“What am I?” As a young child growing up in Kenya, I was magnetically drawn to the rich, red soil. My love for its sandy softness was a bane to my mother who constantly had to stop me from putting it in my mouth. Returning to the country I was born in after 20 years, I am struck once again by the beauty of the soil, so different from the stony, dark clunks of mud that I find in my garden in England.
In ancient times agriculture was intimately connected with the sacred. We find evidence of this in a host of texts and in many traditions which survive to this day. We know, for example, that for the indigenous people on the American continent, the corn plant is believed to have come into being through a long process of cooperation between human beings and the gods, and to grow corn is still a sacred activity for many Native American people today.
In the time of Thunderbeings and Underwater Serpents, the humans, animals, and plants conversed and carried on lives of mischief, wonder, and mundane tasks. The prophets told of times ahead, explained the causes of the deluge of past, and predicted the two paths of the future: one scorched and one green, one of which the Anishinaabeg would have to choose.
Spring has nearly sprung here in New Lebanon, New York. It is a time of year when we awaken to the blossoming of new life. It also offers an opportunity to take a fresh look at the challenges we face on the path ahead. Often, when one begins to experience the aural tingling of migratory birdsong, the visual enticement of budding greens, and the caress of sunlight infused with first warmth along the nape of the neck, it can be jarring, indeed despairing, to be reminded of life’s requisite loss and pain. Its unbearable lightness of being.
Several months ago, on an exquisite early autumn morning, I dropped my children at the school bus before beginning my first commute to the Seven Pillars House of Wisdom’s office in New Lebanon, NY, where I had recently accepted a staff position. As they crossed the parking lot, I watched closely to make sure they were being wary of the other cars, and that those drivers were wary of them. Trailing his twin siblings, my youngest turned back, waved and smiled before he disappeared up the bus’s first step.
“The Dragonfly and the Hummingbird,” “Mystcism and Science” and “The Dark Winter Afternoons in Portland”
In this excerpt from his book, Apprenticed to Spirit: The Education of a Soul, David Spangler, a Fellow since Lindisfarne’s inception, writes of his initial meeting and soul connection with William Irwin Thompson, founder of the Lindisfarne Association, and the early years of the Fellowship.
Lynn Margulis, my mother, had a stroke on November 17, 2011 and died five days later in her own bed. The following text is slightly modified from a reading, written for my nieces and nephews, given before scattering her ashes in a private family ceremony at Puffers Pond in Amherst, Massachusetts.
What ignorance are we addressing here? I am considering ignorance here from the point of view of a westerner. We live in the global village, we share the same roof, we are interdependent and co-responsible for care of the Earth. And yet, we still think of ourselves, and our religion, as separate, distinct, and unique.
Today we are going to continue our Remarkable Minds series with a spiritual ecologist, an earth pilgrim, a vegetarian who led a civil disobedience movement in efforts to restore humanity’s sense of community. He is Satish Kumar and he is one of the few individuals who fully embraces the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, to promote a spirituality opposed to war and ecological destruction.
While critics have unanimously agreed that the visual spectacle that is James Cameron's Avatar is beyond compare, there has been less enthusiasm for the plot line, which has been called out as flat and unoriginal.
Finally we are waking up to our ecological imbalance, to the realities of global warming and its catastrophic consequences. It is also beginning to dawn upon us that these environmental changes are accelerating, that time is running out more quickly than we may realize.
This discussion with the cultural historian Thomas Berry about his cosmological and geologian worldview with philosophy professor Ashok Gangadean was originally published in a slightly longer form in Elixir: A Journal of Consciousness and Conscience no. 2 (Spring 2007). For background on Thomas Berry and his contribution to a New Story about the cosmos, see Mary Evelyn Tucker’s "Thomas Berry, A Profile" Ashok Gangadean is a professor of philosophy at Haverford College.