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Expressions of Spirit

Celebrating Our
Twentieth Year!
1995-2014

   
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.

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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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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