When the bustle becomes too onerous and the sun becomes too strong, I like to retreat to the soft quietness of my own space—there I can regroup—or I take a long, solitary walk or drive across a distance. In stories, the heroine frequently needs time alone. One of my favourite Grimm brothers’ tales, ‘The Iron Stove’ features a lot of wandering around for the king’s daughter so that she can see what needs to be accepted, what needs to be set right, and how to follow the path of intuition and trust rather than external rules.

I have done my share of wandering, and retreating into solitude and there are some helpful things to remember. We often need to truly drop the reins and let the crazy rushing horse of our physical body simply meander. We need to lose control a little in order to allow the sacred to enter.

In ‘The Iron Stove’, the heroine is guided to a little house inhabited by toads, and receives some useful items for her onward journey from a toad queen. You may not come across any toad queens—or even any common ones—but by opening up, we can often reach our own inner wisdom or allow ourselves to be surprised by synchronicity and coincidence into receiving help from external sources—even toads!