Begin a regular practice of attunement to the land, including outdoor meditations and offerings to the Nature Spirits. It is suggested to pick a place easily accessible that you might be able to go to several times a week (such as an overgrown fence – row, a more ‘wild’ section of your backyard, possibly a city park, or even a balcony garden, etc) rather than a place that you might only get to visit every few weeks. Keep a journal of your experiences over a six month period — including where on the land you went for
your meditations and offerings, weather, encounters with animals, plants, etc. Summarize your experiences and any insights gained through the experience. (summary minimum 300 words)
I’ve decided to tackle the above portion of the Naturalist Guild study program in ADF. Now that I’m no longer pregnant and fearful of falling, I’ve been getting outside more and more. When the forest calls my name, I am usually in a position to go! I’m going to use my blog as a place to journal about my experiences because, well, I tend to do that anyway! So let’s begin!
Today I took a walk to the shrine in the forest. I’ve been visiting at least once a week. On my way there, I noticed a plethora of tracks in the snow. Deer and rabbit of course, but also canine tracks that, based on the size and solitary nature, probably belong to a coyote. I know there are coyote and coydogs around anyway, but they made me nervous all the same. I slipped through the hedge following some deer tracks and, in a few minutes, reached the shrine. It’s very simple – some rocks piled below a pine tree. I took a moment to breathe and take in my surroundings. Snow everywhere. Branches on the ground or just clinging to their trees, victims of the recent ice storm. A clump of dried leaves and wadded spiderweb swayed in the breeze like a wildcrafted dreamcatcher. In the distance, a fire siren cried out and I worked to put it out of my mind as I focused.
I spoke to the local spirits and thanked them for their blessings. I prayed to grow in greater harmony with them and learn more of their wisdom. Suddenly, I found myself pausing and then asking for safe passage. I generally don’t do that. Now, I do ask permission to enter each time… but this was an additional step that I had not felt compelled to ask before. I realized how uneasy I felt. I finished my prayers and offerings (local dried corn and a green apple). I noticed how quiet the forest was. Usually at this time (the afternoon), you can hear the playful chatter of chickadees or the scolding of red squirrels. Perhaps you would ear the cawing of distant crows and ravens. Nothing. I suddenly felt as if I was being watched and I remembered the coyote tracks. Was it that? Was it the aforementioned siren? Was it the snowstorm reportedly coming?
Just to be safe, I carefully left the forest and returned home. Not every visit will be sunshine and happiness. Sometimes a visit to commune with nature is coming to terms with your fear and weaknesses.