WILDWISDOM

Sending down our Roots and remembering the Soul

Upcoming workshop 20th August 2017

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Evening Primrose

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Testimonial from the Working with plant Spirit workshop, 21.3.17, Rose Moore. Although I have always been a lover of nature, my conventional scientific education made me somewhat sceptical about the concepts around plant communication on an intuitive level. However I had no difficulty in quickly recognising my plant ally and enjoying her gifts. Little did I realise that I was about to experience unexpected insight and some deep healing of grief associated with the destruction of a beloved place. The beautiful candle lit labyrinth was the culmination of a very special day and I am grateful to Mark for this introduction to Wild Wisdom work.


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Re-Wilding with the Labyrinth Workshop

 

 

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Just wanted to add some photo’s from the day and a little write up of how it went. As usual with these sorts of events / workshops when a group of like minded individuals get together it makes for a really special time and this was no exception. There were 8 of us in total including myself and Julie who were facilitating the day.

We started off with a short physical and breathing exercise to get us in to our bodies. Bringing our awareness down from the head space and in to the body. We learnt of how we are able to experience our connection to the natural world we are a part of through being aware of our senses at a deeper level.

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I shared the journey that has taken 2 1/2 years from my initial meeting with a Labyrinth in Ireland at Carraig Dulra Permaculture Farm to the finishing of the Herb Labyrinth at Tuppenny Barn. The process has been one of intention, communication and deep listening then allowing and facilitating for the co- creation to emerge, an organic unfolding if you like.

Just before lunch we walked the Labyrinth testing out some of the body awareness techniques.

We shared one of the most exuberant banquets I’ve ever had pleasure to be a part of, it makes for such a heart warming occasion when everyone brings something to share for a feast, creates a real sense of community. 13565385_10154169135616469_165269228_n

In the afternoon Julie led a meditation/communication exercise with St Johns Wort, the plant which was the focus of the day. Its always magical how people’s experience matches that of the plants characteristics. Everyone had such beautiful experiences to share and I will update this post with one or two of those. St Johns Wort really shone giving us all personal insights to take home and digest.

We walked the Labyrinth for the second and final time but this walk was to pay homage to St Johns Wort, to give thanks and ground our experience of the day.20160626_145136_resized


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Working with the Labyrinth

The Labyrinth as a tool for Re-Wilding.

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My journey with the Labyrinth has been an unexpected and synchronous one. It started one Summer whist looking after a Permaculture Farm in County Wicklow, Ireland. Myself and a friend had been given the job of replenishing the ‘Herb Spiral’ at Carraig Dulra Permaculture farm. We instinctively used the spiral path as a walking meditation, setting intentions and in sacred ceremony. It wasn’t until two years later that I came across the work of Eve Hogan that I then realised the ‘Herb Spiral’ was also a 3 circuit classical Labyrinth. So two years on I followed the signs and ended up in Scotland doing a Labyrinth Facilitators course with veriditas www.veriditas.org, it deepened my knowledge and understanding for what this ancient archetypal symbol was about. Energy flows in Spirals. From the Spiralling of the Galaxies and planetary bodies to water down the plug hole, in a seed head or the shell on a snails back we see this spiral design throughout nature and it is within us as the spiralling DNA strands and of spinning energetic chackras.

Connecting the dots…Walking the path… At a recent event, ‘Plant Consciousness’, I met Dr David Bruce Leonard, an amazing guy who has studied extensively with Hawaiian Plant teachers. His was the first stall I wandered over to and picked up his book by the name of ‘WildWisdom’! In the middle of the book he has a Labyrinth!! Dumbfounded I asked what the connection was and he tells me its the best thing he’s ever found that connects an individual to the state of consciousness that is required when out collecting medicinal plants!!! The Labyrinth is a great tool for bringing our awareness from the exterior in to the inner realms of feeling, emotion and awareness, also bringing our sight to the peripheral vision that the Hawaiian Healers use in their meditation technique of Hakalau that David Bruce Leonard was taught by his Teachers.

You can practice Hakalau by staring at a fixed point just above your line of sight, as you focus all of your attention on this point after a while you will notice the peripheral field coming in to your awareness, now concentrate more on your peripheral vision than the centre point. The Hawaiian Plant medicine practitioners would use this practice, along with bodily awareness whilst out collecting plants for healing an individual. They would hold the vision of the person they were collecting plants for and in their altered states were able to ‘hear’ which plants were needed and in what way to use them.

Dr David Bruce Leonard found that the Labyrinth bought about this state of consciousness  instantaneously. He has some thoughts on why this was, he says, ”We enter a Labyrinth with reverence, thereby creating sacred space. We quiet our minds and pay attention. This is exactly the same meditative state we create as we prepare to enter the forest to gather plants. In a Labyrinth we spend most of our time moving our bodies in a relaxed way and with compete awareness. This also has a lot of similarities to the way we move in a forest. And lastly when we are in a Labyrinth their are often people around us. We generally do not look at them when passing, but we are very conscious of their movements and we tend to track them out of the corners of our eyes. Tracking what passes by us as we use peripheral vision is exactly what is entailed within the practice of Hakalau and Hakahele=(Hakalau practiced whilst walking)

Below is a picture from ”The Art of building a Healing Labyrinth” course I attended with Geomancer and Master Builder Dominique Susani in Co.Cork. Ireland 2015. The Labyrinth was built using exact measurements and equations worked out by the locations latitude in relation to the Sun and the Moon at Summer Soltice. This gives an equation that can be formulated to give you a harmonised space, Summer Soltice being the highest energetic point in the year. So when you create an object, building or space using those measurements you are creating an energetically harmonious space. The tradition of the European Master builders went back to the Druids who built sacred sites, many sacred sites around the Globe, e.g. certain Pyramids, many European Gothic Cathedrals would have been built using this knowledge but like many things today its something we have lost, our connection to nature, but that is what we are reclaiming!

Links :- 

David Bruce Leonard’s website – http://earthmedicineinstitute.com – David’s School in Hawai’i.

Dominique Susani – http://www.sacredgeometryarts.com – Sacred Geometry Products.

Plant Consciousness. Davyd and Emma Farrell – http://www.plantconsciousness.com

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How to build a Herb Labyrinth

The Herb Labyrinth project was Inspired by a Permaculture Herb Spiral and the ancient symbol of the Labyrinth. The design will utilise the Four directions and the Four elements in correspondence to the healing plants and in relation to the actions the plants have on the human body as well as the effect of walking the Labyrinth has on a persons well being and potential for inner transformation.

The following describes a step by step process of how to create your own. 638px-cretan-labyrinth-round-svg

You may need – >15 sticks/bamboo sticks. > Measuring tape > String > Flour/Sand something to mark out the path. > Spades, wheelbarrows, mulch, helping hands, feet and herbs.

1. Find a piece of land big enough. This area was in amongst an orchard and just about big enough for a Labyrinth about 26 foot across. Any smaller than this and it may take away from the quality of using it for a walking meditation. Labyrinths are walked to slow the mind and centre one self, if the path is too short it may hinder this. 2015-01-08 12.21.28

The Above location is an Apple Orchard at Tuppenny Barn Organic Farm in Hampshire, UK.

2. Measure the area and find the centre point. Once you have the centre spot put a stick in the ground and attach some string this will help you mark out the circumference of you circle, It doesn’t have to be an exact circle. Place sticks around the perimeter of your circle to denote the edge leaving enough space for herb beds around the outside edge if that is what you are going for.2015-03-26 15.55.39

3. Now mark out the beds or the path, I chose sand as I had some bags of it lying around and its not toxic like using a spray on the ground, flour would also suffice. I decided to mark out the beds, it isn’t exact but gives me an idea where things will go. Its quite an organic process and as you work you will decide to change things as you go. IMG_1566

4. You can now begin to dig out the path ways turning over the cut turf on to the beds upside down. The grass will die off adding a layer of nutrients to the soil. You could add further layers of cuttings and mulch to enrich your beds. IMG_1585

Lydia cutting out the path and turning it over to form the bed on her left. IMG_1580

You don’t need to be too accurate with your path and beds, what ever best suits your needs. Bare in mind what your labyrinth/Herb Spiral is being used for? you might need to take in to account the location? materials? what your aims are? who’s going to be using it? what will it be used for? We have made adaptations along the way, for example we decided to create a gentle gradient on the path, reaching a higher perspective as you walk in to the centre. This also has an impact on the planting, creating variant changes to the climate within the Labyrinth. I was unable to work for a month and on return the plants that had grown in specific areas were noticeably different. The South was drier, sparse and smaller plants in comparison to the North end. Plants in the South included: Lots of Fat Hen, small Thistle, Plantain, Dandelion, Fumitory. Interesting that most of the plants have a use for the liver. I wasn’t sure about Fat Hens relation to the liver but just found that it is used in India for liver complaints. North: Plum tree runners from the Orchard,(West to North), a vine with marsh mallow type flowers (pink and white) Not sure of the name? Lots of Yarrow, Clover, Grasses. Much thicker, lush coverage in the North side. IMG_1923

Building up the Gradient in to the centre. DSCF1029

A month after returning you can see the difference here with the South side on the right and North on the left. DSCF1028

Here’s the Labyrinth after I have weeded and strimmed the outer path. I have now weeded and strimmed the whole lot and covered it with tarps held down by tires. Important that you cover it over when not working on it over long periods.

This has been an awkward project in that I live 2 hours away so sometimes it has been a few weeks until work commences giving nature a chance to re-establish. We were originally going for a material membrane to keep weeds under control but while attempting to lay it down we realised it wasn’t going to work in relation to the contours of the beds/paths, it wouldn’t have sat evenly and would have risen up being exposed (Not a good look) and wouldn’t have worked in prevention of growth. We have now decided upon mulching with wood chip that we access to on the land.

The next step will be to mulch the paths and beds, possibly plant some over wintering herbs? and cover for the winter ready for a Spring planting. Thanks for reading if you got this far and any feedback is much appreciated. I’ll be posting up more from our upcoming sessions in August/September.