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Guardian of some fiery secret

Updated: Jun 1

Photograph with thanks to Emma.

Under the auspices of the Hourglass Yew, three Soul Shed deep-mapping walks  happened over the course of May.  It was a great pleasure to meet up with you and share these times of creative exploration.

This ancient Yew is reckoned by Yew researcher, Toby Hindson to be well over a thousand years old. The oldest tree in Alice Holt Forest, this tree stands guardian to the Lodge Inclosure, and the atmosphere changes into something very different beneath its canopy. It is the perfect place to begin walks where we are intending to slow down and become more connected.

Walking with an invitation.

Our three offerings came under the umbrella that is the fabulous event that is Alton Walking Festival. They run a shorter one in October and a wonderful way to visit this beautiful corner of the world. I hope to see you again there - and we're already planning a new walk. Here is a gathering up of some of these recent adventures. If you were at one it would be wonderful if you could share your experience in the comments here. And of course - the walks have happened, but the invitations remain!

Invitation: Explore your creativity in the Forest

"We did warn her. She forgot to listen.

Father Yew engulfed the girl within his ancient aura, trying to calm her excitement. Carrying a basket with over fresh bread for Grandma, she had no idea of what danger lay ahead"

-from the opening of storyteller Heather Chalkley's retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.


This walk, in Lodge Inclosure, that you may have read about in our last newsletter,  was one in which we explored this archetypal tale. Its a powerful map of different parts of our psyche - our playful curiosity (Little red) , our self care and protection (Wood-cutter) , our vulnerability (Grandma) and our deep instinctual knowing (Wolf). Which are you most connected with today?

This exploration is also forming part of a soul-nourishing offering that started last Sunday and which is still live! If you would like to dive deep into forest story together in interactive online gatherings, I hope you will check out the first of these here.

Invitation: Explore Interconnectedness in the forest.

photo with thanks to Stuart

'They are the most simple of plants, and in their simplicity, elegant. With just a few rudimentary components of stem and leaf, evolution has produced some 22,000 species of moss worldwide. Each one is a variation on a theme, a unique creation designed for success in tiny niches in virtually every ecosystem.' – Robin Wall Kimmerer on Moss

thank you to Joy for the photo below

I was blown away by the creativity that emerged from this time we spent in Holt Pound Inclosure.

This time I was helped in leading the walk by  talented bird photographer and passionate student of biology, Kaelim Pitman, and a group of thirteen of us explored our connection with water, moss and trees together. The sharing was rich and deep.

There is s a section of this Inclosure filled with the most curious moss, which is growing up new shoots of undergrowth in a sheltered part of woodland, creating a sense of strange worlds! Here are some of our pictures -  I would love to hear what you see in them.

If the colour and feeling of moss inspires you, then I hope you will have a look at another current Soul Shed offering  - Inspiration from Moss and Breath. If you would like to learn a de-stressing breathwork technique with moss at its heart, then please do book a place. Thank you to Kaelim for the photo above.


Invitation: Breathing with trees in the forest

'The forest keeps different time;slow hours as long as your life,so you feel human.

So you feel more human;

persuaded what you are by wordless breath of wood, reason in resin.

You might name them- oak, ash, holly, beech, elm

-but the giants are silence alive'

from Forest by Carol Anne Duffy


For our third walk we were back in Lodge Inclosure, and we explored breath, with a focus on becoming more connected to our presence and sense of belonging to place. On this walk I was accompanied by a third fabulous group of walkers, and Roz Tandy came down from London for her third time helping lead a Soul Shed walk and she chose and read us some beautiful poetry which really added a special dimension to our time together.

The trees are so powerful in offering us a mirror for our breathing, and because they recycle from our waste gas the very oxygen we breathe, we live in symbiotic relationship with them. Their connection with the earth can reminds us of our own rooted connection to place, and their trunk and our own spine are very compatible structures and natural points of correspondence and connection: making contact with a tree via leaning your spine against it just FEELS right! The green of the forest is wide and expansive and in the yogic tradition it connects with the heart chakra. If you would like to learn to connect deeply with your heart and breath, please do check out the breathwork offering.

"It really was a delightful hour - my relationship with moss is becoming conscious!" - Victoria

If you’re enjoying the idea of this combination of contactful exploring of your own being in correspondence with the natural world, then I would like to offer you one more thing - a free chapter of ‘Take it to the Trees’ a handbook that offers openings and correspondences to support your exploation of nine different trees.

.I look forward to creating with you again soon!

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