Lover Earth & Sacred Economics

Lover Earth & Sacred Economics July 1, 2016

earth-11008_640I recently read the book Sacred Economics, by Charles Eisenstein.  The book is quite an intricate and compelling argument about the way the current story of money and the economy is coming to an end, making way for a new economics that treats the community of earth, and the whole human community as sacred.  His ideas about how to embed an understanding of ourselves as connected to each other and to the whole ecosystem of earth into our economics and our money are fascinating.  I highly recommend the whole book, which you can find here:

I want to talk about one of his ideas in particular, which is that our relationship to the Earth must evolve from a parent-child relationship, our relationship to Mother Earth, to a lover-lover relationship, our relationship to, in his terms, Lover Earth.

Eisenstein proposes that human society in a process of maturation, much like the process an individual human experiences.  It is appropriate for parents to give to children in a one-way relationship, offering food and shelter, warmth and nurture without demanding something in return.  It is appropriate for young children to receive this abundance.  Then children grow toward adolescence, and begin to understand the self as separate and distinct, leaving home and learning to live in the world independently.  But as Eisenstein says, adolescence contains the seeds of a reunion:

“In adolescence, we fall in love, and our world of perfect reason and perfect selfishness falls apart as the self expands to include the beloved within its bounds. A new kind of love relationship emerges: not just one of receiving, but of giving too, and of cocreating. Fully individuated from the Other, we can fall in love with it and experience a reunion greater than the original union, for it contains within it the entire journey of separation.”  (

And so, we are coming to fall in love with the Earth, desiring in this love to give as well as to receive, to offer tokens of our esteem and our gratitude, to be in deeper and deeper relationship.  In the book, Eisenstein proposes economic policies which would arise from and also help to create this new way of relating to the Earth.  In the essay, “Rituals for Lover Earth,” (, he discusses large and small daily rituals that do the same.

I find the idea of thinking of the Earth as Lover, rather than Mother, such a moving and delicious image.  What would change if we saw ourselves as partners and co-creators with the Earth?  What daily activities would we take up, to mimic the daily intimacies of those who are trying to build a home and a life together?  What larger rituals might we enact to bring this new understanding into being?

I have encountered a similar idea in my work with the Temple of Witchcraft, in relation to deities – the idea our proper relationship to gods is as partners rather than as fundamentally less-than.  It is an idea I struggle with.  I have a hard time even putting it into words.  It feels so alien, so disrespectful.  And yet.  And yet.  What if the relationships to divinities were things we chose the way we choose relationship with lovers or partners?  What if the service we offered were out of a desire to demonstrate love rather than obedience?  What if we were co-creating the world?  I think that when my spiritual life feels most fulfilling, most alive, it is coming from something approaching this place.

Eisenstein proposes that telling the story of Lover Earth and our co-creative partnership will enable us to do things that we cannot do in the old story of ourselves as separate from the Earth.  He says:

“No one ever did anything great by fighting herself and trying hard to be good. No will is strong enough. But when we give ourselves to a great story, it carries us towards acts which, from outside it, look brave and magnanimous. As we release ourselves into the story of the connected self and Lover Earth, as that story becomes real to us and we believe it in every cell, we become capable of miracles: things which were impossible from the old story, but possible from the new.”  (

What story do we want to tell about our relationship to the Earth?  How might it change us?  How might we change the world if we tell a different story?

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