Returning to the garden

glastonbury

glastonbury

Six weeks after giving birth I went on my first walk apart from my baby. It felt odd to be physically separate from him and it also felt necessary. The push-pull of being a parent.

As I walked, I walked with who I now was. I felt in-between. Like a lobster who had blasted through her exoskeleton in an instant to find she was not actually a lobster underneath. Like other times in my life where I had experienced a cracking open, breaking or shedding, I returned to the arms of nature and used my morning intuitive nature walking as a practice of being walked into who I might now be and who I may be becoming.

My walking lead me to my favourite place, The Chalice Well Gardens. Each day as the gardens were changing I learned how I too had changed. The buds so full of promise but not yet ready to reveal themselves to the world. They too in the unknown in-between. The earth still dark from the void of winter, the snow drops showing the slightest inkling of restless, eager becoming.

chalice well

As I I drank in the sacred well waters, my own well, which had become so parched from the around-the-clock cluster feeding, began to replenish my waters. So used to rocking my babe through the day and night, as I paused in the gardens, I caught myself gently rocking and as I did, I imagined the Great Mother was actually rocking me. As the robin perched on the bench beside me I allowed the sweetness of her song to calm and soothe my overstimulated nervous system. This small window of time each day became my nectar. A precious time to return, both to the world and to myself. To learn who I was now and, too, who I was still yet to be.

After a couple of months, Covid-19 hit and the gardens were forced to close their gates for many months. I kept up my morning nature walking ritual and was led to discover new fields of long grass, apple trees and other places the land walked me to. Yet each day, without fail, it would lead me past the garden gates. I would say hello to the flowers, sensing them blooming in all of their glory on the other side of the ancient stone wall.

chalice well

And then one ordinary Wednesday, while saying hello to the flowers on the other side of the garden wall, I sensed an invitation different from before. Walking towards the gates I read that they were soon due to be opened. I looked at my calendar and discovered that the said day was actually this day. I looked at the time and discovered that the opening time was actually in two minutes.

Expecting to find a Disneyland-length queue, I approached the top garden gate and found no other soul there. Moments later, with a squeak of the gate I was met by the team, including the head gardener who is also my neighbour. I was blown away by the blessing that the day had bestowed upon me. They even took my photo, marking the special moment, and we had a laugh at how truly blessed and honoured I felt to be the first member of the public to see the flowers and trees in over three months since before the world had changed.

chalice well

As I crossed the threshold and returned to the garden, my breath was taken by her beauty. So grateful to be in the majesty of her blooming, humbled to have this moment with the gardens to myself. I walked her paths and thanked each and every flower and tree I knew by name for reminding me of my own true nature. I drank her sweet waters and sat at her well, thanking it for all it continues to give me. I laid in the dewy meadow and thanked the earth and clover for cradling me always when I need it most. I thanked the entire earth for always inviting me to return to my own true nature, especially when it feels like everything around me and within me is changing.

bellflower

It was the most amazing returning of my life. The returning to nature and to the metaphorical garden itself. As she welcomed me into Her arms, I got the sense that perhaps the garden of Earth has been always calling us all to return to Her. 

Trying to help us to realise that no matter what stories we have been told, we never did anything wrong. 

The Goddess never kicked us out in the first place. 

And regardless of what severings have occurred in Her name, 

She has been patiently waiting, this whole time, for us to return and fall into Her arms.