Homesteading is a such a multifaceted, generation spanning, ever evolving idea that its hard to pin down every kind of homestead, or even every way to homestead. And while people have as many reasons for homesteading as there are varieties of tomatoes, there are a few things that seem to pretty standard across the board.
One of the most common elements you see across all homesteading, is faith.
Most homesteaders have a very strong, very deep connection to their god/s.
And we here at the Misfit Homestead are no different.
Well, I should say that I am no different.
I am a pagan, a follower of a nature based religion. I worship the trees and the earth, the sun, the moon, and even the rain. I observe the turning of the seasons and celebrate them with the same passion and excitement most people reserve for Christmas and Easter. Each is unique and beautiful. Each one special in its own way.
I think that being both Pagan and a homesteader makes a world of sense. Homesteading is a lifestyle that lends itself to the land and the observance of the seasons. The farmer that can’t tell when spring is coming, is a farmer who starts his crops late. A pagan that fails to observe the seasons, is a pagan who is no longer in tuned with the world around them.
Of course, being a pagan in one of the most conservative states in the lower 48 isn’t the easiest thing.
Not that being a Pagan anywhere is easy.
But it is getting easier.
One of the reason homesteading appealed to me is its connection to the land and the way that connection mirrors the core of my particular brand of paganism. When I’m celebrating Ostara, I’m also looking to my seeds to see what will need to be started in the next few weeks and what will need to be directly sown. When Beltane comes through, and we raise the maypole, I know its time to start getting my late sow plants into the ground. When Samhain blows in with autumn leaves I know my harvest season is at an end.
They go hand in hand, the wheel of the year and the growing season.
It’s a beautiful thing.
Most homesteaders follow very close the turning of the seasons. They have too. My great grandmother, a woman named Garnet, whom I have spoken about at length throughout this blog, lived her life a in a way that was close to the land she called home. She could look at the mountains to the north of her house and tell you how long until it was time to plant. When the wind started to nip. and the flowers in her garden started to die, she could tell it was time switch to the cooler winter plants.
Her relationship with the land and the flowing of the seasons had nothing to do with calendars. clocks, or specific days of the weeks.
She could mark the passing of time more accurately by looking out her window than any man could by checking a watch.
My great grandmother wasn't Pagan, not by the standard definition, Just like I wouldn't say that Tim is Pagan. (He contends that he is a devout atheist.) But they both love and respect nature. They both carry a deep respect for trees, the water, and the land. And if that isn't the best foundation for a Pagan, I don't know what is.
Now there are people that would tell you that the lifestyle my family is choosing is a devoutly Christian one, because who else but God himself could have put this beauty before us. And only through worship and prayer can we understand Him better, and better appreciate His gift to us.
For them, I'm sure that's true.
But for me, I see the smile of the Goddess in the blooming of springtime flowers, I hear her laugh in the bird song and the babbling brook. I hear her speak to me in the sounds of the wind through the trees. She is the mother, she is the earth, she is the embrace we are born from, and that we must return to one day.
Despite these two very conflicting views, one thing is the same.
Nature is divine.
I've run into some people in my time that have judged my faith, and me, for that matter, and found both to be wanting.
But never with homesteaders.
Some of the most devout people I have ever encountered, but I've never felt judged by them. Or unwelcomed by them. Homesteaders, not matter what God or Gods they do or do not choose to believe in, are welcoming to all. If you love nature, if you crave a back to basics kind of life, you are their people.
We'll talk about chickens, the best techniques for sexing chicks, the best plants to use for a companion garden, when to raise a barn, how to find water on your property, and maybe, just a little bit about wonderful creation really is.