Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gender and My Book Sacred Land: The Evolution of a Spiritual Gardening Book.

One review of my gardening book Sacred Land says some lovely things about the book, and then points out:
One flaw is that it is geared solely for women. Men can read it, but the language and imagery used is exclusive to women, no gods of harvest are mentioned, nor sun gods nurturing the land. Even so, men should read it for the tips – even if the meditations won’t always suit.
I wanted to respond to that here, as it is a complaint that comes up every once in a while. I even got an angry email from a reader about the issue! So maybe this blog will help explain.

When I originally wrote the book, it was intended as part of a series of books called the Goddess Guides. The first was called Goddess' Guide for the Magical Bride and became my book Magical Bride. The second was about healing, and I haven't written it yet. The third became Sacred Land. If you have read both Sacred Land and Magical Bride, you will know that I profile goddesses related to pertinent topics in each book. The series was meant to be geared towards women, on normal topics we deal with every day like marriage, gardening, raising children, and health. I wanted to include goddesses and women who inspire me on each given topic.

So at first, Sacred Land was titled Goddess' Guide for the Sacred Garden. Then it changed to Sisterhood of the Sacred Garden. My publisher felt this title was too... sisterhoody. It didn't work for them. So they took the title and subtitle out of the text, and the woman-goddess focus got lost in the new title. At that point I should have edited the heck out of the book to include gods and men, but I didn't. Not because I don't love gardening gods and men, but just because I didn't. First book and all that jazz.

So dear men and others wondering about the gender imbalance in the book, fear not. I mean no disrespect. I mean it as empowering to women - and to gardeners of both genders everywhere. And now you know something about the evolution of a first book!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nature Spirits and Devas

"One may ... look at being such as elves, and devic angels as communication bridges between man [sic] and nature intelligence." -- "What is Nature Intelligence," Co-Creative Science by Michaelle Small Wright

"[T]o resolve the evils and problems of this world we must all learn to communicate with the world of nature spirits and the angelic hierarchies from which they derive." The Secret Life of Nature by Peter Tompkins

The natural world is conscious, and we can interact with nature spirits, fairies, nature intelligence, and individual "natural" beings like trees. First, we must honor and respect them. Give them space to do their work. Then we must learn to listen. Slow down, open your heart, and open your senses. You may hear nature spirits, see them as light or even little beings, or feel them as presences and intelligences. Finally, we can use the wisdom we gain from working with nature to improve our own lives, from our spiritual path to the way we walk upon the planet.

A good place to begin to open to devas, fairies, and other intelligences is in your garden, or in a place of wilderness. Sit or lie down in a comfortable place. Open your heart, relax, and let your consciousness drift among the beings around you. Notice what happens. At first, you may not believe that what happens is "real," but over time you will learn to trust your abilities and style of listening.

For more on communicating with the natural world and developing your sixth sense, check out Voices of the Earth: The Path of Green Spirituality.


How to See A Fairy by Clea Danaan

What are devas?

Devas, Elementals, and Nature Spirits

What is Green Spirituality? What About Panentheism?

"Most compassionate people I know work with the soil whenever they can. Gardening for them us much more than a hobby. It is a way of life and a way of wisdom. The soil teaches us something that is necessary for becoming compassionate." - Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion

"Nature makes the Divine tangible. Nature is the gown the Goddess wears to make herself visible, and the God dances to express his joy. Looking at Nature, we see living, incarnate divinity." - Phyllis Curott, WitchCrafting

We are manifest in a body in order to evolve, to learn, and to open more fully to love. One of our most important teachers in this life is the Earth. Nature is God/dess manifest, as we are. We are nature. We are divine. Nature is divine, and the hologram blooms on.

Panentheism is the belief that we are in God and God is in us. We can go inward to reach Spirit, and we can go outward to find Goddess as well. It is a dialectic: Both/And. We exist in God, and God exists in us. Panentheism can be a useful tool for understanding the sacred nature of Nature. It is God, as are we, though God is also bigger than Nature and bigger than we.

Confused? Go sit next to a tree or in a park or a by a stream, and meditate on the idea that God is in us and we are in God. See what arises. Sit in that wonder.

Green spirituality is non-sectarian. You can be pagan, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Native American, Santerian, Islamic, or any other faith that believes in the sanctity of the earth. But green spirituality is not about religion. It is about opening to the wisdom of the land and applying what the earth teaches you to your own life.

Here are a few practices you may find helpful on your unique journey of spiritual awakening:

- Meditate. Take time to sit, watch your breath, and witness yourself.

- Create. We are all creators! Paint, dance, sing, play with clay or mud or leaves. Write. Color. Sew. Cook.

- Spend time in nature regularly. Visit a garden, the mountains, the ocean. Listen. Write in your journal. Observe.

- Practice ritual. Light a candle, gather with like-minded loved ones, and take time to worship, talk, laugh, and manifest.

You are not alone on your path, even if you practice as a solitary witch or don't know what to call yourself. You are surrounded by loving and supportive beings like guardian angels and guides who are there to help you on your path. My own path has been rather eclectic, and at times I've felt very alone and lost. Looking back at the past twenty years of spiritual searching, however, I see how I have been guided simply because I have asked for help. My dad took me to his Lutheran church and also shared books on fairies and meditation with me. I joined Young Life in junior high school, then a Lutheran Bible study in college. Then I discovered magic and paganism, and found the earthiness of it suited me better than evangelical Christianity. Yet Christ Consciousness is still a part of my beliefs and my understandings. Then I studied Reiki, which has always been a teacher and a guide. Though it is a healing modality, the power of Spirit rushing through my hands has been the most tangible evidence I've had of God, of there being more to this world than meets the eye. Through my Reiki practice I developed psychic abilities. I also studied paganism and Wicca more formally, through books and solitary practice. I attended a Buddhist university and Matthew Fox's program in Creation Spirituality. As I've wandered through the garden of spirit, two things remain constant: the sacred earth and the presence of the Creator.

Also try these sites On Eco-spirituality:

"Ultimately, however, the value of such practices as neo-shamanism and neo-paganism may not lie so much in their ability to connect us directly with nature as it does in their ability to connect us directly to the modes of perception we lost when we left the old gods behind in the primordial forests of our ancestors. These modes of perception then become the invitation to the land of faerie, the key that unlocks the passage back to connection with the earth mother."-Owen Couch