Archive for 18 March 2020

Bhumi-sparsha and You

I’ve written intermittently about links between Druidry and Jesus, though of course other traditions have riches of their own that overlap and can nourish Druid practice. I post about them less because I know them less, but one mudra or ritual gesture from Buddhism is asking for some time today. That’s the Bhūmisparśa Mudrā (approx. boo-mee-spar-shah moo-drah), literally the “earth-touching” gesture Buddha makes, calling on the earth to witness his enlightenment.


every level matters, none superior or inferior, all one greening

We need and benefit from witnesses. Legally of course they can help build a court case, but they matter in so many other ways. Friends witness our lives as they unfold, and they participate in that unfolding, just as we do in theirs. We know as we are known. The spiritual witness others offer helps us remember our lives and actions, and help them to matter more. Druidry is an earth religion because our spiritual witness and practice is where we find ourselves right now, here on earth, breathing and eating, sleeping and waking, dying and being born. Living.

Multiple Buddhist websites offer bhumisparsha mudra as a significant ritual gesture than anyone can try out. (Check out number 2 on this site). It features in Buddhist art and makes numerous Buddhist “top-ten” lists as a practice.


With this simple ritual act, Buddha touches the earth, or gestures towards it, with his right hand, all five fingers pointing downward. The other hand, the left, is palm upward in the lap. This is prajna mudra, or the wisdom gesture. Left hand palm up, resting in the lap, is a relaxing gesture. Try it and see.

Together, these two form an appropriate mini-ritual pairing for a person looking for “practical practices”, ones with immediate benefit, simple, easily incorporated into daily life, elements in a spiritual tool-kit that can be combined with other practices.

What you do with your attention as you practice the gestures is yours to explore. Prayer? A blessing? An offering of greeting, gratitude, salutation? Stilling of thoughts and emotions? Attention to birdsong, wind, your breathing?

Looking to calm yourself after too much social media, remembering the earth, opening to our innate human wisdom, these gestures can help us home. (You don’t need to include the lotus posture!) Sitting comfortably in a chair, on the floor, outdoors if you have even a bit of yard, can all help center and align you. If you have an altar, a grove, a ritual space, a candle — whatever scale of acknowledgment that your life is linked to the whole and the holy — here is another place to begin.

By such small steps we can approach and know the sacred (our life task) yet again.

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Images: (1) terraces –John Renzo Aledia — (2) Wikimedia Commons–bhumisparsha mudra–photo by Biswarup Ganguly.

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