Bad news, everyone. White sage, which is commonly found in sage bundles for smoke-cleansing, is endangered. Yes, those white bundles sold in every new-age and witchcraft store are from a plant that’s becoming endangered. Why? Unfortunately, it’s from over-harvesting. I already own a few bundles, […]
Month: February 2016
I started taking baths regularly around two years ago, instead of always showering. While I enjoy spending time soaking or playing on my phone, I’ve found that baths are also great for meditation. Usually meditating has a few obstacles for me. First, I’m very sensitive […]
I consider myself a domestic creature—the kind of animal whose ‘wild’ habitat includes modern comforts like fast wifi, hot water heaters for tea, and TempurPedic mattresses. That said, I still try to get a monthly forest bath. One of my goals for 2016 is to try for a forest bath twice monthly. If I’m being honest, I’d probably do a lot better if I lived near a forest and got my dosage daily.
Forest Bathing (Shinrin-Yoku), or Forest Therapy, is more or less defined as a leisurely visit to the woods or other more-or-less wild space. In short: it’s spending a little time goofing around in the woods and getting your skin against the earth. But, does this have any benefits? You bet your peer reviewed scientific journals it does! Many of these studies are free to read on Google Scholar, and easy to find with the key-words ‘Forest Bathing’.
And the benefits? Reductions in anxiety, anger, and depression were observed as well as an increase in natural killer (NK) cell activity. NK cells are a type of white blood cell that bind virus-infected and cancer cells for destruction. They serve as a kind of cleaner crew for the body, and limit the spread of tumors. So, despite their name, NK cells are highly beneficial for all of us. For more information, look up information on NK Cells or other types of lymphocytes.
If you can’t manage a Forest Bath, keeping a picture of a forest or a houseplant can help with depression. Even painting the room green can help.
Multiple days of forest bathing are better than a day trip. So if you can plan ahead and find a suitable location, give it a go. Most months, I attend a LARP event close to my area, and so I end up spending two days forest bathing while doing other things. It also makes for a good time to look for moss, interesting rocks, or sticks for crafting. Have you tried getting into the woods more often? If so, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear anyone else’s opinions on the benefits of forest bathing.
Terry Pratchett wrote of thought thus: the every day thoughts anyone has are First Thoughts. Second Thoughts are thoughts about First Thoughts. There are Third Thoughts, and Fourth Thoughts. But, for the sake of simplicity, Second Thoughts are the only topic of the day.
If he wasn’t a witch, Sir Pratchett had an amazing understanding of them. His book The Wee Free Men is in the upcoming Media Spotlight on this blog. According to his books and the witches within, a witch relied upon Second Thoughts. But, what the devil do Second Thoughts look like? It’s easier to show an example than to only explain. Let’s consider the following example of unseasonable weather.
First Thoughts: Oh my god, it is cold for July. What is this nonsense? Global warming is such a joke.
Second Thoughts: Why did I assume global warming was a joke? Because it was colder than normal. Also, isn’t it ‘climate change?’ This could still be a symptom of the problem. Also, it probably isn’t a good idea to use one day as evidence that a wide-spread, well-documented phenomenon isn’t real…
Third Thoughts: ‘Global Warming is a Joke?’ Have I heard that phrase before? I think I actually got that joke from the news. Now that I think about it, they aren’t the most reputable source of information.
Fourth Thoughts: Did I sub-consciously assume that they were correct and accept that as reality because they’re presented as authority figures? I wonder if I take in other information as correct because an authority figure presented it to me.
Fifth Thoughts: But, why would that be? It is easier to just accept things rather than to research on my own. My parents also raised me to respect authority figures, so that is what I am in the habit of doing. But, they also did not go through much education, so is this a result of their upbringing and socio-economic status?
So how does this relate to witchcraft? It’s a large part of examining metaphors and imagery. Why are coins associated with wealth? Why is the element of Earth associated with home and family? This is the foundation for a lot of shadow work, and a lot of dream interpretation. So give it a shot!
The rabbit hole can extend quite a ways. The trick is to continue to ask “Why do I think that?” or “Why might they think that?” when thinking about yourself or others. It takes practice, and that’s why it’s in the Witchcraft Fundamentals section. It’s an essential basis for exercises and skills such as Shadow Work, Dream Work, and even Divination.
When was the first time you used your Second Thoughts? Write abut it in the comments below!
Rain water is not only easily accessible; it also has the added bonus of being free. Who doesn’t love free? This makes it a wonderful thing for beginner and experienced witches alike. It’s hard to argue with free. Placing a clean pie plate or other container […]