The Shape of Place in Me

I often dream of wild untouched places & epic landscapes at night- without any story or content necessarily… Just wandering through these powerful places, soaking them in. Many of these places are familiar to me though I might not know them in waking life & some of them are places I have been returning to in my dreams since I was a child.

The Mishana National Park in the Amazon Jungle of Peru- where I lived for 4years.

The visionary plant medicines also frequently speak to me through Place… Like vast planes, littered with horses and snowcapped mountains, expansive prehistoric forests or wide open savannahs full of wildlife… I often experience myself flying over an untouched world, filled with deep-wild-ancient vitality.

In Imaginal journeys, I can walk nearly every inch of the little farm that I grew up on, land that raised me like I was its own little seed & that has left its imprint on me forever. I knew back then that I loved the land, & that the land loved me back and I feel myself to be a child of that land in many ways.

Magalies, the South African bush- near to where I was raised.

Over time I have come to see that though we live in a Place, these Places come to live in us also.

I see how my soul & the soul of a Place dance with each other & can, over time, form a bond & shape one another.

I have been grieving the Place of my childhood for a long time, and more recently, for the forest where I lived in Peru. Both are Places I have loved deeply & have felt loved & shaped by in return…
I’m still learning the shape of this new Place I’m now in- and often find myself longing for the Place that is etched in my bones, the Place I still call home.

It’s a strange thing to try communicate this though, the love of a Place & the pain of separation from it- especially in a colonial culture where most of us have lost our roots to Place and do not benefit from long generations of time rooted in one Place.

The land I was born to… The South African bush

I have been thinking about indigenous cultures who have been very long in a Place (in the case of some aboriginal Australians, we are talking up to 2500 generations or more) and are so deeply bonded to it, that their whole life expresses the shape of that relationship – the Place flows through their language & culture but is also expressed through their bodies.
This was definitely the case for the Shipibo with whom I studied with for some years- they say the plants gave them their language & it truly felt that way to me. Their beingness expresses the energy of the jungle in many many ways, I could even say, they ARE the jungle in the form of people.

I can only begin to imagine the devastation and deep trauma to the Soul that forced dislocation brings to a people so deeply connected to Place… It makes me so heartsick to even think about it. And now our world is suffering from being over-populated by a people who have forgotten how to belong to Place and the responsibility that comes with that belonging.

I can see how when we care for and tend to Place, we are caring for our own wider bodies and deep soul. I believe this is something we all remember deep down, and this is something we must all remember again now- this Earth is asking us to remember how to belong to Place and stand in defence of our wider bodies and Soul.