Earth day is coming! This year it falls on Wednesday, April 22nd. In my part of the Midwest, most schools celebrate Earth Day with the children – followed closely by Arbor Day, a sacred Nebraska tradition! Here’s some ideas to celebrate Earth Day with your children, with an added spiritual element to help them understand why we honor the earth beyond just minimizing global warming.
Pick an Earth goddess, and address Her when doing any Earth Day activities
Nerthus and Jord are two popular ones in Germanic pantheons, Gaia is a ubiquitous favorite, and there are hundreds of others to choose from. Preferably honor a deity you have some connection with, or whose mythology you can read up on, so that you can tell their stories and spark further interest from the children.
Clean up a park, then leave natural gifts for the spirits
What should you do after you and the kids have cleared up a couple bags worth of trash and are tired of running around on the grass? Talk about the nature spirits whose habitats you are improving – this could be anything from an animist idea of a spirit in all natural things to the matter of fact knowledge that trash harms animals’ environments. Then leave natural gifts for them: piles of pretty found stones, sticks arranged in a picture, or drawings in the dirt are all pleasing to most nature spirits.
Say a little prayer to the Earth as you go about your Earth Day activities
Gardens sprouting and springing up,
clean clear water to drink in our cup,
good natural food to eat when we sup,
as we help our Mother by cleaning her up!
Above all, talk to your children about your beliefs!
They may grow up liking earth day, but in our culture it is very difficult for children to gain an understanding of the earth as a spiritual entity without encountering that idea somewhere; and where better for them to encounter it than you? As parents or grandparents or guardians, we are the first ones children look to when learning about spirituality. Earth Day is a fantastic secular tradition, but talking about the earth as it relates to your spiritual views will make it even more meaningful for your children.