Worthwhile Thoughts on the Original Blessing of the Cosmos

Nineteenth-century French poet and translator, Gerard de Nerval, had this to say about the modern consciousness that so readily left out the universe:   

Slovenian philosopher Aljoša Toplak reflects on the changing face of anthropocentrism through history.

Free thinker, do you think you are the only thinker on this earth in which life blazes inside all things? Your liberty does what it wishes with the powers it controls, but when you gather to plan, the universe is not there.

This strikes me as a rich parallel to Pope Francis’ complaint that humanity has often succumbed to being a “narcissistic” species. 

It hints of human anthropocentrism that has had so much to do with the travails Mother Earth and all her species (homo sapiens included) are suffering through today. 

“Venus of Laussel,” a red-ochre painted paleolithic statue of a woman holding a notched horn, said to represent lunar or menstrual cycles. Wikimedia Commons.

It applies to education and religion, politics and economics, media and even art—“when we gather to plan, the universe is not there.”  

We think we can be a-cosmic.  Whereas the cosmos birthed us all.  And continues to do so, with Mother Earth as its instrument.  Earth and Cosmos are partners after all, “ecology is functional cosmology” as Thomas Berry reminds us.

In contrast, Frederick Turner reminds us of the wisdom of indigenous consciousness when he instructs us that from coast to coast, desert to woodland, the Native peoples perceive themselves to be an integral part of the Creation. Native languages talk of the Creation in family terms, such as “Mother Earth,” “Grandmother Moon,” “the Grandfather winds.”  All are our relations.

But when we elevate the human at the expense of the rest of nature, tragedy results.  

KHON-2 reporter John Veneri interviews Davianna McGregor, Ph.D., on the transformation of Lahaina, Maui, from lush and sacred Hawaiian royal/ spiritual center to near-desert due to sugar plantations.

Every added protection against the natural world contributes its bit to the steadily building illusion of independence from nature, so that in time, that greatest of illusions is erected: the omnipotence of man.

The arrogance and supposed “omnipotence” of humanity takes over.  Rightly he calls it “that greatest of illusions.”

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality, p. 66.

Also see Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Banner Image: People’s Climate March 2017 in Washington DC. Ordained members of the Earth Holder Sangha wearing brown robes carry banner and practice mindful walking, on sidewalk near Senate Park. Photo by Dcpeopleandeventsof2017 on Wikimedia Commons .

Queries for Contemplation

Do you recognize that the universe (and earth) are too often left out of our planning regarding education, religion, politics and the rest?   How can we remedy that?  Does Liturgy and ritual and the very meaning of “The Cosmic Mass” assist with that?  

Recommended Reading

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

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

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5 thoughts on “Worthwhile Thoughts on the Original Blessing of the Cosmos”

  1. Avatar

    “Tithe the Earth”

    Man / woman was not made for the Sabbath, rather the Sabbath was made for the man / woman. Likewise, the earth was made for the man / woman and other creatures to reside. We then should always ‘tithe’, say 10% of our efforts in all that we do, back to the earth. The earth, not unlike all that exists, requires renewal. What could be more top of mind than ‘tithing’ the earth in all our endeavours. and keeping the earth in our ‘top of mind’ awareness. If we give a gift, why not an organically grown indoor garden plant?

    If we build a home, why not devote 10% of the land to trees, shrubs, flowers, plants and other vegetation? Maybe consider solar panels and rain barrels to conserve water for another day? Our leftover and thrown out food is about 10% of what we buy and should be used for organic composting. Highrise residences and office buildings for the most part do not participate in this composting effort, but they should. Developers need to provide ‘greenspace’. Manufacturers and resource extractors need to provide for ‘greening’ as well. Many countries and jurisdictions have banned single use plastics.

    ‘Tithe’ the earth and it will continue to pay dividends. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    Yes, anthropocentrism and patriarchal beliefs and values have been an increasingly destructive influence in our human history not only causing human suffering and destruction to ourselves, but to our Sacred Mother Nature/Earth which sustains all living creatures, including our human species. Mainly the Indigenous peoples around the world, our mystics and saints, our feminine values in most women and some men, and recently our quantum scientists, have maintained our deeper spiritual and Loving connections PRESENT in our Hearts~Souls to our Sacred Mother Earth and All of our Living Evolving LOVING Diverse WHOLENESS~ONENESS COSMOS….

  3. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    “Do you recognize that the universe (and earth) are too often left out of our planning regarding education, religion, politics and the rest? How can we remedy that?” One thing I have done is create a book of liturgies for the earth’s “holy days”–the solstices, equinoxes and Celtic quarter days between the others. And interestingly enough most fall upon holy days in the Christian calendar. The book is titled simply, LITURGIES OF THE EARTH!

  4. Avatar

    There is a concrete way I see this inclusion of the cosmos in the planning sphere. I work with municipal planners on climate change strategies. Routinely they focus too narrowly on symptoms, not causes of the climate emergency. Indigenous knowledge keepers have an answer to this short-sightedness: include Indigenous world views so that the cosmos is not left out. My task, as I see it, is to convince my engineering and planning colleagues to make space for Indigenous perspectives and ritual right at the beginning of the planning process and not as an afterthought. Most importantly, we “settlers” need to build relationships with Indigenous peoples who can enrich our planning process with “two-eyed seeing.” A tall task but imminently worthwhile.

  5. Avatar

    It has been stated that only 25% of the human population is required to create a paradigm shift in the consciousness of humanity. Many also state that this shift begins to unfold, evolve and emerge as humanity converges with the conscious movements of the Divine Feminine, the essence of the Sacred Mother/Grandmother archetype within the psychy of humanity; inparticular through women.

    The ancient womb wisdom pathways are not lost to us, as the dormant memory of these sacred ceremonies and rituals are arising from within. Jean Shinoda Bolen in her most recent books, “The Millionth Circle: How To Change Ourselves And Change The World Through Womens Circles” and “Like A Tree: How Trees, Women and Tree People Can Save The World,” nurture this conscious movement of the living Spirit of the Divine Feminine.

    Sharon McErlane and her four book series “The Grandmothers Speak” is also another sister whom is also assisting in the cultivation of this re-membering being activated within women, through the power of women’s circles and the ancient wisdom arising from within, through engaging in ritual and ceremony.

    When two or more gather together, She Who Is, in Her many manifestations, shall be there. This is no small act, but rather a simple yet powerfully co-creative response of trust… of choosing to willingly participate in nurturing and cultivating in intuitively and imaginatively wise women’s ways… the re-weaving of the threads within the of Webb of Life.

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