Space vs enclosure

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The debate started within me after my last visit to Scotland when one week I spent in the North with vast open spaces, wilderness mountains and the sea and the other week was spent in a tiny cottage in the woods. You can read about my experiences HERE. 
What I thought I preferred turned out to be something else and I was asked to consider other ways and it was a challenge.
Recently after spending a whole day in the woods and ‘overdosing’ on nature but not in a good way I was reminded of my experience in Scotland. It made me think further about spaces, my preferences and how things are changing for me as I continue on my healing and spiritual journey.

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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)

Working with the Elements 

 

I learnt to apply elemental wisdom to my every day activities, the way I think, feel and behave. A certain system has been formed in my awareness based on the four elements. It happened through continuous observation of nature it all its forms and presentations. It seems to go like this:

When I am in my Air element my thinking is engaged. I focus on my thoughts in a given moment and go through them deciding an action or making a plan.

Out of a thought comes a certain feeling, emotional response to what my mind is presenting. The more I focus on a thought the more I feel. I engage my Water function. Some emotions are not pleasant and my Fire might come in to inform me whether to act or not, whether my Fire is to be dynamic, productive and needed or is simply a response to a thought, which is not something I want to engage with. Fire is the necessary part of the process as an alchemical operation of burning something to clarity, purifying something till its purpose is revealed. I am given a choice in this part of the process. I choose whether I trust my feeling and therefore the original thought it is connected to will serve me or I recognise its nature as something that needs to be put aside or healed.
After a thought and a feeling with engagement of Fire comes behaviour. Next comes manifestation, the doing of what once was only a thought form. The Earth element is needed here and I test myself on how ready I am to hold the energy of the thought and emotion and how confident I am about bringing it to life. Earth is holding, strong, calm and reassuring and when engaged is a powerful tool to help us manifest.

So that’s how the process goes in a form of a system. With practice similar to certain psychotherapeutic approaches one not only can become aware of their thoughts but how they make us feel and behave. Nature is a powerful tool to use along the same lines yet so much deeper as nature serves as a witness to our process engaging all of our senses.

Ever feel that you are being pulled into water when what’s needed is to stay grounded? Nature is clever like that it tests by giving us options and challenges our choices whether it is to act, feel or behave in a certain way, a bit like a therapist might. 

The other day consumed by worrying thoughts, which were producing powerful emotions in me ,I found myself by the water. I needed to decide what’s next, am I to manifest my state or am I in need to look at it further before making a choice.
As I stood on the bank of a lake between Water and Earth I saw my dilemma clearly. Do I jump into my feelings and get consumed by them or do I remain on firm Earth and allow myself to be held together. There was anger, sadness, frustration all emotions with an undertone of Fire. I made a decision to transmute it back to the Earth through holding on to trees allowing them to balance things out within me. I left more together, composed and with awareness of what was happening within me that morning.

The wind, Air element and emotions 


It’s creative, bright, quick and relational. Good at making connections and creating ideas, more and more ideas in one place and then another and another. Goes on and on round and round and back again. Nothing is ever solid or in matter. It’s all in the Air, up high and clear. A bigger picture that is hard to break into pieces, it’s all expansive and enthusiastic at bringing the energy of movement. Dizzy, foggy, light as a cloud, but also cool and clear-felt, coherently intellectual yet up and up. It’s a long way down, like a bird, but a bird can come down, so must Air qualities manifest in Earth. Ideas, projects, plans and directions one by one with the Earth assistance get manifested. As above so is below, one needs the other.

I reap through the layers of what’s yet to be felt like the body of a tree swaying in the storm so does my body aches with whistling holes of my being
Empty pockets get filled up with chills of the wind,

The force cuts through flesh making old wounds bleed

The whole body taken over by an emotional dance with hands swaying and limbs shaking, skin in desperation seeks to protect what’s within.

Eyes can’t see, mouth can’t speak, the psychic powers of hair get activated but fly out of control and all one wants to do is wrap yourself up into a safe hold, a warm ball of primal feeling of being in the womb.

Unfolding occurs when standing tall against the challenging element, facing it head on with the heart wide open and all exposed flesh full of knowledge and experience what’s been, done, gone, wounded, obliterated, empty and also solid.

Fold and unfold, expand and contract. Life is one big dance with the wind that threatens exposure of what’s not to be seen and liberates us of any stuckness at the same time.