into the Forest of Enchantment
Prompted by a gracious tarot companion, the Tarot Midwife, I’m venturing into the very special illustrations by artist Meraylah Allwood within the forest of enchantment. Join me for my adventures as I pull cards from the deck by Lunea Weatherstone, telling stories of my inner adventures. As I write I allow my intuition to guide me about what I need to know and who I need to seek advice from and what my next steps are. The characters in my story are fictitious but the messages are true. If you’re interested in doing the exercise, please visit Heather’s website for instructions here.
8 May 2020
I met the Devil
I was lost and confused in a world that did not understand or see me, or so I felt. I’d tried long and hard to bring my goods to the marketplace but had lost my way in the forest. I couldn’t return home without having proven myself and brought home riches to my family. So I wandered alone hoping for opportunity, recognition and a way to the market to sell my wares. Then I saw him.
He appeared out of nowhere, and there was an instant connection. It was like we were long-lost friends. Two souls that had found each other at last. He ‘saw’ me; my talent; my potential. He told me he knew just how to promote me and help me to sell my wares. His ideas were incredible. He had a hotline to source and would fast track my goods. Together we would create the most beautiful art and sell it for millions. We’d co-create something, so marvelous that I would feel truly inspired by my purpose in life.
His silvery tongue played music to my innocent ears. A melody that would lull me into submission, while he bled me, led me, and slowly stealthily lured me into believing that with him, I would soar to great heights.
He had a magnetism that drew things towards him, telling people that he would light their way. It was as if every being in the forest answered his command. I followed spellbound, almost aroused, as he let me deeper into his lair.
That night the moon rose high above the lake. It appeared double in size as its glow radiated into the damp air and rippled on the water. Animal spirits whispered that we were the chosen ones and our master would keep us safe. The spell had started to weave its magic. I was led into a dream world, levitating above the ground or melding into it, I wasn’t completely sure. The music played on, weaving in and out of my misty dream. He told me I was one with source, and that the feast would soon begin. I waited and waited, sinking deeper into a slow sweet dream of forgetfulness.
I cannot say what woke me. A crack of a branch underfoot, or the cold breeze on my face. My aching body was so stiff that it took all my effort to try and lift my head to see where I was. My tongue was thick and eyelids swollen, as they scratched back from my eyes which peered out of them. I was alone.
In a tangle, I lay under the tree of forgetfullness. My host had departed having stolen all of my creations. I was naked and cold. He’d left me like a thief in the night.
Morning had come and the sunlight kissed the earth with a gentle forgiving touch. Looking up I noticed a crevice in the old tree that supported me. Pushing a finger inside, I pulled out a tuft of fabric, which was like a lining inside the tree. I pulled and pulled until it all came out. It was the warmest, softest cloak I could imagine and I wrapped myself in its gentle folds. Standing up I noticed some fairy lights draped around a tiny tree that had sprung out of the old oak. Its berries were precious rubies. It glittered and as it did so emitted rays of love. In another crevice, a sketchbook and new packet of crayons were waiting to be opened and played with. Their lovely waxy smell and bright colours reminded me of all the possibilities that lay waiting to be discovered. Within its deep heart, the tree of forgetfulness, became a healing tree which brought love, memories and gifts from childhood which held the kernel of our life force, our imagination, and our dreams.
All these riches lay within me and all I needed to do was be creative to bring them into being. I had at last found my way. But it was not about finding a way out of the forest, rather, finding a way in. My creativity and all my talents are an abundant source of life. If I trust in the light, and the gentle rhythms of nature, the little boat in the river will guide me and bring my wares to the market place. And all will be well in the world.
And so it is.
10 May 2020
A Gracious Encounter
Leaving the security of the healing tree I found I needed to make something to protect my feet. Yes, the dirty old bugger had even stolen my shoes! Walking barefoot had become increasingly uncomfortable in my middle age, so I made some boots from the bark of trees, tying them with ivy vines. They fitted so beautifully against my instep, and their spongy organic substance kept me bouyant. My fleecy clock seemed to fit all parts of my bumps and curves. It was made to measure, and the most comfortable thing I’ve ever worn. The added bonus of my cloak was that it blended into the forestscape. I had become virtually invisible! Little birds and animals came to feed beside me. They recognized me as one of their own. My new world opened me up to a greater feeling of expanse and infinite possibilities.
The Kindred Spirit in the Woods
Picking up my sketchbook and crayons I walked through the forest, following the dappled light into the bluebells. All around was birdsong and sunlight dancing off the leaves.
My path meantdered past many beautiful sites until I came to a clearing. Here I met a woman who offered me forrd and rest. She asked me all about myself and listened while I poured out my soul to her. Her safe harbour nurtured and grounded me. Her comforting words gave solace to my soul. Yet, she did not molly coddle me. There was some tough love in there too as she reminded me to keep my boundaries secure and look after my physical health. I could tell that this woman, who’s name was Gloria, had learned these lessons through her life experience. She seemed so ordinary, so humble and took things slowly, one step at a time. Yet she had the air of a very special spirit. Almost completely self-sufficient, she thrived from the fruits and vegetables from her garden, and honey from her bees, bartering with her neighbours for flour, coffee and fresh milk. Her cat, Pyewacket, allowed me to stroke her silky back, giving me her trust and a special kind of acknowledgement.
I needed to rest for a good few days in this quiet home in the woods, but before I left, I gave my gracious hostess a painting I had done of her house and garden, and a little portrait of Pyewacket. As I was on my way, Gloria held out a medicine bag for my journey containing a feather quill and some paper, some herbal remedies for sinuses and an amulet made of rainbow glass. She reminded me that writing heals the soul, and that my recurring sinusitis was just a symptom of un-shed tears. Clutching the piece of rainbow glass in my hand and ready for my next adventure, I was on my way, renewed by feeling that I had met a true soul friend (my anam cara).
I walked all day after I had left Gloria, no longer in a hurry to reach my destination, but rather enjoying every step of the journey. I had food to eat, clothes to keep me warm and a renewed sense of purpose in my life.
That evening I camped down with a small fire, and a bottle of elder flower and honey wine that Gloria had given me. Little sparked started to dance and fly from the fire. My eyes watched the flames make visions that came and went. In the glow, I could have sworn I saw the Devil’s face, his leering grin spying out at me, but all illusion was dissolved by the crack and snap of the logs as they burned to keep me warm and safe. May place was here, on this solid earth and I had all I needed to succeed. My experience with the Devil had served to make me stronger in a way that confirmed my skills and talents. I had started to believe in myself. I knew that I was real, and that he and all he stood for was not. I chuckled to myself.
Before long I fell into a deep and restful sleep. I saw visions dancing in my dreams. A Harp, a flower, a crown, Gloria’s home, emerald jewels embedded in a rock, a mysterious woman and wild boar. They swirled about in my imagination, each inviting me to journey with them. It didn’t matter to me which one was more important. They were all part of the greater sea of life. Each would have their day. The important thing was the motion within the cauldron, the ever-changing movement of life. As I half woke, I smiled, keeping my sights set on the star of light at the centre of the great swirl of life. This star I saw with my inner vision and it reminded me that to truly see, one must close one’s eyes. In this way, I could follow my own North Star.
Finding the Secret Door
Waking up that morning, I was eager to get on the road. It was a fresh, bright day with a tiny chill in the air. Spring was well and truly established, and flower buds were getting ready for the summer bloom. I breathed in their soft sweet scent as I wandered along, and hummed a little tune. Over in the distance, I noticed a tree which was set apart from others, and away from the main path. There was something about it that caught my eye, so I decided to go over and have a look. Crunching dried branches under foot, I approached with curiosity. And there it was. At the base of the tree was a tiny door. Was I imagining things? Was this really a door in a tree? The closer I got, the more certain I became. There was a sense of pins and needles in my thinking, the way a realisation stings you as you face a truth. And I knew.
This tiny door was the entrance to the womb of the tree of life, behind which lived a very small and scared little girl. A girl that I knew long ago but had forgotten about. Hidden away for safety from humans who’d hurt and betrayed her, including me. The acknowledgment hit me like a great weight on my chest. I stood motionless.
This living soul, this little lost being, was not going to throw open her door wide to welcome me. Still hurting, she wanted so much to be friends but had lost the ability to relax and have fun. It was like she had only two modes, fight or flight. I had to approach with caution. Hesitating a minute or two before I got closer, I noticed that the space between me and the door was repelling me the way a magnet does when it meets another magnet who’s like-poles are held too close together. In my heart I knew that I’d become so alienated from her, through my own fear and lack of self confidence. I felt sad that she didn’t trust me, and I felt sad for her loneliness and all the hurt I’d inadvertently caused her by abandoning her. Squeezing back the tears, I said a silent prayer and gave the door a few gentle taps. And waited.
A Flash of Light
There was a muffled sound from within the tree, a stifled scream maybe, followed by a clattering and rattling of everying inside and out. The tree shook. The sky drew dark and a cold wind swept through my cloak, chilling me to the core. Suddenly I found myself trembling, not with fear but with an electric energy that travelled through the ground, up my legs, into my spine, and out of the top of my head. I let out an enormous moaning cry that sounded almost prehistoric. It came involuntarily, like the cry a mother giving birth. There came a flash of light and a loud crack. The top of the tree had been struck by lightening.
Looking up, branches were flying helter skelter. I barely had time to run to avoid being hit. The light seemed to energise me and my legs started to hop. Raising my arms, I grabbed a flying branch and held it aloft. It sparkled like a firework. At the same time, I heard a scream, a death cry, or was it a Ban Sidhe? Rain started pelting down, covering my face, splashing into my open mouth. I heard the cry again, though this time it gurgled in my throat. I realised then it was I who was screaming. Another flash, a louder crack. The leaves were ejected from their branches. A fire had started. Smoke swirled around my dancing legs and my cries turned into a chant. “Om Aim Hreem Kleem Chamundaye Viche Swaha.” It was the call of Kali. A fierce and terrible magic was happening here. One that would change me forever.
As the fire rose the smoke grew thick in the forest. I started to cough and wiping my eyes from the stinging smoke, I could see a figure appearing in the distance. Clothed in something metallic he shimmered towards me. A wise old soul, with a beard and kind eyes. He held an enormous book (a book of spells?) No, it was the Akashic records. He drifted without a sound and before I could take it in, he floated right through me. Our spirits merged as if he had entered me. My arms felt stronger, so strong that the branch I held in my hand felt as light as a twig. My shoulders grew broader. A racing thought wondered if I was turning into a man?! I dropped the branch and looked at my hands. They were still my hands. They felt my body. Yes, two breasts, soft stomach, small feet. I certainly looked the same, but inside I felt like I had the strength of ten men. I swirled around just to make sure my apparition wasn’t playing a trick on me. Who was he? Merlin the magician? Or Jesus? A gently breeze arose, clearing the air. I heard a click. The latch on the tiny door lifted and it creaked open. I went inside.
The Black Shook
In side the room in the tree was completely dark, except for the two red-orange eyes that stared at me. By its breathing I knew it was a wolf, a she-wolf. Outside the lightening still cracked the sky and branches battered the tree. I felt as though I’d met my death, and this was the end. I looked into the eyes of my slayer and put my stick down. She could sense my fear. there was a smell of incense, warm and woody, and I noticed swirls of smoke curling round the beast. I held her gaze for a moment or two, then all of a sudden, she blinked, slowly, and deliberately. I blinked too, and noticed that her eyes had become softer. There was so much sorrow in her old soulful eyes.
I started to weep, and with each tear, I seemed to melt away and mingle with the swirling smoke. As if in a ritual I was going through a right of passage. By keeping our gazes locked, an unvoiced communication was taking place between us. We passed through centuries together. Different lifetimes linked us together over eons. Who was she? Had I ever really known? Then I was back in myself and my vision started to flicker as if I had a migraine. I dropped to my knees, and slowly reached for the ground so I could lie down. This was it. Complete surrender.
I came round with the sensation of the She wolf licking my face. I’d no idea how long I’d been lying there, but the room was bright, the windows were open and there was the aroma of cooking. When I opened my eyes the large wolf was no longer black, but white and fluffy and looked very like my dog in real life, Mr. Darcy. Pushing up on my elbows, I looked over to the cooker and saw Mrs. Tiggywinkle stiring a great big pot of soup. She was humming a tumpty tum tum tune as she added corriander, a dash of white pepper and a dollop of cream. Getting to my feet, I dusted myself off and went over to sit by the window. Looking out at the forest, I couldn’t believe how much the place had transformed. Birds were singing, bluebells bloomed, and I could hear the trickling of a stream. Dappled sunlight bounced off the fluttering leaves. Was I in a Disney movie?
This was all too weird. The storm in the forest, I could handle, but ‘happy valley’ was just alien to me. It was a good job I was just too damn tired to protest, so I gratefully accepted the lovely warm bowl of soup that my hostess gave me and ate my fill with freshly baked bread. When I had finished, Mr. Darcy leapt up and put his two paws on my leg, looking at me expectantly. “It’s time for his walk”, said Tiggy and she handed me his lead and a couple of poo bags.
“When you get back, there’s a little girl coming over for a play date. I’ll get all the art things ready and you can settle in for a nice afternoon painting. Grace has missed you, you know, so there’ll be a lot you’ll need to catch up with”.
As I took a turn with Mr. Darcy around the wooded park, I wondered why I felt so strange, like I was playing a part in a movie. Mrs. Tiggywinkle was so lovely and mothering. I could feel that she loved me and I loved her instantly. It was so nice to feel cared for.
When we returned, Mum, (Mrs. Tiggywinkle) had put crayons, magic markers and paintboxes on the round table in the centre of the room ready for the play date. When Grace arrived she looked gorgeous in a pink party dress and we hugged each other. We talked and laughed out loud all afternoon while we created six impossible fantasy scenes, fish with bubbly eyes, a flying house, and faces in trees. I made a painting of an owl that could swim under water. Grace laughed when she saw it and said it looked like a jelly fish. Grace did a self portrait of herself as a princess in a medieval castle. She looked so at home there.
When we painted all we could, it was time for a snack and watch our favourite show on T. V. “I Dream of Jeanie”. Grace and I practiced trying to wrinkle our noses like Jeanie did and it was so hard! We made each other laugh.
The next show was “The Magic Pencil”. The little boy took out his pencil and sketchbook to draw what he needed. The object he drew leapt off the page and came to life. He, like the Magician, had all the tools he needed to create his life. After the show, Grace and I played at being the Genie in the magic lamp and dreamed up all the things we could wish for. It was such great fun. But the most fun of all was just being together and sharing the same heart and knowing that we were exactly where we belonged.
The inspiration for writing my story has come from Heather, aka The Tarot Midwife. If you’d like to join us on our mysterious ramblings through the Enchanted Forest, please link up on Instagram @tarotmidwife.
The Inner Child Cards by Isha and Mark Lerner.