For the July OMEC Inspirational Essay, I'd like to share with you an excerpt from my (Jonathan Hammond) forthcoming book: Re-Wilding: A Shaman / Witch’s Guide
Our mythos, our truest and most purposeful story, our organic wildness, will reveal itself through our attunement with Nature, and if we merge our minds with the underlying energy of Nature held within a seed, we can start to identify a similar guiding intentionality within us that has always been there, and that if followed, will reveal the story that the Earth wants us to tell.
A cornerstone magical practice of the shaman is called shapeshifting. Shapeshifting is a simple imaginative process in which we intuitively and empathically assume the form of a person or object to receive its influence or its power. When we shapeshift into something, we create a deep psychic identification with another being that awakens within us our own “version” of that being’s genius. Shapeshifting is a powerful practice, and we are doing it all the time, because whenever we manifest something (i.e., create magic), we are making a deliberate self-identification with the very thing that we create. If you want to move to Hawaii, you become the person who would do just that, if you want to attract love you become love, if you want to stop smoking you become smoke-free, and if you want to re-wild yourself you become Nature to find how Nature stirs within you.
So, in your mind’s eye, picture a seed that has just been planted, and project onto it a human psychology. Imagine this seed is quite a bit like you, it approaches life in much the same way as you do, it has likes and dislikes, fears, desires, and dreams. Empathize with the seed, merge your mind with its form and energy, imagine the inner life of this being as the inward workings of its outward story.
When a seed is planted in the ground, its first action is to split open and send roots into the earth. It doesn’t reach outward to find its identity, it grounds into its inherent belongingness, and assumes an identity of absolute perfection by being just as it is, from the get-go, the seed knows that this is its world. Underneath and surrounding the seed is a vast community of support and nourishment, an intricate web of life that collectively supports and feeds the seed to become what it is meant to become and to fulfill its role as a vital and life-giving part of the whole.
Within the seed is an evolutionary programming that beckons it toward life and to all that is life-affirming. Through the seed’s felt sense, it makes choices in every given moment and circumstance that move it toward its highest potential. There is a single pointed directionality within the seed to unceasingly create itself beyond its current form. Whatever the circumstance, whether a beautiful summer day or an encounter with a tsunami, thunderstorm, or predator, the seed will do its best to find safety, to avoid danger, and to take from the earth what it needs to blossom and to thrive.
The seed’s journey into flowering is fueled by a robust self-esteem. The seed/plant denies itself nothing, it gets its needs met however it can, it does not apologize for its existence, it has no understanding of self-sabotage or martyrdom, it will compete with others when appropriate, it maintains its boundaries and defenses, and it is singularly uninterested in anything that is not directly in service to it. This is not an inflated self-esteem; it is a self-esteem necessary to hold the seed/plant’s importance as a precious and indispensable being whose existence benefits the entire universe.
The seed/plant’s need for sunlight is a symbol of its yearning to fulfill its spiritual purpose. The sun’s light as its food reveals the importance of its sacred objective to give its gifts to serve all of life: food, oxygen, energy, fire, sources of water, housing, shade, and beauty. Through living the hidden story that its instinctual nature dictates, the seed/plant is alive and real, it gives of its gifts, and it will die, decay, and become mulch for further life.
By shapeshifting into the seed/plant (and I invite you to do this practice on your own) you discover that you belong on this planet exactly as you are, that you have an embedded directional programming within you that can be felt, that you are to always advocate for yourself and to never betray yourself or deny your needs, that in the face of difficulty you need only do your best, that you should be unabashedly obdurate in your desire to express your true essence from which your gifts will emerge, that your spiritual purpose is in the pursuance of anything that is life-affirming, and that when appropriate, you will let yourself “die” (i.e. develop into something new) to continue to serve the life-force.
From my heart to yours. For the Earth,