At the FreeSpirit Community Summer Camp recently I had the honour of wandering the woods there and setting up yet another sacred space. Those woods are very magickal. It's tangibly full of other beings, big and small. I've worked these woods before, once creating a candle lit labyrinth, with some strange happenings during the building and last year setting up my first ever moon lodge, (and look where that went!). Each time the setting up in itself has been a time of learning and wonder for me and one of deep communion with nature and the divine. There is an energy point in the woods too which makes it perfect for meditation and the opening of heart and mind. It is this place of power, a natural circle with a temple ceiling of leaves against the sky, which I use as a focus for my sacred spaces. From the main camp there is a natural doorway almost square in shape, made of oak, ash and thorn, that leads to a gulley you have to cross to get to this magickal otherworld. There is grass beneath your feet and even a pond. Perfect.
The little winding earth trail I made entered the woods just behind the Heart Tipi. There were beautiful quotes about our green mother painted on to canvas in brown and gold affixed with twig frames in the trees. My friend Sarah and I spent a pleasant, chatty age wiring and stitching those woody borders. Every now and then a gilt frame would draw your eye to something rather special, but you had to look hard for the secret. One very small oval frame revealed a tiny pool of water, no bigger than an inch across, hidden between the leaves in a hollow in a mossy trunk. Another frame, fantastically placed with credit to Sarah, (who says she isn't creative at all ... I'm begging to differ my love), took your view beyond the fence to another part of the woodland. I added here and their amongst the roots and mosses little stones, a couple of special shells, some feathers and crystals, even some sheep's wool.
In one alcove sat a clay goddess, especially made on site for the space by Mags, our crafty ceramicist. The little earth mother knelt inside her knotted home proud, big breasted and round bellied.
From the last gateway between the trees, marked by the small labyrinth with the John Muir's quote and the humongous shell, we stepped into Gaia's Garden.
Here I built a small shelter, decorated with ivy, fern and glossy rhododendron. Inside was a small shrine to Mother Nature herself, with hand painted candle jars, a wonderful woody vagina, an earthen clay bowl made by my son and a stone goddess. The little stone goddess reminds me of something from neolithic times. I was looking for a clay goddess only days before I went to camp for this space, then my friend just gave me this one. She was perfect. Elaine had picked her up, as she would on her wanderings, and the stone called my name apparently, so she took her home painted the gold and copper spiral and voilà ... one little stone goddess fit for a tiny tent temple.
Outside in the garden itself, was large round slice of an oak, a little seat, a three branched piece of willow, a piece of crack willow which fell in storm years ago that had been home to a woodpecker I used to watch, some wiggly wood found on a shamanic journey some time back and a massive tangled bit of branch complete with bird's nest.
The oak circle had been loving planed and polished by our patient hedge witch, Ian. It was he too that put together the bench out of bits I found in the wood and it was from his garden that the willow branched had come. We were having a conversation, like you do over a cuppa in the kitchen, about me working with, at the time, the goddess of the underworld Hecate, then we both looked and commented on the high wind, went back to chatting, then looked back in shock to see that a large chunk, and I mean a few meters of bough, had deposited itself silently outside the window. The willow is one of Hecate's trees so it's my fault it came down apparently. The gift as given has been use in many wands and the like ... and some in Gaia's Garden. Strangely when the garden was finished Ian and I realised that the three things he had made or brought for the garden I had placed in a perfect triangle reflecting the triangle of the canvas. Subtle symmetry showing us that where there is Goddess, God is there too.
Upon the beautiful piece of oak, which I'm lucky enough to have home with me now, I created a mandala offering. In the twisted tree fall, in the old, large bird's nest I placed an egg like stone, which filled the palm of my hand. If you cared to look you would see the imprint of a tiny shell no bigger than a little fingernail.
At night the carefully placed candle jars lit the whole trail giving it a whole new dimension. The canvas shrine herself looked from a distance like a cloaked hag wandering the woodlands.
I enjoyed making this space so much and I spent quite some time in and around the woods, lounging on the grass staring up and in meditation in the shrine. I feel very blessed.
The down side is closing the energetic space and carefully packing everything away ... but endings always mean new beginnings ... and a very full car.
I hope you've enjoyed this little woodland wander with me. Just remember to go and find your own earth trails and sit for while in Gaia's Garden.
The Dreadess xx
Thank you to Ian, Sarah, Elaine and Mags for your wonderful contributions.