In my work with Nature Spirits, the message I have most strongly felt from them, amidst the absolute chaos of homesteading in today’s world, is a most encouraging and inspiring message. With three children, an amazing wife and spiritual partner (which of course means that it’s not always easy), lots of animals, and recovery from mental illness as a sensitive soul called to this work, they have revealed that we really only know so little of the beauty and grace we are capable of cultivating in this world.
It takes so little in the form of action and effort on our part, and so much in the inner work of aligning ourselves in love and service to those around us. Our capacity to effect change on the physical level has been overwhelmingly underestimated and unrealized.
When we walk, when we speak, when we think, let us remember the ground beneath our feet can feel our steps, hear our words, and feel our thoughts. What if every time we acted, spoke, and thought, we remembered that the land, and those on it and within it, could feel us? What if we remembered that we can feel the land, too? How would we treat her differently?
Let us strive to align ourselves with this remembrance in whatever we do, one moment at a time. And let us have the patience and courage to continue striving, despite our seemingly endless states of forgetfulness. This is the foundation of our work. Our particular gifts, how we offer them, and how they are received, are secondary to this inner alignment. It is work at this level that feed our souls, and the beings of the spiritual world as well.
There was a time in our history when this work came to us naturally and with ease. This is the consciousness to which many native and indigenous peoples still have access. When people talk about the land and the animals speaking to them, it is not simply a metaphor or a symbolic understanding, but a living and experiential reality. In other words, the land and animals do speak to them, and they listen and talk back as well.
There was a time when most of humanity fell away from this tribal lineage of consciousness. We are in a time now where many feel called to realign themselves with a form of this consciousness that is no longer tribal, inherited, or given, but sought and earned out of the free will of the individual. It is easy to feel as if you’re crazy for listening to the land and for talking back to it, and in fact, based on framework of reference for modern society, you are. But this is not at all crazy. It is the way home. The way back home into ourselves, and into right relation with the land. Let us come home together, and encourage each other along the way.
John Palumbo is Homesteader at Many Hands Farm in Thorndike, Maine, where this year’s Maine Herbalist Gathering will be held. He is an anthroposophist, former Waldorf early childhood educator, and permaculturalist. John offers talks and workshops on working with the Nature Spirits.