Standing in the Light: My Life as a Pantheist
by Sharman Apt Russell
New York: Basic Books, 2008.
Reviewed by John Scull
I have seldom encountered a book that reflects my worldview as clearly as Standing in the Light: My Life as a pantheist. The book is both a sort of quirky spiritual autobiography and a treatise on the history of Pantheism.
The book follows several different but interrelated threads: On a personal level, she describes her experiences as an on- and off- and on-again Quaker, her personal history living in both urban and rural New Mexico and elsewhere, and accounts of exploring and assisting with research (banding birds) in protected natural areas. Interspersed with these personal stories and reflections she gives us a clear and insightful discussion of pantheism from the early Greeks to the present.
Moved by a Mountain: Inspiration from an Alpine View in Alaska
Photographs and Text by Tom Reed, 2013
Soft cover, $21.95
Published by Wild Coast Media
Reviewed by Amy Lenzo
Having visited Alaska for the first time earlier this year, where I was enchanted by the ever-changing vista, I was intrigued by this new book by photographer Tom Reed and its focus on a particular mountain in Alaska’s majestic Kenai Ridge.
I usually “read” photography books like this visually first, and Moved by a Mountain richly rewards such an approach. The images are stunning – beautifully composed monochromatic photo-paintings with a distinctive red-ink chop strategically placed to complement and complete each one.
The Granite Avatars of Patagonia
Photographs and Text by Tom Reed, 2009
Published by Wild Coast Media
Reviewed by Amy Lenzo
This first book by Tom Reed sets the pattern I saw in his most recent book, Moved by a Mountain: Inspiration from an Alpine View in Alaska (reviewed elsewhere in Gatherings) – exquisite black and white photography set in full-page display with smaller color inserts woven in with the accompanying insightful stream-of-consciousness text. The aesthetic for both books is clean, clear, and extremely beautiful – almost Japanese in its simplicity.
San Francisco bay area psychotherapist Mark Johnson wrote a great post in his blog, Empathy and Essence: When Therapy Awakens Your Divine Nature, on “How Ecology Informs Transpersonal Psychology”.
Here’s an excerpt from Johnson’s psychologically and spiritually astute post, which quotes from a wide variety of spiritual, psychological and nature-based thinkers from Joanna Macy to Oscar Ichazo:
How we perceive the outer world and the way it works largely determines how we view our inner world and its movement and change. If we have been raised in the Western world, educated and enculturated in its scientific mindset, we will tend to see the Universe as mechanistic, random or accidental, infinitely complex but ultimately reducible to finite, material components and energies, and forever stressed between opposing and competing forces.
This prevailing view directly colors how the human psyche is perceived…
Read the rest of his post, here.
A Review of Peter H. Kahn, Jr., and Patricia H. Hasback. Ecopsychology: Science, Totems, and the Technological Species, by John Scull, Ph.D.
John’s review begins:
“There is a confusing tangle of words about the several psychological disciplines related to the environment – environmental psychology, ecological psychology, conservation psychology, human ecology. It is not just confusing for outsiders: When communicating among themselves, psychologists need to explain what they mean because different writers have used these words in different ways. These diverse fields all have one common feature; they are in the mainstream of academic social psychology. They all privilege experiments and other controlled quantitative research over qualitative research and they elevate all kinds of research above anecdotal evidence, clinical experience, opinion, narrative, and philosophy.
Ecopsychology has come from different traditions. The diverse pioneers in the field arrived at ecopsychology from humanistic and transpersonal psychology, experiential environmental education, scientific ecology, systems thinking, and deep ecology. As a result, the field has been much more interdisciplinary than the inclusion of “psychology” in the coined word suggests.”
Download this pdf for the rest …
Two pieces from David Sparenberg, author of Life in the Age of Extinctions (free download), starting with Red Path Spiritman:
Nobody forgets this young man. Nobody forgets the earth warrior. He watches over the continent of Turtle Island.
Elders gather to chant and remember. Women come around making circle, to wail and moan, and to shed tears. Children stand by, silent in awestruck wonder.
by David Sparenberg, author of Life in the Age of Extinctions
We cannot talk about greening
without talking about peace
We cannot talk about peace
without talking about justice
We cannot talk about justice
without addressing injustice
We cannot speak of injustice with integrity
without talking about the problems of injustice
such as race and poverty, exploitation
and so on.
We cannot talk about the problems
without talking about indifference to suffering
We cannot talk about indifference to suffering
without examining the labyrinth of violence
We cannot speak of violence
without talking about hatred
We cannot talk about hatred
without talking about fear
We cannot talk about fear
without addressing the mutuality of vulnerability
and the given condition of relatedness.
Continue Reading →
from Beth Lapin
Because of its relative newness, many people are not aware of ecotherapy nor do they have an understanding of it. I have recently completed two outreach efforts to broaden the public’s understanding and appreciation of this emerging field. I’d welcome any feedback about either of them, available through the hotlinks below.
Submitted by Linda Buzzell-Salzman
by William Meredith
In Chota Nagpur and Bengal
the betrothed are tied with threads to
mango trees, they marry the trees
as well as one another, and
the two trees marry each other.
Could we do that some time with oaks
or beeches? This gossamer we
hold each other with, this web
of love and habit is not enough.
In mistrust of heavier ties,
I would like tree-siblings for us,
standing together somewhere, two
trees married with us, lightly, their
fingers barely touching in sleep,
our threads invisible but holding.
from Effort at Speech. © Northwestern University Press, 1997
Some years ago Michael Aleksiuk submitted a pdf of his book ‘Billy Beaver: An Environmental Allegory‘ to Gatherings. Its premise is that the human striving for status is at the psychological roots of environmental degradation. This ‘children’s story’ has been heartily endorsed by academics and scholars worldwide as a breakthrough in understanding. It is still available in the Gatherings Archives of Jan 05 – December 05.
All those years ago Solomon Benatar was invited to write a foreword to ‘Billy Beaver’ and he tracked us down so that we can include his foreword here with the original story; download and read his work here: Billy Beaver Foreword.
“If you are divided from your body, you are also divided from the body of the world which then appears to be other than you or separate from you rather than the living continuum to which you belong”
~ From New Self New World, by Philip Shepherd
The quote comes from Parisian Pierre Goirand, who sends out an always-brilliant weekly quote to his mailing list.
Abstract: Western culture has a history of union and subsequent separation from nature. This split between spirit and nature, psyche and soma, intellect and emotion, science, philosophy, and religion, manifests in our individual and collective consciousness creating crises that span the spectrum of human experience, from the psychological to the environmental. Since we have within our unconscious, memories of our being in union with nature, it is a matter of recovering them through what Carl Jung called the individuation process; whereby, a person develops one’s unique individuality from that which has been imposed on him or her from the environment. An expansion of consciousness and recovery of the eco-unconscious is achieved by the confrontation with and integration of unconscious material culminating in coniunctio, or union of the opposites….Read Article