Fertility is very important. Without it there would be no more life and no continuation of species. Fertility is inherent in all nature and though we don’t talk of things like the fertility of the soil any more, we rely on it more than ever for things like food production. With soil erosion and over production rapidly depleting the fertility of the soil, we will soon find out how vitally important this is.
Fertility can also refer to human fertility and the ability to reproduce. As someone who is gay, I obviously won’t be engaging in any reproduction, but does that mean I am not taking part in passing on something to the next generation? In a world that is massively overpopulated which is resulting in severe environmental damage, is it even responsible to be reproducing? When there are thousands of children in care who need to be adopted and brought up in a loving family home, is it right to want to bring more into the world? I would like my own children one day, I would like to pass on genes to the next generation but perhaps the responsible thing to do is adopt those who are already here and “reproduce” myself in them through the way I raise them – hopefully to be people they can be proud of. I think this is fertility too.
Fertility is a vitally important part of spirituality. But perhaps a more modern word can be used – how about “creativity” – the ability to create, the process of creation. No one could deny that one of the fundamental laws of the universe is creativity, the universe is inherently creative at its very essence….if it wasn’t we wouldn’t be here to read or write this blog post. Fertility and Creativity don’t just have to mean the ability to create new life, whether by growing food or reproducing, it is also the ability to do anything creative. When we write a poem or a blog post, set up a business or make a product, draw a picture or play some music, we are creating. When we combine ingredients to make a meal or we plant seeds in the garden, when we build a new house or fight for a cause greater than ourselves, we are creating. Every word we say and every action we take affects the world, molds our brains and therefore is a process of creating ourselves and the world around us. To be creative is to engage in a fundamental process of the universe itself. Indeed we are the universe creating. We are the creativity of the universe expressing itself in wonderful new forms. I’m not the most artistic type and I’m not particularly practical, but that doesn’t mean I’m not creative. I can express creativity through writing, cooking and the type of person I become. We can all create things that will outlast us and give us a type of immortality after we go back to the earth. To do these things is to be fertile, to be creative, to engage in one of the most important spiritual practices and to come into line with mother nature herself.
There is a concept in Druidry called “Awen” (pronounced Ah-oo-En). It’s traditionally interpreted as meaning “divine inspiration” although a more literal translation would be “flowing spirit” or “flowing essence” or “flowing living principle.” The idea is that there is something one can tap into to help inspire us in creating poetry and the like. To me, Awen is the same thing as the inherent creativity of the universe. To me, Awen is “flowing essence”….its not some physical thing or even a force, but rather a law of the universe, something inherent in all aspects of the universe. And we can call it divine because what is the meaning of “divine” if its not “creator”? Nature is the manifestation of Awen. Awen is the source of creativity, it is creativity itself, it is the harmony of opposites. When we are creative we are, in poetic terms, tapping into Awen.
If nature is the focus and source of our spiritual practice, then surely acting in harmony with nature and following the example of nature in being creative and fertile, is itself a spiritual practice. How are you expressing the principle of fertility in your life?