Describe your understanding of the term “nature spirits”? Discuss this concept in relation to both ancient Indo-European and modern ADF practices. (minimum 300 words)
The way I feel most complete in my worship is to create a balance within all of the facets of my rituals and liturgy. We may honor the three kindred, we may open three gates, and we may acknowledge the three realms of land, sea, and sky as sacred, but I also incorporate this three way thinking into each individual kindred as well. My general praise of the Nature Spirits goes as follows:
Honored Nature Spirits, spirits who roam the lands, spirits who swim the seas, spirits who soar the skies, spirits of feather, scale, and skin, those who exist in this world, those who exist in the otherworld, and those who walk between the worlds. We are honored to share our blessings of the earth with you, as you share your blessings with us. We are honored to walk in balance with you, as you walk in balance with us. Join us brothers and sisters, as together we make the earth sacred ground. Nature Spirits, we honor you!
That is how I view the Nature Spirits, within conceptual threes I can better link my understanding and balance within all worlds and within all the kindred. From the Nature Spirits who roam these lands, who swim the waters, and who soar through the skies, but not just physical beings such as the hawk and lamb, but those who take on a more other-worldly figure and walk between the worlds or simply exist in that other world such as spirit guides and totems.
Logistically this categorizes the Nature Spirits in two categories, those of the physical realm and those of the spiritual realm. But as a third category, I would offer the thought of those who can walk between those realms, those that might speak to us in a dream and appear before us the next day. These are spirits of nature, all forms of nature in all available space to us within the Middle Realm.
Several cultures share similar thought processes on spirits of the land versus spirits of the otherworld. Ireland have the fae folk, which some believed were both physical and spiritual and were more of the mischievous sort. The Norse have their Landvaettir which they thought of as protectors, also as physical and spiritual beings. The Greek based most of their nature spirits off of the elements and locations, such as the naiads of the water and the dryads of the trees, but had many names for spirits based upon rivers and terrain as well. The common ground between all of these is their link between our physical world and the spiritual world, and the need to give offerings to sate and honor these beings. Just because we are a modern scientific and tech-savvy culture does not mean that their influence is any less or that we should acknowledge them less frequently. If anything it is our duty to continue this practice and use our modern social culture to make society aware of the Earth and the spirits that reside here.
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adf, Clergy Program, Nature Awareness