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Posts Tagged ‘Mama Earth’

Earth Hour has come and gone on the East Coast of the USA.  I believe this is my sixth year participating.  I remember the first year my husband (then fiance) and I took part.  We turned all the lights off and went for a lovely evening stroll.  This year, although things are warming up, it’s a bit nippy out at night.  We turned everything off, including our phones, and enjoyed some time together.  We only lit enough candles to safely move around the first floor: one in the living room, one in the kitchen, and one in the bathroom.  We then lit one on the altar and did a devotional.  It just feels right for us to use this time to honor the Earth Mother and Nature Spirits in ritual.  We did a short meditation and spent a few moments enjoying the stillness.  Well, the stillness available to us with a very active baby!

A few people I know commented that they don’t understand Earth Hour.  They feel it is irrelevant, silly, or some such.  And that’s fine.  Not everyone will find it meaningful.  But my husband and I do.  I still believe that it’s an important way to make a stand, albeit merely a symbolic one.  Does it accomplish much in terms of actually saving energy?  In the grand scheme, no.  We still drove our gas-powered car to get groceries today, turned our computers back on after, etc.  But putting that hour aside each year is symbolic.  It is my way of saying that I still believe in the message.  It is my way of saying that I’m willing to make little sacrifices.  Every year, we make another change, take another baby step*.  Earth Hour is a good time to stop and contemplate that.

My husband and I also find a lot of value in setting aside that time to get away from our technology.  It’s when we can turn off, tune out, and reflect.  When I was working through Ian Corrigan’s Nine Moons studies, I set aside a day each week as a retreat from social networking and watching shows.  It was wonderful but didn’t last that long.  Sometimes it does feel like we’re all addicted to this technology.  Even when we aren’t on the computer, it might be on in another room.  The cellphone is on and people can reach you any time.  There’s a pressure to get back to people right away!  There’s an inkling to look, just to see, and make sure nobody said anything to you, to see what others are doing, to check the weather, to check the news, to check this and that…  And when you’re unable to do it at home, most of us are online at our jobs, using the internet to manage, plan, translate, collaborate, synthesize, publish, etc… When we leave our homes to socialize with family and friends, so many find it acceptable to somehow simultaneously use their smartphones to “multitask”**.

Earth Hour gives you an excuse to be in the moment.  Sure, we can do that at any time, but sometimes we really need an excuse for ourselves.  When we aren’t doing those things we feel we should, we can get antsy, even guilty.  It feels good to turn everything off and sit in the dark.  I should make a point to do it more often!

After our ritual, we played hangman by candlelight at the kitchen table.  We giggled and had a genuinely wonderful time.  When the hour was up and we turned the living room light back on, I thought about how lucky we are to even have that ability…

For more on why Earth Hour is still relevant, see this great post.

*This year, it’s all about reusable diapers and, for the last few months, reusable wipes!
** I’m so glad we went back to “dumbphones.”  I feel like I live more in the moment when we are out.  And really, it’s so very annoying to hang out with people and have them whip out their phones to play games or whatever.  Did I do that?  Gosh… I was so rude!

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It’s Earth Day once more, and many people, Pagan and non, are doing their best to honor the Mother.  Whether it’s Earth Day, Earth Hour, Arbor Day, or what have you, one should definitely take these observances as reminders of what we should be doing every day.  Honoring the Earth Mother, and attempting to live in better harmony with my brother and sister Nature Spirits, is a major part of my Druidic life.  The key, I’ve found, is to take baby steps and do what I can.  It’s so easy to fall into a guilty mindset, and while that can be a little motivating, it’s mostly discouraging.  It’s better, or so it seems, to commit to small goals and set yourself up for success rather than the opposite!

Every Earth Day, I’ve made a point of going into the forest to pick up a bag of litter.  I dedicate the action to the Earth Mother and local spirits.  This year I’m just not feeling up to it.  The bigger I get, the harder it is to bend over and navigate the uneven terrain in the forest.  Rather than feel bad about what I can’t do, I decided to set myself a smaller goal.  Armed with a little bag and garden gloves, I made a small circuit around my home.  I picked up a ton of trash in just a small area.  Was it casually thrown after an outdoor snack?  Did it blow out of the garbage?  Probably a combination.  Shopping bags, old Halloween decor, plastic eggs, disposable utensils, candy wrappers…  Rather than focusing on blame and disgust in my species, I tried to think about the difference one person can make.  Now the land around my apartment is cleaner!  To top it off, I got a little exercise and did something nice for the local spirits.

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Although I celebrated with Northern Rivers Protogrove this past weekend, I’ve been acknowledging the change in the season on my own as well. We still have snow in the North Country.  Some people complain about it, and indeed I look forward to the return of warmth and green, but find complaining about what Mother Nature does to be a bit laughable.  One might as well complain that the moon is a particular phase.  What can you do about it except go with the flow and enjoy the ride?  I think it’s far more productive to think about what Mother Earth is trying to tell us when that happens.

Last winter was very difficult.  It’s not that we received piles and piles of snow – quite the opposite!  Because the snow was so minimal last winter, and the temperatures higher, many farmers struggled.  I remember concerns about the maple syrup harvest and apple trees not producing as usual.  Our ecosystem was also impacted. Ticks were a huge problem in 2012 due to the mild snow.  The land needed more snow this year.  In December, Northern Rivers (then the North Country Druidic Study Group) honored An Cailleach and prayed for the snow our region needed.  Boy did she deliver!

On the eve of the Spring Equinox, I made an offering to the Winter Hag in thanks for what she blessed us with.  I am grateful for the snow, for the challenges that test us, for the biting cold that brings us together for warmth and fellowship, and for the silent beauty of a forest pregnant with snow.

Truly, spring has been creeping upon us for over a month.  The signs are all around, but they often require slowing down and looking hard.  We modern folk don’t do that as often as we should, and so the winter seems to last all that much longer.

Tonight I will make an offering to the spirits of spring who I have been revealing themselves here and there, and who I look forward to seeing more of during the green part of the year!

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Trick or Treat, Mama Earth

Great political cartoon to consider this Samhain night now that we’ve hit 7 billion people. Cartoon by Pat Bagley and featured on NPR.
bagley7billion_custom.jpg 624×451 pixels.

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