In all, 17 of us met at Samhain; a day of sharing pivoting around an interest in Ecopsychology. The sun smiled down on us, drawing us into the garden to settle beneath the Magnolia tree, as before.
The birch tree stood tall against the blue sky, its golden leaves drifting nonchalantly to the ground. A simple check-in spiraled around once and then again into the deeper waters of this circle of listeners. I found myself reaching down to the ground, reconfiguring the leaves at my feet into a spiral as I listened. I shifted the random patterns of the vibrant autumn colours; yellow, brown, red and russet; into a form. An offering to the ancestors. A machine roared in the distance. Birds sang.
Moving away from the words, some were drawn down to the green grass onto hands and knees. Some sank further, to smell the musty autumn scent of the earth. 'Mushrooms' whispered a voice from the wind. The grass was wet from dew and recent heavy rain. I let the earth take the weight of my body and felt the cold dampness seep through my clothes. Time seemed to stand still and I enjoyed an indulgent moment lying on the ground, gazing into the bright blue sky. A small white cloud hovered high above me, gradually fading into oblivion.
Human voices receded into the silence and figures around me lay prone, sat or stood in contemplation, or otherwise meandered across the lawn.
We came together in a human spiral, meeting in an other-than-verbal dance, winding in and out, weaving patterns in a human chain before opening into a circle to call the other-than-human into our circle with an embodied energy. Come horses, come insects, come birds, come lions, come fish, come clouds, come lasses and lads. The birch tree looked down, spreading her arms wide.
I returned to my seat in the circle to find the spiral of leaves had disappeared and were now scattered again at random in an unformed organic order. A question of structure or free-form hovered in my mind. I listened for whatever might arise.
A play had been written for the occasion, offering a thespian thread of connection from one meeting to the next. I became aware of how the script served as a catalyst to draw us into a group connection through the words. More tea?
There was a fluidity in the tunnel of arrivals and departures. A left-field participant entered the tunnel: "how old are you?" 'got any jokes?'. Wait a minute, where are we going? I held tight onto my trust of a wider process at play. I wondered how much diversity the group could hold.
The sun began its afternoon descent and the air became chilly. We came indoors and lit the fire. An agreed silence helped us focus on intention, meaning and purpose. I experienced a heart-felt rush of gratitude for being part of this community. There was a call for time on the land. There was a call to trust improvised free-flow. There was a call for ritual. There was a call for the voice of the soul.
The ancestors cupped their chins in their hands and waited silently.
Something seemed to be stirring in the South West of England.