Posts tagged ‘earth’

June 8, 2012

A Link for You: Organic & Heirloom Seeds (plus advice)

Found this website today while trying to learn about how lentils are grown. [It’s odd how little I know about what I eat, sign of the disconnect between my lifestyle and nature. Working on it.]

Organic and heirloom seeds for sale, plus easily comprehensible growing advice:

http://www.heirloom-organics.com/

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October 10, 2011

Earth Immersion

We so frequently limit ourselves to our minds, denigrating the physical, losing that knowledge of being. I feel as if I am constantly trying to remember the deeper complexity, working to acknowledge the seasons or tap into my environment.

Earth connection. I am staring at the screen, trying to figure out how to offer advice on something that isn’t quite touch or sight, that comes from practice but can also flow naturally. Scattered attempts to describe a form of meditation (or is that quite it?) that invites you to reach down into the earth, to submerge your mind into the soil and open yourself to the quiet pulse.

An easy route to earth awareness is to find mountains. Which is exactly what I did, here in India. I spent roughly six weeks in the Himalayas, mostly in the Tibetan Buddhist town McLeodganj, but also in Gangotri, where you can see snowcapped peaks in the distance.

I clung to them, the heavy rocky fingers forming valleys for rivers and villages, hoping that I could attune myself, find something more in their presence.

Gangotri’s sharp cool air and youthful Ganges smashing over rocks stuns, but the craggy peaks reaching high high high around you overshadow them with their awe-inducing beauty. Every time I came out of my ashram hut, I would stare, light yet grounded, at them.

I couldn’t tell you what beauty is, exactly. But they are it.

Even now, in the jungle heat of hectic Mumbai, I can bring back the effect on my body and spirit. There’s a gentle weight, never oppressive, simply quiet. That’s it. A quietening. That slow easing of the mind, where it slides down into the earth, relaxing into groundedness. Earth warmth, like a woman’s body holding a child or the entangled arms of lovers. The remembrance of our humanity, our physical manifestation, our aliveness known through the connection.

 

July 23, 2011

What Makes it Earthy?

Usually when I say “earth religions” I am talking about traditions that have developed out of Europe, although you could make an argument for others around the globe. But I cannot speak for everyone, only from what I know. If you are reading this, you are most likely familiar with all these ideas, but just for a strong foundation…

Obvious part: earth religions focus on nature, even call it divine.

It is not that God is in nature, because that would imply separation. “God” is nature. And it is not as if I put a pebble up on an altar and worship it; one, because I am a nomad with no altar to speak of, and two, because to worship a piece of the whole would miss the entire point. “Nature” can be thought of as living matter, or that plus the rocks/planet/etc., or all matter and energy. Well, matter and energy are technically interchangeable, but that’s not the point. Yet.

All religions are invested in the planet: maybe simply because human beings live there, or because practitioners are working to release attachments to the material world. Nature is at the center of earth religions, but it is more than that – it’s the whole donut.

There is more to earthly experience than pure mechanics. I am taught that stars explode and re-form, that the universe is expanding at an accelerated pace, that our sun is in the medium size category. Being earth religious is not limited to an intellectual recognition of the complexities of the world. In looking at the night sky, I think of the science; but there is also that awe, the realization of the whole, our simple part in it — there in the experience, which makes all the difference. And when that awe extends to all things, when the sacred expands to include the universe, you touch on being earth religious. Then it turns back on itself, asking for ethical engagement. This is religion because it can be a body of thought, lead to a series of practices, and/or a lifestyle.

In practice, being outside is the easiest access point to the universal energies that can be felt if you are aware. Our manufactured products are like processed food; the computer I am writing on is still a part of nature, just indirectly. It may not be true for everyone, but my body feels best when I am eating raw, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. So, spiritually, being out in the land is a salad, and being in downtown L.A. is American cheese.

My experience of Wicca, and my own practice, is marked by nature symbolism. From holidays and moon rituals to guided meditation and workings, nature is drawn from and celebrated. Ultimately, practice is not meant to appease a deity, but to remember what we already know — that me, you, we are all part of nature. That although our contemporary lifestyles attempt to deny it with fluorescent lighting, air conditioning, and imported produce, every day is not the same. There are seasons in the year, and in life. To put nature at the center of religion is an attempt to engage the entirety of being, to truly live and feel.

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