Archive for ‘Lifestyle’

June 8, 2012

A Link for You: Organic & Heirloom Seeds (plus advice)

Found this website today while trying to learn about how lentils are grown. [It’s odd how little I know about what I eat, sign of the disconnect between my lifestyle and nature. Working on it.]

Organic and heirloom seeds for sale, plus easily comprehensible growing advice:

February 8, 2012


An identity crisis has haunted modern witchcraft practitioners — a sudden instability turning into a search for validity. Surrounded by Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) that unfold from each other over thousands of years, there is a fear of inauthenticity.

While the history of modern witchcraft is still under discussion, practice as it is done today is not a direct descendant of the old religions. The early developers of Wicca created false histories to cover the newness, perhaps to intentionally garner a mysterious reputation depending on who we are talking about. While folk traditions preserved practices and imagery, and literature, myths, and art saved old ideas from extinction, we cannot escape it: an unbroken line is most likely not true. Contemporary manifestations have been influenced by cultural context and information access. At the current publication and distribution level, modern witchcraft is becoming something other than the ancient.

But this does not mean it is inauthentic.

The major religions, the Abrahamic, Buddhist, and Hindu ones, are also contemporary, co-created expressions. They have a more continuous and cohesive history, with sometimes a simpler range of influences. This does not award them an unchanged status; for example, Catholicism has adjusted for its audience and its generation, whether informally by absorbing local culture, or as formally as Vatican II.

Each worldview, religious outlook, or personal philosophy, is constructed; that is not a value judgement, only an observation. We are all inspired and affected by the external. The manifestation we take can be grounded in a particular faith tradition, we can even identify with a particular group or path. The danger is in suggesting that one is more “real” or “authentic” than another, that it exists objectively, externally from society and its practitioners.

I hope that the work can leave behind counting centuries for validation, and become seeking self-awareness and authenticity-from-within.

November 7, 2011

A Particular Thought

How deeply do we let spirituality into our lives?

So much of being a contemporary earth spiritualist means to be directly in dialogue with modern life — its expectations and normalcies, the ways we think, move, define space, understand ourselves and the world. Such a linear way of thinking, a box-like hierarchy of undifferentiated perspectives. And it is so demanding. College life packed with exams and  papers squeezed away my wellness until I, forgetting until the last moment, tried to force some spiritual space back in.

That sort of life builds habits, and mental frameworks.

By building spiritual focus, giving time for our own development and goals, I don’t mean worshiping a deity or performing religious rituals. I mean giving space to that feeling of  connectedness and inspiration, a powerful excitement mixed with calmness that makes life so clear — whatever it is that brings us true and deep joy and fulfillment. That kind of time, work, dedication. For ourselves, for our own wellness.

Of course, I turn to nature, cycles, plants and trees to tap in, to feel the greater things at work of which I am a part, and to reach that spiritual well within that gives such meaning and beauty to my life. It is so easy to forget, to let mundane things sweep in and obscure what really inspires you. I hope for a fresh awakening, as many as it takes in my stretch of life.

July 10, 2011

One World, One Body

In my experience of the earthy path, we toss around some ideas all the time — words about the interconnectedness of things and the cycles that tie us all together (see my section on trees). When I was studying the connections between astrobiology and Communitarianism, I read What is Life? by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan. Among many ideas suggested by the authors, one struck me as particularly relevant to earth spirituality: the concept that the biosphere itself can be considered an organism.

Backing up… the smallest form of life is a cell, complete with a barrier that distinguishes it from the rest of the world. Inside, organelles work together, fueling processes and facilitating its reproduction as a whole. Margulis and Sagan point out that current mitochondria (a particular organelle in a cell), originally independent, were absorbed long ago and now cannot exist outside the cell. Now think of your body as an organism. Your skin, like the cell membrane, delineates what counts as “you” — yet you are composed of many, many cells. In modern Western life, we have been taught to view ourselves as separate beings, our minds obediently in step with the Liberalism of Descartes and Rousseau. My professor, H.P. Steeves, wrote on these ideas, and suggests that perhaps Communitarianism (where we are constituted by our roles and relationships), could better explain the origin of life. This extends to the nature of life as manifested on Earth.

Communitarianism relates to some core earth religious ideas. It is not simply that other people are nice to have around – our interactions with those around us are the core of our identity, our being. Part of being earth religious, as I experience it, is recognizing our connection to the Earth, to the world around us. We are a part of Nature, whether we live in downtown L.A. or rural Indiana. This recognition winds its way through every concept, from spirals to holidays.

When Margulis and Sagan explain that, scientifically, the biosphere of the earth is considered an organism, this concept is realized. Like the mitochondria, they argue, each of us is a piece of a greater whole; lines, like a cell membrane, mark a separation of sorts, but not the boundaries that we have materialized through Liberalism. The atmosphere is our skin, the rocks our bones, and, like lungs, we cycle the air with plants.

We are one body.

With this information, perhaps we can fully embrace our identity as a communal being. Yes, like a cell, we can find a point of separation. But if we let these thoughts seep into our actions, into our minds and hearts, the social impact could shift us globally towards peace. We Liberal folks are bent on self-destruction through war, pollution, greed and cruelty. Every act against the Other is an act against ourselves. Those who shunt environmentalism aside as a fad or only for the granola, wage war while calling themselves “pro-life,” and/or feel  free to poison produce with pesticides, do not work to see the whole.

Since we fail our own particular bodies — make them swell with junk food and harmful chemicals, fail to suppress those awful, vindictive thoughts that eventually creep in before the mirror, push ourselves to exhaustion for work,  only propped up by caffeine –  are we even capable?

Sometimes, one of my greatest challenges is to not see humanity as a cancer upon this earth.

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