September 2021 to April 2022 (Elders Weaving in the Woods – Samhain to Equinox)
What did you notice coming into the woods today, this day of watery spring sunshine.
‘Touched by wind. Tiny tea cup hanging in the hazel in the woods. Greeted by Theo playing beautiful music. Snow drops still thriving. Good parking attendent. We didn’t hit any tree trunks. Different bird song to Rectory street. Sun on our face, wind in the my hair and smell of smoke – what more do you want? Covering the scones. Bosoms on the Ash (and a belly too). Woodpecker busy, and Pete told me if you tap a tree the woodpecker comes to investigate.
We were experimenting with keeping our circle short, but the conversation was persistent, especially after one asked: how long have we got here, when will our funding end? It became clear how urgent the need among our community was to continue. We spoke about how we have to gather evidence of success to make a funding application. How do you measure emotional and feeling success? Asked one. Next week we will invite all to put their ideas on paper for us. This will help us. And all our community clearly wants to help us.
Chi Gong under the still naked hornbeams, Naomi led us through the elements, wood, air, metal, earth, then we moved to the pond and made water. The cauldron of energy, said Naomi is in the belly; by habit we breath in a shallow way, to the to top of the lung – bring it down to the belly, pull the emotions down into the cauldron.
Theo took over the washing up from Leslie, giving her the opportunity to take part in Chi Gong – a gift of the day.
We walked to see the bees becoming active and remind Rachel to mend the hive kept by Gabrielle, of the two woodpecker holes. The pecker is probably after the honey. Just near by the freshly dug grave of Jal, (the beloved dog of MJ), who we buried here yesterday, with spring flowers planted.
Continue Bending – source of hazel
Those who continued with the bending came to see the recent coppice work in the wood, and the source of our bending hazel strands. We saw a just coppice area, to the piles we made of sorted matter:
– stacked cords of wood
– strong straight sticks for potential posts, with Y’s valued
– strong hazel straight poles for bending
– Whippy hazel benders
With free labour, we all took at bundle on our backs to bring back to the bender area (lots of b’s there I notice). Here we selected two long stright hazel poles to add to our growing bender, knowing the way now: make the hole, press the long hazel in, wedge it. Bend it. We also began bending around the base to wedge and secure the sides.
Meanwhile back at camp, Gabrielle guided the weaving in squares …MORE. Virginia took away spider plants to re-pot.
Inspired by our funding conversation at the beginning we asked why we came here:
New learning, like learning bending. Community. Something someone said inspires you back at home to bring to another session. Takes me back to my camping days as a child. Chi Gong is a great way of winding down, and then I can concentrate on what happens next. Sharing experiences with each other. Genuinly connected with people . Golden happiness about today. Listening to the woods. Sharing skills I already have. Learning about bending. So peaceful. Physical and mental Chi Gong. Organic learning of benders.Pleasure to be around people with such knowledge and wisdom. Humbling. Sharing the space. I’m surprised about how much I get out of it. New things like weaving a learning about moss, and doing the journal. Restorative Chi Gong. Learning new skills, poems, words, and I go home and look up their stories. Walking home buzzing. Best chai in town.’
This was all we said.
Sept 30 – Introductions
Oct 7 – Weaving and Dyeing
Oct 14 – Dyeing and conkers
Oct 21 – Dyeing and drawing
Oct 31 Samhain Sunday
Nov 4 Leaf letting go
Nov 11 EARTH
Nov 18 AIR
Nov 25 WATER
Dec 2 FIRE
Dec 9 WOOD (crafting
Dec 16 (Solstice)
Jan 6 Stories – story of an object
Jan 13 Stories – His-Herstory
Jan 20 Stories – Tree Stories
Jan 27 Stories – More Tree Stores
Feb 3 Stories – Pear Tree gathering
Feb 10 Stories – Words with Dean
Feb 17 Stories – Wind and Patrick Stead
Mar 7 (Equinox)
GET IN TOUCH
Shona, Kally and Rachel are keen for you to get in touch with us.
Supported and sponsored by:
COVID-19 Engaged Communities Fund (Suffolk CC)