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Working With Nature

The ADF Dedicant Path requires that we demonstrate how we work with nature, honour the earth, and understand our impacts. It also requires that we find ways to make a difference locally.

I am a fairly urban druid, but that does not make me less likely to understand my environment and my place in it. Though I have many comforts (I can completely avoid exposure to the elements in my usual day, going from home carport to parking garage at work), I work to ensure that I experience nature in all its seasons and all its glory as often as possible.

I work hard to get into nature: dirty Druidry is the best kind of Druidry. I feel that it's important that a Druid have mud on his boots (or bare feet) and that we understand that being a Druid isn't about sitting in a cramped, dusty room reading old books, but instead being out under the oaks and watching the flights of birds. This isn't just a fancy notion of Druidry as rustic, but a real statement that our religion is experienced, and that the experience of Druidry is living and changing as we live and change.

The Earth Mother is an important aspect of this: we honour her as the embodiment of all the things nature holds, and from whom all things must come. She supports the heavens as well as us, and bears our weight as if it were nothing to her. Because of this, we must walk softly and lightly upon her, even as we honour her in ritual. It is true that the "Earth Mother" is not necessarily an ancient deity, and that deities of the earth (such as Gaia, Nerthus, and Prthivi) are more limited in scope than the modern Neo-Pagan Earth Mother, but this does not make her any less real or worthy of honour. It is up to us to understand her well enough to know why she is important.

I find it vitally important to honour the cycles of the cosmos we inhabit: in addition to the cycle of High Days, I do sunrise and sunset devotionals, which keep me conscious of the way the earth changes over time, and I do 6th Night Moon rites with the Grove, which keeps me conscious of the moon cycle. Between these two cycles, I find a close connection to the rhythms of the earth.

As the cost of alternative power comes down, I am finding ways to invest in non-fossil-fuel power. The Grove website and my own website both run on a green provider, and I am examining ways to move some of my household electric to solar power at this time (though the realities of our climate make full solar untenable at my current salary).

I am fortunate that my Grove provides ample opportunity to make a real local difference, offering community service that includes picking up trash along waterways, in parks, and around cemeteries, and I participate as often as possible. Additionally, I subscribe to a recycling program in my city and encourage it at work, and we support local organic farming through farmers' markets in Columbus and by growing our own vegetables in the garden.


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