Harvest for the Soul and Coming Home

It’s good to be home. After a couple of weeks visiting my family back in Canada, with yet another heat wave (40C with the humidity!) I can honestly say that I’m grateful to be back in Suffolk. It feels like autumn has arrived here, as it has back in Canada (the day after I left, it turned to a lovely 21C and the leaves beginning their autumnal splendour) and the change in the air is most welcome.

As always, going back to visit my family brings up contemplations of just what “home” really is. I realised that in 3.5 years, I will have lived in the UK for as long as I have lived in Canada. Over twenty years of eating food grown in this land, drinking water from local bore holes and reservoirs, breathing in the air and connecting with the different flora and fauna relative to this place and this time. It really has shaped me, alongside the people I’ve met and the experiences I have had, and I am both grateful and a touch melancholic when reminiscing about all that I have done and gone through in moving to this new land all those years ago.

This is where I made my lifelong dream come true, to be an author. Never did I ever dream about establishing a Druid College, or a belly dance company, or a host of many other turns my life has taken. It’s been a challenge and a blessing, the twists and turns my life has taken, and for which I am both proud and humbled to have come out the other side. England is not the land of Madam George and roses, as Sinead O’Connor once sang, but it is the place that captured my heart, alongside Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

So I return to my home with a renewed sense of place, of home and indeed, of belonging. Even though I will always carry a thread of being an outsider, with my accent alerting people to the fact that I was not born here, still I feel like this place is home. An immigrant to this country, coming from a long line of immigrants to various countries, I feel a shared connection both to my ancestors as well as to the ancestors of place, which here in the UK are so varied from before history even began. I have a few months now to breathe deeply, to take the time to reconnect, now that my new book for Llewellyn has been sent off and revised. For the rest of the year, I will be taking information in, taking in the sensual and the ecstatic, allowing the awen to flow into me after many long months of being on the other end. Allowing myself to reap the harvest sown earlier on. And so the cycle continues, in and out, flowing and ebbing, as I gather my resources ready for a new round of work come the new year. For the next three months, I will be listening to the words and voices of others, allowing their inspiration to fill me, and see where that takes me.

And in the meantime, I shall walk this land, the sandy soil of heath and woodland beneath my feet, the wind blowing in from the sea and scenting the air, the hearthfires burning both in the little village around me and within my soul.

P.S. Here’s a sneak peek at the cover of my new book, coming out next summer!

Hedge Druid Cover

A Place to Be

I had a lovely meeting this weekend with small Druid Order, filled with people utterly dedicated to their Druidry. It is always such an inspiration to meet up with these folk, to hear their stories and their views, to hear their physical voices and to be able to reach out and touch them, hug them, share food and space together. Each time we meet, prayers are said and dedications are affirmed, and each time it is deeply profound. Though my dedication remained the same as it had two and a half years ago since the last gathering, still there were new components to my personal story that are poignant to the words I had spoken, witnessed by those souls and held in the beauty of a garden in Stratford.

At this meeting was my old teacher, Bobcat. Never have I seen her looking so strong, so wonderful, so at peace, shimmering with vibrancy and yet coming from a place of deep stillness, utterly rooted to the landscape. I had to email her later, to tell her so, and she replied that I has looked wonderful too, wholly comfortable in my skin, even if I am still finding what sort of a place to be.

Indeed, being an immigrant to these lands, I have had to develop a relationship with this environment that is so different to that which I grew up with in Canada. And yet, after a recent DNA test, I have found that my heritage is over half British, more so than Western European, which was a bit of a surprise. As far back as the family can remember, which is to about the mid-19th century, the family is Dutch, pure and simple. However, somewhere further in the reaches of time many of my ancestors came from and lived upon these lands, not so far from my Dutch ancestors, whom I connect with simply by walking down to the shingle beach near where I live and looking out across the North Sea. Is this where my British ancestors came from? It’s all a mystery‚Ķ

Ever since I came to the UK, I’ve tried to find a place to be. With my heart torn in two places, between what I consider my homeland in Canada (nevermind all that Dutch ancestry, where my parents and their parents and their parents were born) and the British Isles it’s always been a bit of a tricky thing. Nearly reaching the point where I have lived in the UK for as long as I have lived in Canada, the issue of home and place is at the forefront of my thinking, not to mention the coming referendum.

And what Bobcat said was true, as I reflected on it during meditation at my outdoor altar this afternoon, taking a break from organising lectures for our upcoming Druid College Weekend, and getting the next two books underway. Having recently handed in my notice at the concert hall where I work, I’m now going full-time as an author, dancer and all-around self-employed person. The time feels right, and I am wholly comfortable with who I am at this point in time. I am thankful for my many blessings, the good and the bad, that have brought me to this wonderful point. But there is still the issue of place, of where I belong. For me, place has always been important.

Perhaps I need to find out why I need to belong anywhere. What is it that drives this need? Perhaps I simply need to connect with my newly-found ancestors of this land, and therein the answer lies. Perhaps I just need to let go of the question altogether, and simply “be”.