April 2018
BBI Media News
Publishers of SageWoman, and Witches&Pagans magazines
and the PaganSquare blogosphere.
The Miracle of Dirt


Article by Mark Green from a recent posting on PaganSquare.

Of all the many factors on planet Earth that enable us to live and thrive, there are two which border, in my opinion, on the miraculous: the conversion of sunlight into sugar through photosynthesis, and the mysterious alchemy of microbes and nutrients and water that makes dirt into the life-giver to us all.

Yet we take dirt for granted—even denigrate it.

It's "dirty", after all.

We walk on dirt; we scrape it off our shoes and sweep it from our houses and porches. It's gray, or brown, or yellow, or red, but generally not the popping, pleasing colors we are hard-wired to find breathtaking, like sunsets or flowers or bodies of water. It's so easy to forget that it is down there, weaving Life from not-Life in every second, breathing oxygen, fostering plant growth so we may eat and breathe and marvel at the magnificence of all the plant kingdom arrayed before us.

It turns out, in fact, that exposure to soil bacteria increases serotonin in the brain, reducing incidence of depression. There is a reason why people find gardening therapeutic!

Having a robust relationship with dirt is a good thing for us . Watching seeds sprout and become plants is a reminder of the miraculous nature of life on Earth, the extraordinary story of tiny packets of DNA which draw lifeless material from around themselves to assemble gigantic structures, sometimes billions of times larger than they were when they started. And those structures bring forth food for us, material for building our shelters, and mighty forests that inspire us with their beauty and mysterious depths, that house and support entire ecosystems of incredible creatures.

Bear in mind, too, that exposure to ordinary dirt helps young people to develop their immune systems, and appears to reduce adult incidence of conditions like allergies and asthma. Please: don't use bactericidal soaps and cleansers--they just help to breed "superbugs" that are resistant to them, and reduce this healthy effect on developing children. Ordinary soap and water for hand washing are more than adequate, and are far better for our own health and that of our environment.

Healthy soil absorbs carbon, too, reducing the impact of global climate change. There are six billion microorganisms per tablespoon of soil, and nearly all of them consume carbon dioxide to live. They produce minerals that support plant life as they metabolize this carbon.

So plant some seeds for spring time for your window sill, or a planter or two, or an entire garden if you have the space. Having our hands in dirt is a way to remember that we are all composed of these miraculous minerals, microbes and nutrients, and they serve us every day.

It is the miracle of Sun on Earth that sustains us.

Praise be to dirt!

Mark Green is an activist, writer and nonprofit professional with a background in environmental public policy and electoral campaigns.His Pagan writing appears at Mark's blog at PaganSquare.com) at the Humanistic Paganism website (humanisticpaganism.com), at the Naturalist Pagan site (naturalpagans.com) and at the Atheopaganism blog.

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Coming soon! SageWoman #93
"Sovereignty: Claiming Our Power"
Claiming Our Power

In this Issue

“My Journey with Inanna” (article by Carolyn Lee Boyd, artwork by Laura Tempest Zakroff)
What if the Underworld is a temple that we can visit while living to gain the power to become fully human?

“A World of Magic: the Sacred Practice of Gathering" (article by Gloria Wilson, artwork by Sophie Page).
Every gathering trip is a time to experience a deeper awareness of our marvelous existence on our Mother Earth.

"Illuminating the Sacred Spiral: Voices from an Ancestral Priestess Path" (article by Sithearain NicLeoid, artwork by Martha Linden).
Somewhere in our heart’s remembrance, we see a cloaked figure floating across the sacred waters and remember that once we were priestesses.

“Time for Myself” (article  by Tina Riddle Deason, artwork by Tara Reynolds).
I am at a time in my life where it really is about me, yet I dread it when I have to tell someone what I want.

“Reborn into Power” (article by Lisette , artwork by Claudia Olivos)
The morning before my visit to the doctor, I watched the strong sunlight play on the rain-damp leaves of the trees below us in the courtyard.

"A Visit with Jhenah Telyndru: The Many Paths of the Priestess" (interview by Johanna van der Hoeven).
Join us as we discuss sovereignty, women's empowerment, and the nature of being a priestess with the Founder of the Sisterhood of Avalon.

"Ladies of the Land: The Many Goddesses of America" (article by Diana Paxson, artwork by Caitlyn Harris).
Discover the goddesses — Columbia, Guadalupe, and Lady Liberty — who uphold, challenge, and embody the ideals (and land) of America.

Wisdom from our columnists Susun Weed, Alison Leigh Lilly, Janet Callahan, Lizann Bassham, Anne Hill, Danielle Blackwood, Crystal Blanton, Nancy Vedder-Shults, Leslie J. Linder, and Rebecca Bailey. Plus reviews, and letters from readers on their own experience of Sovereignty in "The Rattle."

88 pages, May 2018.

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