The Equinox begins on Tuesday, September 22nd at 9:30 a.m. ET
RECIPROCITY FOR MOTHER EARTH
I had a birthday recently at the end of August. When my daughter asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I said that the sign above, which now hangs on the outside door to my house, was the only thing I wanted. I gave her the text. She did the crafting. Now, I get to remind myself visually each day, what’s most important in life.
Taking care of Mother Earth creates healing for humanity, because life on Earth was set up to be reciprocal. The more we establish sustainable and life-giving practices in every environment, the healthier life on Earth will be. People who lived and still live close to the Earth see evidence of that every day. That’s why Traditional environmental practices are sound. Let’s shift from supporting a culture that destroys our environment with waste, to supporting a life-promoting civilization. It’s not impossible! Our every effort is transformative, and builds a deeper foundation.
“But what can I do,” you may ask, feeling like you are too small a factor to make a difference.
To this, I answer that each of us can make a difference. First, we have to want to make a difference, because energy is the beginning of all movement and effectiveness.
- Our survival depends upon our loving relationship with Mother Earth. So, the first thing is to Love the Mother, realizing that everything we need comes from Her. Everything, one way or another. Food, Clothing, Shelter, Sustenance. Even the things we want, but really don’t need, get their raw material from Her. If we don’t appreciate and husband these resources properly, and with gratitude, our values get skewed. We get greedy and clueless as to the effects of indiscriminately taking resources from the Earth. Then, trying to make more money predominates in the harvesting of the sacred resources of our planet. Such methods are killing us and all life on the planet.
Learning to reciprocate with the Mother can rejuvenate our relationship with Her and restore practices that can heal the damage we humans have done. We can stop supporting practices that create harmful industrial waste, poisonous farming practices, filthy water, and sterile land, by first, changing our individual connection with Her, and then cooperating with restorative groups, and working for action that changes harmful practices in our own communities and the world. Ultimately, it is Nature Herself who will restore the land – which in turn, will continue to restore us.
Some things we can do to begin are: Supporting and buying from producers who are environmentally sustainable, and from organic producers of meat, plants, and other food products. We can boycott foods that harm endangered species indirectly, while food is being captured, grown or processed. We can buy less plastic, as well as less synthetic clothing; we can support solar energy. We can even choose carefully, the wood we use or have in our homes, making sure that they don’t come from old growth forests and rainforests.
- Second, we can act responsibly toward Her. Recycle everything you can. Compost as much as you can, even if you don’t have a garden. Shop responsibly. Choose products that are less hard on the environment. Do we really need all that packaging material? Choose non-toxic products to grow or weed the plants around your house. And, by the way, weeds are wonderful. Most of them either provide food for us or other species, or help for neighboring plants. They may provide medicine for our bodies, tinder for our fires, food for our pollinators, and not least of all – beauty.
Let’s become aware of the effects of how everything we use or take affects our environment. Show respect. If you harvest wild plants, fruits and berries, ask first, if you should pick there, and listen carefully to the feeling or other answer you get. Sometimes, there’s a good environmental reason for the “no” you get, even if you can’t see it at the moment. Also, never take the last of any crop. In these pandemic times, you might also try not taking the last of anything on the shelves at the supermarket. It’s one way to love your neighbor.
For those who eat meat, and hunt, there is a Choctaw story about an alligator and a hunter that illustrates the way animals should be taken in a manner that is respectful and sustainable. A hunter who couldn’t seem to get his deer, no matter how hard he tried, was helped to become a great hunter by saving the life of an alligator, who in return, gave him advice that turned his luck around. As the alligator told him to do, he bypassed a doe who was very young, and one who was still of an age to bear young. He also was told to bypass the young buck that he would come across, who would father many young ones. Eventually, he met up with an old buck who was ready to give himself to the hunter. It had lived a full life and was ready. The hunter greeted the old buck, and then thanked it for giving itself to him and his people, so that they might live.
- Walk in their shoes. Put yourself in the metaphorical skin and bones of your animal relatives, and the plant and tree beings. Study them. I assure you it is wondrous to learn how perfectly they were created in themselves, and in conjunction with everything else. Every species was designed to interact perfectly with all others. The ones we might consider pests have a necessary purpose too. Even when a member of a species, like a mammal for example, dies, its body contributes to the growth of the whole. Let us also do what we can to create and protect habitat for wildlife, and leave them to a “wild” life, which, as has now been proven, is also much safer for humans.
- Be intimate with Nature. Use your senses to experience Her. Let yourself savor, and take in the sight of the natural world, the smells, tastes, sounds, and feel of each plant, tree, insect, crawler, water dweller, bird, mammal – even the feel of the soil itself – that you are in the presence of – all will teach us the ways to survive and thrive – if we are humble enough to ask, use our unique gifts to care for them, and be willing to learn.
- Have enough humility to honor and respect the intelligence of species other than homo sapiens. Our intelligence suits us, but every species also has intelligence absolutely appropriate to its nature and its functions. I try to show the unique abilities and characteristics of each species that I write about in my Totems column, to open minds to appreciating them more and more each day. You will discover the truth that all species are deserving of your curiosity, respect, compassion, and dare I say – love. The more you learn about individual species, the more you will comprehend how grand the interlocking design of all life forms is.
Consider this: do humans know how to make food from light and water, as plants do? And make enough to feed themselves and us? Can humans fly like birds? Can we pick up a scent, or be aware of movement the way a 4-legged does? Can we relearn how to care for others in our communities the way some insects, like ants do, in their communities? Can we provide the structure, beauty, and usefulness that the Stone People do, so that we don’t just sink and slide into a morass of mud everywhere on the Earth?
Are we 2-leggeds able to return home to the place of our birth without the use of conveyances, but instead relying on chemical and magnetic signals, as salamanders do, to unerringly find their way home so they can mate? Or smell their way to their birth river with a nasal gland on their snouts the way salmon do? Or, for that matter, swim thousands of miles to the one place in the world where their parents spawned them, as eels do? Can we agree to admire Nature, who designed reptiles to be cold-blooded, so they need to consume 10 times less food than a warm-blooded mammal of the same size? Yes, the wonders of Nature are endless, and we can choose to learn endlessly, if we have the humility.
Do humans know how to detect the perfect temperature in Spring, like maple trees do with photosensors that measure light, so that at the perfect time, new baby buds unfurl to eventually become branches? Well, glory be! Those branches need food, so all of creation gets to enjoy maple syrup! Yes, my friends, let us stretch the word intelligence, to encompass the complete range of wonders our relatives on the planet are capable of.
- Appreciate the gifts we’re given. Attitude. Is. Everything. Next time you are cold and then turn on the heat, appreciate the fuel that makes that possible. Appreciate the wind that blows pollution away. Besides giving thanks before a meal to all who have given their lives, I like to stop in the middle of a chew, and just savor for a minute what is in my mouth. Really taste it, and know that it is nourishing me in so many ways that I can’t even comprehend. Gratitude makes the world go round.
I was shown recently in the dreamtime what would happen if disasters keep happening, and there is less or no food as we know it. We need to start being reciprocal with the gifts of the Mother, and have deeper gratitude. I’m being told to remind us all to give reciprocity — gratitude and appreciation, to each leaf, each seed, nut, or fruit eaten today, not to mention all whose lives are taken. Make this day, as you read this, all about appreciation of your food and the land which gives it. This relationship throughout the day will help heal us, both physically and emotionally. If enough of us can do this regularly, it may increase exponentially, the effect on Mother Earth’s well-being. What would happen if each of us made a practice of dedicating one day a week to deep awareness of our relationship with all our relations, with whom we share this most beautiful planet?
- Finally, have a Giveaway. Wealth is having enough to give some away. Let us give Our Mother gifts from our hearts, our minds, our hands, our work, our art, our soulfulness, our creativity. Let us show Her we are thankful for all the gifts She has given us: the air for sweet breath, and open hearts; fire for creativity and energy, water for hydration and flow; and earth for solidity, sustenance, and as a cradle for life. Most importantly, she has provided us with HOME. Let us give back to the Mother of us all.