I recently read an article about creating a sacred relationship with the land. As soon as I read it, I knew exactly who I think of as the guardian spirit of my own place in the woods. It is this tree. I’m thankful for the opportunity to get to know it.
“This generation is serving as the midwife for the rebirth of the Shechinah…This Goddess who shines on us as we study sacred texts is found in redwood groves and apple orchards. She is coming to us in the wind and the water, in the ocean and the mountains.” –Rabbi Leah Novick (quoted in Open Mind, 9/8)
This weekend as I sat on a rock looking through the “doorway” created by two more tree trunks at the Guardian Tree beyond and having the sensation that it was both a doorway to and a doorway from, I had a sudden crystal clear moment of revelation about my M.Div thesis project. This is IT. This woodspriestess practice and experiment I embarked on throughout the course of 2013—I’ve been working on my thesis this entire year, I just didn’t know it. I spent some time this afternoon writing a new thesis prospectus and it came flowing out. A Year of Lessons from the Forest. I’ve got this.
[My prospective content for my birth-as-a-spiritual-experience thesis plan is over 200 pages long, which also tells me that my thesis needs to re-become my dissertation plan (it actually WAS my original dissertation plan until I decided to take a detour and complete the M.Div).]
I also remembered spending a lot of time as a child with a big sycamore tree in the valley by my house. It was the guardian spirit of that place. There was a little sort of brambly grove by it with a rock pile (from past settler field-clearing) that I used to play in/on/by. I pretended that the tree had a keyhole in it and my magic key (that I used to wear around my neck), would open the trunk and that there was another world behind the tree. I called it Idlewild. (googled this and apparently it is a series of books that began being published in 2003. I was a kid in the 1980’s though, so I didn’t read them)
Here are some excerpts from that article I mentioned…
How To Create a Sacred Relationship with the Land
Here are some tips for establishing a bond with the land near where you live:
• Start with your own backyard, and apply the suggestions below. Hua reminds us that “every place is sacred.”
• By foot, explore new mountains, hills, forests, lakes, ocean sides, or other earth areas near where you live. Feel which places call to you. When you find a place you like, keep returning. Make a commitment to visit it at least once a month.
• Ask permission to enter any given place from what you feel is the “guardian” spirit of the place –– you’ll instinctively sense where it resides. What’s important is your respectful intention.
• State your intention for being there –– to love the place, say prayers, hear what it has to say, be of service, heal the land, honor the local ancestors, make amends for transgressions to the First Peoples, etc…
• Sit and feel your love for the place. That’s it. Just feel the appreciation you have for the beauty of the landscape, the trees, the plants and animals. Let Earth Mother and the visible and invisible elements feel your affection.
• Listen for messages. Get quiet and see if you can receive information –– and healing –– for yourself, others, Mama Earth, etc…
Seven Sisters Mystery School Marguerite Rigoglioso