Solstice Gifts

Cara Schulz, the excellent reporter for the Minnesota bureau of the Pagan Newswire Collective, asked me for three suggestions for Nature-inspired or eco-friendly Solstice gifts for a feature they’re running later this week. I’m not sure I’m the best person to contribute to this article – while I try to live responsibly and sustainably, I don’t obsess over green. I have nothing unique or exotic to offer. But it didn’t take long for me to think of three gifts that would be welcomed by most any lover of the Earth, Pagan or otherwise.

Dark Green Religion by Bron Taylor. What, you’re shocked I’m recommending a book? This is a study of the relatively new religious trend toward viewing the Earth as sacred and acting accordingly. It describes the roots of the movement in such figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Muir, how the belief that the Earth is sacred is manifesting itself in our wider culture, and what we’re likely to see in the near future. It’s suitable for theists and non-theists alike. My full review is here, and it’s available as an e-book as well as in hard copy.

A good camera. Not necessarily an expensive camera – just one with enough flexibility to shoot at a variety of distances and light levels. Nature photography is a virtuous circle: you enjoy experiencing Nature so you want to remember it with a picture; then you enjoy the picture so you want to go back out into the natural world and experience it again.

A visit to a beautiful place. Several years ago my wife and I decided to stop buying holiday presents for each other and go some place instead. Some years we spend more than if we bought presents and other years (like this year) we spend a lot less, but it’s made my Solstice and her Christmas a lot less stressful and a lot more fun. This doesn’t have to be a week’s vacation – a picnic in a park, a hike in the mountains, or a trip to a museum can work just as well. Giving doesn’t have to mean giving things – giving experiences can be just as rewarding.

Remember – you don’t have to participate in Black Friday to have a Happy Solstice!

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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.


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