One day last year, walking along a nearby mountain stream, I entered a place that felt sacred and mysterious. Shaded by a grove of willows, the creek’s waters gently flowed and purled around some stepping stones, evoking a sense of quiet, of waiting. I felt the presence of a water spirit and started singing to her. Very soon she began to sing back. She ended up giving me a beautiful song, which I was fortunately able to echo and record, line by line, as she sang it. When it was over, with great gratitude I inquired, “is this a song from the Mother of the Waters?” And I heard very clearly: “No, it is a song from a Mother of the Waters.” [Read more…] about The Flowing Green Love of Autumn
All humans alive on Earth today have our origins in indigenous traditions and lifeways, whether our ancestors were from Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania or the Americas. Just a relative handful of generations ago our forebears were living practical and spiritual lives that were attuned to the sacred living web of the land. What can we learn now, from our own ancestral traditions and inner promptings, that will guide us in overcoming the negative, anti-life conditioning of the presently-dominant culture, and live more harmoniously on our Mother Earth?
In the Celtic spiritual tradition, some speak of Orchil, the Weaving Goddess. She sits in the Underworld at two looms. On one loom, the warp extends down into the fiery heart of the planet; on the other loom the warp goes up to the blazing stars. Poised between Earth Light and Star Light, partaking of both Up and Down, Orchil weaves the weft on Her two looms, connecting every star to every other star, generating the infinite fabric of our planet and ourselves. [Read more…] about Allying with Orchil the Weaving Goddess
What does it mean to be indigenous? Ecologist and author Eileen Crist, in a recent interview, usefully outlines 3 principles held by all indigenous cultures. Indigenous people live sustainably and bioregionally, that is, they live “within the contours of the land.” They regularly celebrate the natural world through an annual cycle of festivals and ceremonies. And they see “everything as alive, as wondrous in itself.” *
In other words, indigenous people don’t simply love “the land” in the abstract—they know themselves as part of the place on Earth where they live. They’re not just casually attentive to the more-than-human world of Nature around them—they experience themselves living within it, in a web of relationship that is continually studied, affirmed and celebrated. And they don’t pray to a remote, abstract God—they attune with the immanent spiritual energies, beings, and deities of the land around them. Indigenous people’s personal and community lives continually mirror and express these realities, from birth to death, from a long-ago past to a calmly beckoning future. [Read more…] about Recovering Our Indigeneity
Here we are again, in the darkest time of the year. After our holiday celebrations (most of them based on the land-connected traditions of our ancestors), now we settle into the rhythm of short days, dark evenings, and cold weather, already dreaming of spring. And indeed, the dawning of spring is always a riotously happy time, on the land and within ourselves. But, in the meantime, every year most of us do our best to avoid the lessons of winter. [Read more…] about The Wheel and the Virus: Teachings from the Dark
One of my favorite autumn rituals is to go to the nursery in October and buy amaryllis bulbs. This year I splurged and got 9 of them!
I pot each bulb, upper part uncovered, place it near the window, carefully water as needed—and wait and wait. I intently scrutinize each bulb every morning, wondering if it will really grow. Weeks go by, and nothing happens. Then one day I see the very tip of a succulent, glossy flower stalk inching up out of one of the bulbs. Days later I see this on another bulb, then another. Then slender new leaf tips gradually appear. With exquisite slowness, this year’s amaryllis flowers come to life. By Christmas, I’m starting to enjoy a dazzling progression of flowers of all sizes, shapes and colors. [Read more…] about Lessons from My Christmas Amaryllis Bulbs