POEM: Hymns to the Forest God #31

O Forest God, may I be held in your memory. 

May my true name, unknown to me, be woven 

into your song. May I always be welcome 

in your woods. May there always be a place 

for me in your dance. May I find my way 

to your secret dwelling in times of need. 

May I be safe beneath the shadow of 

your antlers. May I be guided by your voice 

and your song. May I count tree and 

vine and mushroom among my allies. 

May the dove and the fox, the rabbit 

and the wolf, the hawk and the deer 

be my coven. May I never forget them 

or you. May I remember that the earth 

lives always in your dream as it was 

meant to be, and may you dream that dream 

for us until we are ready to dream it, too,

and make it real before our waking eyes.

POEM: Hymns to the Forest God #30

Every day that I think of you, lord, 

a tree grows in my heart. Every time 

that I smile at the thought of you, 

a clump of mushrooms fruits in the rain.

Every time that I pass a tree on the street 

or mushrooms in a row beneath a bush, 

I think of you and a bird builds its nest 

in a place where no one can touch it, 

where it will be safe. Each day the bird 

lays one perfect egg, delicately speckled 

like its feathers, and each egg is a name 

for you that I turn over in my pocket 

like a smooth stone. The coolness and 

smoothness of the stone in my hand is 

the touch of your hand, and the flash 

of its colors the glance of your eyes, 

when I come into the forest seeking you

and find you waiting, smiling, thinking of me.

POEM: Hymns to the Forest God #29

Forest God

Lord of the Animals



Witch father

Shaman god

Green man


Friend of foxes

Antlered god

Him of many names

Most ancient god

Haunter of dreams

Older than civilization

Master of the wild

Man, beast, and god

Dancer in the great dance

Singer of the primal song

One who watches and waits

Guardian of the wood

Spirit of place 

Shelter for the homeless

Silence of peace

Hail to you, lord

Bless me, Forest God

POEM: Hymns to the Forest God #28

There are bones beneath the floor of the forest. 

There are bones unburied, scraped clean by hungry teeth, 

the predator and then the scavenger. There is blood shed, 

soaked into the complex earth. Scat gets buried, but 

the carcases of the dead lie in the underbrush. Flowers 

push up through the fine bones of dead birds, pushing 

aside the dry feathers. There are levels and layers of 

death underneath all that life, the green leaf and 

the sparkling stream, the white mushroom and 

the red berry, death and dirt and decay. There is 

no comfort in the silence of life reduced to rotting meat.


Bones make flutes, the god tells me. Sinews make 

strings. Branches stretch strings into harp and lyre, 

not just bow and arrow. Dead flesh becomes meat, 

mushroom adds flavor. The forest remembers, 

layers and levels of memory, the dead, the unborn, 

the worlds that were and will be overlapping 

one another. Come, sit here, says the Forest God.

Sit with me and sing of what is mourned.

POEM: Hymns to the Forest God #27

I would go and make a greenwood marriage–

find a lover and lie down under the leaves. 

The Forest God blesses all couples and more 

than couples who choose to join in his domain.

Man with woman or man with man, woman 

with woman or three or four, as long as 

there is free will, there is freedom to love 

and live under his protection. And there is 

solace also for the heart that desires solitude, 

to be away from humankind, to speak only 

with the trees and hear the stream running, 

the birds calling. There is room for love 

and aloneness beneath the green roof of the forest, 

within the compass of the Forest God, and 

my heart dreams of both blessings, to be 

found resting in the god’s embrace.

POEM: Hymns to the Forest God #25

He is a light in the darkest part of the forest.

He is a listening ear for those who have been silent.

He is shelter from severest weather. 

He is the shepherd of those who are lost.


He is the hunter of those who hunt.

He is the judge of those who kill.

He takes from those who take heedlessly.

He gives back whatever is given.


O Forest God, be my shepherd and my shelter.

May I never take heedlessly or give wrongly.

May my heart and soul be as pure as

the uncut tree, the untamed beast, the untasted spring.

POEM: Hymns to the Forest God #24

Let me not forget you, Forest God.

Let me not forget the scent of your skin and your pelt.

Let me not forget the taste of your mouth. 

Let me not forget the feel of your fur under my hands, 

your hands spread across my back, the warmth 

of your body. Let me not forget the reality of this.

Let me not forget how you loved me, loved us, 

we strange human creatures who came walking on two legs.

If we destroy ourselves, if our love and our art count for nothing, 

let me at least not forget that I was human and you loved me.

Let me not forget that you, immortal deity, will remember.

You will remember the names of those who loved you 

and the story of the two-legged animals who danced with you, 

Learning how to be human, learning how to be gods.

POEM: Hymns for the Forest God #23

If the world ends, he will still be here.

Gods are hard to kill, and he is one of the oldest.

He will still roam the forest that sometimes 

sheds its leaves into this world, but has its roots 

in another. He will still shepherd the wild things, 

the fox and the wolf, the rabbit and the deer. 

In the silence of a world without human voices, 

he will remember how we sang. He likes to hear us 

singing. His birds taught us our first songs.


But the Forest God would be much happier if we don’t 

destroy the world, if we listen to the song he is still singing, 

accompanied by bird and beast and leaf, the song that 

rocked our cradle in the earliest of our memories, 

a song about gods and humans, animals and plants, 

mushrooms and mysteries dancing all together, 

the angels dancing, too, and the faeries, and 

our ancestors, and our children, and all the stars 

and planets, all of us in the eternal spiral dance 

that will still go on, only poorer for our absence, 

if we try to destroy the world and destroy ourselves.

POEM: Hymns to the Forest God #22

Let the healing come from the forest.

Let the healing come from the shade of trees.

Let the healing come from the shafts of sunlight 

interwoven with shadows.

Let the healing come from decay underfoot.

Let the healing come from the tracks and the scat 

of small animals. Let it come from the nests of birds.

Let the healing come from the moss and the lichen, 

from the ivy and the fungus, from the spring and the stream.


Let the healing come from the Forest God.

Let it come from the touch of his fingers.

Let it come from the song of his voice.

Let it come from the shadow of his antlers.

Let it come from his hoofprints in the earth.

Let it come from his embrace, from the clasp 

of his hand in the dance. Let it come from 

the ancient father. Let the healing come to us.


From him to us, from us to one another, 

from each to all, from all people to the world, 

let the healing come, let the healing come, 

from the forest let the healing come.

POEM: Hymns to the Forest God #21

The Forest God prowls through my dreams, 

sometimes a deer, sometimes a man. He haunts 

our Western Civilization, showing up unwanted, 

like the raccoon in the trash can, the coyote 

in the back yard, the deer and the rabbits eating 

the garden. He prowls through my dreams 

and I turn over, remembering a time when 

I was wild, a time before time, a life before 

this one. When the towers fall, when the streets 

are empty, when the cars no longer run, 

when the rich are eating their money, he will 

roam the land again, still as wild as ever, 

calling to all of us to go feral and join him.

POEM: Hymns to the Forest God #20

The Forest God raises his antlers, carries them 

proudly on his head. His long hair curls uncut, 

his beard sprouts mushrooms and flowers. 

His manly arms are bare, his chest covered only

with swirls of hair, his nipples and his navel 

on view. From hips to feet he is cervine, animal, 

a beast with a tail, his phallus hidden in a sheath, 

his feet cloven hooves that print the earth deep 

and sharp. Yet in all of this he is one being, 

the Forest God, far-seeing and of long memory, 

and utterly without shame. Shame is foreign 

to him, as to all gods and wild creatures; he is 

gentle but never tame, and those who come 

to him he undresses with deft and merciless 

fingers, stripping their shame and cleansing 

them that they may be as wild as he.