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An Interview with Clea Danaan

1. In both Sacred Land and Voices of the Earth, you speak of "green spirituality." How exactly would you define "green spirituality?"

We are both spirit and body, manifest here on earth to learn to love and grow and evolve towards God/dess. I believe the earth offers us key insight into who we are and who the Creator is, and by tuning into the natural cycles of the earth (seasons, life, death, birth) we can grow as souls opening into God/dess. Including the earth in our spiritual practice is what I call green spirituality. This path may be a part of Paganism, Christianity, Buddhism, or another sacred path. Or all of the above! The planet does not follow a religion. It is miraculous, though, and we can participate in that miracle daily by being present to nature.

2. Another term you use is "intuitive gardening." How do we take gardening from just the act of planting to something that is innately spiritual?

By becoming aware of the spiritual nature of the craft of gardening. The gardener actively participates in a miracle: soil microorganisms, sunlight, rain, the transformation of a seed into a plant that creates more seeds. We place our hands on these miracles. That to me is deeply spiritual.

We can also tune in more deeply to gratitude. What a blessing to be here on earth! To have food to eat, to watch something grow from seed to fruit. A garden teaches gratitude, a deeply spiritual quality.

3. For many, the idea of an earthly connection conjures up images of gardening, with hands connecting with the soil. Are there ways that we can connect to the earth besides gardening?

Playing outside. This might be fly fishing, hiking, swimming in a lake, sledding, or building fairy towns out of sticks in the backyard. Returning to play opens our creative energies. Then we can take time to slow down and listen. The earth speaks constantly, though rarely in words. By simply being in nature (from a park to wilderness) we can hear her. Once you truly hear the earth speak, your life will never be the same.

4. For you the connection to the Earth is more than just a simple appreciation. When did you first realize that you had such a strong union with the natural world?

I've always been a nature child. I grew up in rural areas near beaches, so my playthings were often trees, rocks, and waves. In high school I read about fairies at Findhorn, and started my own herb garden. My deepening connection grew when I began to study Reiki and magic. My connection is still growing.

5. "Going green" is the hot trend these days. However, it seems like many people do so more for the label than for the results. To you, what is the importance of being green?

This is an amazing planet and I love it deeply. We are here as guests and need to treat our host with respect. We are guests who are formed of our host, who owe everything to our host. We need to create societies that live in respectful harmony with the planet, our host and mother.

6. Many ecologically friendly items, like cars and new construction, are quite expensive. How can we be environmentally friendly without spending a lot of money?

We don't need to buy more things, as tempting as that is. Of course we all want solar panels and eco-friendly cars! But we can make a bigger difference by turning off the lights, hanging out our wash, riding a rebuilt bicycle, reusing everything from cloth menstrual pads to plastic bags, using cloth bags (made from scraps would be even better), and so on. Growing your own food organically saves tons of fossil fuels and lots of money. Swapping clothes and household items with friends reduces clutter, avoids waste, and saves money over buying new (especially if that new is the latest green trend). There are some very cool eco-friendly consumables, but reusing and reducing our waste and consumption makes a bigger impact.

7. In Voices of the Earth, you discuss feeling at "home" in nature. How do we go about finding our home in nature?

By home I mean I feel peaceful and authentic in my body. Often being outdoors returns me to what Buddhists call basic goodness. I suggest people find a spot that is special to them—a camping spot, a park bench, a river, a magical tree—and sit there. Just sit there and let the authenticity of the place sink into your marrow. A natural life should be about returning to this home, bringing it into our constructed homes (with respect), and sharing that calm with others through service.

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About Clea Danaan

Clea Danaan (Colorado) has been gardening organically for over twenty years. Her articles on ecology and spirituality have appeared in SageWoman, Witches & Pagans, GreenSpirit, and Organic Family magazines. She is the ...

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