After five days on safari in South Africa with my mother on her “bucket list” trip, I felt inspired to write about my practice of interfacing with nature as an oracle, using my safari experience as an example. I shared my practice with several of the safari guides and park rangers I met, and after speaking to them, I wanted to offer a few more opportunities that can help you spiritualize any experience in nature, whether you’re on safari or just going for a hike in the woods.
For thousands of years, the indigenous people all over the world have used various forms of oracular knowing in order to seek guidance when they’re feeling lost, confused, stuck or off track. What is an oracle? Merriam-Webster defines “oracle” as “a priest or priestess acting as a medium through whom advice or prophecy was sought from the gods in classical antiquity” or “a response or message given by an oracle, especially an ambiguous one.” What if nature can be your oracular priest or priestess, connecting you to the priest or priestess—the part that just knows the answer—inside yourself?
As I left the house for my daily hike, I felt intuitively drawn to hike the South Coast Trail near Muir Beach, but my Mind had other ideas. Mind said, “I want to go to Slide Ranch and see if Amber (the goat) has had her babies yet.” Intuition said, “No, South Coast Trail.” Mind said, "Hrrrumph."
A deep cultural blind spot has recently come into my awareness, and it’s the kind of blind spot that, once you see it, you can’t unsee it. When I was in Bali, I spoke to a Hindu high priest, who is also an indigenous Balinese shaman—a rare combination—and he said that during the Kali Yuga, many blind spots will be revealed, and it is our invitation to just let ourselves see what has been in the shadow, for only then can it be illuminated with healing light. So let us shine light on this pattern and explore it together with curiosity.
This pattern has to do with our relationship to needs, and it plays out in our dynamic between the masculine and the feminine (within ourselves, but also out-picturing in relationships between men and women, as well as playing out in patriarchal systems, like the Western medical system).
The sun was rising over the mountains as I hiked up to the Muir Beach Overlook to center myself and ground into Mother Earth before a full day one-on-one session with one of my Visionary Mentoring Program clients. The ocean was serene, still and waveless, after many stormy days of high winds. The air was silent, pregnant with promise. A few weeks had passed since my mother had been diagnosed with an “incurable” kind of stage 4 cancer, so life had been heavy for some time. Yet something about this morning felt light. A calm quietude fell over the sea.