So I bought a one way ticket to the Jaws of Hell. It was quite easy and cheap. Le Gouffre d’Enfer can be reached with minimum fuss via Easy Jet and an hour car drive from Lyon. For those of you who know my predilection for the strange and the perverse this is probably no surprise. Yet I am surprised. I thought I was going to spend the summer tranquilly and alone in the house quietly making hemp oil in my kitchen with a still made out of a baby bottle warmer and a fish tank pump – getting stoned as a last resort health modality – yet last Thursday I duly made my way to Stansted complete with a large tool kit. And an ozone machine. My bag was not light.
The house I will be staying in spooks me. My fur bristles. The valley spooks me. Yet I am being inexplicably drawn to the fresh air and the trees and the dead quiet. Or the undead quiet. An informed decision to face my fears – the fear of the unseen, the inexplicable, yet the energetically palpable. I ritually space cleansed the house whilst I was here two weeks ago, and felt compelled to offer to trade staying here in August for house cleaning and space clearing. The person whose large mountainside house it is, is a very dear old friend whose adored and adorable teenage son died of Leukemia 2 years ago. His sons attic bedroom has remained untouched for 2 years.
Part of me was wondering whether have been called here to be simply be of service yet the other part can’t help but wonder whether I am here to to let something die, to let go of something that no longer serves me – whether that is my identity or my stubborn adherence to being stubborn. Maybe my body just needs to shed the concrete mantle of city dwelling, with its accompanying psychic numbness to natural forces – a numbness I feel very safe and comfortable with thank-you very much.
Out of the hutch and into the wilds.
The imagination is a curious thing. We think nothing of allowing it to control us by fear, and are wary of its power – of how quickly a thought can spiral into a full blown imagined scenario of doom or catastrophe. We spend countless hours numbing it with um catastrophic narratives of tv plotlines, real or fictional, or hypnotic idiotic gaming on our phones or computers rather than face that power, yet the silence and dramatic landscape of where I am staying leads me face to face with my own dread and unbridled creative imaginings. And I don’t even watch horror films. Lizards and mice nestling and scuttling in the attic eaves become Beelzebubs’ messengers. Windows randomly creaking open in the night become the work of unmentionables. A door slamming in the wind has the affect of spooking me like a race horse into full pelt. Undignified to say the least. Yet this is what Western culture has created, both a denial of the existence of, and paradoxically and for good measure an abject fear, of the mystery, of the otherworldly and other dimensional, and the power of the imagination.
So I decided to face my fears and try and co-exist with things I can feel but not explain, some-how recognising that where there is fear there is power. I talked to the house spirits in a near constant dialogue that we just have to accept each other and co-exist and no amount of weird happenings is gonna spook me. For a tamed and dulled GP townie like me the energy of the earth in this place is so intense and wild and connecting to it is so visceral yet scary it feels easier to turn tail with a large squeek back to London to chew grass in my domestic patch of caged hutch. I remind myself that denying all that can’t be seen and measured by the all seeing human empirical eye is how we sever the threads to multidimensional temporality and the creative limitlessness potential that the human has. And when we sever the ties to Earth and its attendant nature spirits by simply not connecting, or not believing that we can connect (or being too scared to connect) – that that is a load of wishy washy hippy trippy tree hugging poppycock – we also sever our ties to our ancestral wisdoms. My body knows this and is being fed and watered by the air and the trees and the unseen, and all I can do is respect this. I ponder that all this held Earth wisdom is waiting for us to reconnect with it, and is part of a shift that needs to happen from those of us sidestepping colonial systems of power over and control and yes, healing from cancer. Our imagination has the strongest potential to become a resolute ally in the pursuit of health when we accept the unseen without fearing it.