In the morning, after (almost) sleeping through a night of 28 degree weather, I headed to the edge of the water to make my offerings. Pumpkin seeds were what I had to give, for they were what I had to eat. I proceeded through the same ritual I outlined in my post last week, only this time I did it while standing in the morning sun.
When I’m in the city, I sometimes lift my hands up toward the ceiling of my bedroom, my office, or whatever sacred space I’ve constructed, and imagine that I’m feeling the warmth of the sun. I also imagine that my feet become roots and extend deep into the earth, deep into the coolness of the underground waters. This practice is a part of the Two Powers meditation, a grounding and centering meditation used by ADF.
Standing beside the reservoir, I thought perhaps I should do the Two Powers meditation now. So I lifted my hands up to the sky, and when I felt the warmth of the sun — the actual warmth, and not the imagined warmth — I was taken aback.
I opened my eyes and I saw the water. The actual water.
The Two Powers meditation felt a little silly to do at that point, ’cause I was in the sun and I could almost feel the water on my skin. I didn’t need to imagine anything.
Instead, my mediation would be to open my eyes, open my heart, and feel with all of my being what was around me; to recognize that all of this was the Earth Mother.
This weekend in the mountains gave me some perspective on my religious practice.
Druidism will be a living religion so long as it continues to focus on the living earth. As bookish as we Druids may be, the soil is our truest scripture. The work we do at home, the practice we develop in solitude, should — perhaps even must — inform our experience of the living earth, not simply the metaphoric earth.
One can make the sun into a symbol, or the water into a symbol, or just about any tree, bird, and plant into a representation of some human experience, but concordances which seek to place all of nature within a human framework (this tree represents this emotion, or that god is good for this human activity) are little different than a Catholic concordance of saints. Plus, they can trick the city-dwelling Pagan into thinking that the natural world is only metaphor for the inner human world.
It’s more than that.
The tree doesn’t always need to represent something. It can simply be alive, and beautiful.
I came back to the city with a real desire to return to the mountains; to be outside. I spend a lot of time in my head each day, but not near enough time in the dirt.
I need to find a way to bring an awareness of the living earth into my daily life.
The question is, how? (My husband says, “Weeding, sweetie. There is weeding.”)
So, I turn to you, friends. You showed up in droves to share your intense nature experiences, and I’m going to ask that you join in the dialogue again.
How do you do it? How do you bring an awareness of the living earth into your daily life? Do you do it by getting out into your neighborhood? By gardening? Do you volunteer with the park service? What do you do?
Or, if you’ve found yourself in a state where you don’t do this, what could you imagine doing to bring this awareness into your life?