Welcome to Earth Sanctuaries. This site is dedicated to honoring the sacredness of Earth and fostering an intimate relationship between people, land, and the spirit that infuses all. I believe that the ecological crisis we are experiencing has been engendered by western culture’s pervasive separation of nature and spirit. Hope arises when we heal our sense of separateness.
Some ways I have found to do so are by: getting to know the native plants and animals where I live; honoring the ancestors of place; celebrating the seasons; creating garden sanctuaries in which to heal; pilgrimaging to sacred and re-sacralized landscapes at home and abroad; creating rituals that foster awareness of our connection; and participating in ceremonies that express gratitude to the endlessly beautiful and generous spirit of life that surrounds us. I have gathered words and images that I hope will inspire re-connection into four sections:
Pilgrimage Stories includes tales of journeying to sacred landscapes both at home and abroad. These stories contain such archetypal themes as liminality, healing, synchronicity, and transformation. They are about honoring the divine feminine, ancestors, and our plant-animal allies. These are stories about being in relationship to the wildness within us and in communication with both the wild of spirit and the wild of nature around us.
Garden Sanctuaries is dedicated to making creative spaces for communing with nature. There is a story about creating a Pollinator Garden and a photo gallery of the many butterflies and skippers who have come to visit. There is a Moss Garden article and a gallery of images of our Moss Garden Sanctuary. Here you will also find an Inventory of the native flora and fauna of our Forest Garden, a certified conservation garden.
Natural Communities honors our native plants and animals and the diverse and beautiful habitats in which they live. Native habitats are earth sanctuaries for the unique communities of plants and animals that live together in them. Here you will find illustrations of natural habitats in our mountain, piedmont, and coastal plain regions of North Carolina, my home. I hope these drawings of the sacred natural communities where I live will inspire you to savor and protect the wild lands around you.
Seasonal Celebrations includes reflections on both small seasonal rituals and large community multi-media Earth-based ceremonies, which honor our relationship to nature and spirit throughout the wheel of the year. Perhaps you will gain ideas for creating or participating in seasonal-awareness celebrations of your own, large or small.
Earth Sanctuaries was launched on January 1, 2018. It includes both current or recent stories and events as well as some past stories and ceremonies postdated to approximately when they occurred. I want to thank David, my partner in all these adventures, and our son Tristan Chaika for designing this beautiful website.
I hope you find something in these words and images to empower you on your own EarthSpirit honoring journey.
Betty Lou Chaika
Latest Articles & Stories
For many of us the figure of the Cailleach, the crone, has become synonymous with wisdom and autonomous female agency operating outside the oppressive hand of patriarchy. Cailleach, ‘veiled one,’ means a wise... READ MORE
In these socially stressful times, with protests against raging inequalities on one side and counter protests that instill fear on the other, any sense of centeredness can be hard to find. Great divisions... READ MORE
On the Celtic Wheel of the Year the cross-quarter festival of Lughnasa falls on August 1, mid-way between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox. The mythology of Lughnasa is particularly rich and significant. Amidst... READ MORE
It’s just past Summer Solstice. Amidst Covid-19, the only celebrations many of us got to experience this year were virtual. When I participated in a recent online solstice ceremony the presenter asked me... READ MORE
Once upon a time, just past Spring Equinox, the people were struggling to cope with a new disease never seen before. As coffee houses, restaurants and gyms closed, the people began getting outside,... READ MORE
In the Stone Garden, poet and therapist Brian Stokes communes with dancing stones, exploring the delicate balance between living and not-living, while he lives, deeply, with cancer. In this interview Brian talks with... READ MORE