The Plant: Soul of the Earth

Oct 28, 2021

Did you know that the fifth grade Botany Block isn’t actually about plants? True, we talk about algae, moss, and ferns, but the heart of this block is about deepening the sense of what it means to be human. As the Human and Animal Block developed the fourth grader’s understanding of our three-fold human bodies in relationship to the animal world, the Botany Block leads the fifth grader to an expanding sense of our human souls in relationship to the plant world. 

We begin with the image of Earth as wide awake in Winter, the cold, dark soil luminous with the bright sparks of millions of tiny seeds lying in wait for Spring, like stars shining in the night sky.  This beautiful image is a symbol of human awareness, that flash of inspiration as a new thought arises or of the vivid feelings that burn in us. 

Then, with the return of warm weather, the Earth falls asleep. The sleeping Earth releases those starry seeds, which emerge out of the ground as plants – just as we humans can fall asleep only when we relax our hearts and minds. In making this comparison, we begin to see plants as the thoughts, feelings, and even the soul of the Earth herself, made visible around us. 

What soul quality is reflected in a quiet mushroom, with its extensive underground network? Or in a sunflower, standing tall with its bright yellow face tilted toward the sun? Looking at the plant world in this way creates the opportunity to both feel deeper into ourselves, and to examine our relationship with the world around us. Building these feeling connections to the plants, animals, the Earth, and ultimately within ourselves, is the magic of these subtle yet profound lessons.

- Ms. Andrea Geise

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