Forest is one of the most important symbols present in myths and legends. Mysterious, whispering, full of twilight and shadows, symbolizing wisdom, reflection, meditation, memory, escapism as well as the source of magical power.
Going deeper into the dense forest areas, even during the day, a man does not know what awaits him behind the next tree. The night spreads even more secrets, exposing shadows in the moonlight. A space where reality is left behind and the rules of the universe bend, inhabited by mysterious creatures, supernatural beings: spirits, idols, nymphs, dwarfs, a kingdom holding the secrets of nature which man must penetrate to find the hidden meaning. Forest has a strong connection with the symbol of the mother - where life thrives, life connected with fertility, the cycle of birth and death.
It is a land ruled by nature, where man does not have control over the environment. For our ancestors forest was a sacred place, space of refuge and rest, therefore a place of existence for animals, hermits, ascetics, saints. The symbolism of the forest is ambivalent : first there is the darkness as a cognitive term that evokes mystery, danger, death, a place where man’s pretence and posturing is stripped bare, revealing man as he really is – naked and overwhelmed by nature’s forces. On the other hand, forest is a space offering shelter and safety, asylum, peace, harmony, the host providing the conditions for existence in direct connection with nature.
Forest and its longevity is a material witness, reminding us of our links with the past and places that preserve the memory of it. The forest has also its "hearth" regarded as center, essence. It is like a forest uterus from which all species of animals that live there come, and also the place of their free and harmonious existence. Also sick and very old animals go to the "hearth" of the forest to wait for death in safety and peace.
Wandering in the forest is also cognitive process, an attempt to reveal the secrets of the world represented by animals and nature. Confrontation with the dark and light forces of the other worlds that surround us and our senses, fears, excitement and joy. Forest is alive, when we go into the forest trying to embrace and tame its secrets with our eyes and senses, we come back with stories repeated by the fire, sometimes in a whisper, not to summon the creatures that inhabit it.