If you are in need of healing, nature and the healing powers of plants and trees are some of the most powerful resources. Muflone Maggiociondolo shares his experience going from an urban environment to doing bio-restoration in the Sacred Woods of Damanhur. Part two in a two-part series.

What’s happening in the Sacred Woods lately?

I live in the nucleo community Tin, taking part in the project we have for restoring the woods and land. We are cleaning the land, selectively cutting some of the trees to enhance the overall health of the woods. Before Damanhur acquired these lands, the woods were often commercially clear-cut to use these small, young trees for making wood poles. So, all the trees are very young here. Almost all of the woods consist of chestnut trees, and this lack of diversity in the plant life makes it so that there are few species and little nutritional richness. Chestnuts trees are very acidic, and too many of them can prevent the growth of other species. Also, the quality of the chestnuts is being reduced over time. I think it would take about 4 or 5 years without human presence in the woods to really heal them and the various plant illnesses.

What can be done to change this trend of destructiveness?
Laurel wreathes once crowned the heads of ancient heroes and the leaves guided the predictions of the Delphic priestesses. If you come to the full moon Rite of the Oracle, you will see the Pythias put laurel crowns on those seeking answers to their questi

The woods were exploited for many centuries, so it will take a long time for us to restore the diversity and harmony that previously existed. We want help by creating a richer ecosystem with more variety. We intend to introduce a variety of trees that have quality wood, like beech, hornbeam, hackberry, maple, and also shrubs with berries which would be beneficial for us and the animals. It’s important to have older trees, because trees also hold knowledge. They live longer than us humans, some for almost a thousand years.

What gives the Sacred Woods healing value?

We’d like to have herbs growing close to the labyrinths, so they are immersed in colors and scents and have this added dimension of therapeutic value through the plants. We are working to enhance the beauty of the woods, so it can have a positive effect on wellness, with an aesthetic impact. It’s a dream to create a kind of botanical garden with native plants. We love using the plants that grow on the land to help us support our well-being and diversify our nutrition. We harvest herbs to make herbal teas, as well as berries and fruits. We use wild-crafted plants in our cooking, more than a hundred varieties. Just to give a few examples, we have campion, dandelion, yarrow, burnet, wild garlic. Living on this land and harvesting its resources is sacred for us.

Do plants communicate with you?

Plants definitely speak, I sense that. When I am in the right state of mind, I can perceive what they are communicating. By observing nature, I learn so many things. I learn about how to take care of plants by walking around the woods and seeing how they behave naturally, on their own. Humans modify the environment a lot. We want to bring a balance to this in the woods. Listen as well as intervene.

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What plants and herbs grow in your local area? What healing properties do they have? Share in the comments below…