I begin this offering as I undergo a deep transformative time in my life; hopeful that it will inspire or share and connect my journey with that of others from all over the globe. My way of reaching out from my sometimes isolating or hermit-like sense of experience. And of offering ideas and practical experiments on my wilderness path - such as recipes, healing practices I have found helpful or plant knowledge. I will also share thoughts and connected research or ideas. Photography and where relevant other art forms, media or links will be shared as I become re-familiarised with the blogging world as well as my love of books and knowledge. I am not concise in my writing and often stream-of-consciousness. I hope this experience will also help me to refine my writing skills as a developing craft. This beginning post is an introduction to my inspirations, my foundations and my intentions - where I can possibly see these - as I sense blogging will be an organic, ever-flowing process! Many of my passions, interests and discoveries are merging into one another and opening up new doorways of opportunity and learning. This is my way of recording and attempting to share these.
I will stumble ahead on the rocky twisted-root path, asking you as reader to perceive me as The Fool in the Tarot or the fairy tale protagonist of countless mythical pathways – curious, excited, inspired and open – driven by wildness and spirit. However, although always the keen student, I am beginning to see clearly that I hold some knowledge that feels far older than myself, gifts that touch upon many stories I am finding. I hope that I can find suitable words and insights that may inspire and guide others on their journeys. This blog is a personal map or record so I do not forget why or lose my passion. Where possible over time it will be connected with projects, my developing healing work and similar resources both local and global. There feels to be few, if any limits, beyond my own apprehension of putting my thoughts and experiences “out there!”
My Inspiration; My Fire & My Growing Roots
I theme this blog with my first and deepest love of nature and work with plants and people. These are my roots, my early beginnings in a vocation in environmentally-conscious living, coloured by a childhood of liminal other-world-gifts and muddy knees, tree climbing, animal and tree best friends and long hours of roaming the woods and fields! I keep one foot in the soil, one foot in the stars.
I add my flavours of these experiences; highly influenced by my current training as a Shamanic Practitioner in Scotland (practising cross-cultural “core” shamanism) and my lifelong relationship with Spirit, the Earth and the realms in-between and parallel. I mix the practical and earthly as my interests in permaculture, herbal medicine, ecological systems, land-based living, foraging and wilderness experiences. I feed these in to and directly connect them with my deepening relationship with Spirit; which is largely as Sandra Ingerman refers by “direct revelation” and not specific to any one cultural tradition or path. However, Celtic / Northern European / Witchcraft influences will be witnessed here as I am especially drawn to these; in essence I am passionate about reclaiming the old ways close to and surrounding my land of birth, many of which were lost or near-lost from the brutal reformation times onwards. And feel deeply buried within my DNA, no doubt this is true, as I walk the path of ancestry - both soon with a DNA test - and spiritually with the shamanic and dreamworld work. I am also a professional tarot and rune reader of at least 15 years of experience, soon to incorporate new shamanic techniques which I will offer to the world when the time feels r. The psycho-spiritual roots of these practices continue to fascinate and bridge my abilities in a variety of settings and circumstances over the years - from festvi to intimate workshops or one-to-one, my favourite way to offer these ancient art forms. There will be posts devoted to this and soon an entire section of this site, including how to arrange a skype, in person or distance reading with me.
I am also fascinated by global spiritual and mythic traditions and love to explore these respectfully, open always to new ways of seeing and hearing human stories. I am actively exploring podcasts, blogs, articles and books that explore similar themes that I will share and actively support. Some of the areas closest to my heart are diversity within the human and non-human realms: ecological, neuro, cultural, gender, sexuality, spiritual perception / revelation, ethnicity, and beyond. And many of these areas of diversity I intend to tread with care, with respect for what is relevant to my story and what may not be (or what I may not yet see). It is my intention for these perspectives to honour the commonality in human experience: that which connects and transcends; alongside awareness of those experiences which create difference, division, ancestral wounding or current trauma. It is my passion to explore ways in which these themes and wounds can be healed, transmuted or become a source of resilience, revolution or power.
I have always felt in life that I have been quite a solitary being, floating on the “edges” of concepts, realities, movements, scenes and communities or social groups. I've often felt out of my body in life, but the wilder path is bringing powerful shifts here. Little has changed for me in this, except I now embrace and accept this about myself rather than struggle to fit in to too-limiting, too-narrow, rigid-feeling definitions of human experience (to me). My relationships to gender (biologically / bodily female, culturally in my society somewhere between gender fluid / non-binary - I tend to adopt the term Queer in it's re-envisioned aspect) and sexuality (Queer) are flowing and I struggle with any one "scene" or definition of this. This has spiritual significance also, more so in the community encounters including pagan - with mythic & ceremonial aspects of spiritual and sexual / gender based expression. Indeed, an area I am keen to bridge and work with more. Queer spirituality and experience of "realities" in their diverse forms will become no doubt a key thread throughout my posts and research, but also the fruit of several posts. I invite interaction and connection with this.
I will share some of my experiences, where it feels safe or wordable to do so, of my living on the edges or feeling like an almost "purposeful" outsider in my visionary sometimes isolating path since my childhood. A true sense of seeing deeper or of being more sensory heightened than most of my peers, friends, colleagues. I radically begun to change my life about 3 years; a breakdown of health and nervous system showing me I was repeatedly experiencing the same blocks, damages to my health, poor coping strategies (such as alcohol abuse) and exhaustion or even bullying for trying to "fit in" as many of us painfully try to do, consciously or otherwise, with the norms of our supposedly "civilised" western capitalist patriarchal peak-oil colonial-built society...
Of course, ecologically, the edges are the places where multiple worlds meet – flourishing with inspiration, life and variety – and nature supports that this is true sustainability, true harmony, where each being has a purpose in the web of life for the health of “the whole” (for example, coastal habitat meets woodland – awesome foraging all year round – where wildlife and plant diversity meet in these in-between places). Transition and merging of difference brings abundance and resilience. Renewal and possibility. Support and growth through all the cycles of life, rebirth, death and beyond. I constantly feel my fire reignite from contact with nature, with learning from nature's cycles and beings, from the companionship and deep sense of loving belonging I feel. Moving into a rural location has given me this purpose back, and directly reunited me with my wild soul and sense of self. Here, I see, finally after years of constantly moving, is where roots truly form. This is the transformative journey I share here.
Above: a misty dewy web: early morning wander of heather and oak, near my home in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire.
The Context, The Bedrock: From Which Resonance Flows
The politics and dominant ideologies of human power systems in these times are increasingly being challenged and in many ways torn down or threatened as many of us shift our awareness (Joanna Macy refers to it beautifully as “The Great Turning”). The Earth is holding us to account, the message of many indigenous peoples of this time, and many of us in the western or more privileged (at least in terms of access to resources, education, some equality and alternative ways of living / perceiving) parts of the world are waking up to this call in our beautifully diverse ways of expression or activism (allotments or urban food growing, community ecological movements, currency-free economies, re-learning the old ways of feeding and caring for ourselves, cooperative working, earth-based spirituality, wilderness quests, bushcraft etc...). It is an exciting and scary time to be alive as systems meet, clash or take their last stand as they rip out, farm or exploit the last [of: insert resource / mineral / energy form / living species / communities / indigenous people’s homelands & traditions here...].
I am passionate about these themes, which colour everything I think, write and feel here. Simply, like many, I seek a better way and I also believe it is very possible for humanity, even if it takes time and massive potentially destructive shifts before it can happen (sadly, that seems to be the direction in history and currently). Consciousness needs to shift on a massive scale, for the ways we live and interact with eachother and the non-human world to become their most evolved and peaceful. And this shifting is visible, even if it appears in the guises of shadow-projecting sociopathic emotionally-wounded / numb world leaders, corporate priority over human needs and health or a fragile monetary system - leading to resource pillaging and numerous wars and atrocities of human rights. People are rising up, information is more accessible now, along with alternatives that are perhaps more accessible in our more-connected-than-ever human world (which brings up pluses and minuses worthy of huge debates I expect I won't be going into personally here!). Politics however may be a vital contextual background, however it is not my area of primary focus for my writing here. Issues that I feel are influenced by current or historical political or power-based systems will appear, and so I am aware separation of politics from much of what I write here or even believe myself cannot be completely separated. However, there are many other fantastic resources for these contexts and where relevant I shall sign-post.
A simpler, gentler, empowering, connecting, earth-conscious way is what I seek and hope to manifest more into my life. A way that combines the wisdom and practices of the ancestors with the best and cleanest technology, innovation and capacities of the modern humans. A way, or multiple ways, that hold all of us (the human, non-human and beyond) as vital, integral and deserving of dignity and a “home” in this sorely fragmented age of existence. Much could be spent upon angst and rage and grief over loss of ecosystems, old ways, traditions, connection, community, untouched wilderness - but it is my aim always to acknowledge these hurts, their impacts, but also to seek empowering action. To explore ways that provide fertile ground for resistance to the harmful “norms” that perpetuate injuries of land / the wild / human / rainbow spirit, that foster solidarity and enable deep healing to take place. This is the bedrock of my ecologically-centred, earth-spirited philosophy.
If I sit in a place of wounding or "frontline-warrior" energy I deplete fast; so my approach (in my vocational life / work) and qualities lie in facilitation of empowerment through education, practical projects, a bridging of worlds and associated healing practises. All of this can of course support the “frontliners” who daily face the torrents of brutal activism, relentless power struggles or direct action, alongside the warriors of spirit, earth and peace. And simply those just trying to live in these challenging times. All of us can benefit from earth-medicine and soul-wandering / wondering. All of us embody the wild, even if just in our dreams. Our bodies, if not our souls, crave barefoot earth-walking, the ocean breeze or the community hearth-fire dance. Be still in the night sky and you'll feel the up-surge, the swell of the wild within.
This is resonance. Enter the cave, deep in the womb / tomb of the Earth, make your call from the depths of your lungs and hear it echo deeper, deeper...
Resonance: The quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating / The power to evoke enduring images, memories, and emotions / The reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighbouring object. - Oxford English Dictionary
Root: The part of a thing attaching it to a greater or more fundamental whole; the end or base / The basic cause, source, or origin of something / The part of a plant which attaches it to the ground or to a support, typically underground, conveying water and nourishment to the rest of the plant via numerous branches and fibres. - Oxford English Dictionary
So this blog is my resounding echo, my out-reach, one of my root-sources . root-nourishers. My experimental journey as I travel the depths and wonders gathering gemstones of knowledge and inspiration to share along the way. I am willing and curious to be respectfully critiqued, engaged and understood as I enter into new and simultaneously familiar territories on a wild journey of soul, body and spirit with the land always holding me. And like any wilderness journey the path may not always be clear, sign-posted or easy to navigate. There will be off-shoots and desire lines and times of wandering blindly! Words only get us so far sometimes, but they can be an excellent starting point; for me at least this post is my seed.
Above: by Susan Seddon Boulet
My Valley-dwelling Life
I am an Environmental Educator (mainly in inner-city schools currently), Eco-Consultant, Tarot & Rune Reader and Healer-in-training based in West Yorkshire in the North of England, in a lovely valley of ancient woodland and rough waters: The Calder Valley. I was born on the borders of Scotland and England and have some (vague, as yet!) knowledge of Scottish and Germanic family ancestry, with strong recent links to Cumbria – my home county. I am in my mid-thirties, queer, liminal-living and growing intuitive-spiritual and herbal medicine-based gifts. As a professional Tarot Card & Norse Rune Reader of many years I can offer this with distance and in-person readings; suited to the individual. If you are interested in this service please contact me for more information (I will develop a page here for this work soon!). I live with my partner surrounded by woods and water and spend free time pondering all of the above, wandering, gathering, adventuring, growing, reading / learning, cooking or concocting and getting muddy!
Thank you for reading my first post. Let the magic begin!