Scanlan Return to the Land Page

 

 

 A Return to the Land

 

Indigenous cultures lived in close relationship with the land and its beings because their survival depended on it. Spending much of their time outside of human- made shelter they gained intimate knowledge of the land and its beings. Through observation and experience they acquired detailed knowledge of the cycles of the seasons, movement of the stars and planets, migration patterns of animals, and the growing seasons and medicinal and harmful properties of plants. In some areas of knowledge, Western science is only now beginning to catch up with the ancient knowledge about the physical universe.

 

Since the beginning of Western Civilization, five to ten thousand years ago--and especially in modern times--there has been a shift away from the intimate relationship that our ancestors had with the land. They did not experience themselves as separate from the rest of life around them, but viewed themselves as an integral part of life on the planet. They did not value human life above the life of the earth and its other beings. They recognized the sacredness in their relationship to the earth and honored that connection with ceremonies of gratitude for the gifts of the land--the animals that they hunted and the plants that they gathered.

 

The loss of a reciprocal relationship with the land has resulted not only in the physical degradation of the earth but also in the loss of a personal and sacred sense of that relationship. We use the land for food, resources, and recreation. We walk the land as tourists or scientists. We rarely wander the land to give something of ourselves, be that our voice of gratitude or the gift of our presence. We rarely attend to the richness of information that the land holds for us about ourselves and our life journey. However, many of us are now recognizing a longing to return to the land--to reclaim a relationship to the land that has been lost and yet still resides deep within our cells.

 

My work offers ways to be on the land in which the veil of separation between you as a human and the other beings of the land--trees, plants, animals, lakes, mountains, streams-- drops away. It is often a recapturing of a way of being that you might recall from childhood, a wonder that you experienced in the presence of the magic and allurement of nature. It is never too late to rediscover your place on the earth, and your role in the ongoing dance of the earth and its beings.

 

If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.


RILKE, FROM
HOW SURELY GRAVITY'S LAW