This is a song that people were singing on the steps of London’s St.Paul’s Cathedral, back in November 20111, during the `Occupy London’ activities. Hundreds of people were singing this and it really touched my heart my partner’s.
I recorded the song, and later added a sequence of natural photos I had collected to it.. to tell a story… Look carefully to the sequence of photos and you’ll get it… What begins well goes wrong.. but the Earth regenerates..and the video imagery ends on a positive note.
Earth Day is on 22nd April.. every year. It is declared by the United Nations, and celebrated by everyone on our planet – everyone who is aware of it, that is. Many Eco-groups and Organisations focus several of their ecology & environment related campaigns, and so do magical and spiritual people who consider the Earth to be a living entity (Gaia). Here is some background and lots of eco-spiritual activities you can do.
Gaian Collective explained
The Earth is our home in space. Thousands believe it is a living entity, built up of not just the physical bodies of millions of humans, animals, plans and other inanimate objects (rocks, rivers, mountains). It is believed that all the minds of the living creatures on planet Earth are connected, and give rise to `Gaia’ the living Collective consciousness-being who is self-regulating. It is akin to our bodies, where each cell is living and has a function, but collectively gives rise to a single human or animal being. We each one of us think each one of us is a `I’ or `me’ – but within us are billions of living cells.. (and all the symbiotic and parasitic creatures that live inside our bodies).
So, by each of us becoming consciously aware that we are part of a larger collective, and tying to reconnect to that Collective, we are in fact strengthening that Gaia Collective – spiritually an magically. And if Gaia is strong and well, that can only benefit the whole world..
What can you do on Earth day? Some simple ideas and suggestions:
Go for a walk in the wild, a park or woods – to be reconnected to Earth – on a conscious, physical or magical level. You don’t need to make it grand or specific – just go for a nice long walk, without any usual distractions such as internet, ipods, phone calls, personal every day problems ( we all have them!) Yes, they are products of human intellect and genius, and so in a round about way, `natural’ – but purpose of this exercise is to de-clutter our conscious mind and reach a sort of meditative state.
Hold a celebration or picnic – with family or friends. Gather other like-minded eco-aware people and mark the day. We all celebrate or mark (or remember) our birthdays in some way of form.. This is Gaia’s special day (not exactly birthday but closest special day). So celebrate it as such. Yes, why not have a cake and cut it in honour of Gaia / Earth?
Earth `Heart beat’ Meditation – group or personal: A more spiritual approach is to actually do an Earth meditation (on your own, or as part of a group). It does not have to be a big complicated activity. Just 5 minutes will do (but 20-30 minutes is ideal). All you do is sit in a pleasant natural place if possible (woodlands, by a garden tree, by a small pond, river, stream, cave etc). Sit by a natural place, be comfortable, close your eyes – and let go of every day thoughts. Then try to visualise the Earth in space.. a planet, full of billions of life forms within it. Think of each one of those creatures having a heart, and heart beat. Try to `hear’ that heart beat. Different animals have different rates of heart beats – but for this meditative purpose, it is okay to visualise all the heat-beats being slowly becoming synchronised.. and the Earth beating as one heart!
Healing work: One magical activity that some may consider doing is Earth Healing. For this, it is perhaps good to be in very calm and peaceful state of mind. Keep a rose quartz or other green crystals with you (in your hands or pockets). Then think of love and peace, an send that energy to the Earth.. into the ground. You can also visualise green light coming from your heart – pure and sincere of well-intentions- and pour that unconditionally to the Earth. One meditative way is to visualise the Earth in space.. and pour your light and bath the whole of the Earth with it..!
Eco-activities:Think of real tangible ways you may b able to help protect, preserve and nurture the ecologies and environment of the World. Some suggestions are – raising awareness by writing & blogging (as I am doing), getting your fiends together and doing some litter-picking and tidying p a natural spot (like a local river side or woodland), creating a group or charity and doing eco-work, raising money / funds and donating it to other eco-organisations that do good genuine work.
Affirmations- Oaths, vows and personal Declarations: This one is for those who feel very spiritually inclined. Get to a natural place – and do some meditative work, as suggested, or a ceremony. Then lay your hands on a living Tree or the ground itself, and make your promises, affirmations or eco-related vows to the Earth it self. Think of this as important as a marriage vow that people make (and try to keep), or the equivalent of formal declarations and oaths people make when they take on a position in community (like MP’s, Solicitors, Police, etc. It is akin to swearing a real loyalty and allegiance to the Earth…and should be taken as magically binding).
Sharing: After Earth day, remember to share what you have done, by writing about it, sharing any related photos, poetry and other thoughts – with people, internet social groups & forums etc. That way, the positive regard ad energy spreads…and can add to the next year’s Earth Day!
Feel free to share this post.. more people are aware and do these, the better for Gaia.
Does the Earth need saving? The short answer – don’t be shocked – No!
Long answer – the Earth has existed for many millions of years…and in that time, many forms of life have evolved on Earth. And also in that time, the Earth has seen thousands of minor and hundreds of major catastrophes.. from Earth quakes, meteor strikes, Volcano eruptions, Ice ages, heat waves that have lasted thousands of years… birth of new life forms .and the mass extinction of many species…like the Dinosaurs.
The Earth has always survived.. over time.. and we are talking here about geological time..in terms of thousands and millions of years. Animals and species have come and gone.. But none have taken active control and started to seriously affect the environment on mass scale over short term…like man has been doing in just under a few hundred years!
So what we humans are trying to save..when we talk about `saving the planet’ is not saving the Earth.. as it was.. but saving it as it is…for our sake…so we can keep on using and enjoying it.
Yes, we humans have tampered with the Ecology and environment so much …that it’s like we have set our own homes on fire..and anyone living nearby..and any other creatures around are all at risk and bound to go up in smoke. But houses burn down.. objects turn to ashes.. ashes become soil.. and seeds take root..and new life evolves once more.
Let us be very clear.. the Earth does not need us. It does not need certain percentages of Oxygen and Nitrogen and other gases..It does not need to have certain temperatures …or certain levels of oceans or polar ice etc. It can take care of it self.. and it will reach new balance of all those things in time.. even after what we call environmental catastrophes (a new balance that is most certainly going to be uncomfortable to humans!)
So..what we are trying to save..so selfishly..is a particular state and configuration of Earth’s system.. that is so good for us humans.
That said, since it is us humans who fouled it all, it is us humans who are absolutely and totally honour-bound..to halt further destruction of the Earth’s current environmental systems.. and even to try and reverse the harm we have done..! Am not sure we’ll get it all done…but each one of us should try….!
We owe ours lives to the Earth.. Let’s stop messing about, and give it all we’ve got! I made that oath over 15 years ago, and it still stands…
The `Earth Day Ceremony’ came to my attention through the efforts of Jean Williams, now a retired but honorary committee member of The Pagan Federation, and an elder of The Craft. That was some years ago.
Taking up the cause of the Earth
I took up the cause, and worked with Jean to continue organising a special outdoor Earth day Ceremony – not just as part of my task as the Events Manager of `Pagan Federation London’ (London District of the Pagan Federation, where Jean was the District Manager..some years back). I took up the cause because the Earth had already been close to my heart by then.. and on one fine day in the garden (almost a decade prior) I had made a personal oath upon the Earth.. to guard and protect and do all I can for Gaia (Earth Goddess) and Earth..
Gaia Theory & Hindu Earth Mother
I was already a believer of Gaia as an entity. (My introduction to the Gaia Theory – originated by James Lovelock as a hypothesis and now accepted by majority of Scientists as a `Theory’ – came almost 2 decades prior to that, when I was reading the Issac Assimov novels of `Foundation’ and `Robots and Empire’.. I say introduction to Gaia Theory, because.. as a Hindu, I was already brought up with beliefs of `Pooma Thevi’ (Earth Mother Goddess). She appears in many hindu mythologies, and my most memorable and favourite moment is when ..towards the end of the Hindu epic `Ramayana’, Sita (Rama’s wife) calls to Earth-Mother at a moment of despair, and with quaking of Earth, ground cracking open, Earth-mother ascends in her throne, lifts up her daughter Sita and places hr on her own lap, and disappears back into the Earth.
Earth Days Past and Future
I think for about 5-6 years, I have been organising Ceremonies for Earth Day in London, usually in one of the woods or parks (Queen’s Woods, then Trent Park). It falls on 22nd April ..which is close to the pagan festival of Beltane. So our ceremonies have also had partial elements of Beltane festivities.
As Earth Day 2013 approaches (less than a month to go now), I was remembering those past events…(photos above are from 2011).. as I look forward to the future ones. Though I have stepped down from holding any official positions of Event Organising for other Pagan Organisations, there is now Gaian Times – a not for profit registered Company (Organisation) that I founded and a Director of…which takes up my eco-active efforts. Apart from producing a Free online Magazine (so as to have a good reach), Gaian Times also has several Social Enterprises, and Eco-initiatives..!
Yes I am organising an event for next month’s Earth Day.. but it’s quite different.. much quieter.. and a mindful event.. I’ll say more on that in another post…with full details.. But hey…Gaian Times is facilitating an Earth Day Family picnic & festive afternoon too.. 🙂 More later.
Few days ago I heard the frogs croaking from my garden pond during a rainy night.. Daffodil plans were already coming out of the ground.. one even had a yellow flower.. We’ve just past the actual day of Spring Equinox – when the Sun enters Aries… and suddenly, yesterday.. Snow has returned with a sudden vengeance.. all over UK.
It was going to be Hern’s Tribe’s outdoor Spring Ritual, and later ..we were going to observe Earth Hour – outdoors, between 8.30pm and 9.30pm local time.
(click on above thumbnail photos to see full picture. More photos in HT facebook page).
But waking up to heavy snow that ..by noon had completely blanketed the ground was a worrying sign.. not for us `hard core’ members in Hern’s Tribe. We have been doing these outdoor rituals 6-8 times a year ..every year…for over 8 years now. It was worrying because I knew that newcomers will be put off by it.
But many of the core members did turn up.. as planned, at 3pm, got into the woods, set up sacred altar, set up a canopy (for a bit of cover.. at least to put our bags under), we even set up a fire (Thanks Ian Kelly – a wonderful task in snow with water logged branches!).. and did the Spring Ritual.
We chanted the Hern-Chant in undulating harmony, consecrated ourselves with sage incense, sounds of bell, damp soil on palm.. We cast a sacred circle with a bone dagger (thanks Marcus, and his trusted dog Ruby for walking the circle!), and called the powers of Air, Fire, Water & Earth – the four elements. Then came the magic – around fire. To more chants, each member went to a private spot and took out a black & white crystal balls, and used it to balance his or her own dark & light energies ( Spring is the time of balance, as as it is at Autumn Equinox). Cakes & wine were blessed and shared.
After some merriment, some members who had poor health, and those living far outside London left. Rest of us stayed on (plans for going to the nearby pub for a break were abandoned). Few hours in snow in woods passed.
Then Earth hour approached.. Fire had managed to still be going ..with what little logs we had used.. Now in darkness, as out bodies were getting colder after 3-4 hours of being out in snow.. were needing what little warmth the small fire gave us.
We chanted Earth songs, spoke of friendships and kinship, danced around fire with lanterns, creating a circle of light, and poured love & light to Earth.
More shamanic changes started to happen afterwards – matters concerning shape-shifting …But that’s private – to know for the ones who had stayed.
We now look to Earth Day 2013.. only a month to go.. Do join us if you are in London. It’s going to be a wonderful day.. (am sure there’ll be no snow by then) 🙂
It’s Earth Hour tonight…between 8.30pm and 9.30pm, your local time.. ! The most obvious activity suggested by many is to switch off all non-essential electric equipment.. and thus reduce the drain on our respective Nations’ drain on Electricity generation.. which has tended to create much carbon footprint…and so harms the environment.
Quite apart from anything, there is so much light pollution, and for shot while, perhaps that can be reduced.
Every year, for some while now, I have been leading friends and pagans (especially ones in `Pagan Federation London’ and general public) on a simple 1 hour walk along the London’s river Thames.. with candles in lanterns or jam jars.. It’s quite a pretty sight. We then gather at one spot and do a simple Earth related ceremony or healing.
Well, this time (tonight) am planning to change that habit, and observe the Earth Hour in a nearby woods (Croydon). I’ve come up with the following ceremony,which you may wish to do on your own, or with group of friends. It’s very easy to do.
Requirements for a Ceremony (if doing this outdoors)
As many candles in jam jars, torch lights (back up), really warm clothing (and water proofs), some food & drinks (hot drunks?) to share.
Gather everyone in good time.. say by 8.00pm at the appointed venue (park or woods or garden).
Light up all the candles in lanterns.
Have a symbol of Earth at the centre (photo, a map, globe) – This acts as a focus. that is all. Alternatively, you may wish to place a large rose quartz crystal, or at the very least, a large natural rock.
Each person stands with his or her own lantern. If not enough to go around, spread out the lanterns evenly around the circle.
You may start with all gently circling the central space, while carrying your lanterns. Do this clockwise. This is just to generate a `light circle’ and positive regard / energy.
Additionally, you may like to do a bit of singing or chanting, such as `Mother I feel you under my feet. Mother I feel your heart beat..”
When you all feel it’s appropriate, one by one, place your respective lanterns in a small tighter circle at the centre. Return to the larger circle.
When all have done this, all hold hands, while facing the central `light circle’.
Send positive energy, well-wishes, love, and good regards, healing….to the central space.. Visualise a light-beacon forming at the centre with all your energies adding up. Let this beacon be a light of Healing for all who need it (Earth, animals, people).
Stand and hold this position and the imagery.
When ready, imagine the light circle and the beacon slowly sinking into the Earth, where it will add all that positivity.
Bring out any food & drinks. Give thanks to the Earth for the food & drinks. And toast to one another’s health, and for Gaia’s healh.
Remember to tidy up afterwards. Put out all the candles. Avoid dripping candle wax on woodland soil (it’s pollution).
This is only a suggestion. Feel free to improvise.
Remember, even if it is before 8.30pm or after 9.30m, you can still do this..because somewhere in the World, it hasn’t been 8.30pm yet..
We don’t really need Earth Day to do this. We can do this any time.. and we should 🙂