The first time I remember using the term 'Story fields' was around six years ago, when I wrote a course called Story Apprentice. Bringing in the word 'field' was inspired by Bert Hellinger, the family constellation practitioner who introduced the term 'Knowing Field' and also my fascination with that magical Physics lesson magnets and iron filings experiment where magnetic fields are revealed. I have forever been aware of the invisible realms; a whole entourage of beings, colours and impressions have followed me around from birth and they have never faded. Unspoken of in everyday life, they were delegated for a long time in the realms of what felt safer to call the imagination. When things started to break down at the age of 28 I had no choice but to go on a journey to work to bring them into the theatre of consensus reality and create a map of the realms. I think at the age of 12, seeing these iron filings reveal a pattern and a force had a big and settling impression on me. They revealed something that I was sensing and playing with all of the time: there are forces that work with us through life. What is more, the stories that we are each living were guided and held by these forces.
Story Apprentice had three sections to it: Birth, Transformation (which I have come to know as Life) and Death. My sense was to work with some known stories that had travelled through time and that correspond with each of these stages of the life cycle and the wheel of the year. I wove them with the living story of each of us who went through the material and we paid attention to the story fields of our lives. Four of the eleven stories I included leave a huge impression: Chiron and Baba Yaga (who held the course as the main stories) Sedna and The Handless Maiden. I share my version of the Handless Maiden below with some exercises to work with, simply because it has been showing up in my story field again. In Story Apprentice my main discovery was the 'transformative principle' at work when healing happens. It was like a guide who would show up in the everyday and if we listened carefully would help to open up new and more true pathways for each of us. I started to look out for the transformative principle at work. Do you know her? She may also be known as the Agent of Plot Twist, Sliding Doors, Game Over, Epiphany, Landslide and so much more!
Well, let's fast forward to 2020. After five years of zooming just about monthly with my fellow astrology-shamanic friend Terry Morgan, I started to run astrology-constellation courses. After a few in person workshops, I set up a three year Creative Astrology Practitioner course. The task here was to follow the story fields and work with the birth chart, with the intention to help people build their own creative practices which could help people position themselves inside their birth chart and weave with the transformative principles at work through the archetypes of the planets and stars.
Well, the reason I am telling this story is because Transformative Principle has been rife this week to the extent that I have slipped into a whole new level of listening. I am not going to list it all here, but suffice it to say that I did at one point think life was out to get me - haha. I have been reminding myself of the reality that actually I am lucky, just over-run with the relentlessness of things breaking down, illness, life changes, floodings and the huge push it takes in the face of high winds to keep on course with tasks. At some point in the madness, I turned to wonder on the Mercury Retrograde thing. (Although I usually enjoy Mercury Retrograde). Well, hey presto Mercury went into Retrograde on the date it all began. I checked Mercury's position in the sky and to see what it might be retrograding over in the chart of myself and someone it seemed to be affecting strongly. It was transiting my North Node and their South node and Chiron. Well, the South Node and North node passage is the transformative principle of each of our past and current life time karma at play and Chiron shows up as the material for healing and in the end, forging our strength. All of this is currently playing out in Taurus with the sun, the life giver and the centre of our universe looking over the whole show. I don't know when my cat Isis (who has had a starring role in the story that has been playing out ) was born, but I dedicate the inclusion of the Handless Maiden to her as she has been lame. She seems to be getting her strength back in her paws now.
Well, this story blog is being written to bring in Mercury, the archetype of communication and the one who brings the muse into being through their power to connect and open. I like to see all of the archetypes with the potential to be androgynous, or at least to be the feminine or masculine aspects we each hold within if it feels important for them to hold a gendered position. Mercury is sometimes for me felt as Ma'at the feminine Goddess Egyptian overseer of the synergy and conversation between all things. For Mercury (or Ma'at) is the planet closest to the sun. It is so in touch with the life force of our universe. It has so much to express
I invite you to check what is going on in the sign of Taurus in your chart which Mercury is retrograding through and see what it might mean for you in the story fields of your life.
And if you would like to journey with Mercury Retrograde - I am holding a three session micro-course with literature for this period and will be including some of the stories from Story Apprentice: Chiron, Baba Yaga and The Handless Maiden and will work closely with your chart. The course is held as the opening to Systemic Story work (a type of constellation practice) which will be my main work and include film making when I complete my degree in August. The course is held with the intention of helping the transformative principle awaken and doors open in people's lives. It is also a focused study on the power of the archetype of communication and a piece of research into Mercury Retrograde's antics. I expect it will be a support and wowish discovery group too! Amongst other things, Taurus is about the physical body and the earth, it is also about getting on in life and making things manifest. It is a small course just for 4 - 6 people. It starts this week and involves three group zooms and accompanying course work literature. If you would like to join us get in touch today.
Story field Transformative Principle: Mercury Retrograde: April 21 to May 14 going retrograde from 15 degrees of Taurus to five degrees of Taurus)
Group Meetings: 6 pm - 7.30 pm UK time
Friday 5 May (full moon)
Tuesday 9 May
Tuesday 16 May
The Handless Maiden
Once there was a miller who lived with his wife and his daughter in a mill. They lived a modest life. They were al happy if poor. The daughter loved to stand behind the mill in the orchard with the apple trees. She loved all of nature and especially these trees who spoke to her. She was known for a clear light that shone all about her. Some said this was because of the trees she kept company with.
One day the Miller was in the forest chopping wood. An old man appeared and said, “I’ll make you rich if you give me what stands behind your mill.”
The miller assumed the old man was talking about one of the apple trees out back. He agreed, thinking that his wife and daughter would long for finer clothes and more wealth. He felt sad that he couldn’t provide better for them. The old man told the miller he would return in three years to take what was his, and then he vanished.
After a while, the wife became concerned about their newfound wealth. The house was filled with expensive furniture and their clothes were new, and clean! The mill was working again, faster and more efficiently. The miller told the story of the old man and the apple tree. On hearing the part about the deal, the wife turned pale. ‘Oh no!’ she cried. ‘How could you?’
The miller was confused. ‘That wasn’t the apple tree the man was wanting’ she cried. ‘That was our daughter standing behind the mill!’
Then it was the turn for the Miller to turn pale.
‘That wasn’t a man either. That was the demon some call the devil in disguise!’
Three years passed from the dreadful deal and the man returned as he had promised. The girl knew about the wager. She had contemplated her fate. She stood with the apple trees for protection and they seemed to cast a light all about her. The demon some know as the devil came to claim her, but couldn’t come near her. He left and then returned the next day.
The devil still couldn’t touch her. Enraged, he ordered the girl’s father to cut off her hands so she couldn’t weep on them.
The miller was shocked and refused. The devil threatened to kill him, his wife, and everything around the mill. 'You have to do it!’ the daughter beseeched him. She could not bear the thought of her parents dying. Quaking in his boots, the miller approached his daughter and begged her forgiveness. She replied, “I am your daughter, do with me what you will.” The miller took his sharpest axe and cut off both her hands.
The maiden wept and wept and her tears ran down her arms and mingled with the blood that poured from her stumps. Her tears washed her stumps clean.But still the demon some know as the devil could not touch her. He stormed away.
Her mother bound the stumps with bandages.
The man who was the demon some know as the devil retreated to the forest and the maiden’s parents did their best to care for their daughter. But the daughter couldn’t stay. She felt a sadness and although she tried to excuse the foolishness of her father, she couldn’t shift a feeling of betrayal by him. Something just couldn’t settle within her anymore. At day break one morning, she said her goodbyes to this life she had been living, to the mill and to the trees here and she left to wander into the forest.
The maiden wandered this way and that, not knowing where she was going but followed a sense of knowing that led her deeper into the woods. The knowing led her to a palace. She had arrived at a royal garden, and in the moonlight could see trees covered with fruit. She was so hungry she could barely stand, but she couldn’t enter the garden because it was surrounded by a boggy land.
Suddenly a wisp of white appeared and led her safely through a path in the boggy land. The maiden was able to walk across and enter the garden. There she saw lines of trees heavy with ripe pears, but she couldn’t reach them with her stumps.
One of the trees, perceiving her need, bent a branch towards the maiden. And so, using only her mouth, she was able to eat a pear, the juice running down her chin.
Across the garden, hiding behind a tree, stood the gardener. He also watched the maiden. After eating just one pear, the maiden retreated and the wisp led her back across the boggy land again. She came back each night for five nights running to eat another pear.
And so it was that the king was walking in his garden, counting his pears, for he knew exactly how many were on each tree, when he realised that five were missing. He called the gardener and questioned him. The gardener explained to the king what he had witnessed the nights before. A woman without hands who had the air of a magical being, so full of light was she, had been led into the garden for five nights in a row and each night had eaten one of the pears.
The king was curious and so that night decided to watch the garden and took his magician with him as he wanted to find out if the . He waited until the moon was high in the sky before he saw a strange sight of the maiden without hands entering and the pear tree bowing to gift her a pear in her mouth. He was utterly enchanted by the sight of this beautiful woman so full of light.
The magician approached the maiden and asked, “Are you of this world or not of this world?” The maiden replied, “I was once of the world, and yet I am not of this world.”
The magician returned to the king who was eager to know, “Is she human or spirit?” The magician replied, “She is both.”
The king rushed to the maiden and promised not to forsake her and took her to his castle. The maiden was taken by the King’s kindness and gentleness.The King loved the maiden with all his heart. He had a pair of silver hands made for her, and then took her as his wife. And so the maiden became a queen with beautiful silver hands. She was known through the lands for her beautiful silver hands.
The queen stayed in the castle and the king lavished her with love and care. But she didn’t really know how she felt about the hands. They didn’t feel like they were necessary. She didn’t like wearing them. They felt unnatural to her. In time the queen became pregnant. About this time the king had to leave to wage war in a distant land. Before he left, the king asked his mother to take care of the queen and asked her to send a letter as soon as the child was born.
The queen in her pregnant state felt even more the pain of wearing these hands so she decided to cast them off. The king would not know. He wouldn’t need to feel upset that she had shunned his gift for her.
Some months later, the queen gave birth to a beautiful son. The king’s mother immediately sent a letter with the good news. But the messenger fell asleep by a river along the way. While he was dozing, the demon who some know as the devil found his chance to step in and bring chaos to her world once more. He exchanged the real letter for another. The new message informed the king that the queen had given birth to a monster.
When the king received the letter, he was shocked but sent a reply asking his mother to take care of his wife at this terrible time. But once again, the messenger fell asleep on his journey. While he dozed beside the river, the demon some know as the devil exchanged the message once more and ordered, “Kill my wife and child.”
The king’s mother couldn’t believe her eyes when she received the letter, so she sent another message to the king, asking for clarification. But the demon some know as the devil played the same trick again and switched the messages, there and back. Finally, the king’s mother received a letter that ordered her to save the queen’s heart to prove to the king that she had been killed.
The king’s mother believed her son had gone mad with the pressure of the war. So, she killed a deer, removed its heart and had them sent in a package with a messenger to the king.
The king’s mother then told the queen that she and her baby son were no longer safe in the castle. The queen must run and go far away into the woods again. She told them of a safe place in the woods where all of their needs would be provided for.
With the baby bound to her breast, the queen bid farewell to the king’s mother. Weeping, she left the castle and returned to the forest.
The queen found herself led to a cottage deep in the woods. Again the forest and its spirits opened up to her. Over the door was a sign which read, “Here all dwell free.” The queen and her son had all their needs catered for.
The queen lived in the cottage in the woods for seven years.
One day, as the queen bent over a stream to drink, the child fell from her arms into the water. Frantic, without even having time to think she dived into the water and reached for her child. And then a miracle happened. Her hands regenerated, and the child was saved. The spell was broken.
Meanwhile, the king had returned from the war, but the queen and his child weren’t there waiting for him. He asked his mother where they were. He hadn’t understood the meaning of the heart that had appeared. She was furious with him. She showed him the terrible letters he had sent.
The king was heartbroken. When his mother saw the anguish on the king’s face, she realised the letters were not from him. She quickly explained that his wife and child were still alive and that she had sent them into the forest. The king vowed to find them.
And so, the king left the castle and wandered for seven years. As he searched for his wife and child, his hands and face became blackened with dirt, and his beard grew wild. In time the spirits of the forest opened up to him too and he fond himself changing.
Finally, he came to a cottage in the woods with a sign that read, “Here All Dwell Free.” He was so exhausted from his search that he lay down and covered his face with a handkerchief.
It was the child who found him sleeping there. ‘Mother there is a stranger here’ he cried to her. The queen went over and lifted the handkerchief.
The king awakened to find a beautiful woman and a small child gazing down at him.
The woman smiled, for she recognised the man, despite his colour, unkemptness and beard. “I am your wife and this is your son,” she said. The king wanted to believe her but couldn’t help noticing her hands. She explained, “With grace, my hands have grown back.”
The king was overjoyed and embraced his long-lost queen and greeted his son warmly. When the child slept they talked long into the early hours and discovered how much they had both grown closer together despite their time apart. The forests had changed the king too. All three returned to the king’s mother. They arranged a second wedding.
This time they married in the woods where they returned to live. They had more children and lived close to nature with the spirits of the forest as their closest friends.
1. Transformative Principle at work (half hour)
Read the story with your story guide’s eyes and scan the story to see the parts where the transformative principle is at work. Take some notes. How do you feel sitting with the power of transformation? Draw how this feels. What does it remind you of? How can you use this power?
2. Chair Work (half hour)
Take 5 chairs or cushions and then open up the story field. Allocate a chair for the apple tree, the demon some call the devil, the Miller, the silver hands and the king. Take it in turns to sit on each chair and feel what it is like to be in each role and be open to feeling a healing effect or set of insights from merging with each of these.
3. Core Message: Transformation (one hour)
Before you go into this task, take some time to think about a moment in your life where you have felt like you have had your hands cut off - this could be when you have been let down, deceived or tricked by someone or something. It can also be a time in your life when you feel like you have had the carpet pulled from beneath your feet. Perhaps it was a change from childhood to puberty, woman to motherhood, man to fatherhood, menopause or the death of a parent for example.
Now journey into the story field of The Handless Maiden with this feeling of having your hands cut off in mind. Go to the mill and then leave the mill to go into the forest.
Ask the forest to open up to you and to guide you. See where you are taken and what opens up for you. Follow the same knowing that the Handless Maiden followed.
Let yourself absorb.
Come back and write some notes.