“What is wild cannot be bought or sold, borrowed or copied. It is. Unmistakeable, unforgettable, unshamable, elemental as earth and ice, water, fire and air, a quintessence, pure spirit, resolving into no constituents.
Don’t waste your wildness: it is precious and necessary.” – Jay Griffiths
An erotic encounter was not something I expected as I climbed into the beckoning branches of an old avocado tree, 5 years or so ago, whilst woofing in New Zealand.
I had been working in various organic farms, my delicate city princess feet toughened by weeks of walking barefoot, hands stained dark with soil from the daily picking of tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, corn and a variety of other sumptuous delights the world around me generously proffered.
With no audible noise from traffic, no stimulation from a computer, stereo or TV, my mind had considerably quietened, and I began to notice subtle but distinct changes in the sensitivity of my perception. I was sensing things I had never sensed before – specifically, an ability to feel plant energies or auras – enjoying how each plant ‘felt’, almost as though I could tap into their qualities or personalities, which would all evoke different responses within me.
I could tell a tree was diseased without looking at it, just by being in its presence. And I noticed that whilst walking through enchanting groves of avocado trees (so many avocadoes! Oh what I would give now to have a garden full of avocado trees!), I would silently greet trees and swore I could feel them ‘greeting’ me back.
But climbing into the branches of this particular tree, I experienced an unmistakable giant whoosh of energy, deliciously tingling in my pelvis and dancing it’s way up my spine, as though – and dear reader, I know this sounds odd – but as though the tree and I were engaged energetically in something of an erotic frolic. Surrendering to the waves of bliss, feeling energetically penetrated by pushing and probing roots & tendrils, I had my first orgasm, perched in a tree.
This was the first of many experiences since then, which have prompted me to reconsider the entire framework within which I viewed both sexuality and more widely, the nature of life.
Jay Griffith writes “wilderness and wild nature are sexual…the grinding of shoots thrusting up into the light, the hungry torsion as snake squeezes snake, birds flightily dipping as they twang an orgasm between a wing beats, the delicate incipience of young sexuality in bud and blossom…”
How differently would we teach our children about sex, if we understood that there is no difference between the life force that permeates all living things, and the erotic desire to create? That life is erotic: each moment, a continual creative impulse to come into existence.
How differently would we think about our relationship to our partners and the world around us, if we stopped thinking of sex as something that only happens behind closed doors between people, involving genitals? As D. H. Lawrence famously lamented, “Oh what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it was made a personal, merely personal feeling, taken away from the rising and the setting of the sun, and cut off from the magic connection of the solstice and equinox!”
But my erotic tree escapade and subsequent experiences were more than sensual revelling in the world around me. My felt experience was very much that of the tree as a sentient being, both responsive to me and capable of initiating contact. This of course, going against everything I had ever been taught by mainstream culture, which tells me as a human I am superior in intelligence to everything else, and the lowly world of flora, incapable of perception or consciousness.
What a wonderful thought to remember that for over 90% of our time as human beings on our planet (estimated at 200,000 years), before the birth of agriculture and modern culture, we were intimately connected and in deep relationship to earth. What’s so fascinating about this, is that it’s not just that we had more information about the earth (how animals behave so we can hunt them better, which fruits are edible), or even that our perception was more finely attuned and sensitive, but that our reality, based on our direct, felt experience of our connection to earth, was radically different. We lived in a totally different paradigm.
If we can infer how we used to exist for the majority of our time on our planet, by observing indigenous hunter-gatherer societies that have managed (against all odds) to prevail today, we see that we experienced life all around us – whether rock or lake, flower or beast – as sentient, with equal rights and status.
Humans didn’t just ‘believe’ in the interconnectedness and sacredness of all, this was our tangible, sensory experience, our reality. So of course, we would ask for permission from the spirit of the animal we were hunting before killing, why no part of an animal would ever be wasted, why a rock would not be moved without reason, and land could not be ‘owned’. This is why an Apache Indian cannot tell a story without including where on the land it happened – for being alive is so intimately connected to the earth – that everything that takes place, is in relationship to it. A relationship that is so paramount in our experience of being alive, that words and concepts such as ‘past’ and ‘future’ did not exist as they do now.
How would life on our planet be different if we quietened our busy minds for a moment, listened and felt how the pulsing of life through our veins is the same that pulses through the unfurling of a fern, uniting us all in the web of life? If we could feel our actions being witnessed, even judged, by sentient trees?
We can all see the destruction and suffering that our current paradigm of separation and superiority over life, has created. The most powerful change that can take place will not be top down from governments and institutions, but must come from a collective movement into a new shared experience of life.
It’s up to you and me to rekindle those hidden memories that lie buried deep in our bones, of what it is to live in reverence and with respect for life. So stop. Listen. Climb a tree. You never know just what might happen…
Ruby Luna May
Ruby May is an edge-dwelling, truth-seeking creative visionary, whose passion lies in combining the fields of sexuality, transpersonal psychology and spiritual ecology and creating playful, transformative & magical spaces where we can learn to live ‘beyond our imagination’.