Park Wood - the centre of everything

by Jenny Chapman Summerlands

Park Wood - the centre of everything

It was a cold, damp morning as I set off to meet Jenny and David beneath the tall trees at Butleigh church, and my heart felt instantly warmed by their company. The previous days had been intense emotionally and I was aware of disharmony in my body, particularly my stomach. I put this aside as we ambled through the village talking about the local history and our own history and ancestral roots, before reaching the first gate that would take us off-road, towards the ancient site of Park Wood, the centre of the Glastonbury Zodiac. Making our offering and knocking on the gate, we waited a moment before entering, dropping in to that sacred space within, and then sloshed through the puddles and mud until we approached the periphery of the woods. We stood and listened to the quiet murmuring of the leaves as a gentle wind beckoned us to enter.

We shortly reached an unusual grove of three yew trees. Directly in the centre is an oak tree that stands tall and straight, seeming to gather the energy of the surroundings yews and direct it above and below in a powerful vortex. After offering herbs to each of the trees, I nestled in to one of the wrinkly yews and instantly became acutely aware of the discomfort in my stomach. A rigid, hollow ache and holding of air, churning and pulling at my insides. I shuffled around the tree to try and anchor down through the roots, but noticed with each in-breath there was a rasping in my belly, almost like a wheeze. I became a little concerned, with the intensity of it and strangeness of the sensations, and wanted to ask one of the others for their insight.

Within seconds, having been in silence apart from one another, David calls across to me and asks ‘What’s happening in your stomach?’. I was relieved and intrigued! When I described what was happening, he suggests I spend some time with the oak tree in the centre. As I approached it I felt quite tearful, and then as I embraced it with both arms, felt a tear roll down my cheek. I felt held and seen – in a way a mother tends to her poorly child. My belly against it, I opened up my heart, breathed down deep and imagined my feet merging with the earth and roots beneath. There was instantly some release, a softening in my stomach and some flashes of insight around what the feelings were related to. With that understanding the fear dissolved and I felt immense gratitude – for the way our bodies convey messages to us, the way they heal, and for the power of the natural world to restore balance and vitality and offer a sense of perspective as well as belonging.

Giving my thanks to the oak and offering prayers for the spirits that dwell in that place, I turned to see Jenny and David with that magical, knowing twinkle in their eyes. David then suggested some specific herbs and remedies that would help and gave other reflections that were immensely helpful to deepening my understanding.

I felt a new sense of resource on a physical and energetic level.  Although my stomach took a while to settle, I found the experience enabled me to contextualise what was going on, and sink in to it, accept it and allow it, instead of contracting around it more. The herbs have also been essential and kept that thread to the plant realms, to the earth, which is where our deepest healing is done.

Isla - Somerset, UK