Thursday, 19 May 2011


Throughout our lives we too draw the test to ourselves. When the lightening strikes, everything is in that instant illuminated. Our strength, our weakness, our courage, our vulnerability, all becomes visible. We learn our limits, the sweep of our power and that which we can endure.
Lightning strikes come in many guises. Illness, accidents, unemployment, separation, financial difficulties, bereavement, bullying, they inevitably test us in the arena in which we feel most vulnerable. We each have our own lessons to learn and we will be tested again and again until we learn them.
Often at this time we seek objects in the woods that symbolise the lightning strikes both past and present that have tested us and continue to do so. These we mark with a flame to show the burn. We share our stories of strikes past, how they hurt us and how they made us grow. Together we learn about the gifts that the lightning brings. This helps us sit now with the strikes present, with the tests that we now face and seek to endure. We combat fear with trust, self doubt with expectation. Then we make a fire out of all we have gathered. Standing together around the hearth we take turns to suggest ways of raising the fire within ourselves. We leap, we roar, we chant, we dance. We stand in silence holding hands, drawing the heat into our bodies. Then we are ready. Ready to face our tests.

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.

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