Earth Spirituality



Song for an Earth Child

Be quiet, earth child
Sleep in slowness

Live deep in your mother
Learn to breathe as the earth breathes
to run as the dear runs
to swim as the salmon swims
leaving the ocean for the birth-ground high in the hills.
Struggle no longer with the machines
the numbering of time
and the counting of days.
Fly with the swift from the African skies
Sing with the warbler on its summer passage
Learn from the earth, not books
of the blood and the wind and the human breath.
Live deep in your God
Be reborn
beyond the critic
beyond the doubt
in the life of the mother
the living Earth.

Root me

Earth me living God in this living world
Root me in its soil
Wash me in its waters
Release me into its wild winds
And in this flesh may I know
the brightness of spring
and the lightness of summer;
the ripeness of autumn
and the slow sleep of winter
Yes return us dirt-God to the weight of the earth
Free us from the illusions of control
Join us together as one people:
Serving, celebrating, enjoying the feast of your creation


What eye sees
What ear hears
What skin feels and breathes and knows
This earth
This land
This green and living place
Is confluence of rock and wind and rain
Is mother nurturing
Is father of what I am
In its silence
In its water-roar and creature-racket
It lives in my earth-soul
And its beauty (bright breast of dipper)
And its power (black wing of raven)
Roots me in this time-place-person
Roots me in this time-place-person that God made me to be


I am soft, crumbling chalk: deposit of oceans
long vanished.
I am granite: volcanic eruption from the core.
Hard as iron.
I am limestone: sculpted, tunneled, worn into cave and
I am flint: metamorphosed rock, split to a sharp
I am clay: soft, damp, sticky deposit of ancient
I am clay.  Moulded.  Finely shaped.  Baked in a
fiery oven.  Life-breathed-into:
A man walking on the stones of the earth

An Irfon Thanksgiving

God of the harvest we thank you for the earth
For soil rich and ripe
for the creatures of the earth tiny and writhing
for the worms and the fungi, the moulds and the mosses
renewing the earth and making it fertile: ready for the seed
God of the harvest we thank you for the green
For chlorophyll and the miracle of life
for light transformed and air reformed
for energy stored in sugars
and oxygen liberated… that the world might breathe
God of the harvest we thank you for grass
For the sweetness of the hills
robust through the winter, flourishing in spring, resilient in summer heat
for the grazing and the hay and the silage:
the mother of the flocks and the carpet of life
God of the harvest we thank you for wood
For hedges spiky and stock-proof
for trees shady and strong
for gift of berry and bounty of damson, for magic of mushroom and secret of nut
for all that grows and swells and lives from the earth
God of the harvest we thank you for mountains
For earth rising to heaven
for pasture in the summer and snow in the winter
for the rhythm of the land
for the beauty of the sight
God of the harvest we thank you for water
For the flowing of the garrulous streams
for the wet of the rain bringing life in abundance
drenching the earth, feeding the green, growing the grass, nurturing the wood
flowing from the mountains into the valley
God of the harvest we thank you for the stock
For the wool of the sheep and the fat of the cattle
for the milk of the cow and the lean of the pig
for all that lives and dies and brings us food
for all that births and renews the flock
God of the harvest we thank you for the birds
For buzzard and kite in shining sky
For chicken scratching the earth
and laying our breakfast
for the little birds singing and echoing our praise
God of the harvest we thank you for farmers
For the early mornings and the long summer nights
for the care of the flock
and the love of the land
for all that is done to feed us and clothe us and sustain the land through the long slow years
God of the harvest we thank you for our gardens
For beans in abundance wreathing on polls
for root in the ground and berry on the bush
for food shared
and the taste of the earth on our plates
God of the harvest we thank you for forests
For the foresters nurturing the trees
for the wood grown over decades
for fuel and timber
and the memory of that tree crossed long ago
God of the harvest we thank you for each other
For kindness and compassion
for arguments resolved and disagreements accepted
for walking alongside when the way is hard
and sharing the joy when the way is good
God of the harvest we thank you for this land
For the animals who lived it
for the people who build it
for all that it gives us: the food and the shelter, the warmth and the love
our home where we live and we move and we have our being.


-- a meditation for St. Guthlac's day (April 11)

Now we live in waterlands
in uncertain places
where change is always changing
and sea coming, going
and river falling, rising
We would prefer
Sea defenses set in concrete
Clean lines
But earth advances and retrenches
leaves slime of mud
detritus of sand:
The Borderland
where time lives in unsolid earth
And so, also, is Spirit and Flesh
here in the
damp place
they emerge, kiss, embrace
become one
and bring life
Just as sandpipers prod mud,
and crabs grab rock pools
So here in the Borderlands
So here in the Waterlands
We sing growth
Breathe new
Celebrate the joy of uncertain places

An Invocation for one in Travail

O God who is justice
O God who is life
O God who is the breath in our bodies and the strength in our limbs
O God who is every desire we ever breathed and more than we could ever imagine
Fill us with your deep Spirit
Earth us in the soil of your body
Create in us a word so deep, so true, so red, so raw
that it ignites with the original fire
and births the mystery of our unfettered soul
For you are love
and you are compassion
and you breathe into us the fire of your freedom.

Assumption Day

Mary's day in deep August
The weather's hot

The skin sticky
The trees dark, heavy green
Swallow-skimmed sky filling with clouds:
Heaven's blue slowly smothered
By the rain-bringers
For today Mary will not rise lighter than the air
But the mother will stay with us
Heavy, warm, fruitful
Buried in the dark earth

Praise Song

And God made known the Name in all the earth
The Name of the Creator

The Name of the Sustainer
The Name of the Beginning and the End
And every flower bloomed its praise
And all the Epynt raised its praise
And Irfon gushed its rushing praise
And great was the praise of the swooping Raven
And great was the praise of the diving Dipper
And intricate was the praising of the spinning spider
And every creature croaked its praise
And every plant and every rock sang its silent song of praise
And man emerging raised his head
And every woman gazed
On the cacophony of praise
And knew in their gut the Nameless Name, the Silent God
Who was the Silence behind the praising
Who was the meaning
Who was the feeling
Deep in their belly called Love
Who began it
And sang it
And called it into life
And never asked but received the praise
For in this way the Earth is whole
Hangs together
And becomes a home for human life
In the praising
In the raising
In the silence
And the heart flung open wide

The Little Seed of Silence

Dropped in my soul

Does it find receptive soil
Dark, rich, ready?
Does it find warmth
Sunlight beckoning?
Does it break protective shell
Expose tender shoots?
Do roots grow
White tendrils inveigling earth?
Does greenness
Reach skyward?
Does it survive assault
of pests and slug?
Does silence blossom
in the rich flowers of emptiness?

Corpus Christi

Here is the word: Receive
receive this all of you

The rain in its wettingness
The sun in its shinyness
The serenading of song thrush
The whirling of wind-rush
The cloud in black and gray
A wet Welsh day
Receive this, all of this
And flesh of the God-man
and blood of the Christ-man
and grace
and the divine face
and food from above
and extravagant love
and swallow
and ruminate
and contemplate
and digest
The divine gift
all black and earthy and raw
all white and holy and light
all gift
all love

Easter Canticle

(adapted from the 13th century black book of Carmarthen)

Welcome risen Christ! May church and chapel praise you;
May chapel and church praise you;
May hill and valley praise you;
May woods and forests praise you.
May sky and sunrise praise you
Welcome risen Christ!
Abraham, first of the faithful, praised you
May life eternal praise you;
May birds and insects praise you;
May green grass and heather praise you
Miriam and Moses praised you.
Welcome risen Christ!
May male and female praise you;
May planets and stars praise you;
May fish in flowing river praise you;
May all good things created praise you.
We praise you, God of life.
Welcome risen Christ!