What if upon waking, instead of already knowing what will happen to your day, you choose not to know, on the contrary, you allow your day to present itself to you as an unknown song, which swings you into the midnight sunset, to the roses at dinner, to any joy or sadness that nature can bring you. After all, knowing everything is so monotonous. And if in that allowance you suddenly look at the window and see a rainbow, you walk by the sea and find a turtle, or maybe you leave the door open and a hummingbird comes to visit you. There, in this convex moment, a moment of encounters, between you and the purest truth, you can find meaning, sense, direction, an inspiration for your existence. Perhaps it is exactly there that you finally understand what magic is because you are finally opened to the world’s communication. And the world says: look, dear, you don’t exist inside a controlled laboratory. Open your eyes. Open the mind. Everything here can have meaning.
I wish I had remembered that at the end of a rainy Wednesday afternoon in September, which, according to my astrologer, would be my birthday this year, one day before the original date. I was protecting myself from the pouring rain inside the car, waiting for the time to enter the archaeological site of Stonehenge whose entrance is in the middle of a field of small hills and highways. Yes, in less than an hour I would be walking through the most famous and mysterious stone circle in Prehistory … except that under all that rain I certainly wouldn’t see the sun falling majestically between the stones as we are used to seeing in the movies. Obviously, I was disappointed. After all, the day had dawned very nicely and the downpour had only started in the middle of the afternoon as if it was preparing the sky in shades of grey specially for my visit.
My expectation to get to know Stonehenge was enough to let the disappointment go though. I thought I was about to be in one of the energy centres of the world because that is what the New Age culture says. One of the theories is that Stonehenge was where unknown astronomical observations and religious ceremonies took place and I expected nothing less than magic when I would enter into the circle of huge stones that compose it. Before we boarded the golden bus that would take us to the monument, I couldn’t believe it… was the magic already happening? The rain was stopping. On the other side of the horizon, a patch of the dense grey sky began to open like a curtain and the stage was the glimpses of the sun and the blue still enveloped by clouds. I smiled a mystical smile towards the sky.
However, when I actually put my two feet inside the circle, I felt nothing special but cold – there was a wind crossing the immense field where the stones still stand – and curiosity – after all, I was in a 3000 b.c. full of information about us humans. I also felt a kind of silence, roaring the breath of a forest a few minutes before dusk. I asked questions to the guides, took some pictures, and in less than an hour, I left. The sky remained grey. I came back from the trip trying to rationalize the experience. Why didn’t I really feel anything different than my historian curiosity while there? I didn’t see colours, I didn’t hear spirits, I didn’t see anything magical, I didn’t cry, I didn’t feel my palm tingling, not at all. I expected Stonehenge to have a more esoteric feeling, specially because the visit happened to be on the day of my astrological birthday. What are the odds? And I insisted on comparing that moment to my trip to the Sacred Valley of Peru, where, accompanied by a shaman, deep profound learnings and spiritual insights hit me.
So, following these mechanical thoughts, I let the event get lost in my mind. A week later, I was walking in Hampstead Heath on a sunny Sunday morning and decided to go into a random bookstore to find the book that would most draw my attention among the shelves – this is a good practice to sharpen intuition. After going round and round, my intuition led me to open a page of a book that talked about a Botswana shaman who had invited a group of people to observe everything they saw on a walk through a forest imbued with meaning – from the butterflies to the crack crack of the tree branches. I couldn’t help but remember my friend shaman from Peru. The vivid image of the bush trail around the Temple of the Moon popped out of my memory. It was there that I understood with all my bones why birds flew over mountain slopes: only to see me. I understood why the sun was shining on my skin and why eventually a mosquito glided in my ear. There, I understood that everything that happens in our life, the natural manifestations of the environment, are imbued with meaning, like a painting to admire, learn, relate to – and do not exist alone – exist in relationship. There is meaning in everything, it is a matter of noticing. And at the bookstore in Hampstead Heath, the book page transported me.
You know how life is like, I closed the book and went about my day. On Monday I had already forgotten the teleportation. After Monday comes Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, one week after another, I blinked and it was already Sunday. Until the moment I realized that I was feeling a bit without a pulse, without life, mechanical in the days, keeping my head down. I wanted to write you a chronicle, but with that humour, there was nothing to be conveyed, what wisdom could arise from that state? It was then that I got a whisper in my ear, while I was doing the dishes (why do deep insights insist on coming when we do the dishes?). It reminded me of when I walked alone towards the sea in one of the trails of Florianópolis island, in Brazil. Halfway, there was a turtle, a real turtle, an immense turtle, walking alone in the dunes, like myself at that moment. The instant joined me to the turtle as if she was an old acquaintance who had appeared there to say hi, to tell me that everything was fine, that our paths could cross, that blessings of chance happen, that the mystery of earth is unexpected, beautiful and perhaps slow, hidden in its greenish shell. That encounter was precisely what made my day magical. The turtle, the chance, the coincidence, the second that brought us together that sunny morning, all magical. And with the information that the turtle resurrected in my memory, the experience I had at Machu Picchu, Stonehenge and a page of a random book – flooded my understanding and my fingers.
I ran over here to promptly start writing this text for you. The thing is that I was wrong to think that nothing had happened at Stonehenge. My rationalist mind that tried to pin down what I thought to be magic eluded me, as it often does to our understanding. Minutes after entering the circle, while half of the group immediately started taking pictures and the other half started asking what they could to the guides, I was looking at the stones a little bit away from the people, breathing deeply, trying to absorb the experience with all of my senses. Two vertical stones supported by a horizontal one that formed a kind of door, a portal, caught my attention. I approached it. When I blinked, I couldn’t believe it: I could see trough them, far away in the grizzly sky, a rainbow, as real as my experience inside the prehistoric circle. Few people besides me also saw it. Minutes later, the guide revealed that those stones that made the frame for the rainbow were precisely the stones that align with the winter Solstice – the portal where the sun aligns once per year and that could be considered magical. And there for a few seconds, it shone a rainbow, just for me, on a day of chance, where the rain decided to give a truce, the rain that had bothered me so much and that maybe was there just to provide me that moment. “How much happens because we don’t see it?” Fernando Pessoa questions me again. Oh… we forget, magic is in the most simple and unexpected details.
*Image: Vogue, Fev 1921. Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Littérature et art, ark:/12148/bpt6k6542643z
The Chronicles of a Wild Woman were born from the coincidence of the leaves, the dreams and the soul writers. If you want to follow the words that follow instinct, the texts are published in Portuguese and English twice per month. Read more here and subscribe to my mailing list to receive them in your inbox