Branches of the Deep Ecology Tree: Neo-Animism and Bioregionalism: Reuniting human and nature

Neo-animism represents a challenge to Western discourse which divides the world into subjects and objects, culture and nature. Neo-animism breaks down the conceptual barrier between the “cultural” (i.e., human) and the “natural” (i.e., other-than-human). Thus animists are those who encounter other-than-human beings as cultural persons. Neo-animism is not about the projection of consciousness or agency onto “inanimate” objects (the concept of “projection” presumes a subject-object dualism), but about respect and reciprocity within a community that transcends the subject-object dichotomy. [Read more...]

Branches of the Deep Ecology Tree: The Gaia Theory: Reuniting our bodies and nature

The Gaia Theory calls into question many deeply ingrained scientific and cultural assumptions and challenges us to perceive our world in a new way. The Gaia Theory also illustrates how we are radically interconnected with all other livings beings on the planet, human and other, as well as with the non-living elements of the Earth. We humans carry on our lives seemingly independently of Gaia, but yet we exist within a larger living entity on which we depend for our lives. [Read more...]

Roots of the Deep Ecology Tree: Neo-Pagans, “The Dirt Worshippers”

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The history of Neo-Paganism is part of a larger history of nature religion in the West, beginning with the American Transcendentalists, conservationists like John Muir, and early environmentalists like Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson, all of whom appreciated a religious dimension to our relationship with the environment. [Read more...]

Roots of the Deep Ecology Tree: Aldo Leopold, “Thinking Like a Mountain”

“The land is one organism. … The outstanding scientific discovery of the twentieth century is not television, or radio,” wrote Aldo Leopold, “but rather the complexity of the land organism.” [Read more...]

Roots of the Deep Ecology Tree: John Muir, “Prophet of the Wilderness”

John Muir’s language sometimes came close to pantheism, or even animism. His language would be familiar to Neo-Pagans today: “I will touch naked God,” he wrote in anticipation of a trip into Yosemite. Elsewhere he wrote, “The whole wilderness seems to be alive and familiar, full of humanity. The very stones seem talkative, sympathetic, brotherly. No wonder when we think that we all have the same Father and Mother.” [Read more...]

Roots of the Deep Ecology Tree: The Transcendentalists, “An Original Relation to the Universe”

The Transcendentalists believed that studying nature was a way to comprehend the divine, another idea which found its way into contemporary Neo-Paganism. In response to the religious traditionalism of their day, the Transcendentalists argued that the human mind and the natural world were all that was needed for genuine spiritual experience. Nature was seen as a source of revelation available to all. [Read more...]


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