Around the Cauldron · Guided Imagery · Pagans Down Under · The Forest Path

Creating an internal grove

Something I’ve been exploring over the last two months or so is working with and creating an internal grove. Many of us live in suburbia and for whatever reason cannot get out into nature. We may be in the heart of the city, we may have issues with anxiety, it may be pouring down with rain or way too hot for comfort, or the places we want to visit when we are able to get out is so overcrowded it’s hard to connect.

Personally, the more people out in a space the less I want to be there. Thank-you, social anxiety.

The internal grove is a space we can go to within meditation. As I have also been doing a lot of work with silent ritual of late, I find these two go hand in hand, especially when it’s a total fire ban day, hot and humid, and I can’t handle being outside or in my ritual space inside.

I’m quite a visual person and this extends into meditation. I’m not someone who can simply close my mind off and think of nothing. When grounding, I am visualising a scarf flowing over my body taking tension, or I’m walking down a path and I go from stepping to gliding. There is always some form of imagery happening within my mind. This is also why I watch a lot of television when I’m having a PMDD episode as television distracts the visual centre for me.

Creating a personal internal grove has been both enjoyable and frustrating as Herne keeps putting His two cents in. The more I try to visualise and create space of native trees and sounds, the more He takes me to a space that I now understand is “our space”. He doesn’t generally like me adding things to it – it was raining one time so hearing that sound outside made me automatically think of a gazebo for shelter. The gazebo didn’t last long.

Lesson learned: just because it’s raining outside in the real world, doesn’t mean it’s raining in your grove!

Creating the internal grove

One thing to decide upon is do you want something purely out of your imagination, or do you want to base it off something you can be/see/experience firsthand? The latter would be helpful for those who have trouble visualising as you can use memory to transport yourself there (please correct me if I’m wrong with that, I’ve never not been visual so this is a total assumption!)

Let’s work in stages, as sometimes it’s easier to start with the bottom and work your way up.

What is beneath your feet?

What is under your feet? Is there grass, or sand, rock, water or soil? If you can, try and sense the granules beneath your feet before visualising them, as it will aid to the sensation of being in your grove. Maybe there are pine needles, or leaves; stones or shells.

How does the land appear? Is there water, is it within a forest or within the bush? Is it by the sea?

What is the ground like? Is it flat land, or are you on a rise? Do you have a culvert or a rise? Is there water – such as a stream, or a lake, or maybe the beach is on the other side of the trees. Is it cleared space, or perhaps there are shrubs and flowers? If there flowers, or shrubs, what types are there? Do you know their names? How tall are they, where on you do they stand? Are they near or far? Maybe there are boulders, or maybe only a part of the ground is rock.

How are the trees positioned? What do they look like? Do they have lichen?

Let’s have a look at the trees that surround you, that help form the boundary of your grove. What trees are around you? How far is the nearest tree? Look at how they stand – are the trees in a perfect circle, planted by you and your imagination, or are they sporadic, having grown where the seed once fell? What is the space between the trees? Look at the girth of their trunks, the height of their branches. Are they ancient or young? Can you climb them, do you want to climb them? Will they let you? What colours are their leaves? Do they have leaves, or are they bare with the season? How do their branches extend? Is there lichen growing?

What does the canopy look like?

Look to the sky. Is the view of the sky clear, or can you see tree canopy? If there is a canopy, how thick is it? Is the sky reflecting day or night? Is there clouds or stars? Can you see the sun or moon? You’ll find the more often you come to this space, the seasons and time of the day will change.

What can you hear? Can you hear birds, or insects, or maybe the wind catching the branches? What can you smell?

Do you want a bench, or a fire pit?

Now that you have brought to life your grove, it’s time to really explore. Make sure you take time to touch the tree trunks, feeling their bark beneath your fingers. Wiggle your toes in the ground cover. You may wish to include a fire pit, or shelter, or a bench, or your own personal labyrinth to walk. Maybe you’d like to ensure a special entrance, like a bridge or a hidden doorway.

Do you need to cross a bridge to enter?

Get to know this place, as this is unique to you. This is your own personal internal grove.

(All photos taken by Cara @ at various places within Sydney and the Snowy Mountains, NSW)

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