Enchanted Living

Sacred Wound

Hello and Welcome! It has been a while. I have been deep in my healing, deep in recovery from my radical hysterectomy and cancer. What a journey!

At the moment I am rewriting my sacred wound story…this is a really powerful process to transform our old stories- with the associated habitual and often painful pathways, into more healthful ones. In this newsletter I share some of this process with you, and some of the ending I am crafting for my story- of becoming more enchanted with this world. Scroll past the upcoming events to find out more..

Drum-making Workshop for Women: Sat 21st April, Melbourne, VIC
Planetary Dance for Peace, Sun 22nd April, Melbourne, VIC
Melbourne Women’s Circle: Thurs 10th May, Melbourne, VIC
MoonSong Workshop for Women, Sat 12th May, Melbourne, VIC
Melbourne Women’s Circle: Thurs 7th June, Melbourne, VIC


Our sacred wounding- is a deeply painful childhood (or in utereo) experience that shapes our story of self. And from this experience we create, habits, postures, and ways of being that were right for the time of the wounding. But then when the danger is over we remain stuck in that way of being. We unconsciously behave in ways which protect us from a threat no longer real. These patterns were helpful then, but  now limit our capacity to grow.

Rewriting your sacred wound story is about claiming your story, your wound and your ways, and finding the healing in it. It takes courage to show up to these parts of ourselves, our lives and our stories, to hold them with tenderness and forgiveness. But by doing so, by claiming your story as sacred, as part a bigger Life story we can harness opportunities for growth and transformation. As Jean Houston says, “Our woundings tell us that old forms are ready to die, however reluctant the local self may be to allow this to occur, and that hitherto unsuspected new forms are ready to flower.”

And its must be said that flowering requires roots in the earth, the spray of sunshine and rain. It requires right timing and right conditions.  And maybe now is a right time for you. It seems to me a potent time to be rewriting this sacred wound story, with Chiron, the wounded healer in Aries. Aries is the first sign, the sign of self, of ego, of moving forward, making change with courage and fire in the belly.  If you are interested in working on your own sacred wound story, see Jean Houston’s, The Search for the Beloved, in which she creates a process for reframing our sacred wound.

Having said that, it is a deeply moving, and often challenging process. To be with that small self who was deeply wounded, and tend to her, meet her, and then show her that times have changed, and that we are safe takes stamina and courage. So, it is wise to have a sister, a loved one, someone who will be present when you need to be heard or held.  I am re-writing this in the safety of the container of the Four Seasons Journey, with a glad of mermaids about me. This is of course an option for you too, come join us!

Having someone you can call on when you need feels important and worthy.  Inanna had Ninshubar, a dear sister drumming at the gates of the underworld as she descended…You might want to call on your own Ninshubar to hold and drum for you.

And as part of our work as womancrafters, we are crafting our wounds, our words, our stories to heal ourselves, and in doing so to heal the feminine. For how we are, ripples out into the world.  And our words are spells. And so I am crafting an ending to my sacred wound story that sings up the enchanted life I want to live.

An Enchanted Life

I do live an enchanted life.  Part of me has always known that we are deeply woven into the web of life.  And this web includes the unseen and the seen. I marvel at this world…Her beauty and her mystery, but part of me, like the Mushroom Mother in this beautiful painting (Mushroom Mother and Her Children, by Edward Okun, 1900) lost her way.

I stumbled in my wrongness, in the deeply embodied shame that was etched in my bones. Part of me became skeptical – easy in a culture which denies our inherent embodiment. But working on my sacred wound, (and this recent surgery, this womb sacrifice) has helped me remember what I always knew, that life is enchanting and enchanted. And I as a part of this life am too.

This life is so full of Life. Yes, a capital L because “it” is so incredibly beautiful and mysterious. It is of course full of beings, not things. See how our language and our thinking separates us right there! This Life is full of creatures living their lives to the best of their capacity within their ecosystems, of which they are a part.  And we dear sisters are a part of this weaving. We are deeply embedded in Life.

But sometimes we fail to pay attention to all this….in our thermally controlled houses, in our thermally controlled cars, in our thinking of ourselves as separate we don’t notice what is all around and within.

Life deserves our attention. More than ever, Life needs our attention. So much is lost to this world when we do not pay attention.  On a recent Instagram post I mentioned that several bird species were threatened with extinction – and many of the comments indicated that people had no idea that birds like the Red Tailed Cockatoo, and the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo (pictured above)  were under threat of extinction.  Bird Life Australia has a current campaign to end, “Extinction by Neglect”because so few people recognise the level of extinction going on all around.  We are in fact in what is commonly known as the sixth great extinction with a devastating loss of species which has not occurred since the Cretaceous period  (think Dinasours).  And Extinction is forever.

Maybe, if we knew to watch for birds, for when they came and went, if we knew to watch for their food sources, and noticed how diminished these sources (and this Life) were, we might realise the devastation all around us- and then hopefully we might help restore(y) the earth. But ours is not a culture of paying attention to Country.

This loss is in our language too. Words vanish, when they are rarely uttered, when they are left on shelves like dusty unread books. And when these words represent aspects of life, such life itself can vanish too.

Words like :acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, conker- gone, fern, heather, kingfisher, otter, raven, willow wren”, were recently taken out of the English Junior Dictionary and so these words (and the very beings they represent) are, as Robert Macfarlane says,  ” becoming lost. No longer vivid in children’s voices, no longer alive in their stories.”  His book Lost Words, is an attempt to re engage children with the natural world, with the wisdom, power and sentience inherent in this Life.

But have we as adults, as a culture, forgotten how to pay attention, to tune in, to listen, and to remember the gentle- wild ways of this world, and our place in it?  Have you forgotten? If so, what helps you remember? What helps you reconnect to this deeply embodied, loving Life?

Trusting our Visions

Reclaiming wonder in this world is an antidote to extinction, and to the alienated lives many lead. This can be as simple as sitting in nature, having a daily sit spot, taking a walk, reading a beautiful fairy story or being inspired by words and art.

There are so many wonderful creators out there reminding us of the mystery of Life.  Lucy Campbell, creator of this beautiful painting, Bring the Night,  (above) creates art “to foster the reintegration of this childlike self with instinct and intuition, as well as to portray a celebration of the wild, both within us and in the natural world.”

Like many of us she feels the disconnection between the human and the more than human world and creates art  ” to wordlessly speak of the connection we hope for and dream of; to offer an answer to the human need for wildness, magic and mystery, and above all, trust and healing.”

It is always so inspiring to find  artists and creators, poets and dreamers living their life in enchanting ways. They provide us with magical pathways to wonder and enchantment. Which artists and creators inspire you? What stories do you share with your children, with young people in your life?

Re-storying our World

And let us remember that the whole world is listening and noticing us too. So let’s sing her back, lets craft our spells by speaking her names, calling her parts up and out. As Robert Macfarlane so beautifully says in his book, The Lost Words, (beautifully illustrated by Jackie Morris)  “There is an old kind of magic for finding what is missing, and for summoning what has vanished. If the right spells are spoken, the lost words might return.” And this is the magic of naming that which is in the world- we hold on to the various forms of Life, we care for Life.

Lets speak these words. Lets walk in this world noticing, paying attention,  delighting in the gifts of nature all around us. Children will show you how, they will stop and drop deep into the now, into the puddle, the leaf, the ant, the blue banded bee!!!…whatever is taking their fancy.

This is part of caring for Country, or singing up country, as many Aboriginal people describe it. There is a knowing that the Country is alive, and that singing to Country is an integral process of holding Country safe. And the Songlines are an integral way to do this, an enchanted way of living.

Songlines

I was so happy to go visit the Songlines:Tracking the Seven Sisters Exhibition in Canberra earlier this year- it felt important to try and understand the beauty, breadth and depth of these Seven Sisters Songlines which track right across the centre of this country, and which the elders across those participating communities were willing to share with us. It was an Aboriginal led exhibition.

It was an amazing experience- demonstrating the ways in which people are woven into and weave the land. We are all shaped by land and land is shaped by people.  That is their Knowing, their Knowledge system. And their knowledge of Country- was amazing- Wow…That’s what you get when you have 65 000 + years of living on country, of paying attention, of being aware of relationship in everything.

Even with the 200 + years of colonization, post colonization and its devastating effects on language, and on living…the sense of connection, of care and responsibility was palpable. For Aboriginal people to live on Country is to care for it. And that’s why it is so important to listen to Aboriginal people, to support their endeavors to return to, and to Care for Country.  As they say Country needs people!  And Country needs people who know her, who care for her.

“Country enlivened and empowered people, and people took care of country. Responsibility was the point of life – to raise new generations who could take care of the country, protect the Dreamings, and keep the generations going.”  ( Deborah Bird Rose ) Supporting Land Rights seems a powerful act of wonder, enchantment and responsibility.

I wonder, can we begin to generate a way of being where responsibility is the point of life? Where we know we belong, and in belonging are responsible for caring for our home, this earth and for all creatures, all Life? This Country, all of us need healing, to heal the wounds of dispossession, trauma and intergenerational trauma. And to acknowledge the ways we have benefited from this, and to heal our wounds of separation. Big wounds need big healing, but I trust we can do it together. The more we can listen to and learn from Aboriginal perspectives the better. The more we can heal our internal wounds, and listen to the voices of our own ancestors, and of this land the better.

This kind of relational thinking, of caring for Country is in our old stories too. I know it’s in the stories of my Celtic culture as Sharon Blackie has so beautifully expressed in her book, If Women Rose Rooted. And part of our work is working with the myths and stories that reconnect us to country- that help us belong where we live, that help us “rise rooted” out of this earth.

Working with stories is such a powerful way to find meaning in our lives, which is why the sacred wound process is so profound. I am weaving in some stories form my culture, and other cultures that speak to me, that resonate with me, and help me shape my own sacred wound story.

It is so important that we find, and remember the Old stories in our cultures, when the land was Sovereign. Cloutier says, “For anyone involved in a journey, finding a tale that touches you is like finding a soul companion; it is telling you: you are not alone and “your journey has meaning.”  She writes this in her review of Skeleton Woman, such a personally meaningful story for me, linking back to my own sacred wound, and my pathways to healing, as noted in my December News! This is big work, lifelong work but I feel some seismic shifts occurring deep in my bones, in my cells.

A Poem for You – The Radiance Sutras

And to finish, here is a beautiful poem, a reminder from Kashmir, India, that the earth is alive in you too. We are made of this earth as is so beautifully depicted in this translation of the Vijñāna Bhairava sutras by Lorin Roche, PhD.

The body is made of earth and gold,
Sky and stars, rivers and oceans,
Masquerading as muscle and bone.
Every substance is here:
Diamonds and silver, magical elixirs,
Ambrosia that gives visions,
Herbs that nourish and heal.
The foundation of the planet,
Immortal magnetic iron,
Circulating in the blood.
Every element in you loves the others:
Earth loves rain, sky loves sun,
Sun Loves the space it shines through,
Space loves everyone equally.
In meditation, luxuriate in knowing
This deep and simple truth.
Every cell is an organ of sense
Infused with majesty.

The Radiance Sutras, Lorin Roche, Ph.D.

 

Upcoming Events: 2018

Lots of beautiful offerings coming up, each a way of coming home to your body, to this earth and our place within her. Get in touch if you want to know more.

Drum-making Workshop for Women: Sat 21st April, Melbourne, VIC
Planetary Dance for Peace, Sun 22nd April, Melbourne, VIC
Melbourne Women’s Circle: Thurs 10th May, Melbourne, VIC
MoonSong Workshop for Women, Sat 12th May, Melbourne, VIC
Melbourne Women’s Circle: Thurs 7th June, Melbourne, VIC

Thanks for reading,
See you next month….
Blessings Sarah xxxx

Welcome to this Pisceas Full Moon Musings!

A time of heart, of compassion, of neptunian dreaming, of Forgetting and Remembering

Sometimes I lose my way. I forget why I am here, and just how important my work is. There are many demands on our time, many distractions and some worthy. But there is so little time now. And she is calling, she is a whisper in my ear, a vision in my dreams, a cave appearing upon a walk. A cave inviting me inside, reminding me where I first met my inner shaman, reminding me where I first fell headlong into the arms of the great mother. Let me fall again, falling, falling, falling. I surrender again to this deep work.

And it is the work of enchantment, of being enchanted by the land, and hopefully enchanting others back to the land and back to our bodies as part of this land. And I was an enchanted child, curled up with a book, most often Peg’s Fairy Book, or Hilda Boswell’s Treasury of Poetry. Hours upon hours wondering and dreaming.

 And of course many more hours  playing on the beaches, the dunes,  and the cliffs of Merricks Beach. The  land always spoke to me, and as a  child I was attuned to her. I trusted in  the magic, and other worldliness of  place. And then I grew up, and part  of me forgot how to listen, and even  now I can be distracted again by a  cultural narrative which denies the reality of these old stories, of the otherworld….and when this happens I am deaf to the earth, but not for long.

I hear the Grandmothers calling me, reminding me of my work. For in my personal history, in my Celtic ancestry “women were the guardians of the natural world, the heart of the land.” (Blackie) I have inherited a tradition of songs and stories and myths in which the earth is alive, and in which we are beholden to work for her, to protect her. And despite  everything in many parts of Ireland this mythology is strong still, the land still sings her misty and even musty songs. And when I walked the west coast of Tasmania, through ancient forests alive with fungi, and lichen, thick with rivulets and rain, I felt at home. I felt the magic, and the whispers of ancient wisdom. I was enchanted by the land, and the spirit too.

It is time for us all to be re-enchanted, as Sharon Blackie notes “Let’s take back the right to be enchanted, and the right to enchant. Let’s take back the right to cast our spells again. Because stories can enchant us all the way back to the earth. Stories can help us to fall in love with the land all over again.”  And this is what each of us needs to do, fall in love again with the land. She is suffering, we are all suffering, and we need to find our way home to her.

Those of you who read my newsletters and come to my workshops would know how important coming home is to me…and this work of mine is about coming home through dance, through stories, through listening to land, to plant, to bird, to soil and worm. It is about listening to our bodies, and feeling what is arising within and without, flowing with the movement that arises in exchange with this earth, with shadow, rain, with song. It is finding treasure maps home. It is about stories, the ancient ones, the old myths in which the earth speaks to us and through us. I have inherited a mythology and identity which connects me to earth, which compels me to care for earth. But it is the earth of my ancestors and now I am here belonging to this country, born of this soil.

So when I gather myself up and head outside, open to the world, open to the stories that she is singing, I am aware that the songs and stories this land has been telling were in a different tongue, the tongue of the Boon wurrung …and all the other Aboriginal languages across this vast continent we call Australia. And so I need to find ways to listen to their old stories, to the stories of this land as she speaks them, and learn again how to sing back to country to sing her up. And there are many sharing these stories and songs…

As Senior Lore Woman Napanangka  Nelly Patterson, …”Talk to me, I give you a story, I give you a stronger story. Come, come, come listen to the good stories, good song. That’s your story. You missing a long time. Come and learning properly.” It is time to learn properly, to understand more of the songlines of this country, to know where we are born, and what the songlines are, to know all about our land, and the people who have lived here for 50 000 years and more.

And I listen to the stories of Minmia and her instructions to get to know country, to get to know every puddle, bump, tree, bush. It is a lifetime’s work, this getting to know country but it is essential now. And it requires humbleness, openness and sincerity in the face of 200 plus years of oppression. But as Minmia says, “I can only give you permission to take up what is rightfully yours and that is your sense of belongingness to this, our country. By giving permission for the belongingness to our country it is up to you to keep them alive.” This is deep and profound work. I recommend everyone reading her book, Under the Quondong Tree. See if it calls to you. I hope it does.

I wonder how the stories of my ancestral people, the stories that evolved out of that land might intersect here in this country? What paths can we traverse together? How relevant are the stories of mists and bogs from the old country to this country? Certainly there is alignment between the understanding that we belong to country. There is alignment in a culture/world view rooted in the earth as alive, as sentient, and in which humans are responsible for care and guardian ship of the earth. And in Celtic mythology women have a special place in the protection of land.

So my inquiry now is how to journey with this land here in Australia, how to connect to her songs and her stories, and those of my ancestry back in Ireland, Scotland and England, and where does this weave into my women’s work, my work with children and with the body?

I am journeying with others to understand this more deeply. I am journey with Sharon Blackie, in her Mythic Imagination Course, and I’m apprenticing with Nymh Fox Harper and the School of Shamanic Womancraft for the Four Seasons Journey. Deeply excited to dive into the embodied feminine, into the ways of the wild land of the Otways, here in Victoria.

And I also teach MoonSong, which is way to become enchanted with the empowering narrative of the life/death/life cycle that exits within you, within your menstrual cycle and which connects you directly to the earth and her seasons, the moon and her phases and the ways of the old wild women. It is a journey into the myths of the ancient ones, those who knew the importance of working with the land, of honouring her contracts with us, of understanding that we are part of her, that we are in fact dreamed by her. It is a way of rooting ourselves back into our body and into land by understanding the seasons, and their deeply spiritual celebrations of the wheel of the year.  My next workshop will be on Dja Dja Wurrung country, up in Castlemaine. If this calls to you, click here for more information on my next workshop. And please share!

It will be followed by MoonDance, in which we ground into the body of our being, follow the wisdom of the body home to maiden, mother, maga and crone, play and move with the lived experience of the seasons and cycles within our own moving bodies, and the earth around and within us. This too is a treasure map home. Details here.

And it is time to frolic, to enjoy the budding season, to drop into the heart space of the beautiful enchanted maiden. Come play with us as we celebrate the Spring Equinox with a dance. Re acquaint yourself with the joy and pleasure of your moving body, realign yourselves with the rhythm of our great mother, as She, ‘the beloved one returns from the deep”. (Livingstone)

We all cycle through the seasons of our days, our lives and the earth herself. Now it is time to rise with the Spring energy to see what is growing in your own garden, (real and metaphorical) and tend to these and all living things. And of course its time to dance, to feel just how alive you really are, pulsing with the quickening and awakening of Spring.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Minmia

“I want to bring back thinking place. I want to bring back the songs, I want to bring back the stories. I want to bring back the sense of belonging. I want to help with the healing.”

May this beautiful full moon in Pisces be a healing time for you.

Thanks for reading,
see you next month,
Blessings Sarah xxx

main image: Spring Dance, by Von Stuck
Susan Blackie, https://singingoverthebones.org/…
Glenys Livingstone, https://pagaian.org/