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
What does it mean to be indigenous? Ecologist and author Eileen Crist, in a recent interview, usefully outlines 3 principles held by all indigenous cultures. Indigenous people live sustainably and bioregionally, that is, they live “within the contours of the land.” They regularly celebrate the natural world through an annual cycle of festivals and ceremonies. And they see “everything as alive, as wondrous in itself.” *
In other words, indigenous people don’t simply love “the land” in the abstract—they know themselves as part of the place on Earth where they live. They’re not just casually attentive to the more-than-human world of Nature around them—they experience themselves living within it, in a web of relationship that is continually studied, affirmed and celebrated. And they don’t pray to a remote, abstract God—they attune with the immanent spiritual energies, beings, and deities of the land around them. Indigenous people’s personal and community lives continually mirror and express these realities, from birth to death, from a long-ago past to a calmly beckoning future. [Read more…] about Recovering Our Indigeneity
As I watched the inauguration of President Joe Biden, I was filled with relief and hope. Nevertheless, I was repeatedly struck by all the unapologetic human supremacy on display that day, expressed by politicians, entertainers and preachers alike. And really, what else could I expect?! Our entire modern world rests on this conviction.
This got me thinking about what kind of nation I really want to live in. What would a nation founded with and on behalf of Gaia look like? [Read more…] about Moving Toward Gaia Nation