Thinking About – The Book of Nature
I came to Paganism through the path of nature. I was searching for a spiritual path whose foundation was a love of the natural world, and one that might be able to heal the disconnection I felt between my life as a human being and the rest of Nature. I had always felt that the constructs of the human world had done nothing but reinforce the idea that we were somehow separate, apart from, and in many ways superior to, all other life with which we shared this Earth. I could never adhere to that viewpoint and was quite desperate to find a spiritual way to help move my attention away from much of the human-constructed life as I could.
I found that in Paganism and Druidry.
Over the years my Path influenced my political actions informing my purchasing choices, my support of equality and the moves against discrimination, the threats to the land with road building and fracking, but throughout everything, my Path has been informed by Nature. It has never been politics that has led my Path, it’s always, and continues to be, the other way around.
I was so happy to discover the festivals of the Wheel of the Year. Here was a circle of rituals that celebrated the seasons of the natural world, and was a moving, circular opportunity to give thanks to the Sun and Earth, those two forces that sustain and gave me life. From the rebirth of the Sun at the Winter Solstice to planting, growing, harvesting, thanksgiving, and a return to the Earth through the growing darkness of Autumn and Samhain. Then rebirth once more at the Winter Solstice. To me, these festivals helped bridge the disconnection I had felt with the natural cycles of the Earth. I could acknowledge that life is brought into being by the joining of two forces, and those two forces created life, the berries, fruit, corn of the fields, bread and food on my plate. The Wheel of the Year to me has always been and continues to be, a celebration and thanksgiving of the fertility of the Earth. It reflects the cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth in all things. It is a year-long celebration of the harvest and what sustains life.
My Druidry has taught me much over the years and it has healed that disconnection. My journey through the OBOD Gwersi was supported by the Book of Nature and I now feel just as much at home walking the moors, or out on the peaks of a mountain, as I do in my garden. However, it seems to me that modern life is suffering a spiritual crisis. For two years many of us have been denied a connection to nature. It’s not been good for any of us. It’s led to the reactivity and judgement I see so much on social media. The insular lives many of us have been leading because of the pandemic for the past two years have altered perspectives that seem to go far inside, instead of being able to look outside, to how big the world is, how incredibly glorious and vast the universe is, how not everything revolves around us. As things begin to properly open up, and we can walk the moors, the mountain, the woodlands, and as Spring begins to turn the land a green that only happens in early Spring, hopefully, that too will change.
Spring always brings hope.
But I confess, I’m tired. I think a lot of us are. I’m tired of social media particularly. The one good thing for me has been it’s given me the opportunity to play live music for people, to have something to look forward to, a space to help us forget what is going on and be together. For that, I’m very grateful. Other than that though I’ve tried to limit my time looking at a screen. Some of the ways I’ve seen friends treat each other has not helped my mental health, and I know I’m not alone in this. It’s helped us keep in touch, but it’s also changed the way we communicate, and there have been times recently when I’ve experienced that toxicity bleed out into real life. It’s a little concerning, to be honest. But again, as things change so our reliance on social media will hopefully lessen, and the woodlands, hills, fields and valleys will call us out once more, to walk the land, to see the space, the green, life, and be healed.
The Book of Nature is a miracle. Life is a miracle. The Sun is shining today and the winds have died down. Time to look away from the screen again and head out with Oscar.
I think he’s ready to go…