So small this blue dot
Within an infinite sky
the animals circle.

What if you could care for yourself and for others in a way that tapped into the extraordinary power of nature? Imagine being able to ground yourself, help yourself through the storms and blows of living and dying. And what if that person dying is you? How would it feel to develop ways of tuning into the anchoring of earth, the allies of plant and landscape? Imagine knowing that beyond the medication, beyond the bed and the ward and the frightened looks in people’s eyes, there is something bigger, more spacious, more generous and spectacularly timeless that can come to your aid.

It used to be that we saw our health and wellbeing in the context of our relationship with nature and cosmos. Great healers throughout the ages spoke of nature as the greatest healer, the greatest teacher of all. And nature, well that was not just earthbound, it was the heavens too.

In the times before streetlights and Netflix, the night sky was vast and bright and deeply observed. We watched the slow turning of the earth. We saw the constellations, a circle of animals - the zodiac rising up and sinking down across the horizon. With these constellations came the movements of animals: migrations, breeding, birthing and hibernation. And the plants too, they also rose and fell to those stars: autumn, summer, winter, spring. Autumn leaf falling, spring sap rising. And we saw ourselves in those skies and we were life personified by these astral influences.

And across this vast sky the planets orbit and over millennia we traced their passage. Through crab and bull, water carrier and sea-goat we would notice patterns in their effect on life here on earth. These astral forces, a multitude of gravitational pulls and cosmic bumps would show up in the night sky and give us clues as to when and how to sow, how to harvest, when to act and when to withdraw. Not beholden, just guided.

Paracelsus said that every star in the sky has a corresponding flower growing here on earth. He said that the state of the world could tell us much of the state of Man because everything is reflected in everything. What we put out… we receive, he said. And he spoke of how if Nature was ailing, it was because society was ill. And where nature flourished, all was well with us to.

But all is not well with us. Shamans speak of wounds that turn us into healers. They say it is the rips in our soul that open the door to new vision. Leonard Cohen sang of the cracks that let the light in. For me that wound was in childhood. Bitter, brutal but it came bearing gifts - once I knew how to see them. I started to see the connections between me and nature. I saw myself within it. No longer separate, No longer an only child, alone, but a child of nature, among allies. I saw energy flowing from plants and trees and landscape. Golden threads spun as if by spiders connecting me to nature and to cosmos. Nature became my ally. The planets hummed their celestial notes. Medicine. Plainsong. Notes that healers through time have used to reach into the inner universe of body and soul.

As I grew older, I started to plant flowers to change the brutal into beauty. Pulling them down from the sky and resting them in soil. Hands digging deep as Saturn stationed. A metamorphosis of earth, planet and memory. I learned their medicine, I recognised their signatum, I saw myself with them, within them, picturing the points of our connection in colour, leaf, form, location. They healed me.

Heal is not the same as Cure. Heal is a place where we can be at peace with ourselves. It is a place of respite, a calm within the storm. Heal is that moment where we can just Be. It is a deep breath, rather than a sigh. It is the beauty in the moment. The quiet comfort of Beginner’s Mind. Heal is the place that helps us be with grief and the things that trouble us, not erase it, or block it out.

Heal is not the same as Cure. Heal is a place where we can be at peace with ourselves. It is a place of respite, a calm within the storm. Heal is that moment where we can just Be. It is a deep breath, rather than a sigh. It is the beauty in the moment. The quiet comfort of Beginner’s Mind. Heal is the place that helps us be with grief and the things that trouble us, not erase it, or block it out.

My wound was of things taken from me that were not for giving. Me a microcosm of the macrocosm. Standing in a world made bitter by the things stolen from the earth, our mother. I peer to the heavens through the space junk and satellite trails and I hear the cosmos say, how can you see things clearly if you crowd and clouds the heavens with the waste of human endeavour? Plainsong. It is plain we have gone too far. Can we orbit back around to those deeper connections? Let us orbit back to that understanding of place and time and the places outside of time, and connection and balance, and the innate oneness of understanding of the places where we can feel healed.

So many words, falling onto the page like a meteor shower. Many, then nothing. Starburst.

I think of my father’s eyes fixed on mine as his soul broke free, his body space junk discarded as his spirit soared through the heavens. How many souls in this moment are breaking free, and how many people are letting them go, safe within a universe of love?

Plants can help us heal. Planets can help us see who we are and how the circle of animals above and below us show us the way to our own door where the light shines in. Where we are connected in time and in space and in the places where we can find peace. Sanctum. Sanctus.

 

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