The Ritual of Spring; Listening to Plants
The tale of Persephone and Demeter is often told at this time of year. As we welcome back the spring, we think of Persephone climbing out of the Underworld, reuniting with her mother Demeter as life returns to the earth. We often think of the journey Persephone has been on. She journeyed from the earth to the Underworld and back again, discovering new worlds within and without. She has been on a journey of discovery. Demeter has lived on the desolate, barren earth all winter, stopping all life from growing as long as her daughter was kept from her. She has been on a journey of grief. Where has your winter’s journey taken you? Where are you emerging from now? What are you emerging into? As we climb out of the season of rest and inward journeying into the season of work and play, knowing where we’re coming from can help us to know where we’re going. At this time of year, life seems to be calling.
As life emerges around us, it reminds us of the ritual of life that is always being enacted around us. This time of year reminds us of the rhythm of the seasons. The winter has been long and we are ready for the spring. The sun returns and summons life out of the ground. We are ready to come out of our winter cocoons and fly free. What is summoning you? Where are you ready to fly? The ritual of emerging from the underworld is a reflection of many experiences in our lives. Looking to the rhythms around us can help us bring ritual into our lives. Ritual is all around us, and the rhythms around us are also inside us.
A very simple ritual to do this time of year is to take a walk and find a plant that calls to you- any plant, you don’t need to know who she is or what she is called. Sit on the earth next to the plant and breathe. Pay attention to your breath. Close your eyes and feel the energy of the plant. The plant breathes in the carbon dioxide you are breathing out, and you breathe in the oxygen the plant is breathing out. Think of the plant’s journey from beneath the earth, breaking through the darkness and reaching for the sun. Feel the sun on your skin and send your own roots down into the earth. Take as much time as you want, breathing with your plant friend. Listen for any information she might want to share with you. When you feel complete, bring your roots back into yourself and thank the plant for sharing this space with you. As you walk home, think about your own journey through the darkness of winter, reaching for the sun of spring. What experiences do you share with the plant? What has the plant taught you? If you can, go back to sit with your plant regularly. Continue to listen.
Your plant friend has been on a journey very similar to Persephone. Have you been on that journey as well? What can these stories bring to your life? Listening for the rhythms around us reminds us how connected we all are. These same rhythms are continually beating within us as well. This time of year, the call to listen is loud, but these rhythms are always pulsing, all we have to do is listen and let them in.