Welcome to No Unsacred Place!

April 4, 2011 by Categorized: Nature in the News.

The Pagan Newswire Collective continues to grow and expand as new local bureaus take root all across the country and group blog projects bring together the experience and expertise of Pagans from a wide variety of traditions and communities to share their insights into subjects from politics to pop culture, and everything in between. The most recent addition to the PNC is No Unsacred Place: Earth and Nature in Pagan Traditions.

No Unsacred Place explores the relationships between religion and science, nature and civilization from a diversity of modern Pagan perspectives. With climate change ever-present in today’s cultural and political discourse, and the realities of ecological destruction increasingly impacting our local communities and daily lives, questions about how we live as members of this jeweled, blue-green planet are no longer merely abstract philosophical musings or theological exercises. While cultures throughout history offer us examples of human beings in relationships of worship, stewardship, domination and exploitation of the Earth, modern Paganism is unique in drawing together the wisdom and ecocentric focus of ancient religions with the insights into the physical world afforded by modern science and technology.

No Unsacred Place draws inspiration for its title from the contemporary American poet and environmentalist, Wendell Berry, who wrote: “There are no unsacred places. There are only sacred places and desecrated places.” Berry confronts the assumption that “the sacred” can be cordoned off and separated from the mundane, and challenges us to examine our relationship to those places we consider to be “unsacred” — whether they are untamed forests and barren deserts, or human-made landscapes of metal and concrete — to discover how our attitudes and actions lead to desecration and destruction. Pagans today face the challenge of reconciling the lessons and influence of “dark green religion” environmentalist and conservation movements in contemporary society, with an ambivalence towards the wildness and wilderness of the Earth that is as old as Western civilization itself.

This blog features coverage and analysis of environmentalism and ecology in the news from a Pagan perspective, as well as essays and personal reflections about the role of science, environmental ethics, eco-friendly lifestyles, and an awareness of the land and its seasons, both in religious community and in the personal spiritual lives of modern Pagans.

Monthly columns include “Fur and Feather,” in which Juniper Jeni draws on her extensive background in homesteading and animal rescue to explore issues of animal rights, and “The Sacred in Suburbia,” in which John Beckett confronts the challenges of living sustainably and cultivating sacred relationship with the earth in a land of manicured lawns and strip malls; in addition, Ruby Sara writes on earth-based liturgy and ritual in her column, “Earthly Rites.”

Other participants of note include Alison Leigh Lilly, a Druid essayist, poet and author of Meadowsweet & Myrrh who writes on issues of deep ecology, environmental justice and earth-centered peacemaking; Pagan geologist and environmental scientist Meical abAwen, who teaches with Blackberry Circle; and Cat Chapin-Bishop, who writes on the practice and purpose of her environmental witness at her blog, Quaker Pagan Reflections.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comment Feed

6 Responses

  1. “There are no unsacred places. There are only sacred places and desecrated places.”

    I LOVE this quote! Creating a division between “sacred” land and “nonsacred” land seems to reflect the spiritual estrangement of civilization and its religions – believing that spirit is (or can be) separated from matter (the earth and everything that lives on the earth). I don’t want to deny that some places have special spiritual significance to people, but even the indigenous North American cultures that have special “sacred spaces” also believe that everything – plant, animal, mineral, elemental – is sacred and has spirit within it.

    Thinking of some places as sacred and others not is a step in the right direction, away from thinking that spirit only exists in “God” and “heaven” (fundamentally separate from the physical world), but it is still dangerous, because it only acknowledges the spirit in some things, and not others (implicitly, if not explicitly). And if a place isn’t
    “sacred”, it becomes all to easy to fall in line with the dominant culture and treat the “unsacred” land like an object to be used, like a possession. It becomes ok for one area to exist as a a city or subdivision of pavement and toxic buildings, as long as the forest next door isn’t violated.

    Recently in my life I have come to see the horror and abuse of the land even in a placid suburban neighborhood – the native community of life utterly destroyed, even down to the microbes in the soil from the bulldozers flattening the land and digging holes for building foundations. But the land is still sacred, and it is possible for it to eventually rewild, and I see that process as a sacred duty, just as much as protecting intact forests from destruction. But in order for that land to rewild, for the weeds to break up the concrete and repair the wounded soil, the constant oppression of those humans who refuse to acknowledge its sacredness has to stop, or be stopped.

  2. (oops, I meant “the constant oppression BY those humans” – in the post above).

  3. Wii has changed who plays video games, and how we play video games, what we do with video games.

    For a few people, it isn’t that they do not wish to but that they really don’t knowhow.

  4. The very popular the page with the links, greater inevitable a thief will
    edit it, treatment of links and any potential for gaining.
    The IQ test is the greatest known example of norm-referenced assessment.
    To my thoughts the idea of woman president is one area speculative,
    going beyond the generally accepted rules possibly at the most effective at the mercy of the theoretical and philosophical comprehension.



Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. [...] Here’s the official press release: The Pagan Newswire Collective continues to grow and expand as new local bureaus take root all across the country and group blog projects bring together the experience and expertise of Pagans from a wide variety of traditions and communities to share their insights into subjects from politics to pop culture, and everything in between. The most recent addition to the PNC is No Unsacred Place: Earth and Nature in Pagan Traditions. [...]

  2. [...] Here’s the official press release: [...]