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What on Earth is ecospirituality!?

Tips on how to get into the movement that intersects spirituality and a love of the environment.

Every Saturday morning, Bart Everson convenes a meeting of the Crescent City Gaian Guild in City Park, New Orleans.

The meeting brings together Gaian pagans, who are part of the ecospirituality movement, an umbrella term that binds together philosophies, groups and other ideas that place Mother Nature at the center of practitioners’ spirituality. Described as “a manifestation of the spiritual connection between human beings and the environment,” the movement combines religion and environmental activism while rejecting consumerism and materialism.

Gaianism is a religious philosophy that falls under ecospirituality, where believers specifically view Mother Nature (or Gaia in Greek mythology) as a deity and hold that Earth is a single organism that must be protected.

While there’s no official number of how many people ascribe to ecospirituality or practice Gaianism, both are believed to be seeing an increase in interest.

Everson says all are welcome to attend the Crescent City meetings. The group’s aim is simple: it strives to learn, grow spiritually, and help each other, society and the planet, according to its online meeting page.

“If you find meaning and inspiration in nature, that’s ecospirituality,” Everson, a founding member of the Green Party of Louisiana, told Reckon. “I think everyone experiences at least a glimmer of this from time to time. It’s great when a sense of awe or wonder, or reverence breaks through on its own. We can also deepen and strengthen our connection to Mother Earth through intentional practice and learning from others.”

Given that climate change is one of the gravest threats to humanity, Reckon asked Everson to recommend a few ways to learn more about ecospirituality and Gaianism.

Read

  • Spinning in Place: A Secular Humanist Embraces the Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year by Bart Everson. The book describes a cycle of eight seasonal celebrations which humans have observed for thousands of years in various ways. These are the equinoxes and the solstices, as well as the so-called cross-quarter days. Also available on Google Books.
  • Gaianism.org Here you’ll find a particular form of ecospiritual practice known as the Gaian Way, which holds together a community with regular online and in-person meetings. The site publishes weekly reflections and shares resources for people just getting started.

Watch

  • Koyaanisqatsi This artsy film is about the relationship between humans, nature and technology. Released in 1982, the film has no narrative and primarily features slow-motion and time lapse footage of cities and natural landscapes across the United States. The film is set to music. You have to be in the right frame of mind to watch a full-length feature film with no dialogue and no conventional narrative. It was life-changing for me.
  • Gaia Our Mother Earth Short and sweet, this music video by Sol Seed Movement really says it all.

Listen

  • For the Wild Podcast This long-running series explores the intersection of political activism and ecological wisdom, include topics like the struggle to protect wild nature, to promote ecological renewal and resistance and to heal from the disconnection furthered by consumer culture and human supremacy. It is highly recommended.
  • “The Wonder” by Peter Mayer A sense of wonder is one of the many positive emotions I associate with ecospirituality. This song gives a wonderful (no pun intended) expression of how reality itself can seem magical if only we are receptive.
Christopher Harress

Christopher Harress | charress@reckonmedia.com

Climate change reporter on the east and Gulf coasts.

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