Nature Wisdom

with Pat Tuholske; Naturalist

The Enchanted Forest

I am a forest walker. I feel most at home in an Ozark forest. When I visit ocean or desert, I often hear a deep calling to find a forest and wander the lush green depths. The realm of the forest is in my blood and bones. As I wind my way through the trees, I experience a reverence for the sacred knowledge held by the forest.

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” — John Muir

In this season of summer with the forest in full leaf, I take refuge under shade and tune in to the spiritual gift of trees. Our ancient ancestors had a profound connection with trees and believed they were vessels of infinite wisdom. The teachings of the trees are still available to us… if we slow down and listen.

Go and be with a tree. Sit with your back against its bark for a while. Quiet your mind. Slow down to tree speed. Rejuvenate yourself with a walk in woods. Feed your eyes, fill your ears, awaken your nose, feel your spirit.

Trees are aware of every puff of air, every passing cloud, every bird on twig and every human pausing long enough to join in the enchantment. Trees can help you touch upon the deeper dimensions of your soul and bring a unique perspective to your life. The connection that is made with a tree can be used in your daily life for healing, renewal and transformation.

Some of the qualities I encounter from trees that have sheltered and inspired me:

Apple – seeing the beauty in life
Ash – initiation and rite of passage
Birch – cleansing, new beginnings, transitions
Buckeye – good fortune, hope and prosperity
Cedar – protection and purification
Elder – regeneration and rebirth
Hawthorn – deep insight through listening
Hazel – divination and healing pain of loss
Holly – illuminates the way through
challenges and obstacles
Locust – fulfill fate and claim destiny
Linden – elemental intelligence
and inspiration
Oak – doorway to wisdom and strength
Pine – inner vision and long sight
Poplar – shields from misunderstandings
Spruce – resilience and perseverance
Willow – creativity and intuition
Yew – everlasting life and love

Trees keep vigil in chaotic and dark times. In moments of stress and anxiety, they offer the gift of patience and serenity. Mature trees are needed in every community for the peace and stability they provide. Their strength grounds and also uplifts all who enter their aura. Trees fully inhabit their space, living out their destiny as guardians of life on Earth and vessels of ancient memory and wisdom.

No other sentient being stands as long and as tall as a tree. Large trees are vital to the well being of the Earth. As long as life on our planet depends upon water, nothing is more essential than the great forests. They are the “skin” of the Earth, covering and protecting. No other creature can perform their function.

Humankind cannot survive as a species for long without the forests. Our living Earth depends upon vast numbers of trees to control water cycles and temperature, regulate oxygen-carbon dioxide ratios, purify the air, produce and protect topsoil.

“We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men.” — John Muir

Check out Pat Tuholske’s journal “Nature as Healer” for musings on the Human-Nature relationship. Go to elementalearthcamp.com. Pat is the guide at Elemental Earthcamp “off the grid” encampment in the Missouri Ozarks and leads yearly quests. See her wild wreaths and native plant remedies at WillowRainHerbalGoods.com