Travelling is so common these days with many of us living away from our countries of birth. There are also those of us that travel with work, or just move every couple of years. As much as these freedoms can be exciting, I think we are really missing out on the beauty of intimate relationships with the Spirits of Place.
We don't necessarily know the history of a place, especially if it is a place that has been colonized. We may know what happened there from a certain time, but we don't know the mythology, the stories, or the happenings on a deeper level.
I have lived on the same land now for eleven years, and in the same area for about fourteen. I was married at a place by the ocean near our place, and my daughter's welcoming and naming was held in the same place. I gave birth at home, and on the third day after her birth, I took my daughter out to the woods to introduce her to the Spirits of the land there. These relationships are rich and intimate.
Like any friendship you might have with someone for eleven years - the more time you spend together, the more you get to know each other and the more intimate the connection.
Interestingly, returning home to Australia has sometimes been a bit spiritually discombobulating for me. There is so much that I recognise and so much that recognises me, and yet it can take some time to settle in and become attuned to the rhythm and language of the Land once again. Here on the east coast of Australia, I am staying in Newcastle. The Aboriginal holders and caretakers here are Awabakal whose totem is the Wedge Tailed Eagle. Interestingly, when my parents moved here three years ago, the wedge tailed eagle became my power animal for some time. This visit however, I was acutely aware of how disconnected I was feeling which caused an overwhelming feeling of melancholy that I knew to be spiritual in nature. I knew it was more than just the jetlag, and so I made a point of getting outside very early in the mornings to see what this melancholy was all about. I soon became aware that although I was born here and lived here for 30 years, I was not brought up to have a spiritual relationship with the land.
I certainly had a love relationship and deep respect for the Land here as I grew up in a family with a deep love of Nature, however, I was not taught to communicate, pray or listen to the Spirits of the Land. I was taught to pray and communicate with a God outside of myself. And so as much as I loved the ocean or the trees, as I became older, I stopped talking to them, and I certainly stopped listening.
Prior to this visit, I had pondered for some time about what offerings I might bring with me from Canada for the Land Spirits. In the end, I chose some rose petals from two old rose bushes that I planted many years ago to honour my grandmothers. My hope was that as I gave the offerings, I would be introducing (or re-introducing) myself, as well as my lineages.eaglewt3
That day when I gave the offerings and began speaking with a beautiful old Fig tree, the melancholy lessened, lifted, and I was able to settle. I realized that travelling and holidaying in places away from home, is just like going to stay at a friend's place. The least we can do is acknowledge the generosity and hospitality or our hosts.