The Spring break brought a blessed work free, two weeks. I hoped that this would be a break from being tightly scheduled in the mundane world. I relished the opportunity to reconnect with the flows and energies around me, spend time in nature attuning to its magic and simply letting go.
However, letting go, and moving with the flow is easier said than done because it is not a task we can set about to achieve; we cannot bring it about by applying effort, it is rather the opposite. I still struggle to be in my workplace so to not have to go, should be a joy, a relief, but I have noticed that, for the first few days of any holiday, I hit an unexplainable low, accompanied by an increased sense of panic. I observed my thinking. It was dominated by the idea that the break would end and a fear of having to return to work. This created a pressure to already be refreshed enough to optimise the time I had. But I wasn’t. Emotionally, I felt guilt for feeling unmotivated, oversleeping, daytime napping – wasting time. I felt shame, that I had delayed so many tasks till the break, I needed to catch up – I should do better. Angry that I was tired and needed rest – self-loathing, I should be better. I observed how more thoughts and emotions join the party going on inside me, until I was overwhelmed, anxious, and hibernating under a blanket, too overcome to venture into the world outside.
To be able to observe this process with a certain amount of detachment was saddening, how had this all gone on inside unnoticed? In the same, recognising the traffic without being the traffic, enabled me to see how these self-judgments were the problem, not my sense of being. This started a gentle process of creating space, both in my mind and physically, allowing for a greater flow of energy. Unintentionally, I was clearing the way for the new possibilities of Spring. The need to connect with nature and others returned, increasing a sense of love, belonging, and healing. I felt the fear that came with each step from hibernation to living, I welcomed it in and treated it with kindness.
I became aware of how much I take for granted. How much we trust our memory to interpret what we see or feel and stop noticing what is really there. A childish curiosity arose inside, introducing a game of checking in with my senses and simply experiencing what they perceived, without assumption. There was so much to noticed, dismissed by my mind as not significant and yet my senses detected something full of richness that seemed to magnify something in my heart. My expectations began to dissolve, each morning presented a new day to experience, with freshness and a sense of freedom, away from expectations. I felt like I was really alive!
It was during my days of hibernation that I started reading about the significance of the Celtic festival Beltane, renewal from Winter into the buds of Spring. Fire and cleansing of the old to make space for the new. Much of this symbolism resonated with my behaviour at this time and I wanted to do something to acknowledge the celebration. I was reading “Sacred Earth Celebrations” by Glennie Kindred and was inspired by the idea of making a Talisman (pg 123 – see sources for full reference). I used this intention to encourage myself outside for a walk in the woods, despite my internal resistance.
Stepping in the wood brought to mind images of fairies. Whether due to mystical beings or the life force of the wood itself, it was alive with something that felt wondrously magical. I asked this power for help. I poured out my heart to the wood, in a way I am not able to with any human. I acknowledge that I am blessed in so many ways but feel ashamed at not being satisfied. I wanted guidance to know which way to grow my shoots. I recognised that somehow, I needed to create a balance between my work and my life, but I had no clue how. I asked to be directed towards a twig that I could take to create a talisman reflective of the significance of Spring and my will to grow.
I breathed in the wood. All the atoms in my body vibrated as my senses took in the multiple bird songs, rustling from bushes and undergrowth, flowing water. My eyes inspired by the various shades of green with the colours of the Bluebells, Wild Garlic, new buds and shoots were everywhere. I walked between the seams where the wood gives a path for the estuary before releasing it into the sea. I noticed the light dancing on the various textures, spreading energy. I felt the breeze on my sun warmed skin and the changing ground under my feet. The touch of the moss, tree trunks, water and stone. I felt more connected to the wood than I thought possible, like I belonged to it.
After a captivating few hours, I had not found a twig that felt right. I did not want to cut off any buds which I admired on the trees. It seemed opposed to my desire to nurture shoots in my life. This is a managed wood and natural boundaries are used to keep people out of certain areas at certain times, to allow wildlife to flourish. There was a tree partially cut down for this purpose, however it was alive, the majority of its shoots were coming directly from its trunk, as it was now horizontal. I was able to cut the perfect twig, without feeling I was removing opportunity for its growth. I expressed heartfelt gratitude to the tree and the entirety of the wood for sharing its many wonders.
I whittled down my twig, sanded it, and rubbed it down with coconut oil. Unimaginatively, I named it Twiggy and began considering a fitting way to embellish it. I wanted to use green to represent nature and its leaves and a symbol of the fire and its cleansing properties significant to Beltane.
I returned to the wood a short time later, when the buds on Twiggy’s tree had turned into leaves. I wanted to identify the tree Twiggy had come from. This turned out to be quite simple as Twiggy’s tree had grown catkins, easily identifiable as a Willow. Ironically, I read later that willow is associated with Beltane, spring and Easter. Willow is recognised for its strength, flexibility and tenacity to survive, regrowing damaged roots, I had seen this myself with Twiggy’s tree. Associating it with a message of growing through adversity and of adjusting, adapting and surrendering rather than forcing a path through life. Willow and the salicylic acid in the bark sap has been used for its pain killing properties. Willow is associated to the element of water and therefore also the moon, offering clearer understanding, increased intuition and harmony. The significance of the willow resonated with me; it seemed the perfect choice for creating a talisman, and I liked the connection to ‘flow’.
Another element that became a feature of Twiggy, was a white feather, found side by side with an identical feather on a moss cover boulder in an ancient oak wood. I was out with a friend who is similarly on a journey of awakening. On seeing the feathers, I felt them a sign of friendship, of blessing, and connection to the natural world.
I admire my friend’s confidence, to be who she is, without fear of judgment and how this creates a certain amount of freedom. I was reminded of the story of ‘Jonathan Livingstone Seagull’ by Richard Bach, a story everyone should read at least once, with a message of living life by being true to yourself and following your heart. I knew that my fears inhibited by ability to connect at times, but I was only just learning how to enable these connections at will and by doing so my sense of fear diminished. I just had to be brave enough to embrace the form I am in without the self-doubt and criticism. I remember this moment for the realisation that I existed as something I hadn’t had the awareness to know was real before, but I can’t honestly say I truly understand the meaning of this still, but it feels exciting.
As yoga has given me an awareness of chakras and the need to be in balance, I wanted to represent this on Twiggy. I turned to my gemstone bead collection for inspiration. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do but not the beads to fulfill it. I had noticed that certain beads drew my attention. I liked the calming green tone of Aventurine. I liked the milky appearance and gentleness that seemed to come from the creamy Aragonite. I liked the rich orange like sun and fire of the Amber, which originating from a tree seemed rather apt. I turned to “The Crystal Bible” by Judy Hall to see if there was any meaning in my selection, and was humoured by the attributes I read.
Aventurine’s association with the heart seemed particularly relevant, promoting openness in my heart, and all the loving qualities that can be expressed and felt in that state. When my heart is open my fears are overcome and the world seems more beautiful. This is how I aspire to live.
Aragonite seemed to be a stone deeply connected to the Earth, grounding and healing. The properties I read seemed to relate to desires in my heart, to grow in my connection to the natural world, to develop spiritually but in a way that flows softly.
Amber identified with the depression and negativity I was overcoming. Its essence of tree made me think of the tree of life and wisdom but also of the various woods I had explored whilst creating Twiggy. Amber was also the sun, bringing warmth and energy to nurture new growth.
All three ‘stones’ have a protective element to their attributes which seemed fitting for a talisman. The qualities associated with each of them seemed to be supportive of each other. The relevance to my intentions seemed so uncanny that I was tempted to pick crystals at random from the book to check out whether I would feel relevance to all the descriptions, doubting the intuition that lead me to those stones. However, with a chuckle I decided it was probably a good time to trust, simply accept with gratitude.
Twiggy was complete in time to be introduced to the Beltane full moon. As I held Twiggy so that the moonlight could shine on all the elements, I believed this somehow sealed my intentions in my creation.
I tried meditating with Twiggy, but it seemed to introduce an element of expectation or force to my practice, it felt like a distraction. A friend suggested it resembled a Native American Talking Stick, while I loved the idea, I could not imagine a gathering where this could be useful. I could look at Twiggy and remember the process of its creation with meaning, but this was very much a function of the mind and not so much the heart. So, I placed Twiggy upright in a candle holder on my bedroom windowsill where I can notice it every day.
One morning, as I got ready, I looked at Twiggy and felt love for the woods where I had collected the stick and the magic of occasion. I pick Twiggy up and kissed the flat end, in gratitude for all that I learnt. For less than a second, I sensed ‘energy’ flowing between my feet and seemingly deep down into the earth below the house. It was intense and too extraordinary to understand or to even begin to explain. My mind “wowed” at the experience, causing the sensation to quickly dissolve, leaving an essence that I can neither fully bring to memory nor wish to forget. I have tried many times and have not been able to recreate even a glimpse of that moment. The gratitude I felt remains. I regularly kiss the flat end of Twiggy, no longer hoping to recreate that moment, instead with intention to send my love to the natural world for all its magnificence, send thanks for all it has taught me and all I have yet to learn and from my heart, I pray for peace.