art : nature : words
Indoor and Outdoor Art Therapist
Indoor and Outdoor Art Therapist
May can bring a spring to our step –
we look outwards, feel our passions rise and push to the surface, bringing a blossom-pink flush to our cheeks. Our energy, like migratory Swifts seems to return after a long absence.
My favourite aspect of May is the vibrant new green leaves which possess a verdant iridescence that can be found at no other time of year. We are witnessing the meeting of the sun and the earth – a re-engagement announcing the fullness of Spring.
The large, green hands of Horse chestnut tree leaves sway delicately in the breeze – as the month progresses they will gain rigidity raising their spines to the sun.
May blesses us with glorious pillows of Hawthorn flowers. The white (and sometimes pink) trains of Hawthorn reach out to us from the hedgerows. Traditionally, Hawthorn has been used to stand guard over holly places, protecting sanctuaries of the divine. Hawthorn is traditionally associated with wells and springs, marking the way to sacred, deeper passages. Hawthorn with its thorns and longevity, has for centuries, been used to create natural, hardy boundaries. May is often a time we leave our sanctuaries and reach out, using the sun’s libido to connect with everything around, reaching out to new possibilities, find the courage to commit to new things, opportunities, people.
Reaching out to others is also an invitation to let others approach our inner sanctuary. The manner in which we do this varies greatly. Some proceed gate-by-gate, cautiously passing through successive boundaries as they get to know each other. Others rush headlong, leaping gleefully over one hedge after another.
But to transgress a boundary without permission is a terrible offense for all of us. Hawthorn –
as the name implies – possesses spikes. Our own internal thorns, our anger, is our boundary marker. Sometimes we fear using our anger, concerned that it may destroy the object of our ire. Anger turned inwards can lead to the suppression of all feeling and we may sink into depression. But anger has to find expression somewhere – used wisely it can be an energy for change, an opportunity for honesty. Only when anger is deliberately used to wound others does it then become a destroyer, rather than a protector, of boundaries.
Hawthorn can be very long-lived. We innately build our own internal boundaries from a young age. Our personal defences exist for a very good reason, they can be part of how we survive difficult or traumatic events. However, sometimes, without us realising it, they can become outdated, causing us more problems than they resolve. Within a containing therapeutic space the origins of your defences can be safely explored. You may need to grow more boundaries, more hawthorn bushes, having previously under-valued your personal sanctuary. Conversely, you may need to create more psychic openings, allow others to come that bit closer to your inner sanctuary. It may even be that you need to be more respectful of the boundaries of others. Whatever, you need to do, nature can assist in your journey of self-discovery.
In our busy world, we often don’t stop to reflect on how we live our lives.
You are invited to visit a natural space of your choosing. Find a quiet place to sit. This is an opportunity to reflect on what sort of boundaries are present in your life at the moment. How do they manifest themselves? Are there any that you’d like to change? Do you wish to reach out more or have more time for yourself in your inner sanctuary?
You may want to forage for natural objects to create a circle around yourself that expresses the nature of your boundaries. You may even what to create something that represents how you’d like your boundaries to be. The choice is yours.
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Simon Wodward, Indoor and Outdoor Art Therapist