We have had our woodland for just over a year and it has ben hugely exciting and a little overwhelming. Neither my husband or myself have the practical skills required for taking care of the woods. We are both more philosophical and reflective people. My vision is that our children and grandchildren and future generations will maintain and offer new creative projects in the woods. It is very much a far reaching vision, growing with time like the trees.
My passion is our relationship with nature as an evolving conversation deepening our sense of connectivity and meaning. Nature has always been a healing resource and a spiritual solace for me.
Last May I invited a group of women, six in all, to join me in conversing, meditating and finding creative ways to be with the woodland. I led a meditation which naturally included our relationship with the trees we were sat amongst. Focusing our attention on their root systems and also on our need for grounding, making the connection between their trunks and our spines and taking our attention to the reaching out of their branches and our need to take in the sunlight. It was a wonderful way to meditate which allowed us to use all our senses as a focus for meditation and a way to directly relate to the trees surrounding us.
I encouraged listening to their music as their branches moved with the breeze, listening to the sound of birdsong then taking our awareness to our breaths and the sensation of the breeze moving across our skin. It was the time of the bluebells which offered us an immediate experience of smell and made paying attention to their intoxicating fragrance a pleasure. All our senses were engaged, we were still, sensitive and attentive to our environment. We were in a truly mutual experience of existence.
The day continued with making a fire and sharing lunch. After which we did some personal work that involved going off into the wood individually and silently. The purpose of this was to maintain our meditative states while walking through the wood to look for anything which we connected with from the woodland floor such as sticks, rocks, feathers and leaves. The women returned with their finds to the fire where we gathered in a circle. Using other creative media such as wool, string, clay, materials and paint we each made a ritual object. We then took it in turns to speak about what we had made, the process and what it meant to us. This was particularly powerful after having maintained silence for a long time. Then we as a group created a ritual for each woman. For some it meant burying their object. For others it required using the fire to burn and cleanse what they had made. Some wanted to take their creation home to contemplate and keep.
We all returned to our homes tired but with a sense of having had a profound experience of being the woods and with our natures.
Note from woodlands blogs: Tamara is a qualified psychotherapist with over twenty years experience of working with individuals and groups. Her qualifications include an art therapy certificate and she has facilitated many groups of people exploring creativity and spirituality. After completing training in Family Constellations therapy with Barbara Morgan, she is developing her passion and interest in Nature Constellations. Over the course of the last twenty years she has worked with many shamans and been a regular attender at a shamanic healing group.