Nature never betrays the heart of those who love her.

June 10, 2024
Jason
26 Comments

The message was clear. I must continue to catch the stories that the land offers in the very best ways I can, and then share them with whoever will listen.

Raven told me to do it! As I write these words, sat in the van on a local beach, two Crows are chatting to each other not ten feet from me.

Beyond a grassy foreshore the tide is beginning to trickle in and will soon consume the mudflats that stretch over to Grange and Humphrey Head on the far side of Morecambe Bay. A quilt of building clouds trammel over the blue sky, casting ribbons of shadow which occasionally mask the metallic sheen of my companions’ plumage.

Crow Reminders

Crows forever remind me of my commission, assigned by my guides, underlined by the Fae and constantly brought back to my awareness by the nature around me should my resolve slip, as it often does.

The words of this piece wouldn’t come easily if I were cocooned in our home, despite how welcoming that space is. I need to be out here, rain or shine, energised or listless. This is where the words form. My job is merely to catch them, and the pictures, sounds, stories and films of course.

To be quite honest this is nothing new to me, it’s has been a part of my life since boyhood. Way back when, as a pre-teen, I used to wander the tracks and pathways of Anglezarke with my Collie dog Fleet, or my Donkey Herbert or Maggie the Magpie. I needed to catch and share the stories. Something about the land and the nature that shared it with me caused this desire to well up inside and drive me to talk about it.

A Visual Language

I talked about it through photos, not verbally of course as I had a severe stutter and hence no words. I would bore friends and family silly with slideshows of moths, dragonflies, oak trees, sunsets and the like, wanting them to feel a little of the falling in love that was claiming me.

Despite the stammer I could speak with nature. A particular Ash tree and a Friesian I named Daisy listened most intently to my ramblings. I enjoyed the feeling of freedom in my throat as the words flowed, only for them to catch once again whenever I thought a Human was in earshot. Nature replied too, but in the universal language, not my mother tongue.

As I ventured into my teens, parental pressure and my need to please required me to stop talking to animals, plants and the land. ‘It’s the Divel’s work’ my mum would say. So I was silenced, my connection severed. Or so I thought…

Turning my Back on Nature

As the decades rolled on I occasionally had a sense of how things once were for me, a body feeling that reminded me what I’d once known to be the way it was. Over and over I rejected these promptings from nature and carried on pursuing a way of life that had become unfulfilling, inauthentic.

The spiritual path that I’d followed my family along was now drawing me even further away from my life vocation. I’d had to let go of my childhood dream of being a nature film maker, being admonished by the congregation elders to focus my time on evangelising to best ensure my future survival of the ever imminent god’s war against unrighteousness.

But nature still wasn’t finished with me. Deep in the countryside one sunny afternoon as I was taking photos on the muddy banks of a pond I slipped on the grass and a spike of Rush pierced my ear as I fell, driving it’s way deep into my head, stealing my sense of balance, my clarity of hearing and any chance of future silence.

The hospital consultant said it was a one in a billion freak accident. My future shamanic teacher told me it was nature calling me back, my initiation. My damaged hearing reacted badly to the sound system used at the Kingdom Hall meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses, and I could no longer attend. Nature had given me my key. I grabbed hold of it and released the locks that bound me, stepping back into a life of nature connection and spirit guides.

William Wordsworth 

William Wordsworth who’s work is due to influence my upcoming Summer Solstice film, mused ‘Nature never did betray the heart that loved her’. I betrayed her, I forgot her, I ignored her, I called her evil, I turned my back on her. But she held on, she watched, she waited, she forgave and when the time was right she claimed me back.

Although I shall bear the scars of that life-changing accident for the rest of my time I am eternally thankful for the call home. Now, many years on, I once again see the magic of the land as Mother Nature shares her beauty. I catch her words on the wind and hear her whispers on the ripple of the tide. Once again I can step up to my vocation, my spirit commission to tell these tales, to encourage a deeper falling in love with the land and to share the beauty of our shared place on this amazing planet.

A Dream being Realised

I’m even able to create short films thereby realised my childhood dream. Earthlight has become the vehicle for these, and the Mystery School is where Nicola and I share the very shamanic toolkit that we use to continually deepen our knowings as we strive to walk authentically in the footsteps of our long ago ancestors. Refreshingly, this path is not exclusive, you can walk it too, weaving the steps of your life with the nature of your land.

If you'd like to walk this path alongside us for a while we're opening the doors to the Mystery School for a few days. Here's a link to a free gathering where we talk about our offering and community.

About the Author

Jason

Jason has been a visual storyteller all of his life and follows an animistic, shamanic path from his ancestral lands of Anglezarke on the edge of the West Pennine Moors.
Formerly a professional photographer and film maker he now uses his art to help others fall in love with the land that little bit more.

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  1. Wow, I so love feeling the passion behind your words. You take me back to when I was a child and nature was my haven for as long as I could stay with her.
    Thank you.

  2. Jason , that's such a powerful piece of writing. I cried my eyes out reading it. Heavy sobs rose from my heart. I hear Nature's call too. Like you I have had my struggles with staying on my path, sharing the beauty of this magnificent planet we call home, through my art and writing. Similar societal pressures took me away from Her, but she keeps calling me back. Nature has been my true love, my solace in difficult times and my utter joy . Thank you for sharing from your heart, it is so inspiring and thank you too for reminding me and I am sure many others too, that nature's call is real, she does communicate with us , when we have the heart to listen.

    1. Thank you for this Aisling. It is so good to realise that Nature never turns her back on us and the words of William Wordsworth ring so true for me. It’s great to hear your story too, thank you for sharing this.

  3. A beautiful story Jason.

    The universe works in mysterious ways to bring us back home. Thank you forcsharing

  4. I love hearing this story Jason and the way you have with words to tell a story. I love hearing your insights, thank you for sharing your gift with us. Xx

  5. Beautiful soul bearing words of inspiration. I read this story sat in my garden which backs onto a valley in Lancashire/ Yorkshire border. Around me at the time were the twittering of different birds but one thing that stood out to me that we can loosely say a green valley.However reading your words brought into focus how many greens there are and the different shades means different stages of life for the greens. I felt interconnected with my own stages of life on this earth. Grounding and reconnecting with nature is wonderful and and as the song goes " Love is all around " thank you for nudge as a reminder to reconnect.

  6. It is very evident that you are on the path you are meant to be Jason. What a heart warming and challenging story. May we all find the peace, joy, excitement and knowkedge that we too are where we were meant to be.
    Thankyou

    1. I think I’m finally settling into my path Linda. 🙂 It can take a while can’t it. Thank you for your comment.

  7. Jason’s story is so powerful and is a stark reminder that being in and being with nature is the road to feel whole and complete. We are of nature and will inevitably suffer in some ways if we do not or cannot engage. Thank you Jason.

  8. Thank you for sharing this, such an interesting and poetic piece.

    For a few months I've been less focused on Mystery School and being outdoors as I've moved house and been busy with sorting stuff. I began my coursework again last week with Finding Time for Spiritual Practice which seemed apt. Having completed a journey to kestrel I then set aside some time on our camping weekend to myself and while out wildflower spotting there was a kestrel hovering above. He returned again in the evening and hovered around the camper for a wee while. I took this as a sign – welcome back, keep learning, make time for the outdoors. You will feel better for it. And I really did. Thank you both for always sharing such inspiring resources, teachings, words and imagery that help us to connect to the earth path.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Sarah. Sometimes we need to slow down and have a pause don’t we. I think it gives our learnings and experiences time to solidify and inform our next steps. How lovely to have the affirmation from Kestrel too.

  9. That was lovely Jason. You are privileged indeed. To be in touch with Nature as you are.Sadly, as many who go about their daily lives all this escapes them. Wouldn’t it be a better world if all humans could just open their minds, pause and connect……….
    You are doing an amazing job both you and Nicola. Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much Stephanie, your words are heartwarming. Yes it would be a far better world wouldn’t it, and nature is there awaiting us.

  10. Nature too has called me home on so many ways, not least in being able to reclaim the genetic and spiritual legacy of my ancestors in this human body.

    After a childhood when I had become estranged from aspects of my body, I have lately opened out into animism, and feel more at one with this mysterious, magical Mother Earth.

    I'm really looking forward to rejoining The Mystery School of The Way of the Buzzard, as soon as the doors open again.

    Today on the seashore, Wagtail, Crow and Ringed Plover were calling to me, and by the Burn, my friend Song Thrush shared his liquid, reassuring Voice.

    I am so glad that you re-found your Voice, Jason. You have helped me – and many others – to find our own song on this Earth.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here Kathy. I’m glad you find my words of help, and we look forward to welcoming you back to the Mystery School community in a few days.

  11. Jason, you are an exceptionally talented man, both in photographic terms and in your use of such poetic language! How wonderful to feel such an affinity with the natural world, and to be able to share your insights with the rest of us! I admire the way you have overcome your stammer such that you are able to so fluently give your descriptive talks. My stammer has stubbornly remained with me since childhood despite several attempts at speech therapy, hypnosis etc. My method of communication is partly through music, although I have used speech in my work all my life (until I retired) You are able to see and describe what us normal mortals overlook! Many thanks, and long may good health allow your work to continue.

    1. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words David, I really appreciate it. It saddens me to hear of your ongoing struggles with your stammer, I know how extremely debilitating it is. As a teen I went through speech therapy to no effect and it was really only in my thirties that I began to gain some mastery over my voice. It’s difficult to pinpoint what helped me overcome it, but I knew I had work to do and called on all my strength to push my boundaries. Oddly, it was only after I lost a large part of my hearing in the pondside accident that I became more able to speak!
      As a youngster, and right through into my young adult life I was forced to go door knocking every weekend with the jws and then endure the taunts and scorn of householders when I couldn’t speak. But when I was talking about nature, creativity and, later, shamanic connection I was somehow supported. The stammer will still raise it’s head sometimes but we have come to terms with each other.

  12. Thank you so much Jason for such a wonderful thought provoking piece. I enjoyed it immensely and am ever grateful for your insights which resonate with me so much . 😍❤️

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