There’s nothing quite like sitting in the woods, surrounded by dark trees, witches, woodland kings, pirates, wolves, and fairies, to remind you of the magic and mystery of the world, of life. of Nature, of relationships.
That’s what happened to me last Thursday.
“Err, has she gone mad???” I hear you say.
Nope. That’s really what I was doing.
But perhaps I’d better elaborate.
I really did experience something magical at the Wilderness Festival last week (I can’t believe it was a week ago already!). I attended an immersive, outdoor theatre – created by Rogue Theatre – an amazingly talented group of individuals.
We were lead from the main camp on a journey on foot at dusk – my favourite time of day. I love dusk because the light is beautiful, there’s a stillness as daytime settles down, and there’s a sense of anticipation and excitement as Nature prepares for the night to awaken.
As the sun was setting, we walked through the grasslands and trees, up a hill where we could see various creatures – fairies, pirates, a lost girl, running in and out of the trees, and urging us along our path, to our final destination – a small clearing in the woods.
As we walked through the entrance and into the clearing, it was like stepping into something crossed between Alice in Wonderland and Midsummer Nights Dream.
As we were lead around, we looked with wonder at the trees which were all decorated we teacups and lampshades and books, to the background music of accordion and mandolin. The atmosphere was mysterious, and really built on the anticipation as we were lead through a door by the woodland king, to sit around the main stage on the floor.
For two hours, we watched and listened and sang and laughed and stared wide eyed as we were told stories of ordinary people getting lost in the woods – being transformed by witches and running away with the wolves.
What I noticed was that this feeling of magic and mystery that I was experiencing was very similar to what I felt in childhood, when I would read Grimms Fairy Stories, or Enid Blyton books about elves and pixies and fairies – I loved them! I realised that this partly fed in to my love affair with Nature, which started very young. All the stories and adventures took place in Nature, in the woods. All the magical beings had clothes made out of leaves, chairs made out of toadstools, houses made out of tree trunks.
Although all of these characters were fictional, they all taught me to appreciate the magic in Nature. Because even without these fictional characters, I still get that sense of mystery and magic and anticipation when I am out in Nature.
And I am constantly in awe of it.
How can the golden sunset, the fact that the moon controls the tides, the first snowfall, with those diamond glints, a bonfire, not be magical?
Yes of course there are scientific explanations for all of those things. But I believe that science just gives a name to, and an explanation for, the magic.
And when I talk about Nature, I am also talking about US. Human beings. Animals.
Think about the magic and mystery you felt when you first met your partner. When you were first getting to know them. All of those strong feelings of admiration, excitement, heart racing, nervousness, perhaps even fear.
And now think about those feelings you have for your partner when you feel really connected and close – secure, warm, grateful, joyful.
And even the less positive feelings you have when things aren’t running so smoothly in your relationship – the fear, uncertainty, insecurity, hurt, anger. You feel all of these rich feelings because you care deeply.
These feelings can all be explained by neuroscience and hormones – and as a Nurse and Psychosexual Therapist – I have a good working knowledge of these.
But it doesn’t make them any less magical to me.
I still think it’s miraculous that we are even here. That we have evolved to be so complex and mysterious, that we are constantly evolving, changing, transforming, and surprising each other.
There might be things that you are afraid of in your relationship – feelings that are unpleasant, just like the witches or the wolves lurking around the edge of the forest, perhaps just out of sight.
One thing I have learned is that when we can’t quite see the thing we are most fearful of, our amazing imaginations tend to project our own worst fears on to it. We imagine the most horrendous monster possible. So when we finally face the monster, it is never as bad as we thought. Because our own imagination will always produce something more frightening than the reality.
So I believe we should embrace the magic, with all of it’s joy, excitement, fear and uncertainty. Because it is there, and natural, and part of us. And if you would like support and guidance to help you, I will be there if you just ask.
Your fairy godmother 😉
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