Nature-Centered Healing Practices and Wilderness Rites of Passage
We are born wild, yet we often forget this as we age. Nevertheless, as Carl Jung suggested, within each of us is a “two million-year-old self”, and that no matter how “civilized” we become, inherently we remain natural beings. It is no surprise; therefore, that an abundance of new research demonstrates spending time in nature has a healing effect, reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Instinctively we know this. But what is not so commonly understood is that we are fully nature ourselves; that we are the same as the wild world in which we live. To be nature means that we shift and change just like the tides, the moon, and the seasons in their continual cycle of birth-death-rebirth.
Nature teaches us that there is no new life without the death of the old. We see this in the shortening of summer days, the falling of autumn leaves, through aging and loss, and the temporality of all things. As such, any meaningful psychological transformation requires dying to old and outworn roles and identities. This practice of dying, no matter how painful, is part of a greater pattern that always cycles back to a regeneration of life. In psychological terms, this is the rebirth of a new attitude, a new way of being within this life still yet to be lived.
Nature-centered healing practices involves consciously aligning ourselves with the seasonal cycles of the natural world, integrating body, soul, mind, and spirit, valuing the natural wild beings that we are. In doing so, we experience a greater sense of belonging, trust, self-acceptance, responsibility, and a much needed sense of wonder and mystery.
I have had the honor of guiding and training hundreds of people in wilderness rites of passage and nature-centered ceremonies through my work with The School of Lost Borders. If this is something you are interesting in, whether in a group setting or individually, please contact me.