The early winter rains knitted sunlit jewels across the wire mesh on the raised beds I was building yesterday. The water treasures remind me of how precious this time of year is, the rain is cold – the sun searing and low, gifts like these are never brighter than now. Its the end of harvest – time for the winter garden to go in.
|late pumpkins with Tadg|
I want every day to feel like this, maybe you have a time of season and place that feel that way to you. Ever since I was a child this is the time of year that makes me feel like I belong here and now, I feel loved. The stranger in me is absent.
I’ve been thinking about how my shamanic practice has changed now that I’m invested in a place, working it with my hands. The spirits feel different, my choices are new. I feel an allegiance to creatures I’ve never really paid that much attention to. I include the spirit of the land in my prayers and journeys without even thinking about it. When shamanism helps you grow food, it is more immediate, more savory in a way. I want to sink into the soul of this place.
Our culture specializes in portable spirituality that can be exported anywhere in the world. How would history be different if Christianity only worked where it first spang up? If our ability to connect with God depended upon our relationship to a certain stream or mountain, would we ever have wandered? The idea that religion works the same wherever you practice it is so ubiquitous we don’t even stop to think about it.
|even the chicken coop has wheels|
Shouldn’t our spirituality help us become more rooted to a place? I think many of us struggle with that. We are modern, mobile, and yet we want to drink from the same stream indigenous people do. So many peoples are lost without their land. My Irish ancestors seem to have suffered a wound to the soul when they lost land to the British invaders. I’m descended from those who could leave and still survive, made to be modern.
Today our homes are investments, not places to be buried beside. We have to be circumspect about home ownership or else risk having our hearts broken. I know so many who have lost their homes. A dear friend who’s spirit was deeply rooted in a place had to walk away from it, its taken many years for her not to cry at the simple mention of the loss.
So much psychopomp work is about negotiating a spirits place in the universe. We don’t think of people and places as being part of a greater whole. The sprits of the dead haunt places they’ve become a part of. When a new owner arrives we assume the old one better move on. Sometimes I feel like I’m being called in to evict a squatter, rather than answer the needs of a suffering being when I’m asked to help with a haunting.
With each shovel of dirt I become more a part of here. Should I risk the suffering and loss that will come if we have to chase a carrot down the road to a new job, a new town, a new place to grow food? I can’t stop planting, I can’t stop stitching myself deeper into here. Will I haunt these lands many years from now?
I like to think my ancestors would advise me to set seed to soil wherever I live. They’d have me reach out to the spirits of a place, make my peace with them, see what good works we could grow together. They wouldn’t be able to understand a spirituality that had nothing to with a place. They would think it had no point to it at all.
The sparkling droplets that decorate my work may really be secret code, a Braille of sorts set down by the nocturnal creatures that rule the night. I want to learn to read their signs, the secret language of this place. If my spirit decides to spend time here after I die I’ll want to make some friends ahead of time. Here’s wishing you peace and a sense of belonging during this time of great change.