Having really enjoyed Julie Brett’s first book – Australian Druidry – I was excited to get a review copy of Belonging to The Earth. This is part of the new Earth Spirit line from Moon Books – small, tightly focused titles for anyone interested in Earth-based spirituality.
Julie is a Druid living in Australia. Her work is very much about squaring up to the implications of being on someone else’s land, with all that history of violence, cultural oppression, massacre and displacement. It’s something she’s navigating personally and she has a great deal to share about the process. I think she sets a good example of how anyone might move towards respectful relationship with the true owners of a land, without speaking over them or appropriating their traditions. She shares a lot of direct quotes from Elders she’s sat with, and the principle of showing up to listen is one that we all need to adopt.
Belonging to the Earth is written about Australian experience, but it offers a map to anyone interested in decolonization and the Indigenization of ideas. Julie is clear that wherever we are in the world, we all need to work on becoming indigenous people and that this is about having respectful and sustaining relationships with the land.
Reading this as a European, I was struck by the thought that although many of us live in the lands of our ancestors, we don’t have that depth of connection. Any of us could have been Aboriginal peoples, but none of us are. Countless ancestral choices have brought us to this point, and we have a great deal of work to do to both change that, and change the colonial narrative that insists on treating our disassociation as superior to the land-honouring cultures of First Nations People.
There’s a lot to learn for those of us with European and colonial heritage. The need to learn is urgent. How those of us from the colonial-capitalist side of history deal with First Nations People is a critically important matter of social justice and restorative justice. We urgently need the understanding of landscapes that would allow us to live in sustainable ways. We all need to be rooted in something more nurturing than consumerism.
I heartily recommend this book, and have every intention of reviewing more titles from the Earth Spirit line.
Find out more on Julie Brett’s website – https://juliebrett.net/2021/11/09/belonging-to-the-earth/