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Author Topic: Environment Affecting Your Practices?  (Read 6036 times)
sunkissed
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« Topic Start: March 20, 2007, 04:05:10 pm »

I was reading over this topic and it brought up some issues I have been working through. Even though this relates to the topic I thought it would be better as a separate thread. Gwynyvyr asked if one's path influenced one's environment. I am wondering about the opposite: how does one's environment affect his/her path?

For instance, I recently moved from the mid-Atlantic region to Miami Beach. My personal practice is heavily nature-based with the honoring of local land-spirits and attunement to the climate and environment making up the bulk of it. Naturally, this has caused me to have to overhaul most of my daily practices. I grew up with four well-defined seasons and a major difference between winter and summer. The spirits I worked with seemed to follow the turn of the seasons and the death and rebirth that occurred between fall and spring was a major influence on how I worshiped.

Everything is so different down here! Instead of four seasons there are really only three: high summer and low summer, both overlaid at opposite ends by hurricane season. Crops are grown and harvested year-round. Everything is green and lush even when my body is telling me it should be the dead of winter. I am extremely close to the ocean and get the chance to interact with it daily, something I've never done before. And the local land spirits, the few I have encountered so far, are wild and unfamiliar.

I still honor my Gods and ancestors the same way I did before, as they are not in any way limited by location, but my internal sense of place and connection with the land around me is all out of whack and I have had to rethink how I do things.

I know that this does not apply to everyone, since many of you do not follow a nature or earth-based path/religion, but for those who do: have you ever experienced this? How have changes in your environment affected your practices and/or beliefs?
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« Reply #1: March 20, 2007, 07:50:26 pm »

I know that this does not apply to everyone, since many of you do not follow a nature or earth-based path/religion, but for those who do: have you ever experienced this? How have changes in your environment affected your practices and/or beliefs?

I think this sort of thing can come up with folks who aren't earth-based types too.

One of the things that I've been thinking about a lot lately about Kemetic stuff is that in a lot of ways the environment Egyptian culture was nestled in heavily informed their cosmology: it was an environment full of obvious dualisms each of which was clearly necessary to the cosmic order.  The obvious river/desert dualism is not a simple life/unlife one; the encircling desert was also intensely protective and a source of mineral wealth, while the rise of the river also brought disease along with the fertile soil.  The river flows north; the prevailing winds blow southward.  Basically, they lived in a universe that was clearly laid out in cosmic order.

Thinking about this has made me look for things in my environment that have similar lessons of synergy.  One of the things I'm seriously considering doing with my garden is a three sisters planting -- the traditional corn, beans, and squash triplet.  It's not an opposing dualism, but it's a heavy synergy that's native to here, where I am, and which fits my theology.  The three sisters isn't a native Egyptian thing, but it's one of those things that suits the cosmic order, y'know?

It's also something to pay attention to in reconstructions that come from other climates.  There's a major Wesir (Osiris) festival in Novemberish, and a lot of people I've seen point at that and go "Festival of the dead!  Like Samhain!"  Thing is ... it's a planting festival.

I live in Massachusetts.  I have to figure out how to relate to that festival in terms of my environment -- whether or not to keep to the old calendar that held it there, to move it to my planting season, to dither helplessly and do nothing -- because it isn't adapted to where I am.

There are festivals that aren't keyed to that sort of thing, but the ones that are, I think about a lot.
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« Reply #2: March 23, 2007, 10:48:41 pm »

I was reading over this topic and it brought up some issues I have been working through. Even though this relates to the topic I thought it would be better as a separate thread. Gwynyvyr asked if one's path influenced one's environment. I am wondering about the opposite: how does one's environment affect his/her path?

For instance, I recently moved from the mid-Atlantic region to Miami Beach. My personal practice is heavily nature-based with the honoring of local land-spirits and attunement to the climate and environment making up the bulk of it. Naturally, this has caused me to have to overhaul most of my daily practices. I grew up with four well-defined seasons and a major difference between winter and summer. The spirits I worked with seemed to follow the turn of the seasons and the death and rebirth that occurred between fall and spring was a major influence on how I worshiped.

Everything is so different down here! Instead of four seasons there are really only three: high summer and low summer, both overlaid at opposite ends by hurricane season. Crops are grown and harvested year-round. Everything is green and lush even when my body is telling me it should be the dead of winter. I am extremely close to the ocean and get the chance to interact with it daily, something I've never done before. And the local land spirits, the few I have encountered so far, are wild and unfamiliar.

I still honor my Gods and ancestors the same way I did before, as they are not in any way limited by location, but my internal sense of place and connection with the land around me is all out of whack and I have had to rethink how I do things.

I know that this does not apply to everyone, since many of you do not follow a nature or earth-based path/religion, but for those who do: have you ever experienced this? How have changes in your environment affected your practices and/or beliefs?

I don't know that I necessarily follow an Earth-based path, but I think my environment plays a role in my spirituality.  I live in the U.P. (Michigan), so when the seasons change, they change pretty violently, which I've found affects me quite a bit spiritually.  Fall and spring are particularly strong for me; there is a visceral sense of death and rebirth in the air during those seasons.

Also, I'm pretty much surrounded by wilderness; the biggest "city" up here has only 20,000 people. I feel very connected to the Divine when I'm outside in nature. 

I have a beach on Lake Superior in particular that I'm really attached to; I've been going there for years, and even though it's not a huge stretch of sand, I've found so much inspiration there, not to mention tools galore.  I only use water from that particular beach on my altar (I harvest it in the fall so I have enough to last through winter Wink ), all the stones that I keep around for ritual use and the stones that circumscribe our circle are from that beach, and I also have bowls of sand from the beach all over the place. 

Something about having natural objects from the same place in my living and spirtual working area helps to keep me feeling inspired and connected.  I've thought more than once about how hard it's going to be when I finally move away, because I know I won't feel settled in anywhere new until I find a patch of nature nearby that I feel close to; somewhere I can go to recharge, and bring into my home to keep me balanced.
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« Reply #3: March 24, 2007, 09:40:50 am »


I know that this does not apply to everyone, since many of you do not follow a nature or earth-based path/religion, but for those who do: have you ever experienced this? How have changes in your environment affected your practices and/or beliefs?

When I moved to Texas from Ca, I had a sort of like that experience.  Before I moved though, I had a series of dreams, (that I journaled and later up and deleted the whole blog one day on a "clean out" moment) so I had already been sort of told what to look for and what the first year in Tx would bring.  At that point it hadn't played out yet, so I wasn't quite sure.  There's other parts that are coming clear and I'm kicking myself for the delete, since it would be a helpful reference.

The first thing I did was to start walking.  I had no car at this point so that was easy.  I also made a point of walking recreationaly.  Getting to know the kinds of rocks in the area, getting to know the kinds of trees in the area, getting to know the plants, animals and weather of the area.  Go walk places that you technically shouldn't be.  (If you get arrested I didn't mean this literally... otherwise, yeah.  Walk places that are marked off limits.)  Climb through and over fences.  Ask the ground, who walked here, and wait for an answer.

Sit on the ground.  Go bug hunting.  Dig a hole.  Stand outside when it rains. 

While earth aspects may be wild and unfamiliar, so long as you are cautious they range from ambiguous to benign.  They can take you or leave you, and so long as you recognize the power of the unfamiliar, or your lack of experience with it, then you can keep the necessary distance.  No eating things that you don't know what they are, no drinking creek water, cause the spirits of amoebic dysentery are not merciful  Cheesy all that good stuff.

There will be an acclimation period.  No doubt about it.  The more you embrace it though, I think the easier it is.  For the most part I can't stand the people in my area of the country.  Even in the most liberal outpost of my state I'm still an odd duck.  But the ground likes me.  No matter how hard someone tries to shake me, it's there and I can draw on it when I need to.  Which I think has really been helped along by all the odd stuff I do to find a connection to something, in the midst of it all.
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« Reply #4: March 24, 2007, 12:28:44 pm »

I guess that would be hard, although I wouldn't mind it myself. I really love Florida weather, but I lived in Tampa for a period and it at least had a few weaks of cool weather.
Anyway, you might want to try to make changes in your decor to make you feel a difference in seasons. Maybe trying different effects using feng shui to help you feel a more seasonal balance. 

I was reading over this topic and it brought up some issues I have been working through. Even though this relates to the topic I thought it would be better as a separate thread. Gwynyvyr asked if one's path influenced one's environment. I am wondering about the opposite: how does one's environment affect his/her path?

For instance, I recently moved from the mid-Atlantic region to Miami Beach. My personal practice is heavily nature-based with the honoring of local land-spirits and attunement to the climate and environment making up the bulk of it. Naturally, this has caused me to have to overhaul most of my daily practices. I grew up with four well-defined seasons and a major difference between winter and summer. The spirits I worked with seemed to follow the turn of the seasons and the death and rebirth that occurred between fall and spring was a major influence on how I worshiped.

Everything is so different down here! Instead of four seasons there are really only three: high summer and low summer, both overlaid at opposite ends by hurricane season. Crops are grown and harvested year-round. Everything is green and lush even when my body is telling me it should be the dead of winter. I am extremely close to the ocean and get the chance to interact with it daily, something I've never done before. And the local land spirits, the few I have encountered so far, are wild and unfamiliar.

I still honor my Gods and ancestors the same way I did before, as they are not in any way limited by location, but my internal sense of place and connection with the land around me is all out of whack and I have had to rethink how I do things.

I know that this does not apply to everyone, since many of you do not follow a nature or earth-based path/religion, but for those who do: have you ever experienced this? How have changes in your environment affected your practices and/or beliefs?
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« Reply #5: March 25, 2007, 03:39:56 pm »

I am extremely close to the ocean and get the chance to interact with it daily, something I've never done before. And the local land spirits, the few I have encountered so far, are wild and unfamiliar.

I still honor my Gods and ancestors the same way I did before, as they are not in any way limited by location, but my internal sense of place and connection with the land around me is all out of whack and I have had to rethink how I do things.


The land spirits probably find you a bit strange too.  Honestly, my gut says they're keeping their distance because you smell like a northerner to them and they're used to tourists. That might be why you've only encountered a few.

I usually connect to new places by opening myself to the spirit of the place and sending my own spirit out into it.  You're almost cetainly carrying strong connections to the spirit(s) of your old home. If you intentionally send these out with your spirit into the land, when you draw yourself back into your body these connections will still be there, but the connection (between places) will also be through the land, and you should feel a little more embedded in the new place. (Is that about as clear as mud?  Smiley)

You might also want to include a "Here I stay" statement with any connection rituals you do.  I've found that in places where a lot of people go on vacation the spirits behave differently towards strangers. Too many people coming in, sucking up energy and leaving, with no real sense of sharing or offering.  Feeling at home is probably going to take time.

If you like to garden, you could try planting something native to the area that you couldn't grow up north, together with stuff you're more familiar with.

Betty  Smiley


 
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« Reply #6: March 25, 2007, 07:11:11 pm »

The land spirits probably find you a bit strange too.  Honestly, my gut says they're keeping their distance because you smell like a northerner to them and they're used to tourists. That might be why you've only encountered a few.

Quote
You might also want to include a "Here I stay" statement with any connection rituals you do.  I've found that in places where a lot of people go on vacation the spirits behave differently towards strangers. Too many people coming in, sucking up energy and leaving, with no real sense of sharing or offering.  Feeling at home is probably going to take time.

You've pretty much hit the nail on the head, as far as I can see. There are a lot of tourists in and out of here (I live in South Beach) and many of them have little to no respect for the wilder places around here. The beaches and parks are filled with trash every day and the little bits of nature here and there are ignored. I have sensed very, very few of the local spirits here (and a lot of that could be me - I am terrible at sensing such things and really have to work at it), and have had only one experience that I am convinced was more than my imagination. This was at night in the local park just after Super Bowl weekend when things were finally starting to quiet down again. Of course, now it's the Winter Music Conference and Spring Break so it's drunken tourists all night again.

I have been working hard to clean up where I can and leave offerings every time I go out and while I still feel like an outsider, I definitely think that at the very least I am not perceived as a hostile outside anymore.

Quote
If you like to garden, you could try planting something native to the area that you couldn't grow up north, together with stuff you're more familiar with.

Heh, actually I have just begun to try and revive some of my neighbor's withering young palms and ferns. (I'm in love with the palm trees down here!)
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« Reply #7: March 25, 2007, 07:15:59 pm »

The first thing I did was to start walking.  I had no car at this point so that was easy.  I also made a point of walking recreationaly.  Getting to know the kinds of rocks in the area, getting to know the kinds of trees in the area, getting to know the plants, animals and weather of the area.  Go walk places that you technically shouldn't be.  (If you get arrested I didn't mean this literally... otherwise, yeah.  Walk places that are marked off limits.)  Climb through and over fences.  Ask the ground, who walked here, and wait for an answer.

Sit on the ground.  Go bug hunting.  Dig a hole.  Stand outside when it rains.

You and I think similarly. That's the first thing I did. Started walking everywhere (which is easy down here) and getting myself in the water and on the ground. And I think my exploration is starting to work. I definitely feel like I am at least starting to be recognized as someone who isn't out to trash the place. Smiley 

Quote
There will be an acclimation period.  No doubt about it.  The more you embrace it though, I think the easier it is.  For the most part I can't stand the people in my area of the country.  Even in the most liberal outpost of my state I'm still an odd duck.  But the ground likes me.  No matter how hard someone tries to shake me, it's there and I can draw on it when I need to.  Which I think has really been helped along by all the odd stuff I do to find a connection to something, in the midst of it all.

I'm a bit of an odd sort here as well. There are a ton of tourists and people only out to look good and party and I don't really fit that "South Beach" image. But there are some good 'uns here and there and thankfully I am starting to meet them. Of course, I haven't met any crunchy little pagans like myself yet but I'm sure they're out there somewhere.
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« Reply #8: March 26, 2007, 09:07:36 pm »

You've pretty much hit the nail on the head, as far as I can see. There are a lot of tourists in and out of here (I live in South Beach) and many of them have little to no respect for the wilder places around here. The beaches and parks are filled with trash every day and the little bits of nature here and there are ignored. I have sensed very, very few of the local spirits here (and a lot of that could be me - I am terrible at sensing such things and really have to work at it), and have had only one experience that I am convinced was more than my imagination. This was at night in the local park just after Super Bowl weekend when things were finally starting to quiet down again. Of course, now it's the Winter Music Conference and Spring Break so it's drunken tourists all night again.

I have been working hard to clean up where I can and leave offerings every time I go out and while I still feel like an outsider, I definitely think that at the very least I am not perceived as a hostile outside anymore.

When I landed in San Diego California some 20 years ago one of the things that I made a habit of was to take a plastic bag with me whenever my family and I went to the beach.  We picked up trash as we strolled the beaches, or even while in Balboa Park. This was our way of letting the spirits of the areas experience our respect, and develop our sense of belonging.

Granted, we got  a lot of strange looks from tourists and locals alike in the beginning, but it was worth it, both on the human level and spiritually.

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« Reply #9: March 27, 2007, 08:23:35 pm »

I was reading over this topic and it brought up some issues I have been working through. Even though this relates to the topic I thought it would be better as a separate thread. Gwynyvyr asked if one's path influenced one's environment. I am wondering about the opposite: how does one's environment affect his/her path?

<snip>

I know that this does not apply to everyone, since many of you do not follow a nature or earth-based path/religion, but for those who do: have you ever experienced this? How have changes in your environment affected your practices and/or beliefs?

I fit in to my environment just fine.  HOWEVER, and it's a big one, my HOUSEHOLD environment is, well, stifling.  That's due to my mom's "partner" (she says they're "business partners"...whatever) being a male chauvinist pig and him thinking I'm nothing but a "stupid girl".

While I'm still pretty well closeted, I do have some practices I can cloak with a "because I want to" or "because I can". The biggest one is my keeping of Bridget's Flame with the TC Cill.  When I light a candle for Her and use that one to light however many more I need to light, fortunately they're usually in bed. Sometimes, I end up with him snarlin at me about lighting them and have my mom asking me "why". That's when I drag out my stock answers of "because I want to" or "because I can".

I'm unable to grow a garden the way *I* want to because of his commandeering the ground out here for HIS gardens so I putter with plants in planter boxes or buckets or in the house. I'm hoping that soon I'll be able to grow MY garden how *I* want it and then the hedgewitch/greenwitch part/s of me will show themselves.  Wink

I do have flashes of The Sight now and then and I'm trying to meditate to learn what I need to know, etc, but I don't do anything to draw their attention to me.  I like it just fine when they ignore me for the most part, thank you. Wink

The last time I kept Bridget's Flame, however, my boy was an enthusiastic helper and studied the candle flames intently. A young Pagan?  I think so. Smiley In fact, his favourite cartoon is Little Bear's Winter Solstice! In fact, he kept asking me while he was watching that cartoon when the winter solstice was! Yes, mommy explained it to him as best she could, too!

That's my two cents' worth. Take it as you will. Oh, here's the salt shaker in case ya need it, too!  Grin
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« Reply #10: March 27, 2007, 09:32:32 pm »

What an interesting question!  Made me think abit.  Cause my environment consists of four walls, a bed I can't get out of and a clutter of medicial equipment and supplies.

I have recently Croned and it has changed the way I think.  There is a pulling in, an inwards view to life.  My mind is questing ... even when I am not on drugs. ::grin::

So I have created my own environment.  Behind the medical stuff, are the items that truely make my environment.  On one wall, by the door, I have my guard furbies.  On another wall,  I have a dream catcher, god's eye, my medicine bag, and since I can't wear it with a trach, there hangs my pentagram.  Against the same wall is an 150 year dresser that holds my altar.  Leaning against the dresser is my crone staff.  On another wall, I have a drum and other musical instruments.  On the last wall in the corner, I have chimes in a moon shape.

I used to reach OUT to the Gods.   These days I reach WITHIN.  My environment has forced the shift in me.  I don't like it some days and fight, but I am starting to become easy with who I am.

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« Reply #11: March 27, 2007, 11:14:15 pm »

What an interesting question!  Made me think abit.  Cause my environment consists of four walls, a bed I can't get out of and a clutter of medicial equipment and supplies.

I think you are demonstrating that environment is only as limiting as you allow it to be. Smiley
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« Reply #12: March 27, 2007, 11:22:10 pm »


I used to reach OUT to the Gods.   These days I reach WITHIN.  My environment has forced the shift in me.  I don't like it some days and fight, but I am starting to become easy with who I am.

Elspeth Sapphire

This puts me in mind of the quote "Necessity is the mother of invention."

Sounds like we're kind of in the same boat: Due to medical necessity, you're limited in your environment for practice; due to familial issues, I'm limited in my environment for practice. Therefore, we make due with what we have.  Wink

Works, don't it!  Grin
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« Reply #13: March 28, 2007, 03:15:21 pm »

I think you are demonstrating that environment is only as limiting as you allow it to be. Smiley

Just remind me of that on the days I can't get my legs to move or fingers to move.  ::wry grin::

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« Reply #14: March 28, 2007, 05:54:06 pm »

Just remind me of that on the days I can't get my legs to move or fingers to move.  ::wry grin::

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Chabas 4 5354 Last post April 01, 2008, 06:36:07 pm
by SatAset
Do any of you practice or know of any one who practices...? « 1 2 »
Paganism For Beginners
ssman0017 15 4000 Last post April 26, 2009, 10:42:50 pm
by RandallS
Book on Shamanic Practices
Books and Other Resources
Tanis 4 1717 Last post August 29, 2009, 05:30:46 pm
by Tanis
Daily practices becoming too automatic
Worship and Ritual
Arienwen 5 2364 Last post June 27, 2011, 03:30:14 am
by Skydaughter
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