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

 

The Love & Loss of Ancient Trees

I love summer! It gives me the opportunity to get outside more, to go camping, to explore and discover. I also usually make it to the odd festival or two. Festivals, luckily, are often sited in great locations with rolling hills, rich hedgerows and ancient trees peppering the landscape.

beautiful shady beech in camping area

beautiful shady beech in camping area

A few weekends ago I was at just such a festival, on an incredible site. Lakes and ancient trees punctuated rolling meadows. It was gorgeous, with lovely sunny weather to match. I had found an amazing huge beech to camp under and was grateful all weekend for the deep delicious cooling shade its generous branches offered me. In fact I spent much of the weekend admiring the great ancient trees, some of which were hundreds of years old with trunks that would have taken three four or more people with arms stretched fully to circle their great girth. I was sitting under one of these fabulous trees one evening when I dropped into a vision where these huge wise giants in the landscape were not solitary and isolated, with hundreds of meters between each, but where they were dominant. Where huge tree neighboured huge tree, shoulder to shoulder, across the rolling landscape. It was a strong vision, I felt like I had been transported to Sherwood Forest of old, with Robin Hood making camp not far away. My eyes welled with tears at the beauty of what once was. Once our land was full of ancient forest, strong, rich and green.

As I wiped the tears from my eyes the reality of our modern landscape hit me, that here on this private estate where large ancient trees still lived they were few and far between. What have we done? I thought as the sad sparseness of summer singed grass filled most of my view. I felt sad for the trees who once looked upon something so much more magnificent, I felt sad for the people, myself included, who had never known such strong and vibrant forest flourishing on this land.

After I had digested my realisation I went back to join the festival where between music and art, people were enjoying wild swimming in the lakes, running and foraging on the festival fringes. I enjoyed some music before walking back to my camp. I turned to look back at the stage where the band had now finished and saw very clearly what humankind have become in a land without a real day to day nature connection, without the mentorship of ancient trees to hold us and guide us. A sea of plastic lined the ground, highlighted in the bright beams shining out from the stage.

post festival sea of plastic

post festival sea of plastic

Where are we? What are we doing? If as a collective we can go and enjoy ourselves in the open air, sit in the warm summer sun and enjoy the cooling shade of trees, swim in soft silky smooth lake water, learn which plants we can safely forage for food and medicine and yet still treat the land as a waste dump…

We have some serious unlearning to do. We have some serious rewilding to do. I don’t know how to tackle the ignorance, how to stop people from feeling that it is ok to just throw their unwanted plastic on the ground. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you look at what we are up against, but if you do so it becomes easy to feel that there is no hope and to do nothing. I know that what I can do is change myself, and through my life and work do the best I can to touch those immediately around me.

I want a world where ancient trees grow shoulder to shoulder with ancient trees. Where we all breathe oxygen rich air in the green shade of towering trees, where we all acknowledge and respect Gaia, nature, and realise that we are forever entangled, there is no separation. What we do to “nature” we do to ourselves.

Time to go plant a few more plants, gather the fruits of the forest for my dinner, and plan some more workshops where I hope to inspire others to see the world the way that I do…

For a list of my upcoming workshops click here…

Wilderness festival UK Wild medicine walks with author Rachel Corby Rewild yourself becoming nature and the medicine garden, England UK

Ancient tree love 🙂

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