I woke yesterday with a restlessness that would not be satiated with ordinary life; reading, writing, and crafting could not settle the wild rumpus that was stirring in my soul. I needed to be outside, surrounded by trees, water, rocks, and elemental spirits. I called my sister and said if she wasn't busy I was going to stop by for a visit and was pleasantly surprised when she said "What are you doing, come get me, I will go with you".
Not surprisingly we found ourselves at the Ammounousuc River along the backside of the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, NH, as it is one of our sacred places, where we have gone since childhood. As kids we swam and climbed on the boulders, sunbathed and barbequed with our parents and their friends. It was a weekend staple of our lives, and the place I almost drown when I was a kid. (I wrote about this in my book Jump Girl-
As adults my sister Sandy and I have explored the woods and rocks surrounding the river and have developed relationships with the elemental beings; particularly the Trolls and Undines, that make this sacred place at the base of Mount Washington home. In the process of forming these relationships, we have become stewards of the Genius Locus (Spirit of Place) that resides there. This means we clean up garbage, make offerings, and often do a bit of rearranging when sacred spaces are drawing too many people to them. (Basically, we arrange fallen trees and natural debris to lead the trail away from such places when the elemental beings ask us to do so).
Yesterday when leaving the river we found a used hypodermic needle on the trail near the parking area. This felt like a sucker punch, to see such hopelessness thrown on the steps of our holy place. But as sad as it was to see, it was not surprising!
Years ago, on my first trip to the UK, I noticed that the public fountain just outside Chalice Well in Glastonbury was a gathering place for people who were obviously struggling with addiction. When I first saw this I was deeply saddened to have such a beautiful place surrounded by such sorrow and struggle, but it soon began to make sense to me. I realized that while many of the people I saw there may be in a place of hopelessness they were naturally drawn to a place that offered healing waters. I thought the same thing as we carefully picked up the needle for disposal. I silently sent a bit of hope to the person who in their pain so carelessly threw the implement of their poison onto the ground for others to pick up. I sent them hope, and healing, knowing that they like me had found their way to the river for peace; however elusive it may be to them.
Water is life! Water holds memory and when we come in contact with water close to the source it is more potent, more clear, more charged with energy. The spirits of the Ammounuc, particularly the Undines of Bretton Woods remember those who visit them often, and they carry an understanding that they are seen and recognized as sovereign beings; something my sister and I are partially responsible for as we bring folks there often to meet them and give honor. This is not something limited to this place, but more something that transpires when we form a sacred relationship with nature and chooses to return to the same places over and over again; particularly if we take on the role of steward.
Now more than ever we are seeking! As a people, we are looking for a personal connection to the divine, and the world around us. Our senses are opening and we are becoming more aware. That being said many do not know how to be in nature; something made obvious by the amount of trash that was deposited by all the new to nature folk who made their way into the woods during 2020. Those of us who have sacred relationships with nature; whether it be as a spiritual practice or a simple environmental approach, need to educate those who are wandering there without a clue. This starts with being an example. Make note of your own relationship with nature, are you treating it as sacred, as the house of God/Goddess?
If you are looking to form a deeper relationship with nature and the elemental world make sure to check out my Elemental Magic courses-
Introduction to Elemental Magic-
The Elements of Magic Year-Long Course-