My Earth, My Religion
Though I still consider myself a novice, the Mother Earth has been the focal point of my spiritual and religious views since I can remember. I was raised in a small coal-mining town in rural southern WV where evidence of repeated acts of maliciousness were evident all around. Mining companies would take a beautiful mountainside and strip it of all the covering. The trees would be trucked away to sawmills to build more scabs upon her green skin. The rocks and soil were mutilated into mush that could easily be swept away from the scene. Great gaping holes lay uncovered in the forest splendor for all to see. Some of the wounds are still there thirty-five years later. Ponds filled with sludge from the mines dotted the landscape and in heavy rains would overflow or burst, killing not only the surrounding landscape but many human beings and animals as well. Seeing these things as a young child made a part of me dislike – even hate – progress and those who brought it. But life was only just beginning; there was much more treachery to see.
Eventually, government stepped in and required large mining companies to “make it pretty” once again. However, the once majestic views of the mountain ranges near my home were now spattered with the ever-growing menace that was society. Slowly I watched her elegant hardwoods and gracefully sloping mountains scab over with our culture’s ideas of progress. The effect was disheartening for a teenage girl seeking answers about the stirrings within. It would take 20 years to heal those scars on my soul.
I moved from my small town of less than 500 people to the large, booming metropolis of Baltimore at the age of 16. Alone and thinking that I knew everything there was to know, I started upon my search for who I really was and what life was all about. All that concrete was hard to take. The sky would look like rain for days or weeks before it would rain. The stars were hidden behind a canopy of smog and debris from the city. I was miserable here, but kept on looking for what it was that called to me. Every chance I got I went into the countryside near Baltimore. Every week there was less and less of that to go to. I felt trapped inside a concrete tomb, smothering from the lack of my beautiful sky.
I moved again, to the more suburban part of the county and then again to another county. Each move took me to “greener pastures” only to find those pastures consumed once again by progress. I became frantic at times wandering just how far humanity would take this. More and more houses. More and more cars. More and more concrete. The rainwater had nowhere to go. Streets flooded; homes were destroyed. Soon my little country town had become the city I had run from. So, I moved again…
This time we moved far out into the country (we thought) to the Eastern Panhandle of WV – the opposite end of the state where I grew up. It was lovely! Green fields with cattle, horses, gardens… These kind folks loved their countryside too and vowed to fight for it. And they have, but to no avail. The residents voted against changing the county regulations that would change zoning and make things easier for land developers from the big cities to come in and make paradise a parking lot. But the county government did it anyway. Soon, where once a 3,000-acre cattle farm, which spanned over 250 years, will be a series of housing developments, strip malls and concrete. My heart cries for her once again. How can we keep what is rightfully ours when our government doesn’t listen to the voices of it’s people? It is indeed a sad day for us all.
I try to allow for the majority who are ignorant of what they do; most are just mimicking what they have seen or heard. I suppose the most upsetting thing is having someone you know desecrate her by polluting the water, the land or the air. I have lost many who called themselves friends by standing my ground in her defense. I suppose I shall lose more before my time here is done.
As time has passed, I have come to terms (to a degree) with humanity’s progress in the world. Petitioning for understanding is a daily task for it is difficult for this 40-ish Pagan to digest. Even picking a flower or pruning a tree is a religious task for I do not want to harm any of the creatures that dwell here. The utmost care is taken in the garden, the yard, the roads… they are my temple. I feel most at home in a field or forest rather than inside a building. When I see someone littering or perhaps come upon a space that has been strewn with debris I pray that the ones who do these things will come to know the pain and disgrace that they have caused in hopes that someday these things will no longer come to pass. I often wander if perhaps some of my own misfortune is not but the law of three returning to me what I have sent. No intention of harm is sent, only the love that I have for the Mother. But I will not stop petitioning. Better that I suffer a little misfortune now and again than to have my temple destroyed.
But who am I to point a finger? I am but one of her many children who mourn all the atrocities which befall her each and every day. If there were to be only one day in which all of the bad things would stop, only one day in which no business, person, company or corporation, no government, no country could do anything to hurt my beautiful, precious Mother Earth, what would become of progress? Would the world as we know it end? Sounds like paradise to me.
Bubble, Bubble, toil and trouble… .
Blessings & Peace,