It’s hard to write for a blog based on a Pagan experience of the land and not acknowledge this day, devoted to the land, to the sky, the sea, the river, to our home, which is the Earth we share with so many. From woodchucks to the woodlouse, from cloud-seeding bacteria floating miles above the earth to the tubeworms huddled around deep sea hydrothermal vents. From the spirits of our ancestors to the spirits that inhabit sacred places, to the gods and goddesses.
I’m not going to take this time to remark about global climate change, loss of habitat, dwindling water resources or population explosion. These are serious issues that certainly deserve our utmost attention. But those thoughts, and the massive consequences that will result from those things come with sickening regularity. Today is a day for celebration. A day for rekindling that sense of innocent, elated wonder that the natural world fosters, for stirring the cauldron of our souls, for cooking up some real, powerful magick.
When I was a kid, I had a complicated relationship with spending time out of doors. I was sick quite a bit, and would regularly end up with bronchitis, doubtless due in some part to parents who were both smokers. I also suffered from what I now recognize to be allergies, which were likely worsened by the amount of time I spent inside. In trying to avoid the pollen and other nastiness that enflamed my sinuses it didn’t help build up my tolerance for them. I still loved being outside but it sometimes seemed like the feeling wasn’t mutual. It wasn’t until after reading Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’engle (the Christian propaganda fell on deaf ears, I never went to church as a boy) and loads of mythology and adventure books (Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising trilogy too!) that I was introduced to the wild and spirit-filled world that existed outside my door. I pushed through the lousy feelings and started fishing regularly, hunted for morel mushrooms in the spring, built dams in the creek and watched water skimmers dance across the surface. I wasn’t sure what magickal creatures I’d encounter, but they were out there, if I only knew the right way to look for them.
So it is on this Earth Day that I recall that early enthusiasm, and the spirit to push through the difficulties in order to make the real connections, with the real world just outside the door, just off the gravel road, just behind a neighbor’s house, just in that stand of trees. Challenges await, but today I celebrate.
In this celebration of life, I acknowledge its completion as well. A death, even one you see coming always strikes you low. My friend Puce, our little French cat, passed away on the first of April, I wish it were an April Fool’s day joke. I’ve missed her terribly, dreamed of her regularly, and even felt her presence once or twice. She was a great companion, sat with me while I wrote books and she groused about nearly everything. Longevity was in her genes, as she lived until nearly the age of seventeen.
Puce had a good life, and I think she had a good death too, would that we were all so lucky. On this day, this celebration of our planet, of its richness, its staggering beauty and of all things living that we are currently aware of, I wish for each of you to have as good a life as well.
I forgot until this morning that the Pagan Community Statement on the Environment opened today for signatories. I feel that this is a strong statement and worthy of reading and signing, if you are so inclined.