There is a God/dess here in the wildlands and streets.
My name is Dayan, though in some circles I go by Raine, and I never asked to be the mouth piece of a Divine Spirit of the Land. Perhaps that is a strange thing to say for a self-styled pagan, but I remain a reluctant prophet/priest.
When Florida first came to me in a meditation-turned-spirit-journey, I was entirely unprepared. It was easily the strongest and the most vivid experience I’d ever had with my eyes closed. She presented as female, motherly, and was concerned about the conditions of the environment in the state. Humans, she said, have thrown a biological and spiritual ecosystem entirely out of whack to the point she can’t function like she used to. The living die, or get replaced by invasive species, and the dead cannot move on to the worlds beyond. Every canal, dike, and paved development is a nail on her coffin, even as sea levels rise to wash away the mistakes of the past two hundred years.
After this jarring–one could even say, Apocalyptic–vision, I asked a friend for help. First off, I needed to know I hadn’t gone completely insane. The vividness of the experience, the way it continued to haunt me in stark clarity, the way it had already subtly altered my consciousness. I couldn’t see the familiar world of southeast Florida any longer without seeing the threads and bonds that wove her spirit. The flowing or still waters, the leaves and roots of trees, the grass, the birds and bugs–all of them were part of her. My friend and I attempted to replicate the experience for him, and I decided to trust his greater experience with spirit journeying.
When he returned, confirming much of what I had seen and yet having had an entirely unique and vivid experience of his own, I decided to seek out further confirmation. I crafted both of our experiences into a mythic story of Florida’s geophysical history coupled with a guided meditation/journey for others to experience. Obviously, it was far from a scientific controlled experiment, but other than using the female pronoun and giving specific facts about how the Florida ecosystems formed, I gave no further details. I spent the next six months doing this workshop for local groups, traveling between Pagan Pride Day celebrations, festivals, and other gatherings. Though not everyone experienced an encounter, the ones that did greatly confirmed much of what I was experiencing on a regular basis now. These were mystical/mythic details that I had not shared before, and all of them received in very personal ways.
After the series of workshops ended, I sat on the information and experiences for a year. I continued to “journey to” Florida and develop a more personal connection with her. Sometimes she appeared in my conscious space and either demanded visits or chatted. Slowly, I began to piece together myths, and through them, I encountered other beings of similar stature in natural relationship with her. I learned about the love affairs of the Lady, and the problems this created in the times of early human settlement in the state. There was very little to confirm, mostly because the wet tropics degrade the archaeological record, and because some of the events simply leave no lasting trace.
I hope to share those stories with you, here. As of November of 2017, I have become increasingly aware that this information needs to be shared online. There are obvious problems with it, and I have been wrestling with them. Principally, I remain a reluctant conduit for these stories and messages, though I am no longer skeptical. Whether they are true myths or simply fiction, it is not my place to decide. But there’s also the issues of authority and orthodoxy to consider.
Florida is a vast and powerful landscape, including a myriad of different landscapes and a multitude of species, even despite the environmental degradation of the past two centuries. Florida, as a God/dess and Sacred Mother, is capable of being many things to many people. Even if I am the first to make this connection to her in modern times, that does not give me the authority to insist upon any one view of her. It doesn’t even give me the authority to assert a gender for a Spirit of the Land, no matter how female she is in all of my experiences.
To that end, here are two versions of the same graphic. I hope they make space for multiple experiences and interpretations, and establish we can safely speak from our different viewpoints without necessarily having to agree on everything:
(You may have to click the image to see a bigger version, linked.)
Are you interested in exploring this concept now? Read on and be patient. But most of all, fall into this experience knowing you are already held in the arms of Florida. And, because I never tire of hearing how she appears to others, please leave a message on this page! I want to hear about your experiences, and if you give me permission, I might post them here, as well.
In the Love & Light of the God/dess,