Sheri Barker has a fascinating post up at the Wild Hunt about being in relationship with the land. She’s discussing a practice that’s becoming more and more popular: replacing a lawn with a garden of native plants. This is good on several levels. Replacing a lawn can immediately cut way down on the use of chemical fertilizers and herbicides. Planting natives provides food and habitat for lots of wildlife — from insects, to birds, to reptiles, to small mammals. Planting natives can also help to create “corridors” for wildlife — a safe way to move from, say, the adjoining creek to the next-door field. And, finally, although a garden, even of native plants, does require some work, it doesn’t require mowing and blowing.
“Later in the day, when the sun was nearly set, I returned to the garden for a second attempt at marking the paths and laying out the plants. This time, the land spirits provided input as I was working. And this time, by the time I sat down to rest and observe, I could feel that everything was done right. The land was humming a tune that vibrated through my entire being, and the land spirits were happy. As for me, I experienced an immense rush of gratitude for being included in this process, and I am excited to see this garden bloom and thrive.
Several people have asked me if I do this work because I love gardening. And I do. I love it. I love the intimacy of the relationship with the earth and all the creatures that often go unobserved or unwanted. More than that, I feel called to work to heal this one-third-of-an-acre piece of land. She has been talking to me about that since the first day I set foot on her body, and I cannot and will not ignore what she asks for.
Do Pagans and Witches have more of a responsibility than anyone else to try to heal the damage humans have done to the earth and the environment? Honestly, my answers to that question are so emotionally charged that they are not reliable or measurable in any legitimate way.
But ask me if our spiritual relationships and connections with the earth, wildlife, and spirits we live with provide us with more of an opportunity to listen, acknowledge, and take healing action, and my answer is unequivocally yes. Doing so is both an honor and a gift, and what a difference it would make if every one of us did one small thing.”
How do you listen to and work with your land? Are you the Witch of your place?
PS: Sheri, watch out for that obedient plant! It wasn’t named for its ability to stay in one place! It is, however, very easy to pull when it gets out of hand and the bees do seem to love it.
Photo of obedient plant by the blogger; if you copy, please link back.