Smith: A Rocky Start to A Wonderful Voyage

Smith: A Rocky Start to A Wonderful Voyage

Today, I've restarted David Smith's new book, Honoring the Sacred EarthHonoring the Sacred Earth. I actually began to read it last week but got majorly busy after only a few pages, so I thought I needed to start it again, to make sure I was getting it right. His book (at least the back cover) promises to 'show us what is needed in our times' to rectify the separation that so many of us experience from the natural world in both our daily lives and our spiritual practices. I was very excited to read this book as it seems to tie in very closely with my own mission to create a world of Sacred Physicality.

Full disclosure: I took Rev. Smith up on a super-generous offer he made on Twitter to send his books to reviewers. I offered, he accepted, and a couple of weeks later I had the two wonderful books in my hands. He is taking part in a contest and I suggest you go vote for him, right now, and then come back to read the rest.  🙂

I admit I was thrown, right at the start, by an editing oversight. It is understandable that editing is not perfect, but to have an error in the first paragraph of the Introduction is fairly unforgivable on the part of the editors, they should know better. It is the first impression that the reader receives and taints the experience. At least for nitpicky people like myself.

After navigating that first paragraph, Smith explained the purpose of the book, how it was laid out, and how to best benefit from it. I confess I love it when authors provide tips on how they envision the book being enjoyed, and I love being told to get my hi-liter and journal ready to interact with what I'm reading. It makes me feel like I'm heading into an experience, not just a bunch of words. And when dealing with something as important as our Sacred Earth, I want to be fully involved, not just skimming. Over the years I've developed my own system of underlining and margin notes, but it was nice to be reminded.

The second impression I received of the book, also on the first page of the book, was that it would be pretty heavily influenced by Christianity. It caught me off guard, for some reason I had anticipated a non-Christian perspective (perhaps because of Smith's other book on Druidry?) so this was another expectation adjustment to make. He encourages the reader to use whatever words are required to interact with the text. Whichever God, or god, or Divine Force, works for you, will work for this book. But, in the text, God is God, and God is He – fair warning. He comments, though, that people of "many if not all faiths are beginning to notice that there is something missing in their lives" and that "we have forgotten that the natural order was set into motion by the creative force long before we existed and that it is part of use and we are part of it" (2).

He goes on to suggest that we need to learn to tune in to the "cycles and the turning of the year… to become one with the Earth again and support and nurture it as it has nurtured us" (3). The idea of tapping into the Earth's cycles reminded me of my beloved Earth Steward's Handbook, and their excellent ideas for celebrating the seasons – I'm looking forward to seeing Smith's ideas.

I was struck once again how the separation from the Earth is connected so closely to our separation from the Mother, the feminine, and the degradation to all three that results. His call to reconnect also resounded in my brain as a call to stop waiting for someone higher in the hierarchy to take care of the world for you. It is up to each of us to stand up for what we believe in and nurture the Earth that has been given to us, in whatever way we can.

Smith has not yet mentioned the Divine Feminine or patriarchy, but it might be coming, this was only the Intro after all, and obviously very thought provoking.

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