Our Long Forgotten Relationship with Gaia, our Mother Earth
Our ancestors practiced a simple and natural existence, in tune with the change of the Seasons, the phases of the Moon, the flow of the rivers, the breath of the wind. Never stationary, they followed the harvest of their food sources, whether hunting animals or foraging greens from the wild. They understood the importance of respecting Nature…. as storms, floods, fires, droughts and other natural disasters could endanger their food and shelter, and threaten their very survival. This respect for the natural world was an integral part of their existence, and reverence for all components of the outer world (environment) AND the inner world (Self) were honored by traditions, ceremonies and story-telling. Their lives were by design and by necessity entwined with the natural world in a sustainable, respectful, and harmonious way, nurturing and protecting their relationship with the Green Ones, the furred, the finned, the winged, and the four-leggeds. They tended not only to their physical bodies, but also to their soul, their mind, and their spirit as they were all parts of the whole.
“To acquire knowledge, one must study; to acquire wisdom, one must observe.” ~ Marilyn vos Savant
Earth as Teacher
These elders of the Tribes instinctively knew and understood about the medicinal power of plant and earth energy. To the present day earth inhabitant, this “green medicine” may appear as simply myths or even “old wives tales.” To some who seek, the question arises if this were a simple matter of “trial and error” in preparing plant medicine, or if the plants in some way communicated their medicinal natures to the humans. When illness or injury occurred, the Wise Woman or Medicine Man of the village or clan drew on personal experience, their own inherited intelligence, and most importantly – communing with the plant kingdom directly in everyday living practices, by prayer and meditation. In fact, diverse ethnicities around the globe were proven to be utilizing the same plants for similar afflictions…. often concurrently. How was this wisdom communicated, when the populations were separated by thousands of miles, difficult terrain or oceans and language barriers? How did the healers and shamans of different cultures all “know” of the specific medicinal uses of each plant being?
Herbalism is based on relationship — relationship between plant and human, plant and planet, human and planet. Using herbs in the healing process means taking part in an ecological cycle. This offers us the opportunity consciously to be present in the living, vital world of which we are part; to invite wholeness and our world into our lives through awareness of the remedies being used…
~ Wendell Berry
Ancient Medicine, Contemporary Life
Herbal medicine is once again being recognized as a pathway and a tool for self healing. For some families it has become a matter of necessity, as the purchase of conventional health insurance may be cost prohibitive. Treatment using practical and time-tried remedies may be their only solution. Some individuals choose an alternative path for practicing health care, perhaps due to an unfortunate incident, or a lack of trust, or of accessibility to conventional options. Others may be searching for a more sustainable and self sufficient way of living. A few desire to empower themselves in their own healing processes, craving to maintain a wholistic balance in their physical and their spiritual existence. At this time of widespread nature deprivation and disconnection, many inhabitants of the earth are examining their lifestyle, questioning the commonly accepted Western paradigm, and are seeking a way not only to heal themselves, but All Our Relations and this planet we call home.
You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
I hope someday you will join us, and the world will live as one.
~ John Lennon, “Imagine”
Reclaiming Our Connection
Teach yourself and your children to cherish, revere and honor Nature. This is a sacred relationship which many have lost … or sadly, never experienced. Kinship with all species is a recognition of “All my Relations” and a path to spirituality. Whatever your faith, your awareness and nurturing of this kinship will restore your long lost connection and ease the inner hunger for that “lost something” that is common to many in our society. Start small. Take a walk …. sit with the trees … greet the wildlife that appear. Transform fear into love in any encounter. Your soul, your spirit and your body will find peace in so many ways that you have never expected.
Spend some time out in the Green each and everyday. Teach yourself to receive what Nature has freely given us…… only by reawakening our ancient memories of our “one-ness” with the outside world will we be able to find the wisdom and balance that is our birth-gift. Observe the moon, the stars ……. respect the fierce winds, enjoy the gentle breezes……… feel the warmth of the sun on your face…… listen to the varied calls of the wild winged ones and the furred kindred as they find their own pathway on the Earth. Take the little ones of your family and of your community on walks with you, and show them the wonders that they can see with wide open eyes! Too often children and adolescents have lost peripheral sight and instead have developed “tunnel-vision” from hours upon hours staring at a video game, television, or a computer screen. Share the joy that is theirs to experience outside their doorways, whether it be a newly sprouting seed, an awakening blossom, a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, or the smell of the spring soil, warming and nurturing new growth. Discover the colors that can be found in newly fallen maple and oak leaves that carpet the ground each autumn. Taste the first snowflakes that flutter down from the heavens. Build a snowman with rosy red cheeks and a carrot nose! The Green around us are patient, waiting for us to renew our relationship with them. Your heart will expand with their wisdom and knowledge. Trust your developing intuition, as it has always been yours!