I'm reading Bron Taylor's scholarly Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future. He presents an interesting survey and history of "religion that considers nature to be sacred, imbued with intrinsic value, and worthy of reverent care," (ix) which differs from green religion, "which posits that environmentally friendly behavior is a religious obligation" (10). His definition of religion is broader than some would have it, including any all-encompassing attitude towards nature that affects a person's behavior and lifestyle as well as her convictions about what is sacred. He uses not only Starhawk, but the movie Lion King, crocodile enthusiast Steve Irwin, and scientist Jane Goodall as examples of exemplars of dark green religion. He devotes an entire chapter to surfing culture as a similar exemplar. He identifies four types of dark green religion: Spiritual Animism, Naturalistic Animism, Gaian Spirituality, and Gaian Naturalism. Spiritualism includes religions/perspectives that include unseen forces like gods and fairies, while naturalism regards nature as the power itself. He argues that most examples of dark green religion are constructed of a bricolage, or blend of these perspectives and that most people are not strictly in one camp.
I like Taylor's view of religion as broader than what one usually considers religion. At first I was a little resistant to the idea, but as I read his discussion, it makes perfect sense. It's no stranger than viewing, say, capitalism as a religion.
pre-trans fallacy, please see here.) Something for me to contemplate, anyway, of what integral dark green religion looks like. I guess you could call me a Christian Mystical Gaian Spiritualist who seeks to transcend and include, who views nature as deeply sacred and alive while also turning to the mystical teachings of the soul to understand my and others' place in the Universe.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Integral Dark Green Religion
Written by Clea Danaan
Clea Danaan grew up in the Pacific Northwest; she now lives in Colorado. she is the author of five books relating to nature-centered spirituality and natural family living. She writes about nature mysticism, chickens, homeschooling, permaculture, and more. Her books have been published in more than six countries and translated into several languages, including French and German.