Back in the 1990s I participated in a weekly psycho-spiritual therapy group. During one session, while sobbing in despair about all the human assaults on the natural world, I let it slip that I considered grizzly bears to be at least as important and deserving as human beings, if not more so. This didn’t seem to be an unwarranted opinion: at that time, there were about 55,000 wild grizzly bears in the world, and over 5 billion human beings. But I was confronted for being in my “lower self,” and the group leader said that I would need to “work on” this belief if I wanted to progress spiritually. At the time, I was so wrung out that I acquiesced in this perspective, but I’ve always regretted that moment when I assented to something I knew was fundamentally untrue. [Read more…] about Standing Firm in Gaia
One day last year, walking along a nearby mountain stream, I entered a place that felt sacred and mysterious. Shaded by a grove of willows, the creek’s waters gently flowed and purled around some stepping stones, evoking a sense of quiet, of waiting. I felt the presence of a water spirit and started singing to her. Very soon she began to sing back. She ended up giving me a beautiful song, which I was fortunately able to echo and record, line by line, as she sang it. When it was over, with great gratitude I inquired, “is this a song from the Mother of the Waters?” And I heard very clearly: “No, it is a song from a Mother of the Waters.” [Read more…] about The Flowing Green Love of Autumn
In the Celtic spiritual tradition, some speak of Orchil, the Weaving Goddess. She sits in the Underworld at two looms. On one loom, the warp extends down into the fiery heart of the planet; on the other loom the warp goes up to the blazing stars. Poised between Earth Light and Star Light, partaking of both Up and Down, Orchil weaves the weft on Her two looms, connecting every star to every other star, generating the infinite fabric of our planet and ourselves. [Read more…] about Allying with Orchil the Weaving Goddess
The other day a friend and I were having a discussion about the future of this planet and of humanity. She asserted that since humanity is of Planet Earth just as much as any other lifeform here, all the human-caused disasters that are happening—forest fires, floods, droughts and heat waves, air and water pollution, even extinctions and climate disruption—are “natural.”
Well, on one level that’s hard to deny, unless humans were dropped off here long ago by an alien spaceship (a theory that I don’t find so far-fetched sometimes!) But, nevertheless, I felt myself resisting the idea that the heartbreaking mess we’re in right now, with the biosphere near collapse all around the globe, can be excused as merely natural. If natural means acting according to our true nature, can we really say that humans are “naturally” unconcerned about our impact on the planet; that we’re naturally uncaring and even hateful toward our fellow creatures? [Read more…] about What is Natural?
Early June this year. I’m on the far northern California coast, carefully negotiating a steep, rocky path down to the ocean. To my right is the Klamath River and its delta. As I descend to the beach, my goal is visible—a large sea lion colony on a wide sandbar where the river meets the sea. Scores of huge adults are basking on the sand, while young ones clumsily flop around at the water’s edge. At the seaward end of the sandbar, a continuous parade of the ungainly animals slides in and out of the ocean. Once they start swimming, these creatures become graceful, relentless predators. The salmon are running, and the sea lions are efficiently grabbing them and gulping them down. A huge, sleek male swims parallel to the shore just 10 feet from me, his enormous head periodically popping out of the water as he snuffles and gargles. I’m close enough to see traces of fish blood in his whiskers. [Read more…] about Colonization Gaia’s Way