There have always been magical places in my life. Environments that were very sacred to me. Places of great natural beauty. Especially in the woods. Whether it was a certain track of forest, a special place in the park, a stream of water, a magnificent rock formation or a circular grove of trees, all held a certain magic and beauty for me.
As a child, I would run into the woods, everyday, in the back of my house so as to participate with this magic and beauty. I would play on the rocks or run through the leaves on the forest floor. I would spend hours examining insects, frogs and caterpillars. And in this place, I became more aware of my connection to the physical world for I would feel and see so much around me. Whether it was the wind currents running through my hair or the moisture on the rocks as I sat down to play or the delicate sounds of the birds in the trees or the chirping of the squirrels as they ran through the forest floor, there was a richness to these sensations that I could not feel anywhere else. With pleasure , I savored these sensations and reveled in the effects they would have upon me. For I felt stronger, more aware and more alive when I surrendered to them. I did not know what I was feeling exactly, I could not put it into words as a child, but I just felt great!
All this wonderful sensation and richness of feeling would often alter my awareness a bit, put me into a bit of a trance or altered state. And in this altered state , I would often play and fantasize that I was an Indian man or woman in my own little settlement. I used to make a “lean- to” house out of branches and leaves on top of a special group of boulders that I would lie under for hours at a time. And I would attempt to make utensils out of sticks and leaf parts and pretend that they were my hatchets or hunting knives. So, I would routinely inhabit this special reality in the woods, playing for hours until suppertime, when my mother would call me back into the house.
The woods and forests were a special place for me and I loved them dearly as a child. And, as an adult , the natural world is still a magical place for me. For I still have the same sensations that I had as a child whenever I walk in the local park or visit a woodland area. I still feel the same joy, energy and connection to everything that I sensed as a child. Only now, I have an additional understanding as to what those feelings are and how they are created in me. I did not understand, as a child, that my backyard woods were out of the ordinary or even sacred.
But as an adult, I know that everything in nature is extraordinary and sacred – filled with a certain spiritual as well as physical energy, vitality and consciousness whose origins are truly sacred. I did not know, as a child, that there were many kinds of beings in the woods who were invisible as well as visible to the naked eye, though I sensed their influence. I know now, that, along with the rocks, plants and animals, there exist elementals and nature intelligences i.e. ondines, sprites, faeries and elves who help create all of nature as well as devas or earth angels who hold the blueprint patterns for all of nature and guardian spirits, who exist to protect all of nature, existing in dimensions close to the earth plane. These beings are constantly in motion, constantly at work or play and observe and react to us all the time. And I did not know, as a child, that all of Nature, is conscious and aware and wishes to connect to us and share in its reality, as I know now from my own personal experiences as a spiritual medium and “earth shaman”.
So, whenever I take a walk in the local park, The (Mighty) *Wissahickon, I look forward to my experience with great anticipation. For I know my physical senses will be heightened and my thoughts and associative processes will be expanded and engaged. In certain places along my walking route, my thoughts will become tinged with impressions from another time or place or my body will be flooded with energy and tingling sensations and often, I will have visions of being a Native American , just as I had as a child in my own back yard. By walking in my beloved woods, I become more alive. Colors become more vibrant and sharp. Trees take on epic proportions. The surrounding plants vibrate with fantastic hues of light. The shapes and form of the rocks and branches create a special language for me. And I feel as if I am in deep communion. Everything begins to speak, expressing itself through its unique form, sound, vibration and color. I listen, observe and feel. And, in return, I receive the message and hear the story. It is a joyful dance with Nature that I participate in. And I can almost see the nature spirits laughing alongside with me. And, like the child that I was, I revel in the dance and continue to explore its never ending mystery and beauty.
*The Wissahickon Park, located in N. W. Philadelphia is one of five major park systems that make up the greater Fairmount Park system for the city and county of Philadelphia, Pa.