The most adventurous journey to embark on; is the journey to yourself,
the most exciting thing to discover; is who you really are,
the most treasured pieces that you can find; are all the pieces of you,
the most special portrait you can recognize; is the portrait of your soul.
If we only think of ourselves and each other in terms of our dense, physical human bodies and mind, life can be incredibly limiting and somewhat shallow and meaningless.
Mainstream society conditions us to be overly focused on external appearances and short term, superficial goals – looking pretty, material wealth, achieving ego and physical results… all of which means absolutely nothing to the soul.
Get to know the soul being you are…the ancient being inside of you, which is eternal, compassionate, authentic, strong, resilient, patient and wise. The soul knows what it means to be authentic and it has nothing to do with outside appearances.
Soul work will always challenge us to go deeper – to remove our false masks, limiting self-beliefs and above all, be honest and true to ourselves and others.
We cannot really get to know our soul unless we are also prepared to crack open our protective shell and allow the light of truth to illuminate our shadow.
For any readers new to the concept of our “shadow” – it basically means our past wounds or, the lost, vulnerable and broken parts of ourselves longing for love, compassion, forgiveness and conscious awareness. “Everyone carries a shadow,” Carl Jung wrote, “and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life the blacker and denser it is.”
The Journey of the Soul is about having the courage and endurance to continuously face these wounds, heal and embrace the depth of our being – every moment… so that we may continue to grow towards self-awareness, authenticity, compassion and soul wisdom. I have come to learn that authenticity means to be in touch with my own vulnerability and that this is strength, honesty and being true to my heart and soul.
The featured image for this post is a photograph I took of an ancient Holm Oak Tree in the Madonie National Park, Sicily. Every time I am in this Park, I connect with a different tree. Many of the Holm Oaks are between 500 to 800 years old. This tree with its huge crack in the center of the trunk was obviously struck by lightning – perhaps hundreds of years ago!
What struck me 🙂 was that although the inner trunk was blackened by the fire and completely hollow,… the tree was still incredibly strong, healthy, huge, majestic and wise.
To climb inside the tree and listen to its wisdom was a magical experience. For me, this majestic being is a celebration and reflection of the Journey of the Soul.
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Jaymie Elder is a soul journey guide, artist, photographer and traveller offering intuitive guidance/Soul Sessions internationally via Skype. Jaymie is dedicated to supporting others to heal and grow towards their authentic self – and a life in harmony with their heart and soul being. Learn more about Jaymie and her work here.
“Castagno dei Cento Cavalli” – Jean-Pierre Houël (1776-1779)
*Post originally created in Jan 2017, updated 30 Jan 2020*
Known as the 100 Horse Chestnut Tree, (“Castagne de Cento Cavalli”), the ancient tree is considered to be between 2000 and 4000 years old. It is the oldest tree in Europe and the oldest Chestnut Tree in the world. The Tree lives on Mount Etna in Sicily, which is the most active volcano in Europe. The Tree has survived several earthquakes, (which have devastated cities along the east coast of the Island), volcanic eruptions, as well as seen the rise and fall of numerous ancient cultures, over thousands of years.
The name “Castagno de cento Cavalli” (Chestnut Tree of 100 horses) derives from a traditional story in which a queen of Aragon and her company of one hundred knights, during a trip to Mount Etna, were caught in a severe thunderstorm. The Queen and her horsemen all took shelter under the tree.
We visited the tree in winter, just as spring was about to arrive in Sicily. The advantage of this was to see the structure of the ancient trunk and the beauty of the trees form because there was no foliage. After the mystical events that played out over the course of our visit to the tree, (more information to follow) we returned to the tree at a full moon. For me, this was the most memorable, sacred time I spent alone with the ancient tree being.
The following beautiful text (translated from Italian) was taken from a sign, located at the foot of the Chestnut Tree:
Monument Messenger of the Culture of Peace.
Throughout the centuries, the tree has been a favorite destination of men and women of all backgrounds. The tree has brought these people together by their common desire to experience pristine nature, the potential inspirer of superhuman and eternal messages and the means by which we discover the absolute within each of us. Next to this tree, all find harmony with nature and peace with one another and the universe. The passions and anguish within the soul relax as it finds equilibrium and the body finds its well-being. The site was cherished by visitors in the 18th and 19th centuries for its wild and overgrown appearance, which evoked in their minds the idea of the tree as a symbol of fertility. The chestnut vividly demonstrates the generativepowerand fecundity of nature. The tree is renowned as a symbol of life force. Around its trunk, it attracts lovers from around the world. Thus, the dialogue between man and nature becomes permanent and infinite, an endless union that brings together the richness and fertility of the tree with the industrious of man. Various rituals and legends are associated with the thousand-year-old chestnut. One fascinating myth tells of a queen named Giovanna, beloved by her retinue of one hundred knights, who all took refuge with her one stormy night under the boughs of this majestic tree.
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A Message for the Soul
“When I create my music, I feel like an instrument of nature. I wonder what delight nature must feel when we open our hearts and express our God-given talents….
the sound of approval arose across the universe and the whole world abounds in magic, wonder fills our hearts for what we have glimpsed for an instant, the playfulness of life…” Michael Jackson
* * *
There is a harmony, a rhythm in all of creation, which we are a part of.
Every moment, miracles happen before our very eyes, yet we have been programmed to dull our senses and walk through life blindfolded.
The playfulness of life flows through the transparent heart of our inner child.
However, for many of us, this vulnerable child has been forgotten, abandoned, neglected, rejected and deeply hurt.
Can we commit ourselves to the ongoing Inner work of reconnecting with our inner child?…The inner child who longs for our recognition, love, and compassion?
As we progress on this Soul Journey and heal our inner child (children), we become more open to feel and see the magic and wonder, which surrounds us.
We open ourselves more to receive the love and divine guidance of our spirit helpers – in the form of angels, spirit and animal guides or our many ancestors who all walk beside us.
We become more present to each moment and conscious of how we can be of service to humanity, all of life and Mother Earth – through simply beingour authentic self, honoring and sharing our soul gifts, unique talents and strengths.
“Cento Cavalli” A newborn, abandoned puppy I found under the 100 Horse Chestnut Tree. Juerg and I are taking care of Cento Cavalli and after 10 days, he is doing very well. We named him “Cento Cavalli” or “Cento” to honour the magnificent, ancient tree he was born and found under. We also believed this name would give him the strength, trust, and resilience he needed – considering he was left without a mother at such a tender, early stage of his life.
UPDATE 30.01.2020: Cento Cavalli has recently celebrated his 3 year anniversary with us. We feel very blessed to have him with us on our journey. We know that the way he came into our lives was very magical and that he is an ancient teacher of the playfulness in life! Cento teaches us to slow down, be in the moment and to always make time to laugh, create simple fun and play together! In October 2019 we returned to the Castagne tree where we found Cento. The time spent there was a wonderful and magical point of reflection on our journey together over 3 years.
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