What is Sacred Dirt?
If you google “Sacred Dirt” you will find lots of references to a Catholic shrine in New Mexico called “El Santuario de Chimayó” where over 300,000 pilgrims visit every year to get a handful or two of dirt from an area that has been known to be connected with miraculous healings. I have never been to that holy ground but I do know about sacred dirt because I think all dirt is sacred.
A long time ago my gardening mentor shared some of her wisdom with me that has helped me not only as a gardener but as a human being.
- Compost, dirt teaming with microbes, is vital to abundant, healthy and beautiful plants just as water is the great elixir of life.
Compost is what we get when we allow plant matter to decompose with the help of worms and fungi. After weeks or months the organic plant matter turns into a rich humus filled with nutrients. This, in turn, gives us fruits and vegetables filled with nutrients that feed our bodies and keep us healthy. To taste a sweet carrot or a juicy strawberry is to appreciate the humus from which it was nurtured. To feast upon a sensuous rose is to understand the compost from which it grew. Show me a beautiful garden and we will find some miraculous dirt!
If you were to peek in my compost bin right now and dig around in there, you would find the underbelly of life — a world of worms, maggots and other assorted bugs. To an untrained eye it can be creepy and a bit unsettling, but to a gardener it is a glimpse of heaven, a miracle in the making, life come full circle. For it is out of this stuff that we, humans, are made as well.
The creation story in the second chapter of Genesis says that the Creator shaped us out of dirt and then blew the spirit of life into us. In essence we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Simply put, we are sacred dirt.
I hope you find meaning in the ramblings of this human being trying to listen to the wisdom of Spirit as we ponder what it means to be fully human and fully divine.