I’ve just finished reading Emma Restall Orr’s book: Living with Honour: a Pagan Ethics. I skimmed it first and knew right away that I wanted to actually digest the contents. Now, I acknowledge that having a read does not make me anywhere near an expert on Paganism or Pagan ethics. However, I do now know enough to satisfy myself that they deserve my utmost in consideration. Of course, I say this because they resonate with my opinions and personal beliefs. If we are honest, all “good” books are good because we agree with the contents – not always, but much of the time this is true.
Emma is well qualified to speak for and about Pagans having served as a Druid teacher for nearly 20 years. For those who wish to know more about Emma, please find her website Here: http://www.emmarestallorr.org/biography.html
I have decided that loving Nature and loving the Earth, Gaia is much the same thing if not identical for what else is Nature but the flesh of Gaia? Emma does not wish to speak for all Pagans nor presume that all Pagans would agree with her outlook on the subject. Rightfully so. Therefore, she speaks about what she calls *Paganism which is primarily that which focuses on reverence for Nature.
Since writing Planet as Self, I’ve found myself repeatedly asking myself more questions, such as: “How do people who love the Earth act? What more can be said about Earthen Spirituality? When does Spirituality become a religion? Does an Earthen Spirituality religion have to include a creed and a hierarchy – a belief structure?
Living with Honour, for me, answers many of these questions. Therefore, this page is the first in a series of posts around the subject of *Paganism, especially *Pagan ethics. I don’t claim to be able to add anything of value to what Emma has written; however, I wish to make comments and attempt to tie in *Pagan practices and *Pagan ethics with my take on Earthen Spirituality.
My heightened interest is in shedding light on the whole area of consciousness. I believe that Gaia is not only vitally and creatively alive but that she is the one consciousness that shines through us. Yes, we are flesh and fully embodied in this fleshy existence. However the consciousness – not sensory awareness – that we claim as ours is actually hers. The reason why our scientists and philosophers have such difficulty with consciousness studies is two-fold. One, they assume the dualism of mind and body. They are not two but one.
Two, the seat of our consciousness –again, not sensory awareness- is not in the brain or the spinal cord but in an aura around us. It is the energy of Gaia coalesced around her flesh that we claim as our own. After all, we and all beings are Earthlings. I have spent over 20 years attempting to feel and think more deeply into my belief in non-dualism. Yet, it was only a couple of years ago that I was able, for me of course, to connect the dots. The traditional source of the one consciousness beliefs held by Advaitists and others has always been the Universe. It is Universal mind – creative mind, a founding mind, the One.
That’s all well and good, fine, but as I stated in my book, I don’t have the sensors or mind capacity to deal with Universals, Creators, or makers of stars and galaxies. Whatever or however it is, it permeates all there is. Somehow, vast intelligent beings like the Earth have the ability to absorb, incorporate and channel that energy into beingness. We and as I said, all earthly beings manifest that energy or consciousness. As the late Advaitist Jean Klein has said: “We are being lived.”
I can already sense the derision that the above causes in many readers. But let me make a couple of points here. One, Do we really think that Gaia is a dumb machine? What about the creative diversity in the life-forms around the surface? As James Lovelock observed, Gaia is self-regulating. Many scientists now agree that Gaia acts as if it is a living being. How about the incredible beauty in the sky, the mountains, the sea – all around? And just think about the miracle of our organism, that which we call ours when it is actually a part of Gaia’s flesh. We investigate and find systems within systems all humming in symbiosis. A vast cooperative venture, Seth has said. We think we know so much, but let me ask you; how do you keep your heart going? “We can know only that we know nothing,” said Tolstoy. Yet this realisation of not knowing is the one thing that enables us to learn from our experience, our intuition. Don’t waste your time explaining to someone who knows; save your breath for someone who does not know and will listen and learn.
Two, There are many who feel deeply the love of God. I honour the spiritual beliefs and understanding of what God is like as long as they don’t lead to harming the Earth. The Christian fundamentalist belief in the Pre-Tribulation where people long to see the Earth suffer as they think the second coming is nigh and they will waft up into heaven is a horror story. It is insanity. However, I and many others also feel this loving energy but find it issuing, beaming out from all quarters of the Earth – Earth energy – the loving caring energy binding all the various appendages of our dear planet. What I am trying to explain is that we can deal with the not knowing, not knowing the nature of the Universe or how the creator works. However, we can know a lot about our higher self, our home in the folds of our magnificent mother, if you will, Gaia. Most of us are aware of the lovely literature and poetry of Nature lovers, Nature mystics and poets. They speak and write about what they feel deeply, what is most meaningful to them. As I’ve said, what is nature if not the living, loving planet?
This is a sunrise