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Author Topic: Rejected by Forest  (Read 3000 times)

Kitsunekijo

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Rejected by Forest
« on: November 08, 2015, 11:13:02 pm »
Hello!

Firstly, I apologize for this being a long post. A lot happened and I want to be clear and concise. I'll put a TL;DR as a comment under this. I wasn't sure if I should post this here or in the Theory and Practice subgroup, but considering the nature of what happened, this may be more appropriate.

I have been a practicing pagan for about ten years now, but recently got into a relationship with someone who just started learning. I'll call him Kaizoku. (I've gotten his permission to tell his story)

Kaizoku has made attempts to practice several years ago, but had a couple of negative experiences that turned him off (meditation outcomes where he sees himself stabbing his own legs feverishly for example). Since we started dating, he has renewed his efforts.

(Now to the happening) For Samhain, we handmade pastries as offerings to the gods, our ancestors, and the local forest. Three days after being made and consecrated on my altar, we went to the local forest to fulfill the ritual and give the offerings. The mood was light and happy as we approached the path into the forest. It was around midnight when we got there.

At the entrance, we stopped and I gave a "formal" announcement to the forest of our intentions (rather, we laughed over me blanking out on the proclamation and I searched for good words before settling with a simple sentence) and then we bowed in respect. [Later, after everything happened and we were back safely at home, he questioned whether his bow was proper enough or if his "half-done" bow had started the issues. IMO, I don't think the forest really would have cared if we had bowed or not. I was the only one who actually addressed the forest, however.]

[I'll put the comments he made at home in brackets like this. We went over the whole incident afterwards.]

We then passed under the "threshold" of the first trees' branches and started towards the heart of the forest. [He told me he felt like the air was heavy/thick and that he felt he had eyes on him as soon as we passed the threshold, but that he blew off the feeling as humidity due to the recent rain and his own qualms with being in a dark forest at night.]

I was calm, light, exuberant even, the deeper in we went, but he seemed somewhat agitated and nervous so I suggested leaving the offerings near the river that wasn't as far in. He said no, that the rains would have made the path dangerous and muddy. We continued [and he immediately felt the earlier pressure suddenly become much more intense and said later that he felt more eyes on him].

With every step we took, the harder he gripped my hand and the more visibly upset and scared he became. At this point I should have stopped the journey and turned back, but I didn't...

Off the path we were walking was another path covered with branches and obviously less traveled. I felt the pull of the forest, it calling me quite strongly to go that way. As soon as I stepped off the concrete trail we had been walking down, Kaizoku freaked out. He didn't want to go that way at all, so we talked a moment and he agreed to stay at the entrance of this path while I went down *just a bit* to put down the offerings.

I went to a natural alcove maybe 30 ft straight back, about halfway between where he was and where the bend in the trail was. I looked back, still able to see him clearly, and called out to ask him if he could see me. After confirming he could, I took a step and knelt to place everything. It took me maybe three minutes to finish up. I could feel the forest watching me intently, but not malevolently. Midway through this, I looked up to check where he was; I could see him grasping his knife and the silver necklace I gave him months earlier.

[Later, he tells me that pretty much as soon as we entered the forest, he could only see the trail in front of us and a few feet into the forest on both sides of us. Everything else was pitch black. In the blackness, he saw eyes and moving shadows, that he felt as if the entire forest was watching him closely - "every tree, every bush, every blade of grass." So, when I stepped off, he freaked because I was moving towards these things, and this was also why he didn't want to go down the path. He had, at the time, even asked me "what if we get lost and can't find our way back?" At the time, I didn't understand his concern because I could very clearly see the path and everything in the forest.]

[He also told me later that when I asked him if I could see him, I was "darkened" and "then disappeared after that", when I was placing the offering. "You vanished," he said. As soon as I vanished, he felt as if the trees behind him were trying to "drill their eyes into" his back, and that the feeling of intense pressure cycled, sort of. Intense, less intense, intense again. Three times this happened. He said that the pressure was less intense when he grabbed his necklace, which is why he had a death grip on it when I came back. He told me specifically that the pressure felt like he was "wearing a corset" and could only manage shallow breaths.]

When I came out of the trail head, he was crying and shaking. We made a straight and quick exit after that, with him almost running. Immediately upon him exiting the forest, he let out his breath, as if he had been holding it. I bowed farewell to the forest and we left.

We went over everything when we got home. He told me that he stayed by me during the ordeal because he didn't want to leave me alone in a dark forest at night, and that he trusted me that I wouldn't let anything dangerous happen to him. However, he was crazy with fear during the whole thing even though is rational side was trying to convince him that he was overreacting and there was nothing to be afraid of.

I feel awful that this happened to him, that I didn't realize what he was going through, and that I didn't turn back.

Does anyone know what exactly happened? And any advice as to how to avoid this in the future?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 11:14:05 pm by Kitsunekijo »

Kitsunekijo

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Re: Rejected by Forest
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2015, 11:15:14 pm »
Quote from: Kitsunekijo;182062
I'll put a TL;DR as a comment under this.

 
TL;DR - my lover, a new pagan, went with me, a witch of ten years, to finish our Samhain offering ritual to a local forest. While in the forest, he experienced intense pressure and felt as if the entire forest was watching him closely and aggressively. I experienced no negative feelings, even though I was right beside him.

I'm not sure what happened and am concerned about it. Does anyone know what happened and how I can prevent it in the future?

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Re: Rejected by Forest
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2015, 07:35:54 pm »
A couple of points stand out as being fairly likely to be explained (fully or partially) by mundane causes:

Quote from: Kitsunekijo;182062
[Later, he tells me that pretty much as soon as we entered the forest, he could only see the trail in front of us and a few feet into the forest on both sides of us. Everything else was pitch black. In the blackness, he saw eyes and moving shadows, that he felt as if the entire forest was watching him closely - "every tree, every bush, every blade of grass." So, when I stepped off, he freaked because I was moving towards these things, and this was also why he didn't want to go down the path. He had, at the time, even asked me "what if we get lost and can't find our way back?" At the time, I didn't understand his concern because I could very clearly see the path and everything in the forest.]


Some people have better night vision than others. It sounds, from your account, like you didn't take a flashlight or other light source with you. I'm guessing that's because you have good night vision and knew you wouldn't need one, but his night vision is much poorer - indeed, it wouldn't surprise me if that had been a subject of debate beforehand, with him wanting to bring a flashlight, and you vetoing it because, for you, it'd just be disruptive.

Those of us who see well in low-light conditions can have a lot of trouble wrapping our heads around just how dark it is for other folks. It's not an absolute; everyone sees better after their eyes have adjusted to a drop in light levels, so allowing extra time for adjusting is a good idea - but 'better' might still not mean 'well' or even 'adequately'. So some folks will still need to use flashlights. Knowing how to use/direct them to minimize their disruptiveness is useful here (it's not an esoteric art; a bit of experimentation and practice should do the trick) - or use a flashlight with a red filter, which is how astronomers keep their low-light vision from being messed up.

What one can't see is unknown, and that's pretty much always scarier than the known; one imagines things to fill the blank. That'd combine with the nervousness your lover already had.

Quote
[... He told me specifically that the pressure felt like he was "wearing a corset" and could only manage shallow breaths.]


That's cyclic - shallow breaths mean less oxygen, means feeling even more like one can't breathe, means reflexively taking shallow breaths. An external cause - i.e., the pressure - might initiate and/or exacerbate the cycle, but it's certainly internally self-sustaining.

Nor is the pressure (some or all of it) necessarily external; that 'like a corset' feeling is pretty common in panic attacks, and there's nothing to definitely rule out the other manifestations of pressure being internally-generated from fear.

That said... the whole time I was reading your post, I kept thinking about this article. It's very much from a Celtic Reconstructionist perspective, so lots of it won't apply directly to your situation and practice, but there's quite a bit that has broader applicability, that you might be able to use or adapt - and if nothing else, it's a demonstration that, yes, 'rejected by forest' is a thing that can happen.

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Scales

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Re: Rejected by Forest
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2015, 12:42:14 am »
Sorry for bringing up a sorta old thread, I just really liked it?

Quote from: Kitsunekijo;182062

Does anyone know what exactly happened? And any advice as to how to avoid this in the future?

I mean, other than mundane stuff and 'it didn't like him,' the main thing I can think of is to respectfully try again. Have him introduce himself, state his intentions, and walk through in the daytime (less mundane fears to add on), and if it lets him go through, make an offering. If it doesn't get terrible, I'd consider respectfully continuing doing that until he feels more tolerated/welcome (and if it does get terrible, apologize to both the forest and your terrified partner). If you go through at night again, bring a light source (if needing witchy, go with well-contained (ie, not fire hazard even if you trip) lanterns, but also take flashlights and just keep them off until needed).

The one thing that really sticks out as a possible 'you did it wrong' is that only you addressed the forest/bowed/made the offering (although obviously by the time of offering I can't blame your partner). Perhaps even if you're offering together, as well as the other things, he could carry a separate share in.

Otherwise, I'd take the advice of KILLYOUANDEATYOU and not have him invade the forest's space.
 
Quote from: SunflowerP;182114

That said... the whole time I was reading your post, I kept thinking about this article. It's very much from a Celtic Reconstructionist perspective, so lots of it won't apply directly to your situation and practice, but there's quite a bit that has broader applicability, that you might be able to use or adapt - and if nothing else, it's a demonstration that, yes, 'rejected by forest' is a thing that can happen.

 
Both the OP and this reminded me of something and it was confusing at first, but I figured it out.

Me and my friend went exploring (and found some weird things, like a completely clear (not stagnant), very deep 'puddle' (no water source at all), and more explainable but still odd tunnels of plants, but that's all beside the point) near her house, and both got different degrees of 'get the fuck out' feelings, one of us more than the other (probably her, because I'm foolhardy and insensitive, but I can't remember). It was near her house but the (huge, like 15+ acre) plot of land had been recently bought and development started. So, in retrospect, maybe it was mad about the logging, or maybe because we were trespassing. Never had issues with any of the connected tree areas.

Anything like that that might apply to you, Kitsune?

Also that was just a really good read.

Kitsunekijo

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Re: Rejected by Forest
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2015, 08:49:43 pm »
Thank you both for responding! Sorry I haven't commented back in a while, things got hectic over here.

Quote from: SunflowerP;182114
A couple of points stand out as being fairly likely to be explained (fully or partially) by mundane causes


All of this makes sense. He did mention before we even left the apartment that it was rather dark and he was concerned about muggers. With the panic attack, it makes sense that he was psyching himself out. It was his first ritual going to a new forest doing things he hasn't done before, so understandable.

Quote from: SunflowerP;182114
That said... the whole time I was reading your post, I kept thinking about this article.

 
This, however, amazes me. One of the accounts she tells is almost exactly like what happened. Thank you for sharing it. :lub:

Quote from: Scales;183088
(O)ther than mundane stuff and 'it didn't like him,' the main thing I can think of is to respectfully try again. Have him introduce himself, state his intentions, and walk through in the daytime (less mundane fears to add on), and if it lets him go through, make an offering. If it doesn't get terrible, I'd consider respectfully continuing doing that until he feels more tolerated/welcome.


I think this is a great idea, but I'm not sure if he would be willing to do it again. He told me after everything happened that he wanted to postpone continuing because of what happened. I don't blame him, it was rather traumatizing.

Quote from: Scales;183088
The one thing that really sticks out as a possible 'you did it wrong' is that only you addressed the forest/bowed/made the offering (although obviously by the time of offering I can't blame your partner). Perhaps even if you're offering together, as well as the other things, he could carry a separate share in.

Otherwise, I'd take the advice of KILLYOUANDEATYOU and not have him invade the forest's space.

 
Yeah, that was mentioned too, after the fact. He did bow though, however, he described it himself as "half-done" (but with cuss words). I understand why he didn't do the offering though, because at that point he was crazed with fear.
 
Quote from: Scales;183088
Anything like that that might apply to you, Kitsune?

Also that was just a really good read.


Yeah actually. We recently had a tornado that touched down over here and had ripped up several trees along the path at the forest. I had gone the night after the storm by myself and I could clearly feel the forest being rather hostile towards me. I had to talk to it the whole way through to ease the pressure I felt. A few days later, I went again and didn't feel near as much hostility. I noticed too that there was some construction going on near the outskirts of the forest's edge and that a high school was right up against it, so I can understand why the forest would be hostile towards humans now. It used to be much bigger but now has been reduced to a shadow of its former glory.

And thanks.

LunaStar

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Re: Rejected by Forest
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2015, 08:42:53 pm »
Quote from: Kitsunekijo;182062
And any advice as to how to avoid this in the future?


Have you considered visiting the forest during the day?  Mornings are usually quite lovely.  He could bring an amulet that helps him feel safe.  Selenite is known for creating connections with the angelic/benevolent realm.  He could do research on this related to his particular path.  Maybe once he's more familiar with the forest in the light of day then he'll be ready to visit at night.

Elding

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Re: Rejected by Forest
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2016, 10:06:09 pm »
Quote from: Kitsunekijo;182062
Long post goes here.

I can bring some thoughts from my experiences. I move a lot through the local woods, night time as well as during the day. During the vast majority of times, I feel very welcome there, but I am after all an "outsider" to the spirits that are its permanent residents, and there will be times when I get bad vibes that tell me that I shouldn't go to this or that specific place, even though it is a place that I otherwise frequent.
My own interpretation is just that the forest simply happens to be up to something during that particular time, and just like you'd expect a person who was busy doing something else, I don't disturb that spot. I know I can come back later and the vibes will be gone. Maybe you were welcome there because you were already a known face, but it didn't want strangers during the particular moment that you choose to visit.

Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure he goes through a proper cleansing, suitable to whatever faith he or you follow, to make sure he doesn't bring anything hidden and uninvited. The experiences he had while meditating could be a possible hint that there's something leeching off of him (although it might also be a perfectly natural initiation rite of some sort). Either way, he sounds a little bit.. I don't know a good phrase for it.. spiritually conflicted? Maybe there is some past trauma or something that he needs to leave behind if he is to participate into something like an offering.

Also, don't forget that you can always ask the forest. Is meditation part of your practice? Use it, and ask nicely what happened. Maybe they'll appear to you.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2016, 10:07:22 pm by Elding »
Out in the woods, and I\'m not alone, but the sun\'s quickly going down!
There! In the trees! Something stalking me! Stop walking around!
\'K, just be cool, don\'t be such a fool! There is nothing at all to fear...
... other than the trees and the night and a beam of light, and the breathing in my ear...
[/I]

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