Earth is home to a web of living things that are connected to each other through a kaleidoscope of relationships. Picking a leaf off the ground and contemplating it as an object in and of itself is very inspiring. Its shape and color, the way it feels in your hand, its delicate veins and the stem that once held it fast to the branch of a tree—all of these qualities reveal a leaf to be a miniature work of natural art. As we contemplate this small object more deeply and consider where it came from and what purpose it has served, we find that the leaf is one small but essential part of a system that harnesses the energy of the sun, plumbs the depths of the earth, and in the process brings into being the oxygen many living things rely on to live.
A leaf transforms the elements of its environment—sunlight, carbon dioxide, rain—into nourishment for its tree. This beautiful, nearly weightless, ephemeral piece of nature is a vital conduit to the branch that is a conduit to the trunk that is a conduit to the roots of the tree. The roots, in turn, draw nourishment from the earth to feed the trunk, the branches, and the leaves. The living beings that inhale the oxygen that comes from this process exhale the carbon dioxide that feeds the leaves through which the tree is fed. It is difficult to know where one cycle ends and another one begins.
One of the many gifts that nature offers us is a clear demonstration of the interdependence between all living things. The person who exhales the carbon dioxide, the clouds that produce the rain, the sun that gives light, the leaf that transforms all these things into sustenance for a tree—not one of these could survive without being part of this cycle.
Each living being is dependent upon other living things for its survival. When we look at the world, we see that this is not a place where different beings survive independently of one another. Earth is home to a web of living things that are connected to each other through a spinning kaleidoscope of relationships. We need each other to survive and thrive.
Change can enter our lives silently and this change can be just as important as change we have worked hard for. We all see things about ourselves, our relationships, and our world that we want to change. Often, this desire leads us to take action toward inner work that we need to do or toward some external goal. Sometimes, without any big announcement or momentous shift, we wake up to find that change has happened, seemingly without us. This can feel like a miracle as we suddenly see that our self-esteem really does seem to be intact, or our partner actually is helping out around the house more. We may even wonder whether all of our hard work had anything to do with it, or if it just happened by way of grace.
As humans, sometimes we have relatively short attention spans, and we can easily lose track of time. We may worry about a seedling in a pot with our constant attention and watering for several weeks only to find ourselves enjoying the blooms it offers and wondering when that happened, and how we didn’t notice it. Nature, on the other hand, has infinite patience and stays with a thing all the way through its life. This doesn’t mean that our efforts play no part in the miracle of change—they do. It’s just that they are one small part of the picture that finally results in the flowering of a plant, the shifting of a relationship, the softening of our hearts.
The same laws that govern the growth of plants oversee our own internal and external changes. We observe, consider, work, and wonder, tilling the soil of our lives, planting seeds, and tending them. Sometimes the hard part is knowing when to stop and let go, handing it over to the universe. Usually this happens by way of distraction or disruption, our attention being called away to other more pressing concerns. And it is often at these times, when we are not looking, in the silence of nature’s embrace, that the miracle of change happens.
This week’s card (drawn today) is one of the Fairy Festival cards (of which there are eight following the Celtic Wheel of the Year) – OSTARA. Ostara (Spring Equinox) there is a balance and night and day are of equal length, the festival that heralds the Spring and new growth and fertility. I wouldn’t equate this card with new beginnings as such (I associate Imbolc with that) but definitely new growth and blossoming forth. Birds begin to find mates and make nests and often have their first clutch of young ones, buds on trees burst forth with a fresh new greenness, spring flowers blossom and young animals are born. There is definitely a vivaciousness about nature at this time of the year; a new creativity and fertility. The momentum is forward and outward looking.
In this card, which is predominantly fresh shades of green, you can see a Fairy Isle, a magical place that appears and disappears in less than a blink of an eye. Humans who are taken to a fairy isle have the fortune or misfortune of never coming back to normal reality again – they stay forever in the fair isle with the Fae. You can also see a group of the Fae (who are actually characters from other cards – the Changeling, Woodwose, the Lady Tryamour amongst others. You can also see those quintessential harbingers of spring – daffodils, with their bright yellow trumpets heralding a new phase of the wheel of the year.
I drew this card upright so I haven’t included reversed information here.
When the festival card of Ostara appears it heralds dawning creativity, emergence, an inpouring of energy and ideas, versatility, dexterity, idealism and individuality. An idea or situation begins to crystallise and take form.
Well, this is an appropriate card for me this week seeing as I am moving out of slump city hopefully. I wouldn’t say I feel an inpouring of energy but I am starting to feel more inspired to ‘do’ creative things. I also feel I am emerging but slowly – that’s ok. Emerging slowly from whatever is holding you back is ok; I always remember the story of the tortoise and the hare…slowly does it! Although it doesn’t feel like springtime to me I do feel a little more get up and go, despite having a most awful tooth infection and being in a great deal of pain. I can either wallow or move through this and I choose to do the latter. This card reminds me that I’m not alone in doing this, I do have support from unseen forces that are all around me – just look at that card, the Fae abound.
Our very own lives can be magical like the fleeting morning dew on a flower tip.
The world awakens each day from its nightly slumber, transformed by a sparkling layer of morning dew on the grass, on flower petals and leaves, on cars and car windows. These glistening droplets last only a little while, an integral part of what imbues the early morning with its aura of magic. If we sleep too late, we miss the magnificent display of sunlight playing upon an infinite amount of tiny crystal balls. To step onto the dew-covered grass is to anoint our feet with a form of water that comes only once a day for a short time, a rarefied gift of the night air that will soon evaporate in the full light of the sun. If we inhale slowly and consciously enough, it is almost as if we are drinking in this magical elixir formed in the boundary between darkness and light.
In one myth, morning dew is believed to be tears from heaven, and in another, the droplets are poured from the vessel of the goddess of dawn. When we see the earth draped with these shimmering drops, it is easy to imagine fairies bathing in the water, or a sky god weeping from a longing to be closer to his beloved earth goddess. Seeing the sparkling beauty of the earth emerging from darkness, we may understand this longing in terms of our own gratitude; how blessed we are to be here.
Perhaps heaven really does long to be here on earth, and perhaps that is why we are here—as conduits between the divine and the earthbound. As we drink the morning dew in with our eyes, our skin, our breath, it is easy to imagine that it really is a magical potion, a gift from heaven, a reminder of our true purpose, and a daily opportunity to be transformed.
So much of the human experience is removed from nature that we forget we are products of the natural world. At the moment of birth, we are perfectly attuned to nature. Our feelings are an authentic response to the stimulus we encounter. We interact with our environment viscerally, desiring only what is necessary for our survival. And, if we are lucky, we take in nourishment in the form of pure mother’s milk. As months and years pass, however, we discover the sights, sounds, and scents of the synthetic world. Though these often momentarily dazzle us, the dim memory of our naturalness remains. When we embrace the notion that human beings are inherently natural, bringing it to the forefront of our day-to-day experiences, we achieve a new level of wellness that boasts nature at its very core.
We innately understand that our bodies are not composed of plastics or man-made chemicals and that there is no legitimate reason to consume or expose ourselves bodily to such substances. This knowledge is reinforced each time we find ourselves energized by sweet, fresh air and warm sunlight or awed by the majesty of Mother Nature’s beauty. We feel the strength of our connection to nature when fresh food that is close to the earth sustains us more effectively than artificial supplements and when the pleasures of exercise outweigh the pains of exertion. The human body has been blessed with the same physical intuitiveness that all nonhuman living beings employ instinctively. But because our lives are no longer bound up in nature’s rhythms, we must actively seek to reconnect with this formerly innate skill. The process of rediscovering our place in the natural world can be exciting and inspiring, since nothing more is required of us than to delight in nature’s wonders, to derive! nourishment from natural foods, and to drink deeply of all the wisdom that plants and animals have to share.
Your own naturalness will reveal itself to you when you look beyond your beliefs, your lifestyle choices, and the attitudes you hold. When these constructs are stripped away, you will see a body and mind that never gave up its relationship to the essence of the natural world from which consciousness sprang.
The feminine energy of spiders reminds us that we have the ability to weave our lives into strong beautiful works of art. We may not realize that the sight of a spider’s web glistening in the sun, the beads of morning dew catching the light to shine like diamonds on an intricate necklace, may carry a message for us. Their beauty belies their strength because though they are spun from thin strands of silk, they can hold the weight of the dew and capture nourishment in their nets as well. This paints an accurate picture of the traits of the weaver, the spider. Their feminine energy reminds us that we have the ability to weave our lives into strong, useful, and beautiful works of art. Though people may have an instinctive fear response to spiders, we can look beyond the physical instinct to understand the spiritual message they may be bringing us.
Among the various Native American traditions, spider medicine has been known to represent creativity. Her eight legs represent the four winds of change and the four directions on the medicine wheel, while her body is in the shape of the infinity symbol, which represents infinite possibilities. Spider was said to have woven the alphabet, creating the means for people to communicate and record their history through language. Just like the Greek myth of the Fates, three women who weave the tapestry of life, spiders are said to weave the creative forces that bring forth the intricately symmetrical patterns of our lives.
So if a spider has wandered into your line of sight, she may be bringing you one of several messages. She could be reminding you of the infinite possibilities you can draw from to create your life. Perhaps her message is to check your email or “the Web” to see if communication you sent has captured something. You might even want to refer to old journals to look for patterns recorded in your personal history. As spider weaves her web, you too can weave your reality and your future. Her medicine could be reminding you that as the creator of your life you need to have the courage to reach out and create your own intricately beautiful and strong tomorrows. If you don’t pay attention, spider may feel the need to bite you to get your attention. If this happens, investigate what that part of the body represents to gain further information about your message from spider medicine.
As our ancestors once did we can honor the cycles of the moon with rituals that help connect us to a more natural life. The moon waxes and wanes in the night sky, always following the same cyclical pattern, lighting the darkness with its luminous glow. It has been this way as long as the earth has been here. The same moon grew from dark to full and back again, catching the eyes of our grandparents, our great grandparents, and those at the beginning of humanity. The moon guided our ancestors in the planting, sowing, and reaping of their crops, and we can be inspired to observe and honor these same cycles today with simple rituals that help connect us to the natural ebb and flow of life energy.
Dark moons and new moons represent polar moments of beginning and realization in the arc of the moon’s phases. When the moon is dark, we might take time to meditate on emptiness, the fertile ground in which seeds take root. A simple ritual for acknowledging this potent phase of the moon would be to write down new plans and ideas that present themselves and keep them in a moon journal. Looking back over a year of dark moons, you may be amazed to see which seeds have blossomed. Full moons symbolize completion and fulfillment, the realization of the seed, and they are times of celebration. They are a great time to gather friends and family to partake in a communal feast acknowledging the apex of another monthly cycle. Your full moon journal might track the full moons of an entire year with a recounting of the gathering—the menu, the guest list, and any other observations you feel inspired to make.
Honouring the dark and full moons with these simple rituals brings our year into a new kind of focus. As we acknowledge the flow of the moon’s cycles, we become more comfortable with the changing nature of our earthly lives, making our peace with each phase, and with the shifting from emptiness to fullness and back again. We strengthen our connection to the universe in which we live and find peace in both emptiness and fullness, each of which are natural and necessary—two sides of the same moon.