For some, like Willhem Worrigener, Gothic is “the expression in stone of the Celtic tradition, simulating, with the design of the cathedrals, European primeval forests“.
In 1802, Chateaubriand “claimed the beauty of this style and ability to arouse or, where appropriate, encourage spirituality, getting to denominate ‘sacred groves‘”.
I personally think that we have lost direct memories of experiences in ancient forests, as they could have our ancestors when we lived yet the forests that covered the land, but the instinctive memory still lingers. The only thing is that we confuse the architectural cathedrals with the living forests…
But the stimuli and reactions are unmistakable.
Like the sensation of feeling the passage of all persons who, in the past, were in the temple… as I explained, in a somehow fantastic way, in another article, “Lost Forest Syndrome“, we feel life where there is none because we confuse the apparent shape of the building with the true nature of the forest, where it does exist life to be sensed, where we do are part of the everything with which we merged chemically by the aromas, oxygen, soil, moisture, where all the senses do come absolute meaning, and hearing, smelling, touching, it is vital…
Or such as that experienced fullness to look up, to see the light come, seeing the pillars and columns extend from their shafts to the nerves of the vaults… Our eyes see mortar and stone, our subconscious, trunks, branches and protective leaves. Among them our life has found refuge for thousands of years, shelter, and delight. The light filtered by the colors of the seasons throughout each year, comes to us as a blessing, not to die of thirst and unprotected in the open fields.
Even details like the freshness, the protective penumbra, places of contemplation…
“CATEDRAL” Kevin Atherton. THE FOREST OF DEAN.
The similarities are obvious, and the formal games, inevitable and highly desirable.
But we must not forget that the sacredness of the cathedrals are a debt of these with the forests. Our veneration, rapture, awakening, enlightenment come from our experiences in them recorded in our genetics as ways to feel them, to react, to live them. Perhaps one day we are fully aware of it. Meanwhile our psyche still playing but is beginning to manifest itself in that direction.
Bialowieza Forest is contained in “Wilderness Europe” (Time-Life, 1976), where Douglas Botting describes magnificently tall trees rising to over 130 feet, and the total absence of signs of people. Nothing interferes with the natural rhythm of self-generation.
Art is one of the best allies of forests. The forest is full of body experiences but also spiritual and subconscious. And art is the best vehicle to show them and make them understood and accepted.
In the forest every centimeter, each millimeter is blessed a thousand different ways, and we as their conscious guardians, we must protect with all our strength, and with all our understanding.
“One day they asked Gaudí which was the place where God could relate better with the man and he said … “in the woods”.
All his genius came from his childhood, of his summers in a cottage. There he watched nature has its own geometry, its own architecture, its own truth …
His magnum opus could not ignore such beauty and made the inside was … a great forest.
In the photo Gaudí, you will have seen that he conceived his cathedral as a forest. Each column is a tree that rises to a leafy vault and let pass the rays of a beautiful light among the leaves A stony forest!“
Quotation from Kim Bel collected on Más árboles catedrales.