It seems all I want to write about these days are the animals in my midst.
In preparation for our journey circle a couple of weeks ago, I went to pick apples for an offering to Gaia from one of our trees.
I had a particular recipient in mind for these beautiful sunset-colored apples. There is a white horse who lives next door, so close that I can pet his nose while standing in the chicken yard. He takes great interest in the snacks I bring to the chickens in the late afternoon.
I don’t remember this horse’s name, but he spends his days apart from the other horses. Horses are incredibly social animals, so the white neighbor horse has three goats to keep him company. He often chases and plays with his three bleating buddies.
My favorite thing about the white horse, though, is his habit of rolling on his back in the mud. Now that the rains have returned, this horse is a giant and beautiful mess.
Neighbor horse is equal parts majestic, playful, and muddy. And until recently, I have adored him from afar.
The apples I offered to Gaia were meant ultimately to go to the horse. He liked the offering of those apples so much that he licked my hands gently in gratitude.
Now, when I go out to feed a snack of Special K to my chickens (don’t judge, Dad just purged the cabinets of all expired cereals), I make a point of bringing three apples for our neighbor.
After the horse eats the apples out of my hand, I go collect the eggs. And the muddy white horse walks with me as far as he can go on his side of the fence. He waits for me there until I come back in his direction and then walks me back to my house as far as the fence will allow. He walks me home, as best he can, as any good friend would.
The animistic spiritual path is one we knew already as children. It isn’t a heady thing, though those words sound that way when they are all strung together. But the reality is simple.
To be devoted to the earth, to be in a relationship of growing intimacy and reciprocity with Gaia, is to learn how to be a good neighbor to the majestic and muddy ones in our midst.
How best to attend to the human or more-than-human neighbors in your midst?
If you would like to attend Gaia Shamanism’s free online journey circle this Wednesday, December 8, from 4-6 pm PST, email anna “at” gaiashamanism “dot” com.
All skill levels are welcome. Hope you can join us this week!