What does being wild mean to me? My friend, Alaina @exploringlyyours, wrote about this topic on her blog, and she and I have been discussing it, as well … so I felt inspired to write about the subject and try to put my feelings into words. A lot of people, especially women, are talking about the concept of “rewilding” lately, and even the word “wild” is hugely popular within the rising global spiritual community. So, alright: what does it mean to me, in particular?
When I think of the term, wild, what comes to mind inherently for me is an animal, particularly an animal’s eyes. There is a directness in a wild animal’s eyes that seems to shoot through us, humans; when we look into the eyes of a wild animal, it feels to us like there is an unseen wall between the two of us, a lack of understanding, but it is my belief that this disconnection only exists for us, that there is no barrier but instead a lack on our end that makes the interaction seem strange and even worrying. It is my belief that a wild animal looks so deeply into someone that they seem to be able to see their spirit, and that is where we are lost; we just see an animal looking at us. If anyone else reading this watches Supernatural, there are some awesome small moments where characters who are angels, demons, or otherwise are able to look at a person’s physical vessel and yet see their true being; they might claim, “Oh, he is so hideous,” while looking at a sadistic demon with a beautiful human face; when angels meet each other in a diner, living within human vessels, they recognize each other based on their deeper aspects, their light, and it does not matter if they’ve changed vessels since the last time they saw each other, because they are not looking there, but seeing the spirit, or grace, as they call it.
Okay, so why am I blabbing about intricate details in Supernatural? To me, my wildness is the raw alchemical substance within me, rather than my physical body, which instead carries it. I suppose I imagine the spirit and one’s wildness as almost synonymous, or I believe the spirit is innately wild. What makes an animal wild is their living in tune with Spirit, or Source, or Mother Earth, or the Universe; they live with a presence that we seek through our domesticated minds, trained to follow the brain’s processes, tamed by the expansion of the intellect that (if imbalanced) carries us away from our wild intuition. I could go further into how this relates to yin and yang energies, our patriarchal society, and so much more … but I feel like with topics this vast and, to borrow a word that Alaina uses that I love, nebulous, I find myself always feeling like I’m going off track in order to draw the gigantic circle that is the discussion at hand.
Being wild, then, to me, means diving headfirst into the dark chaos of the soul and living through it by way of my body, which is, then, a sacred vessel that I cherish and take care of but do not obsess over as if my existence is only skin deep. Being wild, then, to me, means practicing self-care and allowing my spirit space to breathe within my body: being in my body, as it is, and loving it as it is; loving here does not simply mean acceptance nor blowing kisses at myself in the mirror, but taking the time to get to know it, being interested in its functions and particularities, and letting it be and grow and change while being grateful for the chance to live within it. Being wild, to me, means balancing the voice in my brain with the voice in my core; it means telling my intelligence that my heart is wise, and to listen and learn; it means integrating the two; it means spending my life in the ebb and flow of a weaving process.
Rewilding, then, is this practice: this promise to Spirit that I will come back from where this human world has dragged me to, that I will unlearn and relearn what I need to, that I will follow the stirrings in my center and dance with my shadows every day until I am able to look at myself the way a wolf would look through me.
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To break it down in simpler terms and images instead of being all ideological about it … here’s an incomplete, off the cuff list of what inspires my wild self, what actions feel like rewilding to me, and some words by others that speak to wildness or say “wild” to me. Many of these things seem like obvious, ordinary experiences, but it is in the presence of doing these things with acute awareness that I find a doorway through which to enter or reenter the wild.
* Ygritte from A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones as well as the Stark direwolves and basically all of the North and Beyond the Wall in Westeros
* Claire and Jamie from Outlander
* Ragnar from Vikings
* Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild
* Florence Welch, or at least how I perceive her, as I don’t know her personally
* moorlands, the sea, particularly the Atlantic Ocean, fog, thunder, wind, tree roots and branches, rivers, sky, mud, smoke, snow, fire
* moments alone outdoors
* birch tree trunks
* listening to Wardruna
* Pagan Otherworlds Tarot and The Messenger Cards
* crows, wolves, mountain lions, whales, frogs, cats (even “domestic” cats always feel a little wild), horses, foxes, bison, deer, spiders, bats (all wild animals, of course, but these stand out)
* liminal elements of cities in-the-making like in Gangs of New York
* digging into history, including the geological history of Earth, partaking in past times through meditation
* prayer, runes, symbolism, certain dreamscapes
* death and faith
* suffering, pain, healing, birth
* ancient medicine, plant medicine
* the color red … and deep green, brown, and purple … gold and other metallic shades … orange, grey … actually all green; natural colors generally, I suppose!
* Mary Oliver’s poetry, Walt Whitman’s presence on the page, between the lines of T.S. Eliot
* the memory of my experience reading The Secret Garden in college
* gardening: dirt in my hands, my hands in dirt
* beets, berries, walnuts, apples, pumpkin and its seeds, corn, dark chocolate, olives, garlic, spices, herbs, coarse salt; the idea of eating fish, though I don’t
* sculpture art, ceramics, cave paintings, charcoal drawings
* bloodstone, rose quartz
* essential oil perfumes that smell resinous, like myrrh; the scents of basil and pine
* sex, intimacy, touch, kissing
* laughter, dance, chanting, song
* the idea of a tightly knit family (or pack); children
* cooking, baking, eating
* laying in grass, climbing trees, swimming
* my tattoo (whenever I see it, I feel connected to my wildness)
* blood, scars, wounds, “beauty marks”, skin, stretch marks, hair
* “… every poem holds the unspeakable inside it, the unsayable, you know, not unspeakable as in taboo but the unsayable, the thing that you can’t really say because it’s too complicated, it’s too complex for us. Every poem has that silence deep in the center of it…” ~ Marie Howe
* “I’m not ashamed / Love is large and monstrous” ~ Maggie Nelson
* “I want to taste dark water and see crackling trees and wild winds.” ~ Egon Schiele
* “Break often – not like porcelain, but like waves.” ~ Scherezade Siobhan
* “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” ~ D.H. Lawrence
* “No matter how much you feed the wolf, he keeps looking at the forest.” ~ Ilse Lehiste
* “My heart dresses in black / and dances.” ~ Mary Oliver
* “Say alone. Forty times. Pair it with / the desert. Say it. Alone. Alone. Alone. / Say the words plain, she says. Say it plain. / Say it outright. Alone. Don’t get poetic. / Say I. Say me. Say I am alone … / Own it.” ~ Jeanann Verlee
* “Let all of life be an unfettered howl. Like the crowd greeting the gladiator. Don’t stop to think, don’t interrupt the scream, exhale, release life’s rapture.” ~ Vladimir Nabokov
* “My belief is in the blood and flesh as being wiser than the intellect. The body-unconscious is where life bubbles up in us. It is how we know that we are alive, alive to the depths of our souls and in touch somewhere with the vivid reaches of the cosmos.” ~ D.H. Lawrence
* “The winds that awakened the stars / Are blowing through my blood.” ~ W.B. Yeats
* “Withdraw into yourself, perceive there being a silence as old as being, even older …” ~ E.M. Cioran