In today's Earthy Thursday we have stories celebrating our amazing planet. Profile of an eco-conscious farm; Bolivian law gives legal rights to Mother Earth; reviving ancient Incan agriculture; a Pagan pilgrimage to the holy places of Somerset; tiny fox massage.
Farming is a major influence on eco-systems around the world. This story from Yes! magazine profiles a farm that's trying to bring sustainable practices to agriculture.
The Law of Mother Earth ("Ley de Derechos de La Madre Tierra") in the South American country of Bolivia holds the land as sacred and holds it as a living system with rights to be protected from exploitation.
The endangered plants of ancient Incan agriculture might be keys to adapting to climate change in Peru. Fortunately, there is a movement afoot to revive them as well as other indigenous practices.
Pagan blogger (and Witches&Pagans columnist Jason Mankey) recently made a pilgrimage to Glastonbury. Read all about his experiences at this interfaith holy site here.
Here's a sweet story in the category of humans-helping-animals (cuteness alert).
My significant other considers Mother’s Day (along with Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day) to be a holiday created purely for commercial reasons. As a result, she will not celebrate any of those ‘holidays’. I brought a different view of Mother’s Day when we got together. She and I are both Pagans and when I explained this alternate approach to Mother’s Day she wholeheartedly embraced it. I have to thank my friend Amy in Oklahoma for teaching me this Mother’s Day tradition that she and her son have followed for many years. I think her clever reinterpretation of this holiday is perfect for most Pagans.
With all of the wacky weather we have been experiencing the globe over, one could get the impression that Mother Nature is royally ticked-off with us. Can you blame her? She's been so often abused, neglected, and taken for granted it is a wonder that we still have a planet fit to live on. What we can do is let her know that we care. Think of it like honoring your own mother on Mother's Day. I am a big fan of building strong energy and channeling it through ecstatic dance and music. I used to attend a great dance in Evanston back in the day, and there's no reason why you couldn't hold your own. For Earth Day this year, try organizing a Trance Dance. As in Transcendental. No, we're not talking about Rave 'Til Dawn. Your mission: find a great space, and create mood lighting. Low lights, candles on the outskirts (safely out of the way), pretty electric glowy lights and lava lamps, would all do the trick. Do you or someone you know have access to a large basement, church space, or school gym? The most important factor is that the space is wide open and that no one has to worry about colliding with objects or each other in it. Elect someone to play DJ for the eve. Make sure in advance that you have a decent sound system. Get a good-sized, unselfconscious group to come on out and let the party begin.
The main idea that everyone should be let in on from the beginning is that you are holding a dance with intent. To send out nurturing energy to help heal our Mother Earth. Send her your love with the energy that you create through your dancing.
Ideally, you move like crazy to a steady mix of New-Agey, Electronica, World music for one to two hours straight. You dance with total abandon, literally stomping your ya-yas out until you are dripping with sweat and reach the equivalent of a runner's high. If you need to cool it down in the midst of your twirling, feel free to strike some good yoga poses in the middle of the circle and catch your breath. See the clear unpolluted waters, protected forests, recycling programs, solar and wind power all happening in your mind's eye. Believe that it can continue to happen– that it is not to late to do our part to have a beneficial, lasting ecological impact on our planet.
Wear good loose layers of exercise clothing that you can really move freely in and lose pieces of as things heat up. Keep very well-hydrated. Agua, agua, and more agua should be incorporated. Vitamin-infused water with some added benefits to replenish those electrolytes is always a wise move. Bring a towel and a yoga mat for when things wind down. End on a meditative and calming tune. Does someone in your group know Reiki? An especially appropriate way to wrap up this event would be to invite them to perform a little quickie energy work on those who are willing. Have them go to each participant as you are all seated on the floor, coming down from the energy-raising. Be sure to stretch out all of your muscles fully, breathe, and bring your heart rate down. Most importantly, ground yourself. Let people leave when they are ready and consider having a few bowls of grapes or fresh berries out for them to grab a handful of on their way out the door. Not only will it bring some welcome nourishment, but the fruit just might taste a little sweeter from all of that good energy that you helped raise.
Photo, "Silhouette of Young Women," by Sujn Jetkasettakorn from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
The four areas I am working with are: agriculture and food production, sustainable finance, communication and human connection, and entertainment.
My husband's mission this year was to purchase a camper and spend most of our summer as vagabonds. One day before we were about to leave on a trip to Vancouver Island he drove up with with a sweet house on wheels ! We immediately started nesting what would be, our cozy new home for the next 3 weeks.
Camper packed we headed out....
As we escaped the city’s hustle and bustle, the Medicine Wheel teachings came to mind. North is the direction of the Elders, wisdom and teaching. It is place of the great mountain and sacred lake where the owl, and wolf reside. Ojibwe see the North as the place of rest and remembrance. A place where one reflects on how you were as a child and youth. A fitting direction to head as our plan was to spend time resting from our everyday life and gather with Elders: My parents, grandmother, and family friends. My husband even learned some valuable ‘teachings’ from my dad on how to operate an RV. After family visiting, we set out to camp on Quadra Island, where I spent summers as a child. This place holds so many wonderful memories for me : Beach exploration, driftwood raft building, hiking in the woods and swimming in the ocean. I fell deeply in love with Mother Earth here and it was a joy to share and re-create these experiences with my step-daughter.
When I have chances like these to commune with nature, I often feel inspired to create a circle, mandala, a Medicine Wheel with soil, plants, rocks, and sticks I find while sitting on the beach or in the woods. This practice is expressed through the Creation story of my ancestors the Iroquois or Haudensaunee.....
The Earth was created by Sky Woman, who came from another world to give birth to Mother Earth. Mother Earth was born on the back of a turtle. Dirt and plants were brought up from the ocean floor to give her life. Mother Earth then gave birth to the twins, the Day and the Night. It was a tumultuous birth and as a result her life was sacrificed. Sky Woman buried Mother Earth by taking the soil, plants and stones to cover her body in a circular mound.
While visiting with a friend’s young son on their Cortez Island homestead I was able to share with him this practice and the Medicine Wheel Teachings. On a dozy summer afternoon we all sat in the garden adding dandelions, sand and a crow feather to the earth mandala we created. He was delightfully fascinated by the process and how this was appreciating Mother Earth in an artful way; a way to thank her for all the gifts and bounty she gives us. I also explained that Mother Earth, in her own time, will take back these items and use them for other purposes.... The wind may blow away the sand, another bird could use the feather for her nest and the dandelion flower might be eaten by a chicken in the yard. I felt worried when his face looked crest-fallen, but he brightened when I reassured him that he could always make another Medicine Wheel anytime he wanted , as Mother Earth is graciously giving us her gifts daily.
Although he was contented that he would be able to make more Medicine Wheels in the future, his thoughts were: The one we had created that afternoon was especially beautiful, it would be best to take a picture so we can always keep it in our memory.