Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Festival of the Week: Earth Day

There are so many festivals happening this week, including Easter and St George's Day, that it was hard to decide which to choose as my Festival of the Week.

But, instead of going for either of those famous celebrations, I am  picking Earth Day, which takes place on 22 April.

Earth Day is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment; it is a time to honour the plants, trees, wildlife and land around us and to do something to help them thrive. The Earth Day website has lots of suggestions for actions or pledges you could make to help the environment, as well as public events taking place on April 22.

Flower-Pot Day
One simple suggestion is to give someone you know a potted plant as a gift - an idea being promoted as Flower-Pot Day, which is almost a separate event to Earth Day but also happening on 22 April.

The Flower-Pot Day website says: "Decorating homes and work places with plants improves our life condition on Earth. Plants use carbon dioxide, the cause of the greenhouse effect and climate change, and emit oxygen. Flower-pot Day is an action to be done on 22nd April, already Earth´s Day, and is about giving each other plants."

Sing to the Trees and Create Your Own Woodstock
Another Earth Day action being promoted is to sing to a tree. This idea  is being called Create Your Own Woodstock.

OK, maybe you need to get in touch with your inner tree-hugging hippy to take part in this one, but apparently last year more than 3,000 people from 39 countries and 30 states sang to trees on Earth Day.

However, trees are important. They are vital to our continued existence on Earth and every year a rain forest area larger than England is cut down. Singing to them might not actually do much to stop this deforestation, but if trees do have spirits then I'm sure it will cheer them up.

The idea behind Create Your Own Woodstock is to get together with a group of friends at midday on 22 April and sing to a tree. The people promoting the idea have put together this short ritual you can do if you like:

1. Circle the tree.
2. If there are children have them be in an inner circle. They will be our next caretakers and we want to empower them with our song.
3. Place your left hand on your heart and extend your right hand towards the tree.
4. Silently name yourself and your intention and how you wish to link. If you are a small group you can do this out loud. Ex: I am Susan, I sing for the trees, for White Leaved Oak and the Holy Thorn, for the Joshua Trees in the Nevada dessert, for the trees in Japan, for all trees destroyed by greed, for trees that are dying or disappeared. I link with the trees in North Carolina, for the junipers in New Mexico and all trees around the world. I send them my love.
5. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth three times, feeling your love for this tree and setting an intention for healing and linking with the other trees around the world.
6. Tone on an Ah voice, the sound of the heart. If you can tone the note F# a note related to the heart and to many sacred places around the world.
7. Allow this note to change and shift. Explore your voices with the intention of sending the song to the children and to the trees. It doesn't matter what your singing voice is like. What matters is the love and intention you are sending.
8. Allow the toning to come to an end. Stand in silence.
9. Listen for a message from the trees.
10. Share.
11. Sing whatever tree songs or Earth chants you know.
12. Offer ribbons to the tree.

PFL Earth Day Event
If you live near London, the Pagan Federation London is running an Earth Day event in Trent Park on 22 April from 2pm-5pm.

It is an open event that anyone can turn up and take part in. There will a variety of celebrations to celebrate Earth Day including Earth-centred drumming, meditation, a picnic and creative work. Trent Park is in Enfield, London N14 4XS and is a five-minute walk from Cockfosters underground station.

If you want more ideas about things to do for Earth Day, visit the Earth Day website at http://act.earthday.org/

Links and previous related posts
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/04/spells-to-heal-earth.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/04/gaia-bad-witchs-goddess-of-week.html
http://act.earthday.org/
http://act.earthday.org/event/flower-pot-day
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Day
http://www.marcalsmallsteps.com/
www.songkeeper.net/singforthetrees.htm
http://www.treesplease.webs.com/
http://www.pflondon.org/
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2008/03/origins-of-easter.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2008/04/st-george-man-and-myths.html

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