‘You do not own the land, the land owns you! ~Tawodi
About a year ago my husband purchased 60 acres of land for me for our 20th year anniversary. This land has loving come to be called Tawodi, which is Cherokee for Hawk.
As an herbalist and wildlife rehabilitator, my desire has been strong for many years to have botanical and animal sanctuary. A place where wild things stay Wild! A safe place for rehabilitated animals to get released, and a place for humans to ReWild. As we walked the old, rocky logging road on that muggy summer Virginia evening, a walk of silence enjoying the sounds of nature, my husband stopped and looked at me and said, ‘I bought this land for you! This is your land. I want you to be happy and be Wild on your land.’ He is a city mouse, and I am a country mouse, but our hearts are connected even stronger over these past 20 years of marriage. Our walk continued until we came to rest near the front of the property. We both sat, again quiet, just enjoying the Red-shouldered hawks that were flying over calling while hunting, while the rest of the animals lay silent, waiting for them to pass. As we sat quietly, I heard a voice say to me. ‘You do not own the land, the land owns you.’ I sat for a moment just enjoying the message that came to me from this magical place and realized that the land had accepted us. Then I shared the message with my best friend. He was just as awed by it as I was. We were hoping to be accepted by Tawodi and it dwellers both physical and spiritual.
Why is this story important to anyone? What makes a difference, you may wonder? This message was sent to me, but it is important that this message go to everyone (herbalist or not) even if their land is only a small back yard where they work. We do not own our land, our land owns us. The plants want us to hear and listen. The birds want to share their thanksgiving song. The spirits are longing for us to recognize them again, like the days of our ancestors. We need to be connected once again to our land. It is not enough for us to simply grow herbs, or buy them to make our medicine, we need to be connected, deeply, with where our medicine grows and where our healing comes from. We need not ‘own our land’, but we need to allow ‘our land to own us!’
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