Thursday, July 8, 2010

What is Green Spirituality? What About Panentheism?

"Most compassionate people I know work with the soil whenever they can. Gardening for them us much more than a hobby. It is a way of life and a way of wisdom. The soil teaches us something that is necessary for becoming compassionate." - Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion

"Nature makes the Divine tangible. Nature is the gown the Goddess wears to make herself visible, and the God dances to express his joy. Looking at Nature, we see living, incarnate divinity." - Phyllis Curott, WitchCrafting

We are manifest in a body in order to evolve, to learn, and to open more fully to love. One of our most important teachers in this life is the Earth. Nature is God/dess manifest, as we are. We are nature. We are divine. Nature is divine, and the hologram blooms on.

Panentheism is the belief that we are in God and God is in us. We can go inward to reach Spirit, and we can go outward to find Goddess as well. It is a dialectic: Both/And. We exist in God, and God exists in us. Panentheism can be a useful tool for understanding the sacred nature of Nature. It is God, as are we, though God is also bigger than Nature and bigger than we.

Confused? Go sit next to a tree or in a park or a by a stream, and meditate on the idea that God is in us and we are in God. See what arises. Sit in that wonder.

Green spirituality is non-sectarian. You can be pagan, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Native American, Santerian, Islamic, or any other faith that believes in the sanctity of the earth. But green spirituality is not about religion. It is about opening to the wisdom of the land and applying what the earth teaches you to your own life.

Here are a few practices you may find helpful on your unique journey of spiritual awakening:

- Meditate. Take time to sit, watch your breath, and witness yourself.

- Create. We are all creators! Paint, dance, sing, play with clay or mud or leaves. Write. Color. Sew. Cook.

- Spend time in nature regularly. Visit a garden, the mountains, the ocean. Listen. Write in your journal. Observe.

- Practice ritual. Light a candle, gather with like-minded loved ones, and take time to worship, talk, laugh, and manifest.

You are not alone on your path, even if you practice as a solitary witch or don't know what to call yourself. You are surrounded by loving and supportive beings like guardian angels and guides who are there to help you on your path. My own path has been rather eclectic, and at times I've felt very alone and lost. Looking back at the past twenty years of spiritual searching, however, I see how I have been guided simply because I have asked for help. My dad took me to his Lutheran church and also shared books on fairies and meditation with me. I joined Young Life in junior high school, then a Lutheran Bible study in college. Then I discovered magic and paganism, and found the earthiness of it suited me better than evangelical Christianity. Yet Christ Consciousness is still a part of my beliefs and my understandings. Then I studied Reiki, which has always been a teacher and a guide. Though it is a healing modality, the power of Spirit rushing through my hands has been the most tangible evidence I've had of God, of there being more to this world than meets the eye. Through my Reiki practice I developed psychic abilities. I also studied paganism and Wicca more formally, through books and solitary practice. I attended a Buddhist university and Matthew Fox's program in Creation Spirituality. As I've wandered through the garden of spirit, two things remain constant: the sacred earth and the presence of the Creator.

Also try these sites On Eco-spirituality:

"Ultimately, however, the value of such practices as neo-shamanism and neo-paganism may not lie so much in their ability to connect us directly with nature as it does in their ability to connect us directly to the modes of perception we lost when we left the old gods behind in the primordial forests of our ancestors. These modes of perception then become the invitation to the land of faerie, the key that unlocks the passage back to connection with the earth mother."-Owen Couch

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