What of her in these times of destruction and division? She is angry and she is hungry. Furious at humanity and hungry for punishment and resolution.
The forest is on fire and the walls around her dwelling, which is now a fortress, are higher than they’ve ever been before.
The horsemen are dressed in black. Their armour heavy in readiness for destruction of its own kind – complete elimination of nature and all that is human. They are ready to carry out her will.
She’s furious and in mourning for humanity that is no longer… yet there’s an opening, a small one, a loose panel in her fortress wall for those, who are still aware of their soul; that element that remains unaffected, pure and unchanged. Hope it is not, but a connection to what they are from the root. She thinks of those, who have some memory of where to go to become whole again. However faint the memory is by now, it is still there and she smells it.
I feel small and insignificant in the face of all reality and such is my preference during these years. Resignation and tiredness are part of my day-to-day and only participation in watching it all burn remains. Hopeless anguish. Despite it all I wait for the time to rise again when the voice can be heard from the depth of the forest summoning the brave and crooked; open anew to learning; in eternal love for what remains of nature external and within. Even if only one tiny flower can be saved, it will be worth doing. If only one soul can be awakened, it will be worth the work and hardship. As one wise human said: ‘For as long as there is birdsong, we must listen.’
And for now, we scream, we rage and we sob until the sky above is cloudless once again and there’s renewed stillness in the heart.
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.
This morning I received the message I have been waiting for. It was loud and clear after what seemed like a very long time of struggling with overwhelm. I have been dealing with a ‘take-over’ energy of the external, as I like to call it, when it is near impossible to shake it off myself. It feels very heavy and sticky. I often felt like I was suffocating or losing my mind during the last month and this morning I again feel lighter. Sometimes even intuition can get caught up in a ‘stuckness’ we might experience and need to go through, yet it is not easy and highly unpleasant.
Being a highly empathic person things can get extremely painful during period of external overwhelm when one simply can not snap out of something and with each day the energy gets stronger and stronger and it truly feels like there is no escape. I often begin to have dreams where I escape someone or some place, break free, move away or there is a radical change and drastic and necessary movement. This again adds to an overwhelm in waking life.
It made me think about what happens to intuition when we are in a state of being ‘taken over’ by the external and unable to return to ourselves. Well, it makes perfect sense that intuition will get dulled down and quietened, as intuition is our internal knowing, inner guiding and when the force of the hive mind possesses over our individual way of being, it would naturally become ‘silenced’. This morning I got released and the advice was clear – Make your world smaller. With my intuition coming back and being very precise I knew this period is over and the message is exactly what I needed to hear and from here onwards I know what to do now and going forward should I ever again get tangled up in the external overwhelm.
This experience also made me think about your individual relationship with your intuition. How do you develop that? Where do you start?
The book will help you with asking the following questions in relation to learning about your relationship with your intuitive voice/knowing:
How does my intuition speak? Does it even speak? What is my experience of it?
What does it feel like? Is it a feeling or something else?
What do I do when I hear/feel//smell/ see it?
The book offers you an opportunity to start practicing your own way. You can devise a system of your own, perhaps, on what happens when, a step-by-step process that you will follow and more often than not the process will also unfold intuitively for you, if you let it.
There are real-life examples in the book on how it happened for me on the journey to living and practicing intuitively. It is such an exciting, playful and most of all creative experience that I can’t recommend it highly enough. I personally do not know any other way of living now. Creativity is closely linked with intuition and creativity is a huge part of my soul, my inner essence, I am made up of creativity, so it is a mutually recognisable language you can use when getting to know your way of being intuitive.
Intuitive Magic Practice, part of the Pagan Portals series, by Natalia Clarke makes me want to breathe a long, deep sigh of relief. Things have been a bit hectic in my world recently, and I’ve felt the disconnection that stems from being out of touch with my inner voice. Reading this book has shifted me back into my more natural, receptive state of being in the most delightful way.
Clarke has combined her experience as a transpersonal psychotherapist with wisdom as a spiritual guide to offer readers insight on how to create an intuitive magic practice. Throughout the book, her gentle, calming tone invites a sense of fluidity, harmony, and personal energetic resonance to emerge.
In no way is this book one in which the author holds the knowledge, prompting a hierarchy between author and reader. Rather, Clarke develops a relationship with the reader that’s guided by feelings of goodwill and trust. Much of the imparted content to the reader stems from her own personal experience, and she writes this book as though she might be telling a friend about her experiences with magic and developing intuition in her own life. I enjoyed her anecdotes and the lens it provided me into seeing how she developed her own spiritual perspective.
I really liked reading about the importance of nature in Clarke’s spirituality and connection to her intuition. There is so much beauty in the natural world, along with lessons of tending, growing, and slowing down to enjoy the moment. Since her writing does not stem from any one belief system or practice, I noticed how nature seemed to be the greatest influence that gave shape to Clarke’s experiences.
However, there’s so much that Intuitive Magic Practice covers. Each chapter highlights a method of connecting to one’s intuition and offers ways to become receptive to the guidance of one’s inner knowing. Receptivity is key here, as Clarke’s writing calls the reader to settle in, move at their own pace, and gently open to the promptings that want to be acknowledged.
Some topics covered in the book are dreamwork, journaling, breathing exercises, creating sacred space, creative imagination, moon cycles, and more. Clarke also shares spells, information on candle magic, and guidance on how to select ritual tools. Through it all, she emphasizes that there is no one size fits all model for one’s magical practice; there is also no need to force something when the energy is not there.
“This way there is a natural flow, no force, no attachment to an outcome, no artificial influences of any kind and it always works. One might say I flow with intuitive energy if and when it comes in. If I am not called or specific energies are not present, I do not do anything.”1
Clarke also includes information on the Triple Goddess aspects, working with the elements, and tips for intuitively crafting one’s own magical practice such as writing spells, casting a circle, and creating rituals. Again though, this all arises from a place of moving with the flow, rather than planning, specifying, and dictating how the process should look. She even contrasts intuitive magic to ritual magic to help readers get a better sense of this method in relation to others.
My favourite chapter of Intuitive Magical Practice was “Intuition, Divine Feminine and Sacred Self-care.” While this book has valuable information for all readers, Clarke does note in the introduction it is more geared towards a female audience. All I can say is this chapter was all I needed to be reminded of and more right now.
As I move through a phase of transition, stemming from immense burn-out in my last job that lead me to severely disconnect from my own internal guidance, I desperately needed the reminder that listening to my intuition, caring for my body, and moving in alignment with the energy is a practice of sacred self-care.
“What do I mean by sacred self care? This links in with self-awareness, which can grow through listening to yourself with complete trust and seeing powerful results in your way of being with yourself and the world. It means giving yourself what your inner voice asks of you or points you towards; giving yourself what you need in the moment by listening to your intuition; treating yourself with compassion, love and respect, as you would any divine energy.”2
It’s interesting too how Clarke reminded me of the importance of moving according to where the energy is and how things are flowing. To be honest, this book has been sitting on my shelf for about two weeks now, and I had procrastinated delving into my new book. I tried to read it a week ago, but after a few pages it was sidetracked. Then, suddenly, this morning, all my energy was focused on reading this book and sinking in to receive it’s message. I am so glad that I trusted the timing of my feelings and didn’t read it in a mindset that wasn’t ready to embrace all the wisdom in this book.
For the past few months, I’ve forgotten that it’s okay to live according to your intuition and trust the timing of when things unfold, but reading Clarke’s words reassured me that it’s okay to move in rhythm that feels right for you. It was particularly inspiring to read how she doesn’t do spell-work unless she feels called. Living a magical lifestyle doesn’t have to be doing spells with each moon cycle, or constantly keeping up with a specific practice “just because you’re supposed to.” It can be just as powerful when your practice is fluid and guided by intuition. This is such a deeply refreshing approach to magic.
I’ll admit I moved quite quickly through the book, soaking it all in as I sat outside in the sunshine, feeling the fresh air gently flow around me. However, this is also a book that can be savoured and referred back to over time. While I did finish it quickly, I now am ready to go back through it and practice some of the exercises, which Clarke offers plenty of through the book.
There is one method of connecting to intuition Clarke writes about that I had never heard of before, which I am particularly excited to try out: intuitive drawing. This approach can help to facilitate a dialogue with the subconscious and allow feelings, sensations, and thoughts to arise from deep within. Sometimes I feel like I get trapped in my words, and I am eager to see what comes out when I choose drawing as a form of communication with my inner guidance.
All in all, Clarke’s gentle and uplifting approach to an intuitive magic practice is something of great value to those who are seeking a more natural approach to working with energy. I highly recommend Intuitive Magic Practice to those who are seeking to tune back into their inner voice in a way that feels authentic and true to who they are. This book is a wonderful reminder that there is no right or wrong way, and that healing comes from remembering the sacred connection to our inner guidance. As you read Clarke’s wisdom, I’m sure you’ll feel right at home within yourself, comforted by the words that it’s okay to embrace your intuition and let your energy flow in a way that feels harmonious.
Educator Soul Land by Natalia Clarke engages the reader through lovely language and imagery. I’m looking forward to showing several of these lines to my students as mentor texts to inspire their own writing!
Claire M. So beautiful. It really takes a special poetry book to maintain my interest and this one did. Gentle yet powerful. Highly recommended for poetry fans, and those who are open to new things.
Katie M. This was such a lovely poetry collection. It was different from others I’ve read before. It showed a deep and personal connection to Scotland, the heritage, and the culture. I normally read poetry to relate to what is being said. This was rather hard for me to connect to since I have no connection at all to Scotland. Regardless, it was very beautiful. I loved what I read and wish it was longer.
Wulfie N. This collection was incredibly unique. It painted a beautiful picture with its words, and I fell in love with every single one of them.
DeAnn H. This poetry collection really was a love letter to Scotland and how the author feels about Scotland. There was some beautiful imagery and wonderful phrases that painted a picture of the wildness and beauty of Scotland. I did really enjoy the poems and language, but wished it was a little longer. I would have loved to read more since I did feel it was a bit short. Still, a lot of the images inspired by her words were wonderful and definitely make you feel like you can see the landscape she’s describing.
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