Verditas: The Healing Power of Nature

Veriditas is a term Hildegard von Bingen came up with to describe the healing power of nature. The term is a combination of the Latin words for green and truth. She was a Christian abbess, mystic, and polymath who lived in Germany from 1098 - 1179. Hildegard believed very firmly in the divinity of nature and built her life around herbal medicine, musical composition, and philosophical writings inspired by her experiences with nature.

Today I am feeling a surge of veriditas. There are little buds on my little lilac tree and I'm a little surprised. It's such a wee little tree and I was unsure if it would survive winter. The truth of those green buds on every branch tells me that it not only survived winter but it's thriving.

I can't help but see this little tree surviving winter as a metaphor for everyone who suffers during our Coast Salish winters. They are dreary and damp, and this weather pattern can compound many mental health struggles. I know I have to stay far more diligent and observant of my mental health during winter.

Wisdom of Nature

The wisdom of nature shows us that trees communicate with one another and offer support to those who need it. Trees are mighty and seem like solitary entities, yet below the surface, they are connected.

For those times when you’d like to be in the company of others, we host a drop-in space every Thursday from 11 am–3 pm at Merakos Fieldhouse. The drop-in is a casual place to gather over cups of herbal tea while we work away at our crafts. It’s not a support group in the traditional sense but it certainly interrupts loneliness and isolation and is an opportunity to explore some of those beneath the surface connections.

If sharing company with folks is not for you then there's always the companionship of nature. There are many ways of tapping into veriditas. Consider keeping your awareness attuned for some buds or sprouting spring flowers. Maybe listen to the symphony of birds as they party down. And perhaps turn your face towards the sun, close your eyes, and allow its golden glow to ignite your inner radiance.

May you know the surge of greening verdancy. May you survive and thrive once more.

Resource Suggestions:

Podcast episodes:

  • Slow Your Home: The Importance of Getting Our Nature Fix with Florence Williams, January 3, 2019, a 39 minute listen.

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  • NPR’s Hidden Brain: You 2.0: Our Better Nature, August 12, 2019, a 26 minute listen.

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  • Emergence Magazine: A Guided Forest Walk Meditation Practice with Kimberly Ruffin, May 22, 2019, a 47 minute listen.

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Book suggestions (you can find these at the Vancouver Public Library):

  • The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams (also available as an audiobook)

  • Rewild Yourself: Making Nature More Visible in Our Lives by Simon Barnes

  • The Wild in You: Voices From the Forest and the Sea by Lorna Crozier