Currently, I am reading Pagan Visions For a Sustainable Future, Ly de Angles, Emma Restall Orr & Thom van Dooren, (editors) — and one of the fun parts of reading material like this is the various perspectives I get introduced to. So far, I have made it through the first two essays, which are written from an academic perspective – so the reading is a little slow. Much like when you climb a steep hill, and find the terrain to be a little rockier than you expected. You tend to go a little slower, making sure of your footing as you move. Its taken me nearly a week to move 70+ pages.
I had a similar speed issue when reading Emma Restall Orr’s fantastic book “The Wakeful World“. Its not that the reading is difficult – it can definitely be that. Its the deep, insightful, provoking manner in which the material is written. Emma’s writings are extremely good at doing just that – provking me into thinking over what has just been presented to me. And the toughest part, is when I am finished reading her materials – her aforementioned book, and the essay in Pagan Visions For a Sustainable Future – I find myself exiting the material with even more questions than I had started. Obviously, my initial questions had been answered, but in getting to that spot, I wind up with even more questions being unearthed. And these questions are the ones that only I will be able to answer for myself – not find further answers in reading other books and essays elsewhere.
Emma focuses on an area that I am very familiar with – connections and inter-relatedness. Everything that is around us has connection to everything else. And in those connections, somewhere along those strands – that is where I find the Gods and Goddesses — waiting, listening, and even trying to communicate to us. Its a very difficult position to try and explain, and for many reasons – I am not going to even try and do so. One of the great parts of mystery religions i s getting to explore the unknown for yourself – there are lessons in all of that, for each individual to uncover and learn – for themselves. In seeing these inter-connected strands of existence, my entire perception of the world around me has changed. The way I go about living my life has started to change as well.
Just a few years back, I believed in the ideals of consumerism – that buying products and keeping the economy running were essential manners of keeping our country alive. We buy products, which funnels money back into companies, so that people and contracts can be paid – so that workers can be paid – so that those people can in turn can purchase items such as food, clothing or pay rent or make car payments. And that each of their actions feed back into the economy and repeat the cycle yet again. And this works, if you believe that money is the driving force behind making our lives work. And even though I teach a class on Business Information Systems, and how these systems help to keep this process alive – its not a process I completely believe in.
In today’s modern society, certainly the ideals of consumerism, and the concept of money as the driving force certainly make things work. Our world economies and societies are all built on this precept. Its a process that works, but I believe that when people see this process as the be-all, end-all — problems begin to arise. We begin to look at the natural world around us as a tool to achieve the money (and power) that comes from mass-marketing and sales of a product. We ignore how our actions cause reactions throughout our environment or worse, we begin to become apathetic to what is happening. This internal apathy is something that I struggle with daily where the realm of politics crosses into our own existence.
Now with my eyes open, observing the connections around us, between us, through us, with us, because of us….there’s a lot of damage that we have done in the name of our progress. Some of it cannot be undone. Some of the damage will continue to happen as we rely more and more on various natural resources to feed our overwhelming urge to dominate our environment. In essence, as a society, we have embraced the concepts of Genesis 1:26:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
I know there are people out there saying “not me” – let’s please remember that society is far more than just yourself. And whether you want to believe it or not, you are a part of it. No matter how you decide to live your life – you are a part of the human race. You inhabit the same terrarium that the rest of us do – this planet we call Terra Firma or Earth. We may not be able to reverse all of the damage that we have done, as an invading and dominating species – but we can certainly reverse some of our direction and potentially make things a little better. But action requires purposeful thought – and purposeful thought requires people to be awake and aware. Right now, there’s not enough people that are aware and awake…rather they are apathetic or woefully ignorant. There’s not much you or I can do to change the way our society sees the environment….but we can certainly educate as many people as possible. Show them those connections – help them to awaken to the possibilities that we continually take for granted because we choose not to see.
No offense to anyone who reads…but I have an ownership stake in this planet. I want it to be something that is cared for, loved and nurtured – as a prized part of who we are TOGETHER. Anyone looking to see this planet and the environments that exist upon it as a resource and tool…beware. I am standing up for what I love, and am a part of. Certainly Mother Earth is far more capable of healing herself than I ever could..but my job…nay, OUR job is to change the way we interact with our environment, before She decides we have done too much to exist further.