I have always believed more in nature and balance than any particular deity. Gods and goddess are well, human-like with foibles and jealousies that often overtake the good things they represent. Nature is about the basic things that make up…well everything. It’s like a tangible view of atoms. Nature is there and its up to you to make your choices, right or wrong and live with them… adapt with them. I like that.
Simply put, you are responsible for your own actions, not some deity.
Now that said, how do you create a love of nature? Well, you can’t really create a love. But you can create an understanding and appreciation for it. Teaching nature as a “religion” is really tough, especially to children. After all, a large part of religion is explaining about things that we can’t control and that we don’t know about. Heck, look at the mushroom to have this confirmed!
For me there is no “ritual” for gardening, instead, I am teaching my children to talk to the earth. To help, I gave each of them a little patch of earth (I am lucky enough to have some nice patches for them to choose from). Then we talked about what kinds of things they like. My daughter was all about beautiful flowers, pinks and purples and maybe some kale. My son wanted apples and blueberries and bananas (not in Michigan’s climate), peppers and all sorts of fruits and veggies.
So we took tools, some gloves, three new plants (a good number to start with and remember to tend and it helps that it’s sacred as well) and a hose and we sat down to get to know our garden.
I introduced then and myself and talked about where i was going to put my plants and why then I talk to each element as I use it. The earth and its little creatures who are helpful and harmful. Spiders, I always talk to the spiders since I’m terrified of them and ask them to please stay out of my way just while I plant. That I hope they will like the new additions to their home.
Its the sun for fire and the water to help with nutrients. I thanked the earth for letting us dig in her, the weeds for letting me pull them. And as the kids started to play in their own bits of dirt… I heard them tell the earth stories.
They still do, years later. The kids now love to spend some time in winter looking through catalogs of flowers and fruits and draw out their gardens on notebook paper. Usually, the gardens don’t look like their drawings, but we don’t care. The earth has a right to rearrange a bit.
I wanted to point out that, for as much as I love nature and gardening…. I’m not very good at it. But that’s okay.