The spiritual ramblings and explorations of Laura Salmonstone

I was very moved by the book The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature by Starhawk. I found it educational, inspiring, compelling, and full of beautiful liturgy that I wanted to add to my own book of shadows. I've copied some of the best to my personal website so that I can access them when my Book of Shadows isn't at hand. Copyright remains with the original author and publisher.

The following excerpts are all from The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature, by Starhawk, San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers, 2004.

Opening to Help, pg 40
Great powers of creation and transformation in the universe, ancestors, allies, all beings who love the diverse and beautiful dance of life, I am open to your help and I reach out to you. I thank you for the gift of life, for the help and support I have already received, and for the great opportunity of being alive at this crucial moment. I need _____________ to serve my sacred intention of creating a world that cherishes _____________. I give you my gratitude for the help I know is coming already. Blessed be.

Spell for Balance, pg 94
When you are faced with a choice to do something small in service of the earth that requires some sacrifice on your part, stop first, breathe and ground, and say: "I offer up this [walk, bus ride, extra dollars spent on a compact fluorescent bulb] to the greater balance and healing of the earth. Let this small act be like a ripple that grows into a wide circle as it moves outward, leading to greater change. With every breath in, as I [walk, ride, enjoy the light], I will remember my gratitude to the ancestors for the miracle gift of air. With every breath out, I will renew my love and commitment to the balance."

Blessing for Air, pg 96
Praise and gratitude to the air, the breath of the living earth. We give thanks to you and for our lives, for our breath, for the literal inspiration that keeps us alive. Praise and gratitude for those ancient ancestors, the first magicians, that learned to use sunlight to make food, and so gave us the gift of oxygen. Praise and gratitude to those who learned to burn food for energy, and to the great exchange, the world breath that passes from the green lung to the red and back again. Praise for the sun that sets the cauldron of the winds in motion, and to the great winds that soar over the face of the earth. Praise to the storm that brings the rains, the water of life to the land. Gratitude to the creatures of the airs, the birds that life up our hearts with their songs, the insects in their erotic caress of the flowers - a caress that brings the fruit and seed.

May our minds be as clear and open as the air; may we learn from the wild winds how to soar across barriers and sweep away obstacles. May the air the winds of the world be cleansed. May we learn to be good guardians and friends and allies of the air that is our life; may we make the right decisions that can restore balance. Blessed be the air.

Cooking and Eating with Gratitude, pg 119
Cooking can be an action you offer up: "I give gratitude for the gift of life, for the lives of all the creatures in this food. I offer up this work of preparation as a gift of love and nurturing to all who will eat it, and a gift of thanks to all that has provided it.

Stop and give thanks and bless the food before you eat it: "I give gratitude for the gift of life, for the sunlight and the plants that use its energy to turn air and water into food, for all the beings who gave their lives to this food, to all who grew and tended and picked and transported and prepared and brought it to us. May the balance be restore. Blessed be." Ground and come into your senses before you eat. Eat consciously, savoring the taste and noticing the energy of what you take in.

Blessing for Fire, pgs 129-130
We give praise and gratitude to the fire, the sun's fire that fuels all life on earth, the radiant heat and light that is the source of energy for all beings, from the tiniest alga to the towering redwood, from the grass to the buffalo, from the worm to the hawk. We give thanks for the wildfire that cleanses the land, and we acknowledge its awesome power to destroy and renew. We ask help in living with the power of fire, that we learn once again how to be in balance with fire on the land. We give thanks for the hearth fire, which warms us in the cold and gives our homes and communities a heart-center. We ask that our hearts be open to learn the teachings of fire, that we understand how to feed the creative sparks that arise in each of us, and that we feed the flames of passion and love for the earth. May the flames teach us how to dance, how to transform our rage into radiant action. Blessed be the fire.

Blessing for Water, pgs 154-155
Praise and gratitude to the sacred waters of the world, to the oceans, the mother of life, the womb of the plant life that freshens our air with oxygen, the brew that is stirred by sunlight and the moon's gravity into the great currents and tides that move across the earth, circulating the means of life, bringing warmth to the frozen Arctic and cool, fresh winds to the tropics. We give thanks for the blessed clouds and the rain that brings the gift of life to the land, that eases the thirst of roots, that grows the trees and sustains life even in the dry desert. We give thanks for the springs that bring life-giving water up from the ground, for the small streams and creeks, for the lake, the shimmer of moonlight on the ocean's waves, the white spray of the waterfall. We take delight in the sweet singing of the dancing stream and the roar of the river in flood.

We ask help to know within ourselves all the powers of water: to wear down and to build up, to ebb and to flow, to nurture and destroy, to merge and to separate. We know that water has great powers of healing and cleansing, and we also know that water is vulnerable to contamination and pollution. We ask help in our work as healers, in our efforts to ensure that the waters of the world run clean and run free, that all the earth's children have the water they need to sustain abundance of life. Blessed be the water.

Compost Blessing, pg 168
We offer gratitude to the great cycles of birth, growth, death, decay, and regeneration. We are grateful to all the beings who have made the great transformation, leaving the remains of their bodies here. We are grateful to all the hungry mouths that consume the dead. Blessings on the termite, the beetle, the ant, the spider, the worm. Blessings on the fungi and the bacteria, those that need the air and those that avoid it. Blessings on all the life in this pile that will transform decay to fertility, death to life. May I always remember that the cycle of life is a miracle. May I continue to feel a sense of wonder and joy in the presence of death and life. May I remember that waste is food, and may my eyes to open to opportunities to close the circle and create abundance and life.

Compost Pile Spell, pgs 168-169
[The] compost pile [is] a good ally in dealing with problems that feel stuck... Here's a simple spell (best done while the moon is waning). Ground, center, create a circle, and bless your compost pile. In your circle, have a large piece of fruit of vegetable ready to be discarded, and material to write or draw with, either on the fruit or on paper. Take a moment and think about your problem. You can write it on the paper and stuff the paper into your fruit, if the fruit is large enough. Or you can carve or draw directly on your object. Hold you fruit and breathe into it, imagining that you are letting the stuck energy of your problem flow into its flesh.

Say, "I give this problem, this energy, into the body of this fruit [vegetable, apple, carrot, etc.] to the great cycle of birth, death, decay, and regeneration. May it decay in its present form, and be brought back to its essential elements. May I see those elements clearly. May it fertilize some new seed, some new growth. With the offering of this fruit, I give thanks to the cycle, thanks to the processes of life and growth. I give thanks for the transformation. Blessed be." Now bury your fruit in the compost pile. Thank all the powers you've invoked, and open the circle.

Seed Spell, pg 174
If you've let stuck project and problems decay in your compost pile, you may be ready to start something new. Planting seeds is also a good way to plant new ideas or new projects. Do this in the garden, after preparing a bed. Ground, center, create a circle, honor the elements, and bless your seeds (see below). Take a moment and think about your upcoming project or the new beginning you wish for. Hold a seed and breathe into it, imagining that you are filling it with the image of your new project and with all your enthusiasm and passion.

Say, "I ask help from the great cycles of renewal for this project. As this seed hold a world of potential, so too does the germ of my new project. May I see and realize its full potential. As this seed grows, puts down roots, and sends out shoots, may my project likewise grow. May it find the nutrients it needs to flourish; may it be well-watered, may it thrive. May it create true abundance and further that diversity and joy of life. As I plant and tend this seed, I give thanks to the cycles of life and to the great mysteries of birth, growth, death, and regeneration. Blessed be." Thank all the powers you've invoked, plant the seed, and open the circle. Don't forget to water and tend your seed as you tend your new beginning.

Seed Blessing, pgs 174-175
We give gratitude to the elements of life embodied in this seed, to the wisdom accumulated over billions of years. We thank the ancestors who made the choices that gave us this seed, and who tended the change of life to preserve it. We thank the air, the sunlight, the water, and the earth that sustain the life of this seed. Within this seed are precious and unique instructions for growth and life. May we always treasure the wisdom of the seed, and may we have the help we need to continue to nurture this life for the future. Blessed be the seed.

Blessing for Earth, pg 184
We give gratitude to the earth, to the dust of stars that congealed into the body of this planet, our home, and that still gives form and solidity to our bones and flesh. We honor the rocks, our sisters and brothers, and their long, slow cycles of transformation into life and back to seabed, mountain, stone. We give thanks to the living soil, the mother's flesh, and the billion creatures that haunt her caves and pores and chasms, to the beetles and the ants and the termites, to the soil bacteria swimming in the slick of water that clings to her mineral archways, to the worms, wriggling, eating, coupling, and transforming within her. We bless that plants, the roots and stems and boughs, the great trees reaching upward and the deep-rooted herbs pushing down, all who contribute to the cycles of birth and growth and death and decay that lead to fertility and new growth. For all that feeds and sustains life, for all that grows, runs, leaps, and flies, we give thanks. Blessed be the earth.

Blessing for the Center, pg 214
We give thanks and gratitude for the center, the heart and the hearth, and for the complex and beautiful patterns of life. We give thanks for the flow of sap through branches, water through rivers, blood through our veins. Thanks for the spiral vine and sunflower, the daisy and the dandelion, the sunburst and the star. We bless the random element that brings freedom into the pattern, and thank the weaver of the web of life for teaching us that all is interconnected. May we be aware of our patterns, able to change those that do not serve us and to cherish and strengthen those that do. May the cycles of the moon's and the sun's journeys through the year help us remember that light arises from dark, rebirth from death. Blessings on the cycles, the patterns, and the center.

Prayer for Help in Earth-Healing, pg 229
Great forces of creativity, growth, and love, great inventive imagination that has grown the diversity of life, mystery of the unfolding form from energy, great powers of the trees and the grasses, the sunlight and the rain, great currents that move the continents and the tides of the ocean, I send you love and gratitude and ask for your help. I am about to do ____________. It seems impossible. It seems beyond my human strength. Please lend me some of your power. Open my eyes and ears to inspiration. Release the obstacles that confront me, and draw the resources, the luck, the energies that I need. Help me to succeed beyond my expectations, for the healing of the earth. Blessed be.

The forces of love and greed are indeed contesting with one another, and both are immensely strong - so strong that almost anything could tip the balance. Everything we do now is vitally important. Each act of healing is a weight on the side of life. The drama moves toward its climax, and any one of us could be the small stone that starts the avalanche. What a great time to be alive!

Blessing for Earth-Healers, pgs 229-230
We give thanks for those who are moved, in their lives, to heal and protect the earth, in small ways and large. Blessings on the composters, the gardeners, the breeders of worms and mushrooms, the soil- builders, those who cleanse the waters and purify the air, all those who clean up the messes others have made. Blessings on those who defend trees and who plant trees, who guard the forests and who renew the forests. Blessings on those who learn to heal the grasslands and renew the streams, on those who prevent erosion, who restore the salmon and the fisheries, who guard the healing herbs and who know the lore of the wild plants. Blessings on those who heal the cities and bring them alive again with excitement and creativity and love. Gratitude and blessings to all who stand against greed, who risk themselves, to those who have bled and been wounded, and to those those have given their lives in services of the earth.

May all the healers of the earth find their own healing. May they be fueled by passionate love for the earth. May they know their fear but not be stopped by their fear. May they feel their anger and yet not be fueled by rage. May they honor their grief but not be paralyzed by sorrow. May they transform fear, rage, and grief into compassion and the inspiration to act in service of what they love. May they find the help, the resources, the courage, the luck, the strength, the love, the health, the joy that they need to do the work. May they be in the right place, at the right time, in the right way. May they bring alive a great awakening, open a listening ear to hear the earth's voice, transform imbalance to balance, hate and greed to love. Blessed be the healers of the earth.

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All images and content © Laura Salmonstone 1996-2008