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By Sharon St Joan

 

To read part one first, click here.

 

All of the above is not in any way to downplay the dedication, heroism, and lifelong work of the many who have fought to protect our wild lands. Though this is a struggle against an overwhelming force, there is no doubt that this brave work has held back and delayed the deluge of destruction.

 

It is not simply greed that is at fault here, though clearly that plays a large role. But even more basic is the notion, pervasive throughout our culture, that all of nature is subservient to human beings, and ultimately that nature is an “it” not a “who.”

 

Some level of sentience is accorded to animals, but in the common view and the commonly accepted norms of science, no level of sentience or consciousness is accorded to plants, let alone to rocks, cliffs, mountains, the oceans, or the earth. This perspective is so fully embraced by science, and science has now taken such a lofty place of authority, that suggesting that the beings of nature have their own lives, as well as their own awareness and intrinsic value, is considered so farfetched as to not be worth a passing glance.

 

(I do understand, and I agree, that science can play a vital, much-needed role in combating climate change and the destruction of species. It remains true, however, that science is a double-edged sword. Science also ushered in the industrial revolution and many of the ills that are now destroying our planet. Science, like any tool, can be used for harm or for good.)

 

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There is a counterforce to the drive to destroy nature – a simple one – many people the world over are distressed and protest vociferously when great old trees are cut down to widen a city street. They see a tree as a living being; in a way, as a person. People feel the same reaction when they see the ocean clogged with garbage or watch any aspect of nature being treated with disrespect or disregard. There is an underlying sense among most of us, not always articulated, that Mother Nature is being harmed, and this deep love for the earth lingers on in the human psyche despite all the centuries of propaganda promoting dominance and destruction.

 

There are two forces within human nature. At the moment, and cumulatively over the centuries, the powers of hatred and the drive to kill the wild, are winning. We need to become aware of these two forces within us and around us.

 

If we are ever to have any hope of re-connecting with the earth and with the natural world of which we are a part, we will need to go out into nature, in respectful silence, to once again come to know and to acknowledge the sentience of all of nature, the spirits, and the beings that our most distant ancestors knew so well. We are not separate, as we believe. We are they, and they are us.

 

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One way to re-affirm this bond with nature is through art and music, which tend to value the spiritual and the spirit. There are mystical realities far beyond the prosaic, assumed certainties of the linear mind. We must get to know nature once again – revere and worship the trees, the cliffs, the moon, the stars, the great bears, the cottontails, the eagles and the red-winged blackbirds. Without this deeper perspective and reality, we are doomed to destroy the planet, all living things, and ourselves as well. In the interests of our own survival, physical and spiritual, and in the interests of the sacred lands and sacred beings all around us, it is time for us to do this.

 

It may, or may not be, too late to save this world, but nature is not just physical, it is spirit. It is eternal and transcendent, recurring and recurring, again and again, always present in the greater cosmos that lies beyond. So this effort spent to re-connect with the beings of nature will bring a clearer, mystical reality; it will bring inner peace. It will help the beings of nature and ourselves, and, whatever the outcome, it will not be in vain.

 

© Sharon St. Joan, 2016.

 

Top photo: Sharon St Joan / Pine trees in the Kaibab Forest, Arizona.

 

Second photo: Sharon St Joan / Juniper tree in Kane County, Utah.

 

Third photo: Vitornet / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported / Bald eagle. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sharon-st-joan

 

By Sharon St Joan

 

To read part one first, click here.

 

Industrialization, like oil, coal, fracking, uranium, and copper mining are prioritized by legislation passed in the U.S. Congress, going back to the General Mining Act of 1872. One might be under the mistaken view that the job of the BLM is to protect the land and the wildlife that live there, but this could not be farther from the truth. Coal heaps line some of the roads through BLM lands. Coal trucks spew giant dust clouds visible a mile away. Because of coal, waterways are contaminated with mercury. They are also clogged by the feet of grazing cows, who, by the way, drink the polluted water, and then are sold for slaughter, later to become someone’s dinner. This is tragic for the cows, and for the lands and wildlife on 155 million acres of government land, where their feet trample delicate native plants, young saplings, streams, creeks, and wild bird habitat – destroying the natural world. The cattle industry is, as well, one of the leading factors tipping the earth towards death by climate change.

 

In among these lands are still to be found thousands of sites sacred to Native Americans – these, despite efforts to protect them, are being vandalized. Burial grounds are ridden over by ATV’s and petroglyphs defaced.

 

State and federal wildlife agencies which one might hope would be caretakers for the wilderness, instead seem to manage wildlife with a view towards eradicating wild carnivores: coyotes, cougars, bears, and bobcats, meanwhile focusing on growing to record numbers deer and elk herds, so there will be more for hunters to kill.

 

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How did all this come about? It is not only the ancient peoples of the Americas, Asia, and Africa that felt a kinship and a reverence for the wild animals around them.

 

If one goes back far enough in European history, to pagan times, one finds that there was a widespread reverence for the land, the earth, and the animals. There was worship of the World Tree. Serpent goddesses were revered in Crete. In Finland, for example, Ukko was the ruler of the sky and thunder. In this far northern country, there was a goddess of the forest, a goddess of the moon, a goddess of the wilderness, and countless nature spirits. The most sacred water bird was the swan. Throughout Europe, in pagan times, the gods and goddesses of nature were worshipped.

 

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In the Eleventh Century, Christian missionaries entered Finland, and, as they did throughout the world, embarked on a crusade to purge the country of the original faith. Remnants of the old ways carried on, however, here and there, and even today, the ancient religion has been brought back and is still practiced by some. (This perversion of Christianity, by the way, had nothing to do with the original Jesus Christ, who loved nature, and, to commune with God, was known for going up into wild areas of the mountains to pray.)

 

By the time of the advance of European civilization across the globe in the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, the worldview of regarding nature as something to be subdued and conquered had become fully entrenched. Slavery, genocide, and colonialism – brutality to human beings – went hand-in-hand with brutality towards nature and the philosophy that nature was created solely for the benefit of humans and had no worth of its own. The influence of this worldview is still widely prevalent today and is ensconced in American law and practice with regard to wild lands. Exploitative and utilitarian forces remain in control, and regardless of the known impacts of climate change and the destruction of wild species and their habitat, nothing changes. Despite a vast array of conservation laws that have been passed and measures that have been put in place by good people who do care, American wild lands and wild species are still, perhaps more than ever before, being exterminated and systematically destroyed. It seems that our basic intentions, as a society, to dominate and harm nature, do unerringly find a way to override or bypass any conservation legislation. We may feel that this is not true, but it is happening.

 

Continued in part three…

To read part three, click here.

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2016

 

Top photo: Sharon St Joan / A stream near the Alton Coal Mine, Utah

 

Second photo: MONGO/ Public Domain / An elk in Nebraska.

 

Third photo: Painting by Robert Wilhelm Ekman / Public Domain / Ilmatar, a Finnish spirit of the air.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By Sharon St Joan

 

Sacred lands. Where has the concept of the sacred gone? Indeed this may be the key question to understanding our alienation from nature.

 

All over the world, tribal people and people who have not lost touch with the natural world have an enduring concept of animals, plants, the mountains, and the stars being sacred – respected, revered, and worshipped. It is only “modern” man – often “western” man — that objectifies nature, treating the earth with condescension and disrespect.

 

The consequences of this alienation from the earth are a profound malaise at the center of our being – as we rampantly destroy the forests, the wild species, polluting rivers and oceans, and hurtling pell-mell towards climate change run amok.

 

Meanwhile, we wonder why our western society is ill – crime waves, opioid epidemics, suicide, divorce, fragmentation of families, mental illness, racial injustice, warfare, and a profound fear and deep-seated unrest that afflicts a large part of the population.

 

To see a difference in cultural perspectives, we’ve only to look to North Dakota, at the Standing Rock Sioux – thousands of brave people over several months protesting the plan to run an oil pipeline under a river which would risk contaminating the water. Hundreds of tribal people are standing their ground; some have traveled there from all over the world. They talk about their sacred land, that water is life. Law enforcement chases them with dogs, sprays pepper spray into their eyes, and runs trucks across their burial sites. They talk about their treaty signed by the U.S. Government, which everyone ignores. Only the oil companies’ view of the law prevails, and Native American sacred lands and the water that is sacred to them, and has been for thousands of years, carry no weight within the law – no standing or recognition. The only law recognized is that of their conquerors, who took their land away generations ago.

 

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To Native Americans, water is life, and the mountains, rivers, and the earth are sacred too. The lay of the land on which they live is also sacred. In the southwestern U.S., to the Hopi and Navajo people, four sacred mountains encircle their lands, framing the sacred center in the middle. This is the area where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet, known as the Four Corners region. These mountains are Mount Blanca in Colorado, Mount Taylor in New Mexico, the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona, and Mount Hesperus Dibe Nitsaa in Colorado. From a great distance driving through the desert, one can glimpse the San Francisco peaks, covered in snow, mist-encircled, looking just like a high place where spirits surely live.

 

Animals are sacred to Native Americans as well. The word coyote comes from the Aztec word “coyotl.” The coyote is generally a trickster God – intelligent, resourceful, a magical creature who is sometimes helpful to human beings.

 

Another trickster God is the raven, worshipped as the maker of light, the being who existed before the beginning of time and created the world. The raven is also credited with creating the stars, the moon, rivers, and the sun.

 

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On the other side of the earth, in India, the oldest book in the world, the Rig Veda, depicts the forces of nature as powerful living entities, as Gods. (Even today, we can see faint shadows of this belief, as when hurricanes are given human names.) To the ancient rishis who wrote the hymns of the Rig Veda, Agni is fire, Vayu is the wind. Indra, leader of the Gods, is the Lord of storms and lightning. Varuna is Lord of the oceans and the universe. Aditi is the original Mother, the boundless one of the heavens. Throughout the long history of Hinduism (at least 5,000 years, maybe 10,000), there are millions of Gods, yet they are all One. Every being has a soul, and the soul of every being is the same soul, the underlying ground of reality, the spirit of the universe.

 

The sun is Surya, the moon is Chandra. The universe is filled with life, and nature is sacred. Life is based on reverence and worship, on fulfilling one’s duty.

 

This worldview is in many ways the opposite of the western way of seeing things, where individuality is exalted, and the individual reigns supreme. In our culture nature is objectified – it is to be used and consumed. Its existence is deemed inferior to our own. Signs at the entrance to public lands run by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management proclaim that these are “lands of many uses.” This phrase, which sounds benign, in fact means that the land is a resource to be used by human beings.

 

To be continued in part two…

To read part two, click here.

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2016.

 

Top photo: Sharon St Joan / Zion National Park.

 

Second photo: Tyler finvoid / Wikipedia / Public Domain / The San Francisco Peaks.

 

Third photo: Bharat Mudgal / Wikipedia /Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic / A Hindu fire ritual.

 

 

DAYBREAK AT KASHI

Enchanted Forests

Mythology states that Kashi ( alias Benaras or Varanasi) is the Pivot or Crux of the Universe.Believe it or not it sure is a beehive of activity at daybreak.

A bustling city located on the banks of the revered and Holy river The Ganges in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, India is abuzz with activity even at 5 a.m. (0500 hours) on a nippy and foggy winter morning in November.

The night is yet to shed its cloak and the lights are still shimmering yet the Boats are full as people traverse the Holy River.

A view from the ramparts of the beautiful and ancient Brijrama Hotel located on the River banks at the Darbhanga Ghat in Varanasi .

fuzzy-morning Fuzzy Morning

The Clouds are the first to hint at daybreak as they  transform  into gentle  shades of Orange.

The number of boats on the river during the wee hours indicate…

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video from the USA says about itself:

Bernie Sanders‘ Surprise Speech Outside the White House on Rejecting Dakota Pipeline & Trump

16 November 2016

We feature a surprise address by Senator Bernie Sanders outside the White House on Tuesday during a global day of action against the Dakota Access pipeline that included demonstrations in over 300 cities. “Today we are saying it is time for a new approach to the Native American people, not to run a pipeline through their land,” Sanders said, demanding that their sovereign rights be honored. He also spoke about the need for politicians to protect access to clean water, recognize that climate change is real, and support an aggressive shift away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources.

This video from the USA says about itself:

First Nations Indigenous Leader Kevin Hart: We Must Protect Our Sacred Sources of Life &…

View original post 263 more words

La Paz Group

dsc_0593 Photo from emilyerratic.blogspot.com

Within of the northern range of the Japanese Alps lies Kamikochi National Park, an area comprised of a plateau surrounded by vertical peaks, reflective lakes and virgin forests. Kamikochi is considered part of Chubu Sangaku National Park (also known as the Japan Alps National Park) and was extensively used by the logging industry until the mid 19th century when British missionary Rev. Walter Weston (1861-1940) lobbied to preserve the area. There is a plaque commemorating him and on the first Sunday of every June, the Weston festival is held to celebrate the opening of mountain-climbing season.

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video from Oregon in the USA says about itself:

1 November 2016

Demonstrators marched in the streets of Portland on Monday in solidarity with the Dakota Water Protectors who were forcibly removed by National Guard troops while protesting against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Thursday.

Security Firm Running Dakota Access Pipeline Intelligence Has Ties to U.S. Military Work in Iraq and Afghanistan: here.

This video from the USA says about itself:

130,000 Use Social Media To Get Around The Media Blackout of Standing Rock

31 October 2016

Thom talks about how more than a hundred thousand people are checking in online to show support for the Standing Rock water protectors.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Is ‘White People TV’ Hiding Coverage of Standing Rock?

31 October 2016

Thom talks about the disparity in media coverage between the Standing Rock Protest and

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GLOBAL HINDUISM


There was no “Hinduism” at that time. There was a nation of many religions united under Aryan (Brahmin) law, the Constitutional Mantra of which is represented by the Yantra of the Swastika. This nationality came to be called Hinduism much later after it was defunct.. The Budha was an Arya of the Gautama Gothra who practiced Brahmanism. He was a Brahmin by religion and a Kshatriya by Varna who opted for Shivacharya Tantra and Sankhya Pramana.
Original Budhism is a peculiar mythology developed from local tribal lore in different places around a core of Brahmanism. Ashokan Budhism was Imperial like the Christianity of Paul, Charlemagne and Constantine or the Islam of Mahomet and Budhist Mendicants were often Imperial spies intended to smell out dissent and Brahmanism which would then be eradicated by ruthless “Budhist” soldiers..
Pre-Ashokan Budhism which was spread through debate and preaching is nothing but Brahmanism translated to…

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video says about itself:

Astounding archaeology discovery places inland human occupation of Australia at 49,000 years

2 November 2016

Archaeologists working with traditional Aboriginal owners in the northern Flinders Ranges have discovered astounding evidence of the earliest human habitation of inland, arid Australia.

The find has pushed back the date of such occupation by 10,000 years to about 49,000 years ago.

Warratyi cave’s astounding archaeological evidence

One of the traditional owners of the area, Clifford Coulthard, who is a co-author of the study, said the findings weren’t really a surprise to him.

“Our old people know we’ve been here a long time,” he said.

The site, the Warratyi rock shelter in the traditional lands of the Adnyamathanha people, also has evidence of extinct megafauna, including the diprotodon.

The authors of the study, published on Thursday in Nature, said it finally settles the question of whether…

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HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA

 


Out of the many incredible artefacts that have been recovered from sites in Iraq where flourishing Sumerian cities once stood, few have been more intriguing that the Sumerian King List, an ancient manuscript originally recorded in the Sumerian language, listing kings of Sumer (ancient southern Iraq) from Sumerian and neighbouring dynasties, their supposed reign lengths, and the locations of “official” kingship. What makes this artefact so unique is the fact that the list blends apparently mythical pre-dynastic rulers with historical rulers who are known to have existed.

The first fragment of this rare and unique text, a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet, was found in the early 1900s by German-American scholar Hermann Hilprecht at the site of ancient Nippur and published in 1906. Since Hilprecht’s discovery, at least 18 other exemplars of the king’s list have been found, most of them dating from the second half of the Isin dynasty (c…

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