“The Buck Stops with Earth.” – Delta Listening Wolf. We now realize the Planet has finite resources (Earth rules limits). We see that what we cast off as waste does not disappear – it is still here! We strive to live lightly and conscious of our uses of resources. We strive to learn how to use renewable energy and not waste the energy-gifts of the earth. We grow our food and honor the farmers that produce it. We support Organic whenever possible. All magic begins and ends in Earth. Nature is our teacher. We take joy in the natural world – creating works of art that celebrate and remember its beauty. We continually search the Earth for ways of healing our bodies (and souls). We strive to know reality and truth of the material world – so we appreciate (but don’t worship) science. We attune ourselves with day and night cycles of our planet to preserve our health. We attune ourselves with the seasons – growth and decay both have their places. We see the cycle of Life and Death, and we are not afraid, for we accept the way of Earth. Because we are conscious Beings, we know that we are caretakers of this Planet. Be aware of our actions and choices “unto the 7 th generation”! We are not kings; we are stewards, and share this planet with an infinite variety of other living beings. Even the rocks speak, if we listen!
Stone symbols: red or brown jasper, pipe-stone, a stone from SWT, moss agate
geology of your local area
plant life, fungi
recycling and renewable and re-use
Where does your garbage go?
Where does your food come from?
See above – attune with cycles of sleep and season, (inner work – outer work)
Make art – especially with recycled materials
Camping in the forest
Learn what plants can be used for food and medicine
With the Air Element :
Air is so close to us, it is like water to a fish. Minutes without air, we die and leave our body, so we support keeping our air clean! The layer of breathable air around the Earth is very thin. (If the Earth were an apple – the air layer is its skin.) We are aware of the reality of global warming and see ways to decrease it, or adapt to it. We are aware of the air quality of our homes and buildings and we seek to improve it. We support research, and use of wind power for our energy needs. We take joy in birds and birdsongs – the creatures of the air. We take deep breaths! We know the importance of plants and photosynthesis in providing fresh oxygen to the air, so we plant trees and preserve green spaces. We always look to the sky and note the weather; storms, warm air, cool air and we adapt well to them. We accept that weather is beyond our power and must be respected. We take time to smell the flowers … We fill the air with our music, joining the birds in song!
Stone symbols: mica, banded/layered agate, white chalcedony
Breath control/yogic fire breath and see how it affects our consciousness
Watch the clouds and see how clouds can predict the weather, name the different types of clouds
Learn the language of other creatures and their intent and meaning (birds, insects, mammals, etc.)
Hang-gliding, hot-air ballooning
Fly a kite!
With Fire Element :
The two main sources of light and fire in Nature are lightning and (of course) the Sun . Without the Sun, every life on Earth would eventually die and pass away… (Oh yes -- there are other sources of light too: bioluminescent creatures like fireflies, sea creatures and certain fungi – but they are faint, and cast no heat.)
The Sun is the King of Fire, so we understand why religious practices of the past (and present) worshipped the Sun as Deity.
When we burn wood and oil for light and heat, we are releasing the energy of the past photosynthesis of plants. The energy of the mighty Sun is released.
We strive to respect fire and its tendency to spread, so we protect the Forest with good fire-tending practices.
We gaze at the fires in the sky – the stars and planets. We note the movements of planets (including our Moon & Sun) in Astrology and learn that “as above, so also below.” We strive to decrease light pollution, so we can see the stars and Milky Way – and ponder our place in the vast universe.
We research how light affects our moods. Light lifts depression! With the Light of Fire we see and appreciate the colors of our whole environment: rocks, flowers, the butterfly’s wings. Fire brings us joy and lights all rainbows…
And, of course, we support research and the use of Solar Power for our energy needs. Our fragile bodies live in a narrow band of cool and warm temperatures – so we honor our temperate place in the Solar System (the ‘Goldilocks Zone’).
Stone symbols: citrine, yellow topaz
Activities: (see above)
Learn to make a fire without matches/lighter
Learn about our Sun and its cycles
Learn about the process of combustion
(Fun) Use the Sun and a magnifying glass to burn pictures in wood
Learn about astronomy
With Water Element :
Clean, fresh water! What an amazing and precious gift! Without water, life would have not evolved. When we look to the heavens for extra-terrestrial Life, we look first for liquid water.
We do not waste fresh water and guard this resource well! SweetWood, and this area of WI, is blessed with clean, drinkable water straight from springs (so scarce in these times). We support keeping this resource clean and available to future generations. We bathe and cleanse with water. We contemplate its slow power to wear away mountains. We learn how to flow, to easily go around all obstacles, to fill, to penetrate all spaces. The Chinese culture has much to say about water and its ways… easy and gentle, but powerful. “The Tao is like water.” Water is the “universal Solvent.”
We love our oceans and the creatures in it, so we support its protection from pollution and over-fishing. When we go fishing, we eat or release our catch. We canoe & kayak to learn about water and its ways in our bones, to navigate and not fight the flow.
We explore water in all of its forms; liquid, ice, and steam. We are curious about the science of water on the molecular level. Drinkable water is not pure water; it has minerals dissolved in to give us its freshness and goodness. (Actually ultra pure distilled water is not good for our health – try a taste of distilled water! Ugh!)
Some say Water can be impressed with our emotions. Water crystallizes in an infinite variety of crystals. Water is the rain that feeds our crops. Too much can destroy what we build. We research hydropower and support its use. We share a hot-tub with our friends.
SweetWood, as a Church, honors Water as a Sacrament. We share water to remember our connection with all living creatures and with each other. We share this precious resource and wish all to “Never Thirst”.
Stone symbols: moonstone, amazonite, clear/milky chalcedony
Research the lakes, rivers, and streams of your area
How far down is your water table?
Where does your water come from?
Use rain barrels to collect water
Learn how to find water on the land
Learn about moon phases and effects on tides
With the Ancestors :
The ancestors exist in the Past. The bones of creatures left behind. Death and decay are an essential function of Nature. The little creatures we ignore, the bacteria and fungi, keep the world clean. They are nature’s recyclers. We learn about the past with Fossils. We read the map of the past Earth in the layers of rock. We see past extinctions as ‘Deep Time’ passes. We recognize our place in a vast timeline of Planet Earth – how the slow processes of geology, the workings of the ancient processes of bacteria and plants, have created an environment that allows air-breathing mammals like us to exist. We pick up a handful of soil and recognize its components, and its preciousness. We preserve our soil from erosion. We compost and see the treasure beyond the stink.
We read about the adventures of our ancestors when exploring the wilderness. We learn their knowledge and skills of how to survive on the land. We try to right the wrongs of past practices that have raped the Earth (for they thought the Natural World was limitless). We are curious about tribal practices and the ways of ancient humans, for they lived closer to the Earth than we do now in our protected environment. We listen to their ancient tales of all creatures, and how the natural world informed their spiritual practices (and their taboos). We see those wonderful cave paintings of the animals they lived with. The Human Spirit awakened, seeing Self in conscious relationship to the entire natural world.
Stone symbols: jet, petrified wood, bone, fossils
Investigate evolution of life on Planet Earth
Research types of soils, how they influence plant growth; soil erosion and mitigation
Research survival techniques of tribal cultures, & how they used naturally available materials
See past practices of clear-cutting and mining as negative examples – Effects today?
With the Descendants :
Almost every child is fascinated with the natural world. Look for the natural world, even in the suburbs and cities. Take walks, fish, canoe, & swim. Let them play in the dirt. There is a real world out there to explore. Engage their sense of smell, touch, hearing and sight. Plant a garden together. Turn off the TV and internet. Give them a bodily sense of the outdoors, instead of the 2-dimensional one on the screen. All of this is proven to be psychologically healing. As adults we can explore this world and then provide answers to their questions.
A typical household had hundreds of objects, so we can explore their origins in the Natural World. Everything comes from the Earth originally…
Each season brings new things to explore. Cultivate our own inner child; try to see the world with fresh eyes to share it with our children. Later, as they grow older, share the value of protecting our wild places, recycling, living lightly on the Earth, and population control. Only if our children respect and love the Natural world, will they have the heart to fight for it.
We are not masters of this wonderful world, and not slaves to it either – we are stewards . We must pass this stewardship on into the future. Our kids are our hope for a green future! So we must start teaching them early in their lives before petty distractions and apathy sets in…
Stone symbols: coral – for young children, malachite – for older children
See the book: Last Child of the Woods by Richard Locey
Find schools that emphasize Nature (if able to), join Boy/Girl Scouts
Give them a pet to care for
With the Community :
All of the previous entries on “Attunement with Nature” can also apply to the community. Most of these activities can be done as a group, as well as individually.
As a community we have strength in numbers, so we can effect change for the better in many environmental issues affecting our precious ecosystem today.
Sharing our own experiences of Nature can be done through workshops, writings, nature-hikes, etc., and also through group rituals that honor the Natural World. Ritual can effect a change in our consciousness, and so inspires us to protect and honor the Earth. Group rituals forge the bonds of community and when done outdoors it brings an intuitive, as well as bodily, experience of the wonders (and even magic) of the natural world. Ritual puts us in Nature, instead of over it. It is this direct, unfiltered experience that puts us into attunement with Nature.
We all live on this Earth, so we as a community called SweetWood Temenos, can find much in common with other groups and communities. This network can grow into a political force for environmental sanity, which can inform our decisions in legislation and laws of this country (and beyond). Our SWT community can engender not just knowledge and appreciation of Nature, but also a Love and Deep Connection with Nature on a Heart level. This powerful connection can be communicated to others on a subconscious level to promote a change of heart in others’ relationship to Nature.
Stone symbols: bloodstone/(Heliotrope), ‘cross-stone’ (Chiastolite, a variety of Andalusite)
Community gardens, tree plantings
Stone circles/medicine wheels
Highway and park clean-ups
Networking with other environmental groups