We spend a lot of time around people and our relationship with them, don’t we? But consider this – as I have many times – that maybe place has a persona, a soul, if you like whether it be village, town, county or country.
As a child I felt this very strongly and had strong likes and dislikes regardless of whether a place was pretty or safe or not. It was only two decades on in my later 20’s when I became a professional astrologer and started doing charts for countries as well as relocation charts for clients, that I developed a respect for places in a new and eye opening way. Helping people to look at their relationship with a new place was as fascinating as looking at the relationship between two people or a parent and child.
Why do we feel drawn to a place?
This is my experience.
Whether we live somewhere by choice, circumstance, childhood upbringing, work requirements, relationships – even if we are a refugee finding a new home – we find ourselves drawn to it, challenged by it or even dislike it. It’s a relationship!
I have been a traveller from an early age and finally, twenty three years ago, I chose a place I really call home, and feel an intimacy and heart connection with the town. I am now 63.
I grew up in Quemerford near Calne, a very small village in Wiltshire, and at four I attended a school with two classrooms. This suited me, I feel as I was shy, a slowish learner and late talker. I felt rooted there. Then, shock, horror, my dad was posted to Germany in 1956 to a northern city which had a lot of stone and grey exteriors. My school was massive and I screamed when I saw it. But I had to adapt.
Though feeling frozen inside the theme of ‘just getting on with it’ has accompanied me through life! My memories were of loud voices and a cold post war city. My sisters seemed fine with it. I went to six schools before eleven and learned to be flexible and accept lots of goodbyes in an era before Facebook and cell phones! I associated places with separations and loss. For a kid three and a half years is a long time.
At ten we moved to Bath in Somerset. And I lived there for 25 years. A beautiful city but it just goes to show that, like a person, a beautiful place doesn’t always magnetise or create intimacy. I often felt out of sync and alone. I couldn’t forge, though I tried, closeness with it.
Interestingly, in my teenage years, my longing for space, wild hills got me regularly hauled off willingly by my Dad to places like Dartmoor, North Wales etc. I was at home in emptier places where my inner life had space to feel free. I still return to them.
I used to ‘claim’ a place by bringing a stone or heather or the like back home and also burying a stone in the ground for the earth to remember me. My parents must have thought I was a strange child. Some places fed me and some didn’t.
Then at 35, I moved to Southern California, for love (well probably lust!) I think I was unconsciously seeking a new place, with Sun rolled in. Cutting the story short, just as after two months I decided to leave, my partner had a major accident and became quadraplegic.
So there I was ‘stuck’ now in Irvine, a place of equidistant trees and very man made.
Jonathan was moved to a veterans hospital in Long Beach – hurrah, it turned out to be a place with a heart and combined realness and rolling hills. I fell in love with it! With Jonathan in rehab I was struggling to pay my rent and make a living – at that point having overstayed my visa…
What changed things I asked Long Beach to look after me, and viscerally I could feel its embrace. And in return I would help and bring myself to its people. I found myself with intent making a contract with a place. I stayed safe and a great network of women developed. I hadn’t often enjoyed women’s groups before for different reasons.
I felt I had a relationship with the soul of the place. Wierd? Once upon a time I would have thought so. But not any more. This is why I wanted to share this story with innovative women like you.
Whenever I visit a new country or location and start the descent into an airport, I inwardly (not aloud!) have a chat with the spirit of the place as I would a person, and ask to set up a contract. The contract being to bring myself to its people and help, and receive assistance when needed, harmony with its people, good health, and, if working there, to be successful and have my financial needs and goals met. Somehow, it never fails. And, when I leave I thank it!
So where am I now? In 1991 I moved back to the UK, married at the age of 40 and, by choice, we moved to Guildford, Surrey. It’s home. It’s been challenging, with some tragic episodes, more endings than beginnings, but always providing fertile ground for me to grow and yet feel comfortable. I have my beloved hills a stone’s throw away (and, yes, I have one or two stones in my home!) and the old town centre and London close by.
Above all, I feel intimacy yet the freedom to be myself. I don’t need to go elsewhere to find those things, traveller still though I am.
I believe there are reasons places draw and change us. Not just the obvious reasons we go there. We know when we come home to a person or place, and though with time we need new or additional relationships that match our growing potential, it is vital we resonate with places which ‘walk beside us’ and talk with us.
I say to myself, ‘Ysanne, with that kind of relationship how can you be lonely?’
This is a guest post from Ysanne Lewis, a timing consultant, astrologer, writer and lecturer.