You’ve probably read a lot about the health and wellness benefits of spending time in nature. This is a great start, but there’s so much more to nature than simply reducing stress and grounding the body! Nature can be a container for you to experience joy and wonder in life. This kind of connection isn’t just present in Avatar; with the right intentions and environment you can tap into the magic, too. Read the following article to uncover a shamanic perspective on Nature and the simple steps you can take to rekindle your relationship with Mother Earth.
Let’s start at the very beginning:
What do shamans believe about humans and Nature?
Shamans believe that humans are a part of Nature. Rather than viewing humans as destructive outsiders, shamans view humans as Nature’s children who have forgotten their roots. Thus, reconnecting to Nature is more a process of “remembering” than it is learning techniques for bonding with the great outdoors. When we reconnect with Nature, we are remembering and experiencing our true nature. As we learn to once again feel connected to the land and the Earth, we experience deeply rooted feelings of safety and belonging. This is the beginning of genuine healing, and healing of the planet.
Reconnecting with Nature
In the past, the spiritual teachings of nature wove communities together. Nature teachings, rituals, and ceremonies were grounded in the belief that we are inherently able to communicate with Nature, our primal life force from which we originate. Somewhere along the way, human cultures began to adopt different beliefs that were unkind to both humans and the land; these beliefs separated us from the nurturing and connected space we were once a part of. Humans began to believe that they were “kicked” out of Nature’s garden for being imperfect and holding desires. They gradually lost their sense of place in the world, along with their sense of worthiness and connection to the web of life.
Reconnecting to nature involves rewriting these limiting beliefs. You have to believe that you are capable of connection in order to experience it! Take some time to reflect on your beliefs about Nature.
Here are some mantras to inspire you as you begin reflecting, rewriting, and rekindling your relationship to Nature:
- I belong.
- I am naturally connected with the web of life.
- Earth is my home.
- Nature enjoys my presence.
- I am nature.
Cultivating a Spiritual Relationship with Nature & the Spirit of Nature
Many ancient cultures understood Nature as a spiritual mother. They viewed our biological parents as caretakers until we were ready to accept the Earth as our Mother and the Sky as our Father. They celebrated this bond to Nature during traditional rights of passage, when energetic cords to parents were released and the celebrants grounded into the wisdom and love of the Earth. This allowed the adolescents to heal any histories of their childhood as they learned to receive the guidance and healing of our Mother Earth.
Beginning to see Nature as a nurturing mother allows us to receive the loving energy we crave from maternal guidance. We can turn to her for solace, for compassion, for guidance, and for advice. This is a great place to begin cultivating a spiritual relationship with the Earth, and there is no one “right” way to begin connecting. Some ideas include meditating with Mother Nature and feeling her loving energy enter the body, drawing a picture of an Earth goddess, or chanting songs about Mother Earth.
About Nature Spirits
As you spend more time in Nature, you may begin to notice that certain elements and places evoke specific feelings for you. Shamans believe that each living being contains a unique essence, often termed a medicine, specific to that species. For instance, a bear carries bear medicine which evokes personal power and strong, healthy boundaries. A sunflower carries sunflower medicine, igniting self-confidence and the desire to be seen. Mountains carry the medicine of honour and strength, while rivers carry the medicine of remembering.
When you cultivate a level of trust and respect with an element or life form, you can begin to call upon that energy for guidance, healing, or inspiration. For example, in my life I commonly call upon owl spirit to help me see through confusion, and call upon the spirit of cacao to enter a state of vulnerability. As we learn the properties of nature spirits, we reconnect and experience the web of life.
My top 5 tips for cultivating connection:
You might be wondering how you can begin connecting with these Nature spirits. Is it as simple as walking out the door and having your neighborhood plant talk to you? Well yes … and no. You see, connecting with Nature is much like connecting with a human, a work of art, or creative project. You have the enter the right space to be able to feel an authentic connection, a sacred space where you give yourself permission to be fully present, vulnerable, and open. Here are some tips to support you in creating the sacred space to reconnect with Nature:
a) Be curious
Invite your curiosity and sense of wonder to bring you to the aspect of nature that most intrigues you. This can be a specific flower in a garden, a beach that’s been calling your name, or an animal that you feel strongly linked to. Your desires and curiosities are pointers for the connection that’s calling out to you! What landscapes hold a sense of connection for you? What element or plant have you recently been called to explore? Follow your bliss, and see where it takes you!
b) Set your intention
Intention setting determines the flow of energy. If you want to reconnect with Nature, start a practice of setting your intentions before you go for a hike, watch a sunset, or swim in the ocean. Your intention can be as simple as “I want to connect to the ocean” or as personal as seeking guidance for a specific matter in your life. The simple act of intention setting brings you into the state of presence that is necessary for connection to exist.
c) Be still
Taking a brisk walk through a city park might not offer you the connection your soul has been seeking. That’s because connection requires you to slow down to a space of receptivity and sensitivity. Think of the difference between small talk in the grocery aisle or an intimate conversation with a friend. The latter is what we’re aiming for! For intimacy to exist, you want to be in a space of feeling your body, emotions, and intuition. I recommend finding a specific spot in nature, sometimes called a sit spot, where you can feel comfortable for an extend amount of time. Begin by allowing nature to ground you – breathe slowly and deeply, feel your weight on the ground, and draw your attention and awareness into your body. Then, draw your attention to the specific Nature spirit you are called to connect with. As you slow down, notice the physical presence of the Nature spirit. How does she exist and interact with the environment? When you close your eyes, can your body feel her presence? When you enter a space of receptivity, what do you notice Each spirit is a portal for you to experience and feel the universe in a different way.
d) Be moved
After some time in stillness, you may notice that you feel inspired to create with the energy that you’re feeling. Allow nature to move you! This is one of the most amazing benefits of reconnecting with Nature. Not only is Nature our Mother, but she’s also our Muse. As a feminine energy, she holds the creative life force of our planet within her various forms. Thus, we can tap into some of our deepest and most authentic creativity while connecting with Nature. Whether it’s an outdoor yoga, spontaneous movement by a river, poetry writing in the moonlight, or humming as you walk, allow the energies of nature to flow through you. Stay open, stay curious, and allow yourself to be surprised.
e) Give gratitude
You may begin to notice the abundance you receive while reconnecting with Nature and her forms: She grounds you, inspires you, nurtures you, offers guidance and the space for reflection. A beautiful way of giving back to the Earth is simply by offering gratitude. You can whisper your thanks to the wind, or leave an offering for the Earth. I sometimes create flower mandalas as little offerings for the forest. Because all of life revolves around the delicate balance of give and receive, giving back to the Earth reconnects you to a balanced energy flow and invites you to feel like a part of the ecosystem.
My last bit of advice?
Relax! There’s a common misconception that spirituality is serious. When you spend time in Nature, you’ll realise that there’s much humour and playfulness woven through the tapestry of Life. Many shamans and medicine men are known to be lighthearted and joyful for this very reason – Nature is the source of joy. As our loving Mother, she is absolutely delighted for us to return and embrace our true nature as connected beings. All you have to do is step outside to begin!
Got a question about your own experience connecting with nature? Pop it in the comments below, I love hearing from you.
P.S. Which of your friends would enjoy this article? Share it with them now – they’ll thank you later.