This Years Learnings, Mulching & Feeding Me Like Fallen Leaves…

So the temperature outside is crispy cold and the sky is bright blue, the leaves are in the midst of changing from green through yellow, red and russet. I love this time of year. As the leaves begin to drop and create their crispy brown litter all around I too find myself shedding much of what the year so far has been to me. Just as the fallen leaves mulch down around the base of the trees providing nutrition as a slow release to be reabsorbed through the winter roots I will use the lessons I have learned this year, the joys and the sorrows, to help inform my path and feed me with insights for what is to come.

fallen autumn leaves

fallen autumn leaves

I have only 2 evening sessions of teaching remaining before this year ends, my energy is turning inwards, so that the darker months can be spent brewing, gestating new ideas to birth when the days begin to lengthen once more and the fresh new growth begins once again. Already I have quite a lot in place for next year with regards to teaching but I do feel a change coming and a need to deepen, to take it further.

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My first offering of 2017 begins at the time of Imbolc midway between the lunar and calendar dates for this seasonal acknowledgement of the cycle of life; the return of fresh growing leaves from the dark underground depths. Amazingly this series of evenings is already full ~ mass consciousness of plant consciousness is growing ~ what a wonderful thing! How wonderful to witness this growing hunger for listening to the call of the wild, to our green relations.

In response I have added a new set of dates for the evening series “Sacred Plant Teachers ~ the art of the invisible” that will run through April. In May I will be running an “Introduction to Communicating with Plant Spirits” day, and later in the year a week long “Sacred Plant Medicine Immersion”. If you are interested in any of the workshops I have mentioned please go to my workshops page for more details.

Also beginning in April will be “Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship“, this will be the second year that I am running the apprenticeship. This years apprenticeship was an amazing journey into rewilding and I was truly delighted that even during the first weekend my apprentices were suggesting that they would like a year two, to continue deepening and exploring their own wildness and wild connections. So I am also working on “Weaving Wildness” which will be the follow up for previous apprentices. To read feedback from some of this years apprentices click here…

Hawthorn

Hawthorn

As I sit in my office it is cold, and I am thinking a lovely hawthorn decoction would warm up my chilly little fingers. The hedgerows are still full with many gifts, so if you have not yet stored up for winter it would be good to do so soon. I am going to drain off my last tinctures of the year and pot up some little cuttings salvaged from a dying house plant -not really the right season for this, but hoping the newly emerged roots will take the slow winter months to grow strong – time will tell. While I wait to find out I think I’ll go and put a pan on and simmer up some of those beautiful deep red haws…

 

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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