Simple ways to reconnect with the earth and ourselves.
What does it mean to sing the land?
Most of us, at least in Australia, have heard of songlines – these apparently invisible tracks across the country that the Aboriginals sang as they travelled along. These songs are the music of the land, a sound map of the country – describing each and every feature across the land – each mound in the desert, each waterhole or cave. And these songlines enabled the indigenous to travel vast distances without getting lost – as long as they remembered the song. And periodically these lines had to be travelled, to be re-sung and re-membered.
Singing the land like this keeps it alive and awake. In my own understanding, this is due to acoustic resonance. If you can listen deeply to the land, if you can hear its song, when you sing its own particular frequency, the land will resonate with that – it absorbs the energy and vibrates that back out more strongly. Of course this sound will change in different places – creating a song of sorts, or a piece of music.
Singing the land is an act of respect and a spiritual necessity for survival. Like in so many ancient cultures, practices and rituals were conducted regularly to ensure the fertility of crops and sufficient rain in order to survive. It is the same principle in many cultures, honour the mother and all your basic needs will be met – animals will be sent to you for food, rain will fill the waterholes. As the earth is the provider of all of our basic needs – food, air and water, honouring her keeps the cycle of life in balance.
But where are we at in this day and age? Are we forgetting to give back in this cycle? The earth is still providing us with everything we need to survive, but we have become separated from this fact. We walk all over her. We think our survival depends on supermarkets and institutions. We thrive on consumerism and exist in environments increasingly separated from nature and health. What of the earth’s energy and life force in this state of affairs?
I think of the ancient Greek gods who were so real to the people back then, if they didn’t make their offerings to these moody gods and goddesses, they would have hell to pay. The evolution of our psyche has seen us internalise these gods and goddesses. In this process we stopped making the sacrifices and offerings to these powerful aspects of our psyche, allowing them to slip into unconsciousness, and hence their dynamics play out within us unconsciously. Kind of like the weather. It seems so outside of us that we think we have no impact on it. I was at a concert in the desert of Australia last year, where an Aboriginal pop band was performing outside in the dry river bed of Alice Springs. It hadn’t rained much for months. When they got to the chorus of the song “Kapi, Kapi”, (Kapi means rain in their language), it started to rain and got heavier, continuing until the end of the song when it stopped. Everyone danced in the rain in wonder!
As our connection with nature slips into unconsciousness, our relationship with the planet becomes distant and unreal, we stop seeing the affects of our actions or lack of action and think what happens around us is random and scary, things we can’t change. But we can. We live in a dynamic relationship with the world around us.
And what of the nature spirits? Of the other realms that have also slipped into the arena of fairy tales and yet still somehow remain as part of our awareness? When we no longer believe in these beings, they became invisible to us and we lose out on the magical help they can bring us. But there are many people out there who can still perceive and connect with them, and many more who are gradually starting to feel their presence again when we look inside. Everything is within us. The weather is within us. The way we relate to the earth is the way we relate to our own body and the way we relate to the world.
As our society slips further and further into the darkness and disconnection, it seems a great light is beginning to re emerge, a growing and ever deepening consciousness of our connection to nature, and a re-membering of these other realms and worlds.
So how can we help in this re-emergence? How can we begin to sing the land again, to honour the earth and deepen our connection with her again?
In my own journeys, when I ask how I can give back to the earth, how I can thank her for the gifts she has given me – the answers I receive are often the simplest of things and usually joyful to give – do a gratitude dance, the gift of a feather….. Ask for yourself, but if you need help to get started here are some……..
Simple ways to honour the earth
Go for silent walks in nature. Practice noticing everything.
Greet every tree, plant, rock, animal and whatever else you come across. Remember that they are all living beings, albeit with different consciousness’ to ours.
Practice appreciation of all the beauty you see in nature. Smell the flowers.
Listen with not only your ears, but your eyes, your nose, your hands, with all of your senses. Listen deeply.
Take barefoot walks outside and notice the difference in speed and hence your ability to connect.
Pick up rubbish when you are out walking.
Recycle your television and with the time you gain, sit outside and watch the nature documentary that is always happening in your backyard.
Spend time in nature without your mobile phone or other communication devices. Communicate with nature.
Grow plants. Grow them without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilisers. Talk and listen to them every day.
Go camping. Live close to the earth for awhile and practice appreciation of it.
Give thanks for the food you eat and the water you drink every time you take it in. Remember where it comes from.
In short, care for the earth as you would care for your child – love it, nurture it, water it, feed it with your love, keep it clean.
And if these things are already second nature to you, go deeper….
Connect with the spirit of a tree, a flower, a rock, a faery. Ask them what they want you to know.
Keep your mind quiet as you listen. Practice presence.
Listen for the song of a place and sing it back.
Ask for your own practices.