Into The Dark Woods

This is a perfect topic for this dark moon.

The dark woods was the affectionate name one of the 2023 winter women dubbed my winter depth work and how the summer year was like arriving in a hut surrounded by a beautiful garden.

When we caught up last weekend we all agreed our summer year had been busier than anticipated and not quite as idyllic as the concept of that glorious garden may have been.

One thing missing from all our summer years was each other. I don’t think we realised how important journeying together was.

It is time return to the dark woods. I am hoping you will join me  in Unseen for this year’s winter depth work.

The Dark Woods

I’ve been studying fairy tales with Carina Bisset since the middle of February. Her Season of the Wolf course is a rich and complex exploration of fairy tales and science.

Last week we dove into The Robber Bridegroom and Bluebeard.

Christina, my anam cara, commented that the girls in these fairy tales (and their adaptations) and so many others we have studied, are lead/coaxed/coerced/curioused into the dark woods or far-flung houses.

Often they arrive alone to find monstrous things awaiting them. Or they travel with the person who will become the perpetrator of ills at their destination.

All these locations have on thing in common — they’re isolated.


A few weeks ago, I spoke to my friend who is a social worker, about isolation. We were talking about my novel. My friend highlighted isolation as one of the risk factors in domestic violence, and how the setting of my novel, in Western Queensland, is definitely isolated

I remember the way extreme rural living (so different from my life in the city) facilitated the kind of brainwashing my ex got away with in my mid 20’s. And how I let so many things happen, until it was a full-blown domestic violence situation, because I was repeatedly told: this is the way we do it in the country.

(Just to be clear, no, we don’t behave like that, anywhere, ever!)

For my main character, Lucy, the isolation of the far-flung township of Matilda, is meant to be a protective factor in her leaving her sanctuary in Hobart. And it is, until someone undermines the confidentiality clause of the dig she’s working on and invites the media to town.

Fairy-tale isolation means the girls are unseen and unheard. Alone they are vulnerable — not the Brené Brown good vulnerable. Here, being alone puts them at risk.

In that regard these stories are not just cautionary tales but also modern allegories of the risks of isolation and loneliness.

Isolation, Suffering and Human Scale

Beyond Human Scale is Brené Brown’s latest podcast topic for Unlocking Us.

In her conversation with Esther Perel at SXSW they spoke about the long-hand of isolation and the immensity of loneliness and disconnection in our hyper-connected world (On The New AI: Artificial Intimacy).

Brown says: Attention is such an undervalued form of love.

Perel replies: Attention is an amazing quality because much of the time when people suffer or struggle, they don’t need fixing because some things can’t be fixed and not in the moment. So all they need is a witness. Attention is witnessing.

People have suffered from the day human beings have existed. There’s nothing new. But they always knew that the suffering needs to take placein the company of others. And these days we do too much suffering alone.

The comment about suffering in company has stayed with me.

Transformation isn’t suffering, but it is often rough. Doing it alone makes it harder than it could be.

Doing it with others makes it bearable — and times, even funny.

In The Company of Others

I was lucky enough to join a support group when I was pregnant. Preparing for a homebirth should not be fundamentally different to preparing to birth in a hospital or birth centre, but it is.

It was there, in support group, through my pregnancy and early months of mothering, and what ended up being the first three years of my son’s life, I sat with other women — drawing strength and wisdom from them.

It was there I learned the power of storytelling.

I’ve been in many circles since — both as participant and facilitator.

Both Prosperity Consciousness and Replenish had group sharing as a core component of them.

Earlier this year I also ran the Between Years sessions. We all came away from those mornings in awe of the soul and heart nourishment that being in a shared wisdom space with other women was.


Collective storytelling and wisdom sharing, and communal learning and unfurling is one of the most transformative spaces I know. It’s what my winter depth work is built around.

We go into the dark woods together. And me navigate them together. And that togetherness forms a vital and protective illumination. It lights up the path and makes the unknown less scary.

We become the Hermit’s lantern for each other, as we seek our underworld stars.

Together we are no longer isolated. We are not alone.

We are seen. We are heard.

Unseen is a container where your struggles, your joy, your sorrow and your triumphs are all witnessed.

Your unfurling is supported in a cooperative way.

Your strength and tenacity are celebrated, alongside your tenderness and vulnerability.

Go Together

I’ve done plenty of healing and soul work alone. It has its time and place. But since Christina came into my life, I haven’t had to do it alone.

I am better for that shared experience, both professionally and personally.

On the cusp of the solar eclipse tomorrow, astrologer and social activist Chani Nicholas writes:

(the) solar eclipse in Aries is no joke. It requires us to confront the discomfort of (metaphorically) burning away what isn’t meant to stay. Occurring at 11:20 am PT (Monday) conjunct the Chiron cazimi, this eclipse invites us to go deep into our shadowlands and transmute our wounds.

If you want to take the next step, a deep dive into yourself in the company of others Unseen is the six month gift from yourself to yourself.

If you haven’t worked with me before and would like a feel for me and my way of doing things organise a TOE DIP free session.

For everyone riding the eclipse energy, be gentle. Consider the first kindness to yourself and do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *