Why the Enchanted Forest?

The enchanted forest.  This powerful archetype appears over and over, from our oldest myths, to our fairytales, to our modern stories of ghosts and even alien worlds. It is the place where goblins dwell in cool green shadows, where witches conjure in sequestered cottages, where the wild folk cry out to unknowable spirits.  The enchanted forest represents all we fear and all we love at the heart of mystery.  It is unknowable, yet one can venture into it, apprehend bits of it, gain mastery over this while learning to to be leery of that.  Ultimately, the enchanted forest is timeless and greater than we, and to dwell close to it is to form a spiritual bond with that which is deeper and older than mortal ken.

The enchanted forest.  Its verge is the perfect place to begin a trek into the wonders of Nature and spirit.

My name is Cliff Seruntine, and my whole life has been spent with the enchanted forest.  I passed my youth in the haunted bayous of Louisiana’s darkest recesses, among voduns and Acadians who followed an older way of life.  I’ve wandered the boreal woodlands of the far north, befriended wolves and encountered grizzlies face-to-face while gathering tales of the hidden people the Aboriginals call the Inuqun.  I’ve wandered the Irish hills, Welsh glens and Scots highlands, all to soak in the myths of those ancient lands.  I’ve explored the Canadian northwoods and established a homestead deep in a Gaelic place full of mystery, in order to live in harmony with the sacred Earth and her spirits.  Some might say I’ve been an adventurer, a scholar, or a scientist.  I would say I was just an ordinary man who was willing to venture into the enchanted forest.

My books have been a reflection of my life’s experiences in that fey realm.  My first book, The Lore of the Bard (Llewellyn, 2003) was on the lost enchantment of beautiful artistry that was central to the druidic craft and ancient Celtic people.  My second book, An Ogham Wood (Avalonia Esoterica Press, 2011), was a novel  of the faerie faith–an exploration of its power to heal, renew and persist.  My recent contribution to The Fairy Queens (Avalonia Esoterica Press, 2013) expresses my deep respect for the divine feminine in Nature.  And my newest book, Seasons of the Sacred Earth (Llewellyn, 2013), is the tale of how my family and I came to know the sacred land and its spirits intimately since establishing our eco-friendly homestead in the remote highland woods of Nova Scotia.

In my life I’ve been a harper, a wanderer, a tracker, an archer and a therapist.  But mostly I’ve been a seeker of Nature’s enchantment and spiritual truth.  To this end, I’ve walked the wild gloaming with mystics and shamans, and endeavored to learn their Ways.  And if you would be so kind as to journey with me, I would be happy to share what I know.  Let us learn how to make a greener world and walk the enchanted forest together.  Something sparkles out there beneath the shaded boughs . . .

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3 Comments

3 thoughts on “Why the Enchanted Forest?

  1. I’m new to Wicca. I want a closer relationship with nature. Most Wiccans recommend reading books about Wicca and paganism for a year and a day. I want something much deeper than reading books. I want hands on experience in nature. I live in Asheville, North Carolina. I plan to do fall and winter camping in the wilderness. My outdoor skills is minimum. I have no money to go to a outdoor school. I have a library book about wilderness survival. How can I develop outdoor skills, what will I need to watch out for and protect myself from harm? Thank you for your time.

    • Hi, Laura. I am not a Wiccan, though I have many friends who are. I respect their beliefs, but because I do not personally follow that path, I could not knowledgeably comment on how they go about their training. But I do wholeheartedly agree with your plan to go deeper than just books. One can barely learn a Nature-based path through books alone (though there is certainly a balance between scholarly and experiential learning).

      Your idea to do some camping is a good one. If you have no winter camping experience, you might want to reserve winter camping til you have some experience. Winter camping is more hazardous so one should have some outdoors skills before attempting it. The main hazard of winter camping would be developing hypothermia. I’ve seen people die from it. And staying warm outdoors for days on end is a skill that has to be developed. Stick with spring/summer/autumn camping for now.

      I will create a number of videos on various outdoors skills, but currently I am focused on wild food foraging, so that is a ways down the road. In the mean time, I would highly recommend videos by British outdoorsman, Ray Mears, who is level headed and knowledgeable. You can find most of his documentary work on YouTube. There is a young Austrian lady named Lily, who goes by SurvivalLily on YouTube also, and she has some great how-to videos.

      These would be great starting places. A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say.

      I hope that helps.

      Slainte!
      Cliff

      • Laura Hughes

        Your advice was helpful. Thank you for sending me the recommendations to watch the videos. I  will try camping in Florida this winter. Florida is almost always warm throughout the winter. You have a blessed day.

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