The regal wild.

The regal wild is what Dr Martin Shaw, author and director of The Westcountry School of myth contrasts to the wild that is feral, hooligan, brawling in a teaser for an upcoming book about The wild twin:

The wild twin is not unique to me, you have one, everyone has one. That’s the message from the old stories. That the day you were born a twin was thrown out the window, sent in exile. That it wanders the woods and the prairies and the cities, lonely in its whole body for you. It rooms in abandoned houses in south Chicago. Someone saw her once on a Dorset beach in winter. They are always asking after you.

It lives in the feeling when the ruddy mud of the Nile squeezes between your toes, when moonlight slips from the mouth of a Heron, when you play cards with a delightful villain. It’s going to push you towards ruin on occasion, and has a lot of generosity towards kids. It will hide your laptop and send a thousand wild geese processing over your cabin in an October dusk. The wild twin is the glorious vintner of the blood-wine of your many private battles, and sells it in highly prized bottles to remote Armenian queens. It is incorrigible, melodramatic, and has only your best interests at heart.
— Dr Martin Shaw

The idea of a wild twin struck me - I, who have always felt the company of others left me wanting for something else or something… more. Or worse, left me cramming all that is the good and alive in me, the fierceness and sincerity, into a more common form, much too small, leaving me in equal measures likeable and unhappy. I think I have looked for my wild twin in many ways, but felt her only a handful of times. When I was 14 and meditated on a grassy hill and a thunderstorm came, my friend’s auburn hair glowing in that peculiar light. I would have needed a wild twin ten years later when I went to her funeral. I definitely heard my wild twin laugh when I gallopped over a wide field at 16 on the first horse I ever rode, a big moody racing horse who threw me from the saddle whenever I couldn’t keep up with her bolting and rearing. And more recently, she’s with me in the wild dreams I thought I had lost as I bit by bit let an everyday life, other’s expectations and the safety of a pay check domesticate me. Most clearly I can feel our two mirror images converge when I’m under an open sky, stretched out between treetops or mountains far apart.


So these are the places I go. These are the places I can breathe life into my relationship with myself, with nature, and with my husband. He who loves me as we do the dishes or walk the kids to school, but who gets a certain glimpse in his eye when I do those things that move me towards the wild twin. Maybe our wild twins are lovers too, I think. Shifting between the male and female, always ready to throw in a wild card. I have never known anyone to love my wild twin before.


One of the more practical ways I searched for my wild twin as a child was scanning the Penpal section of the magazines I read. No one ever had the same birthday as me and I never settled for anything else. You can’t cheat the dates, especially not when you’re 10 and hardheaded and choose the books from the school library by how thick they are (the thin ones just don’t last. This is how I read Amy’s eyes and Sofie’s world too early to remember anything but how they made me feel like the world was much bigger than any grownup would ever let me know).


Lately, I’ve been thinking about this space I’m trying to patch together for myself and for you, you who can see where I’m pointing, what I’m aiming for even if it’s beyond vague sometimes. The jewellery is one glorious piece in this structure - it’s a way for me to summon up ideas and aspects of life and death and birth and every big, beautiful thing, and let you hold them in your hands, wear them and bring them with you out into the world. It brings me so much pride and joy. But I want to do more. Connect more. I never aimed for this to be a one-way thing with a monetary transaction at the center, even if I just gave myself my first ever small-but-mighty salary this month and felt my chest fill with reassurance - I might be able to DO this, more than I do now. And one way I can do this, that I think some of you will love, is putting together a letter writing structure. Penpals. Handwriting. Slow words, spelling errors, thoughts not as easily changed or arranged. Waiting weeks for a letter in the mailbox. Stamps! The regal wild. You write, I connect, you create. Together with each other, without me. And then you can tell me what you learned, if you want to, what you realised or saw in this creating of a correspondence with someone unknown.


I’m going to mull over this a little longer but if you have any ideas on how to do this please let me know. We’ll build this bridge as we cross the river. Maybe you want to exchange poetry, or paint your own cards, or practice your hand lettering, or write erotic novels. Maybe you want to tell a stranger about your greatest fear, the one you can’t tell anyone closer than 20000 kilometers away, to dispel it and rob it of its strength and power. Maybe you just want someone from another part of the world to turn your everyday life over with, the little joys. I think this could be something good. Let’s see if we can get a glimpse of our wild twins in the process.


All pictures in this post were taken on Store Mosse National Park, a hauntingly beautiful and widespread land of stunted pine trees, bog lakes, mires and ponds.