In Nature therapy, I work with nature and the land inviting it into my therapy practice and my life. Nature creates a strong relational field and holding container and can be a most powerful ally and healer.
In many of his letters and essays, Jung shared his thoughts on how human beings had become so disconnected from the Earth and the natural life. He studied indigenous spiritual practices and had a deep respect and love of nature. If alive and practising today, Jung could have been a shamanic practitioner, an eco-psychologist or a nature therapist.
Nature can be a teacher. When a Buzzard cries circling above, I take it as an invitation to ‘pay attention’ and become mindful to the world around me.
Standing with an Oak tree or getting stuck in the mud, l like to observe what nature mirrors back. For example, noticing how a beautiful oak tree provides a home and shelter to so many beings teaches me about compassion and the interconnectedness at the heart of everything.
The changing of the seasons is a constant reminder of the ebb and flow of life. There is a time for diving deep down into the cauldron, a time of water, fire and the air.
In Nature therapy, trees, animals, plants and elements often emerge through the imaginal realm as a subtle guide and support. These can become powerful inner resources and allies. Sometimes they arrive in the not so subtle aspects of a seagull on the roof or an insect buzzing around the room.
As one of my teachers recently reminded me, ‘everything has a beautiful story’, so next time you pick up a stone, ask it what its story is and tell it yours.
In her wonderful book “The Earth has a Soul – C.G. Jung on Nature, Technology and Modern Life’ Meredith Sabini notes that:
‘Jung capitalized the word Nature in its full spectrum, encompassing both spirit and matter, and to acknowledge Nature’s divinity”.*
His encouragement in a letter to one colleague was:
‘You must go in quest of yourself and you will find yourself again only in the simple and forgotten things. Why not go into the forest for a time, literally?”**
If you listen deeply, what is nature mirroring back to you today?
** The Earth has a Soul – C.G. June on Nature, Technology & Modern Life’ Edited by Meredith Sabini, published by North Atlantic books (2008)