Circle of the Seven Senses
Reflecting on Senses – sense-centred writing by lk

Reflecting on Senses – sense-centred writing by lk

Literary Oracle Card, for Mother’s Day

Note: collaborator Hannah Kenyon and I are in the process of designing a deck of literary oracle cards. Watch this space! I completed this one this morning – I didn’t realise until the end that it was in honour of mothers, and of all of the women who give birth creatively in a multitude of ways. Here’s to you!

A Sense of Hearing:

  • Voices
  • Vibration
  • Music
  • Silence
  • Messages

This card invites you to tune in to your sense of hearing.  Our sense of hearing allows us to enjoy the soundtracks that accompany our experiences – you might imagine a baby as it laughs, a mother cat as she purrs, or a river as it pours into an icy basin from a profound height. What a gift it is to hear a bird singing on a rainy morning, as spring draws near! What are the sounds that you love to hear?  Do you soak up the sounds around you, or do you tell yourself you don’t have time to listen?  Take a moment now to remember one of your favourite sounds.

You might remember a time where you sat at an outdoor concert and allowed music to roll over you like a wave. Perhaps you felt this through your whole body, not just as sound but as a vibration which inspired you to dance.  Can you remember the emotion you felt as you tuned into the music and the pulse of its frequency?

You might remember walking on the beach or beside a rushing river, listening to the smashing of waves or rough water as it eased across rocks.  It might be that the sound replaced the thoughts that were humming in your brain, providing much needed rest and clarity.  You were surrounded by natural sound – can you remember how you felt as you listened?

You might recall the sound of rain on a roof or a window– perhaps you had a candle lit beside you.  You might recall the pregnant sound of silence if the rain turned to snow, when the world held its breath and paused.  Perhaps the snowflakes created a soundtrack so quiet you felt called to hold still and just be.

As I write I am in Whitby, in the North of England, looking out towards the ancient remains of the Benedictine Abbey. The wind is in a fury – rushing ‘round through the portals of stone – heaving and hurling its weight against the hostel, the gravestones, the abbey and the church. This wind is an angry worm-hole, appearing in our timeline like a dragon for Chinese New Year, come to whip us out of our complacency and remind us to fly! Can you remember a time where you heard a wind like this, one that appeared through insistent, encircling and repeating sound? This kind of wind cannot be ignored; it reminds us of nature’s immense energy and power, a power that resides in each of us, too.

Sound….  What do you hear when you close your eyes and clear your mind?  Can you hear electricity humming, a car outside, a person shouting a long way off, the sound of your own heartbeat?  This card invites you to sit in a quiet space and tune into sounds that your body-mind often dismisses. When you get a chance, get up early and sit outside.  Can you hear the birds?  Or if it’s evening, can you hear the call of an owl?

Listen.  What are the messages coming your way? If you have selected this card your guides have a specific and important message for you, and they ask you to open your ears and hear it. This message is rich with positivity and praise – it contains both congratulations about something you have recently achieved, and encouragement to complete the project that lies before you.  It contains guidance relating to this project.  To receive this message pause and focus as wild cats do – a leopard’s cone-shaped ears shift 180 degrees to pick up sound!

You can ‘listen’ to messages that come in as signs, as words, as dreams or waking visions; they come in as life experiences too to show you what you need to hear. This card is one such sign. Your guides encourage you to remain aware and alert; they are always right beside you. Their voices are the sounds of the deep, quantum cosmos – they remind you of what is true: to merge your spirit with the vast collective is to find your way back home.  To receive your message, close your eyes and allow the sense of your edges to blur; allow your consciousness to relax into liminal space; permit your personality to fall away.  Allow yourself to perceive your inner reality as an expansive, cosmic star-ground, one which merges its sub-atomic processes with energy light and dark.  Listen.  When you allow yourself to blur and stay present, what comes through?  Surrender to the process for ten minutes.  After, write down what you felt and heard.  If a message of wisdom or guidance comes through clearly, act on it as you return to the everyday world.  If you don’t hear anything specific, repeat the process the following day. Repeat the process until you understand the message that is waiting for you.  You can ask your guides to speak to you; if you trust that they are beside you, you will hear their perfect guidance.

Literary Connection:

Extract from ‘Fox’, by Alice Oswald

I heard a cough

as if a thief was there

outside my sleep

a sharp intake of air

A fox in her fox-fur

Stepping across

The grass in her black gloves

barked at my house

In these first two stanzas of Oswald’s poem the narrator hears a fox ‘cough’, or perhaps that cough was a ‘bark’. The wild fox stepped out of her own world and into the narrator’s, bearing a message. That the fox means to convey her message to the narrator is clear, for she ‘barked at [the narrator’s] house’.  What could this message be, brought by a glamourous fox ‘in her fox-fur’ who ‘stepp[ed] across the grass in her black gloves’? The reader can open her faux-fox ears to listen to these lines about speech and sharpened hearing.  Later in the poem we learn that the fox comes as ‘a woman with a man’s voice’ – she is both masculine and feminine: she is a sign of Nature who merges all binaries.  Reading the poem through to the end (and the poem can be accessed for free), we learn that the narrator hears that the fox’s ‘life is laid underneath [her] children like gold leaf’. The fox’s bark then is perhaps one of warning, but on another level, she simply expresses her love for her cubs asleep in their den.  And the listener? We can only imagine what this will mean to her – we readers can inhabit the mind-ear of the listener as well as that of the cubs, wrapped as they are in the ‘gold leaf’ of their fox mother’s body – the life she would give to protect them. As I finish this it is Mother’s Day, and I understand that the card conveys a message about surrender as well as creation.

LK 10/3/24