My first circle, at an urban healing center, focused on evoking participants’ most profound experiences of nature. Most of the healers, homemakers, and young professionals recounted idyllic moments during solitary wilderness expeditions, camping vacations or honeymoons. Two homeless participants spoke of the everyday details of their lives out-of-doors: finding shelter and protection under trees in an empty lot; hunting and fishing for fish and small game in an urban park. The last participant to speak was a young mother, who gestured to her child and the other children in the circle, saying that her most profound experience of nature was giving birth – but did that count?
Her words gave me the perfect opportunity to point out how this culture separates us from our earth connection, and how that affects our relationship to the planet. After sharing my experiences of communicating with plants, and the process I’d learned through in the Land Healing apprenticeship, I invited the participants to use those steps to connect with a plant in the open lot across the street.
The group returned quiet and thoughtful. A few shared stories of simple observation and newfound appreciation; one man made psychic connection with a peach tree, which told him to plant its seeds. A woman, connecting with a clump of flowering grasses, discovered a wrapped, intact, and fresh ham, which she brought in with her. The homeless man eagerly welcomed it as an Easter dinner that he didn’t need to hunt.
I closed the circle by inviting the participants to take what they’d learned to the land where they lived, and to ask what the earth wanted them to learn. We closed by linking hands and sending love and gratitude to the land that we knew.