Reciprocity – the act of giving back for that what you are grateful for, what you see as valuable or ‘paying back equal’, whether positive or negative. This is my own, free definition of the word that I first stumbled upon in the book Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmener. She uses the word as a positive reference, as in paying back to Nature.
You can pay back to Nature by tidying the natural sites you visit, tending to plants, animals and elements, by singing or just … being grateful and expressing it in any way you can.
Pay back to the Land by feeding it with good compost, not using toxic materials and covering up bare land.
Pay back to your people by remembering to thank, to call, to give, to help. It might not be a big deal for you, but it could mean the world to them.
As a child I sometimes brought small presents to the Tree that was my friend, but as I grew up and I saw no one else doing the same, I concluded my action must be childish and stopped. In hindsight I wish I had continued, and that I would have had a mentor – it’s easy to wish, into the future or past. Now I am occasionally making talismans for trees – this seems to be a current in me that needs to flow, so I flow with it.
Earlier this year, I noticed a curious thing happening between me and my Spirit helpers. I was calling upon him and my spirit animal to support me as I was doing healings, and they obliged, but with a growing grudge. When I asked him what was going on, he let me know that he would really like some tobacco, as he had been asking for before. I had given ‘spirit tobacco’, but that’s not what he meant he said. Also my animal ally let me know what he was longing for.
I was puzzled. I didn’t know how to do it properly. A few weeks later, I found that Liv Wheeler from @Kontomble_medicine was giving an online class on the subject. I participated and learned that giving material gifts to our helpers in the spirit world is as real and important as their assisting us in this world. But of course! Now that I knew why and how, our home altar got offers installed, and I built/arranged an outdoor altar as well for our ancestors. The information is pouring in at high speed even now, two months later, the ‘orders’ are pouring in and I’m understanding increasingly more about how this reciprocity thing, between the spirit world and ‘our world’, works.
And how energy, goods and cravings work! It seems that in our daily, mind-centered modus we easily get the messages mixed up. What is really my craving or need, and what is theirs? What am I saying when I talk to them? Do I send messages of lack and wanting, or loving gratitude and joy? Remember; our thoughts are the seeds for the future.
Pay it forward, backwards or sideways. Surprise yourself and experience the true gift of giving – the joy and satisfaction of participation in the abundance of Life.
I will be organising a group offering for the ancestors and our spirit allies in January (in Abcoude, the Netherlands). Let me know if you would like to join!