by Kimberly Knight

At the end of the 1960s, a willful child was born into a Southern Baptist family. This child was raised on vacation bible school, Wednesday night suppers and twice-on-Sundays back-pew sitting. This girl child would grow up to get married to a nice man like she was supposed to, have a beautiful daughter of her own, begin to understand her own humanity enough to come out as a lesbian, graduate from seminary, marry a woman, move to The Netherlands, and became a certified nature therapy guide.

This gal – me – is now living into her fiercely tender calling to share immersions in the natural world which has, again and again, offered a sacred balm on a wild and sometimes woeful journey toward wholeness.

I am so excited for an opportunity, with the partnership of my friend Rachel Pinto, to briefly return to the States – the South nonetheless – to invite queer folx (and our trusted allies) to Our Sacred Nature Retreat this coming October 6-8, 2023.

Why a sacred nature retreat?

For me, nature has unfolded as a sanctuary, a sacred space where I have learned to discard the masks society often demands we wear. In verdant European forests and sun-drenched Dutch polders, the relentless pressures of conformity have yielded to an expansiveness where authenticity flourishes.

For Queer folx who are navigating a world that all too often dismisses, marginalizes or violently abhors our identities, nature offers unconditional welcome, emboldening our hearts to rewild our spirits in a way that defies the limitations imposed by the domesticated world.

The forest is a sanctuary where the Ultimate whispers their truth through the rustling leaves and the dance of sunlight upon still waters. In this sacred space, the boundaries of gender and identity dissolve into the boundless expanse of the natural world, inviting us to embrace our authentic selves.

Queer spiritualities are a luminous tapestry, its colors radiant and diverse and harmonizing with the vibrant mosaic of life. It calls upon us to honor the interconnectivity of all beings, to celebrate the myriad expressions of love and desire, and to find solace in the understanding that our existence is an inseparable part of the intricate web of creation. Within this sacred intersection of queerness and ecology, we find a profound communion with the Earth, nurturing our souls and guiding us towards a compassionate coexistence with our planet.

At Our Sacred Nature, we will engage in gentle outdoor activities such as forest bathing, outdoor labyrinth walks, silent simplicity saunters, yoga, and sound baths to encounter deep kinship with our innermost truth, other humans, and the more-than-human world. These connections can breathe life into the hearts of folx who have felt the sting of isolation or the weight of marginalization, fostering a sense of belonging, empathy, and unwavering support.

I hope you will be able to join us in October. Perhaps someone you know and love needs a just such a retreat where their presence, full and unqualified, is honored and cherished by the natural world of which we are all part.