Hilltending Practice: Liminality and Sacred Vulnerability
Hilltending engages psyche as an inherent part of the world, and the mysterious movement of soul, for example in dreams or imagination, can lead us back into a fuller experience of being human and nurture a healthier relationship with the earth. Hilltending practices work with various nature based methods of accessing the unconscious and offer a means for a conscious re-inhabiting of the human place within the world by re-opening the bridge between the inner and outer. Hilltending practices encourage us to remember that we are ensouled parts of a much larger, living, and ensouled world, and approaches this ensouled world in a process of becoming acquainted, much as we would with a new friend.
Rather than an analytical dissection, Hilltending encourages a new engagement of psyche, soul, and body and, through that, the world, which becomes more alive—the relationship between psyche and world is transformed. The soul we tend in Hilltending is not only our own but that of the world. Through Hilltending practices, we re-learn how to see and how to listen; we come back into harmony with the natural world, which provides a solid foundation to the transformation and healing of attitudes toward her, and the tending of relationships with her.
Hilltending practices guide us into in-between places – between the conscious and unconscious, soul and earth, here and there, now and then. Liminal places whisper to us. Liminality is a numinous experience that is often easier to find in natural areas where the distractions of modern life struggle to find their voice and the whispers can be heard. Going into these liminal places asks of us to allow a sacred vulnerability and integrating these experiences asks of us to linger a while longer in that vulnerability.
Hilltending is an act of sacred vulnerability. Accepting our vulnerability is a path to healing and tending soul and her relationships to the natural world. Sacred Vulnerability engages uncertainty. It is about learning to engage other ways of knowing and, more often than not, learning to be comfortable with not knowing. It is learning to live in paradox and seeing that as the impetus of growth. Sacred vulnerability is also about seeing beauty, which can be overwhelming and even frightening.
Sacred vulnerability acknowledges and honors the inner longing of the Divine Child archetype, to grow into the archetype of Self. Hilltending nurtures this acknowledgement that can be developed into an attitude to engage the dangerous inner and outer acts of being human, honestly and openly. It is a psychological fact that earlier cultures learned and grew out of their interactions with the natural world, with their society, and with the inner world of soul, all acting together and experienced as one force informing human existence and development. We find evidence of this ancient psychology in mythology, religion, fairy tales, folk wisdom, and such. The ancient wisdom is also found in our dreams. Hilltending practices engage all of these—psyche, nature, and culture—to allow sacred vulnerability to guide us where we need to go to relearn the act of being human so we can return to nature and learn how to engage her in relationship.
It makes us vulnerable to go our own way. It makes us vulnerable to go out into wild areas. It makes us vulnerable to go into liminal spaces of psyche and soul. Out of this vulnerability though emerges healing, empowerment, relief from stress and pressure, and alleviation of psychological and physiological symptoms. Hilltending is a joining of our sacred vulnerability with that of the earth. We live together with the earth in a dangerous cosmos, and the earth has plenty of scars to prove it. To move into our sacred vulnerability is to move closer to the earth. As we heal out of our vulnerability, we also bring healing to the earth, to the world soul, the anima mundi. Through our healing and the healing of the earth, we bring healing to the cosmos. This healing evolves into tending, and we become co-inhabitants and co-creators within the unfolding of the universe. In this, we reverse the process of modernity’s dysfunction becoming automatic, unconscious, and addictive. We become instead intentional and conscious in our relationship to soul and earth.
Hilltending practices strive to facilitate this frightening process and to accompany, witness, and honor the necessary act of sacred vulnerability.
Moving into the liminal spaces and allowing sacred vulnerability often requires a guide, an usher. Finding those places and holding the space for integration is what I facilitate. In our Hilltending sessions we engage in a blend of earth-based practices and archetypal integration. You can find out more about specific practices here.