Mole Matters

January 12, 2016
Common Mole in mole hill, Talpa eauropaea
Common Mole in mole hill, Talpa eauropaea

The mole is one of the few mammals who decided to move almost entirely into the earth. Highly appropriate that it came to me in a journey last night as we are working with the element of Earth at this time of winter.

What was really apparent to me in the journey was the number of earthworms wriggling around in moles path as he burrowed his way through the soil. When we enter the darkness, and push our way through dense matter trying to find our way, it’s a lovely reminder that there is nourishment for us as we go. When mole looks back at his work, he has created a network of pathways to sustain himself. Pushing through matter to make a path which brings him life long benefit. So on his merry way he will push what he no longer needs up into the light.

In our work with The Way of the Buzzard there is a common theme which is coming up, which is peoples despair with all the horror in the world. It can bring us immense grief, as we hold both the grief in our own lives, and the grief of humanity as it struggles to find a way to exist in harmony with each other, all of life on Earth, and the Earth herself.

For me, the shamanic path has been my way of learning to live with this grief, to find nourishment in my life and a real sense of joy and gratitude for being alive during these extraordinary times. I have not always felt this way. Working in corporate sustainability for fifteen years I often felt I was on the front line, watching the actions of these big organisations take from the Earth that I loved so much, and seeing how little many people cared in the process. Not all people mind, but many, as of course the most important thing for corporations is to make as much money as possible and maintain business as usual, whatever the cost.

A little piece of me would die inside with every conversation where I had to talk about the business case for sustainability, and show empathy and understanding with tactful questioning when boardroom directors just wanted to talk about the carrier bag tax and double sided printing. Or when I had to take a deep breath and answer the repeated question ‘but climate change isn’t really happening is it’. It brought me to the edge of a breakdown as I felt it was my own personal mission to change the unchangeable, but through that crisis a great change came about in my life.

It took several years, but when I look back I am grateful for that crisis, and for the life that I have lived as I have deepened into my Earth based spiritual path. If the crisis hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be the person I am now, and I wouldn’t be doing what I do now, that I am certain of. Of course, when in the depths of the transitional process from releasing myself from the old structures and moving into co-creating something new, I was not in a good place. It’s very easy to say these things now with hindsight, but when I was in the depths of my despair just getting to the end of the day felt like a personal triumph.

But who said that our lives were going to be plain sailing all the way through from the day we were born to the day we die? Our challenge is to find a way of living with our own grief, and the grief of the world, where we wake up each day feeling good about life. This isn’t about hiding from the sadness of the world. This is about stepping forward and finding our place in creating something far more beautiful, and it starts from within. To be brave enough to look within, for me, I needed to be surrounded by supportive people who were also exploring what it means to be human again, and whom I could reach out to whenever I needed to.

Einsten said ‘look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better’. This is the key to finding our way whilst burrowing through the darkness. Nature is our healer, and through our work with The Way of the Buzzard, we hope to help others find the healing that both Jason and I have found over the years.


A sketch of my Mole journey yesterday evening (don’t laugh! well you can if you like!) 

About the Author


Nicola Smalley is an edge-dweller, shamanic practitioner and writer living in Anglezarke on the edge of the West Pennine Moors in Lancashire, England.
Following a career in corporate sustainability, she now runs The Way of the Buzzard with her husband Jason. Her passion is anything connected to nature and the mysteries of the Earth.

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  1. This all resonates with me so deeply at the moment, very unlike me to be down in anyway but the last few months of wars and floods (felt like the earth was crying) and the County Council axing libraries, Alston Hall College and the Countryside Service have been dreadful. All the stuff on fracking and then it culminated with the government putting the squeeze on Landfill Tax so my job may go next year so has felt like the life was being squashed out of me and a bit like a mole burrowing away in the dark. I felt compelled to reconnect with my life and spirit through drumming circle on Monday and it really helped balance me and hopefully I am back on track to be positive about the good things in our world, abundance and joy and love. Thanks Nicola x

    1. Thank you for sharing this Anne. From my own experience part of it is learning to cope with the ups and the downs that we feel about things that are out of our direct control. What a shame they might axe the Landfill Tax fund. I remember that coming out in the early 2000’s and so many positive things have come from it. I am glad that drumming circle on Monday helped you 🙂 x

  2. Thanks Nicola, you have perfectly articulated the crisis I seem to be in at the moment! Looking forward to doing much more work with you this year. Thanks for the hope and the magical experiences in journeying xx

    1. Thank you for your message Louise, that’s lovely to hear that you enjoyed the blog and it was helpful for you. Yes, I shall look forward to our year together too – I am really excited about what this year will bring us all 🙂 xx

  3. Hi Nicola.
    Thanks for that, I adore moles. Funnily enough my escapism from the cold and darkness has been to embrace the comfort and womb like safety underground.
    I have been having enormous fun with my wonderful new Moley Mates from the Derbyshire Caving Club. We had an amazing solstice healing session in the mines under magical Alderley Edge. I was lucky enough to be invited to a gathering at The Yard in Alderley Village yesterday.
    We got talking about moles, and shared stories and experiences , so it was with great delight to discover your message, thankyou.
    Hope to see you again soon, much love. Tina xxx

    1. Thank you Tina for sharing your adventures with Mole too 🙂 – its lovely to hear these and we hope to see you again soon too, with much love Nicola xxx

  4. This was lovely and it resonated with me completely, thank you for sharing. Love the drawing that came with it 🙂

    I want to come to the retreat 8-10th April in Roeburndale, but I won’t know for sure if I can come until about mid February. It was incredibly useful the last time I came and now more than ever I need guidance. Small groups work best for me at the moment and I look forward to bond with the others at the retreat if I can make it.

    1. Hello Enza 🙂 thank you so much for your feedback on my blog, and my mole drawing!! That is no problem – you can let us know mid February if you are able to come along to Spring into Life. Have you seen our other retreat Ignite the Spark in a few weeks time? That is also at Roeburndale and it might resonate with you too.

  5. Thank you for sharing in that dark place right now and yes want to burrow away add heal. Knowing that it’s ok to do so helps so much.

  6. Thank you for sharing such a beautifully written article . Very timely too as I feel I have gone into rest mode at the moment. I have so many unfinished projects I seem like my body and mind has switched off from much around me . I dont feel depressed just almost like a recallivration and rest period .I decoded to go with it as I know I will pick back up my loves and hobbies when this time has passed and my energy calls me back . Hope this makes sense .

    Much love and blessings

    Julie xx

    1. It does Julie. I think it is really good just to stop and rest when your body asks for this. I have done something similar recently, and I think its necessary to fully recover and reboot. Happy recalibrating 🙂

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