WHAT IS EARTH MEDICINE?
In the Native American Tradition, good medicine is anything that is healing to the body, mind, or spirit.
Earth medicine is a two way energetic exchange between humans and Mother Nature. It is about Mother Earth healing us with her energies and it’s about us healing the damage that has been done to Mother Earth. Earth medicine is the only solution that can save our future on this planet. Mother Earth will endure but humans may be shaken off her surface in the near future unless there are drastic changes made in our living habits.
We all need to be living in right relationship, which is the law of reciprocity or karma in action because what goes around comes around and what we do unto others is what will be done to us.
In this article I present the idea of Earth as a living, sentient being. I also present the most fascinating concepts associated with Earth as Medicine. An earth based religion (EBR) focuses on worship of the divine through Earth, Nature, and the gods and goddesses associated with them. EBRs include Asatru, Druidry, Paganism, Shamanism, Shintoism, Wicca, and all Indigenous Spirituality.
I am a member of earth-based spirituality.
My congregation is everything on Earth.
My place of worship is everywhere on Earth.
My times of worship are every minute of every day.
While incarnated, we are made from the substance of Earth, we are an inseparable and integral part of Earth, and we are influenced Nature, by the moon’s movements, by the sun’s rays, and by planets moving direct or in retrograde. Our entire existence in this life is owed to Earth and Nature. Our obligation of right relationship is to treat them with love and respect and protect the sacredness of their beings.
GAIA & MOTHER NATURE
Nature is derived from the Latin word, natura, meaning “birth” or “character”. Mother Nature, also known as Mother Earth, is an anthropomorphic representation of nature that gives the mothering characteristics of birth, nurturing, and regeneration to Nature.
Prior to the rise of the patriarchy, goddesses were worshipped for their fertility especially in relationship to agriculture. Between ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, correlating with the rise of the patriarchy, the Earth’s gender changed. The ancient Egyptians believed Geb was the Earth Father while Nut was the Sky Mother.
Gaia is a compound of two words: Ge, which is pre-Greek for “earth” and Aia, which is Indo-European for “Grandmother”. In mythology, Gaia was a Greek goddess of the Earth. Her Roman counterpart was called Terra Mater. She was Mother Goddess or Great Goddess. She also existed in many other ancient cultures including:
- The Akkadian goddess Kubau was the Mother of Life
- The Hurrian Hepa became Hebrew Eve (Heva) and Phygian Kubala (Cybele)
- The Norse Jörð, Hlöðyn, Fjörgyn, and Fjörgynn personified the Earth
- The Irish Celts worshipped Danu
- The Welsh Celts worshipped Dôn
- The Hindus worshipped Dana
- The Lithuanian Gaia was called Žemė, the daughter of Sun and Moon
- The Māori worshipped Papatuanuku
- South Americans in the Andes worship Pachamama, which translates as Mother Universe (pacha means “world, space-time, or universe”). She presides over planting and harvesting.
- Mesoamerican cultures had Tonantzin Tlalli, which means Revered Mother Earth
- The Indians had Gayatri, who was the Mother of all Creation
- Southeast Asia & Thailand’s Phra Mae Thorani was Goddess of the Earth
- Wiccans worship Gaia as the Goddess of the Earth
- Neopagans worship Gaia as the Goddess of all Creation
James Lovelock proposed the Gaia Hypothesis in the 1960s. This hypothesis states that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth form a complex interacting system that maintains life. In short, Earth is a single living organism.
The Gaia Hypothesis, also known as the Gaia Theory, is the Western scientific label for what indigenous peoples have always known: that the Earth is a living conscious organism and that we as humans are Earth’s relatives and thus a part of the web of life. The Western patriarchal view is that Earth is inert, thus dead, and can be exploited by humans.
Thus the organisms on the Earth, especially humans, have altered its composition. We are at the point now where the alterations are overcoming the Earth's ability to adjust the biosphere to maintain life. The history of evolution and ecology show that the Earth’s attempts of equilibrium have sometimes undergone rapid changes, which have caused extinctions and perished civilizations. Climate change is one of the symptoms we are now experiencing.
The present population of Earth exceeds the Earth’s capacity by 50%. This means that it now takes the Earth 1.5 years to regenerate what we are using in a single year. This is absolutely unsustainable.
David Fideler, in his book Restoring the Soul of the World, lists the following startling and scary facts:
- Human population never exceeded the level of 1 billion people until around 1800. It now exceeds 7 billion.
- During the 20th century human population quadrupled. Experts believe that Earth cannot support another population doubling.
- Between 1975 and 2000, total material consumption in the United States grew at more than twice the rate of population growth.
- During the past 50 years, humans have consumed more resources than in all previous history.
- If everyone on the planet lived like an average resident of the United States, a total of 4 Earths would be required to regenerate humanity's annual demand on nature.
- Habitat destruction has contributed to species disappearance at rates about a thousand times faster than normal.
- Forest cover has been reduced by 20% to 50% worldwide.
- Half of the world's wetlands have been lost in the 20th century.
- 37% of freshwater fish species and 40% of amphibians are threatened or have become extinct.
- 24% of all mammal species face extinction in 30 years.
- 70% of biologists believe that we are in the midst of the fastest mass extinction in the Earth's history.
SPIRITS OF THE EARTH
Besides Gaia and Mother Nature, Mother Earth has other spirits associated with her. Every place has a spirit. This is a naturally occurring energy that oversees the life force of place. Here are the major ones:
Spirits of a Place There are specific masculine and feminine nature spirits that are present at our birthplace. Our feminine nature spirit resides at a place of emergence closest to our birthplace, such as a body of water, a valley, or field. The masculine nature spirit resides at a large hill or mountain closest to our birthplace. We remain connected to these spirits throughout our lifetime even if we move away.
Elemental Beings These beings are associated with a particular element: air has sylphs, fire has salamanders, water has undines, and earth has gnomes.
Devas Deva is Sanskrit for “body of light”. A deva oversees the elemental beings. Overlighting devas are responsible for overseeing regions or areas of land.
Little People There are many types of little people. Some have intentions of supporting Earth and its habitants and some are mischievous or have less than desirable intentions. Some types of little people include: brownies, dwarfs, elves, fairies, fawns, goblins, gremlins, leprechauns, nymphs, pixies, sprites, and trolls.
Masculine Earth Spirits Some masculine counterparts of Gaia are:
Cernunnos or Herne the Hunter - a Celtic horned god associated with male animals, fertility, and vegetation.
The Green Man - a god of vegetation and plant life.
The Schumann Resonance is the heartbeat of the Earth. It is a measurement of peaks in the Earth's electromagnetic field between the surface and the ionosphere.
In the 1950’s the Schumann Resonance averaged 7.83 Hz, the frequency of OM. This frequency is under 20 beats per second compared to 50-60 beats per second that power everything in our world. Since 1980, the Schumann Resonance average has increased to a 12 Hz average and sometimes spikes as high as 16 Hz. This means that time feels like it has sped up.
The Schumann Resonance is so important that NASA developed a Schumann Resonance generator for astronauts in space. The best way to get in synch with it on Earth is to lay on the ground beyond the grid of electric and telecommunication networks.
Our brainwave frequencies correlate to the Schumann Resonance as shown below:
- 7.83 Hz – Alpha/Theta, relaxed and dreamy
- 8.5 to 16.5 Hz – Alpha with some Beta, cognitive awakening
- 12 to 15 Hz - Sensory-Motor Rhythm frequency (SMR), awakened calm
So a shift in our consciousness occurs as the Schumann Resonance increases. This also correlates with the weakening of the Earth’s magnetic field over the past 2000 years. One source I read said that an old sage from India described how the Earth’s magnetic field blocks memories of our origin. It was put in place by the Ancients so that souls could learn without remembering the past. The reduction of the Earth’s magnetic field is now allowing more memories to flow across the veil.
Electrons are emitted from water molecules, then combine with oxygen, to create negative air ions. Most outdoor places contain 1,200 to 4,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. Over 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter exist at waterfalls and oceans. Pine forests also contain high levels of negative ions.
Negative ions induce alpha brain waves, which creates a higher awareness level. This creates a calming effect, benefiting meditation and concentration. Negative ions alleviate depression and stress, boost energy, and serotonin levels.
Positive ions are high in polluted and indoor areas. A high concentration of positive ions causes depression, tiredness, tension, irritability, migraines, nausea, and breathing difficulties. On the west coast, winds that blow westward, usually in the fall, contain a high percentage of positive ions.
So if you want to experience a really big hit of negative ions, visit Niagra Falls, where 5.5 billion gallons of water spill over the edge every hour, or take a week-long ocean cruise.
NATURE DEFICIT DISORDER
Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) was introduced by Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. It is not a medical diagnosis but a concept that children, by spending more time indoors, are becoming alienated from nature. In his followup book, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, Louv extended the concept to include adults.
There are many reasons for nature deficit disorder such as the rise of electronic communications, disappearing open space, less emphasis placed on the natural world, and parents’ fears that keep children safe inside the home.
Alienation from nature has been found to be correlated to diminished senses, attention disorders, obesity, negative emotions such as depression or anxiety, and behavioral problems. In addition, nature knowledge deficit, which is a lack of understanding about the natural environment, has caused a big reduction in stewardship of the Earth.
There is a coalition called “No Child Left Inside” that is working to get children outside into nature. Adults with NDD need to take responsibility for reconnecting with nature. Further along in this article, I will introduce various ways to do that.
Earthing is the term used in Europe for what is called “grounding” in the US. We are grounded when our bare feet are touching the Earth. During this process the Earth’s negatively charged electrons transfer to our bodies through our skin. These free electrons are antioxidants that neutralize positively charged free radicals that cause inflammation.
Throughout most of history humans walked barefoot and slept on the ground. However, in modern society, we no longer walk barefoot but wear shoes that insulate us from the Earth’s energy. Plastic, rubber, or composite soles do not conduct energy. Leather soles usually make the feet perspire and energy is conducted through this moisture. If you cannot go barefoot on the Earth, the next best alternative is to wear leather moccasins.
Research indicates that Earthing has the following benefits:
- Reduces inflammation and chronic pain
- Improves sleep
- Increases energy
- Lowers stress
- Relieves muscle tension and headaches.
- Speeds healing
- Reduces jet lag
- Protects the body against EMF (electromagnetic field) energy
Earthing should be done daily by walking barefoot, lying down, standing, or sitting in a chair with your feet on the ground for at least 30 minutes. The ideal location is on damp earth or at water’s edge.
The Earth has a north polarity and the bottom of our feet have a south polarity. If you experience headaches or disorientation, your polarity might be flipped. Try rubbing the smooth side of a stainless steel spoon on the bottom of both feet to bring your body's polarity back into balance.
Vivaxis is our life axis, our umbilical cord to Earth. Vivaxis is a sphere of energy created at our place of birth during the last 2 months of pregnancy. This is the location we connect to Earth’s energies. We remain linked to this place throughout our lives no matter how far we travel from the point of birth.
The Vivaxis connection can become harmed, polluted, distorted, or damaged by chemicals, EMFs (electromagnetic fields), and lightning. A disturbed Vivaxis connection can make us ill. But by channeling (aligning) ourselves in the direction of our birthplace, we restore our health by putting ourselves in phase with the Vivaxis energy.
The Vivaxis connection was discovered by a Canadian researcher, Fran Nixon, in the 1960's. She states that the most effective healing occurs when our magnetic energies are properly aligned. In order to align with our Vivaxis, Nixon describes a channeling technique that first uses dowsing rods to find the channel, then standing in the channel to absorb the energy. Before the channeling is started, a neutralizing process should be completed. Since this process is too complicated to describe in this article, I recommend reading Judy Jacka’s book, The Vivaxis Connection: Healing through Earth Energies.
I believe that we can ask the spirits of our birthplace to aid us in tapping into our Vivaxis bubble.
The concept of forest bathing originated in Japan in the 1980s, where it is called “shinrin-yoku”. It is a visit to a forest. While there, volatile substances, called phytoncides (wood essential oils) are inhaled. These phytoncides are antimicrobial organic compounds derived from trees. They resist insects and slow fungi and bacterial growth. Pine and oak trees give off lots of phytoncides. The benefits of forest bathing include:
- Boosted immune system
- Improved mood
- Increased focus and intuition
- Accelerated healing
- Increased energy level
- Improved sleep
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced stress
Norway has a similar concept to forest bathing called “friluftsliv”, which translates as “free air life”. Henrik Ibsen introduced the concept of friluftsliv in his 1859 poem On the Heights. Friluftsliv is a longing to be outdoors, exploring and appreciating nature. It can include sleeping, camping, hiking, photographing, meditating, playing, or dancing outside. Friluftsliv is connection to Mother Nature both a physically and spiritually.
Monumenteering is the process of visiting a sacred place and getting to know it, especially on a mythic level. Paul Devereux, in his book Re-Visioning the Earth explains the process of monumenteering. Here is a summary of the steps to creating a mythic relationship with a sacred site:
- Choose a sacred place. You may feel an energetic connection to a particular place. There are many books available to assist you, such as Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations, Sacred Places North America: 108 Destinations, Sacred Places Around the World: 108 Destinations, Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations, and Sacred Places: Sites of Spiritual Pilgrimage from Stonehenge to Santiago de Compostela,
- Say the name of the place out loud a few times. Notice what comes up.
- Research information about the place and study photographs of it.
- Energetically journey to the place and see what comes up.
- Physically visit the place. Use all your senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch, feelings and emotions) to get to know the place. Take photographs. Sketch. Sit and just be there.
- If is non-harmful and nonintrusive, go into the vicinity of the place to take a blade of grass, a leaf, a pebble, or a small handful of soil or sand.
- When home again, put the photographs and items together in a special place. Before going to sleep, go over the material. Repeat this until you recall having a dream about the place. Journal these dreams and keep with the other items. Continue until you feel no new information is arriving.
Tree whispering is connecting and communicating with trees, plants, and other beings of nature. Through this process, we are able to receive wisdom from elements of nature which have their own intelligence. We empower our connection to nature as we feel the life force of a tree or plant. The general steps to developing a connections with a tree are:
- Develop a respect of trees and plants as life forms.
- Approach the tree. Feel its energy. Establish harmony with it. Ask its permission to touch it.
- Open a dialog with the tree. You can ask questions or just listen for wisdom from the tree. Answers will come to you in the perceptual mode you are most attuned to. You may experience:
- Inner seeing through the mind’s eye
- Inner hearing of the little voice inside
- Inner knowing through “gut” feelings
- Inner feeling through heart-felt emotions
- Ask the tree if it would like to receive healing energy from you. Being in right relationship means that the tree is healing you as you interact with it but also you may send the tree healing energy.
- Give gratitude to the tree for your interaction and for its being there, supporting you and the environment.
For more information about tree whispering, read Jim Conroy and Basia Alexander’s book, Tree Whispering.
Ecosexuality can be defined as a new sexual identity that encompasses multiple expressions, such as:
- Environmentally conscious individuals whose green living extends to their sexuality including acts of skinny dipping, masturbating in nature, or making love to Mother Earth.
- Partnering with the Earth and treating the Earth as an intimate partner, including marriage.
- The use of ecological and sustainable sexual products including condoms, birth control meds, sex toys, and lubricants. For more information refer to Eco-Sex by Stefanie Iris Weiss.
Ecosexuals identify Mother Earth as Lover Earth. There are as many as 100,000 ecosexuals already existing around the world. Ecosexuality helps develop ethical relationships with Earth and fosters environmental activism.
An ecosexual wedding is a ceremony where individuals commit to a place in nature, an ecosystem, the Earth, or the solar system. Annie Sprinkle and Elizabeth Stephens, married the Earth in 2008. Since then they have officiated weddings where they and other ecosexuals have married the sky, the sun, the moon, snow, soil, and other natural entities. They also published the Ecosex Manifesto in 2011. For further reading in ecosexuality, refer to Anderlini-D'Onofrio and Serena Gaia’s book Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love.
May Day, May 1st, has been designated as Ecosexual Coming Out Day. May Day is also associated with Beltane, the pagan fertility festival, and with dancing around the maypole.
Many gender identities and sexual orientations have adopted flags to symbolize one’s unique identity. I couldn’t find one for ecosexuals so I designed one. It includes the sign for ecology that was created by Ron Cobb in 1969. The symbol was formed by combining the letters "e" for environment and "o" for organism to form a symbol like Greek letter Θ (theta).
Astrocartography is a map of the world that your astrological birth chart is overlaid upon. It shows where each planet was angular (rising, setting, on the zenith) at the time of birth. These maps can assist you in determining the most harmonious place to live.
Astrocartography is also known as locational or relocation astrology and astrogeography. Astrogeography was developed by Don Neroman in Europe in the 1930s. Jim Lewis of the United States developed and popularized astrocartography maps in the 1970s and 1980s. There are several online sites that can provide a map for you based on your birth chart.
Astrocartography maps can be used to plan relocation or travel. Depending on where your planetary lines fall, your life may be easier or more difficult. As a generalization, the most favorable lines are Sun, Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury. The more difficult lines are Saturn, Pluto and Mars. Some individuals do well while others do not on the lines of the Moon, Uranus and Neptune. Your choice of which line to visit or live on should be related to your goals and desires for this lifetime. For example, matters of spirituality are my highest priority in this life, so I am living on my Neptune line. If love and relationships were your primary priority, you might choose to live on your Venus line. Likewise, if communication were your priority, you might choose to live on your Mercury line. There are astrocartography readers who are proficient at interpreting maps with your birth chart. If you are serious about relocating, I highly recommend getting a reading from an expert.
The influence of a planetary line can be felt approximately 400-700 miles of either side of the line however the strongest influence is felt within 200 miles. If no line is near you the closest line can have a secondary effect on you. There can also be secondary influences based on latitudinal crossings of two planets (called parans). If there is neither a primary or secondary line, it is unlikely you will stay very long in such a location. Again, using myself as an example, I was born in Ohio but there are no planetary lines closeby, therefore, I moved away when I was 18. My physical moves were done unconscious of astrocartography at the time, therefore it supports that idea that we end up where we are destined to be.
If you have experienced tough times your entire life, you may be living on an unfavorable planetary line. Perhaps you were meant to live on this line for karmic reasons. If you are contemplating a move, perhaps you have worked through that karma and are ready for a change. Moving does not change your core issues but it does give you a fresh perspective.
A form of divination using the Earth is called “geomancy”. The word “geomancy” comes from the Greek word geo for earth and manteia for divination. The Arabic name for geomancy is ilm al-raml, which means the science of the sand. Geomancy is a method of divination that interprets markings on the ground (Chinese), how handfuls of dirt land when tossed (African), interpreting the topography of the land (Korean), or sketching random lines of dots in the sand or on paper (Arabic and Western Occult). This form of geomancy uses 16 figures created from random marks. Geomancy is also living in harmony with the Earth and the practice of it involves feng shui.
MEDICINE FOR MOTHER EARTH
Mother Earth has the ability to heal us and in the relationship of reciprocity, we can provide healing for Mother Earth. If you are a skilled healer or shamanic practitioner, you might consider using the techniques described below.
Places that most need healing are:
- Damaged or abused land
- Land with energetic imbalances
- Places where violence or accidents have occurred
- Places that have entities or heavy energies
Just as the human physical body can hold body stories and is surrounded by an energy bubble that holds imprints, the Earth also can be imprinted with energetic occurrences. Imprints may be positive or negative. Working with the spirit of place can neutralize negative imprints and balance energy.
It is extremely important to research the following issues if you are considering undertaking any form of healing for Mother Earth:
- Discover both the energetic and physical aspects of the place.
- Learn the history of the place.
- Examine how the place affects people.
- Obtain permission from the owner or steward of the place.
- Find out what the spirits of the land recommend as a healing intervention and when it should be performed.
A healing can be done directly by visiting the place or through distance healing by using a map. Healing interventions may include the following:
- Grief rituals include recognizing and expressing grief where a traumatic event has occurred as well as facilitating any requests for atonement or forgiveness from the spirits of the land that is required before healing can begin.
- Psychopomp services include assisting entities to move to the light or an alternate location in astral space.
- Transformation work includes introducing light and love to balance heavy energies. For more information refer to Sandra Ingerman’s book, Medicine for the Earth: How to Transform Personal and Environmental Toxins.
- Soul retrieval for the land or spirit of place. Soul retrieval is returning power to a place that has been lost due to trauma or abuse.
- Energy balancing includes balancing the elements, balancing energy flows along ley lines and in sacred places, and inviting the nature spirits to return to a location.
Christina Mark provides this general outline to performing healing work:
- Grounding - ask to be fully earthed in your body.
- Attunement - ask to be attuned to the energy of the land.
- Protection - ask for protection for your own personal energy.
- Permission - ask for permission from the owner and then from the land itself for the work to take place.
- Observe any impressions and listen for any information during the healing.
- Allow the work to follow its own natural order.
- Close down from healing mode when the work has been completed.
- Permission - give thanks for the permission which was given and for the work that has taken place.
- Protection - ask to be returned to your own circle of energy.
- Attunement - ask to be returned to your normal state of consciousness.
- Grounding - check that you feel fully earthed in your body.
- Pass on any relevant information to the owners of the land.
ADDITIONAL EARTH MEDICINE ACTIVITIES FOR HUMANS
Besides engaging in activities described above, here is a list of additional activities that will help connect you into the energies of Earth Medicine:
- Create a natural altar that honors Earth
- Press flowers
- Collect stones and shells
- Paint and decorate rocks and shells
- Work with clay
- Make prayer/medicine/spirit sticks & wands from sticks
- Sketch nature and create a nature journal
- Greet the sun in the morning by singing, prayers, or chanting
- Dance under the moon
- Wish on stars
- Hug Mother Earth by lying face down belly to belly with her
- Meditate, chant, pray, sing to Mother Earth
- Transmit Reiki to Mother Earth
- Communicate with and get to know Nature Devas
- Build a medicine wheel and/or labyrinth
- Pay attention to messages from rocks, flowers, the sky, water, and other natural elements
- Have a dialog with Mother Earth by opening a hole in the earth and closing it when done
- Grow plants in the garden or in pots
COPYRIGHT © 2017 DRAKE BEAR STEPHEN. EXCEPT AS ACKNOWLEDGED. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED