Have you ever had one of those moments when you watch someone else speak, someone you don’t know, have never met and your words keep tumbling out of their mouth? And, while their story may have different details, the outcomes and insights are pretty much the same? This happened to me one night and I feel like I have to mention it because in telling this story, it helps explain some of the Archeus story.
I was watching a BBC Hardtalk interview with James Rhodes. James decided to become a concert pianist when he was 28. He’s in his late-40s now and seemingly doing very well creating and living that dream. In the interview he also talked very candidly about how as a young boy of about five his life became ripped apart by serial sexual abuse inflicted upon him by a teacher at his school.
He spoke about how the victim is made complicit in the perpetrator’s plans… the more threats of terrible things: death, punishment and abandonment - the more the victim is made mute and horrifyingly tacit in the crimes. I know that feeling so well. Knowing the knowing that things are wrong but trying so hard to make everything appear normal so one’s world does not come crashing down.
I was the same age as him when abuse started for me. It happened when I was left in the care of other adults: a farm worker here, a father of school friends there. I developed a sliding scale for ranking the physical injustices from “Not so invasive” to “very, very bad”. There is one time, the highest on the scale, where I remember floating away from my seven-year old body and looking down at it through dust motes spiralling through sunbeams while it was bound by twine in a haybarn. I remember everything said. Everything done. I remember the smells. I remained mute.
James said that to escape from the horrors of his life he would lose himself in recordings of Bach played on a cassette recorder under his blankets at night. For me, as an only child growing up on farms, I would lose myself in Nature. I didn’t just hug a tree…. I became the tree.
Of course, the scars from these experiences are never just physical. Life can become the ‘normal’ role you are expected to play, and the ‘real life’ you feel. Fear and shame always prevented me from telling my story. Humans were kind of tricky, but animals, birds and plants and trees just accepted me for who I was. They let me speak without judging. They showed me love. They became my healers.
His fingers lost themselves following a dizzy trail of beautiful notes and melodies
James Rhodes’ childhood relationship with Bach’s music was intense, as was my relationship with Nature. As his fingers lost themselves following a dizzy trail of beautiful notes and melodies; my fingers would trace stem and limb and the energy that flowed in and out of all things.
These were the things that saved us.
I recognised my own absolute faith in the natural world and the gratitude I feel for its role in my healing, in the way James Rhodes spoke with such child-like joy about his love for music and how it saved him.
So when working on Archeus and I speak about ‘helping Nature help you’, it is not said as some glib marketing line. I speak from the experience of knowing how beautifully Nature has helped me and my hope that I am working with Nature in ways that can add to how it helps you too.
Shamans speak of the Wounded Healer and the oneness of things. The deep connectivity between earth, sky, sea, plant, creature, rock. They say that when we can see the sacredness of this connectivity with the natural world around us and lose our fear of the ability to journey back and forward through time, great healing can occur.
The word Archeus was made up by the brilliant and mercurial physician and alchemist, Paracelsus who lived in the late 15th and early 16th Centuries. Paracelsus believed that to heal and to create alchemy, one must work with the Archeus, the vital force, the energy that flows between man, Nature and the universe.
I sometimes wonder if things had been different, if they had been kinder, whether I would have connected so strongly with that Archeus, that vital force? In many ways I am grateful for being made open to this gift. Nature helped me turn pain into empathy, anger into compassion…an alchemy of the soul.
We can’t shake off our stories, but we can dream a better future into being.
We can’t shake off our stories, but we can dream a better future into being. For me I have returned to that close relationship with Nature, with more knowledge gained and more life lived. I am the shaman now, a once wounded but now joyous healer, working with plants and people at the physical and energetic level. Oh, and did I mention that I really like people now?
James Rhodes really touched and liberated me. We have different stories but a shared sort of oneness. When he plays piano, the alchemic mix of gratitude, pain and his own healing flows through his fingers, taking the beauty of Bach’s compositions and rendering them exquisite.
When I make products from herbs, resins, oils, butters and waxes, or give energy medicine sessions, my intent is for the alchemy of knowledge, past pain, ancient wisdom and simple empathy to blend with the healing power of Nature, helping to reveal and support the beauty and healing within this land, sea and sky and within us.
Music. The smell of autumn leaves. The hum of the piano after the note has played. Hands in the soil. Life isn’t always easy and these are things that can save us. What have you found saves you?
The BBC Hardtalk interview with James Rhodes is here:
and here is a link to James playing: