I am a sacramental ceremonialist on behalf of Gaia
About Me. As a solitary only child I had an inchoate yearning to live a spiritual life, although I never embraced mainstream Christianity with much enthusiasm. What I did embrace was the wild, green natural world of the canyons and mountains of northern New Mexico, where I grew up. I wandered these lands from a very young age, feeling safe, happy and endlessly fascinated.
As a young adult, I finally concluded that there was no room in any institutionalized religion for the authentic, wild wholeness I was seeking in myself and in the world. I also saw that values and actions of the human-created world were in direct contradiction to everything I valued and held dear.
In the 1980s I began to study nature-connected spirituality and ceremony with Native American teachers and was very involved with the sacred pipe and the sweat lodge for 10 years. Eventually I was called to the earth-centered Celtic and Western mystery traditions of my own British and northern European ancestors, and this is the path that I mainly embrace today. I also made a serious, 20-year study of the sacred rainforest plant teacher Ayahuasca—also known as the Great Medicine, or the Vine of the Soul—and I spent almost two years living in a spiritual community deep in the Brazilian Amazon. These disparate paths, all rooted in the living wisdom of Mother Earth, have been the foundation of my enduring, reflexive connection with the land, with the physical and spiritual being of Gaia. My entire life has been dedicated to deep inner exploration, grounded in land-based practices and philosophies and an ongoing love affair with the Green World of Nature.
One consistent context for my own thinking has been the field of deep ecology—a multidisciplinary philosophy, eco-theology and social movement that sees the earth and its living systems as an immense, interacting whole, with humans no more important or deserving than any other species. I was fortunate to sit at the feet of early deep ecologists such as John Seed and the late Dolores LaChapelle beginning in the early 1980s. From them I learned that this profound reconsideration of humanity and our place on the planet necessarily leads to the realization that for the vast majority of human history, all humans—the ancestors of each one of us—considered the land to be sacred, and lived on the earth in respectful, sustainable ways. Thus, the seeds of humanity’s transformation, so needed today, are already within us, deeply buried perhaps, but nonetheless part of our basic nature.
I’ve also followed and supported the important work of my old friend Bill Plotkin, the author of Soulcraft and Nature and the Human Soul, and the founder of Animas Valley Institute in Durango, Colorado. Bill has masterfully synergized deep ecology, wilderness guiding, and psychology and psychotherapy into his own groundbreaking, experiential work in nature-based soul initiation and the re-wilding of the human psyche.
In the Celtic and Western mysteries arena, I’ve known Scottish author, teacher and visionary RJ Stewart since 1993. I’ve always felt a resonance with his radical conception of Earth Light—the fertile light within the body of the sacred land. All ancestral traditions are anchored in this luminous underworld realm and its powerful forces and beings. Through studying with RJ I’ve increasingly come to understand how disrespecting and dismissing the spiritual realms of the sacred land have led to humanity’s tragic sense of separation from Nature, and thus from our own nature.
As I enter my 70th decade, I am gratefully taking up all the strands of my lifetime of spiritual exploration and dedicating myself to Gaia. My intertwined goals are to plant as many seeds as I can to strengthen Gaia’s transformative, regenerative energies; to support, both spiritually and practically, the physical regeneration of the Sacred Land; and, in the process, to reawaken humanity to our true nature as daughters and sons of Mother Gaia, and sisters and brothers to one another.