Cosmos, True Religion, Immensity as a Primal Value

Our cosmic awareness and cosmic experiences produce effects.  Gaston Bachelard tells us there follows a new level of self-appreciation and gratitude for being here. Awe opens us up and resets our lives.  We see the world less self-centeredly. 

Cosmic weather inspiring awe: on 3/19-20/2021, a G2-class geomagnetic storm swept across the high latitudes, yielding northern lights visible as far south as Michigan and New York. Video by Adam Pass Photography near Delta Junction, AK.

Notes Bachelard:

Slowly, immensity becomes a primal value, a primal, intimate value. When the dreamer really experiences the word immense, he sees himself liberated from his cares and thoughts, even from his dreads. He is no longer shut up in his weight, the prisoner of his own being.

This is the real purpose of ceremony, liturgy or ritual: To bring psyche and cosmos together again and put us into the real world: That of microcosm (us) and macrocosm (the Earth and the Universe). A sacred world.

Ecstasy follows. And liberation. This is why Rank champions so fiercely the reunion of microcosm and macrocosm.

Matthew Fox and three concelebrants celebrate the Eucharist at a Cosmic Mass on racial justice. Photo by Katy Gaughan, Washington National Cathedral.

Our “lost identity with the cosmic process” becomes “continuously re-established” (Rank) with the help of healthy ritual.  One that honors the whole and not just the (human) part.  This is why we celebrate a “cosmic mass” where the body and life force of the Cosmic Christ call all to communion.

This is also what looking at the Jesus story (or any other important story) through cosmic glasses and awareness can accomplish.  In our Stations of the Cosmic Christ book, artists, M. C. Richards and Ullrrich Javier Garcia Lemus, invite us into a more cosmic awareness of the teachings and happenings that surround the stories of Jesus and of the Cosmic Christ in Christian Scriptures. 

When such scriptures were written, a cosmic awareness could be taken for granted as it could be among pre-modern peoples everywhere. 

All things are connected; small actions lead to large outcomes: “Effect of Butterfly.” Painting by Anastasiya Markovich; photo by Picture Labberté K.J. on Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to the anthropocentrism of the modern era, however, a cosmic awareness is hard to come by.  And those who had it in spades—the indigenous peoples—were abused and berated for their religious consciousness and often exterminated.

This is one reason why Albert Einstein talked about the next stage of religion being a “cosmic religion,” how the “marvels” of the vastness of the universe, its trillions of stars, should move us all into a “third phase of religious experience: cosmic religion.”  And that “the true religious genius has always been endowed with this sense of cosmic religion…” 

It follows that Einstein is declaring that indigenous religions were often “genius” because they recognized a cosmos as central to religion, and oneness of all creation becomes his very definition of divinity.

A sacred ritual site in Namibia, closely resembling a traditional Lakota Sundance ground, halfway around the world. Image by Jacques Pugin, Wikimedia Commons.

Western religions also used to teach this.  That is what creation spirituality is about after all.  That is what Genesis one is about and the many other creation stories in both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible.  It is what the great creation mystics were about. 

And it is surely what our struggle to survive climate change and interfere with our own extinction is about.  Our eco-struggle is a cosmic struggle therefore.  Julian of Norwich saw the entire universe as a small and endangered ball in her hand “kept together by love.”

Adapted from Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus, Stations of the Cosmic Christ, p. 22. 

Also from Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, p. 40.

Banner Image: “Cosmic Mass – Our Sacred Earth” Detail of a flyer for a Cosmic Mass held in April 2019, “celebrating our common humanity on an endangered Earth.”

What ways are you finding to “continuously reestablish” a connection to the cosmos? Do you find that eco-work and eco-awareness and the eco-emergency leads you to new and deeper connections to Mother Earth and to Father Sky?

Recommended Reading

Stations of the Cosmic Christ
By Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus.

This is a book of meditations on the Cosmic Christ, accompanying the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Together, these images and meditations go far beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross to inspire a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times.
“A divinely inspired book that must be read by every human being devoted to spiritual and global survival. It is cosmically brilliant.” — Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond

Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.”  –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.


Join Matthew Fox for a thought-provoking 7-week course: Answer the Call for an Uncommon Life Through the Mystical Teachings of St. Hildegard, Tuesdays, 6/15 to 7/27. While the course has begun, registration remains open, with recordings of past classes available. Learn more HERE.

Join us for a Virtual Teach-in with Isa Gucciardi and Matthew Fox, hosted by Rev. Cameron Trimble.
August 13-14, 2021 (Fri-Sat)
Shamanism in Buddhism and Christianity
Session 1: Friday, August 13 at 4pm-6pm PT
Session 2: Saturday, August 14 at 9am-12pm PT
Session 3: Saturday, August 14 at 12:30pm-2:30pm PT

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6 thoughts on “Cosmos, True Religion, Immensity as a Primal Value”

  1. Avatar

    So much more good going on than we can see, and so much richer than we know in it. Scientists have always had a greater cosmic view of life. Perhaps that is why they have been some of the most blessed “apologists” for Divine LOVE (God)? From Blaise Pascal to Francis Collins, they have helped to hear the voice and understand the language of God. }:- a.m.

  2. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Awe and wonder, are two responses to the beauty and inherent goodness that is all around us in its immensity. The old saying that one must stop and smell the roses comes to my memory. Do we take the time to be fully present, connecting with that which is already here, now, awaiting our acknowledgement? Everyone seems to be so very busy doing what they can just to meet ones basic survival needs… and if they are lucky they get a two or three week vacation to just slow down, retreat, and reconnect. Those precious moments in-between doing and being seem so fleeting at times. What we all most of the time forget within the complexeties of life is the simplicity of discovering these immense moments in the midst of all this. Things like suddenly noticing the sunset as I am washing the dishes looking out the window… listening to the birds singing a song of praise as I leave the house to go to work at 4:30 a.m., or greeting the moon during a midnight shift break. I think of Brother Lawrence whom taught me these things, and I thankyou for todays DM that has helped me to remember to simply ackowledge and respond to these moments as immense gifts to be received with awe and wonder, that are already there in the in-between-spaces of life.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Thank you Jeanette for your comment, and the call to not focus on the complexities of life, but too stop and “smell the roses!”

    2. Avatar

      Jeanette, I have had a small, framed drawing of Father Lawrence in my kitchen in every house I’ve had for the past 30 years. Because it’s ubiquitous, I sometimes don’t notice it, but when I do, it reminds me that I can be as connected with God in my kitchen as in the parish church. Thank you for mentioning it.

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