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" Friendship is a sheltering tree "


On Behalf of the Land

May 23rd, 2014
















This week my friend and OBOD member JJ Middleway gave a wonderful speech on behalf of the land at a Public enquiry. He has very kindly given permission to share it here with you:

Today I spoke on behalf of the Land at a Public Inquiry into planning for 114 houses in the remarkably beautiful Slad Valley where I live. I attach my speech here too.

I spoke simply as a Human Being, but also as a Spiritual Warrior, a Druid Shaman and a Priest of the Land, which is how others have described me. I wore some fresh Oak leaves and my Druid cloak (the equivalent of the business suits that the Government appointed Inspector, Barristers and other Counsel were wearing as ‘clothes of their profession’ .)

Afterwards, when I offered blessings on all the lives of the Developer’s (opposition) legal team, I was asked for a copy of the ‘speech’ and told how moving they had found it.

JJ Middleway speaks on behalf of the Land:

 As the Land, I do not have a voice as you would recognise it.

I do not speak the language of words and of letters as you do.

However, I do have a language; and there was a time, when more of your people could understand it: Now there are few who listen; but, encouragingly, ‘a growing few’.

Just as you might allow a translator into a court, to enable Swahili, Sanskrit or Welsh to be understood, here too there is need of a translator. All I ask is that you listen.

I put it to you that it is not just humans who are affected by this proposal, but also countless other ‘beings’; from cowslips and butterflies, to oak trees, heron and deer: The living earth itself, and all that lives ‘in and upon her’ … ‘in and upon me’.

You might find it strange; however the land too, experiences something akin to what in your language might be called ‘elation’, ‘joy’ and ‘pleasure’, when humans treat her, treat me, with honour and respect.

 I also experience sadness, grief and pain (although these words are inadequate to fully describe what I experience), when there is desecration, exploitation and abuse.

There are instances that could more accurately be described as something similar to rape: The taking of one by another without their consent; such as here.

Where then is Compassion?

I note that the overwhelming majority of local people are not in favour of this development, and that the leaders and representatives of your local councils and communities have voiced opposition; yet this is in danger of being over-ruled.

Where then is Wisdom?

You might say it is ridiculous to attribute so called human emotions to the Land. (“To anthropomorphise it”, in your language). However, consider it the other way around: The possibility that we are all part of the same living, beating heart, and that what is “felt” in the tree, is somehow “felt” in the man. Or that what is somehow “felt” in the sea, is similarly “felt” or experienced, in the woman.

Why should it not be so?

I do not speak against you building houses and dwellings, for your true need.

I do, however, caution against building them for true greed.

I do not advocate that no “development” takes place.

Rather would I ask that such “development” be sensitive and to scale; aesthetic and harmonious, rather than imposed and insensitive.

So, as time is short, I conclude by asking you to consider that building houses in this particular locality is not wise. In your language, it is not “cost-effective”, because once the cost to your overall well-being is factored in, you are sure to be ‘dis-eased’.

I note that the developers are called Gladman; and I ponder:

Is a glad man one who makes a lot of short-term profit at others’ (including the earth’s ) expense? Or; is a glad man, one who lives lightly and content upon this Earth, and is at peace?

I have spoken.

16 Responses to “On Behalf of the Land”

  1. What an extraordinary speech. A truly eloquent and very moving discourse on our deep and abiding connection to the land and how very much poorer we will be if those with ‘power’ continue to ignore it. It is very much in our own hands to speak out and to take action instead of dwelling in apathy and wondering what happened when everything the Gods gave us is finally gone.
    Bright Blessings

  2. Thank you for speaking for the Land and its creatures and also for me – many, many blessings to you for speaking the language of the Land

  3. Thank you for this beautiful letter. I will be sharing it on facebook, on my page Deep Peace Of The Quiet Earth.

    In response and return, may I offer you some worlds I feel that i was given to translate for the land?


    slow down,
    and listen to the land
    lie down on my soft belly and feel me breathe
    I am a wise old woman who will not be tamed
    and if you can slow down and listen long enough
    you might also gain the courage to go wild
    you might hear the myriad secrets that I hold
    the thousand daily miracles that I unfold
    in every single cell of my magnificent body
    you might dare to dance with me
    your hearts beating time with the timeless heart
    of this wild ancient grandmother who will not be hurried or rushed
    and listen,
    really listen to the land

    by Bríd Wyldearth 1999

  4. I am very moved by this and it is so true, the land has my support always…for we are indeed not alone living on it…Thank you for this speech, I need no translation for it is also my language…

  5. Thank you JJ for your courage to speak out for the Land. Many of us feel the way you do, but few are brave enough to speak it x

  6. Thanks to all who have commented. Love and blessings to you and the Land.
    One step at a time; one foot at a time; we are rising – and gradually learning how best to serve and ‘stand up’ for her.

  7. Truly well written and well done you! I hope it helps to have made the Developers think more like you so obviously do.

  8. Inspiring, thank you. I see now I have not been recognising “the land” rather the trees and all plants that grow on the land. This has given me a new perspective, I hope also the planning committee.

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