I can see women rising from under the earth stretching their arms towards the sky. Those are not the Faye women or some mystical vision of goddesses unknown. Those women are the ones buried long before; those, whose voices were stolen and whose lives were taken branding them dangerous, sexual and raw. They are rising like a birch forest to proclaim a new life.
They are not to declare war or revenge they are to be in a way that is impossible to ignore or enslave. Golden, auburn, jet black hair tangling up trees as they rise up with rivers increasing in flow all around them and with a full power of a waterfall smash it back into the earth. Cloud part and close up in a dance of light and dark, an incoming storm and sunshine.
What do they want? A new manifestation without hatred or punishment but magic, intuition, nourishment to the bone and a voice as deep and old as a soul, lost previously but never again. This time it won’t be possible as the light these women bring is blinding in a way that it transforms not destroys. It affects and unites, it invites and welcomes everything and everyone. They rise up with bodies establishing the rule of prime, a sense of pride in every cell they embody. The flesh is pulsating and nourishing, giving and receiving. No one is excluded from the new dance they get ready to perform.
Rise up the women of forgotten centuries. Rise up the female of the lost. The time is now. The world has always meant to be female from the beginning of time and space. She urged to be from the start and with the lost sisters of the dead but rising she will be again without ruling or battling but in her being she will be enough and more.
An open view as far as an eye can see. I can feel beyond that. For the first time in many years the picture is complete with every mountain sketch, rock, shoreline and a bird in the sky in full view. The sun is high yet gentle; blues and greens are in perfect harmony with a splash of purple and pink in corners and edges of the land. We are approaching. A castle stands proud above the cliffs overlooking a sheer drop. It is still here. I delight in much needed reassurance.
When a view opens up from the living room window it is vast. You can see and feel the mountains breathe into the sea and exhales come as waves and splashes that freshen everything up. Everything is injected with life. It is overwhelming trying to take it all in. It feels like I can’t decide if there’s too much air or not enough of it. It is as if I am possessed by raw instinct that makes me want to take my shoes off and run to the edge of the vista that sprawls open in front. The end of the earth is there. Senses are both sharpened and relaxed. It is intoxicating to a point of wanting never to sober up. Silence is otherworldly.
I sit at a long kitchen table surrounded by lush green landscape with rowan and gorse, ash and oak in faithful surround. Those trees know the land intimately, they know they belong here. I can’t take my eyes away from large windows in front of me, which makes it impossible to work. It takes a few days to be able to fit into this pristine environment and realise where I came from and where I am. The contrast is shockingly stark. It is a process of bedding in, acclimatising slowly and steady or you might just suffocate.
I decide to go for a walk, something I have been looking forward to for the whole year. It is all just as I left it last time. I find it reassuring and comforting. It is all here, still. When I am away I often wonder if things change when I am not there to see it, will it all still be there when I go back? Will I have another chance to live it? I never know. Every time I find it is just as I left it and it is a relief and something beyond beautiful and soothing to know it will outlive everyone and everything.
I walk along a path and silence wraps me up in a cloud of peace. It is palpable, ethereal like nothing else on earth for me, the most precious commodity and a gift. I cherish it with every land’s breath, every leaf movement and rain drop that make up the silent chorus that is nature being. My heart is in my mouth and I am deeply happy. There’s nothing else I need or want in that moment and if it was to be the last that would be a glorious end. I always feel that way here in those moments when there’s no past or future and the present is so perfect and complete that nothing else is needed or matters.
I continue on the path but not for long as I am a habitual off-the-path walker. I always need to go in where wild resides. I need to get close to it and it makes itself known by making scratches on my legs, sticking things to my clothes and dipping my feet in mud. I feel feral and ecstatic. Makes me feel I belong that little bit more. It is the unknown yet feels like home. I scramble up a wooded hill and it is like my own invisible circle – a place where magic is the law not just a possibility. It is all so simple and fresh. It is always there and doing its thing. It knows itself as much as anything on earth can ever know itself. This is a true nature of things. I want to be that way if only I never had to leave or having to do things or even think. Humans are limited through complicating things. It is never simple in our minds and we dwell in those self-imposed prisons without realising it, by habit, automatically. Awareness does not come easy to us and we are easily led into traps of our own lives.
I wrap my arms around a silver birch, wet and earth-smelling. Its smooth bark is like a touch of a loved one. My grandmother comes to mind and memories of walking in silver birch forests in my childhood flood in. Every touch here means something, every smell is a reminder how entwined I am with nature in my body and spirit. I lose track of time. There is no time here, only life, only what you see and feel.
I am having to drag myself out back on to the path. Deer to my left startled and frozen as they pick up my scent. They look right at me before fleeting. I smile. Clean air hits every inch of my body and I could almost be floating I feel so uplifted as happiness spreads through me. I let my hair loose and stand catching every bit of the breeze that is sweet and the most soothing thing I could ask for. I stand still for a minute hungry for more, taking each breath and there’s more coming. I can’t get enough. It is never enough.
I get moving again and come across some cottages by a loch-side. I always wonder what it must be like to live in such a place. I used to get envious to a point of passing out but since have learnt a lot more. At this point I am under no illusion that life here is easy. My initial idealised vision has truly been grounded in reality of life on an island, in a land so wild, raw and free that one has to work at belonging. Every cottage makes me think and wonder of a possibility of a compromise. It is a symbol of a relationship between a human and nature. It offers a possibility of finding out if one is brave enough.
Stroking a thick coat of a highland coo I touch something primal. Animals bring a sense of kinship to my instinctual animalistic self. I am in love every time I touch an animal. They are warm, looking right at me with their black eyes and there is a connection no doubt. A lot can be learnt from the beasts of that land. Birds of pray are everywhere here, they are noisy one minute and gliding silently the next, barely there.
Time to turn back. I am so happy, utterly at peace and content. My body feels satisfied like it’s had the most nourishing meal. Nothing else needed. Nothing needs to be added or taken away. It is complete. I am whole.
It is a period of wrapping things up in a wider sense of the beginning of the harvest season. To me it makes absolutely sense and after all is said and done what is left is a simple life, gratitude, people that we love, fulfilling work and creativity in every day with self-awareness, but not analysis. We are now done with analysis, I feel, and shifted towards moment-by-moment daily values and really breathing life in as it comes. This year has brought so many improvements to the ways things run, which is applicable to individual lives and the collective, and it is good to be able to look back and be grateful for having arrived at this point in the year and see how things were and how they are now through our own personal creation, tweaking, restructuring and letting things fall away as needed. The difference is huge. I am excited to start reaping the fruits/rewards of the seeds that I planted back in March. I remember that period of confusion, trepidation and nervous excitement of the unknown. Planting season always keeps me sane and grounded. Here we are with my land bursting with fresh organic produce that ends up on my plate and in my body. Very satisfying, indeed.
This summer for the first time in many years I am not depressed. I get seasonal summer depression (SAD in reverse) every year with no fail, but not this time. Instead I have been happy and noticed how I enjoy everything, however small, and gratitude has gone up a level also transforming to this shining light that doesn’t go out, but just accompanies me in everything that I do. I am able to be more and for longer and find it a lot more natural, up another level. I have learnt to stay in one place and be okay with it. I am slower and more intentional and what has been the most useful change is simplifying everything even more. For years I have had up to three jobs and multiple projects on the go all at the same time. I slowly reduced and culled in that area and this year it is the final alteration, I hope, to the whole work dynamic. I actually want to have just one job from here onwards – this is alien as you can imagine, but necessary. As always my way of living and being has been 100% intuitive and I attribute satisfactory results to my intuition, which I have never distrusted. I don’t know any other way to live at this point and it has truly changed my life many years ago when I stepped into understanding that my inner voice is the one I need to follow. My intuition is my magic.
My trip to Scotland this year has been utterly different too. I did wonder in the last year if things were going to change following a lot of work done on it last year and struggles and turmoil last summer. It did change in a very natural and gentle way. My predictions were correct and my work paid off. As I drove on empty roads in Argyll on the way to the islands I was surrounded by pine forests and wild flowers everywhere. I saw a cloak of grief not being there anymore. The lump in my throat was no longer there. I felt free, almost flying. I could finally exhale with ease. Sadness, overwhelm and confusion cleared up, evaporated and all I felt was the land just being there, unchanged, unshaken and blooming as usual. Immense comfort entered me and it remained unchanged for the duration of the trip. I felt happy every single day. I reached some sort of completion on my journey of seven years. The number, I realised, was significant, as every grief that comes my way is always intense and lasts for seven years exactly. This was no different.
Today I can say that the feeling of contentment and calm is here within me and very welcome it is too. Being back home is like slotting into a place that holds me. It is comfortable, snug and functional. It might not be my soul home, but it is a secure base, something I created and share with people that I love. There is beauty in that for sure. I look forward to autumn and winter immensely and getting back to writing and creating.
I can hear her calling. Hardly there like a whisper it is carried by gentle wind. There is no force or vigour in that call, just a brush on my being making awareness known that she is waiting, she is there. There is comfort in knowing somewhere hundreds of miles away there is a place that exists and willing to accept you just as you are. It comes as a song, as the land sings in tunes that can be heard amidst its beauty. Every time I am alone in the wilderness, particularly near water, the song comes alive on my lips. It is such a natural feeling that I can’t help but pick up a tune and carry it through the land. It is an act of participation in the land’s dreaming, in its being state just as it is. I feel belonging in a way I can’t explain. It is a modest, humble way of being present; behaving in a way that does not possess, disturb or claim any rights to it and that is how the land wants it. It opens up in ways unexpected revealing the simplest, but the most stunning corners of its soul, be it in a rain drop on a blade of grass or a blanket of mist over loch in early hours. It is truly feminine on the whole, I feel, particularly in certain places. It is so on the Isle of Mull where I am going. There is no rush or anything planned, it is in the flow of any given day that the land is there for me to participate in and there is so much to discover through being with her.
It can be overwhelming so I feel nervous once again as the day of reunion approaches. It is that feeling of meeting a lover, someone utterly dear to your heart that you’ve been separated from for a while. It is the feeling we are all familiar with when we finally step into their embrace and it is both ecstatic and overwhelming and it takes time to ground in being together in the same place. I never know what to expect and try hard not to have any ideas preconceived by past experiences. My mind creates these states due to nervousness within me, which is completely natural. It is hard not to rush into feeling either and get swept away with it before the journey even begins, but again, that is also natural when going to a place that although non-human is animate to me in every sense. It has a distinct smell to me and it sounds in a particular way. Visual alone is all consuming and touching its skin being it stones, moss, heather or a surface of a loch often threatens to swallow me up through overload of emotions. It is fully alive within me and it is no surprise containing it all within little old me is difficult, but year after year I go, I participate, I learn and will continue for as long as I hear the song distant, but loud within my heart.
From a Druid, writer and poet, Nimue Brown, the author of many wonderful books on nature-based spirituality, comes a review of my poetry collection. I am so pleased she enjoyed it.
I love how she framed them as Bardic songs, letters. So interesting, which makes it even more significant for me.
ORDER a signed copy from the author
She loved him so he could be free
To be adrift amidst her caring and
Anchored in her home roots
She loved him so he could become
The version only heavens know
To fly in spirit and deed
Come back to her devotion
She loved him so he can feel
The warmth only known through her
To laugh and act as if to see
The world she sees for him