Monday, 28 November 2016

The Visible Face of Spirit

Let the day grow on you upward
through your feet,
the vegetal knuckles,

to your knees of stone,
until by evening you are a black tree;
feel, with evening,

the swifts thicken your hair,
the new moon rising out of your forehead,
and the moonlit veins of silver

running from your armpits
like rivulets under white leaves.
Sleep, as ants

cross over your eyelids.
You have never possessed anything
as deeply as this.

This is all you have owned
from the first outcry
through forever;

you can never be dispossessed.
— Derek Walcott

Everything is connected, everything is made up of the same stuff, everything is of spirit and in spirit and containing spirit. Everything is the visible face of Spirit, even you, even me. 

In the ancient stories of the northern lands of Europe Squirrel scampered up an down the world tree, delivering messages between humanity and The Gods. 

Is it easier to identify those that we share our lives with as messengers of the Gods when we know who they are, when we can name them? I believe that it is. It seems to be the little one's, the humble one's, who are acknowledged as the bringers of messages, as omen bearers.  Magpie, Robin, Squirrel, (to name just a tiny few) we all know what these look like.  The notion that the other-than-human denizens of the land are bearers of messages seems to be as ancient as time. I've spent some of today looking at an exquisite on-line facsimile of a book called 'Birds in legend, fable and folklore' by Ernest Ingersoll. In this Ingersoll cites hundreds of different examples from all over the world at all stages of human history of Birds being regarded as omen bearers of one sort or another.

And I see that the anthropomorphising of stones, trees, hills - anything that is part of our Earth - helps us to connect, to literally give a face of the guardian Spirits of place and so to know and remember them. 

 "Stripped of it's stories, the land is beginning to fall mute. No longer an expressive, animate power, the local earth soon comes to be seen as a purely passive background or backdrop against which human life unfolds."  (David Abrams in his introduction to Martin Shaw's wonderful new book Scatterlings)

He continues  "what better way to become native to a terrain than to open one's senses to the innumberable tales secretly unfolding themselves under the hill, emptying one's ears toward the fluid articulations of the burbling stream and the quiet laughter of the jackdaws?" 

And better than that, what if once again we make the landscape personal, make it ours, know it's names, know it's stories, it's griefs and it's joys. Walk within it and allow it to walk within us, rooting us deeply in the sacred and in the here and the now. These are the only places that good things are really happening; here, now, in partnership with the sacred.

Let the land truly be your home. Let your heart and your knowing fall deeply into the land of your body and let your body stand or lie gently on the body of the land. Let her hold you, you are part of her, you are one of her's.  Listen. Watch. Feel. Learn her stories.


  1. Hello Suzi~ what an awe-inspiring post...the faces in nature are heart-stopping! Absolutely magical!Thank you for these... Many blessings to you and yours!

    1. Thank you, I'm really happy you like it, and likewise blessings to you and yours. :)

  2. for thought, and eeee amazing pictures of nature's eerily human faces!! So magical! Especially love the wizened old wizard at the end there.. looking forward to being in your beautiful lands next week! X

  3. The wizened old wizard is a particularly beloved friend. Look forward to seeing you. xx

  4. The last paragraph really resonates with me. In existing, many have forgotten how to live.

  5. Beautiful post, Suzi....very moving and true. There is much here that made my heart soar!
    Blessings to you and yours, and all of the Earth!

    1. And to you Joan. Very glad you like the post. It seems to have touched a spot for quite a few people. :)

  6. Beautiful and insightful, as always. Bless you.

  7. What a wonderful blog! I'm so happy to have found my way here.x