As we hunker down into acceptance of the long wait for a vaccine, widespread coronavirus testing and a full understanding of the COVID-19 life cycle, astrologers look to the planets for healing wisdom— Earth in particular.
Could the forests offer a boost to our immune systems?
The current cosmic patterns say “yes.”
From May 2018 until April 2026, Uranus—the planet of innovation, science and genius—is in sensate Taurus (https://astrostyle.com/uranus-in-taurus/), the first earth sign of our zodiac.
Forest bathing, or forest therapy, involves spending time immersed in a forest, whether a two-hour walk through a forest, or a three-day sleepover under a forest canopy, the benefits are measurable. This ancient practice is also global: In Japan, shinrin-yoku literally translates as “forest bathing.”
Sure, it might sound like something you’d read about in GOOP, but even royal Duchess Kate Middleton, an earthy Capricorn, had a forest bathing garden built on her grounds.
Now science supports the Duchess. Data-backed research shows that there are beneficial effects to the immune system by forest bathing, and surprisingly robust ones.
A study from the U.S. National Library of Medicine showed that a walk in the woods enhanced the immune system by raising human natural killer (NK) cell activity. Not only did the number of NK cells increase in both male and female subjects, but this effect lasted for more than seven days after trips to the woods.
Another study from Japan investigated the impact of essential oils from trees on human immune function. It measured exposure to phytoncides—aromatic volatile substances, such as alpha-pinene and beta-pinene.
In this study, a group of test subjects were exposed to phytoncides through two-hour forest walks; another through essential oils misted via diffusers into their hotel room air.
In both cases, results showed that phytoncide exposure, along with decreased stress hormone levels, “significantly increased NK activity.”
This paper from the Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology shows the fascinating findings of this important immune study.
While we’re not suggesting that Forest Bathing is the cure for COVID-19, we are scanning the landscape—and the starscape—for prevention, an ounce of which can be worth a pound of cure, as (Capricorn) Ben Franklin sagely reminded us.
The forest always signals transformation, a rite of passage, often sublime and evoking the transcendent. Follow your flowy feelings and head to the forest if you can. Embrace your inner elf and bath deeply in cedar and pine.
If you can’t get to the woods—or your state and local parks are shut down—find some trees and feel the earthy love.
Do you need a good book to read while hunkered under a canopy of leaves? Check out Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets. The undisputed king of shrooms guides you through the world of fungi—a must-read for any nemophilist (a.k.a., a person with fondness for forests and woodland scenery). Or, pick up Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li.
As Uranus and the revitalizing Sun connect in Taurus on April 26, 2020, an electrifying once-a-year meetup could provide a stunning revelation for you this springtime.
And a poetic one, too. Taurus William Shakespeare—born April 26—wrote in As You Like It (Act II, Scene I The Forest of Adern):
“Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything…”
Look down. Look around. Find a tree, take a deep breathe and give thanks for the trees.
They appreciate it.
Photo by Annie Spratt for Unsplash
Read more: astrostyle.com