The Pagan Experience’s Monday Musing: Earth– The word “earth” has multiple meanings. What does it mean to you? How do you use its definitions to support your work?
As with Terra and Gaia, Earth/Hertha/Nerthus is a personified goddess. I think civilization has always acknowledged her as Mother. We keep calling her by goddess names, even in monotheist eras.
I find it a little odd that we also call soil “earth”. Mother as the sum of her parts – the physical matter of her body, but reduced to the rocky sediment. But really, ocean is as much “earth” as soil is. Air, lava, and living organic matter are, too. You and I are “earth”. So this wording from our language draws my eye to the separateness and stage-set attitude of Western Civilization being “on the earth” rather than “in the earth”. On a ground or stage, rather than deep within the biosphere… itself deep within the universe. Above, on top of, dominating, walking on… Planet as mostly inanimate prop to play out the lofty human drama, instead of the reality that Pagans know of planet as living home and community to which we belong and mother from which we emerged… inseparable from ourselves.
I see soil as deep and fecund, and the ground as a lot more than a simple surface. From spinning core and ever-shifting mantle creating a magnetosphere to shield us from solar winds, to rich medium that produces and nourishes all life as well as storing and transforming organic and inorganic matter, to ancient mountains and ocean rifts, to the symbolic shamanic lower world we can descend into for knowledge and experience. It is the fire and the cauldron.
Part of my spiritual work is to bring this vital, communal, and immersive sensibility back into my culture’s relationship with Earth. It is currently and for so long has been sick with separateness and with devaluing our family and mother into inanimate objects to be done with as we like. Humanity has not been able to be responsible with our relationships because of this blindness to the existence of our relationships and the interconnections between everything.
I also want to strengthen the bonds between other Pagans and the Earth, to help Paganism become a defender and guide and healer for the misguided parts of humanity that are sick in this way and for all of our eco-community. Indigenous peoples who are still Pagan have not become sick in this way. I would love to work with them to reconnect humanity to Earth and to sustainable ways of living as part of the whole Earth family. I would love for Pagans who love wisdom, knowledge, and nature to once again lead the way in philosophy, science, and the humanities and bring a holistic awareness back to humanity’s collective consciousness. Our love of Earth can be the light that calls us to this work. May we all be beacons to each other, lighting new signal fires and central community hearth fires, networking the message from Mother.
Life in balance. Love in connection. Peace in harmony.