Caught in the allergen crossfire

One of the challenges of having a relationship with nature is relating to the parts that are challenging or downright inimical to humans. At the moment, I’m struggling with the worst bout of allergies that I’ve had in several years. I’m wondering if, among other things, the extremely mild winter here is partially responsible – in which case I probably have to put some of the blame back on humanity’s recklessness with fossil fuels – but regardless, it’s a visceral reminder that nature can be a real mother.

One of the ways that I’ve worked to improve my Quarter calls in ritual is to challenge myself to visualize the Element being called in multiple forms – and not just my favorite ones! I work to see Air as both the sweet wind bringing the scent of summer flowers and as the whirlwind, to see Water as the stuff I drink and as the overwhelming waves that buffet me to and fro.

Right now, I’m trying to do something like that by being glad that the plants are doing the Great Rite with such vigor, and all the while taking medication as needed and trying to adjust my schedule and expectations to cope with the effects. We have a tentative detente where I am something less than miserable and something more than slightly aware of the ways humans will never – and should never – completely control their environment.

How do you see nature in your work? How do you give homage to the parts of nature that are uncomfortable, or difficult, or challenging for you?

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About Literata

Literata is a Wiccan priestess and writer. She edited Crossing the River: An Anthology in Honor of Sacred Journeys, and her poetry, rituals, and nonfiction have appeared in works such as Mandragora, Unto Herself, and Anointed as well as multiple periodicals. Literata has presented rituals and workshops at Sacred Space conference, Fertile Ground Gathering, and other mid-Atlantic venues. Literata offers healing and divination services as well as customized life-cycle rituals. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation in history with the support of her husband and four cats.
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6 Responses to Caught in the allergen crossfire

  1. I almost NEVER have any reaction to pollen, but, this year, I’ve been downright sniffly and swolley-eyed. Not sure if it’s the lack of rain that would clear the air or what, but it’s definitely worse this year. You know what they say: the only problem w/ Nature Religions is . . . nature.

    • Literata says:

      Okay, so it’s not just me – not that I’d wish this on anyone! I swear it’s also location specific – I was doing better after a couple days in a different landbase, and now that I’m back to my usual one, maybe I’m adapting all over again. Or maybe it’s just something to be coped with for a while.

      Nature religions and nature…yeah. There’s a deep irony in the fact that when Sacred Circle hosts rituals, they try to hold them outside but often have to move back inside for one reason or another. It’s not all fluffy bunnies out there…but then again, that’s what helps make magic, too.

  2. I have often thought of myself as at war with Nature. Isn’t that awful? In my head, I love hiking and picnicing and spending time outside on my deck reading. In my head it’s beautiful and we’re all happy and content spending time seeing the wonders of Nature. In reality, just 5 minutes and I’m either sneezing or hot or cold or the Sun is too bright… but this Season, it’s sneezing with pressure in my head, which makes me a very grumpy Mommy, just ask Caroline. She’ll tell you… GRUMPY!

    I love Nature. I really do. I would love to figure out how to turn my idealized love of Nature into reality. It’s one of the struggles of my life.

    • Literata says:

      I hear you! One of the things I try to do is stay connected to what’s really going on, even if I don’t always like it – I acknowledge the rain, even if I try to stay dry. That helps me have appreciation, especially for the power inherent in Nature, even if I’m not exactly shiny happy. It’s not exactly looking on the bright side. It’s more like the way you know your spouse has irritating habits or a bad mood sometimes, and you love them. Not “in spite of” that, and not “because of” that; you just love them. Of course, it’s harder when Nature seems to really, really not love you back! But that’s one way I approach it…and it works well enough most of the time.

      Today, I don’t know whether it’s the rainy weather or me having been back in the area for long enough to adapt, but things are better. Either way, I’ll take it – and it does make me look on the rain today with a much happier attitude!

  3. isabelcooper says:

    Living in Boston–where some of us joke that the fourth face of the Goddess is “batshit roommate” or similar–it is very much, for me, like living with other people. Family in particular works for me as a metaphor, because I spent a lot of my youth telling my sister that I hated her guts and hearing likewise, but now we get along fine, but it’s also…okay, it’s the people on the T.

    I’m not thrilled about sharing a subway car with all of these people, particularly when it’s rush hour, or rainy, or a Red Sox game. I try to endure the elbow in my spleen with good grace, since its owner doesn’t have much choice in the matter; I try to avoid the guy who smells like Doritos, because ew; and I actively hate the guys who feel that the entire car needs to know how enthusiastic they are about the Red Sox. But at the end of the day, we’re all here, we’re all going the same place, and we have to find our own accommodations with each other.

    Sometimes that means taking a different car. (Which I guess would be not going out in the rain/cold/allergens/etc.) Sometimes that means telling WOO SOX Guy to put a damn sock in it. (…pulling weeds? Scrubbing away mold?) Not sure what calling security translates to, except maybe going into a storm cellar.

    You don’t have to love it or even like it, and sometimes complaining is a good way to vent. But I guess the key is that you adapt as much as or more than you expect the overall situation to change.

    • Literata says:

      Sometimes that means telling WOO SOX Guy to put a damn sock in it.

      *snicker* Sometimes it’s doing devotions that end with, “You know, I really love you, but could we please have five minutes of…., for your sweet sake?”

      It’s a much more complex kind of relationship – and multiple relationships! – than simple transcendental concepts of omni-omni deity nuture, I think.

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