Embracing Natural Intelligence
“This is a trickster moment in history,” the wonderful Martin Shaw asserts as he contextualizes the role of myth and story in our time. And it HAS been an extreme time of quickening. It seems like it’s all falling apart. But like Arundhati Roy shares:
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way! On a quiet day, if you listen carefully, you can hear her breathing.”
And like this breath, and the flow of stories and myths shared, genius lives in the margins… betwixt and between. From the edges, as I digest the deep beauty and wildness from the last 5 day Passionate Presence retreat Diving in Deep here in Devon, I am stuck by how our access to wilderness within and without is our confirmation. Through time in nature, it confirms our natural intelligence. Through dance, it clarifies our deep knowing. Through creative expression, it connects us to each other and the greater web of beings and life. We are broken open to the vastness that lives inside. And on an incredibly mundane level it simply cuts through to what is real and raw and authentic. How efficient. How truly sustaining and sustainable.
This is not necessarily easy, but it IS very simple. And these insights feed the community in which we live. Powerful myth, I am also reminded by Martin, also feeds community.
And that leads me to recount the mythical story of Tatterhood*:
In the story of Tatterhood, the King and the Queen who cannot conceive seek fertility counseling from the Gypsy mother who lives on the margins of society. They are desperate and so they resort to the margins.
In this symbolically rich story the Queen does indeed conceive and become pregnant after following strict instructions to take the bed outside and sleep in the woods. She also must bathe under the stars and return her bathwater to the earth. And she must eat the white flower that grows from this watering and magic making. She eats the white AND the red flower as she cannot resist and it has consequence. Of course it does. It is a natural process and it is a myth.
The queen gives birth to twins. And from between her quivering thighs, Tatterhood emerges first, riding a goat, covered in a furry hood and carrying a spoon raised and begging for food from the moment she emerges. Her sister comes second. She is fair, blond and exceedingly beautiful. She is also cooing, compliant and quiet. These sisters experienced many adventures and transformations. And what is most moving to me as I experience this story as if for the 1st time is the partnership between complementary forces; wild and tame, raw and refined, agitation and calm, masculine and feminine, fierce and passive. The deep love between the sisters allows space and the deep embrace for wildness, shamelessness and natural intelligence to arise.
The twins are inseparable. Together through adventures and courage, they create wholeness in each other and support each other’s fullness. They are without shame.
And when the 2 sisters at the end of the story have a joint wedding, Tatterhood’s deep and utter beauty is at last revealed by simply being seen for who she really is by the masculine. Her goat becomes a stallion, her spoon becomes a magic wand and her hood becomes a feminine bejeweled crown. And this “shameless” wild “creature” is even more beautiful than her lovely twin sister.
So here is to getting confirmed by deep wilderness. And here is to wisdom that lives betwixt and between. And here is to being broken open to the vastness that lives inside us all, and sustaining and feeding our communities. Just listen closely in the stillness of your heart, and you can hear her breathing without shame.
*Note: A Special note of gratitude to the amazing beings who made the Diving in Deep retreat such a powerful week, and to Martin Shaw for his highly skilled wholehearted sharing of story and soul at the Consciousness Cafe January 26 at the Barrelhouse in Totnes as a part of the Transition Town Totnes Movement.