Back when I first started studying Druidry, many moons ago, I was introduced to the idea of Nemeton space – a magical, sacred energy space surrounding living things, and if your animism stretches that far, inanimate things, too. All kinds of physical presences either have or impact on energy in discernible ways, nothing non-sciency there! Our bodies are full of measurable electrical impulses, many creatures can sense the earth’s electromagnetic fields to use for navigation and so forth. Things have energy, energy can be experienced.
Early on it was a concept I worked with quite a lot, and I drifted away from it. I feel no resonance with Nemetona as a goddess, and while I can busy myself figuring out where the perceptible edges of spaces are, it didn’t seem to be going anywhere for me. This week, in a contemplative Druid session, I had a bit of a revelation, and while I haven’t done much with it as yet, I’m sufficiently enthused to want to write anyway.
Approach a tree, looking for the edge of its nemeton and ask to be allowed to enter. Maybe you’ll get a response and some kind of connection between you and the tree. This is pretty much what I was taught to do. But what is a tree? Roots engaging with soil, and fungi networks that can traverse whole woodlands. Smaller plants around the base. Insects living in the bark and on the leaves, birds coming and going to shelter, feed, nest. Larger mammals visiting the base of the tree, squirrels and perhaps bats in the branches, more birds above. Rain fall, and water moving through soil. A tree is not a distinct and stand alone thing. It is part of a greater whole, as is everything. The tree is within the nemeton of the wood, or the hedge, or the field…
Some nemeton spaces are more stationary than others, although the wind will move plants in and out of each other’s spaces, rocks move, water moves all kinds of things from time to time. We mobile creatures are in constant shifting relationship with other energies and spaces. When I ask the tree if I can enter its space, whose space am I already standing in? And who am I ignoring when I speak to the tree?
I’ve noticed that when I’m open hearted to the world around me, I encounter a lot of it. I’ve blogged about that recently. How I’m doing it, I’ve been uncertain. If we are all in interconnected patterns of energy and overlap, then the knowledge of what is around us might be felt in the body. Wild things are all busy paying attention to each other, by whatever means. Creatures can seem to have an uncanny knowledge of what’s around them – many see, hear and smell far more effectively than we do, but I would bet they also feel more effectively than we do. I have found how to feel first, and apply my senses to checking out what I felt. I’ve got better at using those senses because I’m prompting myself to use them with intent not just see what wafts in.
I’ve never been really excited about the idea of nemeton space before. Circles within circles, though. Threads, loops and chains of connection between all things, all places… that’s an exciting thought. I don’t have to do anything, I am part of this already, but in knowing, in embracing it, I expect there will be change.