Horse Chestnut surprise

Hidden in the casing

Autumn in the UK sees ‘conkers’ lying on the ground beneath the trees.

The outside casing is tough, warty, and covered in prickles.

Not exactly inviting, it’s more of a barrier.

Often our lives carry such a barrier round them, so that we may not even know for ourselves what is inside.

Sometimes the casing starts to crack open, and we get a glimpse of what is within, with a gleam of chestnut brown. Those moments of ‘cracking open’ may be when our emotions are raw from a sudden change. You’ve heard people say, “I nearly cracked!” when they try to keep it all in.

That chink of an opening is a good place to start, and a session using the WELLHEAD Toolkit can make use of it to explore the deeper things in life.

Three conkers inside

I opened out this fallen horse chestnut. Look what I found – three conkers! Surprising!

Each one was beautifully shiny and new, and still soft and downy where it had been attached to the casing. They were so unlike the casing. They were the real kernels: the treasure.

Exploring what is within can be very rewarding, and it can trigger a shift in the way we look at things, even when they seem so unpromising on the outside.

Shrivelling horse chestnuts

I kept the conkers for a few days, and I noticed how the casings got even more brown and dead. They seemed to shrink and be less spiky. It was sad that the conkers lost their shine. They started to shrivel.

I realised that they needed to grow. They needed to be in the support of the ground, where they would find water, nutrients, and the connections to the underground mycelial network that would be so beneficial. Identifying what is inside the casing is one thing. The important part is the potential for all that growth – maybe even into a huge horse chestnut tree!

The opportunity to be aware of something deeper, of underlying meaning and purpose, is wonderful.

What are the ‘water’, ‘nutrients’ and ‘connections’ in spiritual terms?

Seeing the potential for growth can catalyse change for the better. The WELLHEAD Toolkit offers one way into this process. There are always choices.

Posted on October 24th 2023

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