Wisdom Wanders support you to attune to elemental wisdom, articulate the questions that are most important to ask right now, and, within Walking the Ways of the Summer Light, offer a seasonal practice to tend your soul. You can, of course, wisdom wander at any time of year. Also the practice can be modified to be a Big Sit where you don’t move your body, but let your eyes and senses wander.
There are no rules for a Wisdom Wander, but this flow is offered as a jumping off point for your own designs. But remember to follow where ever your senses lead you.
Selecting Your Place: You don’t have to go anywhere special for a Wisdom Wander. Your backyard might provide all the wonder you need. But to vary your views, you might seek out places that put you in touch the weekly elemental focus. A place where you can touch bare ground or stone for Earth. A hill or mountain top to feel the Air and be close to birds, and a windy urban avenue could do the same. If you can, traveling to a large body of water or the ocean for a Water Wisdom Wander would be appropriate, or just wander on a rainy day. The Fire week of the Walking the Ways e-treat comes during the period of longest days so anywhere on a sunny day will do, or build a bonfire to contemplate its flame.
Separating From the Everyday: You may want to enact a small ritual of leaving behind all your responsibilities, worries, and cares. You could visualize putting them into a box. If any critical voices start to speak, just assure them you’ll be back; you are only going for a walk. Can you leave your cell behind? Or at least put it into airplane mode.
Travel Light But Bring What You Need: Remember to take care of you body: water? sun screen? good shoes?. Remember any ritual or creativity needs: tiny notebook and pen? drawing materials? camera? Cards from a Tarot or oracle deck are excellent companions that we work with in Walking the Ways. Bring it all on one Wander. Bring nothing on another.
Set an Intention: An overall intention of the Walking the Ways Wisdom Wanders is to seek out and be open to the questions that speak to our souls. One of those questions collected will focus the more directed pilgrimage journey that is part of the final week of Walking the Ways. You may have a personal intention for your wander.
Invite / Select / Welcome your Way Showers / Inquisitors / Guides for the Day’s Wandering: Because the language of nature and the elements is not immediately apparent to us humans, we can ask for help from the Tarot or oracles – or if you know more about natural processes, those observations can you learn more about Tarot or oracles. You may have a relationship with a wisdom figure(s) represented on a Tarot or oracle card and want to select it. You may let who ever needs to come emerge from a face-down draw. Spend some time meeting the one(s) who emerge to travel with you. I often work with 4 or so guides / cards in a wander.
- Be open to whatever draws your attention and spend time there. Pause. Look. Listen.
- If you would like to engage with an area or a plant, greet it, ask its permission to approach and receive its response. If allowed to approach, do so respectfully; engage your sense to receive the messages and questions offered.
- You might select one of your guides – by chance or choice – to come and be with you in the places of pause and contemplation. Consider how the place and the guide fit together.
- When you have finished, don’t forget to offer gratitude before you move on. You might leave a strand of your hair as a gift. Or perhaps you have planned ahead and brought a small natural object to leave as a sign of gratitude.
Be Open to Creative Urges: The earth is busy creating in cooperation with the summer sun. How might you mimic this creativity to learn its magic? Bring out your notebook or artists tools. Gather loose elements of the earth (rocks, fallen petals, twigs, feathers) and arrange them purposefully. Your guides might like to be placed within your creation. You might want to document with a photo that becomes your memento… and then let all the elements return to lie on the earth as they were. Leave No Trace is a good ethic to follow.
Return: Notice when and where you are passing from your place of wandering into the more human world. You might pause, offer some gratitude, or say a prayer at this point.
Reflect: You may want to just sit or to journal or draw. Let the experience seep into you. Let some insights emerge. Connect with your guide; have a chat about what you experienced together.
Gathering Questions: While on the Wander or just afterward, you might just blurt out or free writing all the questions that surface. Spend some time with your guides listening with your imagination to the questions they would ask you if they could speak aloud. Contemplate your memento as if it were a Tarot card and let it offering you questions. Sometime later in the week, you might want to hone and shift through your questions. This can be like the process of creating questions to take to a Tarot reading. Here are the prompts I send to people ahead of my Tarot consultations to get their questions percolating:
- Questions that yield the most freedom and possibility most often include HOW and WHAT. For example: How can I ….? How have I ….? In what ways ….? What do I most need to pay attention to now? What will support me to …?
- Questions that can be fruitful in specific circumstances often include WHY, WHERE, and WHO. For example: Where in my life have I ….? Who can best support me in doing …? Who is challenging me ….? [Be open to the answer not being a human that you know!] Why am I really doing this (i.e. what is underneath the surface)?
- WHICH limits you to particular options already determined. If you are still in an early stage of decision making, it is probably too early for a WHICH question. If you have been working seeking an answer for a long time and feel clear that a decision rests between a set number of options, then WHICH may be fruitful.
- YES / NO questions are not generative. But if you are burnt out on generating ideas and are ready to trust the message that comes through the cards, this just might be the kind of question that you need.
Cultivate Patience: Each Wisdom Wander is an invitation to step out of the demands of time, and the whole flow toward the Solstice extends an invitation to be free of knowing the answers but instead opening to the questions. The words of the poet Rilke cheer us in this work:
Be patient toward all that is unsolved
in your heart and try to love the questions themselves
like locked rooms and like books that are written
in a very foreign tongue.
Acknowledgements: This process is most directly influenced by my work with Joanna Powell Colbert and her Gaian and Herbcrafter Tarots, and Mellissae Lucia and her Oracle of Initiation James Wells’ wisdom on question generation inspired the question asking prompts. All my work is influenced by Rachel Pollack and her Shining Tribe is a great deck to wander with.
Registration for the 2021 e-retreat of Walking the Ways of the Summer Light is now open. We begin with an orientation call on Sunday, May 23rd that is open to all; all details are on the registration page.