A few people have indicated that they felt my latest book Living Earth Devotional focuses on Creation instead of Creator. From my perspective, focusing on Creation is focusing on the Creator. Sort of like looking at a painting to learn more about the artist. I think the word "devotional" has confused some people, who were looking for Biblical words to center God in their heart. I use the word devotional to imply not just devotion to deity (though for me it's part of that), but also to God's Creation, our own sacred lives, and the active, living intersection of all three. It implies practice or discipline, a regular action or prayer that centers us in our spiritual paths. I understand this doesn't make sense to some people, who regard these strands as separate, or feel that using the Book of Nature to learn more about Spirit is somehow sacrilege. But to me, God/dess, life, nature, love, devotions: these are all a woven tapestry of sacred living.
I continually contemplate and pray about the nexus of "Christianity" and "Paganism." I put these words in quotation marks because they have become such loaded labels, and so often a person doesn't really know what they mean for whomever is calling herself a Christian or a Pagan. To me, Christianity is about following the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. But even then, how those teachings are interpreted varies. I take a wisdom or mystical approach. Jesus came to teach us about how we can enter the Kingdom, by which I believe he meant Christ consciousness, a spiritual evolution open to all. For more on this, see Wisdom Jesus or The Meaning of Mary Magdalene by Cynthia Bourgeault. Pagansim to me is about honoring the Earth as sacred. Not just something we human have "dominion" over, but a sacred expression of Mystery's powers of Creation. I see the natural world as a path to knowing God/dess.
A Catholic friend of mine once said she considered Pagans as people who worship Creation instead of the Creator. There are Pagans who worship nature itself, but Paganism is extremely varied in its expression. Most Pagans I know "worship" or look to some sort of higher transcendent power, though the face of this power also varies. If we see Deity in nature, it is not that the tree itself (for instance) is deity, but rather the tree is sort of a reflection or pathway to seeing God.
I think that the fact that we are here on this Earth speaks of the Earth and this life as sacred expressions of God's grace and mystery. It is therefore infinitely precious, sacred, and part of God. My beliefs sit at the intersections of Christianity and Paganism, and it is from this place that I wrote Living Earth Devotional. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and reflections on the book from all perspectives.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
A Devotional that is Christian and Pagan, with a twist...
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.