"There is one Holy Book,
the sacred manuscript of nature,

the only scripture which can enlighten the reader."

Hazrat Inayat Khan

In the early 90s I learned about the Ziraat concentration from Vakil Forest Shomer at a retreat or camp. I took a public initiation or oath with him to align myself with my true heart’s calling of a spirituality rooted in Earth consciousness. In my mind this included practicing respect for all life forms by living more ecologically, learning ways to incorporate ritual into my Sufi practice that included participation and prayer with nature, and teaching the next generation about Earth-centered spirituality.

I studied the traditional Ziraat Lodge ceremony (based on the structure of Masonic Lodge ritual) as given in the Ziraat papers. I understood the Masonic farming metaphor and ritual that was established. I have given a fair amount of thought and study to the historic framework that provided a base for exploring and moving through inner development with an agricultural cycle. I learned the Lodge ritual from Forest Shomer and attended Ziraat retreats. I also organized a few Ziraat gatherings in my effort to participate in Ziraat with my spiritual community. The esoteric approach to Ziraat is appreciated as it provided a structure for ritual. The community gatherings were satisfying as they included dances, zikr, friends, and food. But nothing inspires me as much as my personal practice of participation with the natural elements through gardening and wilderness experiences.

Perspective and Dreams
As a gardener I experience the interdependence of the soil, water, sun, air, microbes, and animals (including people). In active participation and appreciation of these elements the ego dissolves and awe grows. The more time spent in wild natural surroundings, and in the garden, the more humility I feel. So much so that impressions of the sacredness of nature are embedded in every waking moment. This visceral knowledge reveals to me that all forms of life on earth are God. Divinity abounds and is ever-present in all forms of nature. The mysticism of nature is a beautiful reality of my human experience.

In Wali Ali’s "God is Breath" course, one of the practices he gives is walking in nature utilizing “Toward the One” to shine the light of your intention upon the path of your life and move continually toward wholeness. This simple practice in nature is ever expanding my reverence of the surrounding physical reality and inspires my desire to serve Earth with direct actions. I started learning DUP dances that attune to Earth and dances for children. I witnessed Maboud Swierkosz’ nature wazifa photography and then started witnessing wazifas in natural processes and forms. Finally, in my occupation as a teacher I am planning to move into environmental and food gardening education for youth.

waterfall400My dream is to turn all aspects of the next decade of my active adult life to Ziraat, to support this stream of spirituality through how I live and teach. I hope my daily prayers will vibrate healing love to the Earth and to its future generations. I wish to offer ceremony that celebrates Nature through ritual, story, and dance. I wish to support the future generations who face an ailing Earth. I hope that the Ziraat stream can provide multiple ways for youth to participate including private spiritual practice, political activism, and direct Earth stewardship. It is important to consider the temperaments and inclinations of the younger people.They are understandably distrustful of the present political interests that have failed to care for Earth. I wish to give them truth and love to arouse their participation so they can heal her, grow with her beauty, and have confidence she will support them in all ways.

“ A person who is able to help others should not hide but do their best to come out into the world. “Raise up your light high” it is said. All that is in you should be brought out and if the conditions hinder you, break through the conditions!”
Hazrat Inayat Khan Volume XIV - The Smiling Forehead