Daily we build a world that treats nature as a commodity and exploits it without conscience, wisdom, or reverence. It’s odd that religious leaders, so vocally concerned about sexual morality and faithfulness to a creed, have not been tireless in speaking on behalf of the earth and its creatures. Nature suffers when our precious conscience is caught up in our own complexes and anxieties and becomes neglectful of the world around us. We have forgotten that nature is us and that we are a manifestation of nature. When we treat nature as inanimate, without a soul, then we are dooming ourselves to all the suffering that stems from neglect of soul. I can imagine a ‘natural spirituality,’ a religious sensibility rooted in nature. Nature’s mysteries, vastness, and beauty offer an important grounding for spiritual vision and sensitivity. Without this grounding, evident in religious literature from around the world, our very spiritual lives become mostly mental and dangerously narcissistic. Nature is the beginning of spiritual wisdom and the irreplaceable matrix of the soul……Thomas Moore
we connect to our depths, cultivate inner weavings and take our hearts outside of ourselves when we move into this world…..this is casting off our nets into the wild night, finding our sacred symbols….may we dream into this breathing life…..
O most powerful path
that has entered into everything
the heights, the earth,
and the depths,
you fashion and gather everything
clouds float, air streams,
stones become wet,
waters create rivers
and the earth perspires greenness.
….Hildegard of Bingen
Our relationship to the wild unfolds through several developmental stages. In a healthy childhood, nature holds great fascination and wonder, the wide arena in which we discover and explore the world of our inheritance. By imitating the animals, birds, and trees, we acquire a vocabulary of gestures that we assemble into our own way of being human. Then, in adolescence, our relationship with nature changes. The natural world becomes a mirror of our developing personality, a screen upon which we project our fears and hopes for belonging. But we don’t know yet what we are projecting. We experience our emotions as if they are qualities of nature rather than our own. We enter the wilderness as a place of danger, self-testing, and self-discovery. The next stage occurs in the second cocoon as we become conscious of our projections. But now it is not only the personality but also the soul, we discover, that we are projecting. Like the poets, we begin to observe in the patterns of nature the essence of courage, love, sacrifice, desire, faith, belonging- all the possibilities of our own humanness in their primary and most vital forms. In time, we encounter reflections of our deepest individual natures and perhaps hear our true name spoken for the first time. We come to understand that what is reflected by nature as a pilgrim in search of his true home, a wanderer with an intimation of communion, a solitary with a suspicion of salvation…..Bill Plotkin