I have danced with Nemetona ever since I can remember.
I may not have known her name, but she has always been there. My Lady of Sanctuary, of sacred space, of boundaries and edges – all throughout my life I have danced with her, the song flowing through my soul like deep nourishing water, bringing a stillness, a settling to my heart like no other.
I grew up in the same house until I left for college. A beautiful little bungalow on the edge of a village, with miles of forest stretched out behind. It was a house that was filled with warmth, with sound, with what can only be described as a good vibration. Filled with houseplants, as my father is a landscaper and my mother the daughter of a florist, every spare flat space had something growing, being nurtured, being loved. Indeed, that is how I often look back at my childhood – it was a beautiful space indeed, and I am ever thankful for it.
The house has its own spirit – not in a paranormal sense, but just a welcoming that brought a little sigh when you walked in. There was a soft scent too – difficult to describe, but again something that made you want to come into the warmth. The life of my family had seeped into the walls and foundations of that house, and yes, while we did argue we also loved each other, and still do, deeply. Home was a safe place – growing up we never locked the door when someone was home, and often it was unlocked if a parent was out and we were playing down the street.
My lady Nemetona was there, in that house, and in that village. When old enough, we pushed our boundaries further, to the end of the street, then the two other streets further down, then the village borders and deep into the forest, climbing over The Mountain and beyond. My parents allowed us that freedom to explore, with plenty of good advice, for which I am ever thankful. Yet there was always a feeling of security, and of sanctity. We were truly blessed by this goddess.
After leaving home, which was heart-wrenching for me, to go to The City for college, I found it hard to adapt. Yet I still managed, making wherever it was that I was living as “homey” as possible. People often commented, and still do, when they enter my home was a nice feel it has. It comes naturally to me, dedicated as I am to this particular goddess. A haven not only for me, but for all who are invited in, she gives her blessings freely.
I learned through Druidry her name, and also to carry Nemetona with me at all times, not just in a certain place, such as the home. Finding the edges of my own nemeton, that space around myself which none but those who I am intimately connected to are allowed in, I could work with those edges better, to define that sacredness and sense of sanctuary around me.
Nemetona gives us that space where we are allowed to be ourselves, fully without fear. She is a temple, a sacred space, both within and without. She was celebrated in forest groves, the classical sources tell us, but she is to be found everywhere. Sinking deep into her temple, dancing freely in the twilight, letting go of notions of that self that we have created, we have time to simply BE. We return to the selfless source, if we so desire. And yet, we must come back and define our edges once more, but this time they are perhaps softened, allowing more in, allowing sanctuary and compassion to those that need it. Though we may discriminate, Nemetona doesn’t. That is why she is a goddess.
Explore where your edges meet with another, whether it be human, cat or tree. Let go into the embrace of this Lady, to find out who you truly are. In her temple, we are all perfectly who we are at this given moment. Dance with her, and know what it means to be truly free.
P.S. I am currently writing a book, entitled Dancing with Nemetona, about my journey from childhood to where I am today, and how this goddess has danced with me throughout. x