This is a story about magic. This is not a story about potions or spells or rituals (though I can’t swear that Heather and I didn’t fall under some sort of spell during our time together in the woods), but I can say with 100% confidence that Heather and I entered some sort of naturally induced alternative reality during her Spirit and Bone session, which is basically what magic is: a change in our perception of reality.
Heather is not from my area. She’s not even from my state. She was traveling from the New York Faerie Fest and knew she wanted to participate in this project, so she contacted me. She said something told her that we needed to work together. After meeting with her, I have no doubt that we were supposed to meet.
I was particularly excited about this session because it took place at my favorite nature place that has been so healing for me: Wesley Nature Preserve. My hometown was only a half hour or so off Heather’s course on her way home, so doing the session there worked out effortlessly.
I instantly sensed Heather’s connection with nature. She’d spent the weekend camping at the Faerie Festival in pouring-down-not-summer-like-rain, and showed up carrying the energy of the festival with her. I knew that this was a woman who felt at home in the woods.
The moment we entered the forest a hawk came swooping down and landed on a tree stump not far from where we stood. She just laughed, saying hawks always show up for her. It made me smile because I always see hawk as the messenger from the Spirit World. I know to pay attention.
Not too far along the trail, we found a cairn. Of course, she immediately found a rock with a heart in it. All good signs and good indications of the work that was to be done: heart-healing work.
We could have spent 3 hours or 30 years in the woods and wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. As I shot, I remember totally suspending everything I knew about photography, just being completely in awe of Heather’s honesty and willingness to be vulnerable and open. She was ready to do some work. I’m not sure she knew exactly what that work was, but she was weaving magic with every word and every step she took.
I watched her bond with certain trees, stop mid-step just to reach down and touch the Earth for no other reason than it seemed that a particular rock or clump of dirt seemed to call to her. I watched her move with ease and grace through the forest and hula-hoop like she was spinning circles of liberation and manifestation all at the same time. She was absolutely beautiful to me — an enchantress weaving her story in her own authentic way.
There was a certain way that we were both tending to the present moment that words fail to describe. But this keeps happening to me lately; I keep experiencing moments that are clearly connected to a layer of reality that is deeper than surface-level reality. I think that’s why it’s taken me so long to write about our time together. It’s hard to find words!
One particular moment stands out the most though — this was where my own perception of reality was challenged and shifted. When Heather and I walked down into the gully, she froze. She told me that she knew she had been to this particular place before, but not in ordinary reality — she had dreamt of this place years ago in a dream that she has never forgotten.
I couldn’t even comprehend what she was saying in the moment. Most of my photos from the gully didn’t come out. I remember being frustrated with my camera, like it wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. Later, when we returned to the pond, I consciously got it. I mean — what was going on? Here was this woman who I had never met before, who had dreamt of this place she had never been to where I had decided to take her to do a project that was all about connecting to the Divine Feminine, her inner Wild Woman, her Knowing.
She was able to describe the gully we were standing in, reached out to certain rocks that had been there for years and years like she was becoming reacquainted with them, like she knew who they were and that they knew her, too. There we were, in that moment, connecting beyond the present moment to layers that neither of us could have predicted or seen coming. Fucking powerful stuff!
Post session, we connected some more. We learned that we both felt deeply connected to our grandmothers (I called mine Oma) who both nurtured our connections with nature. Both were of German descent. Both Heather and I were in similar places in our processes: no longer judging our emotions, we were both allowing ourselves to feel and release really old stuff, reconnecting with our core essence and re-awakening to a deeper level of trust in our intuition.
Heather reminded me to trust the magic that is happening and that letting go of judgment is part the awakening process. We bonded like long-lost sisters would, speaking each other’s language and instantly recognizing and celebrating the essence in each other.
Here’s just some of the photos from Heather’s session. There are so many more, but these are some of my favorites:
If you are interested in participating in the Spirit and Bone project, please check out my Spirit and Bone page.