How can we make the world a better place? This is a question many people have asked throughout the ages, with many different answers. For this week's Earthy Thursday we look at those who are trying to create a more sustainable future—either by advancing new technology that's greener and more efficient or by utilizing nature's own solutions—alongside a few other choice stories about humanity's intersections with the natural world.
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Working with the Elements is a core piece of magic I teach in the Reclaiming Tradition. I revisit this work every so often as a teacher and as a student. In my last five articles I've chronicled my explorations with Air, my connections with Fire, my dive into Water, my complex dance the Earth and finally finding myself standing in the Center.
A Ritual for the Elements...
The year's first favas are in, thank Goddess. It really must be spring.
Vicia faba. Broad beans. Horse beans. Windsor beans. Under their many names, they are the Original Bean, one of humanity's very oldest cultigens; we've been eating them for the past 12,000 years or so, since the end of the last Ice Age. They're the Old World's only true beans, the ones Jack sold the cow for; all the rest, incredibly, come from the New World. Fava beans.
Once long ago, they say, on the southern Mediterranean island of Gozo there lived a Giantess. One day she decided to build two houses: one for herself, and one for her daughter. She carried her daughter on her hip and the stones—I've seen them myself, and many are as big as automobiles—on her head. From these she built two beautiful big houses, one for herself, and one for her daughter. How did she manage to heft such massive stones? Well, she ate magical fava beans, of course, which gave her magical strength.
Then there came a terrible drought, and the crop of favas failed. The hungry Giantess (and presumably her daughter as well) sank down into the Earth. They are there still.
Tiny flowers know
that hope blooms eternal
pushing the way
through cracked stone
rebirthing the Earth
What is a seed
but a miracle
right in front of me
What am I
but a miracle
to be seeing this right now…
As we look around and assess the changes sponsored by the Uranus-Pluto square, we can start to dream of a better future, both in our personal lives and on a larger scale. But those dreams must be firmly based in the reality of time, space and Earth if they are to become anything more than escapist fantasies. We'll want to look around to see what structures have been brought down by Tower Time, begin to sort through the rubble, then decide what we will use to rebuild and what is no longer useful. The landscapes of our lives have been irrevocably changed, and we now look to discover the paths through our new world. Cue the Aries New Moon, which brings courage, determination and a bit of sheer bloody-mindedness to help us find our way in unfamiliar territory. But this chart also brings an interesting combination of planets (Venus and Neptune, with Saturn keeping a rather judgmental eye on things) that gives us an opportunity to dream well and truly, but also suggests taking great care in some areas....
In her 1974 autobiography Witch Blood: The Diary of a Witch High Priestess (39-40), Patricia Crowther cites as part of her initiation what she calls “the blessing prayer”:
In the name of Dryghtyn, the ancient providence,
which was from the beginning, and is for eternity,
male and female, the original source of all things;
all-knowing, all-pervading, all-powerful, changeless, eternal.