I recently read “A Cup of Sunlight – Discovering the Sacred in Everyday Life” by Juliet Batten and enjoyed this passage about a simple daily ritual to remember to be present in nature and the elements.
“I decided to make a shrine in the garden, and in the centre of the lawn set up an inverted planter saucer into four, and in each I placed a symbol for one of the four directions: scarlet nasturtiums for fire in the north, and incense stick for air in the east, a tiny bowl of water in the west, and some green leaves for earth in the south.
When my seven year old granddaughter came to visit I showed her the altar, explaining how the four directions were represented. She caught on immediately, finding red berries to add for fire and then a circle of purple petals around the incense holder. She filled the water bowl and put a blue number 6 in it (the colour blue was clearly what she wanted and ingeniously took a fridge magnet to do it). Then she found variegated leaves for earth and, finally, a baby grapefruit.
Tending this altar each day became a simple task, yet it opened me up to the garden in a whole new way. When filling the water bowl I reflected on the element of water and wondered whether the plants were getting enough, or too much. I began to notice where the lawn was dry and cracked. I watched the clouds to see if they were brining rain, as spring passed nto summer. As I placed the nasturtiums, I reflected on how hard it was for the sun’s fire to enter this garden, and wondered if it was time to open things up a little. As I lit the incense I became aware of the many seeds and pollens that travelled on the air. With the leaves, the symbol of the earth, I celebrated the green health of this place. Tending to the altar drew me down the steps and into the world of the garden.”