Pagan Paths

It’s a common thing to hear that there’s a difference between our magical lives and our mundane lives. In reality, we have the ability to step into ritual and devotion each and every day.

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Ritual Elements Earth - Loving the Earth

Author's note: I'm re-running this article in honour of Earth Day - April 22, 2015 

I've spent the last month examining my practices and interactions with the Elements. It's one of the core pieces of magic I teach in the Reclaiming Tradition. I revisit this work every so often as a teacher and as a student. In my last three articles I've chronicled my explorations with Air, my connections with Fire and my dive into Water. I'm turning now to the Earth.

Loving the Earth

Every moment of my life so far has been spent on the Earth. It's entirely likely that my complete existence will be spent on this planet. With the exception of roughly five hundred people that have journeyed into space, every single person that has been born and lived a life and died, has spent each precious moment right here on ol' Terra Firma.

There's a common narrative among Pagan folk that the Earth is alive and that we are her children. I don't think of the Earth as my Mother. I don't believe that the Earth is a benevolent nurturer that cares deeply for me as a beloved offspring. I understand the metaphor, really I do, but it's problematic for me. If the Earth is my mother, then I am her dependent. My only possible role is that of a selfish infant, unable to function, needing to feed constantly, depleting her resources without regard for her needs, barely noticing that she exists. No. I can no longer be a suckling babe.

I have come to regard the Earth as a lover whose body I know and adore and cherish and yearn to be joined in rapt ecstasy with morning, noon and night. I want to lose myself as I explore every inch of my lover’s body, understanding where we melt together and where we resist each other’s touch. As lovers, we will trust that there are places where we fill each other up and agree there are places we cannot be. And ever so importantly, my relationship with the Earth as lover must not begin with daily violations of consent and safe words and agreements. I would not rape my lover nor allow my lover to abuse me.

That sounds horrible, I know. I've re-written and re-read those last couple of sentences over and over again, but try as I might I can't get the images of clear cut forests and oil-clogged beaches out of my mind. I cannot live in the fantasy realms of artwork showing horned gods and goddesses cavorting happily with bunnies and butterflies in pristine woodlands, knowing that the very landscapes that the artwork is based on are disappearing at an alarming rate.

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I've been asking myself just how do I relate to the Earth? What profound insights have I gleaned after all these years as a witch. It's terrifyingly simple.

I need the Earth to be my lover, but the Earth doesn't need me at all. I can pollute, I can shred and cut and rip and tear at the flesh of my lover, but ultimately when there's nothing left for me to ruin, the Earth will simply move on and leave me behind. The next lover will come along or no lover will come along and the Earth will be just fine with that. The Sun and the Earth will swap stories about that one lover, humankind was it's name, that had such great potential but turned out to be just another crazy fucker by the end of the relationship.

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My relationship to the Earth has changed. If I want my children and my grandchildren and many generations of my kin to have a hospitable home planet (as if there is a wealth of non-home planets that we can just rent a space U-Haul truck and move to next weekend), then I need to treat the Earth as I would treat a lover; tenderly, softly, respectfully, with their pleasure and well-being first and only in my mind.

I hold the earth like I would a lover. This vision of the Earth is part of my daily life and part of my daily practice. Earth. I honour you.

What is Earth for you?

 

Note: All the pictures in this article are from Shutterstock, although there may or may not be a few pictures of me doing "lover-type things"  with the Earth out there on the Google-webs. I couldn't possibly comment on that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I've been a practicing witch and ritualist within the Reclaiming Tradition since 2003. I love being in service with this community of witches and world changers.   My own practice, my own way of changing the world is through devotional practice. It's my belief that we can re-enchant our lives by re-framing the so-called "mundane" as sacred and divine. By imbuing the familiar with a sense of wonder and infusing daily life with acts of magic, we choose to consciously make all of life devotion. Whether we engage in large, public rituals or sink sumptuously into the pure ecstasy of eating a delicious meal by ourselves or meditating at sunrise, our daily rituals can draw us back into harmony with the world and each other.  

Comments

  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham Sunday, 29 March 2015

    Brilliant!

  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven Sunday, 29 March 2015

    > thank you Lizann

  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan Monday, 06 April 2015

    Now I want to go out and roll around in the dirt and breathe in the scent of grass and moss and bugs and listen to the cry of birds and the bleating of cows ;-)

    My first meditation on earth was meant to be a serene experience of gently touching and connecting with lush and fertile soil, but instead I ended up rolling around in dry mountain dust, running my fingers through it, clawing at it, and drizzling it all over my body. She's not a tame earth!

  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven Tuesday, 07 April 2015

    You know Annika, I pretty much always want to roll around in the soil and duff and get that rich, dark, wet earth all over me.

    Gwion

    *Yes. Those bleating cows haunt me too :)

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