North Atlantic Books, 2018 ISBN: 978–1623172480 Reviewed by Ian Mowll [...]
With a Foreword by Larry Dossey North Atlantic Books [...]
Coronet, 2017 ISBN: 9781473630109 Reviewed by Marian Van [...]
‘The Shamanic Journey: A Practical Guide to Therapeutic Shamanism’ (The Therapeutic Shamanism series Book 1) by Paul Francis
Paul Francis, 2017 ISBN:9780995758612 Reviewed by Marian Van Eyk [...]
Permanent Publications, 2017 ISBN: 978 1 85623 309 [...]
Chelsea Green, 2017 ISBN: 97811603587464 Reviewed by Marian [...]
ECW Press, 2017 ISBN: 9781770412392 Reviewed by Marian Van Eyk McCain [...]
This book is about integrating spiritual values and techniques into everyday life and making intuitive connections with the place where ancient wisdom affects our daily life.
Two vivid accounts of sailing pilgrimages the author recently undertook in his small yacht, Coral, from the southern coast of England to Ireland, and to the far north of Scotland. Yet his book is not simply a day-to-day account of things that happened or had to be done in order for him to reach various historical sacred places of interest. Its richness lies in his skill of including additional material, writers, and sharing thoughts and knowledge he has about Nature, and our interactions and relationships with her.
In this beautifully written book, Sara Maitland sets out on a series of walks through ancient forest and woodland in Britain seeking the symbiosis between forests and fairy stories. She expresses a deep concern that the future of these two sources of healthy life experience is endangered.
This book is primarily about Thomas Merton (31 January 1915 – 10 December 1968), a Trappist monk in the USA. But it is also about Creation Spirituality (as articulated by Matthew Fox) and Meister Eckhart, a Christian mystic of the Middle Ages who influenced both Thomas Merton and Matthew Fox. It is a good way not only to understand Thomas Merton but also to see the strands of Creation Spirituality in Eckhart, Merton and Fox.
This book on the Green Man—that ubiquitous but endlessly varied symbol that takes the form of a human face sprouting greenery—is impossible to pigeonhole and its message is hard to pin down in a few sentences. But the Green Man is unpindownable. Not just because his origins are so ancient and so complex but because he represents something that is still alive and real and omnipresent. Despite humankind’s efforts to ‘conquer’, ‘tame’ and ‘manage’ Nature, Nature resigns supreme—because of course we are Nature, subsumed within it, just like everything else in the living world. So what this author has produced, as a result of her journeying around the UK and other parts of Europe in search of the Green Man – and her amusing but often rambly and confusing meanderings through history, literature, folklore, religion, sex, magick, shamanism, metaphysics and endless speculative cogitation – is a book in which the Green Man is never pinned down, yet ever present.
The decision to have – or not to have—children, says this author, is "a private decision with global consequences." Her book is intended to help those who are involved in making the decision whether or not to remain childless and includes all genders, creeds, cultures and the different reasons for considering this. Her greatest inspiration came from Stephanie Mills’ graduation speech, during the time when the population explosion began to cause concern. Stephanie said, "I am terribly saddened by the fact that the most humane thing for me to do is have no children at all."
‘Pathways of Green Wisdom: Discovering Earth Centred Teachings in Spiritual and Religious Traditions’ by Santoshan (Stephen Wollaston) (Ed)
A panoramic view of Earth-centred teachings in different spiritual and religious traditions. 10 authors cover 10 different traditions: Christianity, Judaism, Paganism, Daoism, Hinduism, Indigenous traditions, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism and Creation Spirituality (Creation Spirituality as articulated by Matthew Fox, which helped to lay the foundations for GreenSpirit). The territory covered is so vast that each chapter is often more of a personal reflection from someone either directly involved with the tradition or who is very knowledgeable about it.
Klein's book is crammed with case studies from the frontline of the climate movement – from companies and organisations working on new ‘solutions’ to global warming to the shady coalitions and funding deals that are sealed behind closed doors. It could easily have descended into a depressing catalogue of reasons why we – and the Earth – are doomed, but the main message is one of hope It’s not too late to save the planet if we act now; but the action must be dramatic and all-encompassing.
This ebook is about the Universe Story (the story as revealed by science from the Big Bang to the present day) and how it can inspire us in our lives and help to create a better world.
Spiritual activism is about being both ‘spiritually active,’ i.e. inspiring others, as well as being ‘spiritually grounded,’ i.e. being a compassionate activist with protests and practical action. It has ten chapters covering a wide range of territory, each ending with a case study featuring a well-known person who has been involved in spiritual activism such as Julia Butterfly Hill, Gandhi, Muhammad (pbuh) and Desmond Tutu.
‘Reclaiming the Wild Soul: How Earth’s Landscapes Restore Us to Wholeness’ by Mary Reynolds Thompson
The thoughts and emotions that are stirred awake in us when we walk in a desert landscape have a different quality from those engendered by a walk in the depths of a forest. Different again are the ideas and images that come to mind when we marvel at a mountain peak or stand in a high place and look across a valley. And when we gaze out at the ocean or sit on the bank of a fast-flowing river or find ourselves in the middle of a grassy field, the inner scene changes again. In this unusual book, Mary Reynolds Thompson studies these deep connections between the Earth's primary landscapes and what she calls the 'soulscapes' of our inner lives and how this connection can be used for emotional healing and spiritual transformation.
‘Embracing Complexity: Strategic Perspectives for an Age of Turbulence’ by Jean G. Boulton, Peter M. Allen and Cliff Bowman
We have, in our western society, the god of science. So often we hear “scientists say…” in the press. And, for many people, this implies a statement of authority. But the problem is that western science is essentially value-less. This mind-set has led to such things as testing on animals, factory farming and the proliferation of deadly weapons. How did we get to this place and what can be done about it? Whilst the book covers a lot of territory, this is the key question it addresses.
‘A Cree Healer and His Medicine Bundle: Revelations of Indigenous Wisdom–Healing Plants, Practices, and Stories’ by David Young, Robert Rogers and Russell Willier
pbk 328 pp North Atlantic Books 2015 ISBN: 978-1583949030 Reviewed [...]
In this book, Donnachadh describes his time in the Liberal Democratic Party, rising to the position of Deputy Chair and his subsequent disillusionment with corporate greed, politics and the wider economic system. The book is well researched and wide ranging; covering such subjects as tax avoidance, the press, politics and unfettered capitalism.
In recent years, as modern life causes more and more of us to become emotionally disconnected from the Earth upon which all our lives depend, we are realizing that it is not just the land we live in that needs rewilding but our own selves. This means finding ways to break down all the artificial boundaries that we humans have tried to place between ourselves and the rest of Nature. It means recognizing that we are—and always have been and always will be—an intrinsic part of the Earth, cells in the body of a living planet. Furthermore, it means re-learning how to live our daily lives out of that knowing. It means coming back 'down to Earth' in the truest sense of that phrase: consciously re-immersing ourselves in every way possible in the natural world that surrounds is, both without and within. That way lies healing—for ourselves and our planet.
‘Collected Papers of Michael E. Soulé: Early Years in Modern Conservation Biology’ by Michael, E. Soulé
This book contains skilfully collected presentations of the many faceted concerns of conservation combined with peer-reviewed scientific research in the broadest areas of biology, environmental studies and genetics. With well prepared overviews and summary paragraphs of the fourteen presented papers, the book serves as an essential text book for students of conservation biology and also as a fascinating general knowledge source for any layperson interested in the multitude of synchronous and symbiotic relationships within the plant and animal kingdoms and in the concept of the planet as a living, holistic being. It is a collection that would provide stimulating reading for anyone seeking deeper understanding of the ways in which the strands of the web of life are woven together.
‘Celebrating Planet Earth, a Pagan Christian Conversation: First steps in Interfaith dialogue’ Edited by Denise Cush
This book was inspired by a weekend gathering of Pagans and Christians in 2014 in which participants were invited to explore their prejudices and preconceptions, learn more about each other, and find common ground in ‘Celebrating Planet Earth’. It is divided into 3 main sections: Addressing our fears and prejudices, Possibilities for cooperation and The role of ritual practice, myth, music and poetry in each tradition and in inter-faith encounter. Each section has a number of chapters written by various participants and speakers who were at the gathering.
The churches have tended to regard creation as sacred only in so far as it reveals God to us and the focus is on our obligation to be responsible stewards rather than being in a real relationship with the rest of creation. Beck’s religious faith is important to him and he makes the case for Christian animism. The definition of animism that he uses is the attribution of a living soul to inanimate objects and natural phenomena and he argues that this is that is compatible with Christian tradition and the Bible.
Growing plants, particularly as food, can enable wonderful insight into the processes of life. Biodynamics, which links our work as gardeners to our cosmic context and to microscopic processes is a powerful invitation to step into a sense of the sacredness and wonder of these processes.
In this useful book, Ingerman not only totally demystifies shamanism for the lay reader but shows how its various tools can also be used as a self-help toolkit by individuals. We can use it to bring our own mind body and spirit back into internal balance, provide our lives with new meaning and hope, bring ourselves back in balance with the rest of Nature and, most importantly of all, do our part in healing our damaged Earth.
SACRED SEED: A Collection of Essays. Compiled and edited by the Global Peace Initiative of Women with an introduction by Vandana Shiva
This is a collection of essays dedicated, as the front matter tells us, …to all those working to preserve and care for the Earth and Her life systems…the most dangerous war humankind is engaged in is the war against nature. Until we can learn to live peacefully with Nature we will not live peacefully with one another. The seed is frequently referred to in belief systems because it provides such a powerful metaphor for the hidden depths within natural systems that are essential to our existence on this planet, both physically and spiritually; the spiritual and the practical are brought together seamlessly in the essays in this book.
‘Excellent Beauty: The Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of the World ‘ by Eric Dietrich
Have we not always been led to believe that religion is the purveyor of mysteries and all that is supernatural rather than natural? And have we not learned that science destroys mystery by discovering truth? In fact, as Dietrich—professor of philosophy at Binghamton University—so thoroughly and competently explains, religion is actually a biological phenomenon, a property emerging from the process of human evolution. Meanwhile science, we have all discovered, is what destroys our mysteries and reveals to us all that is real about the world.
I have not always been a fan of Russell Brand’s comedy; the little I heard did not strike a chord with me. And so I was surprised to read his book Revolution which is both refreshing and insightful. Rather like the Court Jester of the Middle Ages who had the King’s ear – Russell Brand is the modern day Jester – telling us how things really are and prodding us to change.
Set primarily in the sandy, windswept area around the author’s home at Lazy Point on the eastern tip of Long Island, New York and organized around the calendar year, this book includes beautiful, detailed observations of Nature and the changes that happen as the seasons slowly revolve. Plus it is interspersed with commentaries and descriptions of various field trips made to other places far north and far south. Witnessing and documenting this ‘natural year in an unnatural world,’ Safina shows how the problems of the environment are linked to questions of social justice and the politics of greed.
‘The Third Covenant: The Transmission of Consciousness in the Work of Pierre Teilhard De Chardin, Thomas Berry, and Albert J. Lachance’ by Albert J LaChance and Rebecca LaChance Goodwin.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin devoted his life to reuniting the artificial fracture between science and religion and Thomas Berry furthered this reunification by repositioning the human in the unfolding of an evolving universe, integrated and interdependent with the rest of the life systems of the planet. Albert LaChance, himself a six-year, face-to-face student of Berry, brought this new paradigm into his work as a poet, psychologist, addiction recovery professional, and as a mystic and scholar of religion. Along with his daughter, Rebecca LaChance Goodwin, he explores, here, the development of this crucial shift in human understanding and its implications for the future.
Our planet is in crisis, largely as a result of human actions and attitudes over the last few centuries. This is a book about how we can develop spiritually and try to avoid what seems to be the impending extinction of humankind.
Our present ecological crisis—accelerating climate change, species depletion, pollution and acidification of the oceans — is the greatest man-made disaster this planet has ever faced. There is a pressing need to articulate a spiritual response to this ecological crisis if we are to help bring the world as a living whole back into balance and in this book, under the editorship of Sufi teacher and author Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, twenty powerful voices take it in turns to do that, each in his or her own way.
‘Ecology and Religion’ (Foundations of Contemporary Environmental Studies Series) by John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker
These authors have spent many years studying world religions. Their particular interest is in the relationship between religion and ecology and between them, they have probably done more than any academics anywhere to bring religious and ethical perspectives into environmental discussions. The aim of this textbook is to bring the fruits of their thought and study to the coming generations.
‘Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe’ by Bob Berman and Robert Lanza
Lanza is a cell biologist and his co-author Berman is an astronomer. What they are saying—and explaining very cogently in this book—is an updated but by now well scientifically backed version of the idea Bishop Berkeley was trying to promote back in the early 18th century, i.e. that there is in fact no objective ‘reality’ out there, independent of the consciousness and perception of living organisms.
The concept of ‘multiverses’ – i.e. the idea that the universe we live in is just one in a vast or even infinite collection of universes – has been around in some form or another since at least the time of Plato. This book traces the history of this concept and discusses the different models now from the fields of cosmology, quantum mechanics, and string theory.
‘Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of Earth’ by George Wuerthner (Author, Editor), Eileen Crist (Editor) and Tom Butler (Editor)
Anthropocentrism, instead of gradually going away as so many of us have hoped, is sneaking in again by the back door. The people letting it in are not the familiar enemy who rip the tops of mountains and drill the Arctic but a small bunch of people who are billing themselves as the ‘new environmentalists’ (also known as ‘Anthropocene-boosters’) and who are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
‘Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Whether working alone in her garden, facing a bunch of students in her classroom, out doing fieldwork in the forest or patiently learning, word by difficult word, the language of her ancestors, Robin Wall Kimmerer is awake and aware and open to new understandings. Through her, we see connections and relationships where we never noticed them before. As she tells her stories, they come alive for us until we can feel the sun on the wild strawberries, hear the ‘plink’ of maple sap into the buckets and marvel at the stately pecan trees that only fruit in certain years but when they do fruit, always do it in concert, in the same year.
This is a book about a journey to find a different way of responding purposefully to the ecological issues of the present time. Peter Reason – husband, grandfather, former academic and sailor – sets out to sail around the West Coast of Ireland looking to encounter wilderness and thereby find a 'right' relationship with that which is not human.
This book describes our planet's whole evolutionary journey from the Big Bang to the present day, as revealed to us by science. It then goes on to explain why the story is so relevant for our time and to discuss some of the many inspirations we can draw from it.
‘Rivers of Green Wisdom: Exploring Christian and Yogic Earth Centred Spirituality’ by Santoshan (Stephen Wollaston)
Possibly the first book ever to take Yoga in one hand and Christianity on the other and examine them both through the lens of an Earth-centred Spirituality. Is there, in fact, ‘green wisdom’ to be found within these two great traditions? If there is, then surely these need to be emphasised in this era of climate change and ever-worsening ecological crisis.
Drawing on the teachings of Buddha, Ghandi, Rabindranath Tagore and E.F. Schumacher, Satish Kumar outlines a spiritual vision of sustainability in which we can learn from Nature as well as about Nature. Offering practical guidance for how we can achieve this vision, Satish teaches that only love and reverence and not fear will lead to long term sustainability.
‘Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World’ by Brian Walker and David Salt
Resilience thinking is based on making systems more adaptable, flexible and able to cope with sudden change, rather than trying to optimize their productivity.
Rather than seeing the bare hills of mid-Wales as beautiful in their remoteness George Monbiot sees them as ruined, ‘sheepwrecked’ landscapes and re-imagines them as they once were—and could be again—thickly forested and rich with wildlife. His biggest dream is the restoration to completeness of fractured ecosystems by the eventual re-introduction of the wolf, the lynx and other large mammals to our British landscapes in the same way as this is already being done in other parts of Europe and in certain areas of North America.
This book is an autobiographical spiritual journey - the story of the author’s enlightenment. He qualified and practised as a scientist, but realized that science alone does not have all the answers to some of the greatest questions and most uplifting phenomena relating to human life. He was raised in a tradition of organized religion but found also that their rituals and dogma alone are little help in resolving life’s most challenging issues. The answers to the most profound questions as to the reasons for existence must be sought within, by freeing oneself from the limitations of fundamentalist science or religion.
This book explores specifically Darwin’s personal relationship with his God, how this changed over his lifetime and the emotional anxiety that his scientific discoveries caused him because of the impact he knew these ideas would have on religious belief.
An exploration of often mutually exclusive and even contradictory opinions as to the purpose of human existence – explanations offered by religion and humanism, and by scientific rationalism or ideological belief; that we exist to fulfil a divine purpose versus humankind as the result of meaningless random mutation, and so on. The author will already be known to most readers in Britain as someone who served as a junior minister in a former UK Government.
‘Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World’ by Ken Wilber
Ken Wilber's Integral approach, which is intrinsically value-free, is a unique method for understanding pretty much anything in a fully comprehensive, multidimensional and holistic way. It has the capacity to break up socio-cultural and ideological logjams and may well be the best tool available, right now, for achieving religious tolerance, peace and (when applied to ecological issues) sustainability.
The overall aim of this book is to define and describe dark green religion which, reduced to one simplistic sentence, means a belief in the intrinsic value and sacredness of Nature, and to examine the influence of this strand of belief upon our contemporary culture, particularly in the West.