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??






Two swans between the houses

Room to breathe and connect.

That’s what I need.

Each day seems a breathless scuttling of doing, rushing, half doing, kicking things under the sofa just so  I don’t have to deal with them in that moment, squeezing things in squeezing things out. I have developed a strange, scurrying scuffle, brought on in part by the slightly too big faded lilac slippers I wear around the house, partly by the gasping need to be beyond my next destination, five minutes ago. Too many gaping loads of laundry to process, too many loaves of bread to cook, vats of soup to produce, and tantalising sticks of charcoal waiting on the side, tubes of delicious paint luring my gaze from the latest batch of flapjack in progress.

This afternoon I drove home in the cold shivering rain from a particularly nurturing mother’s group I belong to. Our children are cared for in a creche for two hours, and  and  we sit in circle, in silence and in deep listening, and our tears and heartfelt connection and support are like a true balm, for us harried struggling 21st century mothers living in our isolation and overwhelm.

I felt particularly soothed and connected to the women in the group today, and usually as I drive home after my group I feel resourced to cope with another week.

But as I drove today  I realised I was progressing more and more slowly, I DIDN’T WANT TO GO HOME.

I was dreading walking into mess and disorder, jobs shouting at me from every corner…Me Me Me, and poor little Finch dragged around trying to half complete them all, never ending. Stuff, detritus, things to sort, things to clean, things to make. I wanted none of it. I wanted still, peace, calm, silence solitude.

And then I saw them. Maybe for ten seconds, on the river, a glimpse between to houses. In the rain against the unappealing mud brown of the river Dart in flood.

Two swans.

Nothing special, just two swans, stretching their necks and doing their thing in the rain, in the cold, in the mud. And I wanted to be there, with them, heck I even wanted to be them.

Simple calm beautiful wild and free.

I felt as if I was in chains.

But who has the key to the padlock?

I could have got out of the car and walked through the mud and rain and sat with them, the wind beating in my ears like a wild thing playing its mournful song.

But I had three children in the car and I didn’t. I came home and got a bit frustrated, tried to paint. Got cross with everyone. Tried to remember the swans. Forgot them.

But now, late at night I remember them.

Remember their grace and simplicity.
How they must feel, down there on the mud, not thinking, stressing and flustering around in baggy lilac slippers.

I want to be a swan.

I don’t really want to be  swan, but I want to learn from them.

Learn to use my thoughts less, my head less, listen from my heart, my belly, sniff the air, sharpen my ears, soften my gaze. Sit by the waters edge with nothing to do but BE.

Just Be.
Be like a swan.




The trees are still bare, their thin black branches whipped in the wind rolling along the valley today, but appearences are deceiving.

Spring is surging and swelling and even with my eyes closed it’s a tangible force to be felt, smelt and heard.

A pair of pigeons hop coquettishly in the sycamore outside the window, fluttering  their spring dance in the tree tops. Down by the stream, tadpoles are hatching in thick black wriggles, burying into the soft mud at the bottom of the pond. Yesterday, Leo and I found a decapitated mother frog surrounded by her own eggs, abandoned on the path near the pond. The tragedy of death surrounded by the promise of new life.
When I lived in a house I never felt the arrival of spring. One day I would just notice that it had arrived, it always seemed to surprise me. Here in the woods I see every leaf unfurl, notice every minute of extra daylight in these candle free mornings.

And when I sit alone in the woods feeling crumpled and resentful about some injustice or sadness in my life, I sink down into the mossy ground and it seems as if the earth is alive, warm and full of movement. The energy is palpable, an upward thrusting of spring virility. The woodland floor is sprouting bluebell leaves as fast as it can and baby rabbits are already hopping among the brambles.

When dark winter recedes I wake up too, the spring energy is in me and everything seems more possible and more likely. It rouses memories and connections which have slumbered peacefully through the cold months muffled by winter. Lily always seems more present in Spring, this will be the third one since she left us. Spring rips the bandages off the wounds she left behind and leaves them raw and vulnerable again. It’s not a bad thing, to feel them. Winter numbs and subdues, sends it all underground, but with each new flower that blooms Lily comes closer and there is all that pain again, but also the chance to heal a little bit more, to share a little bit more, to search a little bit more  and to grow. There is always that.