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
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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
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
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
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