Religious and Spiritual Values of Forest Plants in Nepal

Religious and Spiritual Values of Forest Plants in Nepal

ABSTRACT

Forests provide food, medicine, energy, shelter, wood and non-wood products to sustain life on earth. Dependency on forests to support subsistence-farming systems has been of paramount importance in Nepal. In addition, there have been numerous essential uses of forest plants in the life system of the Nepalese. These are cultural and spiritual dimensions of forest plant uses. The paper examines how the socio-cultural and spiritual values in Nepal influence the way Nepalese communities perceive plants, and how religious beliefs and practices affect the way plants are understood, utilized and managed.

It was found that about 80 plant species are used in socio-cultural festivals. These plants are essential to start all religious festivals and one cannot imagine completing any religious rituals without them. It was observed that specific species are used for special purposes and festivals. The frequency of requirements varies from daily, seasonal, annual, and periodic to occasional. The nature of the plant species varies from annual herbs to big-sized trees. However, due to loss of species and migration to urban areas, some cultural changes have been occurred. The paper is a detailed investigation of the use of forest flora and fauna for social, cultural and spiritual purposes.
Dear Friends-
Kind greetings! Suzanne and I spent the weekend moving to our new home in Sequim. We are now back to packing orders in a systematic way.

A number of new aromatic  delights have come our way:












I just received a new consignment of the Christmas Tree Melange the first batch of which sold out quickly

Many new aromatic treasures will be arriving in the coming weeks including a nice selection of CO extraction from Europe(myrrh, coconut, hazelnut, juniper berry, hops etc); a beautiful Boronia Attar(Boronia absolute blended in North Queensland Sandalwood oil; etc

Hope you are all enjoying a wonderful Holiday season-
Christopher and Suzanne

PS Please note that around the first of each month we change the specials. The ten or so specials that were were posted on the precious month are taken off the list and 10 or so new ones are added. The discount is generally in the range of 25%-40% on the essences listed

Please remember also that we have a $100 wholesale minimum. Shipping is free via UPS Ground

Top 10 Flowers In Chinese Culture


The Water Lily by Florence Virginia Farmer




The Water Lily by Florence Virginia Farmer

Long, long ago there was a time when the world was filled with happy people.


There was no war, and there was plenty of game in the forests. No one was in want; sickness was unknown; and the beasts of the field were tame and obeyed man.

There was no winter with its cold, icy blasts. The year was one long spring. Every tree and bush yielded fruit, and the earth was covered with flowers. The air was filled with the sweet music of song birds that flew gayly from branch to branch, fearing no one, for there was no one to harm them.

At that time the Indians were the only people in America. Living as the great mother wished them to live, they were happy and strong.

Every night the Indians met on the wide green prairie to watch the heavens. They loved the stars and believed them to be the homes of those whom the Great Spirit had taken from the earth.

One night they saw a star which shone brighter than all the others. It was just over a mountain peak in the far south.

They watched this star for many nights. Each night it seemed to come nearer, and after a while they found that it was over some tall trees, only a short distance away.

A number of warriors were sent to find out what the strange star might be.

They reported that it was like a big bird on the top of the tree.

Then the Indians became alarmed, for they feared that it might be some evil thing that had come to vex them.

One moon passed and they had not yet learned the meaning of the strange star.

Then a young warrior had a dream. In the dream a beautiful maiden seemed to stand at his side and talk to him.

"Young brave," she said, "yours is a lovely world. I like the birds and flowers, the lakes and rivers, and the mountains clothed in green. I have left my sisters in yonder world and have come to live among you. Ask your great and wise men where I shall dwell that I may see your people always. Ask them what form I shall take to be loved by all."

The young man awoke. On stepping out of his wigwam, he saw the bright star in its usual place on the tree top.

He went to the older warriors and told them of his dream.

They thought that the maiden who had talked with him was the star that had been seen in the south, and that, since she loved the Indians, she would dwell on the earth with them.

The next night five young braves were sent with a peace pipe to welcome the beautiful maiden to the earth.

As they went back to the village, the strange star followed them and hovered over their homes until daybreak.

Again the maiden came to the young warrior in a dream.

Again she asked where she should dwell and what form she should take to be loved by the Indians.

Many places were spoken of. Some of the warriors thought that she might live in the top of a big tree; some said that she might take the form of a beautiful flower.

At last she was told to choose a place and form for herself.

At first she chose to live in the heart of a'white rose on the mountain side, but there she could not be seen by all.

Then she went to the wide green prairie to dwell. There she feared the hoofs of the buffaloes.

Next she tried the rocky cliffs, but there the children, whom she loved, could not see her.

"I know where I will dwell," she said at last; "I will dwell where I can see the gliding canoes of the people I love best. Children shall be my playmates all day."

With these words she alighted on the quiet waters of a lake, where she saw herself reflected as in a mirror.

The next morning the Indians found hundreds of white flowers floating on the surface of the lake.

They taught their children to handle these water lilies gently, so that they might be happy and stay on the earth forever.1

Dante's Garden, with legends of the flowers By Dante Alighieri

Dante's Garden, with legends of the flowers
By Dante Alighieri

BIRTH OF THE ARBUTUS-By William Walker Canfield




BIRTH OF THE ARBUTUS-By William Walker Canfield

MANY, many moons ago there lived an old man alone in his lodge beside a frozen stream in the great forest beyond the wide waters of the northern lakes. His locks were long and white with age and frost. The fur of the bear and cunning beaver covered his body, but none too warmly, for snow and ice were everywhere. Over all the earth there was winter. The winds came down the bleak mountain sides and wildly hurried through the branches of the trees and bushes, looking for songbirds that they might chill to the heart. Even the evil spirits shivered in the desolation and sought to dig for themselves sheltering caves in the deep snow and ice. Lonely and halting the old man went abroad in the forest, looking for the broken branches that had fallen from the trees that he might keep alive the fire in his lodge. Few fagots could he find, and in despair he again sought his lodge, where, hovering over the fading embers on his hearth, he cried in anguish to the Great Spirit that he might not perish.

Then the wind moaned in the tree-tops and circling through the forests came back and blew aside the skin of the great bear hanging over his lodge door, and, lo! a beautiful maiden entered. Her cheeks were red like the leaves of wild roses; her eyes were large and glowed like the eyes of the fawn at night; her hair was black as the wing of the crow, and so long that it brushed the ground as she walked. Her hands were clad in willow buds; over her head was a crown of flowers; her mantle was woven with sweet grasses and ferns, and her moccasins were white lilies, laced and embroidered with the petals of honeysuckle. When she breathed, the air of Jhe lodge became warm, and the cold winds rushed back in affright.

The old man looked in wonder at his strange visitor, and then opened his lips and said: "My daughter, thou art welcome to the poor shelter of my cheerless lodge. It is lonely and desolate, and the Great Spirit has covered the fallen branches of the trees with his death-cloth that I may not find them and light again the fire of my lodge. Come, sit thou here and tell me whom thou art that thou dost wander like the deer in the forest. Tell me also of thy country and what people gave thee such beauty and grace, and then I, the desolate Manito, will tell thee of my victories till thou dost weary of my greatness."

The maiden smiled, and the sunlight streamed forth and shot its warmth through the roof of the lodge. Hie desolate Manito filled his pipe of friendship, and when he had drawn of the fragrant tobacco, he said: "When I, the Manito, blow the breath from my nostrils the waters of the river stand still, the great waves on the lakes rest, and the murmurings of the streams die away in silence."

Then the maiden said: "The Manito is great and strong and the waters know the touch of his breath; but when I, the loved of the birds, smile, the flowers spring up over all the forest and the plains are covered with a carpet of green."

Then said the Manito: "I shake my locks, and lo! the earth is wrapped in the death-cloth of snow."

Then the maiden replied: "I breathe into the air and the warm rains come and the death-cloth vanishes like the darkness when the great fire awakens from its bed in the morning."

Then the Manito said: "When I walk about, the leaves die on the trees and fall to the ground; the birds desert their nests and fly away beyond the lakes; the animals bury themselves in holes in the earth or in caves in the mountain side, and the winds wail the death-chant over all the land."

"Ah, great is the Manito," said the maiden, "and his mighty name is feared by all living things in the land. 'Great is the Manito,' says all the world, and his fame has spread among the children of the Great Spirit till they crouch with fear and say: 'Mighty and cruel is the Manito! Terrible is the Manito, and more cruel and cunning in his tortures than the red men. His strength is greater than the strength of the giant trees of the forest, for does he not rend them with his mighty hands?' But when I, the gentle maiden, walk forth, the trees cover with many leaves the nakedness which thou, the great Manito, hath caused; the birds sing in the branches and build again the nests from which thou drivest them; the animals seek their mates and rear their young; the wind sings soft and pleasant music to the ears of the red man, while his wives and papooses sport in the warm sunshine near his wigwam."

As the maiden spoke, the lodge grew warm and bright, but the boasting Manito heeded it not, for his head drooped forward on his breast, and he slept.

Then the maiden passed her hands above the Manito's head and he began to grow small. The blue birds came and filled the trees about the lodge and sang, while the rivers lifted up their waters and boiled with freedom. Streams of water poured from the Manito's mouth, and the garments that covered his shrunken and vanishing form turned into bright and glistening leaves.

Then the maiden knelt upon the ground and took from her bosom most precious and beautiful rosewhite flowers. She hid them under the leaves all about her, and as she breathed with love upon them, said:

"I give to you, oh! precious jewels, all my virtues and my sweetest breath, and men shall pluck thee with bowed head and on bended knee."

Then the maiden moved over the plains, the hills and the mountains. The birds and the winds sang together in joyous chorus, while the flowers lifted up their heads and greeted her with fragrance.

Wherever she stepped, and nowhere else, grows the arbutus.