Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Posts tagged ‘Wild’

Time warp into Spring

The weather today was sunny and 82 degrees, but because of breezes and low humidity, it did not feel hot.

The cottage in western North Carolina ~

Trillium photo I took today in the Pisgah Forest ~

Today as I hiked the forest trail, the only sound was birdsong and the rush of water in small falls and rivulets down the mountainside. The new green of Spring glowed in the treetops, and tiny yellow, purple, and white blossoms opened in cracks and crevices, by stumps and rocks.

Huge old-growth trees towered overhead.

I sensed that inner expansiveness that arrives when I am reminded of my place as part of a wider, wilder world.

Woodland Critters

The critters below were watching me warily from the undergrowth as I walked the paths near John’s Pond.

One can never be too careful when walking in the woods.

Like a wave from the ocean

You did not come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here. – Alan Watts


A tip of the hat to GreenSpirit for bringing this quote to my attention in its newsletter. Alan Watts introduced me to meditation practice when I was a teen in the 1960’s. In one form or another, I’ve practiced it ever since.

The Green Man Archetype

We should not be seeking the Garden, it is not lost. It is we who are lost. It is we who are alienated from the Garden of which we are a part, which is around us and within us now, and always has been.

Green Man

So says Billy, one of the many Green Men present at the Convention I am attending this weekend. I apologize that his photo, above, is not more clear; the light was low.

Brian Froud said that a first step in reconnecting with the spirit of nature is to acknowledge that it is possible. Before “taking things” from nature, we should seek permission. Communication, he said, is possible and necessary, and there are no “rules” about how to do it; it is individual and intuitive process.

At the end of the Green Man Panel, Brian was made an honorary member of the Blessed Order of the Greenman (BOG).

Blessed Order of the Greenman induction ceremony

Other members on the Green Man panel included Celtic scholar John Matthews, folklorist Steve Winick, artists Wendy and Brian Froud, and BOG founder Shane Odom.

So far (it’s not over yet) attending this event has been a colorful, inspiring, and thought-provoking experience. There have been many other workshops, gatherings, and events here. More posts will follow as time allows – it’s a busy time!

Full Moon Labyrinth Walk

Ten of us gathered on a frigid night, 9º F, with a wind chill many degrees below zero.

Clouds were racing across the sky, hiding and then revealing the big, silver moon.

Full Moon Snow Labyrinth

We were bundled up, thus able to take the time we needed for this snow labyrinth experience. Candles in lanterns made of ice  cast a warm glow across the snow, as we followed the winding path.

Labyrinth Ice Lanterns

At the center, we each paused to look at the moon and reflect on the journey.

At the Center of the Labyrinth

Right after we left the labyrinth, a coyote howled in the woods nearby.

That set us to howling, too!

Into the Wild

In the film of The Fellowship of the Ring, when the Hobbits asked Strider where they were going together, after they left the inn called The Prancing Pony, he answered, “Into the wild.”  In that tale they went off the path, across wild country to avoid confronting the evil dark riders.

My forays off the path in the wild have not been nearly that exciting (there was one close encounter with a low-swooping owl at dusk – hardly a dark rider, but it got my attention). I could probably think of other outdoor adventures.  But the wild part of my mind, my inner life, is another story: it feeds my imagination. “Wild” can mean many things. Right now I think one of the wildest places on the planet (in a sad and tragic sense) is in Haiti: the wildness of catastrophe.

Today I found myself reading an online sermon entitled “Finding Wild Space.” Because I’m intrigued by wild places, inner and outer, the title caught my attention immediately.  The writer of that sermon, Rev.  Anne Sutherland Howard, had a different take on “wild.”  She wrote, “Wild space is that part in each one of us that does not fit our consumer culture’s definition of the good life. Here’s how it works: Imagine a circle. Within that circle is the dominant cultural model: white, male, middle-class, heterosexual, educated, able-bodied, Western, successful. Now, put your own model of yourself over that circle. Some parts may fit, maybe almost all, some may be different. The part of us that falls outside the conventional circle is our wild space. The parts that do not fit may be obvious: race or sex or physical characteristic. Other parts that do not match up with the successful conventional model may not be so obvious to others: surviving the death of a loved one, a lost job, the struggle with addiction or depression, the vague disappointment about not “making it,” or our refusal to buy into the conventional model. Anything that causes us to question the definition of success is our wild space.”

This passage got me thinking about the choices I’ve made that may have made me seem less than successful, according to the writer’s definition. I’ve never earned very much money. I’m a woman. And I’m outside the conventional model in many life-style choices.  Yet living at the edge is where I’ve always been most comfortable. In that space, I am closer to possibility, creativity, and very interesting people and ideas.

What is your wild space? And what does it mean in your life?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The entire text of “Finding Wild Space,” by Rev. Anne Sutherland Howard, may be found at Day 1, http://day1.org/1679-finding_wild_space . The passage here was reprinted with the permission of Day 1.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~