New Year, New You!!

So here we are, another new year, with plenty of good intentions, resolutions even. What are you planning for the coming year? What would you like to change in your life right now? After a fortnight of family time, parties with friends, meals out, treats and drinks I for one intend to eat a bit less, avoid alcohol and exercise a bit more – sound familiar?

But does it go deeper than that for you? Do you want to take it further than a few healthy weeks before slowly but surely slipping back into old patterns?

Rewild Yourself

Rewild Yourself

The most effective way I know to make profound and lasting changes in your life is to welcome in the wild. To recognise the wildness inside of oneself and nurture and feed that part. We all need connection with the wildness in the world, we were all born wild animals yet our lifestyles from birth have tamed us, domesticated us to the point of disconnection with the wider-than-human world, to the point where many people are stressed and anxious, trapped within the walls of our everyday, a circumstance of our own creation.

Humankind, through our high levels of consumerism, through treating the world as an inert object ripe for exploitation (with no come back), has broken off the deep levels of connection we once shared with all life. Instead we replace it with objects, we fill our homes with things to entertain us and in so doing continue on the path of destruction, mining , harvesting, damaging and destroying. We have become insulated from the destruction by hiding away in our homes, avoiding statistics about habitat loss, species extinctions, and pollution events. But it is still all there in the background and we know it.

Most people despite avoidance tactics still feel it, deeply in their hearts. You may not make the direct connection instead perhaps just feeling lethargic, depressed, anxious or empty – but that is a message from your wild heart telling you there is something more, something that you are missing.

My response over the years has been search to for a lifestyle that is more fulfilling. That search has taken me back to my beginnings as a wild animal, dependent upon the world around me for nourishment, for energy, for a healthy state of mind and a feeling of purpose. That journey to wholeness has been one of rewilding and was the subject of my 2015 book Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature.

Rachel Corby Rewild Yourself Becoming Nature book Gateways to Eden

Last year (2016) I ran Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship for the first time, to pass on what I had learned to others that feel a similar call. Teaching and sharing what I know has been a great deepening and widening experience as I learned so much from my first year of apprentices, as they all learned not just from me and each other, but most of all from the wild lands which we inhabit, and their own wild hearts.

Booking for this years apprenticeship, which begins at the end of April, is now open. If you would like to remember what it feels like to be wild and free, to feel cold dewy grass on your toes, to listen to the whispers in the wind, to communicate with the Sacred Earth, to make natural medicines and ferments, to forage for wild edibles, to sleep under the stars, to develop your intuitive awareness, to know and move your body consciously, to be aware on every level – then you may just want to join me and see where rewilding yourself could take you. Full details of this years apprenticeship can be found here…

I would love to share this energising, life changing, empowering, rewilding, co-creative journey of reconnection with the wildness of the world and with your wild self, with you. Let this year take you beyond a few weeks of January clean up, let it infuse into every cell of you, make the change, rewild yourself!

Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship

Winter Solstice 2016 ~ Remember Yourself as Gaia

Solstice greetings to one and all! Today, the shortest day, the longest night, a moment of pause before the sun makes it’s return and warms our bones once more.

urban winter sky

There has been much darkness this year, much fear has grown and been fed by worldwide political situations. Anger, and hatred even, has been awoken and fed by the media. Friends argue fervently their political opinions and some you thought you knew have exposed a side you had not recognised before. Most of all perhaps has emerged a sense of hopelessness in the face of a world where corporations are clearly directing things from the wings, while people descend into bickering and arguing, where people have become divided, where people march against democracy, where people are attacked by law enforcement agencies for standing up for the right to have clean water not just for themselves but for all their relations.

Never before has it been more important to remember the interconnectivity of all life. Each single individual one of us is connected energetically with everything else on this planet, with the planet. This is not new age wishy washy nonsense but quantum physics, science.

So take time this solstice to say your prayers to the Earth, to stand outside with bare feet, breathe the winter air deep into your lungs and feel you toes go frosty cold. Take time to be grateful for this abundant life. And as you stand with chill air on your cheeks watching the sun set on the shortest day, think of everything that made you, everything that you are. The air that you breathe – that circulates in and out of all other animals, that is absorbed by plants for its carbon dioxide and expelled refreshed and oxygen rich. The water that makes up over 70% of your body – that is held for 100s and 1000s of years in glaciers and ice shelves, that is transported in clouds, that trickles through into underground aquifers or travels on the surface in rivers and streams journeying to lakes and oceans. The flesh on your bones that is made from the food you eat – the plants, the fungi, the seaweed, perhaps the flesh of other animals that in turn also came from the plants that clothe this planet. The unknown mysteries that create your spirit and consciousness, that spark that makes you you, and that you can see glowing in the eyes of those you love, and those you have yet to meet.

We are truly made from the Earth, from Gaia, we cannot live without her, we are dependent upon her for everything – and yet we are not separate, we are her, we, each one of us, is Gaia. We are Gaia. Everything is in our hands. We have the power collectively as Gaia, we are all there is. Fear, anger, injustice, politics, greedy corporations – we allow them to exist – we alone can diminish their power. It is not hopeless.

If the shadows appear to be growing darker, it is because the light that casts them is getting brighter. Daniel Pinchbeck

In Peace ❤

winter sky

 

Non-stylised Movement in the Land…

What follows is a guest post by Poh Eng San who will be a guest tutor on the apprenticeship I am running later this year. On the apprenticeship she will be helping us with conscious movement, visceral wakefulness and opening to body wisdom. I met Poh Eng many years ago when I was training in Plant Spirit Medicine with Eliot Cowan; she had been a student in the previous year to me and so our original connection was through the love of communicating with plant spirits and how that opens the world right up. Below she talks about what inspires her to do the work that she does…

Poh Eng San, healer and movement teacher

Poh Eng San, healer and movement teacher

I have two main streams of work/ play/ life: Energy healing, and personal movement practice for self-awakening with the land & the teachings that come through my dance. My teachers have included Dr Shen Hongxun (Lame Fore), Eliot Cowan and Helen Poynor. I have been a movement practitioner and dancer for over 25 years. I cannot separate how the streams inspire as there is a confluenece of experience where one practice informs the other and vice versa.

Helen’s work has been hugely inspirational in deepening my “body body” connection to the ever changing landscape. I am nourished on all levels body, soul, spirit. A spin off from the non-stylised movement in the land is the art and creative writings that emerge. I love the recalling of the ancient memories, where the animal, limbic brain comes forward! For example, I encountered my ancient hag of the sea. She was like an archetypal Kali of Misrule and beyond, with a cackle louder than the crashing waves. Pulling on a part of my feeling, “sensating” body as I moved in wild dark cliff caves. And more recently: “Tons of rock above me. And I, curled up in a space like the gap beneath her crooked toe joint, puts things in perspective. A deep privilege…”

I love the presence demanded when I am with trees and the layers trees, plants, earth reveal to me as I sink into a deeper receptivity. It is a complete creative communion and dialogue – the chi of body and the chi of Nature. It was a relief to realise that as long as I am true to my stream of movement, as well as responding to the environment I do not have to dance with any agendas of what I think a dancer should be like.

“My bones, my sinews, my muscle substance, fluid, cells all moving, flowing like a flock of2016-01-19 16.00.33 birds. A vast body of movement in a cohesive and random leadership group. Shapes shifting in multidimensional aerodynamics. Me, on the ground, my internal landscape moving like this. One part pouring into another, my head pushes my feet away from the South to the sky. My bottom spirals around creating whirlwinds down below.”

I love the intelligence of all my bodies; energetic, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. The Taijiwuxigong has taught me how to clear blockages in my 5 main energetic pathways.

The fact that it is a lifelong practice with no end goal.

Rather that you journey up your own “mountain exploring every nook and cranny and allowing your wisdom to take centre stage.” This is my invitation. I love the fact that Taijiwuxigong is not separate from spiritual practice, but teaches acceptance of self and love in each moment.

So yes, I love the privilege and honour of the way people take responsibility for their own body care and ultimately their life. I can offer tools and often that key tool can tip the balance to self awakening.

Buqi healing has the extraordinary ability to work with unseen phenomena in a seemingly ordinary and grounded way. I am excited by constantly discovering the magical energetic nuances of the human body.

2016-01-20 16.37.44.jpg

I am so excited to have Poh Eng on the apprenticeship team so that we can all learn from her unique perspective and deep practice.

Poh Eng is running a selection of workshops this year: The first two 9-10/04/16 and 28/05/16 are both Taijiwuxigong and being run in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. Then 7-11/09/16 is a body chi, land chi reconnection retreat being run in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. If you would like further details on any of them please contact Poh Eng directly: pohengsoundbuqi@yahoo.co.uk

 

The search for Wild

We are a reflection of our environment, if we are sick it is a fair indication that the environment we live within is also sick – there is no separation. Even if you feel fine, if you have been reading recent reports on the health of “developed” or “Western” nations you will appreciate that as a whole the population is pretty sick in varying degrees. Whether it is stress, depression or anxiety; arthritis, heart disease or auto-immune conditions, most people have some health issues to deal with, even our children. Our cut off from nature is key to this. Spending time in a natural environment has almost immediate physiological effects including a drop in blood pressure and blood cortisol levels, a boost to the immune system, but also a drop in stress levels and anxiety, feelings of increased vigour, and having a more positive outlook – feeling less depressed.

As we are a mainly urban based world now, with over 50% of the world population living in urban situations, how do we remedy this, where do we find the healing solace of natural environments? Well, perhaps if you live close to a great wilderness, a mountain range or a desert you could head out for a hike every weekend and charge yourself for the week to come with fresh air and wilderness energy. But what about the rest of us?

urban alley way edged with wild hedge garlic

urban alley way edged with wild hedge garlic

The trick is to find the wildness wherever you are. Wildness is hiding around every corner (and in our hearts) you just have to open yourself to noticing it. Small back gardens, urban parks, little woods bordering farmland, urban alley-ways. They are all stuffed with wild plants surging upwards and outwards. Any nook or cranny available will eventually receive a wild plant seed that despite the lack of ideal growing conditions will somehow manage to find a way to grow.

Don’t overlook those little fellas – the buddleia growing along the rail tracks and on niches high up on building walls. The plantain and dandelion growing through cracks in the pavement at our feet. The “weeds” growing in our flower pots and at our allotments. They are the wild, and if you listen to their call, they are inviting you to join them.

 

Find your local park or stand of trees and look up, look out, reach out to them with your heart and embrace them. Recognise them as living, as alive and wild, as part of yourself. For we are all born of stardust and go back to dust once our time in this incarnation has passed. Without knowing it, this is what so many people lack, this connection with life other than humankind, this connection and sparking of our wild inner core. We need it so that we feel not so alone, so that we know we are part of something greater than ourselves.

So seek out the wild wherever you are. When you stumble across it – no matter how small

wild dandelion finding an urban niche

wild dandelion finding an urban niche

– notice it and acknowledge it. Feel love for it and recognise yourself in it. If we all did so we would, no doubt, encourage the wild to grow, we would let in the wild ragged edges, and all feel that much better for doing so.

On February 27th I am running a four hour workshop just outside Stroud, Gloucestershire called Entering the Spirit Forest, where you will learn the skills to connect more deeply with nature while we walk through woods on the urban edge. If you would like to go deeper still I am running an apprenticeship this summer called Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship, join me…

I have made a facebook page for my business Gateways to Eden if you are interested in my work I invite you to have a look and like my page ❤

Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship

former student communicating with plants

former student communicating with plants

The teaching year for me is almost at an end after a flurry of workshops that has been ongoing since the beginning of September. Next Tuesday evening is the final installment of a four part series and then I am done for 2015. For that reason the workshop page on my website is looking a little empty for the moment; until I get some ideas and dates fixed for next year.

The only event currently listed for 2016 is Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship.

So what is it? Well firstly I guess I should explain what I mean by apprenticeship, as here in the UK it has a kind of industrial feel. According to the Merriam-Webster online entry the definition of apprentice is: 1b :  one who is learning by practical experience under skilled workers a trade, art, or calling

So my apprenticeship is all about learning by practical experience the art of living more wildly. It is a calling. It is about unlearning the ways of domestication and rewilding. It is about learning to live more in line with natures ways.

It won’t just be me; I have also invited Kamaldeep Sidhu and Poh Eng San to share their wisdom and knowledge in the ways of the wild. read more about them and their areas of expertise.

And the content? We will take time to develop sensory acuity and visceral wakefulness. To work with our bodies through eating cleansing foods and self-massage. We will forage for wild foods and medicines making ferments and remedies from our quarry. We will learn about the livingness of the world and how it feels to inhabit a place where everything is alive! We will talk to plants; and they will talk to us. We will learn from the trees and the rivers. We will shapeshift into wilder, more robust, more aware and awake, versions of ourselves.

lake where we stay in Wales

lake where we stay in Wales

When and where? Our journey into Sacred Ecology, into the rewilding of ourselves will be spread over five months; from early May until mid September. During that period we will meet four times in all. Three of them in Somerset, the other in South Wales.

view from compost loo,somerset

view from compost loo, Somerset

At all stages of this Sacred Ecology journey so far I have been drawn to pray and to celebrate the magic and the sacredness. I was delighted a couple of weeks ago to receive the first deposit payment. I have my first apprentice 🙂 ❤

The question is would you like to join us? To co-create with us? To share and explore with us?

I can promise it will be a deeply magical and life-affirming process.

For more background on my style and the content of the apprenticeship read a copy of my latest book Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature, upon which the apprenticeship is loosely based.

Join me!

Why I Love Rain

Let me qualify the title of this post, or perhaps just add “in moderation”! I don’t love it when it rains for days on end, when the sky is battleship grey and everything is damp, in that sense I am the same as most other people. However, every now and then, I do so love a good blast of the wet stuff. It is not just because I am a lazy gardener and a decent cloud soak means no need for the watering can for at least a few days. It is because something beyond my conscious mind recognises the nourishment that rain is, the fact that it is a source of life, without it we would not thrive, we would not live.

roof tops of Siem Reap, Cambodia

roof tops of Siem Reap, Cambodia

When it has been dry for a long spell and the rain starts to gather over a distant horizon I start to get excited. I love that you can smell approaching rain as well as see it. A few years ago I was in Siem Reap, Cambodia at the tail end of the rainy season and what amazed me there was that you could hear it coming! The downpours were heavy and many of the roofs in town made from tin and so you could hear the thunderous deluge as it moved in closer from the edge of town, that was worth getting excited about!

One of my favourite places to experience rain is the desert. When I lived in New Mexico the earth was often parched, not much more than sand and dust. Occasionally I would notice the sudden presence of big black clouds rolling down the I-25 from Santa Fe, and the smell, it was so very strong, scented with approaching dampness. Of course the dramatic skies were also very beautiful adding even more theatre to an already dramatic environment.

view from my window of plants singing in the rain!

view from my window of plants singing in the rain!

Despite all my travels there is no place like home. It has been a long dry summer. Those that spend most of their days indoors may disagree but I garden, I am outside everyday, and certainly here in Gloucestershire it has been dry. So when the rain does come I celebrate. I can feel the energy of the plants in my locale rising, being around them after a good cloud burst you can practically hear them sing.

When the breeze picks up and the first misting of moisture arrives I love to stand and catch the breeze in my hair, the moisture on my skin. It is enlivening, it makes me feel vibrant and wild. To step it up a notch is to go outside and stand barefoot when the raindrops are plump and falling thick and fast. Most other people at this point run for shelter. I recommend pausing for a moment or two to feel the fat velvety rain kiss your face, caress your skin.

I talk about taking a shower in the rain in chapter 6 of my latest book Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature There I talk of rain appreciation of the highest order, an activity for which you need a degree of seclusion or privacy to undertake without unintended consequences, but worth it nonetheless.

Without water, like plants, we shrivel and die. Next time it rains go outside intentionally, feel that rain on your skin, feel it nourish, feed and awaken you. It is one of Nature’s gifts, it is part of Gaia, part of you, love it! ❤

Pause To Remember Your Wild Heart

I wrote the following last autumn during the closing stages of finishing the text for my latest book (Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature  😉 ). I had been sat inside writing, concentrating, for so long that I was in danger of forgetting that which drove me, that which I was writing about in the first place. So I went outside just to feel, just to be, to rekindle that wild, alive, feeling that dwindles when you are inside for too long and don’t feed it, that essential wild spark that we all hold within ourselves.

fallen leavesIt is easy to forget that it exists at all as I sit tamed behind my computer. Stiff from hours of sitting and intense concentration I stretch in my chair once more. Looking up I notice the beautiful blue sky through the skylight in my office. It’s time for a break.

I go downstairs and open the back door. It hits me with a tingly rush, the freshness of the air. The concrete yard is carpeted with the fallen reds and oranges of Acer which sit in pots between bamboos creating a living screen for the brick wall behind. I climb the ugly grey concrete steps and duck to avoid disturbing the intricate webs strung accross the path above my head. Already I feel more animal.

I breathe deeper. My shoulders roll back. The rusty faces of St Johns Wort flowers long since bloomed, medicine lawngreet me as I reach the garden. Leaves and fallen plums litter the medicine lawn ~ my grassy patch. I stop a while and listen to all the birds and other rustlings. I disturb a grey squirrel who dances across the top of the wooden fence and shoots up the trunk of the nearest tree. I breathe deeper still.

There is a delicious warmth to the sun and I sit with my eyes closed, face turned upward toward the fiery disc to receive it. Legs straight in front, arms propping me up from behind, hands broad and fingers well spaced. I can feel the pulse of the Earth rising up my arms. I feel invited to lay back. My spine feels supported by the gentle undulations of the ground beneath me. I kick my slippers off and feel the sticky grass with my toes. Time melts, my pace slows.

I breathe it all in, all the mulchy autumn smells. I turn my head and watch the insects in the grass buzzing between late flowering herbs. I am full, full of joy. The whole of me feels alive and my face is full of smile. I remember. I remember that I am part of this and my heart beats a little stronger.

Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature by Rachel Corby

Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature by Rachel Corby

That is the feeling that I attempt to convey In Rewild Yourself, the reconnection with the rest of nature, that feeling of vitality, of being abundantly alive. We don’t need to go far to find it because it is within us all, we were born wild animals, we each still have it within us. So when you are feeling tired or weary, down or ungrounded, disconected or disappointed, just take a moment of time, go outside, find a patch of grass and lie down, take it in, remember… Rewild Yourself!
For more rewilding ideas, to remember you are Gaia, to draw nature into your life more and more, I invite you to grab yourself a copy of my latest book Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature 🙂

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