In the sprouting growth, blooming, fruiting, death and regermination of plants in their relationship with the sun, whose light they are able to convert into chemically bound energy in the form of organic compounds, out of which all that lives on our earth is built; in the being of plants the same mysterious, inexhaustible eternal life energy is evident that has also brought us forth and takes us back again into its womb, and in which we are sheltered and united with all living things. - Albert Hoffmann
In developing a nature based spirituality, I turn to the very ground under my feet. I could begin with the ground of my ancestors, wondering about, and recreating, the connections and rituals born of the Scottish highlands and the green edged Welsh coast. And indeed, I often do turn to the lore, history and music of those places when I want to awaken genetic memory. But I have never lived in those places and my particular ancestors have also now been in America for at least 300 years. Like many white people, I feel like a cultural orphan, and I am also dedicated to not committing spiritual or cultural theft, so while I respect and admire what I have learned and been taught about Native American practices, I take the responsibility to discover my own innate nature based wisdom. What I can say is mine, is the betrothment I feel towards the landscape where I grew up in Shasta County, the sandstone beds with their hidden caches of quartz, the foothill pines with their lanky ways, the mountains that perch as beacons in my own personal compass. These other beings are my kin, and I miss them deep in my blood and bones, such as I would family.
In my current chosen home, also in Northern California, I am devoted on a daily basis to cultivating new and enduring love. I learn the natural history of this Valley of the Moon, I learn the stories, such as I can find, of the Pomo and Miwok, but I don't take them for my own. I research, forage and eat the wild foods that jubilantly stretch towards light that rises up over those eucalyptus trees back there and nestles down in the grove where the Great Horned Owl lives. I harvest medicine for health and curing and find that much of what I need is within a 3 mile radius. I grow a garden and marvel at who comes to eat it, even if it's not me. I invite and tend native plants around my house and I ask them "teach me" and I say "I care for you". I say this regardless of what I receive in return. Perhaps most importantly, I go for walks.
Sometimes I walk with receptivity, noticing what calls for or catches my attention. Sometimes I walk with intention, to notice breath, birdsong, blooms. Sometimes I just walk. But my favorite way of walking incorporates all three : the receptivity, the mindfulness and being guided by spontaneous curiosity. It is my primary spiritual practice, aside from meditation, and if I go too long without it, I get crispy pretty fast. As we approach May, I am simultaneously giddy and drunk with delight during these walks, as well as dogged by an urge to keep it all from going by so quickly. My favorite friends have all arrived, and they stay for such a brief, sweet time, I almost have no choice but to sit with them in a ritual to make time stand still. You know of course, I'm talking about the wildflowers.
I invite you to experience coming into relationship with these joyful, radiant expressions of plant life with a meditation I will share with you this coming week. Following this I will be sharing other goodies, including a Flower Essence how-to, as well as a guest post by The Faery Queen herself, Milla Prince from The Woman Who Married A Bear.
Nature is always in communication with us and my desire is to help you hear that voice, to inspire spontaneous delight and fidelity to your own little patch of green on our beautiful blue dot.
Psst: In case you missed it, something magical is happening.