A Weekend in the Woods

I spent the weekend in the woods with a dozen members and friends of Denton CUUPS. We shared food, drink, and cooking utensils. We saw birds and heard coyotes. We struggled to get a fire started on Friday night – we had rain through Thursday and the wood was still still damp. We saw the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn – thanks for bringing the awesome telescope, Russell and Debbie! It was a wonderful weekend that left me spiritually recharged and physically exhausted.

There is something special about the woods. They were my refuge when I was growing up, a magical place where anything was possible. My experiences in the woods are one of the main reasons I’m a Druid.

I spend too much time in my head: reading, thinking, and writing. Being in the woods is a chance to just be, to reconnect to the Source, to the Earth Mother, to the gods and goddesses of Nature.

It seems like every time I write about the beauty and power of the Wild, I get comments reminding me that Nature is everywhere. These comments range from gentle suggestions to aggressive attacks – how dare I imply the Spirits of Nature aren’t available to us in downtown Dallas?

I get it. I used to write for No Unsacred Place, with a column titled “The Sacred in Suburbia.” I truly believe we can connect to Nature no matter where we are. More than that, I believe we must. We are creatures of the Earth and we do not do well disconnected from our Source.

But while there is no unsacred place, not all places are created equal. Perhaps it would be better to say all places are not created the same. The mountains are not the deserts are not the cities are not the suburbs are not the farms are not the oceans are not the forests. Practices that work well in one setting can be deadly in another. This should not be an unfamiliar concept for polytheists who understand that while all goddesses and gods are powerful beings, Isis is not Thor is not Brighid is not Cernunnos and on and on.

I find great meaning and power in communing with my gods and goddesses through ritual and meditation. But I have no desire to become a monk and spend all my days in contemplation. Likewise, while I find occasional camping trips to be helpful (to the point of necessity), I have no desire to live in the Wild.

But every so often, I need to get out of my head and go spend a weekend in the woods.

About John Beckett

I grew up in Tennessee with the woods right outside my back door. Wandering through them gave me a sense of connection to Nature and to a certain Forest God. I’m a Druid graduate of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the Coordinating Officer of the Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and a former Vice President of CUUPS Continental. I’ve been writing, speaking, teaching, and leading public rituals for the past eleven years. I live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and I earn my keep as an engineer.

  • http://therioshamanism.com Lupa

    Yep. Even as much of an advocate for urban nature as I am, I also need wilderness, too.


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