All Posts Tagged With: "Native American"

The Case for Spiritual Environmentalism


My friend, Brigitte Fortin, recently created this video, musing on the spiritual dimension of the environmental movement. It so perfectly captures my own feelings on this subject that I asked her blessing to post it here. The video is part of her graduate work in Environmental studies at Green Mountain College in Poultney, VT.

Brigitte’s thesis is on spirituality and nature. As a social activist for many years, Brigitte saw that we can do and do and do, but unless we make fundamental internal shifts, then nothing will change. She is convinced that what’s inside of us is reflected outward. If we get our minds and hearts right, then we’ll have the right foundation to make big changes.

After Hurricane Katrina, she had a dream that she couldn’t shake. It told her more people are ready and open to the idea of embracing the spiritual dimension. This led her to working with plants and habitat restoration. The more she worked on the issues, the more she worked on herself. The path became clearer as she walked it, and teachers and fellow travelers have joined her along the way.

In her thesis research, she has been mining scientific writers to extract the pieces that do touch on spirituality. The more deeply she thought about what needs to happen, she realized it’s really a communications issue. Her work is a reinterpretation and a reiteration, coming from the heart. The western mindset has put everything on science, on the mental aspect. Looking at the Four Directions, which she references in this video, the mental is only one of four aspects. We are shortchanging our understanding if we leave out the physical, the emotional, or the spiritual.

Even the most conscious people are so entrained in their lifestyles that old habits are hard to break. Her advice is to follow the obvious, do the things that you know you need to do. Like taking that walk in the park instead of on a treadmill.

All Our Relations: Sacred Gardening

photo by: Getty Images

My good friend, Mare Cromwell , has been a professional gardener for many years. She also has a Masters in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan and has worked in the environmental field for 27 years both internationally and locally in the Baltimore-Washington region. She is offering a workshop on Sunday, October 12 (see our News & Events link to the calendar for more information.) This workshop comes out of her apprenticeship for the past twelve years with a Cherokee Medicine Woman. In these changing times, Mare tells me that Earth Mother is calling us to heal ourselves and our relationship to nature. Our gardens are where we can intimately rekindle a deeper relationship and reverence for the life around us to promote healing. This workshop gives people the opportunity to learn Native American practices and worldviews that will encourage deeper gardening practices honoring nature energies, garden health and planetary healing.

Mare’s gardening informs her other work, which is writing and occasionally speaking on ecophilosophy and eco-spirituality topics such as Environmental Hope, Living Simplicity, Deep Ecology and "Right Relationship". The workshop on October 12 will cover:
– How to bless your garden when you open it up in the spring and put it to bed in the fall;
– Claiming your relationship with the Creator and Earth Mother to honor your sacred place in the world and garden;
– Your garden as an altar;
– Intuitive gardening;
– Deepening your relationship and awareness of life around you;
– Nature as teacher and healer.