EarthSpirit End-of-the-Year Reflections for 2022
Once again the days are shortening and the cold is creeping in; the calendar year is coming to an end. And once more we take a moment to look back at what EarthSpirit has accomplished during 2022, and acknowledge the many EarthSpirit members who have contributed toward the organization’s growth and success. Some members have volunteered dozens of hours teaching, organizing, staffing or planning for EarthSpirit events. Others have made generous financial contributions this year, and still more have helped strengthen the community by attending in person or participating online. So many people have contributed in so many ways. We would not be who we are without you. Thank you! We feel blessed to share membership in this committed and dedicated community.
This year we engaged fully in EarthSpirit’s core work of sharing knowledge of earth-centered spiritual traditions and practices, building community connections, developing a deeper connection with the sacred land, and offering transformative ritual.
It has been wonderful to be able to gather in person once again – outdoors and in places where we have been able to set our own policies. We have maintained strong connections and developed new ones. We have held seasonal rituals for the community, We have performed marriages and funerals, celebrated births, and ritually marked other life passages, such as coming-of-age rituals — sometimes in person with groups large or small, and sometimes online. We continue to find strength in the web of connection that we have built with each other and with all beings of the Earth.
Our Zoom skills were put to good use again this year, with the continuation of our weekly Sunflower Mornings and Evenings get-togethers, hosted by dedicated volunteer Anya Arthen and Board members Katie and Chris LaFond. These weekly online gatherings for members have become a consistent presence and a way of caring for and holding each other over distances and time. Having online connection points throughout the year, along with our re-emerging in-person rituals and events, has kept EarthSpirit at the center of many people’s lives.
EarthSpirit has been visible on the web in other creative ways as well. Our dynamic podcast, EarthSpirit Voices has entered its third season this autumn, continuing to bring forward the voices of EarthSpirit members and teachers through hour-long interviews released on alternate Fridays. The podcast is produced by Sam Arthen-Long of Singing Land Studio and is a gift of many hours of work for each episode. The EarthSpirit Voices Blog has been revived this year, by new editor Chris LaFond. Chris is regularly putting out a terrific collection of articles and writings by EarthSpirit members about all kinds of topics. If you haven’t been there recently, now is a good time to check it out!
Our dozens of event volunteers – teachers, ritualists, musicians, Clan Leaders, fire-tenders, first-responders, cooks and planners – created beautiful and meaningful in-person events for hundreds of community members in groups large and small. Many thanks to all of those, both visible and behind the scenes, who made these events possible, and especially to Dawn Flatt, Dana Duval, and Meesha Crowther who were the ones mainly responsible for establishing and following through with our COVID-related policies. This community remains remarkable in its care for the well-being and comfort of each other, making room for closeness and distance as needed when we come together at large events or community rituals
This year the Board and a number of core volunteers have received training in Restorative Justice, a set of principles and processes that will support our community in its more challenging moments. This method provides a foundational structure we can use to hold those who may be in conflict within the community, focused on restoring relationships and strengthening our web. It offers a powerful counterpoint to the mainstream cultural narrative of justice through punishment and instead honors the power of truly listening, the possibility of change, and our interconnectedness even through times of conflict. We are working to create policies and practices around how this process will be used consistently throughout our community and we look forward to sharing more about the principles throughout the coming year.
EarthSpirit has maintained its connections with other communities too this year. Director Andras Corban Arthen continues his work with the European Congress of Ethnic Religions, and Board members Chris and Katie LaFond organized the Western Massachusetts Pagan Pride event, featuring several EarthSpirit members as teachers or ritual leaders. EarthSpirit members also continue to be involved in local interfaith groups and events.
At Glenwood, we are continuing the process of redesigning and refurbishing the EarthSpirit office – replacing desks, cabinets and electronics so that it will function better for all of the volunteers who use it. We are also beginning to plan some renovations to the EarthSpirit Community Center (aka the Common House). The Sacred Sites are being maintained by volunteers, and we have been glad to be able to host a couple of small gatherings for other associated groups. It is good to feel a connection with this land reaching into more and more people’s lives.
The EarthSpirit Community is built by many hands and dedicated hearts. Whether you participate in programs online or in person, whether you listen to the podcast or read the blog, whether you contribute your time, your friendship or your funds, you are part of what makes it happen. We look forward to seeing you this winter, and if you are able to this year, we hope that you will also choose to make a donation to EarthSpirit to help us meet our financial obligations in the coming year. We will happily send you a receipt for your tax deduction.
Thank you all for being part of, and supporting, the EarthSpirit Community.
We wish you all a blessed Yule and a prosperous and healthy year ahead.
EarthSpirit Executive Director
Please remember to follow us on Facebook (The EarthSpirit Community) and to subscribe to the EarthSpirit Voices podcast through your favorite provider.