Today Kathy presented a panel of speakers to explain the eco-spiritual paradigm (paradigm: A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them.) She said that in Europe, Christianity developed into a paradigm of duality (championed especially by Rene Descartes in the 17th Century.) In this paradigm of duality, one side is deemed the “good” and the other side is deemed the, well, “evil”… or at least “bad”, or “wrong.” One of these dualities is the spiritual vs. natural paradigm. For 17th century Christians, once you build that paradigm, spiritual has to be the good side and that means… wait… nature is the bad side. That lead to some really unfortunate conclusions on the part of Christians… that nature was anti-spiritual.
This was particularly unfortunate because many (most?) of the non-Christian religions were (are?) closely associated with nature and the natural world. In the duality paradigm, Christians (emphasis in the spiritual world) = “good” and NonChristians (emphasis in the natural world) = “evil.” When Christians own the best weaponry, this is not going to turn out well for the religions who glorify the natural world. Twas ever thus… at least since the 17th century.
Shawn told us about the modern Druidism movement. It is way more interesting than you ever thought. Their worship days are all tied to the seasons and the cycle of the year is the cycle of life.
Becca told us about the modern Eco-spiritual movement. Much of which is a movement to save our precious little planet from the destruction of it by those who do not appreciate the spiritual world. (one bit of hope, however, springs from the evangelical movement which is beginning to take note of the problem presented by God… who encouraged humanity to assert dominion over the created world, which probably did not include destroying it.
Thurmon talked to us about native American spirituality. Native Americans have the distinction of practicing the only set of religions that the United States Government has ever declared to be outlawed. It turns out that Americans are very bad at reading the Constitution. George W. Bush tried to get the armed forces to declare Wicca as a non-religion, but the courts intervened. The courts declared that Christians do not get to define other people’s religion as an evil non-religion. I guess someone does know how to read the Constitution after all.
Imbolc is being celebrated by the Three Cranes Grove this afternoon. See http://www.threecranes.org/ for details.