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Expressions of Spirit

Celebrating Our
Twentieth Year!
1995-2014

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A Special Supplement from The 2010 Wheel of the Year
with an Introduction by Orren Whiddon

Global Warming, Nature Based Spirituality
Resource Depletion, Earth Religion
Water Wars, Indigenous Ceremony
The Age of Limits, Goddess Worship
Nature Bats Last.

Air copySince our founding seventeen years ago I have often pondered on the question of just what is this complex of spiritual traditions that I personally label under the heading of “Earth Spirituality.”  There are of course many individual names and traditions; and interestingly, many people find their own best way with no label or structured tradition at all.  Thus we have Eclectic, Native American, Wicca and NeoPagan, Afro-Caribbean, Gaian, Druidic, Trance and Shamanism, Earth Based, Goddess Based and many others.

Some of these traditions are complex, highly structured and revealed; others rely upon the process of personal spiritual discovery. Some are ancient in the anthropological sense, others are modern rediscoveries of ancient ways. All are valid, and in my opinion, share a number of commonalities.

In fact, Four Quarters derives its name from the observation that most Earth Honoring traditions incorporate the symbology of “ The Four Quarters” in some way. Which brings me back to my question. Just what truths are shared, in whole or in part, by these traditions that I class together as Earth Spirituality? In my experience, a short list would include some of the following.

 •  An acceptance of both revealed truth, through codified tradition, and experiential truth, through personal experience, working together as a spiritual practise.
•   Polytheism as a means of dividing up our experience of the spiritual into more easily assimilated pieces. And at the core, our experience of Nature and of Life expressed as the dance of the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine, in all of their forms.
•   The realization that “We are a part of it,” an integral part of the workings of the natural world, “We are of the Web of Life,” not separate from or an exception to nature, and that Spirit which reveals itself most fully through the natural world.
•   The responsibility to act as stewards of physical nature, not just because we should, but because as brief participants in the continuity of humankind, we must.
•   The deep understanding that Life feeds and breeds upon Death, and that Death is what makes life possible; each an indivisible part of the other.

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Recently, I posed the question of “What is Your Earth Spirituality” to our Members. In the essays that follow you will hear their voices and thoughts, and discern a quiet wisdom. These words form the first part of this supplement to the Wheel of the Year Calendar and I think you will agree they answer that question better than I have... they speak for themselves.

In the second part of this supplement (found in the Earth Living Section) we have reprinted excerpts from two academic reports that address recent developments in the science of Climatology and Resource Depletion. After reading these excerpts I urge you to make a cup of tea, download and print the full reports, and spend some time with them. They are the best short introductions I have found towards understanding our global predicament.

In past years’ editions we have printed major articles on issues of Peak Oil, Population Overshoot and World Food Production. My hope is that this year’s expanded supplement will further your own spiritual process, and show how those spiritual values are vital to the concrete problems we face as a species living in global ecological overshoot. If we then ask ourselves what message our Earth Spiritual values have to offer, our science is now confirming the answer so many of us have known in our hearts.

We are a part of it. We are the Web.
We will live life within its limits.
By our choice or by our folly. ❧


Keeping the Cadence
Cathy Sipes Rich

Earth copy l profess my faith to be the celebration of that which is in between birth and death. Life and its journey.

    While on this earth I strive to participate and be a part of that from which I came and to which I will return Through my own evolution I have come to the realization that it is the tangible sensory forms of nature as what sustains me and it is the intangible intellectual connection to the divine as what fulfills me.

    I hold these things precious: My family, my mind and the small portion of the earth under my own two feet. The rhythm of the earth moves me forward and I dance, sometimes with grace, keeping time with the cadence. ❧

All Related

Kurt Talking Stone

Fire copyl came to Earth Religion through a rather circuitous route, via Zen, Shinto and martial arts, and an extended foray into eclectic Paganism, eventually settling in the Native American practices of the Lakota people.

 . On that path, lies the phrase mitaquye oyasin – “we are all related.” Not just our families and clans, but all the people, the beasts, the land, the stones, the water, every bit of creation is all connected. at extends right down to the sub-atomic level, we, and everything around us, are all made of the same stuff . If you accept that, you come to the understanding that everything we do matters, no one and nothing is unimportant. Every action, every intention, however small, effects the whole.

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With Reverence
Virginia McGrath

Water copy    l understand that the Earth, like human kind, embodies electromagnetic pathways that contain life force energy animating and sustaining life. That there is a web of connection between us and our “Mother” who nourishes, supports and encourages all growing things. Is adaptable, changeable, powerful, fertile, solid, energizing, potent, beautiful, kind. She is, like we, an evolving consciousness that responds to human intention. She will listen if you speak to her and speak if you will listen. She has off ered to serve humanity as we should respond in kind to her. She is a living entity deep within the Earth and resurfaces her energy as a massively explosive volcano or as tiny ripples on a lakeside shore.

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What’s all this, Zen?
Shulameet (Miriam Benson)

Star Tendril LogoRecently, Orren asked me; if you follow a religion that reveres the Earth, how does your spiritual path aid the planet in this time of ecological crisis? I have been a practicing Wiccan for 30 years and have studied much and achieved several diff erent initiations. However, when I’m asked for my “credentials,” I always reply, “I’m a Discordian adept!” Now, how can that possibly help anyone, let alone the entire planet, one might ask. What good could that do? It’s even a flat out contradiction in terms! Yes, it is and that’s the source from which I draw wisdom.

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My name is Aase Wiborg,
and the Mackerel on my Hat is Immortal.

Aase Wiborg

    My particular kind of Earth-based religion is something like this:

Air copy    The place that is most sacred, closest to spirit, is HERE. This earth is not just dirt, or a place to be endured while we strive to be taken to some other, purer, better, more transcendent place after we die or become enlightened or whatever. It is the only home we know for absolutely certain that we have. If we long for our souls to feel happy, then let us make our joy HERE. If we long for our souls to feel free, then let us find freedom HERE. If we ache to feel balance, then let us make little adjustments and celebrate each success HERE. Starting NOW.
     We live in changing times. Some of us have gifts that help to plan for the future; others analyze the past to identify and learn from past mistakes. Neither of those is my particular path on this earth. If i spent my love for this earth on the past or the future, i could so easily lose myself in worry, indignation, fear, and guilt, turning the sharp edges of my mind against myself and my fellow human beings.

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Connection
Brendan

Earth copy    For many the term spirituality conjures up thoughts of a connection that can be drawn, however tenuously, with an afterlife that promises a better more perfect place, where only the best aspects of life may be experienced. It may call to mind images of shrines and candle lit altars, of chalices and celebrants in ritual; all serving a higher purpose that we might somehow aspire to reach, separate from the here and now which some consider an unpleasantness to be endured.

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lt’s the Differences
Dougie Fort

Fire copy    My view of Earth Spirituality has changed over the years I’ve spent among the Stones. As I’ve healed from the traumas of my past, I’ve come to look at spirituality in a new light. For me, Earth Spirituality represents the vast tapestry of myths, stories, rhythms, and songs that we, who live on this Earth, have developed to define our place in the dance of space and time that is our universe.
    The wisdom that comes from this to guide our future is very simple. We are more alike than different and rather than warring and fighting we should be celebrating both the things we have in common and those that differ. Truly it is the differences between us gives spice to life and makes the journey of discovery interesting. ❧

The Goddess is Coming and is She Pissed!
Juliet Waldron

Star Tendril Logo    Earth Spirituality is a daily practice, a spirit of attention toward all creation. It means embracing silence, giving thanks for all not man-made. It means pausing to worship Mother Earth in all her manifestations many times a day. SEE the tiny yellow flowers of the Witch Hazel in autumn, the spore bloom of orange upon spring’s green moss, the weathered apple tree beneath which I stand and listen to a divine host singing among the blooms, busy performing the miracle they’ve performed since the Cretaceous. Watch clouds and bow humbly before sun rise and set. See how the geese fly, salute their wild songs, kiss a hand to Mother Moon and receive in return Her shivery kiss, curl up to travel the night road with a warm cat close, while a great horned owl chants her ancient ritual in the old maple outside. Hug a tree, hear spring’s sap gurgle and rise, feel the life glowing within rough bark. Let your feet sink roots into Our Mother, and stand until your head fills with light and shakes astral leaves into the sky.

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Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary 190 Walker Lane Artemas PA 17211 USA 814-784-3080 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as an InterFaith Non-Denominational Church, Monastery and Spiritual Retreat Center.
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