Posts tagged Gaia
GreenSpirit, Summer 2005
Jesse Wolf Hardin
GAIA EROS:Reconnecting to the Magic and Spirit of Nature
The Career Press, Franklin Lakes NJ (USA) 2004.
ISBN 1–56414–729–0 (pbk)
Jesse Wolf Hardin’s new book bears an accurately descriptive title. Gaia, the living, conscious, inspirited Earth, and eros, the love of the Earth. Gaia Eros – Earth love. Its thirty-eight small chapters felt to me more like a collection of love poems than a series of essays. Unconnected by a logical, progressive unfolding of ideas, each is complete in itself like musical variations on a theme – the theme of Earthly love.
In much the same vein as John Muir, Robinson Jeffers, Annie Dillard and Henry David Thoreau, Wolf writes and talks from out of his personal experience, revealing his love affair with the larger domain of himself. Love for others, and for all of Nature, must be grounded in love of self. Not so much the egoic, personal self, but more the larger Self fully embodied in the sacred skin of the living Earth. ‘Earthen Spirituality’ or ‘New Nature Spirituality’ is what Wolf likes to call it.
All his chapters – or poetic vignettes – are like expressions of the lover speaking from a heart saturated with over twenty-five years spent in the sensual, erotic bower of his beloved canyon. It is a place of cool breezes and laughing waters, thick and luxuriant with a backdrop of forest and stately cliffs rising to lofty crags and pinnacles. Cool boulders of bold design dotted with hardy cacti lie among fallen limbs in and among sand washed down with Autumn thundershowers. “I’m excited,” says Wolf. And having walked the sacred canyon myself, I understand and share that excitement.
Of course, the American Southwest has no monopoly on beauty. Equally, there may be the loveliness of a potted plant, hedgerows of campions interspersed with the withering bluebell blossoms past their prime and forming seed. The joyfully sounding song of the robin shortly before his summer silence or the melodious notes of the blackbird taking a short break from the relentless task of feeding her young; all are equal parts of Gaia. As Wolf puts it, “the interpenetration and interrelationship of all her sacred parts.”
Interwoven with the affirmations of joyful communion with Gaia are several invigorating themes. I’ll just touch on a few. Earthen Spirituality promises no transcendent answer or creed. Where is it that we think we might go? The Tao is within, not out there somewhere. There is no need to look further than our Earthly home for sustenance. In my own words: let us wholly immerse ourselves in the love and beauty of Gaia and let Gaia, who is better equipped, deal with cosmic consciousness. Our connection to the cosmos must come through Gaia. We, as earthling animals, simply don’t have the sensors to deal directly with galactic spirit.
And why should we be concerned? Can we not be satisfied with being Earthlings?
Wolf says-“Earth is a spirit-embodied being, sexually charged and reproductive, but also sensitive and vulnerable. In this way our playmate, partner, and lover.”
In Chapter 11, there is a fairly detailed ‘Anatomy of a Quest’ as guided by the residents of the Earthen Spirituality Project in the magical Gila Mountains of New Mexico, USA, once the abode of the Mogollon (‘Sweet Medicine’) people.
A major part of the New Nature Spirituality involves “recreating a practice that is true to our mixed heritage and found homes, true to the current needs of self and earth in these contemporary times.” Avoiding ‘cultural appropriation’, we need authentic rituals that reflect our new understanding of Gaia, (what I call ‘rituals of uncertainty’). These must be pulled from the heart and shared. Early on, in Chapter 2, there is a ‘sweet medicine query,’ a preparatory rite of passage into the book. This mental preparation seems to parallel the two mile walk into the canyon, where the visitor must cross the usually calf deep river seven times.
Some other charming chapters feature such things as ‘Mulberry Truths’ – a collection of affirmations and truths from Nature’s storehouse, and ‘Lessons of the Furry Buddhas’ – things the author has learned from bobcats, such as: “Anytime you’re not actively being pursued, don’t bother being afraid”. Then there is Wolf’s ‘Ode to Wilderness’, an impassioned testimony rather than reasoned argument. In Gaia Eros one also finds a detailed example of restoring and resacramenting land, beautiful suggestions for reclaiming the ever present ‘now’ and several interviews which help the reader to be come better acquainted with the author. These and others are all illustrated with Wolf’s art.
In a culture that is currently threatening to bring about “the end of Nature”, Gaia Eros is a Song of Songs, an inspirited beacon piercing through the darkness.
This is a truly wonderful article. I am envious. It reminds me of my experience with the dolphins at Monkey Mia, north ofPerth,Australia. They swim at your feet, rool over a bit and look at you.
I believe that there is just one consciousness, that of our higher self, Gaia. We are the planet. We are in a sense being lived rather than living “on” a planet.
Each material object expresses Gaia’s consciousness to the extent of its development. Gaia loves and cares for all parts of herself.
Inside the mind of the octopus
by Sy Montgomery
Published in the November/December 2011 issue of Orion magazine
An early clear blue sky was rapidly gathering clouds Sunday as I finished breakfast and the sweet memory of the opening to Darrol Barry’s Lullaby for Lisa crept quietly into my thinking space. Ah yes, those four simple but hauntingly beautiful first four bars that I share with the horns almost brings me undone. They would be a prayer if I was a praying person. How can the simplicity of a quaver and a dotted minim of the same note moving up and then down the scale within four bars invoke such pleasant feelings? Let us ponder this. Traditionally some would call it an aesthetic sense. However, this leaves me cold and unsatisfied. I tried once to glean the essence of the area of philosophy called Aesthetics and got absolutely nowhere. I’ll take the blame but I need to better understand not only what happens to my body/mind during these experiences but how they tie in with being an Earthling – from the perspective of being within the folds so to speak of Gaia. Perhaps this is just Gaia’s energy, the energy that is always available and permeates through and all around us. Perhaps what we call special isn’t really special at all but just what we may have opened to at that particular time. I’m reminded of those who say that no one thing is more sacred than any other. If one thing is sacred than all of “it” is sacred. Surely separating the sacred from the mundane is a mindset that has shown its limiting colours and needs rethinking or re-feeling into. Surely our body/mind is always tuned to Gaia’s energy or perhaps I must say that since we are Gaia’s energy we might benefit from becoming more aware and sensitive to that part of ourselves. Any thoughts along these lines? Please share them.
This is my first posting on this new blog. I hope to stimulate discussion as to what we can and what we cannot say about spirit, Earthen Spirituality and Gaia consciousness. By Gaia consciousness I mean the idea or realization that there is only one consciousness available to us as an Earthling and it is Gaia. So I suggest that our assumption that we are a separate conscious being looking out onto a separate world is an illusion. We are more ‘being lived’ than living. Now let me make it clear at the outset. Yes, we all, all creatures to an extent, have a thinking function. But, we are not our thinking function. Thinking is a tool, a wonderful tool. However, we seem to be content to eat the icing off the cake and ignore the cake. Why does that ancient text, the Hsin Hsin Ming, by the Third Chan patriarch say: “Stop thinking and there is nothing that you will not be able to understand?” Why because our thinking function is limited and is not at all in touch with our deeper reality, our deeper connection with Gaia and the creative spirit that forms the basis of life as we can experience it. The Psalms say – “Be still and know that I am God.” The word still is probably not a very accurate translation. But turning it around the other way, one can perhaps agree that we don’t engage in endless debate over the nature of God. The thinking function is totally inadequate. However, intuition is a subject for further enquiry at another time.
Please post your ideas.
Choosing accurate and meaningful words for what I am getting at is difficult because our acceptable language terminology has been determined largely by our world view. As we feel deeply into what it is to be alive; what it is to be an Earthling and learn more and more about the intelligence and wisdom of Gaia, we discover how utterly limiting our vocabulary is. What a barrier it is to thinking out of the box so to speak. Traditional science has been very little help by defining truth as that which fits into their measuring instruments and worshipping certainty as it emerges from their measurements. If phenomenon does not fit the instruments, then it is worthless and any thoughts on the subject lack certainty. I have a lot more to say about certainty. Moving on however, Let me suggest a question, a discussion item perhaps.
How would our worldview change if we saw ourselves as actually IN the planet, integrated like the roots and the trunk of a tree? An ancillary question. Is it not probable that a planet such as Gaia, has great spiritual power? The kind of power that fuels the immense diversity and creativity, not to mention the sometimes awesome, breathtaking beauty that some of us have experienced. What is the whole philosophical subject called aesthetics but simply Gaia’s loving energy?
Unfortunately, our vocabulary is limited to the accepted scientific and philosophical terminology largely determined even before the world was proven not to be square and that the sun did not circle the Earth. Don’t we still speak of sunrise and sunset? I don’t have a problem with that but does it not illustrate how we tend to hold on to outdated terminology and ways of thinking?
I have a lot more to say about how our ways of seeing the world limit our ability to learn deeper meanings and relationships.
Please post your ideas, I would really like to hear them.
I find it difficult to keep myself constantly aware that Gaia has wisdom, intelligence and a huge spiritual envelope. My concern is that we continue our destruction of other lifeforms because we don’t love the Earth. We don’t love the Earth because we have not been taught that the Earth is lovable. How much of the loveliness we feel outdoors comes to us through Gaia as a Mother being?
Spirituality and certainty, now there is a provoking subject. I recently discussed global warming with a chap at a private art and sculpture showing. The word certainty came up. Where was the certainty when it comes to global warming. I didn’t have time to develop my thoughts on this. However, when we consider that Gaia is a living being, then we should recognise that living beings simply do not conform to mathematical certainty. Consider: When your medical doctor says that he/she does not know exactly what is wrong with you but puts you on a course of medicine, do you ignore it out of hand because the diagnosis lacks certainty? When scores of research projects link smoking to cancer do you totally deny the probability because the math has no absolute certainty? Will you certainly awaken tomorrow morning? Smog in Tucson Arizona is a certainty. It wasn’t there just after World War II. Are you going to tell me that humans did not cause it? Phoenix Arizona was the place where asthmatics, hay fever sufferers and people with breathing problems were told to move to in the period before 50 years or so ago. Not now. No, for humans by the thousands sunk wells into the precious acquifer and sprinkled blue grass while farmers ploughed and watered the desert. That was called making the desert “bloom.”
Is it certain that humans caused these changes? I think so, don’t you?
Again, concern for the human interference with the manner in which Gaia maintains our health – her health is our health – is earthen Spirituality practice. One last question with this post: Can we damage the planet without damaging ourselves?