We came off Orkney this morning, back to the mainland, heading towards a busier world. But before I leave the islands behind I want to try to describe something that I’ve never quite been able to put into words. Orkney makes me feel like a woman, let’s me me appreciate my womanly body.
I have spent most of my life longing for a straight, thin body, hating my curves, never feeling thin enough, never small enough. This is my seventh trip up to Orkney, and something special happens when I’m here. I look around at the soft curves of the land, the gentle hills, the pools of water, the softness of the fields…. and I recognize them as feminine, womanly. We go into the Mother when we stoop down to enter chambered tombs, like Maes Howe, and in that womb-like space our attention is drawn to the seasons and cycles of the natural world. I begin to notice the heartbeat of the Mother pulsing in my own veins, and sense my own rhythms responding. I begin to feel as sacred as the landscape around me.
My pace slows, my breathing deepens, and my heart opens. Poetry flows through me; I am woman and I see my womanliness reflected in the world around me.
I’m not saying that the masculine does not exist here as well. Far from it, as many of the stones and monuments seem extremely manly, but there is a balance that is too often missing in our modern world. In the quiet of the islands, I hear the voice of Gaia and feel at home in my body. Here, the birds sing to my bones, and my own bird bones respond. I see breasts and hips in the fertile hills, and womanly moistness in the grassy cover.
Yes, I like Orkney for all it’s monuments, culture and beauty, but most of all, I like that it makes room for me, and invites me to love myself and my body as much as I love my surroundings.