Breaking Down Barriers

Posted: July 14, 2015 in Spiritual Journey
Tags: , , , , , , ,

At midsummer (well technically the day before, because who the heck has time to do things on a Sunday?) I decided to do something special. I took myself, some basic camping equipment and a motley collection of ritual paraphernalia into the woods, planning on performing something small and simple as my own way of marking the time of year.

I arrived in the woods amidst drizzle and fading daylight and, as the light faded, set about finding a suitably out-of-the-way spot to settle down for the evening. I won’t go into too much detail about what I actually did, but suffice to say, it being my first time doing something like this, it was a bit clumsy and… well… if you ever want tips on how to summon slugs, I think I’m your chap.

It felt like something was missing. And the most obvious thing was that I didn’t have anyone else around me. I’ve mentioned before how much of a difference doing things in a group can be and, somewhat reluctantly, I began to conclude that future solo trips into the woods would probably end up in similar disappointments.

Until last night. Last night I went to the Open Circle at Treadwell’s (truly lovely people, can’t recommend it highly enough). I’ve been a few times now and each time it’s been a very fulfilling, grounding experience. In last night’s ritual (again I’m not going to dwell on all the bits of it) there came a part where everyone was supposed to move around and raise some martial energy (we were working with Mars… though given current events I can’t help but feel Pluto would also have been a cool choice). What ensued began as one of the most painfully British experiences. You can probably picture it, someone starts striking a drum; people glance nervously at each other; a few start vaguely swaying like a drunk uncle hovering at the edge of the dance floor at a wedding. Finally we start to move, actually move. It’s awkward at first, nobody wanting to be the first to do anything, but gradually, painfully slowly, people begin to let go a little. Some sounds start, whoops and yells. The awkward shuffles and sways become bolder. Hands start clapping, feet start beating the floor and somewhere in the midst of it a line is crossed. Somewhere in the midst of the movement and noise it changes from being an awkward collection of people worried about doing the wrong thing and becomes what it’s supposed to be, something fun, something free, with thundering heart and a huge grin that says: “If you’ve got a problem with what I’m doing then that says more about you than me!”

And it’s a line that has to be crossed; time and time again to push through and get to somewhere special. And it’s that line that, when I was in the woods, in the dark, surrounded by rain and strange noises and the gathering of the slugs, that maybe I shied away from.

Next time.


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