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Apples & Roots-they are common enough items and yet they have a great deal of magic, mythic, and folkloric value assigned to them-for healing, hexing, blessing, and all manner of ritual & religious uses.
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Acts of Devotion: Broken Open

In February of this year as the full moon sat high and proud in the sign of Virgo a phrase came into my mind in the dark hours of the morning: broken and blessed.


I sat with this phrase pounding through my brain and circulating round and round in tempo with my blood.


Broken and blessed.

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At first glance it seemed that it went against so much of what I believe and teach. I believe in wholeness, the sacred, our connections to each other as well as our fellow flora, fauna and fungi, even down to the bacteria in my gut. That is a vision I share with others-warriors for the wild world, plant healers, indigenous people, those who walk a path that locates spirit and sacredness in our sweet and wild land—this is not a vision of what is broken, it is a vision of what wholeness might look like.


And besides, while I have made peace and in many ways integrated my Baptist upbringing into my beliefs and practices one notion that I had consistently rejected was the imperative that I had fallen and was in need of redemption-that I was broken and waiting for God to make me whole.


I know that according to books, public figures, and well known teachers that this attitude of focusing on, celebrating, and living in wholeness and connection should have made me feel empowered, insightful and of course complete.


It did not. 


And on that February full moon my heart spoke out in clear, precise speech: broken and blessed. At first I took it as a reminder that I, that we, could be broken and blessed but since then I have come to believe that one state actually infers the other.


Shortly after hearing this phrase I heard author and activist Mirabai Starr speak about the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam-the broken world. Something shifted inside as I found a story that reflected what I was feeling and coming to know. 


There is much to say about how and why we are broken-and where we go from here. If, like me, you follow and earth based path and you feel this sense of broken-ness too it also brings up questions about our relationship to the Divine.


I plan to think an write more about those topics later but for now I wanted to simply share the practice of devotion that is letting oneself feel the broken state of the world, of ourselves. To refuse to turn a blind eye to help heal and hold and restore whenever possible.


For me Our Lady of Guadalupe is the emblem of holding a space for what is broken. It is believed that Guadalupe is actually Catholicized ancient Nuahatl Goddess or Earth and Fertility called Tonantzin-as such she saw the culture and civilization of Her people broken by European invaders bringing a new concept of God and looking for gold.


In the story of her appearance to the Catholic Bishop of what is now Mexico she appeared to a broken Juan Diego-a humble man, low in stature, probably socially right up there with slaves. Yet his vision of the Goddess-radiant and surrounded by spears of light eerily reminiscent of the sacred Agave plant and exuding the fragrance of roses-vision was so penetrating and vivid that those in power were compelled to listen to him.