Wild Soul Guidance

Personal Guided Accompaniment into the Territory of the Sacred Wild

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“Instructions for living a life.

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.”

-Mary Oliver

We all long for a soulful, connected and meaningful experience of being human. And something deep in our bones knows that this meant-for-ness is connected to the natural world. However, feelings of depression, anxiety, and grief related to the diminishment of the earth accompany many through their days, preventing an ensouled connection with the wild world around us. With an unpracticed way of engaging all the wonders that remain, many people feel ill-equipped for a deepening relationship with Nature. Through aligning with direct experience in Nature, Wild Soul Guidance encourages deeply embodied awareness and attunement to the enchanted life that surrounds us and reconnects us to the reality that our human lives are apart of this glorious biosphere. This guided experience helps activate the practice of presencing, sensing, and exploring the barriers to an inherent and holy vibrancy within the more-than-human world. The hoped-for result is a powerful and sacred “eco-awakening” that confronts the illusion of separation between humans and sentient nature in an increasingly urbanized and depleted world—and becomes a powerful healing balm for holistic well-being.

Significant soulful experiences within nature with land, plants, and creatures have often been considered merely symbolic in modern-day therapy, if considered at all. The sacred guidance, healing and wholeness that can accompany these experiences are then lost and not available for the psyche's full maturation. Opening to an environment in which this consciousness of relatedness can flourish is an essential aspect of Wild Soul Guidance. Together we re-discover and recover our meant-for communion with our kin of creation, finding our way toward a new humility, a new reciprocity with the animate earth.!

This is not a privileged relationship for desert monks or wilderness sages. Even in our most urban locations, the wild can be witnessed, engaged and guide our whole sense of ensouled well-being. This is a relationship that remedies displacement and disconnection, inviting one to engage the “spirit of a place” through the vulnerable posture of asking permission to taproot, to find home, to re-discover the Holy that howls in the wild all around. From this deepening place of interrelatedness, one’s empathetic action springs up on behalf of the planet and future generations of all living beings.

Wild Soul Guidance may be part of your path if…

  • You desire to merge your faith tradition and spiritual practices with the rhythms and seasons of the natural world

  • You experience grief and sadness related to climate change and rapidly changing places

  • You want to engage practices that seek the Sacred within Nature to grow your awareness of Nature

  • You want to shift from a dominant colonizing worldview into one that aligns spiritual practices with co-sustaining ways of being

  • You crave guided and held space in Nature for spiritual healing and soulful well-being

  • You long for a relationship with the Sacred that is present and imminent within an animate, sentient, and wonder-filled world

  • You feel disconnected from the holy realities of Nature (the seasons, the elements, lunar cycles, natural phenomena, etc.)

  • You want guidance to explore the wild and creative edges of your life and life’s work, receive inspiration from Nature for your unique life expression, and mentorship for how to manifest your particular work’s form

  • Your physical health is in need of a nature-based overhaul and soulful connection to the wild world

  • Your attachment to technology and devices makes it challenging to connect all your senses to the out-of-doors and you are feeling out of sync with the seasons

  • You want to reconnect to an enchanted life where awe and wonder are engaged and synchronicity is seen as a Sacred Guide

  • You desire to change how you interact with the world and develop strategies that move you into a deeper reciprocity with you surrounding landscape and the beings that comprise this land

As the soul is without world, so the world is without soul.
— James Hillman

The Role of a Wild Soul Guide

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The Wild Soul Guide is an attuning presence to the Sacred existence within the natural world and comes alongside the individual and the more-than-human presences to interpret and discern the guidance and wisdom that resides there. Through deep listening, attuning conversations, guided practices within the natural world, and invitations to exercises to connect one to their inner and outer-world, Mary accompanies people back into a sense of whole and joyful belonging with nature. She opens herself up to interpret the wild and wonder-filled world as a primary scripture-sacred writings and holy speech that is given to us to live well into a flourishing future with the whole assembly of creation. Her unique blend of training, practice, and theory make her guidance well suited and respected in this emerging field.

In a Wild Soul Guidance therapeutic relationship, personal stories are honored and held within a larger collective context of the more-than-human world, helping heal the isolation felt by so many as they are re-membered to the whole community of creation. This more-than-human community of beings also becomes a participant in the session: Nature, guide, and guided participant working together to discern wisdom from the Sacred Wild. There is an understanding that one's pain, suffering, beauty and gifts are in direct relationship with this radical immanence, and that the gifts that emerge through one's healing and transformation are needed for personal well-being, the well-being of our communities, and the hope for a flourishing future for all.

Wild Soul Guidance is akin to sacred eco-therapy or eco-spiritual direction. Wild Soul Guidance is NOT psychotherapy.

Wild Soul Guidance Session Description

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Within a Wild Soul Guidance session, one will engage aspects of their particular story with hopes to receive sacred guidance from the wild and natural world to sense into how it relates to personal and collective eco-resilience, and environmental justice issues. Conversational space will be guided into inquiry in cultural and climate trauma, cultural and environmental collapse, eco-anxiety and eco-grief. Space will be held to listen deeply to one’s soul as a portal to the anima mundi, the world soul. This work is done through dialectic conversation, practicing ceremony, dream work, seasonally connecting rituals, mythopoetic development, sacred phenomenology, hero/ione’s journey framework, and nature-based prayers and practices. For those who are engaged in the Rewilding Wheel, these sessions can go deeper into that sacred circuit of practice as well. In every session we enjoy a thermos of freshly made forest tea or a delightful herbal water infusion!

A session looks a bit like forest bathing, a bit like eco-therapy, a bit like conversation with a spiritual guide, a bit like child-like wonder and awe. It is a quite a bit like the soul waking up, remembering that we are all connected to every other living being on our planet. This is the work of growing a sacred ecological consciousness and understanding that the Sacred isn’t solely a cosmic force that resides beyond our reach, requiring spiritual practices of transcendence, but rather is imminent within our biodiversity, in our vast array of feet, feathers, fur and fronds. This is a rooted and earthy work, a work that recovers the wild within our own animal bones, and the Sacred presence that lives within those whose speech is wind, howls and warbles. Together we will forge a path from disassociation to embodiment of self, the Sacred, and the self and Sacred within the world!

The primary location for this work is at Hedgewood, a certified wildlife habitat, where Mary offers a wild hedgerow of a space that abuts an urban wood. This backyard threshold hosts comfortable adirondack chairs, a fire pit, a nature loom, and easy access to walkabout trails in the neighborhood greenspace. A brood of chickens and a duck, along with a feral kitty who has chosen this place as her home, keep us company and invite a practice into animal communion. It is also not uncommon to hear the piercing cry overhead of a Red tail hawk who also nests in this homescape.

Mary works with individuals and families to create space to meaningfully connect to the deep rhythms of nature and the more-than-human world for long-term health and spiritual well-being. As needed and agreed upon, sessions may take place at other locations.

“Truly feeling and giving voice to the affective significance and meaning of our bond with the earth may be a crucial basis for action to restore the earth and a sustainable life worth living.”

-Barbara Holifield

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The Mycelium Details

There is a fine threaded structure that undergirds this professional and therapeutic relationship. Following is a description of the Wild Soul Guide’s commitment to the guided participant and the details of this type of soul investment.

Our Relationship

Wild Soul Guide will initiate conversation and establish agreements with the guided participant about:

  • the nature of Wild Soul Guidance or eco-spiritual direction/sacred ecotherapy

  • the professional roles and boundaries of the guide and the guided participant

  • the length and frequency of guidance sessions

  • the compensation

  • the process for evaluating and terminating the relationship

Wild Soul Guide will honor the dignity of the guided participant by:

  • respecting the guided participant’s values, conscience, spirituality, and theology

  • inquiring into the motives, experiences, or relationships of the guided participant only as necessary

  • recognizing the imbalance of power in the wild soul guidance relationship and taking care not to exploit it

  • establishing and maintaining appropriate physical and psychological boundaries with the guided participant

  • refraining from sexualized behavior, including, but not limited to, manipulative, abusive, or coercive words or actions toward a guided participant

Wild Soul Guide will maintain the confidentiality and the privacy of the guided participant by:

  • protecting the identity of the guided participant

  • keeping confidential all oral and written matters arising in the wild soul guidance sessions

  • conducting guidance in appropriate settings

  • addressing legal regulations requiring disclosure to proper authorities, including, but not limited to, child abuse, elder abuse, and physical harm to self and others

Investment

  • Individual one on one Wild Soul Guidance | $100/hour; Wild Soul Guidance for families (up to two adults and three children) is $150/hour. $100/$150 rate assumes meeting within Seattle city limits during the hours of 9:00am-12:00pm M-F. If an agreed upon meeting location is outside these boundaries of time/space a $50 surcharge will be added. Preferred location is within Cheasty Greenspace in SE Seattle or at Hedgewood, Mary DeJong’s home where she hosts a backyard woodland ecotherapy outdoor “office” space.

  • One-hour in-person relational conversations that hold the space for personal work and discussion of agreed upon learning outcomes. We will agree together on a map of our work together at our initial intake session. Guidance relationships are an average minimum of six sessions and/or six months with long term continuation evaluated as needed.

  • One hour family sessions may take on the flavor of a guided hike with provided “wild”-crafting materials that engage the senses and inspire the family’s connection to one another and inter-relationship with the more-than-human world.

  • Check-ins as needed via email. I’m here to help you and be present to your sacred eco-awakening, please call or connect if things are exciting or difficult!

  • Advance payment required to hold and book appointment hour.

About Mary DeJong

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Mary DeJong is a trained ecotheologian who comes out of the Christian mystical tradition. Mary holds a BA in English Literature; Masters in Theology & Culture with a focus in Eco-Theology and Eco-Psychology from The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology; post-graduate certificates in Ecology & Religion from Yale’s School of Forestry & Religion; and EcoPsychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute; and is a Year Two Student of the School of Celtic Consciousness with John Philip Newell. She is a trained urban naturalist and Forest Steward through the City of Seattle’s Green Seattle Partnership. Learn more about Mary.

“As an eco-theologian I understand how the stories we tell about the Sacred impact how we understand ourselves and our place in this world. When stories and cosmologies are told that continue to perpetuate our separation from our home planet, we will continue to be estranged, acting out in dominion and oppression. The emerging field of eco-psychology affirms that our holistic wellness is inherently connected to the wellness of the more-than-human world. The exciting intersection of this work is the deep looking into our personal stories and narratives of God, and finding how the threads weft and weave through the lands of our ancestors, the trees of our childhood, and the rapidly changing environments of our present lives. How can we change our stories of disconnection into profound belonging? How does this narrative work impact radical social and cultural transformation? How will the Sacred Wild re-member yourself to your soul and the very soil of your life? A new story of reconnection, often discovered through a Wild Soul Guidance relationship, will strengthen one’s relationship with the natural world in profound and unexpected ways.”

Are you ready to step into the sacred wild?

Email Mary at mary@waymarkers.net to set up your 30 minute complimentary conversations that will begin to map our way forward together!

Talk of mysteries!-Think of our life in nature, -daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, -rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! The actual world! The common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? Where are we?” -Thoreau, 1864

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