Thou Nature Art My Goddess

   For Ethan

“Thou nature, art my goddess; to thy law my services are bound.”
William Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s declaration perfectly describes the devotion of my own life. I was three years old when I planted my first garden; that was 65 years ago. If a three year old could be enthralled, I certainly was. In the fifth grade I was introduced to the theory of Continental Drift. That was an epiphany of indescribable proportions. By junior high school my love affair with all things Earth defined the scope of the rest of my life so far. I studied everything, but when I was about 30 a field of study emerged: ethnobotany. At that time no formal classes existed, so I developed my own curriculum, one that, even today, outshines any course available in any school.

My deepest interest went to the ethnobotany of the British Isles, and the Paleolithic geniuses that lived within its dictate, and saw themselves as components of it. I studied thousands of plants indigenous to the UK and Northwest Europe, and slowly put together a comprehensive understanding of the plants that were available during the Mesolithic era that were likely used for food, clothing, shelter, medicine, and ceremony. I wrote about all of them in Ancestral Airs. Eventually, my studies narrowed again to the plants indigenous to the British Isles that had ritual applications. I cataloged them, about 420 species, in The Compendium for Spirit Handling

During the decades of study I was always intrigued by the ritual species of plants native to that region that could also be found throughout the entire North Temperate Zone. There are about 180 of them. My life had gone full circle; I was back to Continental Drift, more specifically Pangaea. It should be noted that Pangaea was not the only supercontinent, nor was She the first. There had been about a dozen others.

Pangaea was the supercontinent that flourished during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras (540 million years ago to about 249 million years ago). About 175 million years ago Pangaea began breaking apart.

Wiki stated concisely that “Fossil evidence from Pangaea included the presence of similar and identical species of continents that are now great distances apart.” My small group of about 180 plants went from mildly curious to the wild realization that all around the globe, Northern Hemisphere shamans, medicine people, and spirit handlers might well have been using the same ritual plants for millennia. The gardens of Pangaea had finally demanded my attention, and I needed to know more about the eras to fully appreciate just how ancient most of these plants actually are. Can you just imagine their genetic memory? Wow, they saw it all.

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