The Year of the Earth Mother – 2020
Welcome to what I call the Year of the Earth Mother.
A new decade has dawned for us in 2020. Today, on Imbolc in the Northern Hemisphere and Lughnasadh in the Southern Hemisphere, we light the first High Day fires of this new year and of this new decade.
The first Earth Day was launched in 1970, just 50 years ago. A lot has changed in those 50 years. We have made a lot of progress and we have taken a number of steps backwards as a people. One thing is for certain – the depletion of resources on this planet, this Earth, continues at a breakneck pace.
Climate change is here – whether it is cyclical or man-made, the fact of the matter is that the Earth is changing with polar ice caps melting, rising global temperatures, pollution of our oceans, and depletion of resources. These cannot seemingly be dismissed.
While I believe that the Earth itself is resilient, the spirits that live under, on, and above that Earth are affected by these changes. While I would hope that governing bodies around the world would be better caretakers of the world around them, it is the consumer and the consumption of resources that really comes into play here.
It is unrealistic to expect that there will be a mass awakening to where all of a sudden, people will become wiser consumers – it is a dream to pursue, but I believe that more individual actions are required, not only from an individual perspective, but as a teaching opportunity for others.
Bounty and waste
While recycling has been a great boon to the notion of reusing resources, the continued use of the very things that make up this world continues as though there is no end to the bounty of the Earth, of the Earth Mother. The reality is, there is only so much to go around.
Extinctions continue at an alarming rate. Animals that have inhabited the planet for eons are disappearing through encroachment, poaching, and natural catastrophe. The horrific fires on the Australian continent have causes incredible loss of life, not just for humans, but for animals and for other living beings, all a part of the Spirits of Nature.
What is one to do?
Let me suggest a three-fold approach, ranging from the most idealistic and spiritual to the practical and mundane.
Honour the Earth Mother Daily
To begin with, honour the Earth Mother daily. She may be one of the many beings that you reach out to or perhaps the only one, but nevertheless, just as an ADF rite begins with a call to Her, so should your daily practices. If possible, touch the ground or direct your energy towards the Earth as you call out to her in words perhaps like this:
O Earth Mother,
We call to you today,
In thanks for all you provide,
In awareness of all that happens in the world, In recognition of the challenges that we all face With you.
We honour you
And we will do our part to sustain you.
We are one in this work.
By acknowledging that the Earth Mother is more than just a concept, by understanding that She is something greater than ourselves and the source of all life, we move through our day with this first seed planted. This is planted for the Earth Mother and in ourselves.
Do something every day
Secondly, we should attempt to do something recognizable daily that helps us be better stewards of the world around us. The three words to remember are reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Reduce is a challenge and a practice in a consumer-driven society. We consume and use more than we really need. One way of leave less of a usage-footprint is to simply use less. Instead of driving to the corner store, walk instead, if that is a possibility. Instead of letting the motor idle, turn the engine off and use less fuel. The same goes for thermostats for heating and cooling.
Turning the temperature a bit cooler in the winter and a bit warmer in the summer will make a big difference in one’s bill, but also in the resources needed from the Earth to generate the power in the first place. Turn off or unplug appliance and chargers that maintain a constant charge. The change will be noticeable in your monthly bill and the cumulative benefit from many people doing so will add up as more and more people decide to reduce based on your example.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Recycling is grand, but reuse is even grander. Instead of buying bottled water, purchase a water pitcher with a filter and fill it at your tap. This saves countless bottles in our own homes and reduces the trash/recycling footprint that we all leave behind. Find items that are in reusable packaging so that something that can be washed is preferable to something that has to be recycled, with the energy and process that goes into returning those items to the shelf. Plastic bags from the grocery store can very easily be replaced with reusable grocery bags as well as bags used for produce. Every little bit helps.
Finally, recycling always helps, but if one is recycling plastic items, it is recyclable types 1 and 2 that are of most value to your local recycling authority. When we recycle and reuse glass, paper, and plastic, there is no need to produce these items again.
Lead by Example
Thirdly, lead by example. Let others know what you are doing to reuse and make the Earth a better place. Not everyone will listen. Many will not care, but some will. While it may seem like a pebble trying to stop a flood, if enough pebbles align themselves, the stream may not stop, but it will move another way.
Finally, ask the Earth Mother for help. She is not some immovable entity which stands like a mountain. She is vibrant, alive, and capable of many things. Pray for the renewal of the planet. Ask the Earth Mother to help.
I will be suggesting a number of household projects over the coming months to do the work in our lives. For today, begin a devotional practice that reaches out to the Earth Mother. To paraphrase the RDNA prayer:
O Earth Mother
We Praise You
For the seed that springs,
For the flower that opens,
For the grass that waves,
Let us begin with this first step and touch the Earth to help not only the Earth itself, but ourselves.