The Safety of the Burrow
Mother Earth stands at the foundation of everything we hold sacred and is the first element we will visit in our journey together; it is where all life originates from and is our ultimate home. Working with Mother Earth will help us to get back to our fundamental selves, help us feel our roots, allow us to relax into our bodies, open up to intuition, enable us to return as a child into our mother’s arms and explore the cave of knowing. To return to the Earth means to come back to the place we inhabited naturally and effortlessly as a little child. In this way, we allow ourselves to start to feel our Animal Selves again.
Whether you experience it as a cave, hole, den, sett, lair, haunt, burrow or womb; this is where the work this week will be done. It seems strange to be returning to Earth at the beginning of a new journey but contrary to our desire to get the process going and push on outward, I believe underground is the place that all travellers must start.
It is time to spend gathering our reserves, packing our belongings, taking a good look around us and acknowledging everything we hold dear in our lives before we set forth on our path. We take the time to prepare ourselves fully, rest, incubate, eat and drink and just become aware that WE ARE TRULY SAFE and we can return to earth any time we need to, again and again and again; always able to find home patiently waiting for us.
If we have never before experienced true safety in our lives, nothing can be achieved in the outside world until we have taken the time to burrow down and find true nourishment and protection from within our roots. We go to the place of our ancestors, to breath deeply from their heritage, from the land we live on and from the animals that live, sleep and hibernate underground.
It is no coincidence that some of the most sacred and ancient places in the world can be found deep underground in caves that have been adorned over millennia with ancestors and animals, handprints, symbols, shapes akin to wombs and dots corresponding to the passing of moons and seasons. The journey back to the Mother has been made since the dawn of time and is one that can be truly magical, if we trust ourselves to let go and allow ourselves to be completely enfolded within it.
Entering the Forest
The journey starts as we are walking through the forest on a clear winter night, with snow under our feet and the pinpoints of stars showing through the bare branches above our heads. The forest represents our own psyches and this visualisation will take us deeper and deeper until we find ourselves moving into the Earth herself. Take your time to gather your courage and take a deep breath as we move from the upper world of our everyday lives into the lower realms with our animal guides …
Take some time to find a comfortable place and feel safe in your environment, so that you will not be disturbed or interrupted by anyone or anything. Close your eyes and become aware of the earth holding you in her arms. She is always there for you whenever you need her. Feel the way she supports you and never lets you down.
Slowly relax into your body and be aware of its aliveness, its presence and its connection to all of life. Really feel every pore and every cell in your body vibrating with its own energy and the energy of all of life around you. Take some time with this, there is no need to rush.
Slowly start to move beyond your body into your surroundings by stretching out your mind’s eye like fingers into the environment, feeling into the space around you.
You find yourself in the centre of a deep forest and it is night time. There is snow on the ground in deep crystalline white drifts that bank up against every tree trunk surrounding you. The air is completely still and the sky is completely clear; a deep velvet black. Through the bare branches that stretch over your head you can see the pinpoints of a million stars reaching up into infinity above you. Look around and take your time to absorb everything you see. An owl hoots from a tree above and then another replies to his call. You feel the aliveness of everything around you.
As you look around you notice a hole some distance away. You become aware of it as a deeper shadow within the shadows of the roots under a huge tree, which is standing some way off. Move slowly towards this tree, greet it and thank it for showing you your way back home this bright winter night. Take your time to move towards the hole and as you do you, see it becoming bigger and bigger, enclosing around you.
Gather your reserves of courage and enter the hole. You may find your body becoming smaller in order to fit into it but you know beyond doubt that it is made for you, you know this because you have entered it many times before.
Move down into the tunnel and as you do so, feel yourself becoming engulfed in its earthly warmth. A rich smell fills your nostrils, one of deep loam and the soft odour of animal reaches you. This feels like home. Take your time to explore the walls of the tunnel around you with your hands; you may catch in your mind’s eye, the sparkle of crystals and gems half-hidden amongst the roots that hold the tunnel up.
Then move downwards, slowly and surely, one hand and knee in front of the other. As you move into the Earth, you know that the entrance is now far behind you and another age away.
There are twists and turns in this tunnel but because it moulds to your body so perfectly, you have no problem navigating downwards.
Before long, you are in complete darkness, you feel that the tunnel is opening out into a nest. You move forward slowly but surely with your hands in front of you feeling your way.
Suddenly you touch the soft fur of a sleeping animal, heavy and warm and you know her immediately.
Move forward and run your hand gently along the very tips of her fur and over her sleeping body; take the time to feel the rise and fall of her sides as she breathes deeply and know she is in her winter hibernation. See in your mind’s eye, her snout and damp black nose, see the slight twitching of her face and ears as she dreams. Reach out and touch her tummy and know that her fur is softer than the softest fur you have ever touched before, lean towards her muzzle and know that her breath is more powerful than the most powerful breath you have ever felt on your face before. She is Mother Bear.
Take the time to move right into the crook of her belly, between her front and hind paws and settle yourself down to rest. This is the safest place you have ever known, you have nothing to fear, you have no worries, this is the place your dreams have been leading you back to all your life. Feel the kinship towards this animal, feel her body enclosing you, feel her deep heartbeat, feel her breath rising and falling. She is at complete and utter peace and she is your protectress in this life and the next.
As you move deep into her warmth, tuck your hands between her forepaws and feel her thick neck. She moves to place a paw around you and draws you towards her, holding you tight, shifting in her sleep so that you are not left out on the edge of the den in the cold. Let your breathing become deeper, relax completely and know that everything is just as it should be, and nothing is out of place. She is protecting you, you have nothing to fear, deep underground in the warm den. Drop deeper and deeper down into this safety, let go and know that all is well in the world. If tears start to flow bury your head in her neck and let the tears fall into her fur and dissolve away, for she receives all your sadness and pain unconditionally and here, everything is forgiven, nothing is too much trouble, and you are at one with her and yourself again as you snuggle up closer, feeling her body surrounding you.
Stay here for as long as you like, take your time, let the stars wheel over your head as winter turns on its axis far into the night. Snow will continue to blanket the forest for many months yet; spring is a long time coming. For now, you have all the time you need to rest in safety, secure in the knowledge that your mother is protecting you and nothing can touch you here. Rest, rest rest …
When you are ready to return to the Upper World, you start to move very slowly and pull out from under the Bear; she shifts but does not wake. You creep out of the nest on your hands and knees, moving up into the tunnel slowly and surely. Take your time. Up, up, up you move, seeing the glinting crystals in the walls of the tunnel, finding the oval skylight above you that you know opens to the surface.
As you crawl into the air, adjust your mind’s eye slowly and resurface into the light of a fresh spring morning. Know that everything has changed whilst you were resting, birds are starting to sing and there are bluebells emerging from the soft earth around you, releasing their delicate smell into the pale morning sunshine. You feel stronger, more refreshed and have a new perspective on everything you see and feel around you. You know you will take the experience you had inside Mother Earth forward into your everyday life and never forget that she is always there to welcome you back again when you need further rest.
Thank the old tree that stretches his limbs above you into the sky, vibrant now with fresh green leaf bud and let your Mother, who still sleeps deep underground, know you will be back again soon.
Upon your Return
Drink and eat a little, walk outside or do something involving your hands; washing up, making the bed, writing in your journal etc.
Like the turning cycle of the year and the breathing in and out of the Earth herself, you can return to this meditation again and again; at the end of a long journey or even at the drawing in of each day ~ after you have been abroad, and have finished with your daylight busyness and are ready to return to the safety of the burrow. You can also use this visualisation as an aid to hibernation, if you feel in need of a prolonged period of rest and rejuvenation and just like Bear who returns to Earth in the late autumn to sleep, give birth and suckle her children; so too may you use this time underground to incubate your dreams and visions for your future.
© Louisa Archer 2020