Updated: Jan 31, 2019
The fact you’re reading this article is no accident, that’s just how natural wisdom works. It has a way of creeping up on you when you least expect it and infusing you with a feeling - perhaps today you’re curious like Alice was as she chased the white rabbit across the field? So just for a while, let’s step through the proverbial looking glass and take a look at what natural wisdom might mean for the seeker within you.
So what is natural wisdom? I believe it is a multidimensional concept that encompasses our relationship with nature and natural lore, universal laws, the seen and the unseen; but at its heart, natural wisdom is about our relationship to ourselves in the world. We cannot exist in isolation from the world in which we live and through understanding the wisdom of our planet we can come into sacred ayni with our lives.
This personal aspect of natural wisdom remains, for me at least, one of its most important aspects because for all that has been written in the millions of pages that have been produced about the broad topics presented above, nothing can adequately describe the personal and intimate relationship we each have with the world and with ourselves. So unique are we, that my experience of the natural laws will not be the same - if only by degrees - as yours, although we can agree that the qualities of those laws are in fact the same.
Nature and Natural Lore
On the journey to embodying natural wisdom, the seeker will one day have to return to their childhood and look at the faerie tales they were told from an entirely new perspective. This is less about understanding the subtextual innuendo and more about realising that the elemental beings represented as magical, mystical creatures might just exist...
In a natural wisdom sense, there is an implicit understanding that earth, water, air, fire and ether work together to maintain harmony on the planet. Each element is not only contained within us but is all around us all of the time. Developing a relationship with each element, its lineage and qualities helps us to understand the nature and cycles of life on earth.
In many indigenous cultures, the elements and their elemental spirits have long been associated with the four directions - North, South, East and West. Many tribal cultures include the sky, the earth, the mother and the father; or in the case of the Pachakuti tradition that I study all of this as well as the lower world, the middle world and the upper world.
The sceptic would ask why they can’t see these spirits now and the simple answer is you can - in your imagination, your i-magic-nation. An active imagination is a foundation stone of any wisdom seeker (Wilcox, 2004). Black, in his Secret History of the World (2008, Ch. 6, 15) would has an entirely different interpretation. He describes the slow separation of spirit as a process that occured as the third eye became less active, the human skull hardened and individuality took precedence over a connection to the spirit realms. Thus, the modern human has lost its ability to see and communicate with spirits.
However you look at it, to discount the existence of the elementals and the spirit guardians simply because we cannot see them is to close off a part of ourselves that we accepted unequivocally as children - because we could see them… and some of us still remember.
The wisdom seeker will also need to confront their relationship with nature itself. Many of us have been born into a radically transforming world where digital is the new crack and a retreat is something we do for a week to try and detox from the technological and chemical overload that assaults our minds and bodies every minute of the day. The answers to many of our greatest ills - both physical and mental - can be found in nature. From the feeling you get when walking through a majestic old forest to the exhilaration of diving our oceans or the solitude of our deserts; our planet offers us a multitude of healing experiences that cannot be fully captured and shared on a screen, simply because they cannot be felt.
Mother nature, in all her beauty, provides a veritable grocery store of plant based foods to meet our metabolic needs and the wisdom of the plants, (so eloquently described by Buhner, Fukuoka and writers of indigenous plant lore), is a source that we can tap into by opening ourselves to the experience of direct communication with plants - like the Soux, the Miltenos, the Zuni and the Papagos (Buhner, 2006). It is nature that provides pathways to healing through homeopathy and the use of natural plant medicines. There are many who will say that there isn’t enough chemical material in tinctures to provide an effective treatment, but this pre-supposes that we are not the multidimensional beings that we are. That we are not capable of curing our own ills, many of which are mental (Kryon, 2017). As we will see in the Universal Laws, being ILL is simply another way of saying I-LACK-LOVE. Since all is mind (Anonymous, 1908), it is the mind and our relationship to it (our perspective) that we must heal.
Like the natural laws, much has been written in books and blogs about universal laws - whether that is 7, 11 or 12, the list seems to grow or change depending on the individual bias of the author.
If you were to search for an original list, Black (2008) would point to the seven hermetic principles ascribed to by the Hermeticists and attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. Hermes was deified by the Egyptians under the name of Thoth as a master of the three planes of existence (seeing a pattern here about the three worlds?) and his teachings have been handed down through the mystery schools for thousands of years. A more abstract, but no less valid description of the Hermetic Principles was penned by three initiates in “The Kybalion” (2013) which was said to be passed from teacher to student or to appear in one’s life at just the right time.
These laws are so often referred to because their relevance is as universal today as it was in the deep past. The laws (T.I., 2013):
1. The Principle of Mentalism - the all is mind; the universe is mental.
2. The Principle of Correspondence - as above, so below; as within, so without; as the universe, so the soul.
3. The Principle of Vibration - nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.
4. The Principle of Polarity - everything is dual; everything has poles.
5. The Principle of Rhythm - everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall.
6. The Principle of Causality - every cause has its effect; every effect has its cause.
7. The Principle of Gender - gender is everything; everything has its masculine and feminine principles.
What is so important about these laws for any student of natural wisdom lies in the fact that although they appear on the surface to be relatively straightforward, within them lies the fundamental rules that govern all of life on Earth. At the same time, they point to a multidimensionality of life (particularly the principle of correspondence) that is only just starting to come into the collective consciousness now in 2018.
To understand and embody natural wisdom at its most basic level is to accept the presence of these seven principles in all aspects and acknowledge their impact on every facet of our lives. The Hermeticists used the principles as a living art form. The wisdom seeker can use them to develop a greater appreciation of the art of living, have a greater appreciation of one’s inner world and find new meaning in concepts such as consciousness, self-mastery, and how to take advantage of what life has to offer.
Acceptance of The Seen & The Unseen
On the path to natural wisdom a seeker will also be confronted with the potential (and possibly the reality) that all that exists might not be visible, such is the great mystery of our world. When you are sitting in a room with other people and some talk about seeing energy flying across the room or appear to be distracted by an air sylph knocking petals off the roses, you can’t help but feel that you’re missing something.
Accepting that you’re not yet able to ‘see’ what others see has been one of the more difficult aspects of learning natural wisdom for me personally. Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda (1972) describes briefly the first 10 years of the Apprentice’s journey with his teacher Don Juan and the path to being able to ‘see’ (perceive the spirit realms). The challenge for Castaneda seems to be his incessant need for an explanation for everything. This is perhaps something many of us face when confronted with concepts, ideas and events that cannot be explained in rational terms. But that is the actual point - no explanation is necessary since this leads us down the the rabbit hole. Rather, than using our minds to ‘do’, the profound teaching of Don Juan in Journey to Ixtlan (Castaneda, 1972) is that not doing is the key to ‘seeing’ and to understand that ‘the world is a feeling’.
Castaneda’s works are possibly the most captivating for coming to terms with the great mysteries of our world. Although his authorship has come under intense criticism, his ability to weave a coherent, poignant, almost mythical story about a sorcerer’s apprentice goes a long way to helping the ordinary person come to grips with the potential that all is not as it seems in the world (and to be completely ok with that).
As the wisdom seeker begins to open up to the potential of the unseen realms, it’s almost as if those realms reach right through the veil to make their presence felt. Prior to starting the course, I had many experiences with supernatural phenomena, so accepting that has not been an issue. On my own Journey to Ixtlan I have had to accept that I cannot see yet, and there is far more to this world than even I imagined from those early experiences. While I don’t have the vision, I have an inner knowing that there is far more happening than most of us realise. That doesn’t stop me laying awake daydreaming about ‘seeing’ it.
There is not enough space in this brief article to give natural wisdom her dues, but to do so would be to add yet more pages to the vast repository of knowledge already stored in secret and not so secret libraries across the world. So let’s step back through the looking glass, take a deep breath and feel, just for a moment, how life affirming it is to know that all is not as it seems.
Natural wisdom is available to all of us. When we know where to look and how to develop that deep and personal relationship with the world around us, we can work with mother nature in the most beautiful ways to create a life of peace and sacred ayni. Will you?
How could natural wisdom support you to live a more fulfilling life? Find out through a discovery call.
Three Initiates, (2013), ‘The Kybalion’, Merchant Books, first published 1912
Black, J., (2008), ‘The Secret History of the World’, Quercus Publishing
Buhner, S., (2006), ‘Sacred Plant Medicine: The Wisdom in Sacred American Herbalism’, Bear Company
Castaneda, C., (1972), ‘Journey to Ixtlan’, Simon & Schuster, New York
Kryon, (2017), ‘The New Human: An interview with Lee Carroll Channel of Kryon’ http://www.edgemagazine.net/2017/06/the-new-human-an-interview-with-lee-carroll/
Wilcox, J., (1994), ‘Masters of the Living Energy. The Mystical World of the Q’ero of Peru, 3rd Ed., Simon &