A number years ago I was at a nature based festival, Into the Wild.
There were various workshops throughout each day: a veritable menu of wild crafts, movement, and inspirational learning to choose from, along with wholesome food and live music.😍
I’d been looking forward to a 5 Rhythms event. The guy who was facilitating it had a name for himself.
He arrived late and stomped across the tent to the platform, seemingly oblivious to the crowd of expectant faces following his passage.
Head down he pulled out his laptop, connected leads to the sound system, swearing as he did so.
The awkward silence was finally broken by a tune. Gradually people started moving. A few minutes later, he turned the volume low, looked up and spoke.
He shared how he was having a sh*t day and the fury he felt about something that had happened.
In that moment it was like he gave everyone in the tent permission to let out their own rage.😡
Thing was, I wasn’t feeling that. I’d already been to a workshop where I’d let out a lot of grief. My heart was open and I was keen to allow the softness from that experience more space.❤️
As the pace of the music picked up, I shuffled my way to a corner of the tent, closed my eyes and moved with the music. I felt the reverberations through the floor as others jumped around. I heard yells and screams above the music. I kept my eyes closed and danced within my own body.
As I did so, this vision came to me,
A woman was standing on the parapet of a tower looking out at a barren landscape which stretched as far as the eye could see, punctuated only by a solitary, sleeping volcano. The sky was grey and a damp mist obscured the horizon. Dark, murky water surrounded the bottom of the tower, part of a tributary which flowed towards the bottom of the volcano.
She turned and looked down inside the tower. Women dressed in black moved about slowly, their shoulders stooped and their backs bent as they carried baskets covered in cloths up and down stairs to different levels.
Later that night, she felt a tremor and woke from sleep. She pulled on her robe, climbed again to the top of the tower, aided by moonlight, and looked out.
Sparks were emanating from the top of the volcano. The woman turned and walked back down the stairs, passing the bedroom door, and continuing down to the lower reaches.
At the bottom, she walked over to an opening in the floor. Further steps spiralled downwards into darkness. She picked a candle from a table which sat nearby and started down the stairs, her back pressed against the curve of the wall.
At the bottom she lit a wall sconce from her candle. As she did so, a stench hit her. She turned to look at the cellar and gasped.
The floor was covered in thick black sludge. The walls were blackened as if by layers of thick smoke.There was an archway beyond and she could see the outline of further rooms beyond. She heard the scratching and scurrying of vermin.
She ran back upstairs to the scullery, grabbed a bucket and some cloths and set the kettle to boil. Soon she was back downstairs, her sleeves rolled up and her skirt tucked in to her knickers. She started on the walls first.
She turned as she heard a noise: footsteps on the stairs. She looked up to see women coming down one-by-one with buckets in their hands. Some carried shovels and spades, others bottles of cleaning liquid. They nodded silently to her and started to scoop the sludge up in to the buckets. Others started cleaning the walls. Each time one went upstairs to empty their bucket, they came back with another new recruit to boot.
The woman took her own bucket upstairs. She lifted it up to a window on the wall and tipped it over the edge. When she did not hear the expectant plop, she looked down.
A boat was moored below next to the wall of the tower. On its main deck a large container was filling up with the sludge. The captain looked up, caught the woman’s eye, nodded.
The woman watched as the captain hosited the sail and headed off down stream. It docked just below the volcano. Then more women appeared from the mist and shovelled the sludge in to horse-pulled wagons which waited by the banks. The wagons made their way up to the top of the volcano. They reversed the wagons and tipped the contents into the earth’s furnace. The sparks burnt brighter.
The woman at the tower turned and headed back to the cellar. It shone with bright white walls and earthenware tiles. Light spilled from one room to the next.
Later that morning, she reached inside her apron pocket and found a wrap of paper containing seeds. She laid them carefully in a basket and carried them outside, She scattered them on the land surrounding the tower, enjoying the feeling of the rising sun on her skin as she did so.
She looked up and noticed the mist had rolled back. In the distance, she saw other towers with women likewise throwing seeds on the ground.
As the days and weeks passed, women tending their gardens became a familiar sight.
Then one day the woman looked out from her tower. The landscape was now a tapestry of your saplings, plants and flowers.
With that, I became aware that the music had quietened. I opened my eyes, looked in those of others and said a silent thank you.🙏🏼
I walked back out in to the bright sunlight, aware that something magical had just occurred.
That day another one of The Flourishing Woman seeds was planted.🌻🌺🦋🐝
Let’s dream, and flourish together.