Tag Archives: Nature Witch

Visiting the Night Woods Discussion

Visiting the Night Woods

Do you venture into wild areas at night? Since having become Pagan I often think that I would like to, but find myself
a) afraid (of hunters, mostly, who might shoot anything that moves)
b) for practical reasons unable to get out (small children at home, hubby works evenings).

If you go out a-haunting at night, what have you gained in the experience?

“Order is what happens when chaos loses its temper.” -Roy Wagner

Hawthorne
Bohemian Hedgewitch
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

I used to go hiking in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is surrounded by hills and small mountain, with a couple of guys who were always about 4 hours late to everything. Consequently, we did a lot of summiting and descending in the dark! I was very concerned the first time, but quickly came to realize that it was an invaluable experience. The entire world changes–it's remarkable.

I've been caught out by sunset a couple of times since then on a hiking trail I frequent with my big old white doggie where I live now. It's adjacent to a suburban neighborhood, so there is risk of coming across undesireable people, I'm sure, so I try to avoid it, although if someone DID decide to target me, they would have to get through 105 lbs of Frost the German Shepherd to do it. Still, I wish I didn't have to be concerned about those types of issues, because the sounds, smells, energies…it's all so different and invigorating.

Safety's always first, of course. But if there's an area where you know you aren't going to be shot by hunters or most likely disturbed by others, someone knows exactly where you're going to be, you have a way to contact people, like a cell phone, it's worth it, in my opinion.

Castiel
Castiel
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

I went out in the woods at night more oft when I was a young'un… usually with friends & not alone. I didn't run with a drinking crowd, so our excursions were usually less debauchery (though there was SOME debauchery…) and more appreciative.

Over the past 6 years or so, having moved back to the countryside after my schooling in Montreal, I was a little more tentative to go out at night… I didn't have the same crew to hang out with, and with leetle babies asleep in the house, I couldn't really venture too far from the homestead. I did, however get into the habit of sitting outside at night on the full moon (& a few days on either side) to take advantage of the light. My little place was basically IN the woods, so  there were plenty of unexplained “spooky noises” to freak me out, even in the little backyard. I just tried to stay out despite my nervousness, and move a little further away from the house each time… I liked how I became more familiar & comfortable with the sounds around my home at night.

I'm still getting used to nighttime around the new place… lots of OWLS here! And they hoot back if you hoot at them! Neato! Lots of bats to watch as well… they are just congregating right now, before hibernating in the caves up behind out place. Getting more comfy, I definitely don't run to/from the woodpile anymore, lol.

I will find the Hinterland, the one that feeds and grows
Keep to the outside that all men know,
Fashion a crown out of dead grass and snow,
I will find the Hinterland. – Old Man Luedecke

Whitefootprint
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

I like to go night hiking, the world feel so different. Plus Owl is one of my totems. I like the cool air and the stillness, the heaviness and the weight of the darkness. If that makes sense lol. The nature spirits certainly come out more at night! And there seems to be a more feminine feel to the woods at night.
My favorite time is right at dusk or dawn though, when the critters are on the move, and I have a thing for thresholds.
I always walk at night with at least one dog, a couple of lights (always have back up), bear spray (just in case), a big stick (also just in case), and something to make me jingle (bear country). I don't venture far and I stick to trails I know well.
A cool thing about Misty Acres (my new forever home) is that being a valley, I can be pretty far from the house, or the neighbors and still be heard if Im screaming for help!

Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Don’t claim them.
Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.
~ Rumi

Juniper
Hedge Mistress
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

Hunting is best done at night!  Watch out the the dude with the horns though, hes out about and at night

viking
I don’t HUG trees, I PLANT them.

Daxton
Green Viking!
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

 

Daxton wrote:

Watch out the the dude with the horns though, hes out about and at night

He doesn't scare me: were friends. Its the neighbors, who I know are often some combination of: a) drunk; b) tired from a long day of work plus the rigors of hunting all night; c) over 60 yrs old (call me ageist if you want, but this is very close to the average “expiration date” of a Czech man and their bodies incl. eyes have usually more or less had it); d) really hoping to bag something.

One of the oddities of Czech property law is that it is illegal to ban hunters from your private property, nor can you fence it if it's not your own home plot or an enclosure for domestic animals, nor can you do anything that “disturbs” the animals like hanging up bells, whistles, loudspeakers and the like. You also can't forbid or take down constructions that hunters make such as stands and feeders. Why? Many of the legislators are themselves hunters and their lobby has unbelievable power.

I've certainly been out in the woods at night before, just not around here much, and not as a real Pagan. Maybe the best way to do it would be to make a family camping trip somewhere free of hunters – like a national part – and then just wander off a bit myself when the kids are asleep and P. can watch them.

“Order is what happens when chaos loses its temper.” -Roy Wagner

Hawthorne
Bohemian Hedgewitch
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

Not much for woods out here, mostly graze land and barbed wire.
I do go walking with my dog and a light.
I often take the horse as well, they can smell danger from far away.
We go camping every summer and hike into the back country and I always get my night stroll in, even if I stay close enough to see the campfire.

“We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
From The Tempest

Broom Riding Vikki
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

As a child I would lie in the garden on the grass as the sunset and watch the bats twist and turn overhead.  It is still one of my favourite things when I go home.  The woods near where I grew up were a risky place to be after dark.  The layby at the main entrance to woods has had two murders committed in it, including the one for which the last man to be hanged in England was hanged for.  It has a more modern clandestine use though as I discovered in my teens when I left it a little late turning for home.  It was eerie seeing the shadows of people in the woods moving parallel to me on the path.  Hunters of a different kind…

Down here – there is nothing quite like a beach at night.  A recent walk at the new moon was magical as the stars came out and the waves gently lapped on the beaches.  I havent walked alone in woods at night – not because of the woods but because of the people I might find in them.  It is something I want to get over.

Rose
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

I try, but around here, its cops I have to look out for!  I cant even remember how many times Ive been “found” and chastised or had to hide from the red & blue!

I have found a park where I can go night fishing in the summer, though!

Watching gardeners label their plants
I vow with all beings
to practice the old horticulture
and let plants identify me

el squid
who am I?
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

 

el squid wrote:

I try, but around here, its cops I have to look out for!  I cant even remember how many times Ive been “found” and chastised or had to hide from the red & blue!

What, your local cops have a problem with someone being out at night?  :shocked: It's not like you're ripping off peoples' houses or anything…………. gee what a bunch of Gestapo they sound like. But I guess that's not uncommon.

I remember when I was a kid, on my parents farm, I used to sleep outside all the time, whenever weather would allow. I loved my tent that my grandfather gave me… wish I still had it.

Now I live in the city so there is not much for woods to wander in. But I still like going out at night when I can, to kiss my hand to the moon, watch the kitties and the stars, and leave offerings for the wee folk…….

Hail Thor!

FernGreen
Witch
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

When I lived in San Fransico, I would sometimes get up at 4am and go to the beachhead on the Marin side, underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. The beach isn't all sand there–it's covered with millions upon millions of tiny, smooth pebbles. I would troop out there in the dark and wait for the sun to come up, then go get crepes at Fisherman's Warf for breakfast. I love that beach, and the ocean in the dark. Somehow, being out and about in the really early morning didn't feel unsafe to me, although I'm sure that's a fallacy. I miss the ocean!

Castiel
Castiel
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

The real early morning always feels safe and clean to me too…

Rose
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

 

Rose wrote:

The real early morning always feels safe and clean to me too…

I totally agree. I”ve always been a morning person…..and years of working with horses sort of fed into that.  Nothing like the feeling that you and your horses (and the dogs and cats and other assorted barn creatures) are the only people in the world…

The sounds and smells of early morning are truly wonderful….hard to describe actually….but there's a certain *feeling*….

I like the idea of 'thresholds'

My fear of the night woods is much the same as everyone else..its not the woods that are the problem, its the other people that might be in them that scares the crap out of me…

I ride my bike to and from work and there's a bike path that cuts through some green space and bits of woods that REALLY shortens my journey, not to mention helps me prepare for the day ahead. But once the daylight shortened and I found myself facing the entrance to the trail in the dark…well, I chickened out and stuck to the street.  Something I should be working on too, I guess…. 🙁

…Nature never did betray the heart that loved her ~ Wordsworth

moonmama
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

 

moonmama wrote:

I ride my bike to and from work and there's a bike path that cuts through some green space and bits of woods that REALLY shortens my journey, not to mention helps me prepare for the day ahead. But once the daylight shortened and I found myself facing the entrance to the trail in the dark…well, I chickened out and stuck to the street.  Something I should be working on too, I guess…. 🙁

aw, don't should on yourself.  :tongue:

Hail Thor!

FernGreen
Witch
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

I love the idea of night woods, but I guess I suffer from the same safety concerns as everyone. Though there are a couple of places here that I'm sure would be OK – a couple of very small protected nature areas bordering off of residential areas near my home.

I love to go out walking in the late evening, esp. in warm weather and I've seen a lot of animals right at dusk when most of the sunlight is gone but you can still see your way. I've seen deer, turkeys, bats. No owls yet but I'm always on the lookout for them!

Virag
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

Do any of you pack weaponry when you hike?

i've carried both blades and guns on various occasions. A big stick is good too.

Hail Thor!

FernGreen
Witch
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

Not as such, no. Just jingly keys to (hopefully) frighten bears away… there's not much to worry about in the woods around here though… brown bears are about as bad as it could get, and they don't venture around the houses that often. Not sure my athame & boline count smile.

I will find the Hinterland, the one that feeds and grows
Keep to the outside that all men know,
Fashion a crown out of dead grass and snow,
I will find the Hinterland. – Old Man Luedecke

Whitefootprint
Moderator
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

Noooo.  To carry weapons is somewhat illegal in the UK.  Getting a firearms licence would be very tough these days too I think.  Many farmers had to give up their guns as well some years back when legislation changed.  I saw a thread on a pagan site that talked about what to do if the police caught you with an athame and boline.  If you accept a caution your weapons get destroyed and you get a criminal record.  Apparently you are best to refuse a caution and be vocal about the fact that they are ritual tools used as part of your faith and not weapons.

This is the link if anyone is interested – http://druidnetwork.org/en/civilliberties/knives

Then again the only generally dangerous creature in this country is man.  (Although there are regular sightings of big black cats and also wild boar are now free in the UK)  We did a good job of clearing this land a long time ago and it is too densely populated for wolves or bears to be reintroduced with any ease…

Rose
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

I've been letting my older boy go from Omas to our place. Its a good 1km hike and its wooded. He has his big stick  :cheesy: his jingly keys, a flashlight and bear spray. Hes grown up in the woods and theres not a lot around in winter. SHHHHH everybody's sleeping. He says he really likes the alone time and the star gazing. And the northern lights too! He is very proud of himself to be allowed to go out after dark even if its just to Omas house and back. hehe and Dad and Oma phone each other when he leaves and arrives :cheesy:.

viking
I don’t HUG trees, I PLANT them.

Daxton
Green Viking!
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

*sigh* The Northern Lights….  I dream of seeing them one day…

Rose
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

I thought I'd add my experience from last night, since it fits perfectly into this thread…

We had an ice storm in the middle of last week, and the temp hasn't been above freezing since.  It was close to midnight when I walked deeper into the forest.  The moon was almost full and her light was reflecting brightly off of the snow and ice-encased trees.  It seemed almost as bright as day, but had that certain moonlit glow.  Dark shadows of the leafless trees stretched over the snow of the forest floor as I walked to a stone crag overlook.  This is my outdoor altar, where I leave offerings, commune with the spirits of the land, and work magic.  As the moon shown down from overhead, I paid homage to the Gods, ancestors, and spirits.  Just as I got quiet to listen for a response, something below me slowly crunched through the snow.  Maybe a whitetail deer, maybe something else… all I know is that my invocations had been answered…

I highly recommend finding somewhere outside where you feel safe and can be alone for your spiritual practice.  There is a certain depth and connectedness that is different than indoor work, and definitely worth the experience.

Pwyll
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

I almost stepped off a cliff in the dark once, while walking the Colorado National Monument at night with a boy friend. It was winter solstice, I think 2001 or so.

In retrospect, I see that the relationship with that fellow was akin to stepping off a cliff, and wish I woulda paid better attention to the omen that night……..

Hail Thor!

FernGreen
Witch
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

Lovely description Pwyll – I'll share too smile I was preparing for my Esbat last night (other engagement on tonight's official full moon, unfortunately…) & I sat out in the snow and moonlight for a good long while. My cat Nikita came and found me and we snuggled. There was a fresh carpet of newly fallen snow, and a clear bright sky… looking eastward, since the moon was still in that quarter, I could see clearly up the path that leads from our property into the forest and trails. Just as Nikita and I were getting comfy, after pouring libations, something came trotting down the trail from the woods towards us – about the size of a fox. It sat facing us for some time, a dark shape in the glittering snow… then it headed back into the woods, towards the vineyard, and I went inside. Nikita hung with me in the circle while I did my rit and played my flute quietly, which was a first for her. smile Le sigh… a pretty good night.

I will find the Hinterland, the one that feeds and grows
Keep to the outside that all men know,
Fashion a crown out of dead grass and snow,
I will find the Hinterland. – Old Man Luedecke

Whitefootprint
Moderator
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

It sounds like a very good night to me, Whitefootprint.

Your land sounds absolutely magical, as does your experience.  I get the feeling that many of us do most of our work alone, and its comforting to hear about other experiences.

Pwyll
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

Whitefootprint, you wrote once before about “foxiness” -foxes coming around to see you often. Are they still after you? Do you know what it means?

“Order is what happens when chaos loses its temper.” -Roy Wagner

Hawthorne
Bohemian Hedgewitch
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

I would love to be able to do that, it sounds lovely, but unfortunately there are crazies where I live so it's dangerous to be out at night, unless you're driving somewhere or you're at Walmart or something. =/

“The thing that I call living is just being satisfied,
and knowing I’ve got no one left to blame.”

Sage
Wilde Witch
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

Aren't the crazies at Wallmart?  winkgrin

Watching gardeners label their plants
I vow with all beings
to practice the old horticulture
and let plants identify me

el squid
who am I?
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

 

Hawthorne wrote:

Whitefootprint, you wrote once before about “foxiness” -foxes coming around to see you often. Are they still after you? Do you know what it means?

There are still LOTS of foxes around, but I tend to see them more when there isn't quite so much snow on the ground… I have a feeling that is what I saw that night, but it was only in silhouette. Our property seems to be on a regular fox “route” – I think I mentioned in the Foxiness thread that I almost stumbled over a fox sleeping our path to the vineyard!

I've been thinking about what they might mean – they mean something to me personally – but in a bigger way, I really feel the foxes are saying something to my community – this has to do with the mine, and the future security of our community – we need to prevent the mine, but it's going to take a heck of a lot of skillful diplomacy, strategy, and focus… and maybe a little bit of sneakiness smile. That focus part will be important, since the mine just received an extension for more time to prepare their proposal, so we have to keep our eyes on the ball and use our time wisely.

In addition to the symbolic meanings, I also find it interesting that fox sightings can be an indicator of habitat degradation – they compete for the same game as coyotes, but if habitat is destroyed and they are squeezed for space, the coyotes always force the foxes over into human territory. Plus, foxes just seem less afraid of humans than coyotes, so they are the more adventurous when space becomes limited. So the mine development is stressing the foxes, just as it is stressing us. I feel the fox I saw on the full moon could have been communicating these issues.

For me personally – find it interesting that the other fox I stumbled upon was sleeping at mid-day. I had to wake it up to proceed on my way…

I wonder if that wasn't a message to me about “awakening” – awakening confidence & will power, trust in my own wisdom, a focus on right action… aaaaaand possibly a warning not to fall in love prematurely after my separation (I heeded that advice, thank goodness, still developing the other stuff…).

I will find the Hinterland, the one that feeds and grows
Keep to the outside that all men know,
Fashion a crown out of dead grass and snow,
I will find the Hinterland. – Old Man Luedecke

Whitefootprint
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

I do alot of my watering in the garden at night.I have a wooded area on one side of my property. It is very calming out there and the reflection of the water is so pretty. It takes quite awhile so I watch the moon move across the sky.Now that the weather is warmer everthing and everybody is on the move when the sun goes down. I have to be careful not to step on the toads hopping by. And the fireflies are out in full force this year. There is an old tree I call the Mother tree that looms in the dark, covered in vines which looks like an overcoat.She stands there watching like she has for a hundred years.

RBella
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

I camped for a whole semester in college doing my thesis (majored in geophysics, so all our work was outside)– beautiful area– Viscaino Desert, Mexico. On the beach. This desert has very diverse fauna– lots of varieties of “scrubby sticker bushes”, also Boojum trees (Fouquieria columnaris) — which look like something out of a Dr. Seuss novel and elephant trees (Bursera microphylla)– i have scars from the sap and trying to peel it off…

We did a lot of fieldwork in the Mojave Desert and Southern High Sierra, so spent many nights there too… wrote a lot of hymns to Set and Anubis…and poems about the spring equinox and summer solstice. Will have to dig them out and post someday.  Had a lot of nighttime visits with kangaroo rats, they would often walk right up and seem to be trying to tell me something. I played some music once, and one of the more adventurous ones seemed to dance to it. The desert is my magickal home– very alien, very quiet, very alive. there are things in the desert which have never “met” a person before (well, at least not a western European. The Shoshone used to live in the Mojave and the Maya in the Mexican deserts). the energy feels very primal. Easy to cross into the Otherworlds in the desert.

currently, we take walks in the local woods on the paths in the evenings after i return from work. A few owl families (bared and shriek owls) will cross the paths going after small brown bats and small animals. I often hear a coyote, but have never seen him. This is the cicada year, so the night sounds abuzz. We have a bit of a white tailed deer overpopulation problem– many on the paths and very unafraid of humans  (I suspect that the deer are fed by humans in the winter). The trails seem really safe, and peaceful. I will do walking meditation here.

Occasionally, the local state park has a Jr. Rangers night hike (there are 3 night hike badges for identifying animals after dark). In the park, there are many toads, crickets, deer, and some bats. The park ranger found a copperhead snake once, all the little girls thought it was the coolest thing in the world and all the little boys were scared.

do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law –Uncle Al
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the only abnormality is the incapacity to love –Anais Nin
my blog: http://walkingthehedge.net/spiggycat/

spiggycat
Zen Witch
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

I used to go out hiking at night much more frequently than I am able to now, and I miss it quite a bit.
As far as safety goes I am mindfully of the hunting seasons as well as my locations.
For me being out in the wild at night is a rich experience. The stillness that the cloak of darkness creates is amazing. I find my senses heightened and I feel more connected to the environment than I am during the daylight hours.

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Serenity
Wild Wanderer
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Re: Visiting the Night Woods

A fox hangs out at the edge of my patch of woods. She comes out after sunset each night. Earlier this summer she stashed her kits across the road in a drainage pipe. They have grown and gone but she is still around. We both keep our distance, she watches me water the garden for awhile and then moves on. I noticed the fireflies are gone and now I’ve seen bats flying around. Maybe the bats ate the fireflies?

RBella
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Book Review: The Secret Lives of Plants

The Secret Lives of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird is worth reading, but is not an easy book at all. Very scientific and not dumbed down for the layperson (some of the chapters about electromagnetic experiments and plants had to be read while consulting my medicinal shaman and electrical engineer by trade partner.) Amusingly, at the same time I was reading this book, I was also reading a fluffy little herb book which did not discuss the "used to be used for absenthe" about wormwood… 

This book describes many experiments done on and about plants by various scientists, engineers, doctors and horticulturinsts. Some ofthe notable research is outlined below.

In the sections about electronic experiments, it was shown that plants can communicate with people and with each other. They also can pick up on human thoughts. One plant would always emit the same reading on the electronic sensor whenever a researcher thought about sex, so much so that it became a lab running joke! Plants could also sense when someone was intending to harm them, and the plant would wilt slightly.

In the plants and music experiment section– people would play music for plants and they would grow bigger; however they do have musical taste– they like Kirtan and classical but do not seem to care for deathmetal. Apparently, the soil near plants that were sung to was warmer than the quiet control plants.

In the plants and light section, plants were shown to have an internal clock. However, if plants were taken into a mine too far away from the sun, they went dormant.

There is a discussoin of an Odic force which runs thru all living things– kind of like Wilhelm Reich's Orgone energy– which links organic and inorganic energy. This energy, and electromagnetic energy of many forms, causes plants to grow faster.

Plants were shown to grow to align with the earth's magnetic field.

Plants have auras, as detected by Kirilian photography, and a dead leaf has no aura.After leaves are cut, they start to lose their aura until they arre dried up and have none. This aura was also detected with other instruments and was used by some foodies to determine freshness and potency for food.

In the Soil section, a link was made between monoculture and soil depletion (thi link was made before the 2nd world War, but there are whole states full of BT corn… Why?) Nitrogen fertilizer poisons groundwater and will cause soil imbalances but using manure would not. Organic farming was discussed– the Law of return was defined that the soil will put out what you put in. There is a difference between farming and mining, this is something modern farmers have seemed to have forgotten.

Finally, plants grew better when they were prayed to.