Who knew that going for fewer chemicals and more natural products in a person’s home and life would mean delving into and rubbing shoulders with some very strange spiritual philosophies as well. Just like going to a healthfood store means carefully sifting through hype from fact, with hype often accompanied by some form of either New Age, Pagan, Wiccan or other focus. It seems that delving into a healthier lifestyle free of chemicals means the general Health and wellness craze has those same pitfalls as well.
I still don’t understand why worship to Hindu gods is considered exercise, but there are practitioners, gurus, and even Christians out there who engage in it and think it’s perfectly fine. You can’t find an exercise company out there now that doesn’t promote it in some fashion. Occasionally, a practitioner will admit to what they are doing, but others are seriously blinded to the problems they are both courting and teaching.
Holistic medicine and various iterations of the holistic lifestyle are not wrong in the fact that they understand the whole person is mind, body, soul and spirit. Many stop at the soul part of that phrase, but the fact remains, the unsaved mind does recognize there is a spiritual side to mankind that needs nurturing. But earth worship in all it’s various forms, names, and expressions, along with a number of other false religions that claim to bring one peace of mind, stability, reduced stress, etc., all miss the mark.
I am delving into these spaces because of my desire to have a workshop that exemplifies what I talk about in my tiny 80pg book: Mom’s Little Black Book of Skincare & Makeup. The idea that you can’t seem to go chemical-free without also brushing past almost every religion under the sun is very interesting to say the least.
As a Christian, God’s Word tells me that God gave us the plants and trees as food and medicine. God gave us the animals of the field, birds of the air and fish of the sea as meat for food(Genesis 1:28-30, Genesis 9:3, Revelation 22:2), bones for sewing, sinew for thread, pelts and feathers for clothing and warmth. As a Christian, I do not worship the earth as some form of living entity. It is a created thing and God’s Word tells me not to worship the created, but the Creator. As a Christian, my Bible tells me to subdue the earth and multiply. It tells me to steward the earth and manage it. This means engaging in both plant and animal husbandry.
As my daughter and I have gotten into foraging over the past couple years, we have seen how plants and trees respond to being cared for and harvested out in the wild. For stationery, scientifically-documented sentience that is rather social among themselves and other species, and for a type of creation whose responses you won’t see if you expect the quick responses of birds, animals or people, the plants we harvested have shown appreciation, gratitude, and even perked up that a human wants what they offer. We’ve seen chokecherry trees give us bigger berries just in two years of revisiting them. We are now “friends” with a small thimbleberry bush and it’s been so much happier since we gathered it’s only two or three berries the first time we saw it. We’ve seen whole plots of dandelion, plantain and false solomon’s seal almost vibrate with excitement as they shoot across their root networks that we’re coming. Last summer on one of the few outings we could make due to smoke, this actually made me laugh outloud.
Does this mean we should worship these plants? No! No more so than we should worship each other or the animals in our care. It just means that when we actually engage in what God told us to do, the plants appreciate it just as much as the animals do. Orchards generally have very happy trees because they get harvested and cared for every year. We’ve even learned that due to the benefits various plants have for humans, those plants can generally be found where the plants figure humans will need them most. Plantain and dandelion are both good for cuts and scrapes, bug bites, etc and field guides will tell you to find them near sidewalks, baseball diamonds, etc. Other plants in these field guides will tell you they can be found in “disturbed ground” which is very sanitized language to say, “where people have turned up the ground”.
Is it mystical to see God’s creation respond when treated responsibly? The unsaved mind says it is. The unsaved minds worships such things. While this is misdirected worship, this is where I find myself looking for vendors and speakers for my workshop. It may very well be that hearing a Christian talk about interacting with plants the way one interacts with animals will either weird out some people, or cause others to think this Christian has gone “ethereal” in the mystical definition. (you do have to watch definitions of words in these spaces!)
But from where I sit, no, there is nothing mystical. Scripture says that nature worships God and looks to Him for their sustenance. God created everything good. Only sin has done the corrupting. We can undo some of sin’s corruption in our bodies by being more obedient to God’s command to subdue and steward the earth and re-learn how to use the plants He’s given us for our food and healing.