Tag Archive for: spiritual ecology

The Land and Me

I have been thinking about ecology, which is the study of how beings interact with each other and their environment, to better understand what terms like “eco-spirituality” and “spiritual ecology” mean. Ecology seems pretty science-y, and science and spirituality are often thought of as opposites. Both spirituality and ecology are about relationships, however, and there is crossover in the way we relate to the land and the beings with whom we share the land.

I was disappointed in my religious tradition of origin and many of the others that I have explored because the concept of relationship seemed to end with humans, and often did not even extend to all humans. The land, and living on it, seemed to be something to overcome or control. I cringed ever time I read or heard about the “lesser beings” who we supposedly had dominion over. My own experience taught me differently.

grey squirrel on my snow covered landI do not work with deities in my spiritual practice. The personification of divine energy does not resonate with me; instead, I see that energy expressed in every living thing and in the land itself. After struggling to even say “God,” which felt like an obstacle to an interfaith ministry, I redefined that name for myself to mean the universal divine energy.

If I am an expression of divine energy, the other animals and plants are expressions of divine energy, and the land is an expression of divine energy, where is the separation? How can we possibly have power over another life or the land if we are all, essentially, the same?

I contemplate those questions during my morning outdoor meditation time as I watch the squirrels and birds in their morning activities. That contemplation has shifted my relationship with the land I am on. Like a human family has shared genetics, the land and I are of the same stuff.

It is in this realization, I think, that spiritual ecology comes to be. I, as a human animal, interact with the land and the other beings differently when I see us as the same. My spirituality influences my understanding of ecology, and my study of ecology influences my spirituality.

And here we sit, the land and me, divinely intertwined.

Ritual of Protection for Yellowstone’s Wolves

While grey wolves no longer roam the wild in New York (they were eradicated in the late 1800s), I have had opportunities to sit with, witness, and learn about captive wolves. These experiences have deepened both my connection with my wolf helping spirit and my desire to help North America’s wild wolves.

collared yellowstone wolf seated in the snow where wolves have protection

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

This month has brought distressing news, as reports of wolves being poisoned and shot come in. One of the most upsetting was reading that twenty of the wolves from Yellowstone National Park, where they were reintroduced 25 years ago and became a conservation success story, were killed by hunters in the months since protections were lifted, just outside of the park’s borders. The news from Yellowstone inspired this ritual.

I acknowledge that rituals alone are not enough to save North America’s wolves. Rituals like this, however, ground me and reaffirm my intentions, creating an empowered center from which to make phone calls and write letters to relevant elected and appointed officials. I am sharing my wolf protection ritual in hope that you, too, may feel ready to pick up the phone afterwards.

I have a working altar which is always ready to go for short workings like this. I only added a printout of a map of Yellowstone Park, to help me journey there. If you do not have a standing altar, you might gather a few things that you associate with protection and that bring in wolf energy.

I like to work in safe and sacred place. You can cast a circle any way that you like – I use the Reiki symbols to clear and protect the space – and call in the directions, your helping spirits, and any deities you work with.

Next, sit in front of your altar, close your eyes, and put yourself in the center of Yellowstone. If you have experience journeying you can do that, otherwise just imagine yourself sitting there in middle of the park. See or sense the presence of the wolf packs. The wolves know you are there for their benefit. You are safe.

Now bring your attention to the base of your spine and drop a cord down into the Earth. Draw energy from the Earth up into the base of your spine and into your heart. Next, notice the crown of your head. From your crown, extend a cord up to the Moon. Draw Moon energy down through your crown and into your heart.

Empowered by the Earth and the Moon, feel a bubble expanding from your heart. Send loving and protective energy into the bubble, surrounding the wolves in safety. Grow the bubble in all directions until it encompasses all of Yellowstone National Park and the wolves that have roamed beyond the human-made borders. Continue to supply protective Earth and Moon energy until the bubble feels strong and solid, impenetrable by anyone who would harm the wolves. Feel the power of the bubble of protection you have created and know that it will hold when you leave this place.

Now add a prayer, such as:

Mother Earth, I come to you humbly, with gratitude for all you have given me, and ask that you hold this protective bubble around your children, the wolves.
Keep the wolves safe from humans who kill for sport or greed.
Provide them with clean water, abundant food, and warm dens.
Empower me with a heart full of compassion for all your beings.
Grant me the strength to stand against those who would harm the wolves, the courage to speak out, and the presence to change minds, until the wolves are free to thrive.
May it be so.

Release the directions and open your circle.