I got an email the other day from someone who reads my blog. She wrote, “I love when you write about nature. You seem to know so much about it. I see you wrote a book called Observations of an Earth Mage. And you refer to yourself as The Earth Mage frequently in your blog. How did you become The Earth Mage, and what exactly does that mean?”
Over the years, I’ve come up with the following definition for what it means to be an earth mage:
- An earth mage is anyone who sees the wonder and magic in nature, not only in the magnificent, but also in the very small and humble.
- An earth mage treads quietly and gently upon the earth, and uses all five senses to absorb nature’s essence into their heart and soul.
- An earth mage takes a journey into the great outdoors and comes back changed.
It seems a simple definition, and it’s meant to be such. My basic goal as The Earth Mage is to entice people to get up off their couches and get outdoors and take a hike! Or plant a garden. Or lie on the grass and feel the earth spin. If the definition wasn’t simple, no one would want to give it a try.
As for me becoming The Earth Mage—the title itself was sort of given to me by a reader back when I was on Xanga. She called me an earth sage; I liked that, but changed it to earth mage because I like the magical connotations of the word “mage.” And nature is nothing if not magic.
But I was an earth mage long before accepting the title. And I think the best way to answer the question posed by my reader is to post an excerpt from my book, Observations of an Earth Mage:
Prologue: I Am Nature
The patch of earth between the side walkway and my house was a riot of color: deep purple, red, yellow, white, and pink, each shade more brilliant, more beautiful, than the one next to it. After months of ice and snow, of being cooped up inside the house except on the rare occasion when I was allowed to venture outside, bundled up so tightly against the wind and the cold I could barely move, it was spring, and the tulips were in bloom.
I wandered down the path and into the back yard. The fragrance hit me first: apple blossoms, perfuming the air so sweetly I could follow my nose around the corner of the house to the tree hidden behind the garage. I giggled. It sounded like the tree was singing. Thousands of bumblebees flitted from fragrant blossom to fragrant blossom, gathering nectar, spreading pollen.
Unfazed by the bees, I climbed up onto the picnic table beneath the tree, then into the tree itself. This was one of my favorite spots to sit. It was especially pleasant on this day, barefoot for the first time in months, hidden from sight by the riot of flowers and bumblebees.
I sat quietly in the branches among the flowers and the bees, smelling the blossoms, listening to the tree hum, just being. Someone called my name; I did not respond. I was the tree. I was the bee. I was not who they were looking for.
The soft white blossoms each were punctuated with the bright black and yellow stripes of the bumblebees. The hum of their wings was in perfect pitch, one single note, one ohmmmmmm. I hummed too, adjusting the hum up, then down, until I too matched their pitch. I was the bee. The bee was me. We hummed in the tree, the bees and me.
I closed my eyes and felt for the pulse of the tree in the trunk beneath my fingertips, for surely this tree had a heart that beat like mine. The trunk warmed beneath my gentle touch as my branch swayed in the easy spring breeze. It felt like the tree was breathing. I matched the rhythm of my own breath to that of the tree. I was the tree. The tree was me. We breathed and swayed, the tree, the bees, and me.
That was the moment that defined my place in the natural world. The moment I understood that I, a human being, was not above the other creatures of Creation. Not better than the bees and the birds and the bears. Not superior to the snakes and the snails and the swallows. I was Nature. Nature was me.
Thus began my life as an earth mage. Not someone who performs magic—I’ll leave that job to Mother Nature—but rather, someone who sees the natural world as a magical place, full of wonder and miracles.
I was three years old.
~end of excerpt~
That, in a nutshell, is how I pretty much was born an earth mage. Becoming The Earth Mage, however, took time. More on that next time.
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