by Sylvie Shaw

I love the expression "deep-ecology-pagan-nature-love-as-religion people", as it evokes the archetype that I most subscribe to. It is an affirmation that these overlapping beliefs and practices are alive and well, and as I see it from my study - growing.

My image of this is a dance, like a circle barn dance where the circle is the sacred ritual form. The music starts; I step into the circle and find my first partner standing in front of me. With her I dance the deep ecology two step, twirl and polka, thanks for the great dance, and circle on to the next partner, and we dance on the wild side. Next comes the Pagan ritual partner, and I'm dancing and prancing with him as we circle round raising energy, chanting, stomping, drumming, clapping; then we part and move on to the next partner, who might be the tree we go to for solace.

The dance is a series or circle of overlapping circles; celebratory, flowing, spinning, joyous. It is marvelous. It describes the flowing moving spiritual essence that is what our 'movement' entails. There is an overlap, not just monism or dualism. Some of us sense something bigger and transcendent, others believe that the divine is immanent. At least I have found that in my research. Some believe in the Great Spirit, others say they are atheists, but they also have a deep spiritual connection to the earth.

Some are Buddhist, Jewish, Baptist, Pagan - what connects them in the dance is a deep love for nature, a belief in the interconnectedness of all beings, and a wish for an environmentally respectful and loving socially-just world, with all that entails.

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