Nature Awareness Essay [Dedicant Path Requirement]

I’ve had a strong connection with and love for the Earth Mother and the world that we live in since I was a child. I often blame this variously on the movie Pocahontas (which introduced to me the idea of animism, something that I took to immediately,) or my mother (who refused to let me ‘rescue’ a flat of under-watered snapdragons from the Lowe’s greenhouse at age three). My father’s family is famous for their green thumb, and so a lot of my childhood summers were spent helping my dad in the yard and garden. My dad took often took us camping or hiking. I spent the majority of my time until I was about fourteen outside, exploring and experiencing.
In my late teens I experienced a sudden and intense distancing from the realities of nature, as I went to a formal school for the first time, got a job, and went to college. I stopped listening. I had gotten most of the way through a degree in psychology when I did a project on food systems for a class on social change. I spent the next semester failing most of my classes as I read up on climate change and other environmental issues before I took the plunge and changed my major to sustainability. I think my awareness of the Earth Mother really hit a pivotal point at my first ADF-style ritual. This was my first experience of ADF’s habit of kneeling and touching the ground while speaking to the Earth. The woman who gave the invocation passed out cherry tomatoes from her garden, and spoke about the Earth Mother as the first and the last, the one who catches us at birth and holds us in death, the only thing we can always be certain of: fierce in her power, heartbreaking in beauty, mother of all. This was the first time I had ever understood the heart of communion.
Since then, my awareness of and relationship to the Earth Mother has been strengthened and deepened in many ways. I am more aware of the impact of my actions. I am more attuned to the wheel of the seasons. More and more, I find myself awed by the beauty and power of this world we live within. I feel the living field of the world around me, and sometimes it catches me breathless and brings me to my knees.
This honoring has created many changes in my behavior – some of them internal or emotional changes, some of them outward and physical. The internal changes are a matter of orientation – reverence for the earth and all the life she provides for, automatic libations made from a full and grateful heart, feeling the pain of pollution and abuse within my own body. All these internalities drive me to work for change, to teach people how to live in harmony with our world, to help us see the path towards such a future and the matrix behind the maze. I tend my garden and the shrine I built for the spirits of my land.
In the mundane world, I take practical and material actions because of my connection to the earth. I recycle and compost, and I try to minimize trash by using recyclable or reusable items and materials as much as I can. I have become more conscious of what foods I eat, and what materials I use or purchase. I pick up litter on the street when I see it. I garden using companion plants instead of pesticides. I work with the natural ways of the world instead of against them. I write poetry. Mostly, I do lots of small, everyday things.
Perhaps these small, everyday things are why my connection with the Earth Mother is the richest relationship I have with any of the Kindred. There’s a depth there, an umbilical cord, a web of life that vibrates between in a strand of continual echoes,. There’s an innate understanding, a soul-chord struck by wind and sun: we belong to this place. Deepening my relationship with the Earth Mother has given me a sense of livingness, continuity, belonging, wildness within the world. I like how Gary Snyder explained this connection in his book of essays, The Practice of the Wild: “The wild requires that we learn the terrain, nod to all the plants and animals and birds, ford the streams and cross the ridges, and tell a good story when we get back home. …So that’s the final meaning of “wild” — the esoteric meaning, the deepest and most scary. Those who are ready for it will come to it. Please do not repeat this to the uninitiated.”

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About November Jones

November Jones lives in a small but very colorful house with three cats and her very noisy partner, codename: Batman.

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