All Contents © AGEF, Avalon Pagan Centre 2019
Avalon Pagan Centre  &Nature Sanctuary

News

Forest Bathing: Medicine

for the Soul

Shinrin-yoku is a term that means "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing." It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Researchers primarily in Japan and South Korea have established a robust body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest. Now their research is helping to establish shinrin-yoku and forest therapy throughout the world. The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved. We have always known this intuitively. But in the past several decades there have been many scientific studies that are demonstrating the mechanisms behind the healing effects of simply being in wild and natural areas. For example, many trees give off organic compounds that support our “NK” (natural killer) cells that are part of our immune system's way of fighting cancer. We recognize that forest therapy approaches such as Shinrin-yoku have roots in many cultures throughout history. John Muir wrote, “Thousands of tired, nerve- shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home. Wilderness is a necessity.” He is one of many people who we include when we think about the origins of the practice. Next summer, we’re excited to be able to offer Forest Bathing retreats to Avalon Pagan Centre registered members. These simple retreats will combine leisurely walks on gentle paths under forest canopy with guided activities to help you open your senses, hone your intuition, and experience the forest as you never have before. We draw upon mindfulness meditation practices to help you immerse yourself in the experience. We have group discussions at several points along the walk, which helps participants learn from and teach other as we discuss what we are experiencing together. Follow our Facebook page for more details on this event!

A Bat in Need

It looked just like a piece of black plastic on the ground. As I reached down to pick it up, I realized it was in fact a tiny bat! Assuming it was dead, in all likelihood yet another victim of our ginger tom cat, I put on a pair of gloves and picked it up. Much to my surprise, I found a pair of tiny clawed paws clinging to my finger! The Little  Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) was alive - just. It was early September, and although sunny, it was a cool day. Knowing next to nothing about bats, I went to Google for advice, but didn’t really find much. My husband and I put our heads together and decided the best course of action was to keep the little bat warm, but out of direct light, and also to make sure he had water. So we put him in a small cardboard box lined with newspaper, and filled an orange juice bottle cap with water, which we wedged into a corner of the box. The bat looked at me with his beady little eyes, as if to say thank you. We set the box on a warm window ledge, closed the lid, and left him alone. A couple of hours later I checked on the little bat, and to my amazement he was still alive! I could see him moving as I peered in through the top flaps of the box. I left him alone again, until night fell and we knew that we had to make a decision. Concerns about our cat were uppermost in our minds as we figured out what to do next. We didn’t want to leave him indoors in case he revived and wanted to escape - we’ve had a bat flying around inside the house before and it’s no fun trying to get them out! But we had to keep him safe from Harry, our enthusiastic and highly skilled hunter- killer ginger tom!  So we settled on our wood storage area, just outside our back door. It was dry, sheltered and secure, but open to the outside should the bat revive and want to fly away. We placed the box high up on a protruding log beam, out of Harry’s reach, closed the door and hoped for the best. Much to our amazement, when we checked in the morning, the box was empty - the bat was gone! I looked all around the ground in case he’d fallen out - but there was nothing. I can only assume that as the night wore on, the little bat, a nocturnal creature, revived, climbed out of the box, and flew away. Bats are becoming increasingly endangered as they fall victim to diseases such as white nose syndrome, which has killed many bats in Nova Scotia and elsewhere. I really miss seeing the bats flying around our garden, consuming a thousand mosquitoes an hour, and I do hope that they come back to our garden. Maybe the saving of one little brown bat might tip the balance in their favour.

NEWS: Store is open!

Online Store now open for business!

Hey everyone! Check out our Store page for tinctures and oils, balms and salves, herbal tea blends, ritual supplies and more! All proceeds go to support the Centre.

NEWS: Pagan Weddings!

Planning on getting married in 2019?

We have the perfect venue for your handfasting. Book your wedding at Avalon Pagan Centre and take advantage of our resident Justice of the Peace (who is also a Wiccan priestess) to perform your handfasting as a legal civil marriage. Traditional Scottish Handfastings also available. Enquiries to us at info@avalonpagancentre.com or sunriseweddingscb@gmail.com.

Endangered: Pine

Marten

Listed as endangered by the government of Nova Scotia, the American Marten (Martes americana), also known as the pine marten, may be alive and well on our property. Back in the winter of 2013, we were lucky enough to discover tracks of what may have been an American Marten in the snow of our back woods. Marten tracks are smaller than those of the more common Fisher, so we took measurements. The animal was also kind enough to provide us with a piece of scat for further identification. Martens were released in our provincially protected wilderness area in 2006 as part of the Cape Breton Marten Augmentation Project. There is plenty of food available for the marten on our property and adjacent forest, including squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks and other small rodents, as well as fish, insects, fruit and nuts. As an endangered species, the marten needs habitat that is guaranteed to remain undisturbed by humans, in order that the species may have a fair chance to re-establish breeding pairs and boost its dwindling numbers. The nature sanctuary that we are endeavouring to create and maintain provides the ideal habitat for the American Marten. Unspoiled Acadian forest, safe from the pervasive logging that currently threatens the natural beauty of Cape Breton Island, is critical for the continued protection of this animal, and others who find refuge in our forest property. Come visit Avalon Pagan Centre & Nature Sanctuary, and know that you are helping to support a home for this beautiful creature.
Pine Marten tracks in the Centre’s woodlands
Pine Marten tracks measurement
A recent Handfasting in the Centre gardens
© AGEF, Avalon Pagan Centre 2019 info@avalonpagancentre.com
Avalon Pagan Centre & Nature Sanctuary

News

Forest Bathing: Medicine

for the Soul

Shinrin-yoku is a term that means "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing." It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Researchers primarily in Japan and South Korea have established a robust body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest. Now their research is helping to establish shinrin-yoku and forest therapy throughout the world. The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved. We have always known this intuitively. But in the past several decades there have been many scientific studies that are demonstrating the mechanisms behind the healing effects of simply being in wild and natural areas. For example, many trees give off organic compounds that support our “NK” (natural killer) cells that are part of our immune system's way of fighting cancer. We recognize that forest therapy approaches such as Shinrin-yoku have roots in many cultures throughout history. John Muir wrote, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home. Wilderness is a necessity.” He is one of many people who we include when we think about the origins of the practice. Next summer, we’re excited to be able to offer Forest Bathing retreats to Avalon Pagan Centre registered members. These simple retreats will combine leisurely walks on gentle paths under forest canopy with guided activities to help you open your senses, hone your intuition, and experience the forest as you never have before. We draw upon mindfulness meditation practices to help you immerse yourself in the experience. We have group discussions at several points along the walk, which helps participants learn from and teach other as we discuss what we are experiencing together. Follow our Facebook page for more details on this event!

A Bat in Need

It looked just like a piece of black plastic on the ground. As I reached down to pick it up, I realized it was in fact a tiny bat! Assuming it was dead, in all likelihood yet another victim of our ginger tom cat, I put on a pair of gloves and picked it up. Much to my surprise, I found a pair of tiny clawed paws clinging to my finger! The Little  Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) was alive - just. It was early September, and although sunny, it was a cool day. Knowing next to nothing about bats, I went to Google for advice, but didn’t really find much. My husband and I put our heads together and decided the best course of action was to keep the little bat warm, but out of direct light, and also to make sure he had water. So we put him in a small cardboard box lined with newspaper, and filled an orange juice bottle cap with water, which we wedged into a corner of the box. The bat looked at me with his beady little eyes, as if to say thank you. We set the box on a warm window ledge, closed the lid, and left him alone. A couple of hours later I checked on the little bat, and to my amazement he was still alive! I could see him moving as I peered in through the top flaps of the box. I left him alone again, until night fell and we knew that we had to make a decision. Concerns about our cat were uppermost in our minds as we figured out what to do next. We didn’t want to leave him indoors in case he revived and wanted to escape - we’ve had a bat flying around inside the house before and it’s no fun trying to get them out! But we had to keep him safe from Harry, our enthusiastic and highly skilled hunter-killer ginger tom!  So we settled on our wood storage area, just outside our back door. It was dry, sheltered and secure, but open to the outside should the bat revive and want to fly away. We placed the box high up on a protruding log beam, out of Harry’s reach, closed the door and hoped for the best. Much to our amazement, when we checked in the morning, the box was empty - the bat was gone! I looked all around the ground in case he’d fallen out - but there was nothing. I can only assume that as the night wore on, the little bat, a nocturnal creature, revived, climbed out of the box, and flew away. Bats are becoming increasingly endangered as they fall victim to diseases such as white nose syndrome, which has killed many bats in Nova Scotia and elsewhere. I really miss seeing the bats flying around our garden, consuming a thousand mosquitoes an hour, and I do hope that they come back to our garden. Maybe the saving of one little brown bat might tip the balance in their favour.