Written by Nancy Sherwood in response to a question by a participant preparing for the 2011 Pilgrimage to Wales and Brittany.
The work with water purifies us in that we have to have forgiveness and gratitude within ourselves to do it; in order to merge with the spirit of the water, we have to remove our judgments of its state, e.g. polluted, and just be with it, as One. We work with holy wells that have already been places of worship because that is where the vibration is really high. Then that water ends up in the ocean someday, impacting it like a hologram or homeopathic love. We also dance right by the ocean and engage the “sea people” who want us to remember how to co-operate with them. It is all about relationship, to the elements that make up our form and all life on earth and the spirits of those elements and those that lived in a way that understood that.
The subtle essence behind all form is too subtle to see by most people, but some people see auras, spirits etc., and others feel the energetic shifts that come through the dense layers of our filters and so work to clear them in order to feel more. Spending time with nature gives us a better chance to feel in tune with that inner harmony with the earth that we knew either before we were born or upon coming here; children come into this lifetime with different inherent balances of their elements because of their karma, and if they are supported by parents that have light energy, they keep their sense of balance. Most children are brought up by adults who are too heavy in their approach and the children lose their inner compass. It is like having too many radio stations on; then the children cling to the familiar, material and in our case patriarchal world and forget the other half of life except in glimmerings. The fear based culture has won at that point in a young adult’s life, and they can ignore death because they easily convince themselves that this is all there is and that there is no meaning, etc. and their young health is spent on becoming slaves to a system that does not regard their spirits or souls. That is strong language and it is not all grim — I do meet the ones getting out of that automatic behaviour and changing their lives, but I say it to just say how serious it has become.
Cultures that embrace all life and death and look at the soul as needing care, put songs, stories, dance into their cultures at the TOP because that is what restores the soul when we have trauma. Those rituals that you are doing with X imbue meaning at those subtle levels I was speaking of; there is the obvious outside thing going on but there is the inside thing that is changing and is being taken care of in order to restore us to inner balance. We can’t even do environmental work without burning out if we are not in peace ourselves; we have to go beyond hating the perpetrators and be in a space of understanding that they need to do what they do (just as Christ understood his death needed to happen) and hold space for compassion toward the situation, without necessarily agreeing with what people are doing.
The space behind it all is the vast space of the natural mind when it is not obscured by the chat of the conceptual mind and when we are in rituals or songs etc the conceptual mind takes the place it needs to, not the whole space. When we do Tonglen we affirm that there is enough space in our being to source compassion for all who feel like we do, and realize that that source is eternal. It is what is behind all the elements and before form, it is the ground of being, the feminine principle and in-forms the masculine active principle. The people who are running around like decapitated chickens are not in touch with that space and their heads are separate from the body/knowing.
When we are on a pilgrimage we have agreed to let the old definitions of who we are drop away and sometimes things happen very spontaneously like E’s dip into the water at Kildare; she was calling out, “it’s upside down” and then she dropped to the ground and said, “Everything is in reverse. I see it all so differently.” C’s experience was to lie down in an old grave (older than the pyramids) and experience death as a transitional state while we danced and sang; wild garlic helped “revive” her back to this time and place; she saw the star beings and understood why the stone sites were designed to be seen from the sky and why they were aligned to the stars and planets in order to help us be on earth in a more harmonious way. To descend into the dark in order to bring it to the light and then to understand in the cells of the body that it is all light.
Walking puts the soles of the feet in touch with the earth and the impression of what is in the earth comes into our bodies and minds and we experience the landscape like those who went before us. We are still spirits in biological bodies that can sense the landscape and its energies, and the patterns of existence and those energies impact our bodies. David C just said recently, putting 2 ideas together: We have too much cheap food and not enough wilderness left to make up for it; we don’t play, reflect, spend time outdoors as it is becoming harder to find wilderness and so the cheap food agriculture is tearing down trees and we think we are so lucky! Our bodies and souls can’t “make up” for the deficit and so it is important that those of us who see that impact, BE the solution and spend time in the natural world, retuning, not only to save ourselves but also to take our place in the natural web of things.
Gnosis or divine revelation, happens as we gather with intention. It is one way of receiving guidance and in this century we need more of it. We each have to form our own authority of what is happening and see reality from our own lens; part of the beauty of that is often in a group that the experience will find its own lines of harmony and part of it is that you can still sense your own contribution to the whole, without giving yourself away in unhealthy rescuing or trying “too hard”. The trying dies with the bliss of trusting and inner knowing, and when inner conflict arises, as it does in all of us humans, we are developing new/old ways of working with it. Practicing is to take the time to work creatively with what is presented and so far we have workshops, gatherings, circles, community, pilgrimage, sharing in many ways to spread the use of the available tools.
The more of us that add ourselves to this paradigm shift that folks are talking about, the more we create another way of seeing and being. Then the mental mind starts to follow the intuition more closely and the marriage of the inner male and female takes place, which takes us to Beltane’s celebration of the sun and moon joining, the female and male principles, the female coming up out of the earth where it was buried for so long and coming to the light.