Instalment two by Alena Walker shares a topic both personal and universal: individual identity defined through spiritual and physical travel. Here, the wordstress weaves imagination and the manifested, spirit and flesh, myth and certainty, human and diety, and concludes that all are facets of expression of the Unknown rather than polarized concepts. Adam Harteau's indescribable images inspire.
-- Mimi xo
Shamanic Practitioner + founder of CEREMONIE
“I was first greeted by a dark, canine figure with glowing eyes and a pitchy voice. He neither claimed nor denied being your guardian, but he later morphed into a figure we all know - the great Anubis. He had said that you have an ability, and will always receive assistance to delve into the unknown.” I didn’t fully understand what this meant when Mimi relayed it to me after my Shamanic Reading, not in the way that I do now, on the eve of setting out into the world with one-way tickets. It is one thing to grasp the notion of the Unknown with reasoning alone – but it is quite another to feel the pulse of it in my veins and it’s weight in my body while I carry it in my bones.
I’m writing this the day before I set out on a journey that will be take me to Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina and onwards to New Zealand, where in-between I’m free to roam with my partner, a backpack and a tent as my companions. I’m putting emphasis on necessity and less on convenience. I’m searching for questions and I’m happy to learn the answers, but I’m not seeking absolute truths, only experiences that will allow me to grow avidly with the air beneath my wings.
I find myself asking – why do I travel? I’m not the first person nor am I the last, but what I’m cultivating on the precipice of this transition are the reasons why so I can root myself in intention.
It’s time to embrace a readiness to walk away from ideas or habits and in lieu of the old, I have room to grow and pursue a better version of myself. I consciously choose to experience life on the road, to pare back my possessions and to abandon routine in favor of new ones.
As Mimi had written in a previous post, “death of our egos, death to our agendas, death to our defaulted, desensitized selves.” I enter this period to connect with what matters, to grow deeper into myself and to set about pursuits that bring me the purest joy. I’m setting out to switch off and switch on, to relearn, rewild and retune.
My Shamanic Reading reiterated what I should always remember – “identify romanticism and let it go.” We have forgotten to value mess as much as we value beauty. We’ve become so accustomed to seeking perfection in our lives that we seek it on our social media feeds, our relationships, our friendships and we cast unforgiving gazes over our own reflections. There is no searching and no discovery, no messiness and no humanity. We’ve entered a time of mass vanity and romanticism on a wider scale, from the advertising that lines our peripherals to the feeds of content that we filter through digital devices. I’m craving a different kind of expression – an honesty that is frank and open, and that doesn’t block out trial and error nor sift out the banal and difficult in favour of the refined. Discomfort, hardship and imperfection are aspects that need to be honored without dressings or decorations.
It begins with the Unknown. Starting with a spiritual consideration of what I hold close materially and saying goodbye to that which doesn’t serve me. The products we use on our bodies, the food we consume, conversations we have and surroundings we place ourselves in are all subject to our choosing. This is our prerogative.
What each country demands of me, I’ll try my best to provide it – in the achingly uncomfortable, tiring, inspiring, and invigorating circumstances that lie outside the control of my scheduling. I can’t plan in advance, I can only prepare. There’s a great knowing to be yielded from surrendering to the energy of unfamiliarity.
As borders are threatened and boundaries drawn fiercely in the face of Trump and Brexit, there has never been a greater time to look eye-to-eye and talk in new languages, to give myself to the subtleties of voices I don’t understand so that I can taste the words of foreign tongues.
It’s a time to touch the earth with hands and feet and take deep, slow breaths.
It's a time to feel the wind on my flesh and be enveloped in the warm grasp of a new climate.
Lose touch with vanity however fleeting, so I can live in the physical and feel as one separated from the demands of appearance.
It’s time to sit at the water’s edge and dip in the current. It's time to allow my mind to empty in the crystal clear, where my thoughts are free to wander. The earth speak and my soul will listen.
We are wild beings and we are one.
Be bold. Be kind.
Touch the earth.
Meet and speak.
It is our birthright to be free in this way.
It’s time to sow the seeds of my nature.
“What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - It's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” – Jack Kerouac
Terra Incognita is Latin for “unknown land” and while I was researching this phrase I came across the work of Adam Harteau who created a beautiful body of work comprising painting, drawing, collage, photography and mixed media inspired by his travels to Mexico, Central and South America. I think the discovery of Adam’s work - which is coincidentally inspired by the region that I’m setting out to explore– is a sign that is this exactly what I should be doing. Terra incognita, I come with opens arm.
Words by Alena Walker, writer, fashion editor, and stylist born in rural Northern Ireland. A cultivator of local and international experiences, nature draws Alena close and allows her to tell stories through photography, paint, poetry, and prose. As a natural roamer and soulful artist, Alena describes her work as inviting consciousness and exceeding boundaries, "...where conscious consumption and environmental activism form the bedrock of my focus. I work only with ethical designers and I'm trying to make an impact on the world by creating consciously."
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