by Healing Diets student, Amy Hiller
While researching the 5 elements and their significance in Ayurveda, I felt particularly drawn to the earth element. Initially this was because I considered it to be one I was lacking and was interested to discover ways to bring more of it into my life. As I delved further into the depths of the earth element, it became clear that even when the body and mind feel balanced, our relationship with the earth is ever evolving and requires constant nurturing. Uncovering and imagining creative ways to connect to the earth element has been a very enjoyable and expanding process and one that I look forward to sharing with friends, family and future clients.
I came upon the idea of earth altars at some point in my research and was instantly drawn to the concept, since it brings together creativity, nature, mindfulness and devotion in such a beautiful way. To me this seemed like a perfect practise to connect more deeply to the earth.
Creating an altar could be considered an act of worship or devotion, but it need not be rooted in any religion or particular ideal.
An altar is a place to connect with oneness, to be present, to honour and give thanks to something greater than ourselves. In building an earth altar, I created an offering to and a symbol of this earth, of which I am a tiny part. The experience was grounding, humbling, creative, flowing and beautiful.
I hadn’t anticipated how significant the process of going out into the forest and gathering pieces for the altar would be. I was blessed to have my two dear friends Lina and Anusha with me, bringing their ideas, energy and creative spirits to the practise. Several pups came along too.
It is quite magical how with a little time, a seemingly barren patch of the ground can start to come to life. Colours, shapes, magnificent little treasures begin to reveal themselves. All that is needed is a little patience, curiosity and love.
I had only planned to create one altar, but allowed myself to flow for an evening and see which objects felt right together. After some time, I was surrounded by several small altars, each one quite different. I created them mostly on the floor so I knew they would take on a new meaning once I had found specific places for them.
The next morning, I explored the building with my creations in mind, looking for corners and crevices that seemed like they might be enhanced by an alter. Gradually I began to marry a few precious spaces with the altars I had created and everything started to come together.
When we recognise the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection; love is born
– Thich Nhat Hanh