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
We normally think of our hearts as “belonging” to us. And yes, our heart is undeniably part of our physical body, as a muscle ceaselessly pumping our blood around, and literally keeping us alive.
On the emotional level, we are told early and often that our hearts “belong” to romantic love.
This begins as the simple, adolescent love of infatuation, which, ideally, matures into more nuanced, balanced love for a partner and for families and friends. [Read more…] about Whose Heart Is It?
A few days before Easter, I remembered a hymn received by a beloved matriarch in the Brazilian rainforest community that was my spiritual home for 20 years. The lines that struck me were: “I must love my Mother in the heights [heaven]” and “She is our protectress and guides us on the path of salvation.” I deeply love and respect this elder, who has patiently received and supported me many times—but I suddenly saw that the beliefs presented in these lines sum up the enormous illusion that is driving the destruction of our planet. [Read more…] about What is True Salvation? Gaia’s Answer to Easter
A familiar metaphor refers to the fish not perceiving the ocean even while she swims in its all-pervasive waters. Similarly, we modern humans usually have no idea of the ubiquitous anti-Nature, anti-Earth beliefs and assumptions we “swim” in as part of the human-created world.
One of the most pernicious human supremacist ideas—reflected in science and technology, spirituality, and everyday life—is separation. We’ve been conditioned to consider ourselves separate from and external to the rest of creation. We believe we possess both the right and the ability to use and manipulate everything on Earth for human-defined ends. But even when our intentions are good, we would do well to heed what plant ecologist Frank Egler said almost 100 years ago: Nature is not only more complex than we think; it is more complex than we can ever think. [Read more…] about Undoing Our Separation from Gaia
Many people see our current ecological crisis as also a spiritual crisis for humanity. While I wholeheartedly agree, I’m coming to understand that our eco-spiritual conversations often overlook something important. We need to meet, up front, our beliefs about the Underworld—the mysterious physical and spiritual domain under our feet, extending into the body of the planet, all the way to the center of the Earth.
Our indigenous ancestors considered the Underworld to be an important spiritual realm, along with the Middle World or Day World, and the Upperworld. The Underworld was known to be the home of powerful forces, beings, and deities, both material and spiritual. Ancestral people honored and co-created with these Underworld energies, thus supporting balance and wholeness in the land and all its inhabitants. [Read more…] about Approaching the Reality of the Underworld