This is a sweet book with lots of thoughts about intuition and examples from the author’s own practice and life. It is very much a sharing from the heart of a personal practice, with a lot of vulnerability and plenty of inspiration. And I love how it weaves the elements so deeply through all of the chapters, and makes intuitive magic so accessible.
This is the kind of book that you really need a highlighter app for (or those little translucent sticky notes!) to mark the things that jump out at you so you can go back and try them, as it is filled with examples and ideas throughout the prose, and they’re sometimes easy to miss. Little gems in a hoard of treasure!
Clarke has faith in her readers to already apply their intuitive understanding of the world, leading to the potential for people to improve their intuition by handing the details over to their spirit/deep self. For example, the expectation that readers can just “raise that vibration” in themselves, without explanation, assumes a lot of skills, but since these are natural skills that we can all do, if the reader simply places their trust in the author and does without thinking, there’s a good chance they’ll do well.
I don’t agree with everything in this book, and the gendering of intuition does not sit well with me personally. In the introduction Clarke says her primary audience is women, and explicitly writes her material for women in chapter 15, so that’s worth bearing in mind if you’re, well, not. That’s not to say there isn’t beautiful, useful material in the chapter though. Personally it seems weird to me to gender a human ability that everyone has, but as the author is writing from her perspective and personal practice with intuition and the divine feminine it makes sense, and there is still a need for space for women to heal that piece of themselves so it is an important chapter for that.
So in short: “Intuitive Magical Practice” by Natalia Clarke is a sweet, open hearted sharing of intuitive practices within a pagan perspective, primarily aimed at women, working particularly with the elements and the divine feminine. It is packed with inspiration and personal experiences, to really show how intuition can be integrated into one’s pagan practice.
Pine fragrance invigorates all my senses allowing me to breathe the fresh essence of the forest. It is the most pleasant sensation, which spreads through my whole body simultaneously grounding me in and letting me fly.
When I found this place, I knew little about where it was and what it looked like. On arrival the overwhelm of it all took over leading me to a breakdown. That’s the power of the elements in the wilderness and its effect on me. I am no longer surprised by it, as it happens every year, but I do continue to marvel at its power. There is forest on one side within a few meters from where I stand and the mountains on the other with an open view of a loch in front. The house itself is like something I have dreamt about for what feels like eternity, one that you read in fairy tales about.
It took me a total of six days to come back into myself with each day settling that little bit more into this remote and wild place. I took long walks through the forest and up into the hills and day by day it wove me into its tapestry with carefully placed stitches, so eventually I felt a part of it.
If arriving here causes such profound response in me, you can only imagine what leaving is like. It is the hardest thing I have to do every year. I am so tired of this repetitive cycle. The sorrow’s return is unbearable, and it takes me weeks to settle back in on the other side.
Every morning, I wake up and greet the forest with a bow. It feels like the most natural thing to do for my body and everything that I am. It is like a constant companion that is always there. I can only imagine what it might be like to lose it. For now, it stands in its silent composure and greets me back with reassurance that there is another day to make adventure of. I bow once more to let it know I appreciate it being there. I could live with such a friend by my side. Pine’s perfume sits on a gentle breeze, as I stare in peace at a view ahead. It offers possibilities and adventure. A sense of space here is luxurious. ‘Take your pick, it says. Go here, go there, it is all available and alive and in offering.
I put my boots on and walk into the forest. Immediately a feeling of peace envelopes me. I feel found and lost all; held and spread out; delighted and watchful all at the same time. Most of all I feel at home. If I was to perish to the world in the moment of being immersed into the richest earth element of the forest, I would be glad, only glad. I find it hard to walk out of the forest, as its pull and hold are strong. Branches scrape at my legs and arms as if wanting to join my skin and I respond in lifting and holding them close. Moss under my feet is inviting. I put my hands into it lightly and take in the feeling of the earth rich and warm. There are big stones and boulders in this forest here and there. They lie in silence in emerald mossy coats guarding the forest’s treasures. It is as if any minute they would break open or rise up to speak or fight or show themselves to someone either in friendship or a threat. To me they feel alive on the inside and the casing around them is just an armour, a pretence, like a game of playing dead.
Next, I take a walk into the hills. It is slow as I stop often to take it all in. There are views as far as the eye can see; variety of angles and perspectives are immensely rich. There are rivers, giant mountains, lochs, blankets of thick forest, paths weaving themselves up and down hills. I must consciously take a breath in after walking for some time. It is too much and not enough at the same time – a feeling I often experience here.
Walking for me is essential to who I am. It is what it means being fully alive. I love its physical, emotional, spiritual, cognitive and creative aspects. It has a lot to offer to someone, who might struggle with their thoughts. It is a heavenly activity for anyone creative – a writer, painter, film maker, photographer. It offers a full body workout where at the end of it everything screams with pleasure. It does for me. I love to be aware of my aching legs, hot flesh and stiff back. It signals to me that I am alive and my body works its mechanism just fine. It often feels ecstatic to me when I return from a walk. My mind is always clutter free and there is a creative idea or two born out of my wanderings.
It keeps me in balance in the body, mind and spirit. When seasons are aligned externally I am aligned internally. When it is off, I am off. It is a point of reference for me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It is a way of knowing myself as part of a bigger picture. The way it makes us feel insignificant is beneficial for us to bring us back into a place of humble being. Landscapes surrounding us and there are multiple landscapes, each of which, can offer a perspective. I like to think in terms of the four elements. Water, earth, fire and air. Each landscape has all of it entwined with one or more dominating, just like us, humans do and through immersion into the elements we get to restore back into balance.
Nature is an incredible life-partner, one I can not live without, as without it there will not be me. The deep knowing of it being within and without brings a profound sense of ‘this is it’. It comforts and reassures like nothing else.
It helps my mind be simply a function in aid to all my other functions, no more and no less. There’s always just enough thinking and clear enough to begin and end where it should. There’s no ruminating, overthinking and becoming overwhelmed by my thoughts to a point everything else shuts down. For me this is specifically related to hiking in nature landscapes, physically moving through places of natural environments and again there is a place for each desired effect I might be seeking.
Nature is a source of inspiration, awe, enchantment and wonder and it is the greatest feeder of my soul. Spirit is in the land and it is felt no matter where I am. It speaks a language that is so specific to nuances of the heart that it can take your breath away and it often does. One might say an understanding can be had from nature towards us. It has no judgement or punishment or even interest in particular in us. It just is and that is perfection, something for us takes a life-time to comprehend, if at all.
Nature is the greatest gift to humanity yet we abuse it daily. That’s what humans do through ignorance and arrogance. It does continue and regenerate though, it carries on regardless and if only we had reverence for that kind of resilience and beingness the world would be a different place. Think heaven on earth, well it is all there, in nature, in the land itself. It’s always been heavenly and always will be. Why we don’t want to be part of that I will never know…
Nature is sacred. There is mystery, magic, truth and life all locked within it. That is all there is to it. It is the most important creation on earth and always will be long after we are all gone. Ending up without our nature landscapes would erase all meaning for me. I can not comprehend existing without it and every day looking out of the window to a birch tree outside I feel blessed to have witnessed nature for real, in my life time. I fear it won’t be here forever…
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