There was a fascinating article in my local paper this past weekend on the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and its amazing tradition of the “church forest“. This, of course, immediately brought to mind the Shinto tradition of the chinju no mori, the “shrine grove“.
There are significant differences in the meanings, intentions and underlying theologies behind these remarkably similar institutions, of course; however, they also have a lot in common – particularly the fact that in both nations these sacred groves are under threat, both from climate change and the pressures of expanding infrastructure. As someone who holds trees to be holy and understands that (thinking globally) we need all the forested land we can get, and who also believes that there is inherent value in helping people hold on to what they can of their traditional culture in the face of immense contrary pressures, I
would like to invite urge you to look deeper into the plight of these sacred forests and, if so moved, to join the fight to save them.