The ancient Irish and, yes, that means the Druidic priests, had a language around healing that is lost to us today. One word in particular is of interest to me. It is sponc. I heard it a lot as a child. Sponc means spunk or having courage or spirit in English.
There is another meaning to sponc and that is ‘Touch wood.’ a whole new world of wonder is opened to us. Touching wood was considered to be a healing practice in the world before the advent of Rome.
Touch was considered to be the sixth sense, one that was connected to the spirit and to the soul. The sense of touch held onto something of the Divine in the person who was in the act of doing the touching. And, wood was sacred. So, sponc or ‘Touch Wood’ was an act of healing performed in a living forest.
Now let me fast forward to today. On the international news media we have heard that the tropical forests in the Congo have been cut down. From this has emerged a disease called Ebola. A sacred balance exists between the forests of the world and all of the inhabitants who rely on the solar-based energy of trees. This balance is not understood by science. The fulcrum shifts up or down if the trees are removed and we pay the price afterwards.
Let me open my little black box of biochemicals now for you. This business of touch is interesting. There are G proteins on the surface of cells. The G means that they are dependent on a quinine power system. These proteins are bloodhounds; they are olfactory receptors and they work in a paradise of perfume.
On any given day if you take a walk in the woods and touch a tree then this is called tree hugging. (And I have been accused of this, myself). A fragrance mixture emerges from the flowers of the forest, or from the scent glands in the leaves, or from the endogenous fungi living a life hidden inside the vascular plumbing of the living tree. The mixture will almost always contain an odour compound called Beta-ionone. This molecule is like half a Vitamin A. There are over 350 olfactory touch receptors on the human body which will receive the beta-ionone.
Then the beta-ionone passes through the membranes of the cell wall and gets to work. It switches off rogue genes in the DNA and this has a waterfall effect on a man if he happens to be carrying prostate cancer cells in his body. These cancer cells are switched off. They are also put in the off position in the liver, heart, colon, lungs and brain. A scientist in Germany, Dr. Hanns Hatt, of the Ruhr University is putting this together for modern man.
Out there in a healthy native forest there are simply millions of beneficial biochemicals released into the air as aerosols. Some of them are too complex to be manufactured in a modern organic lab. They touch the walking body in ways we are only just beginning to catch a glimpse of through our mist of ignorance.
Fragrant aerosols produced by forests have been in the evolutionary cauldron of the tree for over 450 million years. They are the touchstone of nature, bringing healing in their wake.