The Soul Garden

This Green Path

December 29, 2023 Georgina Langdale Episode 39
The Soul Garden
This Green Path
Show Notes Transcript

This is the last episode of The Soul Garden for 2023! And in this episode Georgina Langdale reflects on the power of landscape as part of one's own sense of being. She shares the wood in which she laid her father's ashes to rest, and conjures the green path she walks on inspired by nature and mystics such as Hildegard of Bingen, ending with a Celtic call for peace.

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Hello, and welcome to The Soul Garden. My name is Georgina Langdale. I'm your host, and I'm the founder of Archeus. And I'm absolutely delighted to have you here. This is my last podcast episode for 2023. Wow. And I'm sitting here recording this after Christmas. And I'm in a quite a reflective mood today. And so I think this episode is going to be a reflective one, which is kind of, you know, fitting for the end of the year isn't it isn't at that time we recap the best of this, and the worst of that, I'm going to be reflecting on the greenness of this, and the wonder of that. Anyway, before I get into that, I hope that you're well, and that your end of the year is going okay, you know, life throws us all these curveballs all the time. And so sometimes, okay, is enough. So if your year is ending, okay. I hope that that is enough. And if it's ending, wonderfully, then wonderful. I was going to use this episode to talk about my new book, which is coming out on the second of January. And it's called 50 Things to Help When Life Changes, contemplative and nature based teachings for navigating life transitions. But I think I'm going to talk more about it in a week or so mainly because I have lovely printed copies that are available on my website. So if you want to buy one from me direct, I'll sign it for you, and send it on its way. But I'm in New Zealand. So if you're not in New Zealand, and you're wanting to save on a bit of postage, and things, it's going to be on Amazon and on Kindle soon. But the really annoying thing is sitting there all ready to go. But I'm having a problem actually getting into my Amazon account, and they keep saying they're gonna ring me and they just don't and it's Christmas. So I'm trying to be patient. So I think that once I've got that sorted, then I'll feel happier and more confident to do a an episode talking about the book and just giving you some little insights into it and, and why I wrote it and things but for now, if you're really keen, which would be amazing. There are copies for sale or at Georgina and I will sign up your copy for you and if you want me to put in a special message for for someone, you just tell me when you put the order through and I'll do all of that for you. I'm going to start really by saying that this morning. I was out in the garden and we're having a very warm and quite wet then humid man humid summer here in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand and my goodness, the garden has got so tall and riotous and joyful. It's just loving it at the moment. And there are just everything flowering and reaching for the heavens. It's absolutely beautiful. And you know the birds are happy and bees are happy and well I saw two monarch butterflies yesterday on the mother watch. They were having a very nice time I can say there will be more monarch butterflies in this garden soon. Anyway, it's just beautiful and I love all the tangle of it and, and the scent and the color and the shape and forms and the greening grinning greenness, Hildegard of Bingen talked about Viriditas, the greening power of life, and my garden right now is teeming with the greening power of life. I just love it. But there's one plant in particular right now in my garden. That's really it's really tugging at my heart. And that is meadow sweet. I planted it in the garden a couple of years ago and this year it's just gone nuts and the flowers of meadows we eat a kind of creamy and add like a foam almost. And when you smell it, it's smells like warm, sun warmed cream that you're about to put on your scone with a little bit of jam, so beautiful and there was this Bumblebee and it was just, it was like, oh my god, I'm a New Zealand Bumblebee and I'm not used to this meadowsweet, man. It's gorgeous. And it was just like, in a frenzy of delight with this creamy beautiful smell and these foamy little flowers, meadow sweets, a great healer. And it's tugging at me because it is a woodland plant from Europe. So I live in New Zealand but I'm from from England. I grew up there moved here when I was still a child but to New Zealand that is but I went back to England and to Germany where I also used to live in the summer in the UK German summer so June July this year. It was a beautiful time of year to be there and the woodland and the verges were just full brimming with all of these healing plants that I use and and there was meadowsweet everywhere and I was kinda like that Bumblebee, I was just ecstatic. I felt like the combination of the plants and the greenness of the woods, and the blue of the sky and in Germany, the the yellow of the grain fields by the Rhine when I was staying at Hildegard of Bingen's Abbey. All of these things color scent, it was like my DNA was being re activated, replenished, it was revitalized. It was absolutely extraordinary. I felt I felt like I was absolutely melting back into that landscape. And meadowsweet when I when I was in these woods and things in Somerset and stuff, I cried buckets with meadowsweet and I was crying because I was thinking that it was just growing so abundantly in the wild. And yet in New Zealand, I've had to carefully planted in my garden and wait for two years for it to really do anything. And that made me it made me feel very far away. The New Zealand part of my life felt very far away from my DNA. You know, we all talk about, well, maybe we don't all talk about but sense of belonging is so important. Who we are, what our history is, what our family lines are, these things can really matter to us. And I think that the landscapes that we are part of a so important to, to all of us, you know, those touch points of lineage and longing can can't be underestimated. So for me meadow sweet has become quite totemic, actually, as I watch it flower and my New Zealand garden this summer. Me and the bee going crazy for it. So the meadow sweet takes me to the forest so many things happened for me on that trip to the UK and Germany this summer. I'll talk about Germany last because there's something I think I'd quite like to read to you. But in England, my father had died here in New Zealand in 2019. And before he died, we had figured out what I was going to do with his ashes and I promise stuff that I would take some of his ashes back to where the area that we lived in in England. And so I did. And so he traveled with me through the skies, landed in England. And we went back to where we used to live near to where we used to live, we went to a place that was very, very special to him. And there was this wood. And I laid his ashes down to rest under a beautiful oak tree. And, and it was also green, and this oak tree is on the edge of a clearing. And I could feel almost like the sigh of relief coming from him being placed in the wood, under the yoke, near the man meadowsweet was, it was so moving. And I feel that in that laying him to rest, you know, we we move through our grief and longing and things in so many ways. But part of laying him there laid some grief of mind to wrist as well. And I have this thing now, when I go to yoga are not very regular, I have to say, oops, at the end, you know, when you're just lying there and you're kind of relaxing at the end of the class, I shut my eyes. And I go back into that clearing in that wood by the oak tree where my father lies. And I imagine lying on the grass in the center of the clearing and hearing the pigeons and the woodpeckers oh my god, it's so beautiful. And it makes me want to ask you, what are the landscapes that resonate for you? Where do you picture your points of belonging? And what happens when you close your eyes for a moment and take a few deep slow breaths and picture the places that really locate themselves? In your heart? What happens? Is that a river or a mountain or a forest? What happens when you picture those points of your belonging? And and is it something that you can build into your practice of meditation or yoga or going for a walk or going for a run on the running machine in the gym? Whatever it is? Can you take yourself to your landscapes. And what happens when you do funnily enough, I then got an email from the friend of mine in England that went with me to this word where we were I laid my father to rest. And she sent me a photo and she said because of Dutch elm disease, they've actually had to fell most of the trees in the woods since I've been there just over the last couple of months. And she sent me a photo but of course my dad, but his son was under an oak tree. And this oak tree is standing. But all of the trees around it are gone. They're going to be replanted. But for now, it's a very different look to what it was when I was there. And I felt so blessed that when I laid him to rest there, it was a full and verdant wood. And it remains that in my heart even though it looks very different now. I'm finding that as this year draws to a close, I'm thinking about the 10 years that I've been running my business Archeus which is this intentional artisanal apothecary where I formulate and make natural products. And I make plant essences for plant energetics work and natural perfume. And I write and i i paint and I'm I'm wanting to bring all of these creative expressions of nature connection because for me, they all start with that nature connection. I want to to really bring them all out into the world more next year. And so yeah, So over this Christmas period, I've been doing quite a lot of art has been so nice and making plant essences and things. The other thing that for me this year that I keep reflecting on is in June, I went and stayed at, I begin, which is the abbey that was founded by Hildegard of Bingen in the 12th century. It has been rebuilt about 100 years ago, but it's the most magical place and they have a few guest rooms. It's down by the Rhine, reasonably near Frankfurt, and it was so wonderful. And I found myself slipping into the rhythm of the day of the Abbey. It would start with, with prayer, all sun high was beautiful, at 530 in the morning, and then you'd have breakfast, and that was that was Lord's and then you would, there would be a mess. And then there was lunch and a and more prayers. And then in the evening there were vespers and then right at the end of the night, there was compline. I didn't go to all of those prayers every day. Because the countryside around it was so beautiful, that I just wanted to get out and walk and walk and walk and I was falling in love with being back in my DNA revitalizing woods and implants Hildegard of Bingen this amazing 12th century mystic and artist and herbalist and healer and psychotherapist and shaman and Abbess. She had a very deep connection with plants and plants for healing. Now I was staying at her Abbey but and it was magical to be there and listening to the nuns who you never really saw. Singing. It was a serial and beautiful if you ever get the chance to go and stay there atEibingen Abbey. I can't recommend it highly enough. It was truly truly magical. But for me, I felt like Hildegard and I met each other fully in the countryside around the Abbey and I'd like to read this for you. It's something I wrote while I was at I begin I'm reading this too because I think looking back on it that in a way it sums up so much of my intention behind the work I do. I'm really realizing you know I'm not like some flesh entrepreneur kickass woman who's just gonna go and take over the world. I'm not that sort of person. I feel like I'm walking in a different path and in a different tradition mine is a green path. Written at Eibingen in June 2023 It's a summer's day after the solstice the light is bright but slowly fading turning inwards, light of the soul my bare feet tread warm soil. A rich earth that offers up gifts, centaury, cleavers, chamomile, flax, plantain, Woodruff, Yarrow, these plants are saints to me, names to be recited with reverence, each with a story of healing. It has always been nature that leads me to Spirit revealing itself and that early experience of the me and me and the me becoming the formless beyond form me and the energy that flows through in between All things in those moments and in that knowing, it was nature that said, together, let us here and so it is, as I sit with the plants, my soul family on a pilgrims way through grain and forest and I watched the slow moving flow of the Rhine that I realize I've been led here to name my paths to claim my landscape. Near the abbey that bears her name, St. Hildegard comes and sits with me. She meets me where I am in amongst the plants and the birds. We bear witness to the garden, all things and the us in everything. Falcon gliding a pigeon cooing the skylark warbling in the way. Together, we pick the mugwort to take to the abbey to make tea. And she gives me agrimony for my tears for all these years, this knowing has been growing in me. It took root and then it flourished. And here at the Abbey I realized that my morning lords and evening Vespers are songs of nature. It is nature that helps the healing in living and dying. And I find connection when I see myself reflected in the sacred turning cycles of growth and decay. And great peace can be found with that. My path is an eco spiritual one. It's a prayer for all times. And it's the ancients who meet me here under Hawthorn and oak. There are gods with many names. Many stories, but under the tree or becomes one and we delight in the soul food we grow to bring to this banquet. Mine is a green path. It is Earth and dust and flower and fish. It's a bird on the wing. A whale descending the silvery moon rising. It's the baby being born and the soul departing near the abbey that bears her name. St. Hildegard comes and sits with me on moss under the world and now all of tree gently she pools the grinning bow towards us. And together we take the verdant Eucharist of leaf and you the path I walk is this green way. Here I am writ large and sacred and Cosmos and Earth, Egret, goat cow Cowslip rose Heron these are all saints to me. Mine is a green pass a living prayer for all times and so it is with those words that I bid you farewell In 2023, I really look forward to connecting with you again in 2024. And I hope that you'll come with me on this journey through the coming year where I walk my paths, maybe more boldly sharing more of the knowledge and the feelings and the creative inspiration that this green pass gives me I was going to end here. But as I was editing and preparing the episode, I found myself feeling really like I wanted to add one more thing. And it is this beautiful call for peace, which is attributed to Celtic earth based practices. And I thought that a call for peace was a pretty meaningful thing to do at the end of this tumultuous year. And this is it. Deep within the still center of my being, may I find peace silently within the quiet of the Grove, May I share peace and gently within the greater circle of humankind. May I radiate peace. Thank you so much for your time. I wish you the best new year full of love, life and landscape. You've been listening to Georgina Langdale in the Soul Garden. If you're interested in finding out more about my offerings, you can check them out at Georgina See you in 2024 bye