Week of 2/6-2/11/2023: Trees, Defending the Amazon, and Divinity as Light

February 6, 2023. Light, Science, and Moving beyond Dualism
We’re meditating on the light that floods our universe. Nobel Prize–winner Ilya Prigogine, tells us: For every particle of matter there are 1 billion particles of light. Matter is just a minor pollutant in a universe made of light. To put a poetic spin on it, Rilke says: All this universe, to the furthest stars/And beyond them, is our flesh, your fruit. However, there is no huge difference between matter and light. Rather, Scientist David Brohm informs us: Matter is frozen light. It follows that there really is no duality between matter and spirit.

“Tree of Life.” Photo by Brooke Hoyer on Flickr.

February 7, 2023. Light, Matter, Spirit, and Trees
Yesterday we explored the concept that matter is light. Today we look at the connection between light and trees. Fred Hageneder in his important book, The Spirit of Trees: Science, Symbiosis, and Inspiration, tells us: The body of a tree is mostly filled with sunlight. Light courses through its structure, navigating vital processes and maintains the balance and health of the whole organism….The tree produces a continuous light show from its very cells. And trees are not only connected with sunlight, they are connected with stars. Specifically, scientists studying an 807-year-old juniper tree in Tajikstan found that the tree’s annual rings showed a definite slowing down of tree growth with each known date of three supernova explosions. It appears that every star that dies in our galaxy is perceived by trees.

February 8, 2023. Saving Rainforests:  Chico Mendes, Sister Dorothy, and Other Heroes
Because trees are so sacred and imperative to the health of our planet, it’s important to recognize all the many people who lost their lives defending the Amazon rainforest. Heriberto Araujo, author of Masters of the Lost Land: The Untold Story of the Amazon and the Violent Fight for the World’s Last Frontier, tells us that 2000 environmental activists and land defenders have been murdered worldwide in the 21st century—many of whom were Brazilians defending the Amazon region. Our friend, Sister Dorothy Stang, was one of them.

Between 2012 and 2021, 1,733 environmental activists were murdered; 200 in 2021 alone, and 78% of those in the Amazon. Down To Earth explores the causes they defended. YouTube

February 9, 2023. Standing Up for the Rainforest and its Peoples, continued
In this meditation, we hear the words of Sister Dorothy Stang’s brother, David. He said, Sister Dorothy… always told me, “I love Brazil, the people of Brazil and God’s Great Creation, the Amazon.” Evil men who are driven by greed kill those who get in the way, including Sister Dorothy. David said that After Dorothy was murdered, a Brazilian priest slept on top of her grave for weeks to make sure her body was not dug up and thrown into the woods. Finally, troops were sent into the area to protect the poor. Many of the poor soldiers hugged me and had their picture taken with the brother of Dorothy Stang. Often they had tears in their eyes.
Bless the defenders of the Amazon.

February 10, 2023. Sacred Light among the Celts and in the Hindu Scriptures
Irish poet John O’Donohue tells us that “the Celtic mind adored the light…. Ultimately light is the mother of life…. Light is the secret presence of the divine. It keeps life awake.” He also said, “The sun brings forth the erotic charge of the curved earth; it awakens her wild sensuousness.” Meanwhile, in the Vedas we read: The cosmic waters glow.  I am Light! The light glows.  I am Brahman! And: There is a Light that shines above this heaven, above all worlds, above everything that exists in the highest world beyond which there are no higher—this is the Light that shines within humans.

Sunlight shining through a Celtic cross. Photo by Funk Dooby on Flickr

Feburary 11, 2023. Divinity is “Wrapped in a Robe of Light” per the Scriptures
In Genesis, on the first day God created Light. In a creation story older than the one in Genesis, Psalm 104 declares: Bless the Lord, my soul: O Lord God, thou are great indeed, clothed in majesty and splendor, and wrapped in a robe of light. Matthew poses the following questions: If Divinity comes wrapped in a robe of light, then is penetrating light a way to penetrating Divinity? Is photosynthesis a special creation that carries on the light-working properties of the universe and of its maker? When we eat and drink the sun that is seized in fruit and vegetables, coffee and orange juice, are we imbibing Divinity? Is all food a holy Eucharist—and eating of the flesh of the Divine One? The Food of the Beloved?

Banner image: Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, near Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Photo by Neil Palmer (CIAT). Wikimedia

Recommended Reading

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

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.

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3 thoughts on “Week of 2/6-2/11/2023: Trees, Defending the Amazon, and Divinity as Light”

  1. Richard E Reich

    February 11, 2023. “Divinity is ‘Wrapped in a Robe of Light’ per the Scriptures.” In this meditation Matthew told us that: “… the Bible is full of creation stories and the story in Psalm 104 is said to be the oldest–older than the creation stories in Genesis. Psalm 104 also talks of light. It begins with the awakening of psyche and cosmos together:
    Bless the Lord, my soul:
    O Lord God, thou are great indeed,
    clothed in majesty and splendor,
    and wrapped in a robe of light.
    And “Yes,” John chapter 1 does speak of Christ as the light of the world, but even earlier, in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus said, “YOU are the light of the world.” When we eat and drink the sun that is seized in food from plants, you ask, “are we imbibing Divinity? Is all food a holy Eucharist—and eating of the flesh of the Divine One? The Food of the Beloved?” “The poet of Psalm 104 knows God is great because God’s creation is so great, as the rest of the poem goes on to recount: The heavens, the waters, the clouds, the wind, the flames, the earth, the sea, the rain over hills and valleys, the wild beasts, the wild asses, the birds that sing among the leaves. Grass for cattle, vegetation that becomes bread and wine, oils, storks, mountain goats, rock badgers. The moon, the sun, the darkness, the night. The beasts including young lions “seek their food from God.” Psalm 104 says that God is “wrapped in a robe of light,” but in 1 Kings 8:12 it also says that “God dwells in thick darkness.” There is light and there is darkness; there is the via positiva and the via negativa, and that’s just how it is…

  2. Avatar

    Trees, light, matter, spirit, the Divine… if you want to discover more about these amazing connections read “The Hidden Life of Trees.” I also want to thank the commentor this week whom posted a link to the Nature Conservatory. I purchased some seedlings to be planted in celebration of my Mom’s Birthday… and her love of trees… thanks to the info shared. She’ll be getting an e-card relaying the gift that’s being planted in Brazil… in honor also of Dorothy, whom we learnt so much about this past week.

  3. Avatar

    I am at Mass at La Señora de Merced in Palmares, Costa Rica. The homily is in Spanish of which I understand little. It doesn’t matter. I feel God’s presence in the people of God, in the little boy in the pew in front of me and in the trees, light. matter and spirit outside. In the Gospel of today the Lord asks us to make a decisión for light or darkness. I choose light as it the only path to true freedom which is living in the grace of God.

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