Nature/Green/Eco-Spirituality isn’t always Pagan
Like all the Centers of Paganism, the Nature-center definitely extends beyond the bounds of Paganism. There has been a general rise globally in ecological awareness in both secular and religious contexts, and Pagans have most certainly played a role in the latter. But seeing nature as sacred and worthy of protection and/or preservation is not a uniquely Pagan feature!
In my opinion, making an effort to conserve resources and be ecologically mindful is just part of being a good citizen of planet Earth. You can have some theological rationale for it, like regarding the Earth as a living being (the Gaia hypothesis), being a steward of the Earth (as in the Abrahamic faiths) seeing everything as divine (pantheism) or see many spirits as being part of nature (animism) You can even combine some of these beliefs as many people do. Or you can simply regard the Earth and all its creatures (including humans) in a scientific manner. I think the important thing is what you do, not why you do it!
For indigenous people, the issue of sovereignty and habitat preservation is important to maintain traditional relationships with the land, animals and plants- and thus their cultures. For example, with global climate change, the warming of Arctic areas is having an adverse effect on the reindeer herds that the Saami people of Scandinavia & Russia depend on. Closer to home (for myself) the Idle No More movement led by First Nation people in Canada has been gaining steam, including some support from polytheists and Pagans.
One approach that can be easily incorporated, regardless of a person’s location and culture, includes scientific information and gives a lot of space for various theological views and practice, is bioregional animism.
The intersection of ecology and religion (and socio-political implications related to it) is very broad and complex, so I’ll go into more specific aspects of it in other posts. For now here’s a preliminary list of reading to get you started. (To be frank I have not read most of them- with the exception of Creation Spirituality!) As time goes on and I read more, I will post reviews- for one I am very interested in Lupa’s works.
Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality & the Planetary Future by Bron Taylor
Animism: Respecting the Living World by Graham Harvey
The Wakeful World: Animism, Mind and the Self in Nature by Emma Restall Orr
The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythyms of Nature by Starhawk
Plant & Fungus Totems, New Paths to Animal Totems, DIY Totemism, other works by Lupa- see her website Green Wolf for more info
Ecoshamanism by James Endredy
Original Blessing, Creation Spirituality, other works by Matthew Fox (from a Catholic viewpoint, but much of it applicable/inspiring to people of other traditions
Bibliography of Earth-based Judaism– Tel Shemesh
Entry filed under: Approaching Paganism, Nature/Ecology. Tags: animism, bioregional animism, earth-based, environmentalism, Idle No More, indigenous movements, indigenous sovereignty, nature religion, nature spirituality, nature-based, Saami, Scandinavia.