ECO-SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY ROOTED IN ANIMIST COSMOLOGY
Forest Temple offers in-person gatherings for folks living in the Piedmont of NC. Our gatherings facilitate experiences that awaken interbeing & deepen our reverence for the natural world. Through relational and ecological embodiment practice we explore how we are being shaped by place while honoring cycles of life, death and the eternal now.
The nature of how we gather is ever-evolving and follows the changing tides of the seasons. Together we practice paying attention to the way earth speaks, sings and whispers to and through us. Guided by earth wisdom and the longing to deepen our relationship to land, everything we do is centered around cultivating our bond with the natural world.
Mindful Nature Walks
Nature Study & Tracking
Seasonal Celebrations are co-created gatherings that bring our local community together to honor the seasonal turning of our bioregional landscape.
As an invocation of emergence, our seasonal celebrations honor spontaneity and so we surrender our seriousness to the art of play as prayer! Together we practice listening and paying attention to the way our more-than-human relatives and the spirit of place speaks, sings, and whispers through us by weaving together nature-connection practices; reflection, contemplation, prayer; folk craft-making; music, song, movement and so much more!
You are invited to join us in this co-creation by becoming a contributing participant, space holder and/or by offering any creative skill or expressive gift as you feel inspired to. We welcome the gifts and contributions of all to help shape the culture of this space. This is not about performance nor will it ever be a striving for perfection. This is quite simply playful co-creation. If you'd like to help co-create our next seasonal ceremony, please let us know here!
Together we will move at natures pace and engage in meaningful practices, storytelling (non/verbal), and rituals that orient us relationally in space/time, ground us in somatic presence, and explore the gifts, intelligence, and healing benefits of our journey through the Wheel of the Year.
What is the Wheel of the Year?
The Wheel of the Year is an annual cycle of eight earth festivals (known as Sabbaths). It combines two different celebration cycles: the four solar festivals: Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Fall Equinox) and the four seasonal/agricultural festivals: Samhain (sow-win), Imbolc (im-ulk), Bealtaine (byel-tin-uh) and Lughnasadh (loo-nuh-suh).
The Wheel of the Year symbol (as depicted below) illustrates a circle divided into eight equal sections. Although this depiction is relatively new and was developed in the 1800's as part of the Neo-Pagan movement, it closely reflects the nature of the holy days that were celebrated by the early Celts thousands of years ago.
Under industrial growth society, 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.
Mid-Autumn / Samhain: October 31 – November 1
Winter Solstice: December 21 - January 1
Mid-Winter / Imbolc: February 1-2
Spring Equinox: March 20
Mid-Spring / Beltane: May 1
Summer Solstice: June 24
Mid-Summer / Lughnasadh (Lammas): August 1
Fall Equinox: September 21
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Forest Bathing, or shinrin-yoku, is a Japanese form of nature therapy that originated in the early 1980s. It is a powerful personal and relational wellness practice where we come together to "bathe" in the healing vibrations of nature. In the same way that one would attend a yoga class, Forest Bathing is a practice for those who wish to re-orient their nervous system to nature's pace and strengthen their connection to the "felt presence" of the living earth.
Forest Bathing is not exercise, it is simply being in nature and cultivating connection through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. The practice of Forest Bathing is like a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world.
According to Ontario psychologist Elizabeth Nisbet, "people may avoid nearby nature because a chronic disconnection from nature causes them to underestimate its hedonic benefits." Ultimately, we don't experience natural environments enough to realize just how restorative it is to our wellbeing nor are we fully aware of the research that confirms they make us healthier, happier, more creative, and empathetic.
Research today confirms the profoundly healing and restorative effects of nature on our mind and body. Studies reveal that:
Indoors, we tend to use only two senses, our eyes and our ears. Outside is where all of our multi-sensory capacities awaken as we smell the flowers, taste the fresh air, notice at the changing colors of the trees, hear the birds singing and feel the breeze on our skin. Eco-mindfulness will support you in developing your curiosity, expand your senses and explore your interconnectedness with your living environment.
“Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond."
― Robin Wall Kimmerer