REMEMBERING THE WISDOM OF WILDNESS

Re-connect to the wisdom of wilderness, and perhaps our planet will save US, says Darren Austin HallArtwork: Stéphane Recoupé

“To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.” — Terry Tempest Williams

The worst kind of loss is one you’re not even aware of. The loss of the wild and our allied wildness is one such loss, haunting us in a multitude of inner-howlings and muffled cries; deep, psychic pains and distant, all-engulfing yearnings.

We may taste it in the devastating awe of a sublime valley of meandering meadows and lakes surrounded by towering mountains. Or else in the skin-crawling terror that some city slickers can experience in the dark woods. We get little nudges of it, too, when we boldly take risks, calling upon unknown resources. In the ecstatic place when limits are transcended and we witness how much more powerful we are than we believed.

And we also find it in the rebellious streak that smirks at authority figures, sometimes playfully, sometimes out of a sheer desire to transgress any kind of ‘taming’ of our primal being, as if it were a grave betrayal. The story of our wildness—what it is, what happened to it and what to do with it now—is old and complicated, but it’s one worth remembering, for it harkens back to the most ancient wounds that usurp us all.

Our natural world, horrendously abused, is now in a state so perilous our very survival as a species is threatened. This is an example of just how deep the wound of separating from our wildness goes. At the heart of perhaps one of the longest and most insane of wars in our story as a species, it is also one we are largely ignorant of: the war against both nature and the wilds of our own human nature.

I realized this returning to Toronto after a recent vision quest in Manitoba, and realizing what we’ve lost in choosing to pave over Her wild, ragged skin; to relegate Her rawness to sanitized city parks; to drown out the peaceful pulse of Her wilderness with the perpetual motion of the traffic and busyness that charge our cities with a certain kind of restless madness.

Moreover, how we have become cut off from something so vital and necessary; something that keeps us in constant alignment with what is true and good, on a path of virtue, and away from the suffering that modern culture wreaks upon us by way of social conditioning.

But all it takes to remember is to acknowledge the inherent wisdom that awakens within us when we’re in the wild, like a silent soul-switch.

In any moment of heartache, when you’ve felt called to take a walk in park or, better yet, hike in a forest, didn’t you experience an almost immediate peace-of-mind? And perhaps a subsequent yet even more powerful cascade of wise insights, resolve, and answers? In my one-on-one healing practice, I often send people besieged by turmoil to the park to sit beneath a tree, to ground into the earth and simply ask questions. I counsel them to enter a state of meditative receptivity and to wait to see what happens. It never fails.

One incredulous friend later admitted she thought it was some ‘hippy bullshit’—but that within minutes of sitting, she found extraordinary insights. On this note, one ancient name for Goddess Earth is Sophia, meaning ‘wisdom’—also at the root of the word philosophy: philo (love) of sophy (wisdom). Or Sophia, the Earth Goddess, whose quality is wisdom.

I believe that when we encounter any kind of wilderness, even in a city park, an extraordinary resonance takes place between it and the wilderness buried deep in us. Suddenly, stagnant emotions, thoughts and experiences find flow because what is wild is always in flow, cannot be tamed nor contained. To take a hit of this means an immediate sense of liberation.

It’s a feeling we experience as teenagers: as our hormones thrust our bodies into adulthood, and we feel the unhinged energies of our being expanding. In traditional cultures, these were times to take the boys and girls into the wild to teach them how to navigate these new energies, so that their wildness could be channeled, and not devour them in arrogant hubris and inflated egos vulnerable to narcissism.

Nowadays, kids do drugs, and partake in other risky activities to test their mettle against these dynamic evolutions. All too often, it leads to disaster—disasters we often survive (we are sturdy folk). But some are are never able to escape this deep yearning for more aliveness, chasing the sensation for the rest of their lives in whirlwinds of drug and alcohol abuse.

For the great call of the wilderness is forever present.

If we choose, we can learn to ride the stallion of our desires using the tools of our spiritual practice, while fostering a quiet reverence for the wild, knowing that there will always be a part of us that lies beyond our control. For if we don’t figure out how to live in harmony with our wildness, we’re doomed. Something we’re reckoning with as a species right now.

And so I invite you to rediscover the wild in you and to find ways to connect more deeply and even sacredly to the wilds of the world.

  • Perhaps this means a month-long discipline of mini-vision questing a la urban shamanism, going to the nearby park every morning to sit in gratitude and receptivity for potential flumes of wisdom.
  • Perhaps this means shaking for twenty minutes a day and letting the voice vent into roars, yells and spontaneous songs.
  • Perhaps it means following our instincts more, our gut-truths, and heart-wombing wisdom; giving head to our heart.

Whatever your way of connecting to the wisdom of wildness, know that you are healing the great wound between ourselves and the Earth, a wound that has pushed us to the harrowing brink. Know that these small acts are in service of a greater movement that is sweeping through our species as we begin to remember a deeply eternal love for Earth, and for the wild.

In which we might just find the way to live one of the most splendorous truths imaginable; we might find the way to let the world save us.

Discover more about Darren Austin Hall and his work at Darrenaustinhall.com

THE NUMEROLGY OF 8/8

Felicia Bender explains how to use the powerful numerology of 8/8 to bring about your greatest manifestations…

A day to channel your inner Daenerys

Question: What could possibly be more exciting than Leo season?

Answer: Leo season and the magical manifestation energy of the number 8!

In Numerology, the number 8 brings energy related to manifestation in the material world. It’s all about money, power, and achievement. And don’t misread the 8 as relating to “money only.” This energy is all about personal empowerment, since we really can’t fully manifest in the material world without a strong sense of self—and a consistent ability to be resilient, ethical, and hard-working.

Still, the numerology of 8/8 offers a strong vortex of manifestation energy that’s there for the taking. This is a powerful day to take a long-term view of your goals. Are you happy with your financial situation? If so, keep doing that. If not-so-much, then using this day to sit down and take a deep look at where you are, how you got there, and perhaps where you want to be instead, is mandatory.

And as a passing thought en route to the grocery store won’t cut it. This requires some concerted soul-searching and a bit’o long-term planning. Because the energy of the 8 isn’t “light.” It’s not particularly easy-breezy or “lucky.” Rather, the 8 brings ideas and desires into the material world ONLY when there is a solid focus, a plan, organization, and some elbow grease.

And when the going gets tough, the 8 gets going!

This month, the double 8 of 8/8 is a platform from which to launch our practical dreams, whether it’s a desire for a healthy and passionate relationship, a new job or career more suited to our talents, and that offers more money. This isn’t about fly-by-night endeavors. So make a plan. Tap a more business-like attitude. And most importantly, take yourself seriously!

This may cause some real “OMG I’m just not good enough” feelings to bubble to the surface. Don’t avoid them—we actually benefit when we take a look at our perceived weaknesses. We get to investigate where they originated and get serious about how we can get past self-sabotage and into our empowerment. You are the embodiment of the Divine, hear you roar!

So get ready to rumble and take advantage of this powerful opportunity to launch your “what’s next” plan of action. Take the high road and don’t succumb to defeatism, victimization, or any other negative “ism.” The 8 amplifies all that we think about and act upon, so step up and make it count.

THE NUMEROLOGY OF 7/7

The number seven is the seer, the thinker, and the seeker of truth. Felicia Bender explains how to use the numerology of 7/7 to renew your trust in the Universe…Collage: Bethany Harper Walsh

Lucky number 7?

The numerology of 7/7 means the energy open for us today is indeed lucky. And yet more than this, it represents an open door to spiritual insight—and also a moment to contemplate the ways in which you place faith and trust in ourselves and in a “higher power.”

Ask yourself: do I anxiously push for things to? And if they don’t work out the way I think they should, do I find myself plummeting down a rabbit hole of despair, frustration, or cynicism?

Or am I willing slow down enough to listen to my intuitive voice, even when the direction it’s steering me might make no sense whatsoever? Or when it doesn’t give me the answer I think I want?

Well, the numerology of 7/7/ says today is the day to open up, to slow down, and to trust. To trust yourself and to trust that the Universe actually is on your side, even if it doesn’t quite feel like it. And if you feel like you’re already in this flow, then keep speeding down that open road!

It’s also the day to declare some gratitude. To be a little bit vulnerable. To analyze data and situations, and yet balance this with your heart and intuition. The energy of the number 7 supports analysis, research, questioning…and intuition.

In order to optimize the numerology of 7/7, allow yourself some time to get unplugged. To get outdoors. To meditate. To write. To read. To study. And to slow down enough to notice the magic of the Universe as it is revealed in even the smallest of synchronicities.

Yep, you get a free pass to go about contemplating your own navel today. And as you’ll discover, you can get some profound insights about yourself when you simply invite the voice of your higher self in—and are open to receiving the information.