Angel Wings and Herb Tea

Life after loss; healing through creativity, writing and art

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The call of the wild

A healthy woman is much like a wolf, strong life force, life-giving, territorily aware, intuitive and loyal. Yet separation from her wildish nature causes a woman to become meager, anxious, and fearful. The wild nature carries the medicine for all things • Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women who run with wolves

Wolf Howl. Anime by lovetoberandom

We are all wild. Deep in our psyche, embedded in our genetic makeup, swirling with abandon in our souls, the wildness is there in all of us. We were born to be carefree, vigorous,  thriving and strong people, fertile with creativity, physicality, sexuality . Our natural urges and desires to rest, work, mate, play and eat and create, were born expect to be met, and  to find satisfaction. We were born to be in connection, to nature, to each other, to ourselves.

Wild: free, unfettered, feral, ‘uncivilised’ distracted, crazy, undomestictaed, ‘of unrestrained violence’ . Some of these are my definitions, some are from the dictionary, my favourite, ‘living in a state of nature’


See, these words have developed connotations. Depending on your social circle, describing someone as wild is not necessarily complimentary. Out of control, following her instincts, unrestrained by society’s conventions and boundaries, unsafe, fear inducing the wild eye in the night, the crazy women might come and eat you, the wild unknown figure ravening tooth and claw, insatiable appetite all consuming force of nature , a law unto himself…OUT OF CONTROL.

Hands up who likes to be in control? Hands up who likes to be controlled? Who feels out of that ‘good’ or ‘bad?

And out of whose control…ours or other people’s/society’s rules and expectations?

But I’m not  talking about charging through red traffic lights and causing accidents, or  throwing crockery around when we get mad at the kids …..or standing in the middle of the grocery shop and screaming…although I’ve often felt like it and really it would be good to express emotions where and whenever they come up. What would happen if I did..would I be led out by security and sedated, or would someone give me a hug and a cup of tea? Or would I be ignored? the silent English tacit understanding that we don’t do that and feel really quite uncomfortable if anyone else does.I wish I had the courage to try it.

What would it be like to scream when I need to, to hug cry laugh dance sing shout run and jump WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT? I’m probably a very repressed Anglo Saxon, but I know how hard I would find it to just follow any spontaneous inclination that came to me. But I do know how my body feels when I repress an emotion or desire, the strangled swelling of my throat when I swallow unbidden tears in ‘innappropriate’  places, the constriction in my gut when I don’t say  what I feel, the ache in my hips and lower back when I am uncomfortable in a situation and don’t let myself move my body and let the tension out.

If it feels bad, its not right. Its not natural to repress feelings, needs and desires.  I do feel under pressure to do so, and I guess its a journey to tread ever closer to an equilibrium which feels comfortable.

I started this post intending to talk about my longing to be close to the land, but I got side tracked! But actually its not a distraction at all. Getting close to nature, living in it, dropping to my knees in the damp undergrowth, inhaling the aliveness, mossy mystery and fragrant earthy fertility of the land, that’s wildness. Its a pathway to wildness. Its a way I can feel more alive, more in tune with myself, a calling back to my true deep wild self, hidden under all those layers of expectation, convention, compromises, all that domesticity. I’ve been thoroughly domesticated , removed from the forest floor and put in a house and told to flush the toilet and shave my armpits and don’t trust anyone else, and above all WORRY ABOUT WHAT THE NEIGHBOURS THINK.

A fox doesn’t check its watch to see if its dinnertime when it catches the scent of a toothsome vole; a night jar doesn’t fret about disturbing the neighbours when it fills the dusk with its sweetness, a primrose doesn’t hold back for March the 12th when it’s ready to bloom, and a rabbit doesn’t wait until the kids are in bed and not watching. Well, it doesn’t.


“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.” — Clarissa Pinkola Estés,

I can feel that door is ajar and a wild warm figure is beckoning me. Losing my daughter Lily prised through the rusted door, corroded and swelled shut, papered over with a confusion of ivy. But the wiry tendrils hang loosely now, over the door, a veil which admits the sparkling promise of a true deep life. The scar is deep and it is a door.

The longing to be free and unrestrained, with my feet in the silver waters of a great lake, my face turned to the flight of the eagle and my body cooled by the autumn winds of change. The longing for the darkness and solitude of the trees and the wild woods.  Let’s dive deep into the forest dear friend…..deeper into the wildness of ourselves. What will we find??





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A fresh start

Summer closing berries dripping in glistening bunches, brandy and honey and spices and  bottles of syrup and winter medicine. New routines, new rhythms…the late summer sun mellowing the land. Ripe tomatoes, fragrant basil scarlet rosehips.

New projects with children, plant dyes, boiling and fermenting wise woman brews steaming the windows and acrid tang of simmering roots.

Back home and into autumn. Back from a summer of retreat from the internet hot earth under bare feet wet canvas  singing campfires, damp  cabins in a green Welsh valley far from home. Evenings to sit and write and read, play card games and drink tea, sheepskins and hissing logs.

Away from screens that dull and hypnotise, the screens that also connect us all and sparkle with jewels of inspiration, information, ideas. The screens that lead me astray down meandering paths which infinitely divide and leave me with a vague sense of bloat and unease.

I haven’t missed it and I have. Through the internet I have connected with people from everywhere.  Weeping shown fragments of my soul to people I have not met naked words bare of polished gloss and finish.

I write here in this space and want to write more. I have painted, written and shared with women from New Mexico to Singapore , I have been invigorated and encouraged by so much.

But this summer I left for two weeks with the children  to voice camp, and later to the tiny Welsh cabin. Campfire songs and cold showers, harebells and buzzards, no phone, no texts, no internet. My voice joined others as I sang and my tears wet the ground and the shoulders of friends who comforted me. Skin touch, the whisper in my ear the smile and glance the connection, the sweetness of warm chai and fire grilled aubergine, earthy real sensuous. Its a different connection.

I do value them all.

Sometimes I  wish away the internet, and feel a deep yearning for a return to the simplicity and spaciousness of a time before my head was filled with so much, before my time was swallowed in such large cyber mouthfuls. But I would find it hard to exist without it. And I know its there. And I don’t want to miss out!!

Actually I didn’t want to talk about the internet but about autumn and new beginnings.

I wasn’t planning to home ed again. It was always supposed to be temporary. A baby, other ambitions, need for time to write, to be, to paint, it all seemed too much. But  circumstances have decided otherwise and I may start a home ed blog to discuss them all and the reasons we are now committing to keeping the three younger children at home, at least for the time being.

I am trying not to do everything. I have found childcare for at least one and a half days. Its important. I have such a strong fire to create, such a lust to express the words and images which flow through me, that it is essential for my family’s well being for me to have time to do this.

Its too easy to be bottom of the pile for me. Too easy to end up lying on the big bed upstairs with my body pinned to the mattress by feeding babies and affectionate children. Its lovely and soft and snuggly and adorable and nourishing…but only if I’ve had  an hour to paint, an hour to write, an hour to share with a friend, an hour to plant seeds and gather herbs, time to stretch and remind myself that indeed I do have a body and it is actually mine. (Hmm easy to forget that one)

If these things are in short supply, or if they are nonexistent, I feel starved and desperate crabby and cross and my warm mothering arms become sharp elbows and I am like a buzzing naked wire, charged and dangerous. (I don’t mean literally obviously, before someone calls Social Services!) I FEEL like that . I want to run away and feel the north wind in my hair and a wide open road ahead of me wild and exciting and Free. With some really nice cafes and notebooks along the way. And circles of friends to talk deep and challenging and share the howling grief and the star spinning laughter and the grainy beautiful truth.


I’m being firmer about childcare.

I’ve joined a beautiful circle of women, a deeply held ceremonial sharing space of wild hedgerow medicine and elemental prayers and love.

I’m painting for my first exhibition IN TEN DAYS (did I already mention that?)

I’m remembering I have a body and having occasional treatments and regular stretching and …well I haven’t managed the candle lit bath yet but its on my list.

I’m joining a writing group in the flesh…

Green smoothies…seriously they rock…breakfast, sets me up for the day.

Love remember love. It sorts most stuff out. Smooths resentment shoulds woulds crabbiness. Easier said than done. Trying to remember.

That’s it for now, except yesterday would have been Lily’s 13th birthday and I want to write something for her but don’t want to mix her up with the internet and autumn and all this so she’s next for sure . Always

Love Henrietta x

Ps. Any self care sharing? Any new autumnal routines and changes in your lives?

In ten days some of my paintings will be on show in a local cafe. My first tiny exhibition.