Carrying the Forest within

I am an animist, polytheist pagan on the Druidry path.

I need to be surrounded by trees to feel alive and energised.

Too bad I live in the outskirts of Lisbon and work in Lisbon city itself. It drains me out and sometimes it is very hard for me to have any energy at all.

The concrete and cement, all the buildings and cars and pollution, and even the huge amount of people around drain me so very much, unlike what happens in rural spaces.

Perhaps this is due to my need of closeness with Nature, or my need for personal space (please don’t get me started on public transportation during rush hour).

However, today something was different. I am still living in the outskirts of Lisbon, in a very urban area. But, today, I somehow felt the connection to the land and its spirits, I felt the connection to the few trees in the sidewalk. I felt like they were saying “I know how you feel”.

About a week after my experience with Danu, I started praying daily (usually twice a day) to my Ancestors (of blood and of spirit), to the Spirits of the Land, to the Deities I follow (Cernunnos, Danu and The Morrígan).

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This connection might be due to my recent daily practice. If it is, I hope it continues.

But what I am taking from all this?

I am learning to be mindful of the Land Spirits around, even in urban grounds. I am starting to feel the Spirits of the Land in a place I never had before (cities).

My spiritual practice is gaining a greater importance in my life and I am enjoying it very much. I am learning and improving through baby steps and I am ok with this. Good things take time and require resilience, practice and time.

OBOD has this wonderful exercise where you visualise yourself in a grove. Mine is always deep within a forest. It seems I am finally learning to carry the forest within me.

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Back to Góis

I return every year. If possible, more than once a year.

To be honest, I would live here if I could. Lets face it, I was born in Lisbon (Portugal’s capital), but it is the countryside that speaks to me. It is in the countryside by the forest that I feel free, that I feel best the connection with the Spirits of Nature, with the Spirits of the Land.

So, everytime I return here I feel like I have returned home, at last.

This time around, though, I feel sorrow and pain, and I feel like crying.

Everywhere you look, you see the aftermath of the man-made wildfires, some for profit and others because people are unable to foresee the consequences of their actions.

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On the other hand, I found out that a wonderful, natural grove was destroyed to open a passage for hunters’ vehicles.

It hurts. I feel the Spirits of the Land are hurting and upset. And I cannot help but feel the same. 

What is worse, I don’t know how I can help to improve the situation when, throughout Portugal, judges set recidivist arsonists free. 

Or when the Government (like its predecessors) caves under the pressure of paper industry (such as Navigator) and, instead of promoting the reforestation with native trees such as oak, holm oak, cork oak, alder, chestnust and cherry trees, ash, laurel, olive, pine, and sycamore trees, they keep promoting the plantation of eucalyptus (already called “the green oil” by the paper industry tycoons).

And I feel powerless when Góis Municipality allows the destruction of green spaces to turn them into roads for hunting grounds.

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I am sad. I am upset. I don’t know how to improve the wildlife conditions in my country.

I pray to Cernunnos for guidance, because I am certainly not wise enough to see the amount of destruction that has been caused to our forests and come up with an appropriate solution for the dire times we’ve been going through.

Photographs taken by this blog’s author/admin.