Paganism is a nature worshiping religion – someone who is Pagan, or who is involved in the new age movement will have an automatic appreciation of it. Others, who have interests in the natural world, will also be able to appreciate these surroundings. However not everyone, including pagans, will engage with nature as often as they could. Many people appreciate it from a far. Rarely do people use their sense of touch. Many studies have been done to help prove that rubbing a stone, or other natural objects, a few times everyday can decrease stress levels and increase focus and efficiency. Put simply: a sensory neuron is triggered by the stimulus; the message is then processed by the brain, which then tells the body how to respond.
Seeing the world through the eyes of a witch or pagan can help people to better engage with their natural environment. When walking in a wooded area it would be a good idea to take the time to feel (in the literal sense) the world around you. Close your eyes and touch the gnarled, ridged surface of a tree, or feel the rugged formations of any rocks you come across. Aim to feel the texture of something like the woody prongs of a pine cone or the silky softness of a feather. Even sat in your own garden you can feel the spiky shoots of cut grass or springy sponge-like moss. Becoming more tactile with the natural objects which Mother Earth grows upon her body, can only lead to good things. Don’t be afraid to touch!
Whilst you are out and about being all touchy feely with a tree or doing your daily job (if you work out doors) begin to collect a few things to place in jars or to decorate your alter. You might find: snail shells, feathers, leafs, bark, stones, twigs, wool, flowers to dry (ask the plant first), seeds or pods, horse hair, muscle shells, sea shells and many other things besides. If you’re lucky you may come across other things such as horn and bone. Everything you pick up will have a symbolic meaning attached to it and a possible use within your magical workings or pagan rituals. Each season will deposit different things upon the land which are waiting for you to find.
Walking bare foot in the garden or wood may not be something you do every day but try to do it as often as you can. Remember last time you visited a beach and feeling the pebbles: hot, warmed by the sun and under your feet, or the squishy wet sand between your toes. Remember the sensation of your foot being tickled whilst being run over grass in a park, garden or field. The earth is soothing and cleansing, healing and strengthening. It is a grounding experience to walk barefooted over the earth’s soil, and some studies show that it can have certain health benefits. As you walk barefoot visualise the earth’s energy coming up through your feet in to your body. Get muddy, get messy and don’t worry about how you look. Get tactile and engage with the Great Mother.
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