Connecting with Mother Earth, Inside-Out

I have always assumed that you need to tramp through the fynbos, climb to the top of Table Mountain, surf the wild waves of the outer Kom or go birding in the Karoo, to claim a connection to nature. Somehow my daily watch of the sea, cloud, mountain and bird from my window chair, with the cool south-east wind dancing the curtains, seems tame in comparison. But I was put right.

Last night I dreamt that I was giving a beloved Afrikaner friend a lift on a recently souped scooter that used to belong to her but was now mine. We drove from the city deep into the veldt and stopped when we encountered a group of rural Africans. I approached the group and admired a number of intricately woven leather hide objects. A tall and graceful young woman showed me one in particular, and together with another woman began to add beads and dry grass to it. I suddenly realised that this was a ceremonial necklet and it was being shaped for me. The woman looked me deeply in the eyes and placed the necklet around my neck. I felt awed and humbled. A young man with flaming red hair was now next to me and he too was fitted with a necklet but his was beaten silver with hide thongs knotted through it. Then a group of older women, all in traditional tribal costume, led the young man and me to a circular room with a mud floor. I was handed a small drum by one of the women and she gestured for me to lead the drumming. I drummed, and drummed and drummed. The journey of that drumming is impossible to share, other than to say it will be with me for life….

I am presently taking part of the U.LAB MOOC (massive online open classroom), Alongside with working on my own prototype of taking my work into the virtual as my physical mobility is increasingly diminishing, I have had the opportunity to take part in fellow student Cheryl Strand's U.LAB initiative – the Spiritual Ecology Hub, joined a couple of this virtual hub’s meetings, and commented on Cheryl's prototype for the 8 week U-process for Spiritual Ecology circles, and reread the book ''Spiritual Ecology'' by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee which is used as the reference text in the proposed circles. What I never expected was the profound and humbling experience of the soul of the earth, the anima mundi, connecting within me, in a dream experience, and in the form of the African landscape and peoples that I have loved since I came here as a young girl.

I am filled with gratitude.