One way we at the Order of the Sacred Earth chose to celebrate Earth Day this year was to hold one of our monthly (or almost monthly) zoom “council meetings” on the 50 anniversary of Earth Day this Wednesday. About 47 people showed up from many lands including New Zealand, UK, Canada and the US. We posed one question and everyone had two minutes max to respond, the question being: “When did you first learn about Earth Day and What is its meaning to you?” Much wisdom flowed from this sharing and I am pleased to share some of it as today’s meditation.
One woman told of growing up on a farm in Nebraska and her “mystical experience” as a child of going often into the corn fields and lying down on the ground next to the corn and listening to it grow! You can actually hear the corn “popping” while it grows in the hot summer heat she assures us. (I didn’t know that “popcorn” had two incarnations of popping until I heard this story).
A 26 year old man told of eating mushrooms and having a burst of consciousness expansion and how that put him in touch with Mother Earth for the first time in a deep way.
A New Zealand gentleman spoke of the “miracle of the seeds” that grow in his garden and how his awakening to Mother Earth occurred most dramatically in a museum that announced, “Earth is Sacred.” That language stunned him and woke him up.
Several people spoke of the impact of reading Rachel Carson’s work in the 1960’s and at least one raised the question: What if we had acted earlier (cf. coronavirus response also), back in the early 70’s, on the eco-crisis we knew we were facing even back then.
One person spoke of being awakened by Paul Winter’s “Earth Mass” which powerfully brought together music and soul and lover of nature. (See recent DM on music and coronavirus and mysticism, April 20th, 2020). One person spoke of living in Guatemala in the 1990’s, working with anti-war groups there, and sleeping under the stars eating outdoors and living a life close to the earth and beyond city-life and how that experience among so many indigenous people awakened her to Mother Earth.
Another spoke of being raised in the city but going camping as a teenager and how that camping experience touched him deeply; then returning as an older adult to a less urban life, now living in Cape Cod.
Another spoke of loving to sit on a bough in a tree near her home that overhung a lake and experience “Spirit” most intensely though lacking words for the (mystical) experience at the time. The term “viriditas” or greening power that she later discovered in Hildegard of Bingen said it all for her.
See Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, Jen Listug, Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action
See Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Postdenominational Priest, pp. 23-25, 79-82.
Queries for Contemplation
Which of these stories ring bells in your own experience?
How would you tell your first awakening around Earth Day?
Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action
By Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jen Listug
In the midst of global fire, earthquake and flood – as species are going extinct every day and national and global economies totter – the planet doesn’t need another church or religion. What it needs is a new Order, grounded in the Wisdom traditions of both East and West, including science and indigenous. An Order of the Sacred Earth united in one sacred vow: “I promise to be the best lover and defender of the Earth that I can be.”
Co-authored by Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jennifer Berit Listug, with a forward by David Korten, this collection of essays by 21 spiritual visionaries including Brian Swimme, Mirabai Starr, Theodore Richards, and Kristal Parks marks the founding of the diverse and inclusive Order of the Sacred Earth, a community now evolving around the world.
“The Order of the Sacred Earth not only calls us home to our true nature as Earth, but also offers us invaluable guidance and company on the way.” ~~ Joanna Macy, environmental activist and author of Active Hope.