“The rebirth of Earth religion is a part of a broad movement that challenges domination - that seeks to connect with the root, the heart, the source of life by changing our present relationships."
FOREST TEMPLE BRINGS US TOGETHER TO HONOR EARTH AND CELEBRATE THE RHYTHM OF THE SEASONS.
We are being called to mend our estrangement from the web of life, to remember our belongingness to land, and to allow space in our lives to be re-enchanted by the song of Earth.
Forest Temple is a relational and ecological embodiment practice space for those who are working toward enacting new and old expressions of culture, relationality, and ways of being that ask each of us to bring forth our gifts and to offer up ourselves.
This is not about performance nor will it ever be a striving for perfection.
This is raw co-creation.
Forest Temple gatherings take place within the occupied territories of the Eno, Shakori, Sissipahaw, and Occaneechi Peoples, and specifically within the Cape Fear River Watershed of NC. We come together to honor our sacred longing to belong on stolen land and to recognize that our being here is inextricably linked to the oppression and attempted erasure of Native peoples.
Thus it is part of our work to unlearn and unsettle ourselves, to be relationally accountable to the land, to understand our unique role(s) and responsibilities in relationship to place, to honor Indigenous self-determination, and to cultivate authentic relationships of solidarity and shared struggle towards collective liberation.
With that being said, Forest Temple is not a space for spiritual by-passing or escapism. We seek to ground our spiritual work in the realities of our living world, much of which requires our willingness to get uncomfortable and to create space for the holy shadow - those things that have long been denied and dismissed - to teach and guide us.
HOW WE GATHER
Our seasonal celebrations weave together nature-connection practices; reflection, contemplation, prayer; ritual & play; eco-craft-making; music, song & dance; land tending & stewardship; gardening & wild foraging; and ancestral animism. The nature of how we gather is ever-evolving and follows the changing tides of the seasons. So we learn to pay attention to the way that Earth speaks to us, sings to us, whispers to us. We are guided by Earth wisdom as we deepen our relationship to Them, so everything we do is centered around cultivating this bond.
A NOTE ON WEATHER & WHAT TO BRING
Bring your songs and your voice, your percussion instruments and sound-makers! We come together regardless of the weather unless it is unsafe to do so. We ask that you dress for the weather, bring your own blanket or folding chair, walking stick and water. If you are joining for a shared meal, please bring your own bowl, utensils and mug. We model ecological consciousness in all of our gatherings.
A NOTE ON COVID-19
Out of respect for one another, we ask that all attendees come prepared to honor social distancing guidelines with masks as optional.
All are welcome and respected at Forest Temple gatherings. We strive to be diverse, intergenerational and accessible to people of all walks of life. Please contact us when you'll be attending with children or when accessibility is a concern so that we can be as accommodating as possible.
WHEEL OF THE YEAR
The Wheel of the Year is an annual cycle of eight festivals (also called Sabbaths) that mark seasonal turning points in the year.
Under modern capitalism, we follow the concept of linear time, however in the past, when we lived in close relationship to nature, time was perceived as cyclical. The Wheel of the Year is a calendar focused on this cyclical journey of the seasons.
Winter Solstice | Yule: December 21 - January 1
Imbolc: February 1-2
Spring Equinox | Ostara: March 20
May Day | Beltane: May 1
Summer Solstice | Litha: June 24
Lammas | Lughnasadh: August 1
Fall Equinox | Mabon: September 21
Samhain | Halloween: October 31 – November 1
Yule is an indigenous winter festival historically celebrated by the Germanic peoples. In old almanacs Yule was represented by the symbol of a wheel, conveying the idea of the year turning like a wheel, The Great Wheel of the Zodiac, The Wheel of Life. Yule occurs on the winter solstice and marks the beginning Capricorn season. That’s the moment when the north pole is tilted away from the sun, making it the shortest day and longest night of the year. Think of it as the start of a new journey, a new adventure. It’s a time we pause to appreciate ourselves and our loved ones, showing gratitude.
Originally, this day was called Imbolc (lambs milk) because the lambing season began. It is the promise of renewal, of hidden potential, of earth awakening and life-force stirring. Here is hope. We welcome the growth of the returning light and witness Life's insatiable appetite for rebirth. Imbolc is traditionally the great festival of the loved pagan Gaelic Goddess of Bridgit. She is a Goddess of healing, poetry, and inspiration. That’s a good moment for purification rituals and candle magic.
Ostara falls on the spring equinox and the beginning of Aries season. It is traditionally the day of equilibrium, neither harsh winter nor the merciless summer, and is a time of childish wonder. The equinox occurs when the sun crosses the celestial equator from south to north, marking the beginning of spring and Aries season. Similar to those indicating the fecundity of spring, symbols for Ostara include eggs, rabbits, flowers, and seeds. It is a good time to perform banishings spells and also perform workings to gain things we have lost or qualities we wish to have.
Beltane celebrates light, fertility, and the coming of summer. The name is thought to come from the phrase “Bel’s Fire”, a reference to Bel, the Celtic sun god but means “bright fire”.This is a holiday of Union between masculine and feminine energy. It is a time of fertility and harvests, the time for reaping the wealth from the seeds that we have sown. Celebrations may include dancing or sex magic.
Litha is also known as Midsummer celebrates the longest day of the year at the Summer Solstice and the beginning of Cancer season. Because this Sabbat glorifies the Sun God and the Sune. Fire plays a very prominent role in this festival Most celebrate the summer solstice with bonfires on the beach and picnics. Common practices at Litha, include also protecting one’s self from unseen forces, for example creating amulets.
Lughnasadh (named for the Celtic hero-god Lugh, associated with order and truth) is the festival of the harvest season. It’s the moment to show our infinite gratitude to Mother Earth. Walking through the woods to spend some time meditating in beautiful surroundings and making bread and sweets are both ideas to celebrate this festival.
Mabon marks the beginning of autumn and the Libra season. It celebrates the Autumn Equinox through thanksgiving and reflection on what one has gained and lost over the year.
The autumnal equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator on its apparent journey southward, and we experience a day and a night that are of equal duration. Up until Mabon, the hours of daylight have been greater than the hours from dusk to dawn. But from now on, the reverse holds true. This is the time to look back not just in the past year, but also on your life, and to plan for the future. In the rhythm of the year, Mabon is a time of rest and celebration, after the hard work of gathering the crops.
Samhain occurs on Halloween’s Eve. Samhain is a major festival in several aspects. It is new year's eve for witches, as well as our third and final harvest festival. This is a good night for deep reflection, long meditation sessions, and inner work. This is the night when the veil is thinnest, the gates between the worlds are open. Souls of the dead are said to visit their homes at midnight. Possible spirit workings include a dumb supper for the beloved dead - ouija - séances - trance possession - automatic writing - leave spirit plates of food outside your home.