Cultivating Anima Mundi with The Land on which You Live
Does your body ever feel tired or sluggish by the end of the day? Do you ever feel flat or depressed? If so, perhaps you are missing out on a vital source of life-force.
Our indigenous brothers and sisters believe that without an active reciprocal relationship with Mother Earth, our bodies and minds and—eventually—our communities sicken and die. Ancient alchemists used the term Anima Mundi (which literally means the soul of the earth) to describe the deep intimate connection we must all have with Mother Earth in order to thrive.
Anima Mundi means to experience the earth—and every living thing on the earth—as part of ourselves, to experience ourselves as part of the earth, beings who would not exist without her sustenance.
What would it be like for each of us to have a deeply rooted sense of belonging to the land and each other?
This is the inquiry in which I live. This inquiry took me on a spiritual pilgrimage to Ireland, the land of my ancestors, where I experienced the healing power available to my body, mind, and spirit at the ancient sacred sites. This inquiry led to my Celtic Shaman training, where I learned how easy it is to develop a relationship with the land on which we live.
If we want to experience Anima Mundi, we can start with the belief that the land we live on “is never just a passive or inert setting for the human events that occur there. It is an active participant in those occurrences.“ (David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous) After years of experimenting with this belief, I’ve concluded that nature has its own intelligence, which is aware of us and longs to partner with us.
Acknowledging the history of the land on which we live is also vital: settler Americans live on land torn from its native people, a violent loss which is held in the DNA of the land as well as the posterity of our indigenous. On my altar and in my rituals, I celebrate the Cherokee as the ancient beloved guardians of the land on which I live. And when I do a Space Clearing for myself or my clients, I always ask if any integration and clearing is needed for that primal loss.
For our ancestors, the yearly calendar wasn’t a mental construct, it was an embodied reality. The ancients were never further than a days’ walk from a sacred space like a stone circle, in which the community celebrated the solstices and equinoxes and “cross-quarter days,” the turning of the wheel of the year.
Since my Celtic Shaman training, I’ve laid out the Wheel of the Year on my land twice. The first time, on our large lot in Roswell, trees anchored the eight holy days of the wheel of the year. We recently downsized to a small cottage in the mountains, and now rocks placed just outside of our home anchor the sacred timings.
Laying out the wheel of the year creates an energetic blessing grid around your home, and allows you to interact with the land to celebrate the natural rhythms of the seasons.
- Samhain or Halloween: Northwest
- Winter Solstice: North
- Imbolc or Brigid’s Day: Northeast
- Spring Equinox: East
- Beltane or May Day: Southeast
- Summer Solstice: South
- Lughnasadh or Lammas: Southwest
- Autumn Equinox: West
You can use rocks or trees to denote the holy days, or birdhouses, flags, ribbons, crystals, whatever works for you. The important thing is your intention to deepen your relationship with the land on which you live. When we give our love and attention to our land, when we appreciate the soil and trees and birds, when we listen to its stories and attend to its needs, we also receive. Each morning when I connect to the soul of the Earth, a subtle but steady power rises, filling and fueling my body with strength and courage for the day ahead.
I promise you that if you will focus your grateful attention on the land where you live, the land will rise up to meet you. Anima Mundi will fuel and transform you, preparing you for the legacy work that only you can do in the world.
Melody LeBaron is a Space Clearing and Feng Shui practitioner who facilitates Shamanic Priestess and High Priestess circles in Atlanta and western NC. www.TransformingSpace.com