Healing the Wounded Wild (Continued)

by Kim Antieau

In many cultures, the prescription for chronic illness was a stay in the country (not necessarily the wild country). In ancient Greece, the chronically ill went to Asklepian Temples for relief. The priests created tenemos — sacred space — for the patient to help facilitate healing. The ill went to the temples and prepared with purification and ritual for a healing dream.Then the patient went to the abaton — the sleeping chamber — and dreamed. Often the dreams either healed the patients or told them of a remedy which would heal them.

"Garden of Bliss #3" © 2005 Mara Berendt Friedman

Today, practitioners of integrated medicine believe the body wants to heal, and the patient needs the time, encouragement, support and space to be able to get well. In many instances the time, encouragement, and support can be found, but wild spaces are lacking. Silvia was able to travel deep into a wild place. Where do we go? Where do the wild things go (including human beings) when no wild remains?

Perhaps medicine for the land in the form of a conservation movement called rewilding can be medicine for us all. The Wildlands Project describes rewilding as restoration of "big wilderness based on the regulatory roles of large predators." Using various methods and bringing together disparate groups of people, they put into practice methods which help the natural and native ecology of a place reassert itself. If the land is restored so that certain focal species — bears, wolves, ocelots, jaguars — are healthy and thriving,then the rest of the ecosystem will be healthy too.