Nature connection is one of the cornerstones of earth spirituality and is a topic Nicola and I return to again and again at The Way of The Buzzard. As we recognise the unity between all that is we cannot help but see how spirituality, nature and creativity fit so perfectly together.
Those of you who've heard my story, recounted at many of our online events over the past two or three years, may recall how I struggled with a speech impediment for much of my younger life and how I could talk only to animals and plants.
Even as a young boy I yearned to speak to family friends of the wild places I roamed, places I knew they hadn't experienced. So my love for photography was born. With my trusty collie dog by my side, an old camera around my neck I could venture through the local countryside capturing visual stories that I would then load into a Kodak projector and impose on anyone who cared to visit our family home.
That need still stirs in me. Perhaps from being cultivated so early in my life, the desire to share images and stories is a large part of who I am. In fact I spent practically all of my working life catching photos out in wild places and sharing them with many thousands of magazine readers through my articles on nature and creativity.
Photography became my voice
Photography and writing had become my voice out into the world and, despite attempts to silence me, I managed to maintain that thread of connection. At secondary school the English teachers would moan to my parents that I only ever wrote pieces about animals and nature, never about people, and I must change this. The religion I was brought up in, and my parents, ruled that I couldn't go to college to learn film making - a childhood dream of mine. So I just did what I could to keep the flame of creativity burning.
In particular I enjoyed the occasional immersive magazine commission where an editor or art director would give me an open brief to go deep on a particular topic, research it, find new angles, create hundreds of photos and a wide ranging story to engage their readership. Such opportunities were rare but fanned my desire to tell an engaging tale.
Fast forward to the present day and I'm finding ways to take the smouldering embers of youthful dreams and create bonfires of beauty. The Way of The Buzzard has become my voice, alongside Nicola's, and more recently my Earthlight project has begun to emerge. I've had countless dreams and journeys during which my guides tell me, repeatedly, to go out and gather the stories and bring them back to share. That's what I'm for.
Overcoming old patterns
Yet, again and again, I stutter in my attempts to do this. Old patterns have blocked me, duty and responsibility build in my path and I choose to do other than what my guides advise. Yet they don't abandon me, again and again they remind me through dreams, journeys and nature encounters. Reminding me what I'm for. Now is the time to grasp this mission with both hands.
Turning my back on publishers and their money driven agendas I began to create just for myself and our communities and am now exploring the concept of art as communion rather than just communication. Communion being the 'sharing of intimate thoughts on a spiritual level'. I ask myself how I can give back to the land in return for the images and stories the land gives me. Hence the strapline for my Earthlight project 'for the love of the land', a phrase I often include in the films I make.
Following more direction from my guides I set a firm intention early in the year, during ceremony, to step up properly to my creative vocation and the way has now cleared for me. Between then and now my life has been traumatic and difficult as my father fell ill and passed away. But now there's a care plan in place for my ageing mum and my brother who has particular support needs and I'm freer than I've ever been in my life. So, for the love of the land, Earthlight is being tended and nurtured.
Those of you who have been to our online events over the past years may remember the Earthlight films that I created for each Sabbat. Here's the very first one created for Samhain 2020. The comments I got in response to those films have spurred me on and carried my dream aloft through the challenging times. Now it's time for my passion project to come to the fore and of course I want to take you along for the ride.
'For the Love of the Land' free online event
On the evening of the next full moon, Thursday the 8th of December, Nicola and I are holding a very special free nature connection event - 'For the love of the land'.
There will be film, stories, photos and more as I introduce the next phase of Earthlight. I'm also going to tell the tale of a particularly moving, life changing, Raven encounter deep in the mountains of Glen Etive. Save the date! I do hope you can join us.
You'll be able to register your interest on Monday the 28th of November and look forward to enjoying an evening of deep nature connection, the wild twin of earth spirituality.