Last weekend I found myself wedged between the need for a front yard that complies with the counties fire ordinance (weed-whacked to 100ft around the house) and a growing appreciation for the various plants that rise up in the open spaces of our property. When we first arrived here everything was sand and dying weeds. The castoffs from our cultivation have encouraged the growth of new plant kingdoms.
I’ve been learning more about the Tuath De Danann (the peoples of the goddess Danu), the pre-Celtic inhabitants of Ireland. They’re thought to be the Sidhe, or the faery folk, but not the sprite pixies we imagine. Beings of great power, they might cause suffering if not treated with respect. Actually they might cause suffering just for the hell of it if you believe all the stories.
The more immersed in that lore I become, the less I’m able to destroy new villages of volunteer plants. Like Ferdinand the Bull I’d much rather crouch down and push my face into the small new worlds forming all around us.
Are these really communities of spirits? Of course all plants are, but are these the cultivation efforts of some of my distant relations? It was believed by some that those who could connect with the spirits were related to the Sidhe, the result of tribes crossing the terrain of conflict to mate eons ago. I’ve always suspected my wife was part Sidhe. You can see my quandary, I could be destroying an in-law’s home!
Open space is where sacred mystery lives, its important to let life settle into it. Like the land, fertile open spaces within ourselves invite participation by other numinous forces: volunteers who might come and build our soil, stoke our inner fires.
There are spaces in any transformative process, moments that feel like lulls but are in fact the undulations of a sub-terranian fertility gathering power. I’ve been on the unsteady ground of building potency for about a week now. It feels like nothing releases the pressure, everything just warms the embers inside me. I’m learning how better to support these groundswells, allowing them to grow in me and take up more room.
Of course this all dissolves before a honey-do list and the ecstatic, chaotic energy of a four year old. The threads of a powerful dream I was savoring this morning became frayed and tangled as I tried to get my beautiful family out the door for a new day. Ripe space won’t be conveniently manged, unpredictability must be in there too. The snake twists and writhes and continues on its way.
I left a few places untouched as I took down the tall grass in the front yard, I confess a fondness for thistles that are not native. The rest of the property remains untouched. I get to watch flocks of orange song birds eating the seeds from five foot tall grass while I work. Making my rounds with Bella this morning I found the afternoon nests of our chickens hidden there. They like the tall grass, it protects them from the fledgling hawk that took one of them last week.
I don’t know if the Tuath De Danann can be allies in cultivating my inner cauldron right now, still I’m learning to make peace offerings, negotiate my way around their homes. Learning about them gives me a way to make this place an entrance into deeper waters within myself. I feel held and surrounded by teachers who might make any step over the land an important instruction in life. Tall grass hides many jewels.
If you are interested in cultivating your own sacred space, join me for The Way of the Shaman in Pacific Grove CA June 23rd & 24th at the Seaside Yoga studio in Pacific Grove. The Seaside Yoga studio is located in the historic Chautauqua Hall, walking distance to accommodations, food and the beautiful Monterey Bay. This experiential workshop introduces participants to core shamanism, a universal method of entering non-ordinary reality for problem solving and healing through the shamanic journey.
Click here to learn more.