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A space to feel deeply - Reflections on a lunar month with Trees and Water.

“I know the solitude my mother speaks of.

It is what sustains me and protects me from my mind.

It renders me fully present.

I am desert. I am mountains. I am the great Salt Lake.

There are other languages being spoken by wind,

water and wings”

- From ‘Solitude’ by Terry Tempest Williams

Raplins Lake and Scotts pine

I hope you have had a deep rich time Deep-Mapping and corresponding with Trees and Water this sturgeon moon lunar cycle. And if this invitation and opportunity has eluded you so far, then know you can return to this pattern of walking with a theme in nature any time you would like to.

The Sturgeon moon is waning now, and it is time to reflect on this piece of journeying.

Deep-Mapping in your square mile is a way to reflect on your life without thinking about your life. The natural world is an opportunity to find some solitude, and to merge a little bit with the whole: to sink into being right sized in relation to the all. its very hard to remain self-important in the face of a flower bursting open, a tree offering its woody witness, or a flock of birds popping down from the skies to see us in their levity and lift, and taking us in with their bold graceful swooping.

The creative frame I offered this lunar cycle to seed your imagination was this:

Week one – New Moon: Locate the bodies of water with trees nearest you and visit them. Notice the reflections of the Trees in the Water. What does this do for you? Notice the instinctual responses in your belly and nervous system, the impressions and feelings in your heart, and the thoughts and ideas that come into your open curious mind.

Week two – Waxing Moon: Explore the connection between Moss and Trees. As another organism that lives very close close to trees and water , what can moss teach your humanness about a life of both purpose and surrender?

Week Three -Full Moon: Find Willow – near water if possible - and experience its witness. Does Willow help you to find your deeper emotional truth, beneath the vicissitudes of daily life. What are you devoted to? What is your deeper, heart-felt purpose?

Week Four – Waning Moon: Reflect on it all. I invite you to take this opportunity to share. Please feel welcome to get in touch with me at The Soul Shed here with your thoughts, images, and reflections. And, if you would like a one to one deep-mapping session to go deeper with all this, here is where you can book.

Heron and Goat Willow at Kings Pond.

My own reflections this month.

Here in Alton, Hampshire, England, there are two places I can visit for trees and water wisdom. One is Kings pond, a human-made pond that was formed to give a head of water to source a historic paper mill that ran until 1909. The pond still remains, now as a well-loved place to visit the wildlife – we have cormorants, white ringed gulls, swans, mallards, coots, moorhens, Canadian geese and heron living here, and the pond is banked by many kinds of Willow – the iconic weeping willow, white willow, goat willow and crack willow, as well as sycamore, Alder and Horse Chestnut. Currently, the future of the pond is uncertain, and it has become mired in disagreement about how best to look after it.

Lime Tree at Flood meadows

The second place is Flood Meadows, which was historically a site for our famous local watercress beds, (The Historic Watercress trainline is named after them) and is now a wonderful wetland environment of woodland marsh, and stream with little weirs to collect the water as it becomes a part of the River Wey . Here too you can find waterbirds and many trees, including a truly wonderful mature weeping willow that is sometimes accessible, depending on the time of year and the growing phase of the undergrowth surrounding it, and whether the paths have been trodden recently!

This month, I spent a lot of time, whenever I could find it, at these two places.

If you came on either of the Soul Shed Creativity walks at Alice Holt Forest in May, you will have spent time with Moss, learning about its incredible propensity to wait patiently for the rains, and then to absorb water, making it a wonderful re-sourcing organism for so many other organisms, and often operating as a version of, and precursor to soil, where there isn’t any to be found on rocky terrain. And of course trees, alive and rotting, are so often the places where moss will grow. Moss has this incredible capacity for surrender to what is. It takes its position and then it waits for the conditions to be right to offer itself and fulfil its purpose. I hope you enjoy this collection of imagery from our community. Many thanks to Annie, Ingrid, Kristin and Steph for the moments in nature that resourced them under this theme of Trees and Water.

Community Seeding Monents: Trees and Water. Many thanks to Anne, Heather, Ingrid, Kristin, and Steph. Imagery from England , Ireland, South Africa, USA and Wales.

No month exploring trees and water would be complete without time spent with Willow, and I am so interested to hear about the impression this poem makes on you. It's by Russian poet Anna Akmatova , translated by Jennifer Reeser


And I matured in peace born of command,

in the nursery of the infant century,

and the voice of man was never dear to me,

but the breeze’s voice—that I could understand.

The burdock and the nettle I preferred,

but best of all the silver willow tree.

Its weeping limbs fanned my unrest with dreams;

it lived here all my life, obligingly.

I have outlived it now, and with surprise.

There stands the stump; with foreign voices other

willows converse, beneath our, beneath those skies,

and I am hushed, as if I’d lost a brother.

The presence of the willow in this poem, is for me a witness and upholder of vitality and life force, something that the human in the poem can correspond with and find solace in, in counterpoint to the tension of growing up in the ‘peace born of command’. For me this is inspiration to re-connect to nature whenever possible, as our birthright and context for living our fullest versions of humanness.

Weeping Willow at Flood meadows, Alton, Hampshire England.

In my book, 'Take it to the Trees' by Samantha Taroni , I dedicate a chapter to willow and suggest that spending time with Willow offers us a threshold to connecting to an emotion depth of presence. If you have not seen it yet, here is a link for a free download.(The whole book is available on Amazon in many countries, and free on Kindle Unlimited). As a part of our lives which is often marginalised, maligned and minimalised, in favour of productive behaviour, we can lose sight of how our feelings and sensations in response to life can make impressions on our hearts. These impressions are where we can find a richness of experience that is lost when we attempt to stay caught solely in loops of habitual and mechanical movement between thought and action. I pair willow with point four on the enneagram, which is a wonderful symbol that maps the archetypal patterns of personality formatio, passion and fixation, and at the liberated end, of essence qualities and holy ideas.

The essence quality of point four is equanimity, and the Holy Idea for point four is the idea of Holy Origin. This idea is is that 'we are all connected to the source, to a true sense of 'being' that goes beyond how we see ourselves as people. We are not isolated individuals and no man is an island. We are spiritual beings having a human experience; we all come from the same place and are part of a bigger creative flow. This Holy Origin means that, by definition, you are original, perfect, and connected to everything. You do not need to make yourself special or seek connections with others. You belong and you are whole and perfect, missing nothing in your connection to the source on all levels of being and meaning - it is only your fear that separates you. This opens up the possibility of inviting more equanimity and acceptance into our relationship with the universe, trusting that we are included and loved. We can stop searching for acceptance and truth knowing that we hold it inside us as our birthright. (From the Intergrative Enneagram website)

This month walking with Trees and Water in my square mile has been an opportunity to explore deeper into my heart's space and capacity. I would love to hear how it has been for you too. And I hope you might be inspired to take one of the further journeys of creative inner correspondence i am offering, centred on the trees near you.

Next up: Urban Trees in our calendar of Correspondences with the new Blue Moon next week.

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