“The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.”

– Thomas Berry

I love this Thomas Berry quote. Berry called himself a “geologian” and was also a Roman Catholic priest. He worked within his own tradition to express how all beings are deeply connected to each other.

It’s a long journey to move from the intellectual awe at our interconnection to knowing that interconnection in our hearts, and then to living in a way that reflects this truth. And it’s perhaps the most important journey we could ever take.

For example, the journey from object to subject moves us from learning about the water cycle to include connecting with the spirit of the water. Finally, we might enact laws that recognize the personhood (and legal rights) of rivers and lakes.

Nature is a who, not a what.

When we experience nature as a “who” we are never alone. A bird crossing our path, or a glimpse of a deer – these simple encounters quicken our spirits and restore a feeling of being part of a bigger whole. Nature is a who and we have a personal relationship with life.

What if the dark of night is also a who?

In his provocative book Waking Up To the Dark, Clark Strand supplies fascinating research about the effect of the dark on our consciousness. Then he receives a visitation from Our Lady of many names. She is the Black Madonna. She is a manifestation of the dark night. He realizes that he had been researching the dark as a “what” when in fact he was invited to relate to the dark as a “who.”

Theologian Howard Thurman recounts his personal childhood relationship with the night in his book With Head and Heart:

Nightfall…was a presence…. The night had its own language…. At such times I could hear the night think, and feel the night feel. This comforted me…I felt embraced, enveloped, held secure.

Taking time outside to be in the dark builds your personal relationship with night and the communion of life.

I invite you to do this together! Join me for a (nearly) full moon night forest therapy walk in Minneapolis guided by Johanna Schussler on Sunday, December 4. Forest Therapy enlivens our senses so we can come back to and strengthen our relationship with nature. Forest therapy is always offered in partnership with the land. This special walk is also offered in partnership with the night! Come connect with the “who” of both nature and the night.

With big love,


Full Moon Night Forest Therapy

Enter a series of invitations to come into deeper connection with the winter night through this unique Forest Therapy walk guided by Johanna Schussler. Sunday, December 4, 4:30- 6:30 PM, starting near the Lake Hiawatha Tennis Courts in Minneapolis.

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