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Forest Feels

Forest Feels

One of the things I have come to realize in my nearly forty years in this body is that the world and our lives are not linear.

I have been told (and accepted for most of my existence) that we are on a path.  A one way journey from cradle to grave.  I believed that the sum of my being was the experience that occurred between these two points.

Mother Nature had nurtured me as a child.  I spent my youth as a wildling, following coyotes' trails, covered in the perfume of my local ecology.  Black sage and sagebrush heady and thick, my body would be covered in their resinous aroma.  I found wonder and amazement at the many facets the earth presented. 

Somewhere in my journey to “adult” I rejected the magic of nature I had found in youth, instead favoring a more cynical and skeptical outlook.  Through nearly a decade of depression and anxiety, misdiagnosis and multiple medications I managed to find my way back in the embrace of the Earth Mother.  She would whisper to me while I worked in the garden, my hands warm and dirty.  I felt the edges of my “long winter” beginning to soften.  Compassion and self-love began to unfurl like the first leaves of a fern.

fern unfurling green plant spring sprout

I felt a newness, a rebirth and I felt connection.  That simple component had been missing in depression, I was surrounded by isolation and not belonging.  Slowly, delicately my awareness moved from the edges of my consciousness toward a focused center, just as the snow melts around its perimeter moving ever closer to the innermost areas. 


Through wanderings in the forest, the desert, the coast, I found my greatest teachers in the Oaks, the Elders, the Ocotillo and Chaparral and the primal, unbridled power of the sea.  The wind moving through the plants became my proverbs.  There was a recognition that any perceived preferences I had were my own constructs.  I had created a human world of labels and boxes regarding how I “ought” to be instead of allowing each moment to be perfect in its own uniqueness and individuality. Serenity followed accepting that the universe does not fall neatly into boxes and labels. 

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” –Alan Watts

dormant ocotillo in a desert landscape

Dale Pendell in his Pharmako book series briefly touched upon this concept, which I was beginning to understand.  His writing resonated deeply with me and I was able to identify with both aspects he presented.  He talked of Sun Medicine and Moon Medicine, and where there is a time for the sun there is also a time for the moon.  This description of the cyclical nature of life vibrated a forgotten knowing within me.  How much sense it made that while each day has a time and an energy, as organisms we do as well.  The masculine and illuminating nature of the sun cannot be sustained eternally, and the shadowy, subtle, feminine nature of the moon is a welcome reprieve from the intensity of the solar light.  In the vague, obscured moments of night when the dark feels heavy and eternal we are greeted by the promise of dawn.  We find ourselves in a society that demands more and more of this sun style energy; productive, multi-tasking, goal-oriented, timeliness.  We have a heightened desire to rely on stimulants and deplete our adrenals to meet these demands.  There is increasingly less room for the introspective, sensual, and intuitive moments of the moon. 

I was privileged to listen to a lecture regarding these concepts at the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference in New Mexico.  Dave Meesters eloquently presented and expanded on these ideas.  His blog contains the essay he wrote for the conference.  I encourage you to read it!

With the earth as my mentor and plants as my allies I found an acceptance with my cycles. I try to allow myself times to sprout, times to fruit and times to wither.  I experience emotional winters which inevitably soften and give rise to spring.  I charge through in productive fiery sun energy while allowing regeneration and increased creativity in my times of moon energy.  And I am gentle (or learning to be) with the inner voices that speak to me.

Woman leaning against ancient oak tree in the forest


Apr 26, 2018

Christine, I can relate to not appreciating the lunar aspects in myself as they tend to be more shadowed and subtle. I feel like we value the incredibly productive and extroverted solar energy and it has taken some time for me to accept, embrace and enjoy the more introverted, quiet moments.

Mar 23, 2018

I really enjoyed the article you linked to! I immediately identified as being more on the lunar side of things. I don’t like my lunar characteristics sometimes, so I appreciate his recognition of their value and the need to nurture them for best use, not just balance them with the other side of the spectrum.


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