therapeutic setting with a client, just like I am often a client with the woods as my therapist, when you take your client only as far as they can go, one step at a time, one experience at a time, one process at a time.

I came back lighter, feeling more energetic, in higher spirits and overall calmer.