We love nature, and we value the time we spend hiking, camping, gardening, walking in the park. It is understandable that we want to surround ourselves with bits of beauty that remind us of that love, that feeling we have when we are walking in the forest, watching waves at the beach.
Humans are used to taking whatever we want from the natural world. We have been doing that since we evolved on the planet, relying on nature and nature beings to provide us food, shelter, clothing, protection, comfort, peace. That concept has been turned into the modern approach of managing “Natural Resources”. Our economic systems have de-personalized nature from a being to a commodity, and that is the culture a lot of us were raised in so we generally don’t know another view.
Many of us grew up picking wildflower bouquets for our moms and putting beautiful pebbles in our pockets, gathering wild berries and firewood while camping. We may have been completely ignorant that we were interacting with nature beings. As we progressed down our spiritual path, sometimes we may have said some words of gratitude or offered a strand of hair as a thank you, but many times we may have been too distracted or hurried to really connect properly. And then, how many times did we ask permission before we acted? Many people don’t even think about it, after all it is not a common part of most modern cultures today. That is something we learn as we explore and expand our spiritual path.
There are probably plenty of times when we are conscious, and we do think to ask the stone if it wants to come with us and then we respect its answer. And when we are new to this sort of thing, it can be challenging to know what the answer is! We do the best we can with the tools we have at the time. Navigating this asking and honoring the answer is part of our commitment to partnership with nature beings.
I love to spend time at the beach, especially on the Oregon coast. I have found so many beautiful shells and stones there over the years, I have them scattered all over my house and office and garden area. And most of them I probably didn't ask for permission before I took them out of their environment. But as my commitment with working with nature beings has deepened over the years I realized that asking was a necessary part of this partnership. So now if I do find a beautiful stone or shell that's in my path, or that calls my attention, I will ask “Would you like to come home with me? Or are you just saying hello and you would like to stay here?” I usually get an answer, and if I am not sure of the answer, I leave it there.
I find that this process has reduced the number of items that actually come home with me. By acknowledging them and having brief conversation with them, I don’t need to bring them physically home. Knowing them where they are on their own journey, shining their vibrant colors, and rolling with the tide gives me the same enjoyment as looking at them on my desk or windowsill.
I have found that when I connect with the devas and the nature beings of a place and do not look for anything to take home with me, a beautiful gift will sometimes be given to me anyway. Especially when I offer something from my heart freely like joy and asking if I may connect with the spirits of the place. Then it is a gift from the heart and it means so much more. And sometimes the gift is not a thing. Several times I have been amazed to see an eagle or hawk fly by me, and sometimes it’s as sweet and intimate as a butterfly landing on my arm for a few minutes. That connection fills me with gratitude for a long time.
It is also polite to ask permission when using a space in nature for a gathering or for a ceremony. Just because we think it’s a good idea doesn’t necessarily mean nature is automatically agreeable. My friend Gayle and I both had the same calling to go to the coast and offer a ceremony to Mama Ocean by creating a mandala. We asked permission from the nature spirits of the place, and we got an agreement for the ceremony. We brought flowers and herbs and used them and the driftwood, stones, feathers and shells at the tidal line to create an image of a vesica piscis, two circles overlapping in the middle. We felt like this sacred geometry image represented the transition Gaia is going though, and that it might ease the ascension pains experienced by any of her beings.
We played crystal and metal bowls and sang and were immersed in the joy of creation. We were there right before high tide so we could watch the tide gather up our blessing and take it out to sea. The tide only came up and kissed the edge of it while we were there. So we left it to radiate and be received in her own perfect timing. On the way back I stumbled over a good size mottled stone with unusual markings. I picked it up and saw it was the most beautiful agate. It felt like a gift, and so I asked if it wanted to come with me. It did, and now here it is inspiring this story as part of its journey.
Sometimes I wonder….what if foresters had to ask every tree if it was willing to give itself as a gift before they cut it down? If builders had to ask the land before they built a house on it? If we asked every plant in the garden if we could harvest it? How different would the world be?
To help you tend to soul issues that may manifest in physical, emotional, mental or spiritual aspects of your life, and to give you tools to empower your path to harmony and well-being.
-There are so many kindredspirits doing the work out there. I include these links to help our community connect with one another.
SACRED HOOP Magazine Guide to Shamanism Compilation- http://www.sacredhoop.org/Pages/FreeGuide.html
Kitzie's podcasts include interviews with artists and kirtan music. I love attending her weekly Satsang group and the New World Kirtan Band concerts -
My friend and herbalist mentor, Lawrence Birch is a Certified Clinical Herbalist, plant whisperer and shamanic practitioner. If you need custom tincture blends or are interested in a wildcrafting apprenticeship, he is the teacher extraordinaire:
Roger Wheelock and Gayle Ruth are shamanic practitioners and teachers in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition. https://www.rainmother.com/ I am grateful to be able to take part in ceremony with them, and to support their love for the Peruvian people through the World Ayni Association.