|Expressions of Spirit||
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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.
Since 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.
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. ❧