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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Connecting to Sentient Earth

Mar 29, 2024 09:27AM ● By Marlaina Donato

David Fuentes Prieto /

Each April, Mother Nature spills blossoms from her apron as songbirds trill the songs of their ancestors and prepare for the next generation. Contrary to widespread human assumption, many animal species grieve, express empathy and form bonds that still elude our complete understanding. Trees communicate through complex root systems. Plants respond to environmental and emotional stimuli. Wolves howl their soul-song, and particles of desert sand emit bell-like frequencies if the wind’s provocation is just right. Our planet is alive on levels beyond our senses or scientific instruments. 

To the ancient Greeks, Gaia (also known as Gaea) was a living being separate from the gods that ruled the Earth—a primordial, maternal entity from which all life springs. Through the centuries, luminaries such as Plato or 1970s scientist James Lovelock have endeavored to define this life force, but perhaps 12th-century abbess and visionary Hildegard von Bingen came closest when she coined the word veriditas to denote “the greening power of nature”. Whether we see this innate energy as simple photosynthesis or handiwork of a higher power, sentient Earth is our all-providing, intelligent resource from cradle to grave.

Many of us can remember a moment in childhood when nature startled our consciousness, be it in a drop of pond water under a microscope or in the shocking power of a summer thunderstorm. We ran barefoot over her grassy lap, made wishes on stars and boggled our minds trying to grasp the concept of light years. This intimate relationship with the planet and her cosmic connections may dwindle in adulthood, but something deep within our souls—if we are honest with ourselves—longs to reunite with anima, Earth’s ever-present, pervasive energy.

Earth Day is an invitation to sync our hearts to Gaia’s force, feel the holy purpose of roots beneath our footsteps and witness her sanctity by planting a simple container garden or inhaling her breath of spring deeply into our lungs, exhaling gratitude. 

Marlaina Donato is an author, multimedia expressionist and a cultivator of wild well-being. Connect at

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