Nelland Living

October, 2014

Forest food
We are lucky to have clean enough forests to eat off of. It is harvesting time and, besides my garden, I take advantage of what wilderness has to offer. How awesome is it to simply walk into a forest and gather it´s offerings, free of charge?!
  Time is the only thing it takes, and a bit of patience. But spending time in the forest is also therapeutic, so the longer it takes to fill the baskets, the better! Kids also enjoy time in nature, and with adults, so taking them along is a good idea. I took my two-year-old with me to this trip, and while we walked up and down the hills she showed no signs of tiredness. Talk about quality time with loved ones!
We found lingonberries and…
… porcinis. I don´t have a master´s degree in identifying wild edible mushrooms, so I need to stick with the ones I do know for sure. As much as I love them, I´d hate to have some as my last meal.  =)
  The catch was two cups of lingonberries…
?… and two skilletfuls of shrooms. Really nice! If I can do this with a small kid in an hour, imagine what two adults could do in a day.

  One of my all-time favorite recipes to make is simple flat bread. It is so versatile and easy, that I have used the same recipe as a base to also make pizza crust, muffins, pies, and cinnamon buns. To name the ones I remember.
  With all this wild food around, it was time to dig up the old faithful again.
?  To make the basic flatbread you need: 1/2 lb flour (I used spelt, which I ground into flour at home), 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, water, 2 small zucchinis finely shredded, and the zest of one lemon.
  Simply combine all ingredients and add enough water to make a sticky batter. Form four equal sized flat rounds onto a baking sheet lined tray, and bake at 430F oven for about 20 min or until edges get a bit color.
  These flatbreads are delicious with only a bit of butter, or you can top them with either sweet or savory treats.
? Half of the porcinis ended up, sautéed, on top of my lunch bread along with avocado and black pepper. The “witch´s brew” kind of thing in the teacup is just that, my own elixir of youth. A simple kale-based juice.
  For supper I took another piece of the flatbread, spread raw coconut butter on it, and topped the whole thing with lingonberries and a drizzle of raw honey. Heavenly with a generous cup of green- or herbal tea.

  Tasty, healthy, and natural! Exactly the way life should be!

NATURE ALCHEMY ~ Journey through Spirit in the Natural World

July, 2013

Dedicated to my Beautiful and Beloved Daughter

REBECCA LYNN BASTRON, Devotee of Forest Cathedral



~ Gift of Strength ~



“In some mysterious way, woods have never seemed to me to be static things.  In physical terms, I move through them; yet in metaphysical ones, they seem to move through me.”    

~  John Fowles , British writer and teacher

From great owl’s sacred stance, he lies hidden within the realm of Forest Cathedral. Owl’s mystery is one with the spirit of the woodlands. This benevolent congregation of trees unites diverse ecosystems together in a cohesive, sustainable, living environment.  Forests comprise roughly 90 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, and cover over nine percent of the earth’s surface. It is an all-inclusive world unto itself – a unique atmosphere dwelling harmoniously – a perfect blend of all five elements: earth, air, water, fire, and aether. Forest Cathedral embraces all kingdoms of life with equal devotion. The world’s woodlands are vital to all life because they provide a multi-faceted range of resources: they collect carbon, aid in regulating earth’s climate, purify water, conserve soil, and function as hydrologic flow modulators. Thus, earth’s great groves of trees bestow life with some of the most essential life-sustaining elements of our biosphere.

Life and death abound here, within Forest Cathedral…in the great way: the sublime movement of existence, of being in time and space. It is a holy place, shared by an infinite number of species, living and dying, minute by minute. This dynamic ecosphere cultivates and nurtures the diversity and strength of life – each element, each being, depending upon one another – and at the same time, feeding each other in perfect balance. Here dwells the thriving ways of Spirit. The noble woodlands tenderly overlook, and gently care for, it’s family of sentient beings. It feeds, clothes, shelters, and purifies all creatures – from animal, insect, plant, stone, earth, air, water, and more. The mystical grace of Spirit dwells within Forest Cathedral. It blesses life always, in all ways.

As we come to remember the countless gifts of the forest groves, we are able to gain an immeasurable strength of purpose within. Forest Cathedral not only provides in the material sense, but greatly through the Divine, where personal transcendence can be experienced in the blissful realm of the Soul. Jeb Dickerson, teacher and creator of personal growth website, How to, shares, “The trees are whispering to me, reminding me of my roots, and my reach… shhhhhh… can you hear them? Selflessly sharing their subtle song”.  And so, my dear friends…go out into the sacredness of Forest, and become one with the trees…and yourself!



We bid you Strength.

Strength of Purpose…Strength of Mind…

As you walk this land on earth.

Know that We are with you.

For as your eyes rise to meet us,

We gather strength together

In the knowing of Nobility.

Gather these forces around you,

And walk in Love…

For Love is your Banner of Strength.

These blessings We give unto you.



Through the physical and spiritual realms of the Five Kingdoms in Nature:

Celestial, Elemental, Fauna, Flora, and Mineral

Green Man – the vegetative Nature Deity depicted as an icon with foliage sprouting out of his face, sometimes bearing fruit or flowers. Since 400 A.D., Green Man has appeared as an ancient symbol throughout historical mythology. Green Man is the archetypal god representing the life, death, and rebirth cycle of plants. In relationship to humanity, Green Man is portrayed as the spiritual symbol of individual transformation ~ the visionary experience of becoming. Through our personal trials of strength, we can call upon Green Man to assist in our own rebirth of spirit – to the path of becoming our Greater Self by embracing Forest Cathedral’s dedication of reaching for the highest. “The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness,” eloquently wrote John Muir, naturalist writer and activist. In the living of life, as we gather our well of inner strength, we can touch this infinite place of universal power and unity, among the towering trees, uplifting us every step of the way. Reach for the Highest! can be our anthem, our emblem of courage, from beloved Forest Cathedral. How Blessed We Are!

Forest Floor – the sacred, abundant ground of forest growth. The bed upon which Forest Cathedral grows is rich with life-sustaining nutrients, feeding a vast array of beings – from microscopic elements to the towering majestic trees. Forest Floor is where physical life dies, only to be reborn anew into a naturally transformed pattern. And, from this fertile ground of earth, we shall grow. The Tree of Life is an ancient and universal symbol for personal evolution: being earth-bound, yet reaching up to the heavens to connect with our source – the Divine. This Holy Tree is revered as endowing life with the sacred qualities of wisdom, protection, strength, bounty, beauty, and redemption. Our roots, like those of the trees, reach deep into the psyche of Spirit, where we can realize these blessed intrinsic gifts. Beloved Bengali poet, Rabindranath Tagore, divined, “Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.” As we plant our feet firmly upon sweet Mother Earth, absorbing her nourishing essence like Forest Cathedral, we can reach up and touch our inherent power (heaven) within, and grow strong of heart and soul.

Foragers and Nesters – the extensive range of animals congregating within the forest environment. Up to 75% of earth’s animal population lives in this diverse worldwide habitat, dwelling from the upper levels of the tree canopy to the forest floor. This includes seven main species: mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and arthropods. All these creatures live within the divine realm of Forest Cathedral, sharing the sacred exchange of the food of life. A sacred Buddhist Sutra proclaims, “The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity; it affords protection to all beings.” Such is the way of Forest Spirit, in eternal benevolence and nourishment for mind and body. We can learn the great strength of giving by walking within the blessed woodland cosmos. Here, there exists the sublime universal balance of giving and receiving, the gracious feeding of others to nurture the self. This is Divinity, and the true noble Gift of Strength.

Forest Canopy –  the upper layer plant community formed by mature tree crowns. This upper stratum benefits the woodland habitat in many ways: it provides protection from strong winds and storms; it reduces solar radiation, offering shade protection to plant and animal life; and, it offers a home to unique and diverse fauna and flora. Forest Canopy is the crown of nature’s cathedral. Great ancient cathedrals were revered as holy places where people could congregate in mutual worship of God. Pilgrims, from times past to the present day, visit the world’s cathedrals to connect with the true peace dwelling within their soul, to surrender worldly uncertainties, to receive enlightenment, and to be born again with renewed strength. And so it is within the realm of Forest Cathedral. Internationally honored Soviet president and peacemaker, Mikhail Gorbachev, lovingly stated, “All of us are linked to the cosmos.  So nature is my god.  To me, nature is sacred; trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals.” The towering trees, reaching up to the heavens, symbolize a way for mankind to connect, to elevate, in spirit. As we walk within this celestial world, our hearts can receive the grace of divine strength, and our souls can touch the pure light of love dwelling above. As the brilliant sun shines through the consecrated soaring trees, so does the power of light illuminate our path in service to life. This is our Great Gift of Strength, lovingly bestowed by our innermost Forest Cathedral.

Tree Agate – a knobby, white opaque stone with green tree-like inclusions or veins. The Native American culture reveres Tree Agate as a sacred gem which helps them connect with the power of tree wisdom. A beautiful 18th century Chinook invocation entreats, “We call upon the forests, the great trees reaching strongly to the sky with earth in their roots and the heavens in their branches, and we ask them to ‘Teach us, and show us the Way’”. We may use Tree Agate to help fortify our relationship with the honorable trees. The wisdom of Forest Cathedral, with its mighty foundation reaching deep within the earth, is to go back to the root of any situation to find the answer. There it lies, at this essential core, waiting to be revealed. The noble woods bless us, and give forth their ancient power and knowledge received from the depths of Mother Earth, and the Spirit of the heavens. The profound implication of the simple statement, “hug a tree”, is filled with great mystical wisdom. This mere physical act offers us the divine opportunity to receive Forest Cathedral’s gracious gift of inner strength, which can Teach us, and show us the Way.



Moving through the spiritual energy of our own inner totem Forest Cathedral, we can be blessed with the precious Gift of Strength within all life. Here, within the realm of Forest Cathedral, our True Self eternally dwells.

A personal ceremony can be performed to enhance the manifestation and integration with Forest’s all-embracing gift. This can be a private celebration between yourself and Forest Spirit, or you can invite others to join. It can be as ritualized as you desire, or naturally free-flowing, and include anything you want to say or any object(s) that intuitively feels in harmony with the act of thanksgiving for Forest Cathedral’s blessing.

A powerful place to hold the celebration would be in a natural area with Forest’s presence, but physical location is not of prime importance. If you do not have access to this environment, any contact outside facing Forest’s auric essence would be helpful. Even if this area is hidden or at a great distance, emanations from Forest Cathedral’s spiritual source are not obscured, as they flow freely throughout the Universe. If the celebration is held indoors, being in room with a window is encouraged to enhance the presence of natural elements, but if this is not possible, symbolically facing Forest Cathedral would be beneficial.

As a sample list, any of the following ideas below could be included in your celebration, and verbalized during a Blessings of Intention for Strength affirmation ceremony (see below). Also, any of these offerings may be created and integrated into your ritual either physically and/or symbolically in Spirit.


  1. Begin with a personal intention of Strength to enhance any general or specific aspect of your life.


  1. Light a green candle to symbolize the transformative power of Green Man, the nature god who can guide you through life, death, and the rebirth of Self.


  1. Feel and smell the sweet fecundity of Forest Floor, the earthly kingdom of fertility and growth.


  1. Honor the diverse population of Foragers and Nesters, who can help you remember the balance of giving and receiving life’s abundant blessings.


  1. See the towering Forest Canopy, who can raise your spirit higher into the realm of the Divine.


  1. Hold the green variegated gemstone Tree Agate, or any other stone resonating the great gift of strength. Other related minerals include Moss Agate, Jade, and Rutilated Quartz.


  1. Proclaim intentional blessings for the Gift of Strength. A simple statement in the form of a heart-felt declaration can attract and summon the heights of magick and power through the fundamental, positive act of intention. By the sincere act of a clear and pure desire, a personalized blessing can call upon the spiritual forces of unity within life – the source of your Infinite Self. You can use any of the following Blessings of Intention affirmations as a guideline to be included into your own personal declaration towards inner harmony and integration with the energies of Heaven and Earth. Written as non-denominational statements, these intentional blessings can be practiced by any single person, or unstructured or organized group, as their own personal form of prayer, charm, chant, invocation, or medicine, etc.


  1. A devotional affirmation of praise, honor, and thanksgiving, as suggested in Dream Song to Forest Cathedral (see below). This act of appreciation is enhanced with the powerful personal statement “I Am”, and especially when said aloud, can invoke the creative energies of manifestation radiating throughout the Universe, calling upon Forest’s Great Spirit to be infused into your life.  All or part of the Dream Song passages can be included in this holy prayer of purpose and gratitude. Their power summon and embrace a wide range of natural spiritual influences, ancient mythology, and alchemical life-force energies from Native American, Deity, Celtic, Shaman, Indigenous, Pagan, and Wiccan cultures.




  1. With this glowing green candle, blessed by Forest Spirit, I embrace the guiding power of Green Man, who shows me that the eternal process of becoming is always manifesting in my heart and soul.


  1. With the fertile soil of Forest Floor, blessed by Forest Spirit, I feel myself grow in Spirit, reaching deeper into the beauty of my heart and soul.


  1. With the infinite congregation of Foragers and Nesters, blessed by Forest Spirit, I joyfully join the sacred act of giving and receiving of Self which eternally blesses my heart and soul.


  1. With the soaring essence of Forest Canopy, blessed by Forest Spirit, I rise into the realm of my Divine cathedral, reaching for the highest within my heart and soul.


  1. With the textured, green-veined Tree Agate, (or other resonating gemstone) blessed by Forest Spirit, I feel the gracious power of inner nobility embracing my heart and soul.




I am held in Your loving arms, O Forest Spirit,

And feel Your power embracing my soul.

I feel strong…

And in love with myself, and life, again!

It is here where I grow.

In the presence of Your Divine Being,

Always rising to the Heavens…

I am one with You.

I am blessed and healed

In the Cathedral of Your Love.

My soul cries with abundant blessings,

For Your noble power growing strong within.

I Thank You, O Forest Cathedral, for your Great Gift of Strength.



~ From Heaven Sweet Nature Springs ~








The Illustrated Directory of Healing Crystals, by Cassandra Eason

Sacred Sites

April, 2009

The Caledonian Forest – Scotland

This month for Sacred Sites I’d like to appeal to those of you who might consider taking a different kind of trip, one certainly not found in any guidebook. What I propose might not be for everyone, and I will warn you, there are no amusement park rides, no sandy beaches, and no wait staff serving you drinks with little umbrellas in them.

This destination is about uniting conservation, communities and sustainable travel. It’s called eco-tourism and it might just be one of the best things you could ever do.

Here is a little story for you…

Once upon a time… The ancient Caledonian forest covered the Scottish Highlands. These woodlands were direct descendents of the trees that first colonized the area after the last Ice Age 8-10,000 years ago. However, centuries of destruction from primitive tribes and farmers cleared the land of most of the trees, not to mention the Vikings that burned down large areas of the forest, which now have been reduced to less than 1% of the original area. But there is a happy ending to this story.

The Caledonian Forest is being reforested by volunteers, like yourself.

In 1989 a conservation charity called Trees for Life purchased land in the Highlands as part of an effort to restore Scotland’s Caledonian forests. Their organization has planted more than 750,000 trees and has helped to restore 11,250 acres of land.

National Geographic writer James Owens, states that “For the first time in 2,000 years, Scots pine, alder, birch, hazel, holly, and mountain ash are set to reclaim a large swath of the Scottish Highlands. The effort marks a nationwide move to restore the country’s lost woodland.”

With an ambitious goal of planting 250,000 new trees by the end of 2009, the organization is playing its part in the “Quarter of a Million Trees Appeal”, that supports the United Nations’ Billion Tree Campaign, which encourages people
to tackle climate change by planting seven billion trees worldwide.

In February 2009 BBC Wildlife Magazine selected the Conservation Volunteer Week Program as one of the Top 10 Conservation Holidays in the world.

The Volunteer Weeks run from February 28th to May 30th 2009, with the autumn season running from August 29th to November 14th 2009.

According to Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life’s Executive Director “Every year, people of all ages and backgrounds from across the UK and beyond see our Conservation Volunteer Weeks as an opportunity to help restore the natural environment. This year we’re running more weeks than ever before, so we’re keen to hear from more people who would like to help.”

“Spending a week among the forest, rivers and mountains of the Highlands often touches people in a profound way. It is also an educational experience, in which volunteers learn about ecological restoration and observe nature close up.”

There are many opportunities out there for the traveler who is willing to stray from the well-worn path. Years ago on one of my first trips to Ireland, I was lucky to encounter a wise man through a completely serendipitous opportunity that was afforded me through the not so seemingly unfortunate occurrence of a flat tire.  In other words, we had a flat and pulled off the road.

The wise man told me that what we were seeking was not to be found on the highways and the main roads, he explained that we needed to take the back roads (which is by the way how we got a flat tire) and meet the land, meet its people and spend the time listening to what both had to tell us.

So for those travelers who consciously wander the world with the goal of meeting other people and trying to leave the world a better place than they found it, I encourage you to take the back roads and listen to the land. There are opportunities out there for you. I recall an offer once made by the steward at Charleville Forest Castle in Tullamore Ireland,….. If you’d like to come stay the summer, there is a room waiting for you, provided you lend a hand and help with the castle restoration. Seems like a decent offer.

So instead of leaving a trail of debris behind us on our next trip, why not give something back?

Individuals and companies can also support Trees for Life by having dedicated trees or groves planted for themselves or as gifts.

Details about the Conservation Volunteer Weeks are available at