We know what the animals do, what are the needs of the beaver, the bear, the salmon, and other creatures, because long ago men married them and acquired this knowledge from their animal wives. Today the priests say we lie, but we know better. The white man has been only a short time in this country and knows very little about the animals; we have lived here thousands of years and were taught long ago by the animals themselves. The white man writes everything down in a book so that it will not be forgotten; but our ancestors married animals, learned all their ways, and passed on this knowledge from one generation to another.
- A Carrier Indian, from the Bulkley River, in British Columbia
~quoted in The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram.
I think that this notion of "marrying," -- which produces, over time, as good marriages will, an understanding of what, for example, an animal or a plant or a river or a landbase or a watershed does and needs -- is a lovely one. It's an experiential marriage, one that proceeds and undergirds and finally makes possible a "marriage of true minds." I think that it's true, as well, for our relationship with ourselves, especially as Witches. It's one reason why I find daily practice so important. It's an opportunity to really get to know myself, my deities, my mission. It's not something I can get just from reading down what someone else has written in a book, any more than the Carrier Indian could really know about beavers by reading about them. And it is from that slowly-developed relationship with myself, born of daily practice, that I am able to begin to reach out and marry my bit of Earth, the plants and animals in my garden, my beautiful Potomac River, Columbia's landbase.
Well, we're all polyamorous in our own way.
Picture found here.