I was raised by three very ecologically friendly people: my mother, my stepmother, and my father. Mom is a practicing Buddhist who honors every life form as sacred. Dad taught me “tree magick” and how to talk to the trees and plants. My stepmother, Sandy, is an ardent animal lover and has been known to spontaneously rescue and adopt lost animals.
The other day, I found Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who on YouTube. It made me think about how my family has always taught me to respect nature. When I was little, my parents watched nature documentaries with me. They bought me books on animals and took me to the zoo and parks a lot. Dad took me on nature walks and taught me about science. As a young Wiccan, I was taught how to keep in balance with the Earth’s energies and to work with the elements. Rather than ritual work this just means understanding how humans are a part of nature rather than being separate from it.
I remember one day when I was still very little, my mother took me for a walk by my grandfather’s house. She held my hand and pointed out the changing of the leaves, telling me that the dying leaves would replenish the soil and so help to continue the tree’s life cycle. She told me that the squirrels were gathering food for their long winter’s sleep. Then she pointed out this little patch of green moss, growing on the side of a rock wall.
“Look, Tara. In here are whole little worlds unto themselves!”
Being about four or five, I reached out with my little hand, felt the moss and proceeded to flick it off the wall. Astounded, my mother tried to tell me that that wasn’t nice, but it was so sudden that she couldn’t help laughing a little bit, which made me laugh too. After I had gotten over the giggles, she said that I had just sent someone else’s universe flying and that we just didn’t do those things.
Soon after, my parents read me Horton Hears a Who. My father gave each character a distinct voice, which was his particular talent when reading aloud. However, Mom and Dad always discussed whatever they read to me, so we had a nice talk about respecting the Earth. Then I remembered the poor little moss and felt guilty. Mom said that it would grow back, but not to do it again.
So, years later I don’t think it odd when I try to save a spider that has crawled into my bathroom even if I am scared of them. Or that I talk to other animals and plants as if they were people. After all, we all call the Earth home. I find that this helps give me a positive outlook even on the dreariest of days. I can look up at the sky and release my mental troubles. Everywhere I live, there are trees who I think of as dear friends. The rain and snow are replenishing spirits. The winds refresh us and help seeds find a home. Water keeps us alive. Nature gives us much to be thankful for and it would be wise for us to learn how to work with nature instead of against her.
Here is a video of a song that I was taught as a child. It is called “We All Come from The Goddess” and it is about our connection to everything in nature: We All Come from the Goddess.