Just a few weeks ago, a climate report from scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned us that the world will likely reach its 1.5 degrees Celsius warming threshold within the next 20 years. And like me, I’m sure that left you with a lot to feel. Anger, fear, deep sadness—all reasonable. But mostly I find myself wondering, how did we really get here?
I’m not a scientist by any stretch; I’m a writer. So while I can’t use research and statistics to answer this question, I can turn to wise words. Over a century ago, Chief Si’ahl (Chief Seattle) of the Suquamish and Duwamish Indigenous tribes said, “Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” And I tend to agree. From this point of view, our environmental crisis implicates one overarching theme: We, as a collective, are disconnected from nature.
Enter: The divine feminine.
Simultaneously (and perhaps as no coincidence), phrases like sacred femininity and the rise of the divine feminine have worked their way into common New Age parlance. A record number of women are now serving in the U.S. Congress. And until the pandemic hit, the number of women in the workforce was on the rise in this country, to the benefit of the global economy. While, as some say, “the world is burning”—women are rising into a rightful place of leadership. On a spiritual level, this couldn’t be more promising.
Within each of us resides both feminine and masculine energy. But for as long as most history books can show, we’ve lived in a world ruled by masculine qualities of action, leadership, assertiveness, and independence—plus qualities of an unhealthy masculine, like control, aggression, and greed. Now, as women are claiming their place at the table, we are starting to see an influx of healthy feminine qualities emerge: healing, love, compassion, acceptance, empathy, nurturing, and forgiveness. And which traits do you suppose are most relevant in facing our environmental crisis?
The way I see it, saving our planet calls for movements with roots in the feminine. More healing, less greed. More love, less control. This leaves the larger question: How do we connect to our feminine?
In truth, there are infinite ways to do this. But I’ll share what worked for me.
Connecting to the feminine through landscape and writing.
Much of connecting with our feminine is just making the world come alive. In our collective disconnection from nature, we often forget that the world around us already bursts with life. We can remember this using one of the simplest forms of creativity: writing. Just by picking up a pen and paper and sitting outdoors, we can revive our relationship with nature, the dormancy of which has contributed to the crises we navigate today.
This was precisely what I was inspired to do two years ago, in the middle of a desert in New Mexico. Struck by the beauty of the place, I stumbled upon a very random idea, which urged me to sit down and start writing. If this landscape was a woman, I thought, What would she look like? What would she say? What would she have to teach me?
As I took in the red desert rocks, the succulents, the smell of dust kicking up in the dry air, the landscape sucked in a breath of life and looked back at me, inspiring a little prose-poetry I call Desert Woman:
“She steps out of a mirage nearly nude. Her steps are queenly. When she walks, a billow of dirt stirs up around her feet as though she rides on the loyal transport of a dust devil. She is indisputable, conceived by this hard and ancient earth. I think about the layers—fossils, lost wanderers, prophetic dreams—all stacked beneath her calloused bare feet. She has the look of one who remembers all that has and will come to pass. Her hands are lined with deep crevices that read like lost scrolls. Time-eternal has toasted her skin. Baked it golden beneath ever-affectionate Sun. The two of them are close. Infinite life-givers. Light shines through one side of her, muted on the other. She approaches me leisurely, bony arms swaying side-to-side, and presents the invitation.”
This exercise ended up feeling so fulfilling, it led to the creation of my upcoming book, Earth Women, an experimental poetry collection of earth’s landscapes embodied as women.
Your turn: Bringing landscape to life.
Now, I’m a poet—so this kind of exercise is my idea of fun. But as it turns out, anthropomorphism (attributing human qualities to an object, landscape in this case), has actually been shown to decrease loneliness and invite a sense of connection. Finding the “human” in the natural landscapes around us allows us to relate to nature on deeper levels than we thought possible. And in the midst of such creativity, we simultaneously stir our most sacred femininity.
No matter where on the planet we find ourselves, there is a landscape to be observed. Observation alone is enough to foster a relationship with nature, but it’s the writing about landscape that starts a conversation.
So, take a look around: Where have you found yourself? Are there mountains nearby? The ocean? Grab your journal, take a seat, and invite your imagination to unfold on the blank page before you. Your writing can take the form of a journal entry, prose, or a free-form poem, like this piece, a follow up to Desert Woman:
Body folded up, a horizon
her spine an arched rock formation
in the smears of a setting sun.
Curious, in the orange light.
A heavy moon rises
ripe with a flame-colored glow,
sweeps the parched dirt in gold-blue
nectar, for which she unfolds.
Desert Woman begins a dance
Mother Earth opens her eyes
and we hear a whisper—
our cupped hands fill with a musty elixir.
We drink and become timeless.
Here’s the best part: When it comes to your new practice as a creative writer, there are zero rules. Just the infinity behind your creative impulse. And before you go thinking it’s weird to imagine what that pine tree would look like as a person, or what it might say to you… Isn’t it weirder that as a species, we’ve chopped down 46% of our planet’s trees, which we need to survive?
As I turned this exercise into a daily ritual, the world started waking up around me. And with it, my most sacred feminine qualities. I realized that the connection we’re all searching for isn’t within a social media feed. It’s surrounding us, always, in the form of landscape, waiting to be tapped for its wisdom as pencil meets page. No matter how you identify, your sacred feminine wants to awaken, and channeling your landscape into writing is an accessible, powerful way to let it. You never know what messages nature has in store, but I’m hoping you’ll soon find out.