Mother Earth Is Alive!"The modern age offers its salutations to Mother Earth whom it adores as the super-goddess ... Mother Earth is the presiding deity of the age, let us worship her." Klaus K. Klostermaier
"When we talk about the spirit of Gaia, the spirit of a living
earth, or even of the earth as being alive, just what do we
mean in our time? Do we even have the same sense of life,
of what being an entity means, as did our ancestors?"
On the very first day of Sahaja Yoga meditation (Self-realization) Kash was given specific instructions and a mantra to be recited before going into meditation. As directed, Kash put his right palm on the ground and uttered this sacred mantra four times:
"Om Twameva Sakshat Shri Ganesha Sakshat
Shri Adi Shakti Mataji Shri Nirmala Devi Namoh Namah."
The dormant Kundalini energy inside his sacrum bone sprang into life, coursed through the central nervous system, and pierced the Sahasrara. At that very instant, for the first time, he felt the Mother Earth breathing. She was inhaling and exhaling very gently, and every heave of Her breath felt on his palm, going slowly up and then down again. As he continued repeating the Mighty Mantra of Shri Ganesha the sacred Shri Bhumidevi continued inhaling and exhaling to reveal Her true nature. Her superconscious child was sure beyond all doubt that Earth was breathing. Mother Earth is alive — This Revealed Truth is Absolute.
The Earth Mother is alive: We humans have to feel Her, hug Her, listen to Her, and most important, protect Her for She is our Mother. She is a living organism that nourishes and sustains us. We have to transcend our debilitating ignorance, our destructive lifestyles, our cold selfishness, and transform ourselves into higher beings of Collective Consciousness. We must awaken from the long spiritual slumber to receive the first rays from this Millennium of Light!
We have to ask ourselves when did we ever hear of such a statement, especially that coming from a child? What would have been your reaction if your own child meditated and proclaimed that Truth? Would you initially believe that he or she is telling the Truth? Would you believe if he or she steadfastly held to the same statement despite raising doubts? But what is he or she continues to daily reveal spiritual truths beyond the realm of common human experience, truths that can only be found in the deepest core of sacred religious texts written thousands of years ago? We humans are indeed entering a New Age of emerging Reality.
Reverence for the goddess is becoming more prevalent in our day. The goddess is embraced by witchcraft, feminism, the occult, and the liberal church. The New Age that is about to dawn upon us will be, according to the occult world, a feminine age. Likewise, those who hold this view believe that this current, masculine age has been an age of destruction and broken relationships among humanity. The New Age with its feminine energies will bring balance to the destructive aspects of the Piscean Age.
Rosemary Radford Ruether in her book, Womanguides: Readings Toward A Feminist Theology, states that "It is to the women that we look for salvation in the healing and restorative waters of Aquarius. It is to such a New Age that we look now with hope as the present age of masculism succeeds in destroying itself." According to Starhawk, a feminist and practicing witch, "the symbolism of the Goddess is not a parallel structure to the symbolism of God the Father. The Goddess does not rule the world; She is the world." (1)
In order for this feminine age to come into full fruition a shift in consciousness must take place in the world. This shift in thinking and perception of reality will bring forth the goddess.(2)
And few insights into this emerging Reality has as much spiritual penetration and expressive enlightenment as that of David Spangler's The Meaning Of Gaia:
The Meaning Of Gaia (PDF format)
Is Gaia a goddess, or just a good idea? by David Spangler
For many, a spirituality of the Earth has quickly become equated with Gaia worship — but this, suggests well-known writer and holistic thinker David Spangler, may be a serious wrong turn. Gaia is the name of the ancient Greek goddess of the Earth, and as a name it was recently revived to refer to the hypothesis formed by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis, who postulate that the whole biosphere may be alive in that the Earth's life forms are themselves responsible for regulating the conditions that make life on the planet possible. Spangler questions whether those who would also revive the goddess have considered the possible consequences, and he sketches out a way of thinking about Gaia that might best serve both humans and the planet.
I recently was invited to a worship service and celebration in which Gaia was specifically incorporated as a source of spiritual nourishment and help. In ritual and song, the participants called upon the "Spirit of Gaia" to heighten their awareness of their connections with the earth and to fill them with love and compassion for all creatures and for the physical environment as a whole.
The idea of a "Spirit of Gaia" is definitely alien to the original Gaia Hypothesis as developed by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis. Though it does conceive of the earth as a living entity, such a being, if conscious at all, has (in the words of Margulis) the sentiency "of an amoeba" — hardly the stuff of myth and spiritual invocation. On the other hand, the idea of a world soul, an anima mundi, a planetary Logos, is an ancient one found in both Eastern and Western culture. This world soul is usually conceived as a "formative force," an active, intelligent, purposeful spiritual presence at work in the material world to guide and guard the course of planetary evolution. It is generally not accorded the status of being the ultimate source or Creator but might be looked upon as a great angelic or archangelic being presiding over the well being of the world, or as the gestalt, the wholeness of all the lives and patterns that manifest upon, and as, the earth.
It is this tradition that Gaia reinvokes in our culture. However, a reinvocation is not the same as a reincarnation. The sense of a living earth enjoyed and practiced by earlier, non-industrial cultures grew out of living experience and a closeness to nature that our culture has set aside. It was woven into the fabric of life and culture. This is not true for us. Furthermore, the Judeo-Christian tradition arises from the semitic spiritual perspective of God and creation being separate and distinct, as well as from patriarchal social structures. In such a context, sacredness has overtones of authority, power, distance, and maleness that would have been alien to the spirituality of, for instance, the ancient Celts or the Native Americans, two cultures that incorporated a sense of the living earth. This means that when we strive to imagine the sacredness of the earth, we do so in a very different cultural context than did those who took for granted an immanent, accessible sacred presence pervading all things.
Can we simply adopt and graft on their notion of a living, sacred earth? I don't think so, at least not without distortion. We have to deeply think into and live out this idea in a modern context. Until we do, Gaia, the spirit of the living earth, is an idea to think about rather than an idea to think with. It is a novelty rather than a tacit assumption, and as a spiritual idea it can be superficial. It lacks the overtones and undertones, the deeper connections with our everyday life and with the mysteries of creation, that it possessed in earlier cultures. As an idea, it becomes a suit to try on, rather than a body to inhabit and live through.
In this respect, some current images of Gaia are to the ancient mythic idea of the living earth what a Disney cartoon version of a fairy tale, such as Sleeping Beauty or the current hit, The Little Mermaid, is to the original folk story. The cartoon is witty, bright, colorful, delightful, fun, and very superficial. It lacks the depth, the resonances, the hidden meanings and undertones of the original. The appearance, the skin of the story is there, but the bones and muscle have been removed.
THE "TOP LINE"
When we talk about the spirit of Gaia, the spirit of a living earth, or even of the earth as being alive, just what do we mean in our time? Do we even have the same sense of life, of what being an entity means, as did our ancestors? We are the products of a materialistic, technological, rational, male-oriented culture that over two hundred years ago set aside the medieval notions of the Great Chain of Being in which each and every life had a purpose, a place, and a meaning. The importance of the bottom line has made us forget that there is also a "top line" that gives the spiritual value, the holistic value, of a person, a plant, an animal, or a place. If at worst the bottom line represents how entities can be exploited and used for profit, the top line represents how entities can empower and must be empowered for the good of the whole.
It is this sense of the whole as a component of life and of the individual as an expression of the whole that we do not have. We have a sense of incarnation but not of co-incarnation, of the many ways in which the fabric of our identities are interwoven and interdependent in ways extending far beyond just the human milieu. Thus our definitions of life become very reductionist, individualized, and utilitarian. What, then, does it mean to us to speak of the earth as a living being, not in a biological sense but in a metaphysical sense?
Accepting Gaia simply as a "return of the Goddess" or jumping on the bandwagon of a new planetary animism, without thinking through the implications of just what Gaia might mean in our culture, can lead to sentimentality rather than spirituality. It leads to what William Irwin Thompson's daughter Hilary calls "the Gooey-Gaia Syndrome." If Gaia is an important spiritual idea for our time, then we must remember that a spiritual idea is not something we think about but something that inhabits and shapes us. It is like a strand of DNA, organizing and energizing our lives. A spiritual idea is not just another bit of data to be filed away. It is incarnational in a profound way, coming alive only when incorporated (made flesh) in our lives through work, practice, effort, skill, and reflection. It becomes part of the foundation and the architecture of our lives. Being a new icon for worship is not enough. Invoking the spirit of Gaia is insufficient unless we understand just how we shape and participate in that spirit, and how we in turn are shaped and participated in by it.
DO WE REALLY NEED GAIA?
However, a deeper question is whether we really need Gaia as a spiritual image. Do we need another spiritual source, another presence to invoke? If there is a true Spirit of the Earth, a Planetary Logos, is it hierarchically superior to humanity? That is, does it stand somewhere between ourselves and God? If so, we run the risk of interposing yet another image between ourselves and divinity. Or if the earth is seen as sacred, just what does that mean? Why should the earth be conceived of as sacred simply because it is alive? Do we extend the same privilege to other living things? Is life alone the criterion for sacredness? Or does something become sacred when it is living and powerful, big and capable of doing us either harm or good? Does Gaia become a substitute for God? What would such a substitution mean? Does it bring God closer to us, or does it further muddy the meaning and nature of God, making it yet more difficult to clearly determine just what the sacred is and what our relationship is to it?
These are important questions, and unfortunately, exploring them in the manner they deserve would far exceed the space I have in this article. Still, they need to be raised. There is a strong tendency as new planetary and religious paradigms emerge in our time to affirm the sacredness of all life and of the earth as a whole. However, the object of this exercise, it seems to me, is not to come up with new images of divinity, but to affect behavior. What we really want is to relate to ourselves, to each other, and to the world as a whole as if we all have ultimate value apart from utilitarian considerations. If something is sacred, it is assumed to have value beyond its form, usefulness, duration, and products. It is valuable; it is precious. It is worthy of respect and honor, love and compassion; it is worth entering into communion with. Its very being is its only justification; it needs no other.
As things stand, before we can manipulate or exploit something or someone, we must first devalue it, making it lower than ourselves. That which is sacred cannot be devalued, and by naming the earth and all upon it as sacred, we seek to protect it and ourselves from ourselves. Yet, if we must call something "sacred" before we can extend ourselves to it with love, empathy, communion, honor, and compassion - if something must be alive and have spirit before we can relate to it as having value - then we dishonor and devalue the spirit within us that sets no such preconditions. We devalue the meaning of the sacred itself, which is not a status but a function: it manifests when there is a sharing of love and being in order to empower, uplift and liberate that to which the sharing is directed. The sacred does not pick and choose what it shall love. It is love given freely and unconditionally, just as in the Christmas celebration, Christians honor the mystery of a God who "so loved the world" (even though, in traditional Christianity, that world is not "sacred") that He made the ultimate sacrifice of Himself through His only Son on that world's behalf.
Paradoxically then, we seem to need to call something sacred in order to make it worthy of receiving our highest values and noblest relationships, while in the Judeo-Christian tradition God appears under no such constraint, giving Himself freely and totally to creation whether it is seen as "sacred" or not. To bring sacredness into the world, should we not be more like the God many of us worship? We should not need to make either ourselves or the earth "sacred" in order to love it and ourselves and to get on with doing what needs to be done to heal and protect the biosphere. Turning Gaia into a mythic or spiritual idea may be inappropriate or premature, leading both to misplaced concreteness and misplaced spirituality. On the other hand, Gaia can be an inspirational idea. Such an idea, to me, is like an enzyme. It is not important in itself except as it catalyzes a process. An enzyme is a means towards something else, a component of a larger emergence. In this context, Gaia would be an enzyme of consciousness, promoting and aiding a process of expanding our awareness in at least five areas important to our time.
The first of these is the most obvious: the idea of Gaia heightens our awareness of ecological and environmental necessities and responsibilities. It inspires us to translate theory and concern into practical strategies to preserve the environment and to meet ecological crises.
The second area of awareness follows from the first: Gaia focuses our attention on issues of life. It shifts our operating paradigm from a mechanical one based on classical physics to an ecological one based on biology. It puts the phenomenon of life itself back into center stage in our culture. It inspires us towards a reformation that produces a culture that is truly life-affirming and life-centered.
Third, because the phenomenon of life as expressed through organisms and ecologies of organisms manifests more than the sum of its parts, it cannot be understood using solely analytical and reductionist techniques or modes of thought. Thus, Gaia represents an epistemology as well, a way of learning, seeing, and knowing. It inspires us to develop modes of thinking and acting that are holistic, systemic, symbiotic, connective, and participatory. We must learn to see the world in terms of patterns and not just positions and points; in terms of networks and lattices, not just centers and peripheries; in terms of processes, not just objects and things. We are encouraged to develop and practice an "ecology of mindfulness," to paraphrase Bateson, as well as a mindful ecological practice. It inspires us to act towards each other as well as towards the environment in ways that serve and nourish the whole of which we are all participants - in ways that are compassionate and co-creative, cooperative and co-incarnational.
Fourth, Gaia does inspire us to think of the spirituality of the earth and to explore an "eco-theology." Such a spirituality is important, for beyond ecology and conservation lies a deeper dimension of spiritual interaction and communion with our environment that is mutually important for ourselves and for nature. Within that dimension we will also find new insights into the meaning of the divine that cannot help but aid us in the emergence of a healthy and whole planetary culture.
My earlier comments are not meant to belittle or discourage this search, only to suggest that its importance warrants the best of our thinking and contemplation. We cannot simply take up the mindsets of our ancestors nor wear their myths as if we have not changed in the interim between their world and time and ours. We cannot assume the sacredness nor spiritual livingness of the earth or accept it as a new ideology or as a sentimentally pleasing idea. We must experience that life and sacredness, if it is there, in relationship to our own and to that ultimate mystery we call God. We must experience it in our lives, in our practice, in the flesh of our cultural creativity. We must allow it to shape us, as great spiritual ideas have always shaped those who entertain them, and not expect that we can simply use the image of Gaia to meet emotional, religious, political, or even commercial needs without allowing it to transform us in unexpected and radical ways. The spirituality of the earth is more than a slogan. It is an invitation to initiation, to the death of what we have been and the birth of something new.
Finally, Gaia provides a mirror in which to see ourselves anew. It inspires us to reflect on our own natures, on the meaning and destiny of humanity. Lovelock paved the way for this in his book Gaia in which he first presented the Gaia Hypothesis. In the last chapter, he suggested that humanity might be the evolving nervous system of the earth, the means by which Gaia achieves self-awareness. At a time when our society seems motivated by no higher purpose than endless expansion and the making of money and when humanity seems to have no purpose beyond itself, this image is striking and refreshing. It would seem to suggest a direction, a connection, a role that we can play in a world that is more than just the sum total of human desires.
Paradoxically, this image of humanity as nervous system is itself very unGaian in that it is not systemic enough. If by nervous system we mean the wiring that carries the sensations and thoughts of a larger being, then that is not a very participatory image, reducing humanity to being simply the instrumentality for the transmission and execution of the thoughts of the earth.
On the other hand, if by nervous system we mean the whole system that governs, guides, and controls the organism through reception and integration of sensation and the transmission of thought, then such a nervous system is more than just wiring. As modern medicine and biochemisty increasingly show, the whole body is an integrated sensing/directing organism. Glands, hormones, blood, circulation, physical structure, and interrelationships between organs play as much a role in structuring and transmitting "thought" as does the nervous system itself.
Thus, to be the "nervous system" of the earth really means to be integrated with all the systems of the earth, from wind and weather to tidal flows and the growth of plants, from the ecology of watersheds to the migration of birds and insects from one bioregion to another, and so on. It means being Gaia in a way that transcends and enlarges our humanity. Just what that really involves is what we have to discover, but surely it goes beyond accepting without reflection pat slogans about Gaia and the sacredness of the earth.
I do not see Gaia itself as an image of human destiny, but it enlarges our vision of human purpose and activity beyond the personal and the local and puts it into a planetary and cosmic context. At the same time, the actions of Gaia are very local and specific, so that we are made more aware, not less, of our interactions with the particular places we inhabit. This is an important shift in our time.
Gaia is an important idea, both as a scientific hypothesis and as a spiritual image. However, I see it as a transitional idea. It is not so much a revelation in itself as a precursor to revelation or to new insights that can come when that idea is examined and lived with and given a chance to settle into our bones. Its meaning now lies in what it can inspire us to discover about ourselves and the nature of life, in rallying our energies to meet the needs of our environment, and through these processes of discovery and healing, to become a truly planetary species, blessed in ways we can now only imagine."
David Spangler, Earth and Spirit
(One of the articles in Earth & Spirit (IC#24) Late Winter 1990, Page 44)
The nature of Gaia
"The name of the living planet, Gaia, is not a synonym for the biosphere. The biosphere is defined as that part of the Earth where living things normally exist. Still less is Gaia the same as the biota, which is simply the collection of all individual living organisms. The biota and the biosphere taken together form part but not all of Gaia. Just as the shell is part of a snail, so the rocks, the air, and the oceans are part of Gaia. Gaia...has continuity with the past back to the origins of life, and extends into the future as long as life persists. Gaia, as a total planetary being, has properties that are not necessarily discernible by just knowing individual species or populations of organisms living together.
The Gaia hypothesis...suppose(s) that the atmosphere, the oceans, the climate, and the crust of the Earth are regulated at a state comfortable for life because of the behavior of living organisms. Specifically, the Gaia hypothesis said that the temperature, oxidation state, acidity and certain aspects of the rocks and waters are at any time kept constant, and that this homeostasis is maintained by active feedback processes operated automatically and unconsciously the biota. Solar energy sustains comfortable conditions for life. The conditions are only constant in the short term and evolve in synchrony with the changing needs of the biota as it evolves. Life and its environment are so closely coupled that evolution concerns Gala, not the organisms or the environment taken separately."
James Lovelock, The Ages of Gaia
Action Spirituality Feelings Ideas
The central idea of Deep Ecology is that we are part of the earth, rather than apart and separate from it.
This idea is in contrast to the dominant individualism of our culture, where seeing ourselves as separate from our world makes it easier not to be bothered by what's happening in it.
This century, two key ideas have emerged out of scientific thinking that support the view of ourselves as part of the earth. The first idea comes from Systems Theory and the second idea is called The Gaia Hypothesis.
Systems Theory sees our world is terms of 'systems', where each system is a 'whole' that is more than the sum of its parts, but also itself a 'part' of larger systems. For example, a cell is more than just a pile of molecules and itself is a part of larger systems egg. an organ. An organ is on one level a whole in itself, but on another, it is a part of a system at the level of an individual person. A family and a community can both be seen as 'systems' where the 'parts' are people.
The Gaia Hypothesis takes this idea further and applies it to the whole planet. All of life on earth can be seen as whole that is more than the sum of its parts, this whole being like a huge super-life form that we call 'Gaia' (after the name for the ancient Greek goddess of the earth). Living systems have a tendency to keep themselves in balance but also to adapt and evolve over time. Scientists have found that the earth also has these tendencies, with feedback mechanisms to 'keep in balance' the temperature and oxygen levels of the atmosphere, just as our bodies maintain the temperature and oxygen levels in our arteries.
The Gaia Hypothesis is stating that the earth is alive and that we are part of it. This is something that many cultures have known for centuries.
"We are part of the earth and it is part of us " Chief Seattle, North America, 1854.
Facing the scale of social and ecological crisis in our world can leave us feeling numbed, overwhelmed and powerless. Yet there is often little place for such feelings in conventional politics or in our society at large. The dominant response is to deny or distract ourselves from any uncomfortable feelings about the state of the world, and to carry on with 'business as usual'.
If we see ourselves as part of the world, it becomes possible to see that such uncomfortable feelings may serve a valuable function. Just as it hurts when we put our finger over a flame, 'pain for the world' alerts us to the injuries of our world and can move us to respond. Allowing ourselves to feel for our world also opens us to a source of energy and aliveness, and a strength that comes from connection to something more than just our narrow selves.
Spirituality is to do with our inner sense of connection with something larger than ourselves and with our relationship with what we see as sacred. This can give our lives a sense of meaning and purpose beyond material success and those special moments where we feel that connection more deeply can provide an important source of strength in difficult times.
If we see ourselves as part of the 'Tree of Life' - the interconnected web of beings we call Gaia, then a Deep Ecological approach to spirituality might emphasis our relationship with this larger whole. We may look at life itself as being sacred, and see the possibility of the larger force of life acting through us in our work for earth recovery. This "life-centered spirituality" can be an important source of inspiration to face and respond to the problems of our world.
When we integrate our beliefs, ideas and values into our behaviour, we bring them alive and give them the power to influence our world. If we see ourselves as separate from the world, it is easy to dismiss our actions as irrelevant or unlikely to make any difference. Yet from the Deep Ecology perspective, we are part of the world and every choice we make will have ripples that extend beyond us. What may seem tiny and insignificant by itself always adds to a larger context, so that every time we act for life, we put our weight behind the shift towards a life-sustaining culture.
What is Deep Ecology?
Deep Ecology is a holistic approach to facing world problems that brings together thinking, feeling, spirituality and action. It involves moving beyond the individualism of Western culture towards also seeing ourselves as part of the earth. This leads to a deeper connection with life, where Ecology is not just seen as something 'out there', but something we are part of and have a role to play in.
Two Approaches to Ecology
1.) Scientific Ecology - the study of the inter-relation ships between species and their environment. In this approach, the relationship is of a detached observer separate from the object of study. The focus is on measurable data 'out there', collected by experts who know their 'facts and figures'.
2.) Deep Ecology - Experiencing ourselves as part of the living earth and finding our role in protecting the planet. In this approach, the relationship is more of an involved participant, who feels connected with and part of the world around them. This is for everybody, not just experts, each being moved by our values, experiences and feelings to do our bit for the world around us.
The term 'Deep Ecology' was first introduced by the Norwegian activist and philosopher Arne Naess in the early 1970's, when stressing the need to move beyond superficial responses to the social and ecological problems we face. He proposed that we ask 'deeper questions', looking at the 'why and how' of the way we live and seeing how this fits with our deeper beliefs, needs and values. Asking questions like "How can I live in a way that is good for me, other people and our planet?" may lead us to make deep changes in the way we live.
Deep Ecology can also be seen as part of a much wider process of questioning of basic assumptions in our society that is leading to a new way of looking at science, politics, healthcare, education, spirituality and many other areas. Because this change in the way we see things is so wide ranging, it has been called a new 'worldview'. It tends to emphasis the relationships between different areas, bringing together personal and social change, science and spirituality, economics and ecology. Deep Ecology applies this new worldview to our relationship with the earth. In doing this, it challenges deep-seated assumptions about the way we see ourselves, moving from just seeing ourselves as 'individuals' towards also seeing ourselves as part of the earth. This can increase both our sense of belonging in life and our tendency to act for life.
What happens in Deep Ecology Workshops?
Deep Ecology workshops bring people together with the intention to heal our relationship with the earth. They provide an opportunity to explore our emotional responses to world problems and may offer 'despair and empowerment' methods to use the energy of these emotional responses in our work for earth recovery. The workshops introduce the Deep Ecology approach, working with ideas, feelings, spirituality and personal action planning. We also sometimes dance, sing, drum, meditate, use communication exercises, offer nature connecting experiences and non-dogmatically explore the role of ritual. These workshops have been strongly influenced by the work of Joanna Macy, John Seed and others. They aim to deepen our sense of connection with life and strengthen our ability to respond to world problems."
Chris Johnstone, The Institute for Deep Ecology
2002 Mar 08
The Global Brain Awakens (PDF format)
The view of Earth from space brought with it yet another insight: the possibility that the planet as a whole could be a living being. We Earthlings might be likened to fleas who spend their whole lives on an elephant, unaware of what it really is. They chart its terrain—skin, hairs, and bumps-study its chemistry, plot its temperature changes, and classify the other animals that share its world, arriving at a reasonable perception of where they live. Then one day a few of the fleas take a huge leap and look at the elephant from a distance of a hundred feet Suddenly it dawns: "The whole thing is alive!" This is the truly awesome realization brought about by the trip to the moon. The whole planet appears to be alive—not just teeming with life but an organism in its own right.
If the idea of the Earth as a living being is initially difficult to accept, it may be due partly to our assumptions about what sort of things can and cannot be organisms. We accept a vast range of systems as living organisms, from bacteria to blue whales, but when it comes to the whole planet we might find this concept a bit difficult to grasp. Yet until the development of the microscope less than four hundred years ago, few people realized that there are living organisms within us and around us, so small that they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Today we are viewing life from the other direction, through the "macroscope" of the Earth view, and we are beginning to surmise that something as vast as our planet could also be a living organism.
This hypothesis is all the more difficult to accept because the living Earth is not an organism we can observe ordinarily outside ourselves; it is an organism of which we are an intimate part. Only when we step into space can we begin to see it as a separate being. Stuck like fleas on an elephant, we have not, until recently, had the chance to see the planet as a whole. Would a cell in our own bodies, seeing only its neighboring cells for a short period, ever guess that the whole body is a living being in its own right?
To better understand the planet as a living system, we need to go beyond the time scales of human life to the planet's own time scale, vastly greater than our own. Looked at in this way, the rhythm of day and night might be the pulse of the planet, one full cycle of every hundred thousand human heartbeats. Speeding up time appropriately, we would see the atmosphere and ocean currents swirling round the planet, circulating nutrients and carrying away waste products, much as the blood circulates nutrients and carries away waste in our own bodies.
Speeding it up a hundred million more times, we would see the vast continents sliding around, bumping into each other, pushing up great mountain chains where they collided. Fine, thread like rivers would swing first one way then another, developing huge, meandering loops as they accommodated themselves to the changes in the land. Giant forests and grasslands would move across the continents, sometimes thrusting limbs into new fertile lands and at other times withdrawing as climate and soil changed.
If we could look inside, we would see an enormous churning current of liquid rock flowing back and forth between the center of the planet and the thin crust, sometimes oozing through volcanic pores to supply the minerals essential for life. Had we senses able to detect charged particles, we would see the planet bathing not only in the light and heat of the sun but also in a solar wind of ions streaming from the sun. This wind, flowing round the Earth, would be shaped by her magnetic field into a huge, pulsating aura streaming off into space behind her for millions of miles. Changes in the Earth's fluctuating magnetic state would be visible as ripples and colors in this vast comet like aura, and the Earth herself would be but a small blue-green sphere at the head of this vast energy field.
Thus if we look at the planet in terms of its own time scales, we seem to see a level of complex activity similar to that found in a living system. Such similarities, however, do not constitute any form of proof. The question we have to ask is whether scientists could accept the planet as a single organism in the same way they accept bacteria and whales? Could the Earth actually "be" a living organism?
This no longer seems so farfetched. On the contrary, an increasingly popular scientific hypothesis suggests that the most satisfactory way of understanding the planet's chemistry, ecology, and biology is to view the planet as a single living system, The Gaia Hypothesis."
Peter Russel , The Global Brain Awakens
EARTH BLESSING PRAYER
As you quiet your mind and your physical body, breathe deeply, and go to that space within your own heart that space of quiet and calm, that inner chamber where True Love does abide
As you rest within the silence, free yourself from the thoughts of your daily activities and turn within to communion with Me
I want you to go with me to the Christ Consciousness Grid, from where we shall look down upon the New Earth which is being prepared for you.
In your mind's eye, I want you to see the Earth in a new, glorious and HEALED condition. the condition originally set forth in the Divine Blueprint established in the beginning by the Source.
The air is clean, the water is pure, teeming with abundant and healthy marine life. The colors of the foliage and fauna are vibrant, shimmering with the richness of perfection.
No longer does mankind dwell in the illusion of polarity. There is no longer dark vs. light, good vs. evil, male vs. female, one religion vs. another religion. All has been made Whole. All is now One.
Visualize the inhabitants of this beautiful earth living in harmony, acknowledging the Christ in each one they meet, realizing that each is but a part of the One.
All countries live in a state of brotherhood, peace and global cooperation. No longer does nation rise against nation. All weapons of mass destruction have been eliminated.. The swords have been beat into plowshares.
See and feel, from your own heart, the love that is expressed one to another, as the Holy Child goes about the Father's business.
No longer is there poverty among you. No one fears the abuse of another, or the hatred hiding within another's heart. There is true sharing among all the brothers and sisters eliminating any concerns of lack or impoverishment.
Greed has left the hearts of the people and they freely offer their alms to the One in gratitude. This is the day the lion shall lay down with the lamb. No longer does man live in ignorance of the higher Celestial Realms.
Without fear, he welcomes and communes with his brothers and sisters from other dimensions, other star systems, and other universes, knowing that all have come forth from the Source of Creation.
Peace, joy and true love shall reign in every heart. All has been made new. All has become One. For this is the NEW EARTH. and the NEW HEAVEN. And so shall it be.
EARTH BLESSING PRAYER - SANANDA Apr. 10/2001
(via Janisel -http://neptune.spaceports.com/~trinity )
The Gaia Hypothesis
In order to understand the nature of the All-Mother, we must first understand our own origins. Each of began our individual life as a single fertilized cell, or zygote. In the process of its innumerable divisions and multiplications, that cell kept dividing up and redistributing the very same protoplasm. That protoplasm which now courses through all of the several trillion cells of your adult body is the very same substance which once coursed through the body of that original zygote. For when a cell reproduces, the mother cell does not remain intact, but actually becomes the two new daughter cells. And this is why, no matter how many times a cell fissions in the process of embryological development, all the daughter cells collectively continue to comprise but one single organism. We may imagine that, should our cells have consciousness akin to our own, they may very well fancy themselves to be independent entities living and dying in a world that to them would seem to be merely an inanimate environment. But we know them to be in fact minute components of the far vaster living beings that we ourselves are.
Over four billion years ago, life on Earth began, as do we all, with a single living cell containing a replicating molecule of DNA. From that point on that original cell, the first to develop the awesome capacity for reproduction, divided and redividied and subdivided its protoplasm into the myriads of plants and animals, including ourselves, which now inhabit this third planet from the Sun.
But no matter how many times a cell fissions in the process of embryological development, all the daughter cells collectively continue to comprise but one single organism. All life on Earth comprises the body of single vast living being—Mother Earth Herself. The Moon is Her radiant heart, and in the tides beat the pulse of Her blood. That protoplasm which coursed through the body of that first primeval ancestral cell is the very protoplasm which now courses through every cell of every living organism, plant or animal, of our planet. And the soul of our planetary biosphere is She whom we call Goddess!"
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
"Though I was in a Christian family, that before touching the Mother Earth, getting up from the bed, we use to say, 'Oh, Mother Earth, please forgive us because we are touching you with our feet.' It's the respect for the Mother Earth and for Nature — is built-in within us; it's part and parcel. We are part and parcel of this Whole, we can call it, a whole Universe. But when you get into this nonsensical idea of freedom then you are leaving your Mother Earth. Your gravity itself reduces. This Mother Earth has to teach us....
Whatever is outside is also inside. If you want to exploit your Mother inside or if you want to trouble your Mother inside, you can also trouble this Mother Earth....
It's so remarkable how the Nature is so much within us and how this, whatever is within us, guides outside and receives the blessings. We are not something separate. This Mother Earth is our home. We have a home in Her and She has a home within us."
The Paraclete Shri Mataji
Cabella, Italy — Sept. 7, 1997
718) Sri Mahi
— The Mother Earth.
— Giver of all Life and Food.
Sri Lalita Sahasranama
C. S. Murthy, Associate Advertisers and Printers, 1989
"We fight the Mother Earth which is giving you the Source. You are the very being of that Mother. She has created you. She has made you. Because of Her you have come up. You are fighting Her! Arguing Her! Going against Her! This is your ego. How will you grow?
And once you start growing the sun can help you, the sky can help you, everything can help you — the Nature can help you. But you must have the complete desire to rise above your dwarfness, above your selfishness, above your conditioning, and especially your ego."
Bordi, India—February 12, 1984
"The most characteristic teaching of Saktism, however, comes close to Advaita Vedanta: Saktism is considered to be identical with Brahman. Sakti is the creative force which creates the world and the creation is one with the force which pervades it. The earliest evidence for Sakti-Advaita can be found in some Puranas, in which Devi is explaining her own identity with Brahman....
Since Sakti is both avidya and vidya, matter and spirit, the sadhana taught by Saktas often emphasizes the oneness of bhukti and mukti, the merging of matter and spirit instead of their discrimination (viveka) as advocated by other systems. The perfection of the jivas is achieved through an assumption of all the different forms of Sakti into their own subtle bodies, thus becoming one with the force that sustains the universe....
Saktism has deeply influenced many recent movements of religious and philosophical renewal... . Many people find in Saktism a basis for a religion for our age, a religion which takes material reality as seriously as spirit. As V. S. Agarwal writes: "Mother Earth is the deity of the new age ... the kalpa of Indra-Agni and the yuga of Siva-Visnu are no more. The modern age offers its salutations to Mother Earth whom it adores as the super-goddess ... Mother Earth is the presiding deity of the age, let us worship her."
Klaus K. Klostermaier, Hinduism: A Short History
OneWorld Publications, 2000, p. 217-8
"The Declaration of Interdependence.
The Gaia hypothesis, first advanced by British biochemist James Lovelock, deeply influenced New Age thinkers. It holds that the Earth should be regarded as a living organism with interrelated parts; therefore all living creatures are inextricably connected to each other ... We see that a universal set of spiritual realities runs through the world's mythologies, religions, and healing traditions. Understanding and respecting the interdependence of all things is the backbone of the New Age."
New Age Journal
"Many Faces of the Earth Goddess
In India, the land of Gods and Goddesses, not only is the water of the Ganges holy or the plants of the Himalayas sacred, but the tradition of worshiping our planet as Bhumi Devi or the Earth Goddess is as old as folklore. Shiva (consciousness) and Shakti (nature) are two aspects of the Brahman, the Supreme Being. In Shakti yoga, therefore, we unite our inner self with the outer nature.
In the Hindu scripture, the mother and the motherland are greater than the heaven. More than 12,000 years ago, unlike in any other religions of the world, the God was worshiped as she in the Dravidian mother goddess religion and women were placed on the top of a pedestal in that Indus valley civilization. In Sanskrit, earth is pronounced Dharitri which is derived from the root word 'Dhri' meaning "to hold". Therefore, Dharitri means one who sustains the lives of the organic and inorganic world. According to the Hindu cosmology, the Supreme Being, with the help of consciousness and nature, created three universal gunas or attributes - Sattva (pure), Rajas (movement) and Tamas (inertia)- from which were manifested the five elements of nature: ether, air, fire, water and earth. From the soil were born plants that become seeds for human lives. Thus, the Hindus praised the mother earth through their Vedic chants saying 'let there be peace on earth.' "
"Protecting the environment here on planet Earth takes on increasing emphasis and importance as we move deeper into the Age of Aquarius. Scientists estimate that at the current rate of destruction, humans will push an average of one hundred species of plants and animals to extinction every day, nearly a thousand times faster than the rate that existed from prehistory to the present ... Aquarius will demand that we protect our home planet ...
The children of the New Age, those already born and those to be born, will take up environmental movements with renewed vigor. Already the seeds of this revolution are planted. But as we move deeper into the new era, this inclination turns to passion and youth rejects consumer culture ...
It is morally wrong to act as though we are separate from nature and from the Earth, and our religious leaders too will have to recognize that the biblical dictate to be fruitful and multiply is meant to be applied to its spiritual, not physical, sense; and that the Commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' applies to our mother planet as well as to all on it."
Beyond The Horizon: Visions of a New Millennium
"The wise men of yore regarded Earth as a living organism worshipping her as a symbol of fertility and as the Nurturing Mother. As long as the Earth was held sacred, alive and sensitive, it was unthinkable to exploit her: As one is not aggressive and domineering towards one's mother. Modern man suddenly became aware of this intimate relationship when astronauts were able to look at planet Earth from outer space. Their perception of her beauty and vitality was such a traumatic experience that it transformed their relationship to a new dimension. Needless to add that many primitive tribes and traditional groups in both America and the East practise the worship of Mother Earth to this day.
Scientific investigations have led the chemist James Lovelock and the microbiologist Lynn Marguilis to regard the planet as a whole, as a single living organism.
Observations of its environmental properties such as the atmospheric composition, the salt content so the sea and the distribution of trace elements among plants and animals show that they are regulated by intricate cooperative networks that manifest the properties of living self-organising systems.
He properties and activities of Mother Earth cannot be known from the sum of her parts as every one of her tissues is linked to every other tissue and all of them are mutually interdependent. Her many pathways of communication are highly complex and non-linear; her form has evolved over billions of years and continues to evolve. Recognising that this was Renaissance of a powerful ancient myth, the two scientists named it the Gaia hypothesis, after the Greek Goddess of Earth.
Every living process has a mind. Since the Earth is a living organism then she too must be mindful like ourselves. That which is mindful is also conscious; consequently the Earth can be regarded as a conscious being. The first centre is made of this conscious element of Mother Earth within us."
Yogi Mahajan, The Ascent
"In the primordial mysteries, the Feminine — whose nature we have attempted to discern in the symbols and functions of its elementary and transformative character — assumes a creative role and so becomes the determining factor in early human culture. Whereas the instinctual mysteries revolve around the central elements of the life of woman — birth, menstruation, conception, pregnancy, sexuality, climacteric, and death — the primordial mysteries project a psychic symbolism upon the real world and so transform it.
The mysteries of the feminine may be divided into mysteries of preservation, formation, nourishment, and transformation... At all stages of the primordial mysteries it is the central symbol of their realization... . The woman is the natural nourishing principle and hence mistress of everything that implies nourishment... . Thus the transformative character o the Feminine rises from the natural to the spiritual plane. The culture-bringing primordial mysteries cultimate in a spiritual reality that completes the mystery character of the Feminine."
Erich Neumann, The Great Mother
"Intelligence and tool-making were our strengths from the beginning. We used these talents to compensate for the paucity of the natural gifts — speed, flight, venom, burrowing, and the rest — freely distributed to other animals, so it seemed, and cruelly denied to us. From the time of the domestication of fire and the elaboration of stone tools, it was obvious that our skills could be used for evil as well as for good. But it was not until very recently the even the benign use of our intelligence and our tools might — because we are not smart enough to foresee all consequences — put us at risk.
Now we are everywhere on Earth. We have bases in Antarctica. We visit the ocean bottoms. Twelve of us have even walked on the Moon. There are now nearly 6 billion of us, and our numbers grow by the equivalent of the population of China every decade. We have subdued the other animals and the plants (although we have been less successful with the microbes). We have domesticated many organisms and made them do our bidding. We have become, by some standards, the dominant species on Earth.
And at almost every step, we have emphasized the local over the global, the short-term over the long. We have destroyed the forests, eroded the topsoil, changed the composition of the atmosphere, depleted the protective ozone layer, tempered with the climate, poisoned the air and waters, and made the poorest people suffer most from the deteriorating environment. We have become predators on the biosphere — full of arrogant entitlement, always taking and never giving back. And so, we are now a danger to ourselves and the other beings with whom we share the planet.
The wholesome attack on the global environment is not the fault only of profit-hungry industrialists or visionaries and corrupt politicians. There is plenty of blame to share.
The tribe of scientists has played a central role. Many of us didn't even bother to think about the long-term consequences of our inventions. We have been too ready to put devastating powers into the hands of the highest bidder and the officials of whichever nation we happen to be living in. In too many cases, we have lacked a moral compass. Philosophy and science from their very beginnings have been eager, in the words of Rene Descartes, 'to make us masters and possessors of Nature,' to use science, as Francis Bacon said, to bend all of Nature into 'the services of Man.' Bacon talked about ''Man' exercising a 'right over Nature.' 'Nature,' wrote Aristotle, 'has made all animals for the sake of man.' 'Without man,' asserted Immanuel Kant, 'the whole of creation would be a mere wilderness, a thing in vain.' Not so long ago we were hearing about 'conquering' Nature and the 'conquest' of space — as if Nature and the Cosmos were enemies to be vanquished.
The religious tribe also played a central role. Western sects held that just as we must submit to God, so the rest of Nature must submit to us. In modern times especially, we seem more dedicated to the second half of this proposition than the first. In the real and palpable world, as revealed by what we do and not what we say, many humans aspire to be lords of Creation — with an occasional token bow, as required by social convention, to whatever gods may lately be fashionable. Descartes and Bacon were profoundly influenced by religion. The notion of 'us against Nature' is a legacy of our religious traditions. In the Book of Genesis, God gives humans 'dominion . . over every living thing,' and the 'fear' and 'dread' of us is to be upon 'every beast.' Man is urged to 'subdue' Nature, and 'subdue' is translated from a Hebrew word with strong military connotations. There is much else in the Bible — and in the medieval Christian tradition out of which modern science emerged — along similar lines. Islam, by contrast, is disinclined to declare nature an enemy.
Of course, both science and religion are complex and multi-layered structures, embracing different, even contradictory, opinions. It is scientists who discovered and called the world's attention to the environmental crises, and there are scientists who, at considerable cost to themselves, refused to work on inventions that might harm their fellows. And it is religion that first articulated the imperative to revere livings things.
True, there is nothing in the Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition that approaches the cherishing of Nature in the Hindu-Buddhist-Jain tradition or among Native Americans. Indeed, both Western religion and Western science have gone out of the way to assert that Nature is just the setting and not the story, that viewing Nature as sacred is sacrilege.
Nevertheless, there is a clear religious counterpoint: The natural world is a creation of God, put here for purposes separate from the glorification of 'Man' and deserving, therefore, of respect and care in its own right, and not just because of its utility for us. A poignant metaphor of ''stewardship' has emerged, especially recently — the idea that humans are the caretakers of the Earth, put here for the purpose and accountable, now and into the indefinite future, to the Landlord....
The methods and ethos of science and religion are profoundly different. Religion frequently asks us to believe without question, even (or especially) in the absence of hard evidence. Science asks us to take nothing on faith, to be wary of our penchant for self-deception, to reject anecdotal evidence. Science considers deep skepticism a prime virtue. Religion often sees it as a barrier to enlightenment. So, for centuries, there has been a conflict between the two fields — the discoveries of science challenging religious dogmas, and religion attempting to ignore or suppress the disquieting findings.
But times have changed. Many religions are now comfortable with an Earth that goes around the Sun, with an Earth that's 4.5 billion years old, with evolution, and with the other discoveries of modern science. Pope John Paul II has said," Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the either into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish... . Such bridging ministries must be nurtured and encouraged.
Nowhere is this more clear than in the current environmental crisis. No matter whose responsibility the crisis mainly is, there's no way out of it without understanding the dangers and their mechanisms, and without a deep devotion to the long-term well-being of our species and our planet — that is, pretty closely, without the central involvement of both science and religion."
Carl Sagan, Billions & Billions
"If the final goal of terrestrial evolution were only to awaken man to the supreme Reality and to release him from ignorance and bondage, so that the liberated soul could find elsewhere a higher state of being or merge into this supreme Reality, the task would be accomplished with the advent of the spiritual man. But there is also in us an aspiration for the mastery of Nature and her transformation, for a greater perfection in the Earthly existence itself.
If it is the sole intention of Nature in the evolution of the spiritual man to awaken him to the supreme Reality and release him from herself, or from the Ignorance in which she as the Power of the Eternal has masked herself, by a departure into a higher status of being elsewhere, if this step in the evolution is a close and an exit, then in the essence her work has been already accomplished and there is nothing more to be done. The ways have been built, the capacity to follow them has been developed, the goal or last height of the creation is manifest; all that is left is for each soul to reach individually the right stage and turn of its development, enter into the spiritual ways and pass by its own chosen path out of this inferior existence. But we have supposed that there is a farther intention, — not only a revelation of the Spirit, but a radical and integral transformation of Nature. There is a will in her to effectuate a true manifestation of the embodied life of the Spirit, to complete what she has begun by a passage from the Ignorance to the Knowledge, to throw off her mask and to reveal herself as the luminous Consciousness-Force carrying in her the eternal Existence and its universal Delight of being. It then becomes obvious that there is something not yet accomplished, there becomes clear to view the much that has still to be done ... there is a height still to be reached, a wideness still to be covered by the eye of vision, the wing of the will, the self-affirmation of the spirit in the material universe. What the evolutionary Power has done is to make a few individuals aware of their souls, conscious of their selves, aware of the eternal being that they are, to put them into communion with the Divinity or the reality which is concealed by her appearances: a certain change of nature prepares, accompanies or follows upon this illumination, but it is not the complete and radical change which established a secure and settled new principle, a new creation, a permanent new order of being in the field of terrestrial Nature. The spiritual man has evolved, but not the supramental being who shall thenceforward be the leader of that Nature."
Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man
1. Starhawk, The Spiral Dance (New York, N.Y.: Harper & Row, Publishers,
2. Elinor W. Gadon, The Once & Future Goddess (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1989), xiv.
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