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A Winters Tail - A Couple of Lunar-tics

Updated: Jul 25, 2019


What is precious

inside us does not

care to be known

by the mind

in ways that diminish

its presence.

What we strive for

in perfection

is not what turns us

into the lit angel

we desire.

What disturbs

and then nourishes

has everything

we need.

What we hate

in ourselves

is what we cannot know

in ourselves but

what is true to the pattern

does not need

to be explained.

Inside everyone

is a great shout of joy

waiting to be born.



in the tumult

of the night

I hear the walnut

above the child’s swing


its dark limbs

in the wind

and the rain now

come to

beat against my window

and somewhere

in this cold night

of wind and stars

the first whispered

opening of

those hidden

and invisible springs

that uncoil

in the still summer air

each yet

to be imagined


Excerpt : The Winter of Listening

From River Flow

New and Selected Poems

©David Whyte and Many Rivers Press

A Winter’s Tail - A Couple of Lunar Ticks

This Winter, my incredibe partner Rikki and I decided to retreat to the coastal bush for a full Lunar cycle through June. What emerged was unexpected and a magical insight into the mysteries of life and nature...

It was a deeply nourishing space to surrender into, this ‘Lunar Cycle’ dream, finally realised; spiky yet tender, simple yet rich, unremarkable yet inspiring.... deeply challenging and incredibly revealing. In this place I found there was room to explore what it is that truly calls me, away from all the outside voices, the "shoulds" and "should nots", "have tos" and "hurry ups".

A wilder voice emerged there, one much closer to my heart, my body, my soul even. It followed Dingo’s tracks across the sands and stumbled across Wallaby bones in hidden places. It moved silently through the prickly coastal shrub to the open ocean to swim and surf with dolphins, or witness inspiring skies filled with soaring Hawks and Eagles. It wandered the land and climbed curly Applebark angophoras and scribbly barked Blackbutts. It sat still amongst the ferns and let the evening birdsong land on my body, clearing my mind of worries or thoughts of the outside world.

Perhaps more saliently though, it spent many hours by the campfire with Rikki... crafting, cooking, singing, ‘wrestling’ and resting… speaking and listening. We shaped out a Talking Stick and made it a ritual. It became a journey of deep communication; with each other, the land and ourselves. One that uncovered so much of who we were, and our place in this Earth. Much was learnt. Much was healed. Many voices cropped up, long unheard. Many questions were brought forth, often unanswerable. But at least we took time to listen.

After a shaky take off, we arrived to the land (a sandy property at the edge of Mungo Brush coastal scrublands), at the Gemini New Moon, 2nd of June. We were gladly met with brilliant Winter sunshine and found just the right spot amongst a grove of Banksia trees, filled with noisy Wattlebirds and piping Spinebills. Halfway through setting up we decided to check the weather report, one last time, just in case… andddd with some reluctance, we retreated to the bunkThe next morning we were greeted by a welcoming party of unruly rain, cantankerous thunder and surly wind. Stuck in the shed we attempted to embrace the chaos, enjoy our cave time. And at first we certainly did. But tension built, cracked open in emotion, faded... and built again… We were slightly losing our minds by day 3 it felt like we might have been a little ambitious in our endeavour… but of course, weather is weather, and it passed. I woke that 4th morning to tend the fire, and Dingo was waiting to meet me. She looked into my eyes without a hint of fear, almost a knowing, and padded away...

As our radiant Sun re-emerged, so did we. Reborn in a way I suppose, ready for the next cycle in this wild-life’s wheel of fortune!

It was a lot like this really. As the moon passed through her many phases, so too did Rikki’s body, and, for the first time in my life, I was able to experience it. All the beauty and energetic shifts, whether I liked it or not. What a rare opportunity for a man to have; such insight, such appreciation and respect, and a new awareness that might be carried into the future so as to more wisely navigate the natural turning of tides.

As I explored the landscape, my body attuned to the rhythms of nature: the weather (such a potent force), the energy of the animals through the day, the birds and the trees they visited, and the light of the Sun. I got to know that place, it got to know me... The Black Cockatoos became cheeky friends, whose voice was often present, though they only paid a visit to our campsite here and there. The Bottlenose Dolphins that played in the waves with me; sometimes giving me a good scare... the Sea Eagles that would pass by our camp on the way to the ocean where they joined the Gannets, searching for a tasty meal in Ocean's great bounty. The Dingos whose main presence was their tracks each morning on the sandy trails, alongside night busy Bandicoots... And we were constantly looked over and supported by the Blackbutts, the Banksias, the Angophora's. They gave us shade, stability, wood for the fire and our Talking Stick. We could climb and play, watch the Sun set in the distance... and maybe most importantly, talk sing and listen to them. So much wisdom. No to mention our ancestors the Stars... expanded beings of light. What a holding container!

In the absence of obligation and clocks, and the stilling of the mind’s tumult, space is created for all things old and murky to bubble up. Wounds left un-tended; shadowy figures who have been operating in the background - yearning to be seen and heard. Who would have thought all those little Mahli’s were still waiting to have their needs met? Very painful at times, almost drove me nuts. But when in the loving arms of a partner, big Nature, the earth Mama/Father and all the animals and ‘angels’ that watched over us in that liminal realm - then I guess the body learns to trust, to relax, to reveal and release. And by passing through the emotions, with presence and support, the majesty of life, relationship and nature came into startling clarity.

To share even a morsel of the depth and breadth of this experience, even in it's almost uneventful simplicity at times, would take a lifetime. I went into this adventure with many expectations and goals, ideas as to how I would spend my time, how I would become a wild human… almost none of which were actualised. Instead I learnt to let them go. To slow. To follow the body and it’s true desires. Let the softness of this animal seek what it needs. In this way I have been blessed, and I dare say empowered. At least somewhat more capable of dancing in these, very interesting times. I have a newfound trust in my partner, our relationship, the unfolding of Mystery, the power and protection of nature and our strange place in it.

We are not all afforded such time and space to explore such things, however if we are wise we might find ways to bring this into our life when windows of opportunity open, even daily. Thread by thread we might find we can weave a Wild-ness into all our life's spheres - learn to communicate with ourselves, each other and the land. Coming back into the wider world I am learning that dance. Soon Spring will emerge in all its radiance and energetic explosion... Though I am not there yet, I am feeling this energy and wondering how I might hold onto that inner stillness, that winter of listening.

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