Chthonic Devotion: An Ode to Spirits of and Under the Earth

To be honest, it’s only coincidence that I am writing this on Earth Day. I am no activist, but I love and appreciate nature, and lately I’ve been feeling more connected to the elements around me.


While I spend most of my time in the suburbs surrounded by concrete and cars, there was a time in my life when I was deeply connected to nature. My grandparents own a 35 acre property, much of which is forested. I used to spend summers with them when I was a child, and my grandmother taught me how to identify animal tracks and harvest clay from the bank of a small stream that flowed through the forest. I became familiar with ferns and all manner of wildflowers and the way jewelweed would shine silver underwater. Back home, in our row house, we had a small backyard with sparse, often yellowish grass. Even there, I would build fairy houses and make offerings.

In hindsight, this background has prepared me immensely for pagan spirituality. My desire to connect to the gods has curtailed most of my interest in any spirits that I perceive to be minor, but remembering my fairy devotion has reminded me that honoring the land spirits and ancestors is not so unimportant as I find myself thinking. They are essential.

Lately, I’ve been feeling a deep call to return to the earth. My heart longs to perform some spiritual act that will re-entangle me with the earth, but the sad reality is that I’m woefully removed from that time in my life, and I have been displaced from the ancient knowledge of expressing that love.

Now, more than ever, I am aware of the power of the earth, of its richness and liminality; it bears life and decay in equal measure. It nourishes us. It feeds beautiful blossoms. It cradles our bones after we die, which will in turn feed new life.


I would like to take this time to honor the chthonic and earthen powers:

Hail to Hekate, Hela, Hades, Persephone, and Ereshkigal, keepers of the underworld and of the dead.

Hail to Nerthus, goddess of earth and liminality, and Freyr, bringer of the harvest. Hail to Cybele, Rhea, and Gaia, mothers of all. Hail to Dionysos Khthonios, with ivy and with thyrsus.


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