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The Land Longs for You Too - Exploring the Complexity of Belonging to Place

Last weekend I officiated my brother’s wedding, and I got to spend the week visiting the land I grew up on.

It’s a special place, that land. My dad has planted over 100 trees on it, carved out a pond that now holds many fish, frogs, newts, and is home for many geese passing through. My parents have co-created with the land to evolve it into a very special type of paradise.

It’s had me contemplating relationship with land, and how special it is to know one place over time. How most of our ancestors had that connection to place over generations.

How this experience of rootedness and home has been fractured by Colonialism, modern transport, and a complex soup of so many other factors.

How so many people have been forced off their ancestral lands, and how many others have chosen to leave. So many of us distanced from the lands of our ancestors. I can feel the land longing for their return, for that relationship, to be restored.

I’ve been contemplating how important it can be to establish long-term relationship with certain trees, to know how animals move with and through the seasons. How beautiful it is to be greeted by familiar plant friends in foreign places.

And how fortunate I am to be able to still visit this land of my youth as an adult. Whenever I go back to visit I feel so welcomed, so rooted, and so loved by that place. Received lovingly by the guardian willow tree in the back yard. Greeted by the grandmother apple tree I used to climb.

Belonging to place is a complex notion these days. As a descendent of European Colonizers, my question has long been, do I have the right to belong on this current land?

There is a lot of reckoning, learning, and listening to do. Indigenous voices have spoken concretely about how we can take action to mend harm and listen to them.

And part of that listening is to the land itself. Listening and learning how to be in right relationship again, not in domineering or extractive ways. Part of that is developing deep relationship with the land in order to reconcile wounded ways of operating in a Colonial mindset.

And when we reach out in these ways to the land, to the plants, and trees, to the mountains and waterways, they always welcome us home.

We do no one service by continuing to stay fractured and closed off from the living land around us.

The land, the trees, the plants, the elements - they can help us remember what it means to be in right relationship again. They can help us reclaim our belonging to this Earth.

The land misses us too. Misses our relationship with them.

The word belong has roots in both Proto-Germanic and Old-English meaning to long for, to desire, to pine for. So yes, the land belongs to us, and we belong to it. It is a co-created experience of belonging to one another. Us to the land, the land to us. Longing for each other. Yearning for connection and relationship.

This is a marriage that was once so important to my ancestors, the Celts. Listening to the land, honoring the land, and taking the land’s rights into consideration was absolutely of utmost priority for a thriving community to my ancestors.

Relationship with place is one of the primary actions we can take in order to grow a sense of home and belonging within again. Not just for ourselves, but for the Earth as well.

  • Place your bare feet on the ground.

  • Lean down and place your hands there too.

  • Say hello.

  • Perhaps you've brought a small offering to leave?

  • Reach your heart out to the land as a gesture of desire to know them.

  • Ask if they’d like to share anything with you today.

  • Is there anything they want of you?

  • And listen, with your full body.

If you want a long-term container to explore your own sense of belonging, and growing relationship to both yourself and the wider forces of the Earth, then join us in the Golden Stone Wisdom School. A 6 month study in reconnective healing and earth medicine.


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