Thought for the day

The walk to paradise garden

The walk to paradise garden by Elliott Smith

The plain fact is that the planet does not need more “successful” people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it’

Professor David OrrOn Education, Environment and the Human Prospect



  1. Alison Leonard said,

    February 22, 2010 at 8:11 am

    ‘The planet needs peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers…’ Yes, and for me that means reaching back into history to the point where patriarchy began to dictate our destiny and rediscovering the feminine divine.

    We didn’t discuss this much at our Pagan-Quaker weekend, did we? On the evaluation forms, it seemed that some of you found the weekend great in experiential terms, but not so great in learning terms. Might there be a place for a future course on the philosophy and theology of the resurgence of Goddess worship and goddess-oriented spiritual practice?

    In my ‘First Communion’ story I told how I wrestled with the Christian sacrament of Holy Communion but couldn’t connect with that kind of God, but when food and drink from Mother Earth were given to me by two women, that was my first true communion with the divine. Since then I’ve been discovering, through personal experience and through historical and archaeological writings, the Goddess who is Earth our Mother and who honours womanly and earthy things: bodies, sex, daily labour, the nurture of future generations rather than the engines of conquest and war.

    It’s important, while doing this, to distinguish between men – male human beings who are trapped by the system and denied wholeness as much as women are – and patriarchy, which is the system that traps us.

    The divine feminine helps me to see the earthy essence of things. Especially, at the moment, it (or she, or She) is helping me to see how I might unhook myself from too much consumption of resources, and to value the bodies of women and men – especially, in our culture, of women – as wonderful working instruments and the home of the soul, rather than as object, as spectacle.

    • Julia said,

      February 25, 2010 at 9:52 pm

      Oh, Alison, I could weep in agreement with all you say about the need for the return of the divine feminine – for the sake of men, women and our earth.
      But I cannot accept this distinction between experience and learning. One of the greatest lies of the patriarchy is that only learning that happens with our minds is valuable, only knowledge from books is valid. We need to reclaim the knowledge of our instincts, our intuition, the deep knowing in our bones and in our guts that has been cast aside with the denigration of all things bodily.
      I read with great interest books about the Goddess and feminine spirituality but this is no substitute for an experience of connection to Mother Earth, or expressing my joy at being alive in dance or song.
      My focus too at the moment is on the body – in reclaiming my body as my own and rejoicing in the wonder of it.

  2. February 22, 2010 at 9:10 am

    I love David Orr’s line about ‘It (our planet) needs people who live well in their places’. There is something intensely grounding about the wisdom in that one sentence. Our consumerist culture thrusts us forward like an army of JCBs munching away at non-renewable resources, attracted to slogans and branded logos, never looking back, or indeed, heaven forbid, switching the engine off. For years I blithely sat in the cab, protected from the elements, with the music on full volume. How crushing it was to climb down from the machine and realise how puny I was when I was out in the elements. And yet this is where our deepest healing can begin, before we turn to books and learning (I agree with Alison that it would great to draw on the rich seam of Goddess theology and wisdom). Perhaps a course that weaves the vitality of the experiential, with nurturing Goddess philosophy and theology might be a very fruitful way forward?

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