I was up early, and ventured outside to greet the dawn in ceremony. I could smell how the air has turned crisp and cool, and the summer is slipping away. It reminds me of my childhood in the country, my memories return to the warm late summer days, and cool evenings of early fall, and the business of harvesting the crops, and getting the garden picked and preserved.
When we live in the city, its easy to forget about the bounty and abundance of the harvest. We just go to the grocery store and buy our meat and produce, and never give it another thought. Consider if that supply suddenly wasn’t readily available. And consider the benefits of honoring the harvest and its abundance.
The early indigenous tribes, and the early pioneers all lived very closely to the land, to mother earth, and understood our interdependence with plants, animals, the weather and the seasons. They depended on the abundance of the harvest to survive the long, cold winters.
Many people are becoming more conscious of their diet and health, adopting “clean eating” habits. But are these people considering how they treat their food, and honor where it came from? Those of you who are practicing vegans, or vegetarians, although you don’t eat meat, do you consider the life of the plant, and honor it? Or do you treat your food with total disregard for the plant and people who worked so hard to get it to your table?
The indigenous people understood the interrelationship between plants, animals, people and the environment. They celebrated when the crops came off, and the abundance of the harvest. And many shared their bounty of garden produce with friends and neighbours to enjoy.
I encourage you to put more thought into your food, where it comes from, how it is grown, and how you are treating what is on your table, and the plants around you.
Observe the actions of yourself and others as you are outside in nature. In what ways do we show a lack of understanding of the importance of plants and treating them with respect, ie: pulling leaves off trees as walking by, or stomping on plants and bushes. How can we improve the ways in which we take plant life for granted?
It may seem small to pluck a leaf from a tree, but if everyone plucked the leaves, or bent the branches, that tree would struggle to survive, may not produce enough new seeds to grow new trees or the animals that live within the tree may not be able to keep warm. What would happen if we killed the grass and native plants, if we stepped on the ant hills or if we took a bird’s nest from a tree?
Practice respect and honor for all life, including trees, plants and animals from nature, as well as the meat and produce that is harvested and sold in stores or farmers markets.
Here is a list of 5 ways you can celebrate and honor the harvest and the abundance that is available during the harvest and throughout the year.
- Waste less – 30% of food purchased is wasted, and thrown away. All the hard work and effort to get that food to you is thrown out when you buy food and throw it out and don’t eat it. Maybe you buy for convenience and don’t get it cooked in time. Consider how you can preserve any food purchased in quantities larger than you can consume within a few days. Can you freeze, dehydrate, or preserve it? Can you share it with someone else who could use it? Use all parts of the meat or plant, in respect for its life. The plains native tribes used every bit of the buffalo, including the bones and sinew, they wasted nothing.
- Eat Simply – consider buying and eating more grains and beans, than meat. Adopt a meatless meal plan once or even a few times per week. Identify foods local to your area, and learn ways of cooking them, and their nutritional value. Also eat with the seasons – cook and eat food in its season to honor the cycle of nature.
- Buy Local – support local growers. Not only does this support the local economy, it is considered healthier to eat foods grown within a 50 mile radius. The food grown in other countries and shipped here may have been treated and handled in ways that the end product is not as healthy for us as the food grown locally. It is easy to find a farmers market where local meat and produce is sold.
- Advocate – talk about the harvest, buying local, and growing your own food. Join a community garden, or grow a few pots of produce on your patio or balcony. You can connect with the seasons, and earth’s bounty from just a small container garden, and enjoying its freshness.
- Use your intent – Your gratitude expressed to mother earth, and all plant and animal life is powerful. Imagine if humans connecting to the plants and expressing gratitude would make them flourish and produce more.
If you are interested in learning more, or want to participate in a ceremony and celebration of the harvest, join the Wind Haven Shaman Community monthly meetups, found on meetup.com or contact Deanna at www.wind-haven.com