The Rhododendron and the Hazelnut

Rhododendron’s love dappled shade and plenty of decomposing organic matter. I’ve wondered many times this year, what in blazes persuaded me to plant a gorgeous sensitive Rhody out into an exposed spot in fierce sunshine? Was it to witness her vulnerability or to perhaps manifest in me a deeper wrestle with nature?

2019, in a hazelnut shell, has teased, promised and withheld; she has danced her dance of 3, using mirrors, seduction and temptation to guide this stubborn old soul into a deeper, more naked surrender. She has gentled my inner Centaur and invited his Chiron wounding to speak. She has asked me to ponder her questions. “Can you be still long enough for the universe to feed you grapes?” “Can you let go of the steering wheel now, sweetheart?”

Tears flow heavy with relief as heart dares to sense what it might be like to put down heavy burdens and be held on this level.

Image: Chiron the tiredness by genkkis @

The prospects of relief and ease trigger my inner masculine, a powerful yet jaded Centaur, to rear up onto his powerful hind legs as he senses the all too familiar inner conflict of wanting to put burdens down yet feeling beholden to an archaic, patriarchal responsibility to provide.

Fear creeps into his dreams to taunt and seduce him until his mind becomes crazy and wanting; until selling out for easy money starts to look attractive.He’s exhausted at the seemingly constant ‘push-drive-strive’ way of being but bows, to once again, feel the shame of a half lived life and his pilgrim soul guides him to the edge of a high precipice.

His muscles ache in resistance but fatigue wins and his fall begins; into the depths of himself, until he lands, stumbling blindly into the nameless dread of darkness where he hears “There’s work to be done” and he builds a fire. He sees me, very still, and I sit.

His fear comes tentatively to meet me down there in the darkness, expecting to be instantly squashed by the part of me that won’t engage. And I sit. I just sit.

Fear speaks and I listen with all my senses. I hear his story fully; his fears break my heart with all they've been holding. Fear wants me to know it too is tired; tired of feeding on itself and remaining hungry, soulless and unsated. Fear inspires my deepest love and compassion to rise as if for a sacrificial soldier; my right hand man who fights the great fight without question but dies a little every day. Humility and honour meet love and compassion and all floods through me. We meet, allow, integrate and balance; none seeking control, just understanding and accepting. We honour our mutual struggle and smile through flowing tears as the purge of separation begins its journey into unity. And we sit.


This year has taught me to be the thing I fear the most. Allowing myself to be held by something greater has allowed exhausted embers to be kindled into a new flame; a Divine Union of sorts. It has been my year of the quiet mystic; of inner alchemy, invisibility and isolation. And this mystic, still shy quiet and guarded, has let go of her need to be seen in the world; let go of her need to be a magnificent Rhododendron, planted for all to see in the front garden. I know I’m already a Rhody in full bloom.

I’ve dared to tune into my song so nakedly that a surprising shift has taken place; my work in the world has deepened and pushed out new roots, much further afield. It’s moved me to a place where the work I do with others transcends anything I could have dreamt of. 

Five years after leaving the corporate world and five years after it came into my life, my contorted hazelnut tree offers up its first significant harvest. Hazelnut has fed bees, ants, spiders and all manner of small things by simply being still, allowing itself to be nature and be affected by nature. Hazelnut trees are sometimes planted around farms to improve soil stability and integrity; they literally hold the ground steady. He holds the ground steady to provide a stable foundation from which I can grow into a Rhody!

Image: The Fool Tarot by hellobaby  

Passivity is teaching me to be a dancer and weaver of silent magic; skirts twirling and wand flicking, it’s the kind of magic that’s only sensed by the soul.

It’s a tricky dance and sometimes I fall over but I stick with it, leaning out, letting go and radically trusting. And as I perfect each delicate step I balance like The Fool on a new precipice.

Masculine and Feminine in union; passive surrender trumps obligation and if it doesn’t feed my soul, I won’t do it.

Big Love 2019 - you were a ride!


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