Often, working as a land healer is very local work: you work with the plants, animals, bodies of water, insect life, and many other aspects of life that are nearby to you. Depending on where you live, this is often ample enough for any of us to do. But, you may also feel led to do work at distance on behalf of a place–perhaps a place you visited or one that is calling to you. Even though you live far away or cannot reach that place, you want to help. This is where distance land healing can come in.
An important aspect of energetic land healing (that is, working in a ritual way to help bring positive energy, blessing, and healing to land, bodies of water, animals, plants, insects, and more) is distance work. Often, land we want to heal (such as those ravaged by natural disasters or animals at risk from extinction) may be physically inaccessible, and thus, being able to work at a distance is important. Some work is actually better done at a distance, while while other work, like physical land regeneration, must be done in person.
Distance energetic work is necessary for a variety of reasons: lack of access a site due to it being on someone else’s property or in the middle of an extraction zone (e.g. fracking well, mountaintop removal site), mobility and transportation issues, safety, or because the site is too far away for you to reach it physically (like when the fires were raging in Australia and you live on another continent). Thus, employing distance techniques are often necessary for advanced land healing practice.
Distance healing techniques are more advanced techniques that require confidence in a variety of spirit communication and protection techniques: deep listening, spirit communication, visualization, grounding, and shielding. You have to be able to focus for long periods of time and open to the messages of spirit. You have to be able to protect yourself, as any energetic healing requires a deep energetic connection–and that connection goes both ways. You have to be able to raise and direct energy effectively. If you are still learning these techniques, you should work on developing them further before doing serious distance healing work, particularly on sites that have extensive damage or require palliative care.
Any distance work is based on a connection that you establish between the land (be it a piece of land, body of water, specific animal or group of animals, plants or groups of plants, etc.). If it is land you visited before, you can use your own memory or any mementos or tokens you may have gathered. If you haven’t ever visited the site but still want to do healing, it’s helpful to have something that represents the land, such as a natural object, memento, or photograph. The idea behind connecting at a distance is that you will establish some energetic line between you and the land you are working to heal, and through this line, you can send energy, activate sigils, chant, work magic, and much more.
Levels of Connection
There are at least three different energetic levels of connection you can make with the land, and understanding the differences is important for distance work.
Communicative. The first level is being able to sense and communicate—enough to do deep listening work, enough to ascertain what state the land is in energetically. This is a lot like standing on a peak and overlooking a mountain below or talking to a friend on the phone—you see what’s going on, but you aren’t quite close enough to be affected energetically. This level of connection allows you to communicate and sense energy, but not actually affect it (which is good for those new to these practices). This connection can allow you to do witnessing, communication, apology, and some space holding techniques, which are all important to land healing.
Energetic. The second level is an energetic connection, where you can send energy to the land and in turn, receive energy back. It is at this level that you can work magic, where you can do chanting magic, raise and direct energy, and do any number of energetic healing techniques
Attunement. The third level—what I call attunement—happens only over prolonged contact with the land, where you are always deep connection with the land. This happens after years of direct working with the land, interacting with it, and a period of time where you have lived on the land or regularly visited. With attunement, there is always some energetic connection present and that connection can be sensed and activated on either side very easily. This level requires a great deal of trust.
Doing Distance Work
Preliminaries: To connect with land at a distance, begin finding a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. Begin by engaging in shielding techniques, such as the Sphere of Protection or your own that you regularly use. No distance work should take place without shielding—because you are establishing an energetic link between yourself and the land, you will want to have basic protection. Remember that you can send energy through this link, but at the basic level, the connection should be enough to sense the land only.
Once you are properly shielded, make yourself as comfortable as possible (sitting or laying on the floor). If you have any objects or images to connect with, hold them in your hand or place them before you.
Communicative: Finding the thread. Now, envision the land/waterway/plant/animal before you. See it in your mind’s eye, focus on the object or image. Speak aloud, asking to connect. Sense the connection between you, like a small golden thread, connecting you to that place, being, or species. If you have been there before, this thread may already be established. If you haven’t been there before, you might need to establish the thread by reaching out through the object/image with your minds eye and establishing the connection through visualization. Breathe, allowing the connection to unfold out and be established. If its the first time you’ve connected in this way, just sit with the connection for a while, sensing it. Then, go about whatever communication you want to do (here are some suggestions for first steps). This connection should allow for basic communication and deep listening techniques, including witnessing, holding space, deep listening, prayer and chanting work.
If you are new to these techniques and in need of doing distance work, I suggest you work with this first technique until you feel comfortable before moving on to a deeper connection.
Energetic: Feeling the Heartbeat of the Land. The second stage of connection establishes an energetic link that goes both ways so you can do ritual at a distance and healing. Connecting to the heartbeat of the land takes you a level deeper, and allows you to work energetically with the land. All land has its own rhythms, and if you focus, you can eventually align with the heartbeat . To do this, once you have connected at a distance, slow your breathing down and quiet yourself as much as you can. Now, feel your own heartbeat. As you listen to yours, widen your range and feel the beat of the land/tree/body of water, etc. If you have an object from the land, hold the object in your hand while you do so. Sometimes this can take time, and you may not be able to align in this way unless the land/tree/animal/water body wants you to do so.
Once you have the beat, match it on a drum, rattle, gong, bell branch, or any other instrument. If you don’t have any of these, simply clapping or slapping your hand on your leg will work perfectly fine. Spend some time aligning to this second beat. This gives you a very deep connection to the land, even at a distance. From this point, you can do many different kinds of energetic healing of the land including chanting, raising energy, and various kinds of palliative care.
Attunement: Feeling in the spirit: Deep attunement requires long-term physical connection to the land, or to a particular species or body of water. This happens when that land/species/body of water gets in your blood and bones, and it becomes a part of you. You can do distance work on land that you are not physically present on that you have attuned to, but you cannot establish any kind of attunement without actually being present on the land for a period of time. Practices like the Grove of Renewal and the druid’s anchor spot will put you into these deeper relationships and connections over time.
I think the work of land healing is important and powerful work, and hopefully these tools will help you best do this work if you are feeling led!