In my work with Nature Spirits, the message I have felt most strongly from them, amidst the absolute chaos of homesteading in today's world, 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, is a most encouraging and inspiring message... that we really know only 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 and 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 naturally and easily to us. This is the consciousness which many native and indigenous peoples still have access to. When people talk about the land and 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 too.
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 like you're crazy for listening to the land and talking back to it, and in fact you are based on framework of reference for modern society. 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,
John offers talks and workshops on
working with the Nature Spirits.
I live my life with the principle of "you must give it away to keep it". This is from the spirit of giving from the heart and not from obligation. That of course would not work for the giver nor the receiver.
The first step in being able to give from a clear free place is to be free of clutter.....having less is more in so many ways. Not in a depriving way, but in a empty-bowl-ready-to-be-filled type of way........
The following is an excerpt from Charles Eisenstein's book, Sacred Economics .........
"Non-accumulation models hunter-gatherer societies, in which there was great abundance but no accumulation, and in which prestige went to those who gave the most. To give the most, one also had to receive the most, either from nature or from other people. The great hunter, the skilled artist or musician, the energetic, the healthy, and the lucky would have more to give. In any event, this kind of prestige is to the benefit of all. It is only when high income translates into accumulation, frivolous consumption, or socially destructive consumption that it makes sense to restrict it. In other words, the problem is not with high income; it is with the results of the income getting stuck at some point in its circulation, accumulating and stagnating.
Non-accumulation is a conscious intention not to accumulate more than a modest amount of assets. It is born not of the desire to be virtuous, but of the understanding that it feels much better to give than to keep, that the seeming security of accumulation is an illusion, and that excessive money and possessions burden our lives. It is deeply aligned with the spirit of the gift, of which a core principle is that the gift must circulate. Recall Mauss: “Generally, even what has been received and comes into one’s possession in this way — in whatever manner — is not kept for oneself, unless one cannot do without it.” In other words, if you need it, use it. If not, pass it on. This is such an obvious principle that even a child can understand it. Why keep something for yourself that you cannot use? It is only the “what if” that drives us to keep and hoard: What if in the future I don’t have enough? In a gift culture, what would happen is that someone would give you what you need. In a hoarding culture, the “what if” fear is self-fulfilling, creating the very conditions of vulnerability and scarcity that it assumes."
So...less is more really. I am not talking about those who are oppressed and in whom their livelihoods have been robbed.
I am talking about conscious wealth distribution. You do not have to be a "rich" person to participate in this type of economy. Not a billionaire, millionaire, or any of the other 1%.
This type of economy is available to any conscious human being regardless of their financial standing and the rewards are truly abundant as this story collected by the Brothers Grimm illustrates so perfectly.......
There was once on a time a little girl whose father and mother were dead, and she was so poor that she no longer had any little room to live in, or bed to sleep in, and at last she had nothing else but the clothes she was wearing and a little bit of bread in her hand which some charitable soul had given her. She was, however, good and pious. And as she was thus forsaken by all the world, she went forth into the open country, trusting in the good God. Then a poor man met her, who said, "Ah, give me something to eat, I am so hungry!" She reached him the whole of her piece of bread, and said, "May God bless it to thy use," and went onwards. Then came a child who moaned and said, "My head is so cold, give me something to cover it with." So she took off her hood and gave it to him; and when she had walked a little farther, she met another child who had no jacket and was frozen with cold. Then she gave it her own; and a little farther on one begged for a frock, and she gave away that also. At length she got into a forest and it had already become dark, and there came yet another child, and asked for a little shirt, and the good little girl thought to herself, "It is a dark night and no one sees thee, thou canst very well give thy little shirt away," and took it off, and gave away that also. And as she so stood, and had not one single thing left, suddenly some stars from heaven fell down, and they were nothing else but hard smooth pieces of money, and although she had just given her little shirt away, she had a new one which was of the very finest linen. Then she gathered together the money into this, and was rich all the days of her life.
Please observe that the little girl in the story at no time is giving from a place of martyrdom. Her gifts to the others she meets come easily and from her heart with no fear or expectation.
How empowering and truly freeing.......
The results of giving this way create this overflow of abundance inwardly. It is one's soul that becomes rich and secure. But our inner reality creates the outer and this then is truly the magic and power that comes from being in a human body...
Earth/Mother Goddess of three beautiful boys....singing, dancing naked in sunlight and shade....writing down the bones of what I see and what I strive towards.