As a child I spent great amount of time in the woods near my house. I played, learned and listened there. Sometimes I would play with other children, but most of the time I was alone. It was magical. I learned about the cycle of life and death there, about the seasons and about being in the world.
Since becoming an adult, I turn to the woods for grounding. The woods remind me of who I was and who I am, as well as who I am becoming.
The woods are like a cathedral, with tall trees all around. They bridge the span between the earth and the sky, enabling us to reach higher. Climb a tree to feel tall, or free from earthly constraints. Hug a tree to feel the universal love that flows through all living things.
The woods are sacred spaces for women, because they are nurturing places.
Go to the woods when feeling low or empty, and receive nourishment for your woman soul. Sitting on the moss, or last years’ leaves or pine needles, become aware of how the woods are our mother. There is a stillness in the woods not found elsewhere. Whether it is raining or sunny, the woods have a quietness that is timeless and replenishing. Find a place to sit, or lie, and just be. Breathe slowly, and feel the pulse of the life around you. It is gentle and soft, and full of loving. As you slowly unwind, you can open yourself up and be replenished. To be repaired.
The woods are safe spaces for all who are hurt or suffering.
In the quiet understanding of the woods you can dare to open yourself and pour out your grief. You can dare to receive and to be comforted. Lying on the ground you are bathed in love and compassion. The woods is perhaps the closest we can come to returning to the womb, and for many women the woods offer a space for rebirthing, or for changing directions in life.
In the woods, away from the civilised streets, we can reconnect with a part of our core.
The woods help me to connect with the wild woman within, with the brave and the fierce as well as the kind and gentle. The contradictions meet in harmony in the woods – I am all this and more.
The woods are also a space for finding food, for foraging nuts, mushrooms, roots and berries.
In the woods we meet with animals – perhaps you meet your animal guide there. If you sit still long enough, you will see life where before you only saw wilderness. In the woods we become aware of sharing the earth with other beings – and of their generosity to us. Woods are humbling places.
So next time you visit the cathedral that is the woods, listen to the timeless song and think of all the women who have stood here before you. Listen to their voices, to their experiences and feel the connection. Be still and feel the love.
Do you have a favourite place in the woods? I’d love to hear about it, and about your experiences there.
Vild Prestegard is an anthropologist, holistic therapist, Reiki master and public speaker based in Norway. She is a regular blogger for Cycle Harmony. You’re welcome to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and comments.