What St. Patrick’s prayer song teaches us about connecting with the land

By Damian Costello
EarthBeat
March 17, 2022

The ecological crisis is, among many things, a crisis of connection. Many of us descend from or are recent immigrants. We no longer connect to where we live with teachings and practices honed over millennia. Alienated from the land, many of us no longer relate to the life around us as relatives or spiritual kin. Instead, we consider the natural world to be empty matter or a resource to exploit without counting the costs. St. Patrick teaches us another way.

Thinkers such as Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass, advocate for recovery of an Indigenous way of knowing born of deep connection to the land, whether it’s the land of your ancestors or not. By learning from Indigenous wisdom and reclaiming practices from one’s own traditions, immigrant people can become what Kimmerer calls “naturalized to place” and grow into mutually sustaining relationships with the other-than-human world.

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