On the subject of connection with plants, I have the books "The Secret Life of Plants" and "Plant Spirit Healing". The latter book describes how a plant can inform a herbalist that it may be a better remedy than one chosen from a book, and many other things. Although I demonstrably lack the sensitivity to do this, I do connect with plants on a basic level. They do "speak" and a quiet mind, or during meditation, is the best place to "hear" them. Sometimes a house plant will ask for water, even when it appears to me that it's OK. After all, the plant has more idea than I do when it needs water!

The land where I go walking (rural UK) gives me a gentle welcome, when I'm aware enough to notice it.

On the subject of ceremony, I lead a small circle (7 to 12 people) which celebrates the eight "Celtic" festivals, in a rather minimal way. We do this under an Oak when the weather is warm and on Zoom otherwise. Most of the circle are senior citizens, are all like-minded and enjoy the ceremonies. These are medititative and gentle rather than lively. The ceremonies help us to re-connect and harmonise inwardly and outwardly with the Earth and the cycle of the seasons.

To me this is an aspect of individual and group freedom in an increasingly intolerant world. Yes, we're all one in Spirit, but we're also individual people with individual sovereignty, which needs to be preserved in the face of global oppression.

The recent horrendous felling of a famous 300 year old Sycamore in Northern England is symptomatic of Western humanity's increasing departure from Nature and her grounding influence. From the appearance of the stump, the tree was felled by people who know how to fell large trees and have the gear to do it.

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Natasha, this is wonderful and says much of what I'm trying to say, but differently. Choice: yes, It is hugely frustrating to me that so many in the West, Britain particularly, seem to have lost touch with the idea that choices exist, that as humans we hold them and that they are part of life. At the moment the debate among the new movement that has arisen in response to the proliferating demands and restrictions coming from Authority is rather sterile and binary, centring almost exclusively on the argument about whether we comply, or not. It's as if we're at toddler stage with regard to choice, learning its first words and steps. Your piece does much more than this, digging into what choice really is, why it matters and why we've lost it. It's to do with our loss of self which, in turn, stems from our loss of relationship.

So here's my thing. In the West we have a good understanding of issues related to selfhood, abuse and responsibility etc which help to protect ourselves and those close to us from overbearing demands, attempts to control in personal relationships. Yet the majority seem unable to extend that beyond the personal sphere to the wider society, and to understand that we need to practise the same kind of self-care and responsibility in the face of the corporations and governments that would do us and the environments that support us harm. Why is that?

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thank you Alex for such a heartfelt reply! Its good to find a kindred spirit and i believe that there are more and more of us who are looking at how to transcend the current paradigm.

To answer your question, and this feels almost too simplistic, I believe that we are literally out of touch with the earth. One thing struck me when i first became a herbalist and medicine maker and spent most of my time gathering and processing herbs is how for most of our short human history we have been caressing parts of the earth, be it wood rock or mud. It changed me to be constantly touching the medicine that I make from the earth. I believe the film the Nettle Dress is showing now in the uk and this is a good ode to that.

however I am a bit of a naive optimist and when I spend time in radically different circles and see how people are generally pretty content with the 50 hour work week, yearly holidays, processed food and processed illness that comes with it I dont really know. I mean who am I to say anything about that?

However in the states the financial ponzi scheme is reaching saturation and systems are slowly breaking so we shall see. We still have the space here where creating land based communities is relatively accessible and its happening. However removed people live from their resources, what is changing is the knowledge that leaders are time and time again corruptible, few people believe people anymore, and more people are seeking to be in relationship with a higher authority that is other than human. It will be interesting in Britain. My family is all in Cornwall and I go there often, an unruly lot!

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