Speaking with Nature: Awakening to the Deep Wisdom of the Earth - Sandra Ingerman, Llyn Roberts 2015
In Search of the Wild Deep Feminine
In the spring of 2010 I did a vision quest in eastern Washington state with two wonderful guides, Anne Hayden and Sheila Belanger. I wrote about some of my experiences on that journey in my book, Shapeshifting into Higher Consciousness (Moon Books, 2011).
Anyone who’s done a vision quest knows the strong call that’s put out to spirit and nature and that they respond with insights, visions, and sometimes magical manifestations. After the quest comes the challenge of honoring these gifts, which often means that life has to change.
As I wrote in Shapeshifting into Higher Consciousness, a miraculous phenomenon occurred on the solo part of my vision quest when I camped alone for three days in a canyon.
I remember repeatedly uttering, “Life will never be the same.” I had no idea at the time how accurate that statement would prove to be.
Within weeks of my vision quest, I took a bad fall and, by the end of 2010, had lost the vision in my right eye. On January 5, 2011, I learned that my optic nerve had been damaged; a blood mass pressed against it.
Becoming half-blind seemingly overnight, I saw everything differently. All that had been familiar suddenly appeared foreign.
I began having vivid dreams in which the recurring theme was the color turquoise. The color showed up on mundane articles, such as jackets, sweaters, and cars, as well as pools of turquoise water, turquoise blankets and shawls, and more. My dreams featured these items in diverse shades of turquoise—some rich, dark hues and others lighter, more aquamarine.
Each dream ended with my staring at the turquoise article, which then faded from my awareness so that only the color remained. Then I would gaze intently at the turquoise color for what seemed forever. That would be the last I remembered of each dream.
I puzzled to make sense of this. When I was a child, sky blue and turquoise had always been my favorite colors, yet dreaming a color over and over was new and perplexing. I felt haunted. Something was trying to get my attention.
During this searching time I asked Mick Dodge, a friend on Whidbey Island, Washington, where I lived, to take me to the Olympic Peninsula for a few days’ retreat in the wet, wild lands of the Hoh Rain Forest.
Mick was an unusual man with more earth wisdom than many I’ve met, despite my years of study with indigenous shamanic cultures. Born in the Hoh at the hands of midwives, Mick’s adventures include having lived for extended periods in the wilderness.
The Hoh, indigenous home of tribal people who carry the same name, is the largest temperate rain forest in the world, located in the far northwest corner of the United States. The name Hoh, means “white water,” or “fast moving water.”
Just a few years prior to this time, when I still lived in the Northeast, I had never heard of the Olympic Peninsula or its mountains, the Hoh River Valley or its rain forest. I, like many, didn’t even know the United States had a rain forest.
Now, standing by the pristine glacial waters of the Hoh River, it was as if my dreams played out in front of me. In the water swirled and eddied beautiful shades of color—the turquoise of my nocturnal visions. These lands and waters were calling to me.
One year to the day after learning about my optic nerve, on January 5, 2012, I left behind the life I knew to move to the Hoh Rain Forest with Mick Dodge as my escort.
I didn’t plan to escape to the forest with a wild man or to live as a hermit. Such behavior doesn’t solve the world’s problems or stop the violence that escalates in our streets. Yet we each have a unique purpose, a path we are called to follow. Mick Dodge made it possible for me to live reclusively in the Hoh, to take on the forest name Cedar, to muse deeply with the Earth, and to write about it.
During the first days at my cabin on a private strip of land bordering state and national forests, I had a dream about Sandra Ingerman. In my dream Sandra and I worked happily together on a project. The dream was so pleasant and real that when I awoke from this dream I decided to ask Sandra if she’d like to write a book with me.
Speaking with Nature absorbed me the entire time I lived in the Hoh. The land had called me there seemingly for this purpose. My own part was to muse with the nature beings of the rain forest—a miraculous gift, yet while I was communing with the Earth, I was also able to be a bridge between Mick Dodge and prime-time television, facilitating his series on the National Geographic channel titled, The Legend of Mick Dodge.
The Hoh definitely had an agenda. I believe these waters, lands, and nature beings called in the events and people that would help it to be seen, perhaps simply for us to remember, love, and preserve it and all natural places.
I never doubted that the Earth is conscious and my time in the Hoh confirmed it. Those who are open to hearing nature’s call can participate in an amazing unfolding—exciting, reassuring, and also humbling. The magic of the wild and the rhythms of nature lead us back to the intelligence and mystery of life. As in ancient indigenous and matriarchal cultures that recognized the mystery and deep feminine nature of the Earth, we are reminded to hold both women and the Earth as sacred.
Despite all we may do these days to reconnect with nature—and with the creative feminine force—we can still feel separate from the deep feminine power of the Earth, which also resides within us. This book offers ways to bridge these gaps and open to our instinctual nature.
The feminine principle is known by many names. She is associated with dreaming and the unconscious and with darkness, the Earth, and its plants and animals. The sacred feminine embodies spirit and mystery. She connects us with power, fertility, and sensuality; with water as well as solitude; with incubation, death, and death’s partner—rebirth. Reviver of the dead, nurturer of life and the inner worlds of feeling, sensing, and intuiting, the deep feminine is an alchemical muse.
Sandra and I write in a personal way about the nature beings that have called to us. We share inspired stories of the lands, skies, and waters where we each live, as we also explore the physical traits, habits, and habitats of these and other earthly creatures through the lens of the feminine. Our intent is to open you, the reader, to powerful lessons about living life with grace.
Goddesses from cultures as diverse as the Amazon Rain Forest and Egypt are interwoven within these chapters. Reading this book will open you to their spirit medicine and subtle messages, as well as those of plants, animals, and elements. It offers practices and journeys that can be used at home or anywhere to access feminine qualities of these goddesses and of nature in everyday life—to deepen the power within.
Sandra and I invite you to experience this directly for yourself in the natural world of your own bioregion, whether that’s a backyard, a city park, or wilderness. The creative feminine force comes alive through personal experience. These musings encourage a deep sense of belonging with nature and respect for all life, the calling card of the divine woman. Though easy to overlook in modern societies that focus so much on the individual, intimacy with the Earth helps us see ourselves with fresh eyes and relate to our natural environment with more compassion and awareness.
Ultimately it’s difficult to separate “feminine” from “masculine” aspects of life; they are all part of the whole. In the same vein the “light” or divine aspects of the feminine, such as beauty and universal love, hold equal value to the instinctual nature in each of us, which includes “shadow” aspects of the human psyche and of nature.
In taking a feminine approach to the writing itself, Sandra and I allowed our understanding of the plants, animals, and landscapes we wrote about to evolve as they spoke to us. We did not make solid interpretations, instead allowing their stories to unfold. We invite you, the reader, to personally explore the land, waters, and nature beings where you live.
The more we tap into the deep wisdom of the Earth and open our hearts to nature’s mystery and the life all around us, the healthier our planet and we will be.
As we have written this book intuitively, Sandra and I encourage you to consider the same approach in your reading. For instance, this may not be a book to read cover to cover. You may prefer to scan the chapter headings or simply open the book at random and see what nature being and teachings appear and where they take you. Allowing the living presence of the beings in this book to engage you is likely to enliven the relationship between you and the nature beings in the area where you live. Serendipity will occur.
Shamans the world over teach about mythical and spiritual worlds that parallel the material world. The dreams and “invisible” realities of shamanism are an aspect of the feminine. As you read these essays, we hope you feel encouraged to honor your dreams and intuition, as well as other unseen, subtle, and even forgotten, suppressed, and undervalued ways of being that the feminine often represents.
Dreams have always been a guiding force in my life. My move to the Hoh Valley was precipitated by dreams that became invaluable tracking signs when the idea arose to move to the dark, untamed side of the Hoh River, where local legends say women never last more than two months. If not for my turquoise dreams and the guidance of Mick Dodge, who appeared in my dreams years before we ever met, I would not have had the courage to move to the Hoh. If not for my dream about Sandra, she and I would not have mused and written for two years about the nature beings in our diverse locales.
Many of us are afraid to follow the mysterious trail of our dreams, or we dismiss them, thinking they are just fantasy.
And there are also times we make the error of thinking our dreams are ours alone.
Nature and the Earth are conscious; they speak to us now through our dreams, intuition, and deep longings, along with auspicious happenstance. For those who are willing to participate, nature invites hunches, experiences, and circumstances that will guide us. We don’t have to move to the wilderness to do this. The power and intelligence of the Earth is all around and within us, always accessible.
As you engage these writings, allow them to open you to the feminine power of nature where you live. You will learn more about yourself and be inspired to live in greater harmony with the forces all around you.
It’s time to heal ourselves as we also transform our relationship with the Earth. Nature is calling us home.