Many years ago I watched Star Trek Voyager, in which the borg Seven of Nine would periodically retreat to an alcove to plug in for a Regeneration Cycle. I remember thinking how cool that would be - to be able to just plug into a source of energy that would refill my batteries without needing to sleep. So I could keep going at a fast pace, being productive, making things happen. A lot of humans turn to a cup (or 3) ☕️ of coffee for this purpose. More often than I like to admit, I have relied on adrenaline to keep my engine chugging along. I know I'm not the only person who has fallen into this trap!
But temporary wired energy is not regenerative.
From years of seeking and experimentation, I finally learned that regeneration - at least for me - is much more about releasing and letting go than it is about filling up. Shedding unhelpful beliefs, softening stress, facing fears, releasing unrealistic expectations, and ultimately simplifying my life... these have served me well. My practice of creating earth altars emerged during a time of letting go - of big projects, of travel plans, of busyness, of life as I knew it.
Creating earth altars is one of my most effective regeneration methods! Being present, touching natural objects, and allowing patterns to emerge is deeply restorative for me. 🌺
The Magic of Spirals...
These four simple spirals were each created with a single type of flora.
FULL MOON is created solely from poppy seed pods, OAK GALL NAUTILUS is (to state the obvious) made of oak galls, SPIRALING TOWARD WELLBEING features arbutus (strawberry tree) berries, and you can probably guess what single ingredient went into ACORN LIFECYCLE.
Spirals are a beautiful symbol of regeneration.
Bringing ourselves, our communities, and our planet back to life.
I've just put together a special set of spiral note cards, available at the EarthAltarsGallery shop on Etsy.
What is regenerative for you? Let me know in the comments below ☺️
This altar is titled Kamloops 215. I created it in the woods last week after learning about the remains of 215 children excavated from an unmarked grave on the site of the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia.
It features rose petals, pine cones. lavendula. sweet pea flowers, lupine and a bunch of other flowers from Nina & Jacob's garden. All nestled into the base of an old oak tree.
I was so saddened by the news of this discovery.
As I sat with my grief, though, I realized I was not at all surprised. I did not learn about the brutal history of US and Canadian policies toward Indigenous peoples when I was in school. It's only as an adult that I've had my eyes opened to the systematic harm and trauma inflicted on Indigenous communities - in both the past and present.
Kamloops 215 is my memorial to all the children who were stolen from their parents and from the family of humanity.
Below, I share more context and offer resources for engagement. Much of this I gleaned from information shared by a Canadian friend Jodie Tonita. (Thank you Jodie!)
In late May, 2021, a mass grave with the remains of 215 children was discovered at a residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. 30 other similar graves have been found so far. More than 150,000 children were stolen from their homes by the Canadian government and taken to residential schools where they were subjected to abuse and violence by their teachers and administrators. Nearly one in four did not return home. The last school was closed in 1996.
Governments pursue these policies of cultural genocide because they wish to abdicate their legal and financial obligations to Indigenous people, and to gain control of their lands.
All of us non-Indigenous people are settlers. This is a history our lives are built upon. It’s important to learn, mourn and act. We can help transform systems and laws to ensure this never happens again.
To learn whose traditional territory you live on, visit the Native Land website.
Here is an article on the history of residential schools in Canada. Read here about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and its 94 Calls to Action.
For background on the United States’ engagement in a similar program - American Indian Residential Schools - please see this Wikipedia article.
Places where you can make a donation to support residential school survivors and their families:
• Indian Residential School Survivors Society - https://www.irsss.ca/donate
• Legacy of Hope Foundation - https://legacyofhope.ca/english/get-involved/donate
• Woodland Cultural Centre’s Save the Evidence campaign - https://woodlandculturalcentre.ca/the-campaign
• National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation - https://give.umanitoba.ca/
• First Nations Child & Family Caring Society - https://fncaringsociety.com/donate
• Reconciliation Canada - https://reconciliationcanada.ca/get-involved/donate/
• Indspire - https://indspire.ca/ways-to-give/donate
• Native Women’s Association of Canada - https://www.nwac.ca/donate
Please feel free to Share this Blog post and resource list with your friends, family and community, thank you!
I love playing with words and things in nature to create impermanent nature art (earth altars) and poems. This blog is a place to share. I post more regularly on Instagram & Facebook - @lauraloescher.art.