Earth Day 2011

It’s funny how we need to pick a day to celebrate the earth… particularly when our ancestors celebrated and honored “The Mother” every moment. They literally “worshiped the ground they walked on”.

But let’s thank Senator Gaylord Nelson, for beginning the celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd back in 1970. The government set aside another day for us to honor our “Mother”. This was, according to Senator Nelson, a way to “put the environment into the political ‘limelight’ once and for all” (his words). Now, Earth Day, is celebrated in most countries of the world.

As we humans have “evolved”, we’ve completely lost our connection to the planet we live on and the world that we live in. We “think” we’re individuals or separate beings.

It’s a ridiculous thought when you break it down. Just like our bodies have different cells, fluids and functions… We have a similar relationship with the earth. We are a part of a whole. The slugs, the dirt, the whales, the rivers all are essential cogs, just like red blood cells, neurons and fat cells are a necessary part of your body. If all your red blood cells were to suddenly disappear, you would have a big problem. So what if the all the bees disappeared from the earth?

As shaman, or those who walk a nature based path, we understand that everything has life force or energy and everything is a part of the web of life. As the Lakota say “Mitakuye Oyasin – All My Relations”. This prayer is a reminder that we are all connected, all part of that web, each strand connected to the other, forming the whole. You have often heard us refer to the “Standing Ones”, “Stone People”, “Four-Footed”, “Winged Ones”, “Plant Divas” etc. They all have life force or energy and offer us support and wisdom.

Many of the “Two-footeds” on this plant simply take the natural world for granted. It simply is and is there for their use and/or abuse. They have the idea that the “Two-footeds” are superior. What a wonderful mind game we have created for ourselves! It’s like a video game where on the computer we have “mastered” all. But, Gaia is telling us otherwise, and unlike our video game world, there are no do overs.

But, before I give you some ideas to help you reconnect into the web of life and celebrate Earth Day, let’s talk about permission and gifting. Have you ever asked the grass for permission to walk on it or a flower to pick it? Most likely you just assumed that all grass is for walking and flowers are yours for the taking (unless they are the neighbors). Remember that everything has life force or energy. The grass may not feel like being walked on today or that tree may not want to be hugged today. If we honor nature, we must ask permission of the nature spirits and not just blunder in and use or take what is around us.

Next, in the world of the “Two-footeds”, when someone offers us a gift, kindness or piece of wisdom, we have been taught to say “thank you”. When someone in the natural world offers a gift or wisdom, we should also say “thank you”. Many folks who walk a nature centered path carry with them something to give back to Nature, whether its tobacco, corn meal, stones or herbs. (We have bags of gifting herbs available at Shaman’s Marketplace.) 

• If on your walk you find a stone, plant or feather that is calling you and you accept the gift, it is only appropriate to place an offering where you have taken the gift.

• One should always make an offering and ask permission before harvesting from any plant or tree.

• If you find a tall shady tree or a sunny rock to sit with and hear its wisdom, make and offering and ask permission to sit. Then leave an offering for the wisdom when your visit is complete.

• Ask permission to enter a sacred space just like you would knock on someone’s door before you enter their home. Be sure to leave a “hostess gift”.

Nature has much to teach us if we approach her with honor and respect. Gifting is our way of saying “thank you”.

So, on Earth Day (and every day), here are some things you can do to reconnect.

• Take your shoes off and walk around outside. It’s simple and you can do it right now. Your flesh to soil connection will ground you to the earth and re-balance your electrical channels.

• Smell the plants. Go into a park or the woods and just pick (with permission) a few plants and smell them. See which ones smell amazing and which ones smell not as good to you. Your connection to instinct will be revived just slightly.

• Hug a tree. Throw your arm around it and press your heart up to it and feel its life force with your heart. Let your heart beat sync with the tree. Now, let your “roots” flow from your feet, deep into Mother Earth. Then, let your “branches” reach from the top of your head up into Father Sky and reach for the sun. Feel that energy and share in the tree’s wisdom.

• Have a conversation with a “Stone Person”. Find a rock outside to sit on/with and open your energy body and your mind. Ask what wisdom or message this Stone Person has to share with you. If you don’t have a rock outside to sit on, hold a stone in your hand and converse with it. These Stone People have been around for a very long time and contain much knowledge that they are willing to share.

• Look into an animal’s eyes. If you have a pet or if you don’t… Find an animal, maybe at a pasture or at the animal shelter and look into its eyes. You’ll see a wisdom no human would ever be able to rationalize (And that doesn’t ever need to be humanized).

• Sit on Mother Earth and drum. Feel her heart beat and drum to that rhythm. (This works indoors too if your weather isn’t up for outdoor activities.)

• Lay face down with your heart and your ear on Mother Earth and hear her song. Allow that song to move into you and become part of you. (This works indoors too if your weather isn’t up for outdoor activities.)

• Make Earth Day a “Gifting Day” – use the idea of gifting to the Nature Spirits with tobacco, corn meal, stones or herbs. Walk around and give these gifts to everything in nature to simply say “thanks”.

Just these simple things can help reawaken your awareness and consciousness. That is powerful enough to help make Earth Day celebrations every day celebrations. (And who doesn’t like to celebrate?)

Please be sure to forward this blog along to those who could use a “reconnect.”

Until next time –

Mitakuye Oyasin (A Lakota prayer as a reminder that we are all related),
Debbie