In Health

Lessons from the Forest (in Finland)

Finnish forest

As a child I would take long walks in the woods of eastern Finland with my grandmother who was a master forager. She taught me to never take anything without giving back, no matter how small the offering. She said the forest had eyes and ears, and that every act was watched over by the faeries and forest guardians. This made total sense to me back then, as I grew up with many tales and myths of Scandinavian folklore, including faeries and elves. One time we were looking for mushrooms and came upon a rather large harvest. I was ready to start picking, but my grandmother told me to wait. She knelt down and pointed out that right next to the edible mushrooms was a nearly identical, poisonous variety. She said nature makes everything in pairs. Therefore, edible mushrooms have their twin counterpart that are highly poisonous and some, deadly. After demonstrating how to identify the poisonous mushrooms, we picked a small patch of good mushrooms, leaving plenty for the elves and faeries too.

My grandmother was a highly intuitive being; a mystic poet and an artist, who lived as a hermit in a small cabin that she build far away from society. She knew we were caught in a web of dreamlike existence, and understood that we were merely visitors here. In the Finnish culture, when you enter someone’s house as a visitor, you always bring a gift with you (usually pastries or coffee), and leave your shoes by the front door. In other words, while visiting the earth we should be on our best behavior, give back, and know that every act is accounted for.

Everything has its opposite in this earthly realm that is bound by laws of duality. The poison is right next to the cure. The sun arises from the darkness. We only know hot because of cold.. To experience pleasure one must also experience pain. Every phenomena on earth has its dual nature, as do we. You could say that the earth is a school for learning how to find balance in duality.

Kiitos Mummi. 🙏

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