Originally posted on The Allergic Pagan:
Recently Teo Bishop wrote a wonderful post about his experience of doing ritual in nature. (Sometimes I think I should rename this blog “What I think about awesome things Teo Bishop has said”.) Anyway, in his post, Teo writes that when he performs a certain ritual indoors in the city, he lifts his hands toward the ceiling and imagines that he is feeling the warmth of the sun. He imagines that his feet have become roots, extending into the earth, far down into the underground waters. However, recently, he performed the same ritual outside, standing next to a reservoir under the morning sun. He writes:
“So I lifted my hands up to the sky, and when I felt the warmth of the sun — the actual warmth, and not the imagined warmth — I was taken aback. I opened my eyes and I saw the water. The actual water. The Two Powers meditation felt a little silly to do at that point, ’cause I was in the sun and I could almost feel the water on my skin. I didn’t need to imagine anything.”
Rather than imagining nature, Teo suggests that his practice should consist of opening his senses to what is actually around him. He goes on to state that Druid (and I would add “Pagan”) practice must be an experience of the living earth, not simply the metaphoric earth. By turning natural phenomena into metaphors for human experiences, Teo writes, we can be misled into believing that the “outer” natural world exists only as a reflection of the “inner” human world. Teo concludes, “The tree doesn’t always need to represent something. It can simply be alive, and beautiful.”
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