An account of the Dedicant’s efforts to work with nature, honor the Earth, and understand the impacts and effects of the Dedicant’s lifestyle choices on the environment and/or the local ecosystem and how she or he could make a difference to the environment on a local level. (500 word min.)
“I like to have some nature in my nature religion.” This is a saying that’s often heard, sometimes jokingly and sometimes not, around my Grove when the weather starts getting nice enough that we can comfortably spend extended period of time outside. I think it’s a very important part of Druidry, the experience of being out in nature, which is sometimes taken so much for granted that it is overlooked. We spend a lot of time discussing liturgy and scholarly articles that sometimes we forget that this is a nature religion and we should be more in tune with and aware of the world around us.
One of the things I do with my Delos, and on my own, is keep the lunar cycles as the ancient Greeks did. There is a three-day set of festivities we refer to as Noumenia that take place around the new moon of each month. During this time we honor the agricultural aspect of Zeus as well as recognize the changing cycles of the moon (Schulz). Something as simple as following the lunar cycle keeps me in tune with the earth around me. I also like to, on clear nights, go for walks after dark or lay outside and watch the stars. They change with the season, and yet rotate with the hours. It’s fascinating, and it helps that the most common names for the constellations are Greco-Roman, and thus I can directly connect the myths of my hearth culture to the stars in the sky, tying my worship directly into nature itself.
On a more practical level, I try to impact the environment in a negative way as little as possible. Still living in an apartment my resources are somewhat limited by space and what my landlord allows, but I do grow my own herbs in pots. My fiancé and I are planning on, when we get a house with some land, starting to grow some of our own food and raising livestock. By connecting as many aspects of my life as I can to the earth I connect myself ever deeper to the Earth. For now, we buy local as often as possible to cut down on the pollution that occurs with the transport of goods across the country or even between countries. We also do our best to recycle, dropping off recyclables near our respective workplaces. We also buy reusable whenever possible. I’ve switched from buying hundreds of disposable water bottles a year to having 3 or 4 plastic and steel water bottles that I can fill, wash, and refill. When we have children, we’re planning on trying to do cloth diapering to cut down on how much we’re adding to landfills.
So, I think I have put some nature back into my nature religion. I take my shoes off now and again and walk barefoot on the earth. I honor the Earth Mother, and do my best to protect and care for her. I care for the nature spirits local to me in a somewhat direct matter, and by being eco-conscious I also care for the nature spirits in a broader and more general sense. It’s all about being aware, and beginning to notice how small actions can make a huge difference in the world around me, and leaving it up to me whether I push for those differences to be positive or negative.