Home land

Earlier this summer I sat with my father looking at the map of Scotland, as I explained to him our travel plans, and suddenly he started going over each area naming it, as if it was a map of Russia, specifically Siberia. He gets it, ‘I thought’, and it meant so much to me. Some deep felt understanding between us, even when often unspoken, always produces a connection, which holds answers and links to what we are together, separate and where we come from. He knows what I mean when I talk about the land. He knows the feeling I speak so much of as if he feels it too and, I think, he does, in his own way, as we both had separated from our land a long time ago yet the yearning had never gone away. Does it ever leave you? Not if it is part of your soul’s tapestry.

Only this morning looking at pictures of Siberian nature it really landed for me that Scotland is as close to my ‘home land’ as I am ever going to get. I feel so at ease and comfortable there. I have called it home on many occasions and there are things that just make sense to me when I am there. Love makes sense, intense grief makes sense and tears of sorrow and joy that come every time I arrive and leave make sense. Within me there had always been a sense of separation from home, although well-hidden, which when young had not been processed and felt and this is what I have been feeling for the last few years. It is not simply a case of loving visiting a place, it is a case of ‘this is where I want to live and die’. There is nowhere else for me. It feels like an obligation to my soul and I now get what many immigrants had felt before me and many still do. I get what I have been doing the last few years in awakening my connection to a home once lost and never to be regained. My deep love for Scotland is my love for home.

Here are some pictures of Siberian nature. Perhaps, you can see what I see. It has always been about lakes and pine forests for me, deer, mountains and rivers, small villages and community living. As I write this, my heart aches. Ever since I came back to my house in the South, I have been in physical and emotional turmoil. It hurts being here and the feeling is so real like a culture shock and a need to acclimatise and fit back into the order of things that is here and not where I belong. I am left once again bereft, confused and heartbroken that gets harder to bare each year.

 

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My paradise

I am back in paradise and there is no despair, turmoil or overwhelm this time…

This year I only feel joy, pleasure and gratitude for being here. I am being very vocal in expressing my appreciation of the land. I admire a very full in red heavy berries rowan by the side of a lake and revel in beauty of purple flowers. Simple yet so exquisite in its perfection against the very green that is everywhere. Everything seems so much riper, bigger and more beautiful in comparison to other places. It reminds me of my birth place in many respects where nature had also been very rich in its presentation and a way of being. I look at the mountains and I feel still and content rather than torn and in deep yearning, which I could never explain. The smell of the land, that particular scent I can always summon wherever I am, is still here, it hasn’t changed and I am glad of that. I take pleasure in observing every little house, weed, animal, tree and wonder how people live here with curiosity. I do feel jealousy quite sharply this time for the life that I imagine goes on here in this place of beauty and such peace and quiet. Stillness of the land is intoxicating and, I believe, it is exactly this energy that I align with the most, this is what I crave. Peace, quiet, beauty and isolation.

Walking through a Celtic rainforest earlier today I can feel myself melting into its freshness and moulding into its trees’ bark, inhaling the air of the forest, breathing with it as one. Rain gently washing my face and hair brushed back I feel free. Assured, grounded and humbled, very grateful for being able to feel the way that I do when I am here in this land and in touch with all the elements. It is a true blessing in my life here on Earth.

As another day comes to an end here in paradise I am content, calm, pleasantly tired and completely in love with everything this land is and everything that is in and around me today.

Announcement – Nature Spirit Walks Tarot

I am happy to announce the release of the latest project in collaboration with Cortney Cameron, whose wonderful idea and beautifully designed images materialised in this invaluable resource. It has been my absolute pleasure contributing to this project. Enjoy!

ORDER HERE

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Summer – the time for wilderness, the time for releasing your beast

Anger, physicality, sensate expression of instincts, body merging with the earth in its full expression – that’s what June is all about as we are building up to Litha. Swimming, walking barefoot, lying on mountain tops, communing with wildlife, beasts, bugs and plants alike are all the activities that feed the body and awake the soul.

There’s danger, however, when summer is fully alive in its wilderness. Night and day both carry life within and it can feel unsafe. This resonate with my overwhelm of the forest and feeling apprehensive about venturing out during the explosion of life in the land during summer. I tend to withdraw, hence I like the quietness and sleepiness of winter. It is safer. However, by withdrawing a part of me remains enclosed, hidden and that’s what needs to change this year.

Wild-self calls and roars pushing boundaries of a self-created seclusion. It needs expressing and breathing with the rhythms of the season.

A safe place for wild spirit for me is the Highlands of Scotland. There my wild-self is contented, it is allowed to be in its full majesty. It scares me always yet I thirst for it at the same time. There my whole aligns with the wild nature around me. I eagerly drink it into my cells, I merge with it like it is home and my spirit sours into endless skies daily and consumes my whole being with a sense of raw, complete, real and natural. It often manifests with anger, emotional cries and outward expression of raw things. It is unable to hide and sit still. It needs to run, fly, crawl and swim all at the same time. It can feel and look scary and crazy uncontainable and vicious, but it all makes sense and, perhaps, in embracing and allowing that for myself a bit more will also relax others in joining me and not being afraid of a strong bite and a loud screech that it often comes with.

Summer is truly a time for letting go and letting be. It is a time to fly higher and swimming further. Last summer I remember wanting to go on the water in a kayak and the fear that gripped me was so irrational yet it immobilized me. Someone said to me ‘go for it, we only live once, might as well’ and so I did. The freedom of releasing the urge to glide through vast waters released the excitement I had ever felt before. With each push across the lake I went further and further and with each minute I wanted to do more and more.

When I am faced with the mountains of the Highlands I can hear the scream within me telling me to run, scream, be in its fullest. The impulse in me to merge with the land is so strong that I know if I don’t I could easily just stagnate and die through my own fear and a loss of the potentially ecstatic experience. It is like choosing to drink poison and staying in a position of never knowing what it’s like to live fully. When I step on that mountain trail my heart and spirit sour, I want to run and cry and scream, the feeling I have of being as one with the land, a place I never want to leave for as long as I live.

I break my heart every time I have to leave the wilderness behind, because it means my wild-self has to go back into a safe enclosure of my other life, which is managed, contained and often unexciting.

Coming back to the heart… always

solitary witch

It saddens me to become more and more aware of the dissonance within a community that, perhaps, I saw different somehow or wanted to see different, although my own perceptions got me into trouble here. People operate on a level of collective where unconscious shadow material has been playing out in the world on a large scale over the last few years and always had done really when we think about it. It is no wonder to see it spreading into all sorts of groups whether consciously or unconsciously. What is important for me is to stay aware in that energy of what is really happening and what is ultimately important, essential to me. Troubled exchanges I have witnessed within a community reminded me strongly of other communities many others identify with. A need to belong gets us into trouble too very often when taken to an extreme. Luckily for me that is not an area I struggle with, but nevertheless one can see it happening every day and it is not wrong in and of itself it is extremities of any kind that creates a space of non-safety for many paradoxically and unconsciously. I have been a witness and stayed away from strong, open identifications yet what recent experiences reaffirmed to me is that the decision to be a solitary practitioner is what works for me. I came in as a solitary and I leave as a solitary and that is the most neutral and comfortable for me. That much has always been clear, but I did allow myself to explore and experiment mainly to test out my own choosing. It exposed the reason why I am solitary even more due to my feeling the energy rising from within the collective and witnessing it on one hand for what it is, but at the same time not wishing to add that particular pallet to my overall painting, which is my own spiritual practice. There is sadness and within that a sense of hopelessness for the overall whole yet what I can only do is to commit further to my own walking the earth with what feels aligned with my integrity and heart.

It has become apparent to me this morning I want to change names on my pages and my website not so much to dis-indentify from something, but to reaffirm something for myself and my practice. However, I also know I don’t like labels. I feel labels do not serve the heart and have an unconscious attachment to what is not always the right thing for you and the right thing for me is what it is all about as far as my practice, awareness and development goes. Coming back to the heart centre, strength point, power cup, essential space of your being or whatever you choose to call that point of safety, knowing and honour for yourself, is all that matters. It re-grounds us in our beliefs and practices and re-balances any uncertainties that naturally would come in and out of our experiences. There is no judgement on yourself or others there is only acceptance of things for what they are and how they are. Compassionate understanding for others and your own choices is all that is important.

And into the woods I go, on my own, just as it should be, and just what is needed for myself and the universe at large. My path is of the solitary Elemental witch and it is so for a reason and I hold it dear and let nature guide me as always towards my heart.

Nature and the present moment

present moment practice

It is raining… It is not ‘it will clear in a few hours’ or ‘yesterday it was sunny’, it is raining here and now, nothing else is happening. Nature is expressing herself through the element of water in this very moment and it is just how it is. It is not that it is wrong or should be something else, it is what it is right now. Our minds create stories about ideal situations and conditions in every moment of the day. Mind perceives things often not as they are, but how they should be, what would be more favourable and wishing for something else, for a change from what is currently. When do we notice the rain that is happening right now? The mind invites us to avoid, to close eyes and let it pass, but not only that wishing for it to pass and fast, the sooner the better. This is suffering and how it is created in the mind. Imagine the freedom of allowing the rain wash over you literary through your senses of vision, touch and sound and allow your body to be in contact with it, that’s even better. I bet it will be somewhat of a shock to realise what rain feels like and the resistance that one would experience from being in that moment. That’s how powerful the mind is and how difficult it is to detach from its constant instructions and interpretations of reality around us.

It is like rain on a wedding day, which was mine, e.g. It rained like I never experienced in my life before with days previously and the day after being glorious warm and sunny. I despaired, I suffered in the mind’s realisation it is actually raining heavily on my wedding day. “Why, or why, it is not fair, how is this even possible, it shouldn’t be this way”, etc. This is the voice that my mind used with me. It was all about me in that moment (we are terribly self-centred creatures, humans). It was not about anything or anyone else, but about me being upset with the rain for ruining my day, but was it ruined? A wise woman pulled me out of my mind’s cruel narrative and brought me back to a moment of ‘nothing is different, nothing is affecting anything, but my mind’. I was still going to marry a man I loved, the intention was still there, all guests were still there, everything prepared and ready, why would rain take that away from me. It wasn’t rain, it was my own mind that was trying to convince me that ‘it should not rain on a wedding day’.

Nature does what it does in every moment, it is changing all the time. It lives, it blooms and it dies without attachments or regrets. It is just how things are. I am yet to find a greater teacher than what is all around us all year round. It is there, in front of us manifesting lessons in every moment and if observant on a daily basis we can take those teachings into our daily lives and drop the struggle, which is not what we ultimately want, yet mind creates scenarios for us to attach and hold on to. This is why a simple breath meditation is so useful when one simply observes their breath and notices how, when and where their mind drifts off to. Simply noticing what the mind does in any given moment, acknowledge it and let it go and come back to the breath.

Memories in the snow

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I woke up from a dream of being back in my Siberian land. Dreams that take me there are always set in winter. Most of my childhood and youth’s significant events happened in winter and amidst snow and remain the most memorable to this day. Sledging with friends in freezing temperatures when we couldn’t feel our faces, hands and feet, yet incredibly happy and full of joys of childhood. My first kiss, awkward, yet warm and sweet. The day I let him go also took place in the middle of winter with me crying in the bright light of street lamps and snow sparkling all around us. I remember my blue mascara running down my cheek as if it was yesterday and the smell of his winter coat as he pulled me close to his chest. I remember his heart beat as we said good-bye.

I recall ice-skating with my father and falling into the deep snow, up to my waist, in the wilderness forest. We laughed a lot. Another kiss takes me back to a sacred place where memories stand still and not just my own, but for the whole nation. Wearing white hat and mittens in a cream coloured coat I was deeply in love.

As I walked to the window this morning I was greeted with a snow-covered garden and land beyond. Beautiful. It continued to snow all morning and I decided to go into the forest for some nature and elements communion. I always feel it is such a raw, spiritual and necessary experience to immerse yourself in the elements be it rain, snow, sunshine or wind. Each element awakens something within, touches upon places that need to be visited to remind us of what is essential and where we are in life. Crunchy under my feet I found snow and pure white landscape stretching ahead taking me further into my memories and on a journey of seeing and feeling things I hold dear to my heart. Memories flooded in like a bitter-sweet river and looking around me I smiled also feeling a smidge of sadness in my heart. He is long gone, but what he left is a place within me that is unconditional love and to this day I carry it inside and always will. Forest was noisy with splats and swooshing sounds of snow falling off branches. Many trees were bent down under the snow weight touching the ground. I stopped and breathed it all in. I miss him still and I remember everything like it was yesterday. Sadness filled my heart, but it is no longer grief or longing, it is settled and contained, warm and alive. It is love, forever.