The Erie Pathway

Photo by Prokhor Minin

Monday night, a few things happened:

  • New Moon
  • Another International Space Station pass
  • The Tau Herculids meteor shower

My stepdad and I watched the ISS pass together on the front lawn. It’s really something special to see — and beautiful, like a star floating through my human view of the cosmos.

For the Tau Herculids, I drove to Lake Erie with a blanket and sat by myself watching for any movement in the sky. I didn’t see any massive meteors like I did a couple of years ago during a rare cloudless Michigan Perseid show, but thanks to the New Moon, I was able to catch a few of them. Regardless of size, they never fail to leave me in awe and inspiration.

Taken at Showse Park on the night of the eclipse. There is a lake there I promise!

Just a couple of weeks ago, I got to witness another astronomical wonder in the form of a total lunar eclipse on a full moon night. I had driven out to Lake Erie just to be near the water for a while. I did a bit of ritual work and made some offerings — things maybe she has never seen before, or recently. A couple of stones from her sister, Lake Michigan, an assortment of herbs, and I meant to leave her a feather from my collection, but there were a lot of people there and not much wind. It was the most still I have ever seen Lake Erie, actually. Despite that stillness, she seemed moody to me. I didn’t mind at all. I vowed to bring the feather back another day.

Monday night, as I visited the same place hoping for a meteor sighting, the wind seemed to pick up significantly, and I released the promised feather along with a lot of love onto her slightly more turbulent waters.

Monday night to Tuesday morning as I slept, I dreamed I was free-diving deep underwater. I was following another being, although I can’t remember who or what — they were a vague but familiar shape, almost like a raindrop but not quite a whale. We were looking for something (I don’t know what… a treasure maybe?), and the tone was rather playful and joyful. But eventually, I began to feel the panic of having held in a breath for too long, and I remembered that exhaling can help relieve that feeling. In doing so, I accidentally inhaled a little immediately afterward & found that I could take in a bit of oxygen. I was too afraid to take a big breath and so I made my way to the surface where I woke up in my own bed. I would like to think that I was swimming with Erie herself!

I think about all that she has been through since we modern humans burst onto the scene. Of all the five sisters, Lake Erie has been the most exploited by industry. Attempts at her ruination have been so severe, she has inspired laws offering her personhood. As you follow the coastline where I live, you can witness for yourself the impacts of that exploitation. Her shores teeter back and forth between shabby apartments, luxury homes, and industry all in a few short miles. For me, it’s a very strange mixture to see. Each area provides a decidedly alien feeling from the next.

Photo by Joel Naren on Unsplash

It happens way too frequently that we, as humans, impose ourselves on our environment without consideration of the ways we affect it, and then we seek to blame that place for the problem. We do it all the time when we refer to a place as a shithole, or a dump, or what-have-you. But it isn’t the fault of the land, is it?

Despite all that has built up and torn down all around her, and the pollutants she has been exposed to, Erie is lovely. She’s moody, a little sassy, and sometimes crass, but she’s got a heart of gold. We cannot blame her (or any other place) for something the folks with opposable thumbs & capitalism did.

We do the same thing to ourselves — trashing our bodies and blaming them for it. My own body, my own ecosystem, has been badly damaged by my own hand. It hasn’t (usually) been on purpose or consciously willful, but it has been done nevertheless. Bodies are designed for adaptation. They respond to internal, external, emotional, and physical stimuli — even etheric, spiritual stimuli — and they warp, shift, move, and change based on that stimuli. In studying for my foot reading certification, this was a concept I became hyper-aware of. Many of the changes in our bodies, regardless of the kind of stimuli present, show up in the form of markers on our feet before we are even aware of them. These are all pieces of the grand puzzle that makes up a person, and no two are exactly the same.

I have recently begun a regimen of intermittent fasting because I want a better relationship with my body, and when you challenge the brain, stuff comes up. I have been on an 18:6 schedule, today I moved to a 20:4 — that is to say, I fast for 20 hours a day, and I have a four hour window in which to eat. During that window, I try to consume healthy, nutrient rich foods. It’s really not difficult… until it is. Without fail, my brain starts making claims that I am starving or doing something horrible which is completely untrue. The level of hunger required to actually be starving is far beyond than anything I have ever done. Still, I try to pay close attention to the shit my head says to me, questioning the thoughts as they arrive. The thoughts that come are like little fish jumping for insects, disturbing an otherwise quiet pond, only seen for a moment before disappearing beneath the surface again — but now I know they’re there. As I get further into it (I am only on day 10), it’ll get easier, and will pave the way for some longer-term fasts. For now, I choose to lean into the discomfort of hunger, and the discomfort of change. This discomfort is necessary, it’s temporary, and it’s fine. It’s just discomfort.

Healing is like that. It’s full of things that are unpleasant to look at but necessary to get through. I am on a Lake Erie pathway. As she fights to regain herself, her health, her autonomy — I do the same for myself. I push into the deep of my psyche, and I find that I can, indeed, breathe under this water.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Rites of Spring

We live near a reservoir which butts up to a beautiful woodland area, packed with wildlife. Although our yard is fenced in, we can see the water from our deck. During the day, the area is filled with pedestrians and their dogs walking the trails. At night, after the college students have sufficiently partied and stumbled home, the air is filled with the sounds of coyotes, frogs… life everywhere. 

Beautiful Velda

I have encountered a beaver, muskrat, deer, a couple of blue racers, geese, and many other birds and bugs here. There is a myriad of plant life providing nourishment and shelter to all of these many beings. In our own yard lives a massive oak tree whom we call Velda. She’s a stunner, and she has this undeniable and palpable benevolent presence. I am so grateful for her and to her.

Knowing that trees are connected, I wonder how Velda was affected by the city cutting down another old one last November? I was really upset by this killing. This big beauty was covered in vines and was absolutely teeming with birds in the springtime. I had a great view from my bedroom window, and the cats adored watching the busyness of life occurring on that trunk. I watched as they sawed and took the tree, piece by piece until only a stump remained. Although I wanted to, I couldn’t do anything about it but feel the range of emotions I had. It just seemed so unfair. Then on Thanksgiving Day, workers came and ground the stump into mulch. It was really, really sad. The mulchy remains are still where the tree once stood, now home to some burrowing creature. 

Lumi thoroughly enjoying the bird activity.

Recently, we noticed the dogs getting more excited than normal in the backyard. At first, we weren’t sure what they were after. Often, it’s the regularly visiting fox squirrels causing the stir, but they tend to stay on the deck when chasing those sassy little things. I thought maybe they’d spotted a mouse. The house we live in is really old, with lots of old house issues, and is susceptible to invasions here and there. Just the other night, Henry caught one and brought it into the living room. He promptly dropped it and it got away, so naturally, he and Lumi were hunting all night long and well into the morning. They wore themselves out and didn’t come downstairs all day. Long after they both went to sleep, the little mouse came out from its hiding place and lingered under the window sill behind the vacuum that hadn’t been put away yet. I keep a plastic shoebox of random doodads near my chair. I dumped it out and somehow managed to scoop the little creature up before it could make a run for it. I took it out to the bushes and set it free. 

There were other possibilities. Last year, my mom’s dog, Max, attacked a snake. I was able to get her away from him, moving her with a stick to a spot out of his reach, and then I shuffled both dogs inside. I thought she was mortally wounded at first, as a long string of apparent blobs hung from her, but I was wrong. The blobs were tiny, adorable coiled up babies, seemingly fully formed, but still in their sacs and not yet ready for the hard world they were thrust into. None of them survived.

That day, I learned that:

1. some snakes give live birth, such as the garter snake I encountered.

2. baby snakes are really, really cute, and my instinct to “protect baby” was still present even for a reptile (<3).

3. they can spontaneously expel their young when attacked in order to make themselves faster – a sad but potent defense mechanism. 

But the commotion this year wasn’t snakes either — it was bunnies.

Max and Clara found a nest under the deck and ousted them from hiding. I am not sure where Mama was, but there were three babies in total. Two survived, having run to Velda. They ran straight to her roots, flattening themselves against her trunk. For the second time that day, I emptied a plastic shoebox of its contents. I held the wild bunnies in my hands only for moments to gently shuttle them closer to their nest under the deck. In shock, they didn’t fight me a bit until it was time to take them out of the box. The dying baby I held to my chest, petting her head as she took her last labored breath. 

I buried her near the mulched stump of the old tree where the burrowing creature now lives, and found that the fuzzy discarded shells of magnolia buds everywhere looked, rather serendipitously, like bunny ears. 

When things like this happen, we are challenged to find a reason for them. I think it comes down to the fact that wherever life is present, so is death. Springtime, though filled with newness, is often filled with pain as well. We can try to avoid it, but we will fail because it’s inevitable that we will be touched in some way by loss. The animal world knows it well and takes nothing for granted. 

It is both a privilege and a hindrance to us to be so tightly bound to our conveniences. So here’s to Nature – the great Mother, the great Teacher, the great Reminder – that death is guaranteed, but not necessarily today, so go and find your joy already. Revel in it. And when you find the sadness at its end, drink that in, too.

The Reservoir

Update

I know have been absent for a while now — initially because I was busy with my copyediting coursework, but for the last month, it has been because I have been locked inside myself trying to figure some things out. There have been catalysts for this disruption, but there isn’t anyone to blame. No one but me, here in my confused head. Nevertheless, it’s been a lengthy hiatus, and I am sorry to any frequent readers who have wondered where the fuck I have been. I also knew there was a potential that I would burn out on posting weekly, and I have. I may get back to that, though I would like to explore it in different ways… maybe videos… maybe art posts… maybe magic things! This is partly because I like doing different things, but also because I have some writing projects in the works and I want to devote more time to those. I want to push myself, of course, but I don’t want to force anything. I don’t want this platform to feel like a chore, so I am allowing myself a lot of grace around my absence. I will not be pushing for weekly communication any longer. I will be pushing for regular creation though… I have been working in Yellow Door (my workspace) a lot lately, trying to make it exactly what I want it to be. I will have a few products available on my Ko-fi store very soon.

My friend, Matt, and I walked a mountain mile to see this waterfall when he visited in December. It was worth every sore muscle I got.

On the subject of writing, I hadn’t intended to keep myself locked (predominantly) into a singular subject, but animism is a really important part of my life. For the last year, I have been studying animism with Cyrene Harding in her Animist Study Circle, which just concluded in December. Through the weekly prompts and exercises, as well as our live video calls, I feel my connection to nature has increased 100 fold. Animism informs all that I do, all that I see, and how I see it. While I have always been an animal and nature lover, this course of study has enriched my life and my perspective in far greater ways than I can currently articulate, and I will be forever grateful for the connections this work has inspired. I have joined for a second year, and expect that I will go even deeper this time.

As seen on the mountain. Aren’t they beautiful?

Also, I did finish my copyediting course! I am still in the process of figuring out my freelance career, but that’s on its way as well. I am rather stuck on pricing after having my confidence shaken a bit this fall. I honestly don’t know what I should be charging. I don’t want to low-ball myself, but I don’t want to overcharge either. The other matter is trying to decide on what services I want to offer. How niche do I want to go?

And, as is my way, I am probably overthinking it. Ugh.

Anyway, I suppose that’s all. 2021 was its own mood. It was often delightful but often strange, too; and now I am here in 2022 experiencing the first real wintery part of winter. I haven’t left the house in I don’t know how long. I mean, I know it was kind of recent, but I honestly couldn’t tell you why or what date. I haven’t got a major schedule right now so it’s easy to get lost in time.

Brent of Mad Cow…and Elvira!

One of the best parts about 2021 was getting to be friends with the owner of my favorite store in town, Mad Cow Curiosity Shop. I had wanted to be friends with him since the first time I ever went to his store years ago. I never thought I would have the opportunity to do so, but then I never thought I would live in Ohio again! Brent is super cool–way cooler, in fact, than I ever knew. He is genuine, personable, kind, loves animals, has great taste in stuff, and he has an eye for the awesome. He hand draws his own tags and signage, and has a really cool art style. If you follow him on Facebook or Instagram, you will see some of his work. (He would also really hate it if he knew I had said nice things about him, so don’t tell. Fortunately, I don’t think he reads my blog, so I may be safe from his scorn!) Sadly, he is facing some major challenges right now and could really use support. Here is a link to his fundraiser. Every little bit helps, and I assure you he’s worth every penny. If you don’t do it for him, do it for me so I can continue to go there and loiter.

As for me, stay tuned! I have a lot of irons in the fire and I can’t wait to share them with you!

Bad Angel


For this post, I will be bastardizing some excerpts from The First Elegy of The Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke (whose work I deeply admire). I mean no disrespect, but it may still be considered disrespectful to use these pieces outside their original intention. Sorry, Bro.

Allow me to paint a picture for you.

I am sitting on the steps in the sanctuary of my childhood church, ca. 1985/86. It’s Christmas time, and I am an angel in the nativity play. I am chubby-cheeked and sassy, and I am wearing a tinsel halo that clashes with my blonde hair. Over my Sunday best, I have on an itchy white robe with glittered wings made of poster board tied on me with a gold rope. They feel big enough that I could fly away — which I think I’d certainly like to. I am wearing knee-high white socks and my very favorite footwear — ballet slippers. Next to me is a ramshackle manger overflowing with straw, and a smelly old baby doll from the smelly old baby nursery to represent the baby Jesus.

My parents are watching from the pews just a row or two from the front and my dad is armed with a camera, desperately trying to get a photo of me behaving like the angel he sees before him. He has even mouthed the words “get up” and motioned as much with his hands. His face turns red and angry as I fold my arms, look him dead in the eye, and shake my head no. I sit on the steps refusing to sing (rather pleased with myself, I might add), pointing my toes, admiring the way they look and feel in the slippers, and there isn’t a damned thing my father can do about it.

This is not an amazing story, but it is a true one.

And it demonstrates something important for me. In the times where I think I have no will at all, it’s this adorable haloed creature that is probably running the show, giving me the same little “fuck you” she gave my dad during the nativity play (and many more times after that). She acts often to her/my/our detriment, and she defies even as my conscious self aches for some different way of being.

Yep, I have plenty of will and it’s potent, but a five-year-old runs the show. She has been far more effective than I ever have been at asserting herself, and yet, she never quite gets what she actually wants. She defies just to do it, just because she can. In a sense, it has turned into an “any attention is good attention” situation.

It’s perhaps a little strange to see her as an entity separate from myself since she is me, but acknowledgement can grant many blessings, and I needed this separation to become conscious of her existence in the first place. Communicating can be a little challenging though, because she communicates very differently than I do now. She is me before I had enough language to adequately express myself. She doesn’t actually mean to be naughty. She means to assert who she is, to tell me what’s wrong. She’s gripping at whatever her little hands are able to, even if those things are ultimately destructive to her. It is my job to course correct. It is my job to give her voice.

So I am here, now–with this little cutie on my hip, doing my best to listen to and understand her, to tell her no when no needs telling (when I have the wherewithal to recognize her influence). I explain to her why it’s necessary, and I do a bit of bargaining sometimes too. When I do it like this, it’s not a punishment or a deprivation. She is learning that there are far greater rewards in store.

Thanks so much for spending a bit of your day with me! In Gratitude and Love,

Kali Adriantje & the Bad Angel

Treeline

I am not feeling very writerly right now, so instead, I am spending time in the Yellow Door Workshop/Hag Room. I have been (foolishly) neglecting getting it organized and usable, and I am starting to really get mad at myself and my reluctance to create new things.

I will return next week, hopefully with a few additions to the ko-fi shop, but definitely with a usable workspace. This week please enjoy Treeline–a beautiful (and short!) documentary about the earth’s most ancient inhabitants.

We Are Not Visitors Here

On one of my recent trips to Michigan, I was listening to Wait, Wait. . . Don’t Tell Me! on NPR. I didn’t know this before, but female octopuses throw things at those who annoy them! On the show, they jokingly mentioned that this lot included people who try to “My Octopus Teacher” them, and I wondered if this was something people were actually doing after watching that film?

Then I remembered seeing this article where people had passed around a baby dolphin for selfies, and the baby died–so I guess anything is possible, not that a cephalopod would be as easy a target. Honestly, I don’t know why we are still having this conversation. You would be horrified if a group of people walked into your home and stole your baby, ignoring his/her/their needs to death just for a cute photo op. And this issue is not at all limited to a handful of species. It may not always result in an untimely death for the creature, but it does cause damage.

As for My Octopus Teacher, I have seen a lot of criticism about it on the wider internet, some even sexualizing the bond (which is gross, and I think says far more about the thought processes of those people than does about Foster’s relationship to this creature). One opinion I read even refers to the cephalopod as his mistress, simply because of the way he spoke about her beauty. They questioned where his wife was the whole time he was falling in love with this creature. I shouldn’t need to specify this, but the film wasn’t an autobiography about him or his marriage. We can’t know the ways in which his burnout affected their relationship, and and frankly, it’s none of our damned business. Secondly, have we really become such fucking literalists? Are we really this shallow and reductive that we can’t see the beauty in what took place? Clearly some of us are–a fact which saddens me.

Many other criticisms aren’t quite so nasty but seem to take quotes out of context and appear just as reductive. In Pippa Bailey’s thoughtfully articulated piece in The New Statesman on May 12, 2021, she writes, “Foster imagines the octopus as being like “a human friend”, waving to say, “Hi, I’m excited to see you”; he can feel her trust for him, he says, her invitation into her world. He wonders what she’s thinking, what she dreams about. In places, their “relationship” feels fetishised, held up as spiritual and sacred.”

I disagree with this on a couple of levels. First of all, I never felt like Craig Foster had a lack of understanding that the octopus was a wild animal. He knew very well that she was wild. Not once did I feel like he approached her without a deep respect for her. When connections like this happen, I think it’s really a difficult thing to articulate accurately. There is so much that goes beyond what words can express. The relationship–the part that happened to him, that he experienced–was spiritual and sacred. It may not have been so for her, and that’s okay.

“I fell in love with her but also that amazing wildness that she represented and how that changed me.”

Secondly, I didn’t feel as though he assigned her human attributes. He did wonder what she dreamed about, true. But prior to that, he wondered if she dreamed at all. He had full acknowledgement of the fact that there are differences between us, even as there may be some similarities. He spoke of feeling like he himself had been dismembered when she lost an arm to a pajama shark. To me, this felt like something akin to a shamanic experience brought about by a deep compassion for this creature. Sorry, not sorry–that’s a spiritual experience. He was going through something within himself, and it’s natural to identify with others during those times. Her purpose in life was not about him, and yet she gave him a sincere gift, even if she did so unknowingly.

In another sense, I agreed with Pippa:

“Animals are not there for us, to be treated as commodities or companions as we see fit; to be reduced to their usefulness to us. Nature does not exist to alleviate our restless emptiness, much as it may do so.”

The natural world is not ours to commoditize, but we do. We do it with animals, plants, water, land. We do it at the detriment of all beings, ourselves included–and it’s wrong–but I don’t feel this was what Craig Foster did at all. During the course of filming, he ‘discovered’ several never before seen species of shrimp. He recognized the necessity of every part of the ecosystem, including all of the creatures therein. From his experience, he founded the Sea Change Project, which seeks to use storytelling methods to “protect South Africa’s marine environment by making the Great African Seaforest a global icon.”

What Foster engaged in was immersion.

Perhaps it seems like he just jumped in the water and started playing with the octopus, but the relationship Craig Foster forged with that magnificent being was cultivated over a significant period of time. And he recognized just how special it was. It couldn’t have happened if he hadn’t allowed himself to become part of that environment.

I have talked about immersion before, and I will refer to again and again. Joe Hutto understood this with his turkey family. Craig Foster understood this, too. He understood it from his first longings echoed with the San Bushmen in the Kalahari years before. He understood it when he chose to dive without a wetsuit in order to be fully present in the water–to become part of the water. I believe the despair he felt before came from the disconnect between himself and the natural world, and I think this is something many of us can find resonance in–I know I can. In our modern world filled with walls and towers, it is easy to think of ourselves as apart from Nature, when really we are a part of Nature.

“What she taught me was to feel that you’re part of this place, not a visitor. That’s a huge difference.”

Relationships must be cultivated. They aren’t formed in a split second, no matter how short a film may make them seem. What can happen in a short time is a soul recognition of bonding potential. I don’t think Foster’s relationship would have occurred with a different cephalopod. This was a chance meeting between two curious beings. She had to have the willingness to interact, and she definitely seemed to. He reached out–not in an attempt to “tame” her, or make her submissive to his will, but to connect. . . and she reached back. Unlike the people with the baby dolphin, he wasn’t there for spectacle; he was there for the spectacular. That’s the difference.

What I saw in this film was a man diving not just into the ocean, but into a remembrance of his own connection with the wild. He was changed because he allowed himself to be changed–moved in accordance with his own soul’s longing. He answered that call, and offered it as poetry to the world. That little cephalopod was the catalyst for change, and though her life had meaning before her encounter with Foster, the impact she has had on those of us who allowed ourselves to be moved by their interaction cannot be understated.

Rooting Deeper

I don’t feel at all positive about having missed my usual posting time this week. I was going to take a whole week off because I am having a lot of difficulty focusing on my work and connecting to exactly what I want to say and how to say it. This is particularly frustrating since I have been wanting to work heavily on my connection series, but it’s just not flowing the way it should! I thought I had it together, but what was intended to be one piece was actually four or more, and none of those individually had enough info to fly solo, if that makes sense!

Stuck by mood.beams.art

I have been feeling a little disconnected in general. I am going to chock it up to the retrograde season we’ve been in — not that I am any expert on such things! Also, my beloved trail is closed to the public right now, and that was my primary source of physical activity. My body feels strange to me, my face looks weird, my hair is. . . blah, whatever. In a sense, I feel kinda frozen in place. There is a TON I want to do and need to do, but getting into anything sets my brain into a panic. 

A Carrick Mat and a Carrick Bend

Also, I started a certification class. I know damn well this class has the potential to change my life and offer me a prolific career within the writing world, and that scares me a bit! I have been doing everything under the sun to avoid my work as a result, including spending hours learning how to tie beautiful knots which didn’t start as avoidance! I was trying to create art work for Muse & Metaphor, and it is far easier to draw knots with a visual reference. If you read my last post, you may have noticed that knots had quite a presence. Because I wanted to focus a whole huge series on connection, I thought knots could be a sort of mascot. And now I am feeling both stuck and behind in my work.

Because I am having such a struggle in moving forward using my current tools, I have decided to take a cue from trees and other plant life this week. 

One of the things that I’ve loved the most in observing nature is seeing the way the base of an old tree twists as it comes up from the ground in a perpetual spiral toward the sun. Plants instinctively know how to find the light. This is why we turn our houseplants periodically so they grow evenly. It’s why plants at the edge of a wooded area lean toward a clearing where the sun touches everything. 

Roots work similarly. They instinctively know that in order to maintain stability and growth, they must constantly move deeper and reach further to where water and nutrients are present. Without these capabilities, trees would not survive the seasons and storms they have no choice but to weather. And yet, as far as they spread and as tall as they grow in their searching, they are always home.

No singular thing can be the source of all my inspiration. No one person or thing can meet all my needs, nor can I meet all of theirs. In moments like I am having now, where I am struggling to find my footing or to feel nourished, I know that I need to root deeper. When I can’t find the proverbial light, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. I just need to turn.

So I am giving my connection series a little bit of a breather as I gather my thoughts and explore new inspirations. This doesn’t mean I won’t be posting weekly, I am just not going to do it in the way I had initially planned. Such is life!

My Animist Values

I try to bring a little bit of the sacred into my everyday existence, even if it’s just taking a 5 minute walk through Tappan Square and visiting with the glorious Beech tree, the ever-so-magical Dawn Redwood trio, or any of the other lovely beings residing there. It doesn’t have to be long or complex to be meaningful, and there are no special tools required — just me, and a willingness to connect with the lives around me, human and otherwise.

Connection is a word I use tirelessly because, for me, it is absolute necessity. Connection is everything, and behind nearly everything I do. If I do not feel connected to what I am doing, the home I live in, the land I occupy, the people I am spending time with, or the things I surround myself with, then what’s the point? Where’s the actual magic, if not living within the connections we foster?

Connection by Kali Adriantje

Over the last several months, I have been working to define my values as an animist by way of a course of study with the oh-so-wonderful, magical Cyrene Krey of Shadow Animism. I have talked a bit about some of my foundational beliefs in past posts, but I want to take a little time to highlight what I have come up with thus far, as this exercise in definition has really helped me to deepen my experiences and increase the depth of connection I feel to the world. These may shift a little as I continue to cultivate my path, but the bones are here and ready for the flesh.

  • Allowance – I honor other beings without the expectation that they conform to my ways of expression and behavior. I allow them to exist as they are, rather than as I am. I lower my demands on their existence, as they are not mine to rule or preside over.
  • Connection & Communication – I understand that communication and expression are not limited to my human ways. I allow myself to connect from a deeper source of understanding beyond my oral language; and to be moved and changed by releasing, at times, my modern human logic and desire to explain away my experiences.
  • Creativity & Deference – As I belong to the Earth, I offer my deference to Nature as greater than myself. I use creativity to move through challenges presented to my person. I pay tribute to my experience of other beings through creative means.
  • Equality – I hold all beings as equal to myself with the recognition that they each have spirit, consciousness, intellect, wisdom, and emotion — even when their expression differs from my own. All beings are valuable by merely existing. All beings deserve respect. I actively work to shift my language to foster inclusivity among human and nonhuman beings alike.
  • Gratitude – I hold high the intricacy and beauty of life, even when it proposes an inconvenience to me. I express my gratitude to the land I occupy, and the beings I share it with.
Love Knot by Kali Adriantje

Of course, this is my pathway and my set of values. Defining them, for me, has brought a greater sense of peace and meaning to my life and all the encounters in the natural world that I have been blessed with (I have several stories that I’ll share down the road), deepening my sense of connection to my world. Your values may look a little or maybe a lot different, but I would encourage you to take a look at them and try to define them clearly for yourself. The truth is we are all here on the Earth doing the best we can to live our lives. We all arrive at our understanding of life and the divine at different times and experience it in different ways. Regardless of these differences, I think we can agree that a life without connection is no better than an empty, obligatory handshake.