Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Sometimes we find rope swings in the woods and this is always an invitation for the child to re-emerge.
We have found here how we constantly swing between the wounded child that we were and the archetypal child that we are seeking to manifest. The wounded child reacts to situations and relationships that trigger its fear, subtle transferences that keep us trapped in familiar patterns and sabotage any hope of escape. But the archetypal child is a beacon that is never truly extinguished, our infinite potential for renewal, for wonder and for real and enduring freedom. The rope upon which we swing is our tenuous link to the elder, high up in the branches above. It supports us and allows us to play. Sometimes it wears thin or even breaks and we fall on our face in the mud. At those times we may need another elder, a therapist perhaps, to help us tie up another rope and reinstate our connection. But this is only a temporary state of affairs for our true elder, the one within, never stops watching over us from above.
This connection between the old and the new is rarely felt more keenly than in November when the trees sow their seeds in the presence of death, in their fallen leaves, in the compost of the old year. Here the elder and the child lie side by side, one on her death bed, the other in her cradle. There is great ambivalence in this, our grief and our hope so united.
Ian Siddons Heginworth is an environmental arts therapist, founder of the Devon-based Wild Things community programme and author of Environmental Arts Therapy and the Tree of Life, Spirit’s Rest Books. www.environmentalartstherapy.co.uk

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