So what is the link between these events—on the one hand this paradigm-shattering technological achievement, and on the other turning back to the teachings of indigenous peoples?
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I'm convinced that the return to these earliest spiritual teachings has been instinctive, something reawakened in us by our view of our planet from outer space. Never before had we received visual proof of our interdependence with our planet. I say "interdependence" because never before has it been so clear that the way we treat Her will determine whether or not She continues to support us. Never before have we seen the oneness of all earthly life in quite the way we now do.
We have instinctively turned to the ancient teachings because it is here that we might discover the mystical link between our beautiful blue planet, the Universe in which it rests, and ourselves. The events which occurred that day we went to the Moon were not a surprise for everyone. Five hundred years before, Hopi elders had predicted that the white man would one day travel to the stars, and when he did the world would change dramatically—not necessarily for the better.
When it happened there would be those who would recognize that something more than setting a technological benchmark had occurred. Some would see truths that reflected on human behavior, and on what our choices were doing to the planet. Astronaut Edgar Mitchell perhaps said it best when he reflected: "The crew of spacecraft Earth is in virtual mutiny to the order of the Universe.
New scientific findings are beginning to support beliefs of cultures thousands of years old, showing that our individual psyches are, in the last analysis, a manifestation of cosmic consciousness and intelligence that flows through all of existence. We never completely lose contact with this cosmic consciousness because we are never fully separated from it. The Hopi prophets, as well as elders such as Black Elk from other indigenous cultures, predicted that soon after the white man pene trated space, Mother Earth would send warnings.
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The order of the Universe had been disrupted, and there would be those who would feel this acutely. Some people would seek help from the teachings of indigenous peoples, and there would be those from every ethnic back-ground and race who would recognize the wisdom of the Hopi elders and would seek out their teachings and be bound to disseminating them. The pollution of air, water, and farmland, global warming—to say nothing of the nuclear threat—all put us on the alert that maybe the Hopi elders were right. It is impossible to ignore the increased numbers of floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, famines, and devastating storms striking major populations worldwide.
Surely it is time to change our vision, from domination to reverence, and from exploitation to recognition of the mystery of life itself. There is a large portion of the human population now seeking new ways of relating to our planet and each other, and we are finding these methods in the ancient past.
Spirit Animals and the Wheel of Life : Earth-Centered Practices for Daily Living
As with technology, new solutions will have to come from with-in, but this time from our hearts rather than just our heads—and from a universal rather than selfish perspective. Health and balance for the twenty-first century must be ecospiritual—integrating body, mind, and spirit, along with Earth. In the heat of unprecedented technological break-throughs it is easy to think that we are invincible, like gods who would rule the world.
But none of us need be reminded that the future of our planet is being held hostage by our own cleverness, with nuclear physics, chemistry, agribusiness, mineral exploration, and bioengineering threatening our biosphere in ways we could never have imagined even twenty years ago. At a Bioneers Conference in , author-lecturer Paul Hawken asked the audience to remember the final scenes in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind when the Earth scientists first made contact with the extraterrestrials: While the scientists played tones to communicate with several small space craft hovering around the area, excitement mounted.
Then, the mother ship rose from out of nowhere, unbelievably massive, a titanic structure in the sky that was a world unto itself.
In recalling this scene, Paul Hawken likened the mother ship to the omnipotence of nature and the biological world. It hovers there, inconceivably large, and we become aware that it is not an insensate chunk of stuff that we can selfishly exploit or attempt to control—at least not with out great consequence. Lacking a spiritual connection with it, we are doomed. This sacred journey—understanding ourselves as a collective species in balance with the larger circle of vibrant life—allows us to reinvent ourselves in harmony with the majestic web of life.
We need a new vision. We need to learn ways to live more in tune with nature's rhythms rather than attempting to impose our own. I like John Perkins' appeal, that we must "create a vision of a renewed society in tune with the natural world, imbued with spirit and devoted to the reenchantment of the Earth Ausubel Our response to this planetary challenge thus far has been to turn to technology, and to the very mindsets that brought us to this point. We look at how we are abusing nature and seek technological ways to change what we've been doing. We invent less toxic pesticides, formulate less polluting fuels, design more efficient power plants, and begin recycling waste in our homes.
While these things are important, we must ultimately see that our long term solutions are not primarily technological but ecospiritual, and based on awe, reverence, and conservation, rather than domination, exploitation, and control. Luckily, we don't need to start from scratch in our quest for ecospiritual values to guide us. Systems of ecospirituality have been around far longer than the technological solutions we have employed so far—in fact, about 25, years longer.
Nature-based societies began with the premise that Creation itself was an impenetrable mystery, and they were held in awe of it. Throughout the world, archaeologists have discovered petroglyphs and other art that provide us with clues about how ancient people experienced their lives, and what they did to honor the mystery. Drawings etched into rock walls with a crystal show that the shamans consulted the spirits of the animals, and apparently received vital guidance from them.
Those who recognize and honor our true kinship [with animals] begin to make very different kinds of choices, opting not to do things that would hurt the Earth or the creatures upon it, and instead choosing to live in harmony with all. This harmony extends to everything we do; from how we relate to each other to how we relate to great ecosystems such as the deserts or wetlands near our homes, to the distant Amazon rain forests, or the great oceans that lie between our continents. About a year before I began writing this book, a feature article about shamanistic petroglyphs found in the Mojave Desert and dating back to at least 10, years before Christ appeared on the front pages of the New York Times see: Graham At a meeting of the Society for California Archaeology, Larry Loendorf, a scholar of rock art from the New Mexico State University, confirmed that the recent Mojave Desert findings were consistent with spiritual practices at least 25, years old.
As the earliest form of religion, these shamanistic practices drew inspiration from observing animals in nature. Evidence of these early shamanistic religions has been found through out the world, and each finding provides us with direction for integrating the mysteries of life on our planet with the practical challenges of everyday life. In the next chapter, I discuss the artwork found at the Lascaux caves in the south of France, a magnificent treasure trove of shamanistic art that dates back to Cro-Magnon times.
Without going into too much detail here, suffice it to say that in these petroglyphs, we begin to find clues about how we might—12, years later—find the path to living with greater attunement to nature through looking to the animals as our teachers.
Spirit Animals and the Wheel of Life: Earth-Centered Practices for Daily Living
Whether we look to the Mojave Desert petroglyphs or to the paleolithic caves of Western Europe, it is clear that early peoples turned to animals as their teachers. Animals tutored them in everything from gathering in numbers against their adversaries to hunting.
But even more than this, they found in the animals a conduit to Creation, to a power greater than themselves, greater than everything they beheld with their physical senses. This connection with higher truths gave their lives direction and purpose. Each one of us still retains this awe that our ancient ancestors felt thousands of years ago. Home Contact us Help Free delivery worldwide. Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series.
Spirit Animals and the Wheel of Life: Earth-Centered Practices for Daily Living by Hal Zina Bennett
Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Description Though our ancient ancestors had a deep spiritual connection to the natural world, most modern humans have lost that connection, resulting in ever-increasing ecological assaults on our planet. As environmental quality continues to worsen, we must find a way to spiritually reconnect with Mother Earth--before it is too late. One of the most practical, enjoyable, and simple ways of reclaiming our ecospiritual connection with Mother Earth is journeying with the spirits of animals just as our ancestors did thousands of years ago.
Animals, most intimately connect with Mother Earth, are the perfect guides to the ancient wisdom we have lost. Mole, eagle, badger, wolf, bear, mountain lion--each animal has its place on the sacred medicine wheel; each has knowledge vital to the future of our Earth and to rediscovering our rightful place in it. In Spirit Animals, author Hal Zina Bennett offers an accessible form of "spiritual orienteering" in which personal power animals are the guides and teachers, and shamanism is the means by which we work with and learn from them.