Firewalk, Vision Quest and Sweat Lodge – Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh my!

Much like the fabled Emerald City, The Clophill Centre is known as the place of “Wow” and many have been wooed by both its place and sense of community, both of which meet in the teaching and healing the facilitators bring. Of course, sometimes that means facing the lions, tigers and bears!

The Clophill tradition of teaching and healing continued (and lions tigers and bears where met) during the recent spirited weekend where, led by Richard Diss, Sheelagh Keddie and Keith Abrahams, a group of questers came together, bonded and in order to set off down their own yellow brick road!

Unlike poor Dorothy, winded and dumped into oblivion to find her guides and confidants, the questers were met with Richard’s congeniality, the perfect host and the bonding started in a supportive circle, where hopes, dreams, fears and hurts were confidentially, confidently and compassionately shared.

From that safe place in community, the questers were left to explore, find and prepare their place on the land; the place that would hold them over night whilst they faced their lions and tigers – their personal fears and challenges. Together they fashioned a natural gateway, an exit from the tameness of community and entrance into the wild of the land.

But none of us can leave without ever having arrived. And we can arrive if we have been successful to a great extent. Invariably “moving on” involves letting go, not just letting go of that which “no longer serves us”, but also of the stuff that has served us well, could still serve us well, but keeps us limited from a greater potential, we tend to grow when we are challenged and adopt new ways. In stepping home Dorothy had to leave the comfort of the magic shoes behind – they were only borrowed anyway!

So the questers were invited, led by Sheelagh weaving her magic, to celebrate all they had and achieved with a dance around and with the Fire. As they danced and celebrated and their energy matched the burning coals, they become light and focused; they gathered their intent and walked bare foot across the hot coals! Whooping and cheering, releasing and freeing! They had much to celebrate together! And yet they knew that the silence of the night would come. Dorothy also had to leave Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion behind.

As the coals died, they left quietly and gathered together, in silence, in circle. As the darkness deepened with their breathing, they become reflective. The anticipation grew as one by one, alone they left the circle, walked through their exit and out to the land, to take their place, like Dorothy in the balloon…

Their place, where they sat with themselves and nature listened, reviewed and re-wrote their personal histories. That story is theirs to tell – or not if they choose – how could Dorothy have told anybody her yellow brick journey?
That mattered little whilst just as the light of dawn appeared. A lighter look, a more positive step and they strode back to community, returning through the exit in re-entrance, to be welcomed triumphantly with a song and embrace – Keith made a great auntie Em!

Then from the cold of the night to the warmth of the hearth, the questers found themselves once again in the darkness, but this time bearlike in the community of the sweat lodge. How could they share their story? In the warmth and witness of their clan they could share and tell their story. The Hero returns, healed and stronger!

A brief summary like this cannot do justice to the full gamut of the experience of the team of questers, but all of them reported profound and beautiful experiences, and have made lifelong friends, including with themselves too!

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