Several weeks ago I was invited to participate in a piece of public sculpture called ‘The Nest of Lost Hopes’ as part of Heathercombe’s annual sculpture trail. The nest will contain unfired clay eggs. Over the autumn and winter, and even during the three weeks of the show, depending on rainfall, the eggs and nest will dissolve into the ground. Within each egg will be a personal statement: a few words, an image, of something an individual would like to let go of: perhaps a person, an event, an old grief, an unhelpful ambition, a restricting belief . . . . . . A good rule of thumb is anything that repeatedly drags you out of the present and into the past or into an unrealistic future. Working creatively with loss and change often shows that embracing ‘giving up’ and letting go is when change becomes possible, and hope is reborn.
At the time, I was busy with summer stuff – meeting quilting deadlines, socialising with Steve, planning our wedding celebrations and wasn’t really in a place to give the time and attention that I would like to this project.
But it has stayed with me and I’ve decided to make my own nest of lost hopes. Around the same time, on my twice weekly run, I had found an abandoned bird’s nest on the bridle path.
I put it up in a tree and felt that it was being held there for me over the past several weeks. I went back to fetch it yesterday and it had fallen from it’s perch and started to unravel. I gathered it up and brought it home.
I made a vessel from clay to contain and reshape it. While it was sitting on the radiator to dry, I spontaneously sculpted this bird goddess from clay.
I have named her the Goddess of Lost Hopes and this poem practically wrote itself while I was making her:
“Give her your lost hopes.
The dreams which died,
the paths not taken,
all of the journeys that ended before begun.
The forgotten passions.
This fierce protectress of grief and loss
enfolds them in her wings,
gathers them to her breast,
croons a last, night lullaby
and gently lays them to rest.
All of the broken dreams, cradled,
then laid away forever.”
For we can do and do know about letting go of . . . . . . the outgrown friends, the ex-lover, the wrong job or place to be. But it is as important to let go of the lost and never-fulfilled hopes and dreams. Even though we may have never given them material form or ‘real world’ energy, these ghost dreams can drain us and seep away our Life force. I know that I have some, perhaps many, of these. And somehow knowing that I can give them unto the care of a tender, yet fierce, Mother Goddess makes it easier to let them go.
I will write down my lost hopes, put them into clay eggs, place the clay eggs into the nest and put it outside in a special place. Protected, yet exposed, where they can be taken back to the keeping of the earth.
But this goddess will have a special place on my altar, as a keeper of the paths not taken and a daily reminder for me to let go of the dreams and goals which do not serve my deepest Self.
I invite you to ask yourself what your lost hopes may be and to find a gentle way to release them, to make way for your truest hopes.