Perennial Druidry’s lesson on the Star Frost moon puts the idea of the Earth as deity under the category of humanity. That alone requires a bit of reflection, I feel. Does Emma Restall Orr want to suggest that the Earth is a part of humanity? That, in this first moon of the year, our relationship to the Earth will affect, maybe even define, our relationship to humanity at large? Or perhaps it simply defines our humanity?
For me, I like that last idea best. It’s a bit like those tests that people get when looking at potential partners: watch the way she treats service staff, the way she relates to people who can’t defend themselves will reflect the person she is. I don’t know if that’s good advice, but it certainly helped me find a good wife. And I like the idea that the way you relate to the Earth will either define or merely ‘impact significantly’ your humanity.
It’s a good place to begin the year’s journey along the path of druidry. That alone will give me fuel for moonlit walks to check in with my tree. There is a lot to reflect upon.
Orr poses a lot of questions in this point. I’m not going to address them all, focusing instead on the ones that spoke to or challenged me.
For many in druidry, the Earth is a deity; is it for you and what does that mean?
Short answers: I want it to be and I don’t know. Longer answers: I’m still carrying enough cultural baggage from my earlier Christianity that I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of the Earth as deity. I’m getting my head around spirits in trees and rivers, but the idea of Gaia was addressed often enough from the pulpit that it feels almost akin to devil worship.
That said, I believe I do revere the Earth as a deity. I don’t know what it means. I sense that my ability to relate to the Earth is even less than the ability of a grain of dust to appreciate why I’m angry with my children. A very good post at Allison Leigh Lilly’s Holy Wild blog has me shy about any appreciation of natural spirits that seem too much like how I myself might think.
I will say that, when I sit and I try to be with the Earth, I’m aware of it as something that’s powerful, creative, conscious. I don’t know that I’m aware of it being aware of me. That’s all I can say to that.
Be with this power of nature. Does it feel more male or female to you, god or goddess or beyond the symbolism of gender?
Next answer: I don’t know. I guess the Earth has always been symbolically depicted as female to me. So, that’s how I think of it. But that’s the wrong reason to think anything and it’s hard for me to know.
I like the idea of the Earth as fertile receptor for the sun’s energy, which lends itself to the idea of the Earth as female. But the feminine, to me, is much more than simply ‘fertile ground for male energy,’ and the question didn’t ask me to create an image to arrive at an answer, but instead to be with this power of nature and report on my feelings.
My feelings are simply of power, of a power capable of will. Gender escapes me when I try to be with the Earth.
What do you quest from the relationship? […] Is the relationship in balance?
Here, the answer is clear: the relationship is not in balance. I have been thirty-four years a parasite on the Earth. That is clear to me. Seldom do I think about returning anything to the Earth (and, quite honestly, a simple ‘offering’ at the eight festivals of the year certainly does not seem weighty enough to offer balance.
But, I also don’t know what I ‘quest’ (love that word) from the relationship. Life, sustenance, offspring. All these things, it’s clear, are provided by the Earth. But I don’t know that I quest any of them. Instead of providing an honest, truthful answer, which I can’t I’d like to suggest some things it seems to me that I should be questing from my relationship with the Earth:
- Understanding. Of my role in the relationship, of what the Earth would have from me to bring a whisper of balance into the relationship, of what this great god, or goddess — see above — is that carries me so gracefully through space.
- Belonging. Just today I said I don’t really have roots here in Germany. You don’t have to be especially clever to understand that roots belong in the Earth, would it hurt to hope for some?
- Purpose. I think that everyone wants purpose, and, even more, I don’t think that (most) people can simply assign themselves a purpose and feel any satisfaction from it. As I begin trying to quest my relationship with the Earth, I would be pleased to find a deeper sense of purpose at the end.
I wonder, though, if the relationship can be in balance. Certainly never in the ledger-sheet sense of debits and credits. Can it be in balance in terms of mutual respect? I don’t know. Is respect a concept to the Earth? Does it have any currency at all to the Earth?
How conscious are you of it on a daily basis and how can you extend that awareness?
The way it’s written in context, it’s not clear if the ‘it’ refers to the Earth or, more probably, my relationship to it. Either way, I’m not very conscious of it. Not in my day-to-day. There isn’t a time in my routine where I pause to consider the Earth, and what all it provides me with. I would certainly like to be more conscious of both the Earth and my relationship to it.
Extending my awareness is a difficult idea for me. Clearly, wanting it done is not enough. Often, I work with reminders on my phone and I have set myself a reminder to invest a little time every four days in the relationship I have with the Earth. It seems cheesy, but it’s what I can think of.
At some point soon, I will introduce you to my tree and write more about why I have a tree. But, I ‘have’ a tree now (I doubt the tree knows I have it, and I certainly don’t have a title to it, as it’s in a park near my house) and making it a priority to visit the tree has helped me to bring nature — both in the sense of ‘things green’ and in the greater sense of something greater than myself, something I’m a part of that goes beyond family, state or nation — more into focus in my day-to-day thinking. Perhaps I could find a similar link, whether geographic or perhaps ritual which would help me do the same with my relationship to the Earth.
The ultimate result of all these considerations has been that I would like a closer relationship to the Earth, even as I’m willing to accept that ‘close’ may be something only I am aware of.