Spring New Shoulder Moon
feeling reenchanted. Gonna try a different tact on my 3 r’s project: reimagine, reconstruct, reenchant. I’ve imagined this project as a theological one, after all if your tool is a theological education, then… The other night, lying in bed waiting for sleep to come, it occurred to me that the real impetus behind my wish to do something new in a very, very old discipline, religion, is emotional.
A complicated mix of disenchantment with Christianity, Joseph’s key spot in my heart, an already developed sense of wonder with the natural world and its further development in Andover with gardens, the orchard, bees, our woods and a conscious choice to become more engaged with my own Celtic heritage, lifted me out of my childhood faith and somehow put me back into an even older one, the Celtic Faery Faith.
As this melange floated in and out of my consciousness, Kate and I attended a conference in Iowa City on climate change. Sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility, PSR, it brought together key thinkers, policy people, and its membership, largely physicians. That conference was an aha moment for me, one that married my changing religious worldview with a political movement focused on the environment. That sort of work, political work on behalf of the environment itself, was as big a shift as the religious one, away from years working on economic justice and civil rights issues.
On a trip not long after, one of many Colorado trips, I stopped in Cody, Wyoming. While there, I read Thomas Berry’s little book, The Great Work. When he said the great work of our time involved creating a sustainable human presence on the earth, the two big changes in my life merged. I would work on efforts to create a sustainable human presence on the earth while trying to understand the religious effort necessary to sustain such work. It seemed obvious to me at the time that an earth focused faith might answer and, further, that the Celtic Faery Faith had some elements that would be useful.
That was when I began to work with the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, eventually managing its legislative efforts. I had, earlier, retired from Christian ministry and become a Unitarian-Universalist clergy part time. Very part time. At first it seemed that liberal religion might hold the key to the theological half of the work. But it didn’t. It wasn’t really rooted in anything except a heady attempt to make Emerson a demi-god.
It took me years to realize that the religious half of this work had its core in the soil, in plants, in animals, in caring for all these; that the nub of this transition out of institutional religion was not intellectual, not even really emotional, rather it was tactile spirituality. Still, being the heady guy that I am, I kept coming back to the books, back to the ideas of emergence, novelty, creativity, sustainability, climate change science, the history of the Great Wheel.
Well, I’m headed now in the direction of magical realism, non systematic, impressionistic, real, but not quite real, the direction of reenchantment. Look for posts in this vein in the future.