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Earthdragon

Connecting to the Land

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Earthdragon

How important to your Paganism is your relationship to the land that you frequent most and the land where you live?

Living now in the Hebrides and having come here with a need and want to engage in work on the land ( planting tree, drainage, growing food, cutting peat etc) I've become aware of the idea of dúthchas - the inheritance of rights to land use based on a shared responsibility for the land. It's a reversal of the modern mindset of a piece of land belonging to an individual or legal entity. In dùthcas one belongs to the land.

Is there any sense of belonging that you have with a location and how do you feel within that?

Edited by Earthdragon
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Moonsmith

Yes.

I've had the privilege of living by a tiny quarry for more than forty years.

It is my garden and it is my grove.  I have posted many pictures of fire festivals that we hold there.

Right now it is carpeted with snowdrops.

How do I feel within it?  Home.

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Earthdragon
On 1/28/2019 at 12:58 AM, Moonsmith said:

Yes.

I've had the privilege of living by a tiny quarry for more than forty years.

It is my garden and it is my grove.  I have posted many pictures of fire festivals that we hold there.

Right now it is carpeted with snowdrops.

How do I feel within it?  Home.

Do you feel enlarged when you're there, Moonsmith? 

I had a most powerful experience of connecting to the land at a disused quarry in Derbyshire - blazing sun, hard edged white clouds, the place was buzzing with vibrations , regrowth everywhere, nature reclaiming it fully, birds, animals saplings etc. Fluorite sticking out of the ground. Peace and healing after the decade of earth rending...

More meaningful for the fact that the visit with my Druid teacher was the last time I ever saw him...

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Moonsmith
4 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

Do you feel enlarged when you're there, Moonsmith?

I think that I understand your question.  I'm not sure how to answer.

As you know, I'm a Pantheist and have over the last ten years become deeply immersed in the metaphysics of Pantheism.  Now in my years of contemplation I have found it quite straight forward to see myself and the universe as the same thing.  This isn't some form of academic or spiritual exercise; it is how I am.

Just like anyone else I can see the beauty of a place or thing [by my own perception] just as, where it exists, I can see ugliness [by my own perception]  I appreciate, enjoy, love and use my little quarry.  The grove however isn't the quarry: The grove is the quarry with a group of druids bent to purpose within it.

Long ago here in the Valley I found myself defending my stance that: "If you cannot be spiritual on an inner city tarmacked car park, you cannot be spiritual anywhere.  This was at a time when I was beginning to recognise the wider implications of Pantheism and moving from a sort of Panentheistic Guiism [One with an Earth-centric Deity/creator] to  Pantheism [One with the universe] 

In one of the Nassreddin stories the wise fool is challenged to find the centre of the world.  He points between his  feet.   Asked how he knows this, he suggests that anyone who does not believe him take a cord and check!

I am a tiny fraction of [10 to the power of 80] atoms and they are the same [10 to the power of 80] atoms wherever I perceive myself to be.

None of which prevents me from loving and feeling at home in my tiny quarry as I have for the last 40 odd years.

pee ess:

Thank you ED.  This talk of the grove reminded me that I had not put out the rainwater collector and the grove meets among the snowdrops next Monday.  I do not think I need be concerned by my tardiness; it's weeing down! 🙂

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Ellinas

Less than, looking back, I would have expected.  I remember as a youngster, feeling a strong emotional attachment to the local hills.  Now, not so much.

Hmm...

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Veggie dancer

It is important to me to connect to the land I live in. When I go somewhere different I do feel a bit uprooted, kind of slightly superficial, like I'm just not completely with it, like I'm not 100% present. Obviously when you visit somewhere or move somewhere you want to see the sights experience that place but I often don't feel completely in it (the place) a bit disoriented.

i find spending time walking around a place, sitting quietly and 'listening' to a place or intentionally standing and sending down my roots helps me feel more present and awake to a place. 

occasionally a place reaches out and grabs me rather than the other way around.

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Freydis

Yes, very much so.  I have a strong connection to a number of places locally.  My garden, a feeling of responsibility to improve the land and to pass it on it a better condition than it was when I came by.  Many places in Yorkshire, but one in particular would be Otley Chevin, especially the north side, overlooking the Otley and the Wharfe and across to Pately Bridge and Glasshouses.   The sense of timelessness, an ever-changing, ever developing landscape but fundamentally unchanging and continuing.

I'm fortunate in that my route to work takes me along the Chevin every day and I know it in all of it's moods.  It never fails to give me pause to reflect.    

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Moonsmith
2 hours ago, Freydis said:

I'm fortunate in that my route to work takes me along the Chevin every day and I know it in all of it's moods.  It never fails to give me pause to reflect. 

I can identify with that 🙂  I drive along the Severn when visiting one of my daughters.  The goddess Sabrina is not very tame.  She more or less stays on her own territory between her banks most of the time but then a couple of times a year she comes to town and floods parts of the built world.  Some towns have adopted flood defenses but she just moves along and comes ashore somewhere else.  She has many many moods and colours.  It is said that she also requires a soul every year.  She already has this year's. 

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Lehnah

I'm originally from Australia, now living in the UK, so my connection to land is a strange one.

Nothing ever feels as "right" to me as the land in Australia. The dry, but cool air. The sandy dirt. The feeling of walking into a brick wall made of hot air on 40+ degree day. These things and the colours and smells no other land I've experienced has ever offered and living outside of Australia for a few years now had really ingrained just how much I love, miss and am a part of that land.

Having said that though, I am beginning to feel more connected to the land that surrounds me now where I live in the UK. Originally I was in Oxford which I did not like, I could find no connection there at all.

Now I'm a bit more rural - I grew up on a farm so I like having great spaces of land around me - and I feel a lot more comfortable. Obviously it isn't the same as Australia, but I'm beginning to notice the small things about it, the details of who the winds and cold and occasional heat affect the trees and grass and so forth. I'm starting to recognise it and that connection is building.

So in answer to your question my relationship to the land I'm surrounded by is very important to me, but not just for my pagan practice but also for my sense of place and self.

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Earthdragon

Thanks for sharing, Lehnah.

How, may I ask, is your relationship with the land important for you pagan practice?

Regards

ED

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Sandra

I feel connected to the land in the village where Iive. However, when I went to work in another area (where my grandparents used to live) I thought I might feel some kind of 'ancestral' connection to the land there, but, disappointingly, felt nothing!

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Stonehugger

I try quite hard to feel a connection with wherever I am and if I can't manage to do that it troubles me a bit. It's easier in some places than others and I'm not always sure why. I'm still quite bound up in trying to deal with "loss" (in a fairly abstract sense) and that certainly has an impact on my sense of place. Going somewhere I've been happy is a good place-related way of regaining a feeling of belonging.

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Moonsmith
On 1/27/2019 at 11:12 PM, Earthdragon said:

How important to your Paganism is your relationship to the land that you frequent most and the land where you live?

 

4 hours ago, Stonehugger said:

I try quite hard to feel a connection with wherever I am

Some answers to the OP spring immediately to mind and mine are up there somewhere.

but......

We've had a discussion about the meaning of the term "spiritual" and came up with a range of feelings and definitions.  I suspect a similar range of definitions applies here.  This has given rise to some questions.

ED's question refers to "relationship" with land that we frequent most.  Is this the same as Stonehugger's "connection"?

Does "land" have to out of doors?  Does my armchair in a sunlit bay window count?  I'm not sure but the feelings of familiarity, of being grounded and where I'm meant to be, seem to be similar to those that I have in my garden hollow.  Is this feeling important to my belief?  Knee jerk answer is "Yes".  I've been here for more than forty years;  I do not want to do the research whereby I am removed from my home to find out.  Do I feel the same anywhere else?  No.  Do I feel inspired, impressed, moved by other places; of course.  Does this affect my beliefs? - That is very hard to answer.

ED you have uprooted.  Perhaps you can say whether where you are now affects your belief differently from where you were.  I can think of a whole range of geographical and geophysical changes that you must have experienced quite apart from the emotional and familial ones.  How have your own beliefs been affected?

What is it that best describes relationship with land and/or connection in terms of feelings [if those can be expressed] or thoughts if they can't?

Where this relationship with land is important to belief does it always have to be positive?

Edited by Moonsmith
To punctuate!

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Stonehugger
16 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

ED's question refers to "relationship" with land that we frequent most.  Is this the same as Stonehugger's "connection"?

Good point. Probably not. A connection can be an immediate thing but a relationship implies (to me) something longer term and more resilient. I have reliable "happy places", at least one of which is counterintuitive, and I would count those as relationships. My ongoing resilient connection with them is spiritual as well as psychological. Don't ask me the difference between spiritual and psychological though! Maybe psychology is more about science, including chemistry, whereas spirituality is more - um - spiritual.

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Ellinas

Last Saturday I walked on Coed y Bwnydd, an old hill fort near the Clytha estate, just outside Raglan.

There was a definite "atmosphere".  Still, waiting, quiet.

Do I have a relationship with that place?  No.  I've only been there twice.

Could I form an attachment to the place?  Yes, given time.  But it's a touch too far off and the access too limited for regular visits.

Was it a "positive" or "negative" experience?  Neither.  It was an experience. My reaction to the environment.  I would be careful, respectful, there.  But that says more about me than of the place, and others might react very differently.

Do I have more of a "relationship" with my lounge?  Probably.

Edited by Ellinas
One should not confuse one's indefinite article with one's conjunction

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Earthdragon
21 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

ED's question refers to "relationship" with land that we frequent most.  Is this the same as Stonehugger's "connection"?

I also asked , at the end of the op.

"Is there any sense of belonging that you have with a location and how do you feel within that?"

I can see it as possible to feel that one belongs somewhere even if one has only visited it once or twice. The how's and wherefores of such a feeling may be quite involved but would inevitably involve a psychological view which has a spiritual dimension. To me spirituality involves psychology and vice versa. I think the funnelling of any particular approach into one or the other lessens one's involvement with the totality of the experience we are looking at.  

21 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

Does "land" have to out of doors?  Does my armchair in a sunlit bay window count? 

I relate to the land from being there on it, thinking about it and using visualisation to connect with it. All three are equally important so yes relating/connecting from armchair certainly counts.

 

21 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

ED you have uprooted.  Perhaps you can say whether where you are now affects your belief differently from where you were. 

Unequivocally yes. I will however point out once again that my paganism is about practice and experience, inspiration, communion (no not the xtian variety lol), growth and sharing and not so much beliefs. 

Connecting to the land is an integral part of much of this stuff that I practise. 

My experience of the elements ( Earth, Air,.Fire, Water) and how they move in myself dramatically shifted through spending time up here and putting down roots, to use your expression. Geologically the area differs enermously from Derbyshire. The rocks as the bones of the earth are three quarters the age of the Earth, they've been melted near the mantle and been pushed high into the sky and they show it!

21 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

I can think of a whole range of geographical and geophysical changes that you must have experienced quite apart from the emotional and familial ones.  How have your own beliefs been affected?

Again my experience of my Pagan practice has changed dramatically.They have been deepened for sure but this is as a result of choosing a lifestyle which allows a fuller connection to the land as well as the choice of location. 

In terms of how I feel about Derbyshire, I actually don't feel less connected to the land there but maybe that's because we visit there and keep close links with members of our Druidic Grove down there. This includes visualising 

Trees abound in Derbyshire but are scarce up here. In way familiarity breeds complacency. Up here any trees in the landscape often  become a focal point of attention and this deepens my awareness. It's a bit like having an artwork in one's house that has lots of space around it rather than crowded onto a shelf with lots of other things. 

I have been propogating and planting trees so have a deeper connection in that way. I have grown things for many years but having responsibility for a few acres and joint responsibility for thousands of acres of common land and this has certainly changed things regarding how the land "feels".

In a spiritual sense the north is associated with the origins of the wisdom of Tuatha Dé Danann. Living here has coincided with a deepening for me of several aspects of the tradition that I practise. I think these experiences have been contingent on living here and letting go of identifying with "home" as it was.

Finally there has been making a strong connection with the land of my ancestors. This is another aspect- I learned when we moved here that the family name of the people who lived on this plot we have was the same as my Druidic Grove name. My clan ( on my mother's side so I don't have that as a surname) was originated by ,unbeknownst to me, a Viking whose name, I have since found out, is incorporated into several place names around here. The first hill I climbed on Leodhas (Lewis) a few years back to my amazement was named after him...

 

Edited by Earthdragon
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Tone

As a traveler I find this intriguing. I mainly connect with the road, the lines between places. When I reach a new place I do hold a small ceremony to greet the land, and when I leave I make sure to say goodbye and close the connection (and, yes, tidy). I also take walks around the area as one of the first things I do, getting a sense of how the lines move and the personality of the landscape. 

Often I can feel it a bit awkward going back, even to places I've been happy, a bit like going back to a party halfway out the door because you forgot your purse. The mood is still good, but you're not part of it anymore.

I do have a stronger connection to the sort of landscape I spent the majority of my childhood in, but it's not really a good one. Only in recent years, going back to visit relatives, have I found that the area where my parents built our house is simply not a land meant for people at all. It's mostly rocks and swamps and has clearly been forced into human use, and it does reflect in an atmosphere of fear and mistrust in everyone there. I feel sympathy for it, but not part of it.

Edited by Tone
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Ellinas

Somehow, that reminds me of the old song: "I was born under a wandering star".

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