A pilgrimage to the forest? It will heal your consciousness

We often think pilgrimage as a religious practice, but it could be a practice of healing accompanied by rituals that nourish holiness in us. When we make a “pilgrimage” to the nearby terrain, we are also journeying inwards.

Pilgrimages belong to many different religions. Pilgrimage, broadly understood, is still fun to practice as part of a spiritual and conscious act. Pilgrimage is also a journey to ourselves. We can face our thoughts, our feelings, our current experiences as they are right now. At the same time, the pilgrimage is a journey to our inner sanctity, the soul, which is eternal and part of the collective consciousness. Wandering gives us time to face our thoughts and ourselves.

The experience of holiness can be reached by each of us, and pilgrimage can be part of many kinds of spirituality. You don’t have to go far to get holiness; even the local terrain is “sacred”, because even a small piece of nature is valuable.

The sanctity of the forest has been part of Finnish folklore as most of the Finnish people have had access to the forest in their immediate surroundings. A sacred tree may have grown in the forest, which must not be cut down. A woodcutter could face bad luck. Understanding the local landscape as sacred means in practice protecting nature. We are careful not to break the vegetation or damage the nesting areas of birds or fish in the lake near us.

The holiness of the forest can heal consciousness

In addition to sanctity, the nearby terrain has a healing effect on us. The health effects of forest trees are already a treatment. Trees play a key role in humans and behind everything. For example, aspen is believed to ward off rheumatism and purify the blood. With the help of oak, warts and burns have been cured, as well as lameness of the tongue. Willow has been used for concussions, as well as to treat headaches. – Green care is found again and again in studies to promote health.

You can’t go into the forest any way you like. The border between the forest and other terrain, such as the home yard or the parking lot, must be crossed consciously. The forest border has been associated with rituals, where you show your respect and gratitude towards the forest.  You could create your own ritual every time you go to the forest. It will help you to be mindful and present. With the help of rituals, we can experience the sanctity and dignity of nature’s wonders while moving around in nature.

Written by Satu Ilta. The article was first published in Finnish on


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