Xenophilia

Ok, here’s another entry I kinda made up. There’s been a ton written on xenophobia–in fact our agricultural practices show how deeply rooted the fear of the other is in our culture. Part of my own goal when it comes to both my spiritual and physical gardens is to promote diversity as much as possible, i.e., to not exist in a monoculture.

Most uses of the term xenophilia are not necessarily complementary, especially in regards to cultural interactions. In biology, however, it can be used to describe the introduction of a new species which is accepted in the same niche as another species. And this is where those of us who practice traditions rooted in other lands can benefit from the example. Some species that are important to Druidry in Britain and Ireland simply don’t grow in New England. Take yew, for example. There are North American yews, but they are a completely different critter from the long-lived giants of England and Wales. So in my own practice, I see the Eastern Hemlock as fulfilling a very similar niche.

Thus, there are many different ways to incorporate the biodiversity of our surroundings into our spiritual practices in responsible ways. Maybe it’s as simple as substituting rosemary for white sage if you’re not in the desert. Or perhaps it’s fighting the way mechanized agriculture is conducted by growing your own Spiritual Victory Garden. Whatever form your xenophilia takes, embrace the other and live in all the colors of the spectrum.

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