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Connecting to the Earth

cultural traditions history nature seasonal spiritual practices

Happy Spring!

Today is Ostara, the Spring Equinox. This is the time when the Earth is tilted at the particular angle causing the length of day light and moon light to be equal (which also happens on the Fall Equinox). This is a special time of seed planting, counting our blessings and offering new intentions into the ideas we want to plant and nourish to fruition. In my spiritual path as a witch I follow these seasonal cycles called the Wheel of the Year. It reflects 8 equidistance times of year when the turning of the Earth hits a particularly special and powerful point. It includes both the summer and winter solstices, the fall and spring equinoxes, and 4 midpoints between them. It has roots in agrarian traditions when everyone's survival depended on observing and honoring the cycles of nature in order to ensure crops and harvest for nourishment.
I've been reflecting recently on how very important these cycles feel to me in helping maintain a connection to the Earth. However, I have been struggling for quite some time in feeling unable to relate to many others this way. I see an obvious disconnect between humans and nature. We live in a culture obsessed with owning things, maintaining an image, fitting into certain roles, and meeting expectations. What does any of this have to do with being a part of the Earth? Nothing. But we are, undeniably, a part of and completely dependent on the Earth for survival. It is our home.
Have we forgotten that the basic elements of our survival - food, water, shelter - all come from the Earth? Do we recognize that our cheeseburger came from a cow that ate plants that came from a farm run by a farmer and was then processed and shipped to us on a truck run by fuel that came from the Earth? Do we thank any of those things? I fear we take too many things for granted, and don't express acknowledgment or gratitude often enough for all the many blessings in our lives and the interconnectedness of it all.
We are, always have been, and always will be animals. Our cells are round, just like everything else that isn't a plant with square shaped cells. Our bodies, spirits, and communities have always functioned best when we live in symbiosis with the cycles and the elements of nature. And here we are now with obvious signs of disconnect and dysfunction - why do so many people choose to ignore them? Why do we ignore each other, engulfed in our phones at the dinner table yearning for desperate recognition from anyone and anything except what is right in front of us?
Our priorities, as a culture and a species, have evolved drastically. I feel we are currently swept up in a technological, materialistic tidal wave, and I see people drowning in it, surfing it, riding it out, or trying to float over it. I think when it comes down to it, what I'm seeing is that we all want different things. But with the insanely massive amount of advertising thrown in our faces everyday, I have to ask....is this really what we want?
As I deepen my study of herbal medicine and practices of meditation, prayer, and connecting to plants while stepping into the teaching world, I keep receiving the same message from the plants and the Earth over and over again. I feel I am being called to spread a message and usher awareness from the divine plant world. The plants want me to help them be heard and share their teachings and honor their medicine. I need to do this in a humble and selfless way, helping to guide others.
In an effort to avoid instilling feelings of judgement or proselytizing, I just want to offer that I am simply sharing my observations and experiences. I have always challenged and questioned most things - why does this happen? how does that work? I think it's both healthy and important to question and reevaluate things, especially when they aren't feeling so good.
Do you feel healthy? Happy? Fulfilled? Blessed? Thankful? When you step into a natural space and breath in a deep breath of fresh air and watch trees sway in the wind and hear birds sing their songs, do you feel calmer? More grounded? When is the last time you've spent time in nature?
I am proposing that each of you takes some time this week to go do that, and just observe how you feel. Let yourself be thoughtful, and take note of where you're brain travels. I have experienced many beautiful and amazing things in nature. It helps me feel less alone when I see myself as a part of it, because we truly are. Ask yourself, is this the kind of life I really want to be living? This is a very important question that we all deserve to ask ourselves. Life is precious and lovely, and I hope we can all honor it together, considerately and gracefully.
Today I will plant blessings for all of you and offer gratitude for the blessings I have. I will put my hopes and dreams and intentions into a seed and give it love and nourishment to grow to fruition. And I thank you all, for being compassionate and determined human beings. Please help me to shift our focus to the things that really matter, because I can't do it alone.
<3, Brit


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