I recently returned from a week in the Northern California woods, surrounded by second generation redwoods, douglas fir, and a spattering of madrone, oak, blackberry, thimbleberry, and others. I had gone to gather to learn, teach, and grow with a group of amazing people from all backgrounds and walks of life connected by a red thread of reproductive justice work and activism. Though it was, in and of itself, an eye-opening experience that jump started some amazing progress as a group / collaboration / network, I took away so much more from my time spent there outside of the confines of the group itself and the topics discussed.
Most notably of which was a reality check. I hadn't realized just how much I have shifted over the last year or so as a Being. Before the trip in months past, and especially since my cycles have returned, I have become even more highly sensitive to sensory input, energetic input, etc. and have been navigating how to manage that. Being overstimulated can result in nervous tension, increased anxiety and irritability, and fatigue. I also have been experiencing huge fluctuations in my own mental / emotion / physical / energetic cycle mirroring my womb cycles, which is new for me. So the week of the Full Moon in Sagittarius (my Sun sign), potentially the week or so before expecting my moontime, surrounded by 20+ persons (many of whom they themselves were bleeding) discussing heavy topics for five days floored me. I was completely unprepared, and not expecting such a reaction from my body. By the Full Moon I was weepy and drained, wanting to cry and unsure why and mostly unable to. Though I wanted to mingle and spend time in Community, especially when I am usually so isolated in my daily life and in my professional work, any time spent outside among the trees and away from everyone helped to bring me back into a more balanced place.
I had to ground often, give myself Reiki, and really sit with the nourishing food that was prepared three meals a day (much healthier and more meals than I have grown accustomed to eating this last year). I had to set energetic boundaries, and know when to walk away. I let the fog carry me and the trees comfort me.
After the five days gathered together, all but myself and two others dispersed, returning to our respective lands or moving on to other teachings and gatherings. I remained for a couple of days to decompress, process the week, and reconnect with myself again. We sunbathed naked on the deck, talked about old lovers and letting go. We went off alone and spent time in the woods. In one of my Sitting Outs, meditating on a raised platform up in the trees looking down into the valleys below, the wind stirred the trees and they Spoke. The Spirits gathered to share what they would have me speak. I entered the place of Kenning, of Prophesy, of the Fili. And I wrote.
Raven called thrice, then once more. Bear sits next to me and speaks Their prophesy:
I am the spirit of this land
I am the bear gone, and salmon
no longer in their run
I am the months of thirst
and the fire raging on the mountain
I am She Who Births in the Dark
but no more cubs are born
I am the wind through the trees
the last swaying Redwood tops
I am berries on the vine
and roots dug in the Fall
I am love and anger, compassion and fear
I am what Man would kill.
Am I to be long lost, or found?
The Trees speak next.
Sway, young one. Do not stand so still and rigid. Be strong in your foundation, roots run down deep and out wide, connecting to that which is all around you. But do not be so hard and still. Life is in your veins, move and flow like water over rocks, like roots reaching. Break ground, reach high. Don't let the wind in the storm break you or topple you over. Let go, be, open. Listen before you speak. Listen before all else. Listen to our whispers, to the wind. There are secrets in our boughs for you, for all who would listen to our tale as old as time, and the story of the rocks beneath our feet; of a time long before your kind and long after you are gone. Listen to Bear and Elk scratching at our trunk, listen to Raven calling from our branches. Listen and you will hear, you will know. Listen and you can teach. Listen and you can live. Listen and you can be free. Do not listen and we both may die.
You are a Forest Woman, you belong to the trees and the river that runs from the mountains to the sea. You are of fox and bear and raven born. Your mother tongue is the language of plants and beast. Your healing ways are of leaf and stone. Go to the forest. Return to the Earth. Guide others on the path. You are the in-between, the go-between. Hedge-crosser, gate-keeper, ferry-man. Tender of Spirits, healer of wounds in soul and flesh. Do not forget what you come from, return. Return and know fulfillment, peace, purpose, home, family. We will guide you, teach you, protect you, love you and yours as ours. But return before all is lost. You are needed, old one.
Following the path of synchronicities, during my travels home, I was reminded of the Wilderness Vision Journeys led by the School of Lost Borders, and my desire to experience a wilderness vision journey and lead others on them was rekindled. I know now that this is part of the work, part of the Path, so said the Trees. But since getting home, my heart has been heavy, my bones weary, my mind fatigued. Where I had finally found a state of peace long missing, on my return I have fallen back into the poor eating, the (physically) unhealthy, messy home environment, the late nights and not enough sleep; both my partner and I working unfulfilling, barely-cover-the-bills jobs where now we rarely see each other, have little time to ourselves, only one of us can work on schoolwork at a time, and minuscule family time. While I was gone, I rose early with the sun, slept and ate well, wasn't irritable or angry, had community and companionship, moments of laughter and of silence, and the forest and the river and the sea to comfort me. Now, I can barely drag myself out of bed each morning, have gone back to barely eating and the constant state of irritability, and once more feel isolated and unsure of where to go from here, how to get to where I want to be. But I know I must keep on the journey, before all is lost.
The trees knew, they told me the truth that was already in my bones, now I must find a way.
Stay on the Path dear ones,
Writings/Poems & Photos Copyright 2017 Aileen Marie (Juniper Wren) / FemmedelaForet
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