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Sacred Forests

Sacred Forests
Notes by J. Zimmerman, Ph.D.

In the 21st century, the Forest can be a Sanctuary. Discover how a small group of women created a sacred forest in the redwoods.

Forest as Sanctuary, Forest as Prayer:
The Example of the Sacred Grove Women's Forest Sanctuary

A visionary and dedicated group of women nurture a magnificent 14-acre old-growth grove in south Humboldt County. The grove stands by the Mattole River, on the eastern slope of the King Range. About 5 hours north of San Francisco, the Sanctuary is a stunning example of what a handful of devoted women can do.

History and Prehistory

The grove began, so the story goes, when a wife saved enormous twin old-growth redwoods from being felled by her timberman husband. The trees are estimated to have sprouted 1000 years earlier.

The Vision

The vision of the Sacred Grove is to return the land and its ecosystem to a balance independent of human effects. This is offered as an act of healing and reconciliation with nature. A sanctuary space is created where women and their allies hear the wisdom of the ancient forest, and where the sacred feminine can arise in all.

In July 1994, the Women's Forest Sanctuary became a non-profit land trust, dedicated to fulfilling the vision by raising funds to purchase this land, and to preserving old growth forest habitat. Over 900 donors help to make the quarterly payments of $6,500. The Sanctuary is committed to deep ecology, Ecofeminism, environmental activism, and education.

The purchase of land in the Mattole River Headwaters area helps protect the threatened ecosystems whose bio-diversity offers spiritual and physical survival to us and to other species. This Grove is dedicated in the name of women as a place where the deep sacred can arise in all.

Writing for the Trees

Starting in 2000, an annual writing retreat for women has been held in the Sacred Grove Women's Forest Sanctuary. Information about plans for future retreats will be posted here when available. They may also be obtained from the address below.

In 2000-2004, the retreats are guided by Ms. Jan McEwan, writer, teacher, and publisher-editor of the literary journal Writing for Our Lives (available from your local bookstore).

Your Participation

The Sacred Grove Women's Forest Sanctuary invites your inquiries, donations, and support. Send them to: The Women's Forest Sanctuary, PO Box 1693, Ross, CA 94957. Donations are tax-deductible; they can provide tax ID numbers.

Resources - Books:

Buy the Legacy Of Luna The Legacy of Luna by Julia Butterfly Hill.
The dramatic story of devotion and dedication to the old growth forests and the great tree, Luna.
Buy Old-Growth Forests Field Guide to Old-Growth Forests by Larry Eifert.
Discover and explore the ancient lowland forests from California, north through Oregon, to Washington Olympic Peninsula, to Canada, and to the Sitka spruce forests of Alaska.
Buy Nature Journaling. Nature Journaling: Learning to Observe and Connect with the World Around You A book that can help you write and draw in the forest.

Resources - Related pages: