Find out about all that is happening with Creation Spirituality around the world!   
Newsletter, March 2018
Excitement as the Gathering nears     Ancestor stories
  Community Happenings     Workshops at the Gathering!
.....and More!
Welcome from the President

This is us... artists, organizers, authors, ministers, creative thinkers, entrepreneurial mystics, re-generative activists -- each one of us blooming with creativity, resilience, and hope. If the spirit of the people preparing for the Gathering is any indication, we are up for a can-do, must-do, how-to vitality this April that will energizing and inspiring. Get to Asheville and join us, if you can.  If you can't, then sign up for live streaming. Just keep in touch. This community will energize you.  Its what we do. This is us.
Gail Sofia Ransom, DMin
President

Emergent
by Joanne Young Elliott

The sun emerges from behind its grey blanket.
Love emerges from behind the glass wall.
The soul emerges from its dark night.
What was is becoming known again.
The veil lifts and all returns.


By Adrian Ravarour
Live Streaming Available!
SACRED EARTH.SACRED WORK Gathering
Asheville, NC - April 26-29, 2018

Share your art, music, photography, poetry, and videography!

Join the Creation Spirituality Community ~ along with Matthew Fox, Marcia McFee, Howard Hanger, Michael Mansfield and 20 other workshops leaders ~ as we explore and share our sacred work at the 2018 International Gathering in the beautiful Blue Ridge of Asheville, North Carolina.  We have so many opportunities for you to share your work.  Bring your  art work, poetry, books and creativity .  Be a part of an  affinity circle,  where you can share, collaborate, support and inspire each other in your sacred work. Be a  sponsor  or be a  work-trade volunteer.

 Sign up today. We look forward to connecting and sharing with you in Asheville!

AND, Live Streaming for the SACRED EARTH -SACRED WORK Gathering is now available. Don't miss out! You can register for Live Streaming on the Registration page.


Gaia
by David Sparenburg

At the center of dark cloudbank
Is blue mountain.
At the bottom of blue mountain
Is green valley.
In the middle of green valley
Is white stream.
At the end of white stream
Is life's ocean.
In the center of life's ocean
Is life's dream.


By Adrian Ravarour

Song of a Near Cosmology
by David Sparenburg

 
nearby us is a line of woodland stones
wearing a mantle of green moss
i sing to the solidity of these stones
 
an awe-inspiring eagle is perched
toward top of a towering evergreen
i sing to the soaring flight of this eagle
i sing to the rooting of that ancient tree
 
a solitary gull sounding
crosses on wind-strokes over low sky-waters
and i sing with the hunger of this fisher-gull
 
waves of the Puget Sound, a
curling of wrap-around ocean
sing in their water-tone chorus
and i sing with these salt-nymphs
of the Pacific Northwest, native home
to spawning salmon and hunting orca
 
over crests of the Cascade Mountains
in dignity comes the magnificent Daybreak Star
through new day hours unfolding
this sky will burn shadowed to blueness
and pink-flame and dragonfly-gold
 
crests of the coastal Olympics out there closing on sunset
make passage through golden moments
i sing in finger painting of a sun-dripped panorama
i sing to the summits of snow-white-gold
natural powers thrust over dense life-intense emerald forest
 
i sing with this light out before me
i sing to the life of this place
and i sing and i sing and i sing
 
what is dead inside is resurrected
what is dry within becomes moist
and from moisture the land is made fertile
what is heavy plants downward into pine cone Earth-caress
what is feather dreams generations of souls upward
into owls and into osprey and moth-winged angels of
childhood's willing fantasy
 
to all of this to all that is that is here
in our near cosmology visual
and sounding - connected
and vibrant
i sing and i sing and i sing!

We are so thrilled to thank our generous sponsors who have responded to our vision for a  SACRED EARTH.SACRED WORK gathering of the Creation Spirituality community.  

Super Nova
Carolyn Million
Lynne Ransom and Ken Guilmartin

Stellar
Susan and Leon Evans

Planetary
Patty McGrath
Gail Ransom

Wave/Particle
Trinity Church - Austin
Diane Wolverton Sontum

Elemental
J. Melvin Bricker
Pamela Meadowcroft Holland

Neutronic
Mary Franklin
Peter Shipton
Shelley Blancke
John Robinson
Robert MacDonald
Carol Vaccariello
Bob Wilson
Jennifer Hereth
Debbie Wells and Randy Wiesenmayer (in honor of Randy's environmental work)

If you would like to join them in their support, please consider becoming a sponsor. You can find sponsorships for all levels of giving on our website, by clicking here:  Sponsorship


Genesis
by John C. Robinson

In our creation myth,
God made man out of clay.
What the myth doesn't say is that the clay
   was made out of God. 
Wake up.
Be what you are.

The Things We Keep by Sybil Archibald www.sybilarchibald.com
SHARE YOUR GIFTS!
at the
FIRST EVER


To benefit Creation Spirituality Communities
 
We need YOU to participate!!! Share with us and benefit all of CSC
 
Bring your gifts to share in Asheville
Art          Music
Services
Themed Gift Baskets

The Silent Auction will be held during our Biennial Gathering, Sacred Work.Sacred Earth April 26-29th in Asheville, NC, but you do NOT need to be present to donate your gift.

Use this opportunity to share your gifts with the wider community, whatever they are--whether art, counseling, Reiki or engineering--your gifts can be on display promoting your work while benefiting Creation Spirituality Communities. 

We encourage CSC groups to bring their own themed basket. Themes can relate to your region or an activity such as spa items or foods.

You can register your gift for the Silent Auction here:


You do not need to preregister to participate, but it will help us plan.

Heron and Turtle
by Ardine Martinelli

She flies in on prehistoric wings.
Gracefully landing
on a small rock.
 
Gathering herself together
 she majestically scans
the new terrain.
 
Her long slender neck bends
scooping water with
a beak of beauty and utility.
 
A large turtle suns on the rock.
No movement, no acknowledgment,
of this new neighbor.
 
Heron standing tall
Turtle sunning.
No territory has been breached.
Just the sharing of a rock
the sharing of the sun.
 
Heron turns head toward Turtle,
stops.......... looks,
bending neck down,
beak almost touching
Turtle's shell.
 
Turtle slowly moves one foot.
Heron continues observing,
Turtle alert.
 
Enough, Heron straightens neck,
bends down to scoop more water.
Turtle's foot moves back in.
 
Life continues,
as each rests in the sun
sharing a rock.

by Adrian Ravarour

Transformed
by Cara Cruickshank

My life changed overnight
There was nothing special
About the hours leading up to it 
Nothing could have prepared me 
For that long ride
To the hospital

the hours and hours 
Of enduring
And not knowing

I was at home 
Washing dishes
In the last hour
O f the sunken sun 
Suddenly
Water flowed
Not only over my hands 
But beneath me 
Leaking
Down my thighs
In seeping streams
My body,
Pulsed
my muscles
Tensed
my mind
Raced

The soft stillness
Of expecting you 
Gave way to gravity 
Like tectonic plates
shifting 
Divergent
Then convergent 
Eventually 
Transforming
Us both
Into new versions 
Of ourselves

Hours later
my blood
Came rushing
Forming a pool mixed with urine 
And even feces
No longer hyper "feminine"
I became a powerful organism 
My mind could not control

My insides contracted
Then released

my sexual organs 
expanded 
Becoming the vessel 
The right of passage 
The transport
To oxygen
To breath
To light
New life pushed out of my body
Like the urgency of roots pushing out of the 
surface  of the earth to reach the sun
Your head crowned

You were magma
Moving
from deep within my mantle 
volcanically erupting
Through my pelvic floor
a terrifying and magnificent force 
That both invaded and enveloped me 
That Overtook me
Unfathomable pressure
like none I had felt before 
A timelessness
T hat made me for
an instant
Lose all consciousness

Nurses wiped my forehead 
Reminding me to breathe 
Then
 
Your cry
Reaching my ear
Like a song I had always known 
Your warm, wet body
Still covered in my vital fluids 
Placed helpless
grounded
Onto my heaving beach belly 
Like a shipwrecked sailor

My body was your island 
To nourish you
Cradle you 
Carry you

The placenta
Your former lifeline
Purple, pulsing and aquatic 
Followed silently
Slipping out into the air 
Like a mysterious, veined 
S ea creature
The ceremonial sacrifice

When I held you in my arms
I gained a part of me I never knew 
I had been missing
Energy surged around us
Two Orbiting electrons
Creating a magnetic field

Your tiny hands 
Clutched
Against my ribcage 
With the will to survive 
In this alien land
longing perhaps
To return to the reassuring darkness 
Of my womb
At this point of no-return

When I looked into your eyes 
I saw a truth
I didn't know was possible
I marveled at this journey
We were beginning together
And wondered
What you would have to say
Once you had the words
Now emerged from my body's center 
You became the center
Of my everything 
And in that oneness 
I found
and lost myself

by Sybil Archibald www.sybilarchibald.com


March CSC Elder InnerView
Tom Stempel

In this Elder InnerView, Dr. Tom Stempel shows us how the experience of outsider can lead a person to a search for deep connection. Tom's studies and dissertation at the University of Creation Spirituality was a direct outgrowth of that childhood outsider: "The Outsider Coming Home: Finding the Tao in Meister Eckhart."  Outsiders are driven to find direction and purpose, and in so doing become our visionaries, dreamers,  prophets, mystics, artists and creators.  Tom himself transformed the intellectual dreamer of a small mill town into a spiritual explorer who was drawn to allopathic medicine, the natural world, Creation Spirituality, Evolutionary Spirituality and generally drawing outside the lines. In this video, you will discover how, over the course of time, the currents of outsider led him to the core of his true self.
 
To watch this, and all past Elder Innerviews, head over to the CSC website Elder Innerviews page.

Upcoming Elder InnerVIews:
Rev. Dr. Howard Hanger on April 27
John C. Robinson, DMin, PhD on May 17

Creation Spirituality Reflections
Love's Distinctions
by Randall B. Robertson
 
The word love has been cheapened to the point of superficiality.  To appearances, it no longer seems to resonate in marriage (divorce), for children (estrangement) or self (addiction).  Serving as counterweight, the aspirational, spiritual life ushers in love as a feeling, graduating to love in action and ultimately into the ground of being-love as the fabric of the universe.
 
Greco-Roman philosophy and ensuing theology relate specific types of love: philia, storgē, caritas, agapé, eros.  Philia is appropriate to friendship, implying a fondness to begin with, and is customary to one's tribe or colleague, or to the business of reciprocal commerce.  Storgē implies affection coupled with responsibility, as in a parent's relationship to offspring or older offspring to younger siblings.  Caritas is a medieval construct, a combination of agapé and eros characteristic to Gospel love loosely defined as "loving-kindness," yet in fact much more germane to the practice of agapé.
 
Which brings us to the lively interplay of agapé and eros.   The principles of Christian agapé are emblematic of the very earliest New Testament writings where love in community, koinonia, is fully exercised among early believers in The Way.  Paul's letter to the Galatians advances the radical notion of mutual care for the good of the community, a corporeal model of universal love for one another.  Paul liked to think of Christian love as an upheaval of Roman and Jewish societal norms.  The Book of Acts recounts instances of private property sold with proceeds held in common, omnia communia.  ("There was not a needy person among them," ch. 4, v. 34)  This is agapé in action, characteristic of Paul's overarching mission to shape a benevolent and united community.
 
Eros is rooted in Greek Sophist thought, where Plato quickly distinguishes lower eros (carnal desire) from its heavenly superior, the divine expression of the human soul.  For Plato, carnal eros is sublimated when the soul's highest spiritual need of the eternal and true is sought.  Outlined in classic Platonic steps, egocentricity matures to the interpersonal-relational and graduates to the absolute.  Eros is upwardly ascending, "...from one going on to two, and from two to all fair forms, and from fair forms to fair practices, and from fair practices to fair notions, until from fair notions...the notion of absolute beauty, and at last knowledge of nothing other than beauty itself... the contemplation of beauty absolute."  The same passions that thrive in Plato's "world of becoming" may be devoted to the energy of rising to the loftiest sacramental heights of love in its highest and purest abstraction.
 
These fairly represent the principles of Anders Nygren in his landmark book, Agapé and Eros, published as the first of three volumes in 1932.  Firmly expressed in the bodily incarnation, Nygren insists the love of God builds upon self-love and is outwardly-expanding.  Agapé is manifest in the wellbeing of the collective, divine eros in desire longing for the transcendent.
 
Fifty years later, psychologist Gerald May (Will and Spirit, 1982) veers from his predecessor Nygren in quantifying heavenly love, placing agapé as firmly preeminent, perfect love, with all other forms derivative.  However, May doesn't position agapé as something one can learn or earn when climbing the spiritual ladder.  Agapé harkens to the remembering from whence one comes-recognition of the God within, an original blessing of the true self.
 
 To be mortal is to decay; to recall knowledge, indeed to employ the word recollection itself, is to define as having lost what we know.  Truth is already within us, and there are beautiful things (universals) known a priori in the world of unchanging forms.  The hunch of intuition is in reality, recollection.  And in beholding beauty at the summit, it is as if suddenly-through foreknowledge-we arrive at who we really are.
 
Randall Robertson is Founding Director of the spiritual arts nonprofit,  GladdeningLight, in Winter Park, Florida where Matthew Fox and Ilia Delio will present The Science of Love at next winter's GladdeningLight Symposium, February 1-3, 2019.

The Artist's Pieta by Sybil Archibald www.sybilarchibald.com

Potter's Field
by Jody Walker
 
Standing on sacred ground  

How does that work? I realize that metaphorically, sacred ground is not a place at all but a state of consciousness in which one feels wholly connected to a grander vision.  There are, however, physical locals, where thoughts, feelings and emotions align in a way that allows divine paradox to enter on a visceral level. Potters' Field is just such a place for me.

To many, this grassy field is just that, a grassy field. To me it is the holiest of cemeteries.  My Great Aunt Bert has blessed one of these unnamed mounds with her precious relics for over 50 years. Dad brought me here often as a child. He said he wasn't allowed to bury her in the Catholic cemetery and I sensed his sadness though I didn't understand. Bertha's essence mingles here with the indigent, the deranged, the disavowed. Yet the spiritual chemistry of their combined lives and deaths brings a peaceful dignity to this paupers' burial ground.

Here lies the body of a woman who stood by her convictions without shame, knowing she'd be shunned for doing so. Bert had rejected the family faith and, in turn, her family (except for my dad) rejected her. It would have been easier for everyone involved had she just gone through the motions pretending to believe in a dogma she'd outgrown. Easier on everyone but her, that is. She could have continued to bless herself from the holy water font at church. "Isn't all water holy?" I picture her asking. She could have remained kneeling through rituals, beating her heart and reciting the prayers of her own unworthiness even though her God saw everyone's worth and dignity.

Bertha refused to betray her own heart, couldn't live except in her own truth and now she rests here somewhere under one of these white iconic crosses surrounded by clover. I keep returning to this patch of ground long after my own father's death. Its space holds so much more than the pale, anesthetic symbols of namelessness. I wish I knew which plot was hers but souls who had no rest in life are now left to revel in anonymity.

Plywood crosses would try and crucify her image for all eternity, but not while I'm here. My dad passed on his reverence for this field and I look to the woods that guard these graves with confidence, knowing this to be a place of clarity. I've heard it said that the truth will set you free, but I'm sure it can also be a terrifying plunge 
into the unknown. I think of courageous women like Rosa Parks who said, "I will no longer act on the outside in a way that contradicts the truth that I hold deeply on the inside. I will no longer act as if I were less than the whole person I know myself inwardly to be."

Somewhere along the way, my Aunt Bert, whom I only vaguely remem ber, had paid attention to her heart and her gut, had chosen to lived from her center, and even though the years must have scratched and clawed, she became a woman who was true to herself. I'm sure she became empowered by that choice and within the sadness of the archaic practice of shunning, I also imagine the breath of freedom that must always accompany the undoing of a mask. May I too, have the courage to develop a relationship of Wonder with the Great Mystery.


Tree of Life
by Elisabeth-Anne Dumont

I Am
Between Earth and Sky
A tree
A bridge
Between Heaven and Earth
I Am
Terrestrial
Firmly planting my Garden of Eden
Here and Now
While always 
My allegiance remains
To the spheres celestial
To the Presence within
I Am
A Tree of Life
Above
The Crown of Keter
Below
The Kingdom of Malkut
In the center 
Tiferet the Heart
At One 
With Shekhinah, the Feminine Essence of God
I Am
The middle path
Of Wisdom and Compassion
Unifying all
I Am That I Am

What do we mean by Sacred Activism?
by John C. Robinson, PhD, DMin
           
Sacred Activism has recently become a powerful meme in the spiritual world. After spending decades as a clinical psychologist and many more years writing on the psychology, spirituality and mysticism of life's second half, I've tried hard to be a critical thinker about life and its problems. In this short paper, I ask us to think critically about what we mean by the term Sacred Activism, how spiritual change really happens, and which practices best serve our collective spiritual evolution. While the mystic's vision may hold sway in this paper's conclusions, I invite us all to debate the issues and reflect on our work as Sacred Activists.
 
What Do We Mean by Sacred Activism? 

Activism in general may be broadly defined as efforts to promote social, scientific, political, and environmental improvements to remediate human suffering and support the flourishing of life on this planet. Sacred Activism seeks to complement Social Activism by engaging religious or spiritual beliefs and Mystical Experiences in support of our efforts. Sacred Activism includes three specific forms: Religious/Spiritually-Informed Activism, Mystically-Informed Activism, and the Activism of Self-Transformation.
 
Before we examine these forms, we need to ask what exactly are we hoping to change. I have understood the source of humanity's problems to be The World of Man, a concept I have used throughout my writings. The World of Man is the inner mental framework of thoughts, assumptions, values, goals, and reality beliefs that create and maintain the consensual world of identity, time and story. We live in our cultural mind and, as we know, culture can be the biggest cult of all. I use the word "Man" partly as a generic term for humanity but more importantly because our cultural mindset is dominated by the patriarchy and its values. While we can all stand in awe of its scientific and technological advances and organization of civilization itself ("planes, trains and automobiles"), the World of Man's value system also has many destructive elements, including anachronistic warrior values, ruthless competition, tribalism, gender inequality, scientific materialism, endless commercialism, religious extremism, and a host of other "isms." Sacred Activism is usually envisioned as ameliorating this negative culture of beliefs and behavior.
 
The mystics from across time and tradition, however, tell us that there is another world around us, one that we fail to see because of the World of Man's dominance. Call it Eden, Heaven on Earth, the Pure Land, The Garden of Shiva or a thousand other names, this infinitely beautiful, divine, conscious and loving Ground of Being appears whenever right-hemisphere Mystical Experience or its subset Mystical Consciousness cleanse the "doors of perception." Having reviewed scores of first hand accounts of such sacred perception, I have came to realize that Heaven on Earth is the not only the truest perception we have of the world, it is also the ultimate but unacknowledged goal of Sacred Activism, for when we realize who and where we really are, and what we have been given, we will live naturally in peace, freedom and love. It is humankind's original perception of the omnipresent divine world.
 
But here's the problem. Because the beliefs and perceptual distortions inherent in the World of Man prevent us from seeing and experiencing the divine world (we see mostly what we think!), we live instead in a chronic subtext of fear and distrust. We view ourselves as endangered mortals fighting for survival and then fall under the hypnotic spell of our own projections. In sum, we stereotype and devalue others, pursue our own advantages, hoard resources, and profoundly misunderstand God, creating the very problems we want to solve. The overarching purpose all Sacred Activism, I propose, is revealing the Divine World hidden beneath our collective illusions.
 
How Real Change Happens

The essential problem facing Sacred Activists is this: How do we change the World of Man when we are the World of Man? David Nicol, the author of Subtle Activism, confided: "I participated in numerous rallies for peace and environmental issues and helped out with a progressive political campaign. Yet amid these efforts, I sometimes wondered how much our activism was truly effective in bringing about the world we desired. Many of the legal and political actions I was involved in, although well intended, seemed only to add to the cycle of reactivity and suffering we were attempting to resolve." This is an extremely important point. Does our activism heal or complicate things in the World of Man? Nicol's words also recall Einstein's timeless advice, "The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation." In other words, the World of Man may not be fixable by more ideas from the World of Man; Illusions rarely fix illusions.
 
Living in a world of cultural beliefs and its illusions doesn't mean that the culture is not changing. As evident to everyone these days, western culture is changing dramatically though not necessarily through organized activism. Rather, tears in the sacred fabric of existence cause social changes: school shootings, drug deaths, war trauma, political corruption and corrosive poverty build outrage because of their horrific violence to deep Self. As a divine structure, the Self naturally seeks to restore its original wholeness, creativity and gifts, like Earth's amazing renewal in Spring, and the True Self in each of us embodies this co-creating energy and vision of renewal. Change also comes with each new generation who see the world with fresh eyes and dreams. What I am saying here is that we are really not in charge of these great cultural shifts; they represent slowly advancing cycles of divinely-inspired cultural awakening. We can, however, support such evolutionary change and this may be where Sacred Activism fits best.
 
Sadly, however, we are more often in the way of change. The World of Man, our default operating system, based on ego, self-advantage, fear and competition, constantly pulls us back into our illusions of scarcity and danger. Indeed, every thought reinstates the whole problem for thought. As a result, we are the unsuspecting architects of the very problems we seek to change. The World of Man will not change as long as we are the World of Man. The way out of this mental labyrinth, however, may be found in the divine consciousness of the mystic.
           
I believe the ultimate goal of Sacred Activism is to awaken Mystical Consciousness in our lives and work. A thought-free state of awareness, Mystical Consciousness erases our projections of a False Self in the World of Man to reveal instead the infinite beauty and perfection of Creation exactly as it is, including you, me and everything around us. It calls for the unapologetic renewal of pantheism undiminished by religious disapproval. Now we act from an immense, first-hand and life-affirming revelation of sacred being. We discover that we are divine beings in a divine world. As we experience sacred reality directly, we care for the world and each other as the divine does - with the consciousness of love, creativity and blessing.
 
Changing the World: The Continuum of Sacred Activism

Now let's return now to the three forms of Sacred Activism mentioned earlier: Religious/Spiritually-Informed Activism, Mystically-Informed Activism and the Activism of Self-Transformation. (Current examples can be found in the Appendix).
 
  1. Religious/Spiritually-Informed Activism. Here the energy and commitment generated by our deeply held spiritual beliefs and commitments motivates our activism. We are passionate about our work. The problem with Religious/Spiritually-Informed Activism is that it's still based on beliefs that inadvertently imprison us in our default World of Man projections. Our echo chambers simply excite the echo chambers of those whose opinions we are trying to change. 
  2. Mystically-Informed Activism. This form of activism brings the experience of sacred directly into our work, generating profound and sacred insights, motivations and actions through mystical practices. This approach offers tremendous inspirational and transcendent resources for change. Its primary limitation is that we still view ourselves as flawed beings living our everyday lives in the World of Man's problem-ridden landscape. As a result, our sacred work is intermittent at best and easily disrupted or discouraged by the next horrific event. We are also just beginning to assess its efficacy and the jury is still out. The mystical practices involved, however, can change us individually and represent an important steppingstone to the third form.
  3. The Activism of Self-Transformation. Self-Transformation represents a progressive evolution of Mystical Consciousness in our own lives. The further we go, the more we live in the divine flow of awakened perception. We become Divine Humans. We spontaneously witness Creation everywhere, love and value the beauty and perfection of each being, and change the world right where we are by how we are. As we dissolve the False Self and its obsessive worry, we open the flow of love, joy and creativity inherent in our underlying state of divine being. United with the deep Self, the mystic becomes the prophet who cannot help but respond to the self-inflicted wounds of humanity. The main limitation of this approach is the culture's lack of familiarity with it for we are barely at the threshold of experiencing and understanding the Divine Human. Nonetheless, our awakening will awaken others, for Presence is itself a kind of sacred contagion: as they mystics tell us, change yourself and you change the world, because you are the world. The Activism of Self-Transformation is also our spiritual future if we are to survive.
The Continuum of Sacred Activism

These approaches to Sacred Activism can also be placed on a continuum describing the source of our activism. 

Religious/Spiritually-Informed Activism:
Mystically-Informed Activism:
The Activism of Self-Transformation:
The Activism of Spiritual Beliefs and Values
Activism Arising from Temporary Immersion in Mystical Consciousness
Action Flowing Directly from Sustained Immersion in Mystical Unity.

Conclusions

First hand Mystical Experience and Consciousness change us and the new person, group and community that emerges drinks from a deep and meaningful well of sacred energy and vision. We are one with the divine Source. But interestingly, the transformed Self requires no heroic projects. As Henri Nouwen asks, "Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone's face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come." These are the behaviors that support the spiritual changes already happening in the world as the divine subtly but persistently permeates our individual and collective being. We accelerate this spiritual evolution when the self dissolves into its flow. Activism is less about pushing the river than joining it. 
 
 
Appendix: Examples of Sacred Activism Forms
            
The following examples are meant to be more illustrative than exhaustive and were chosen to reflect the range and variety of current Sacred Activism paradigms.
 
Religious/Spiritually-Informed Activism
  • Interfaith Dialogue: Integrating the work and values of the world's great religions harnesses our spiritual energies for the collective good. Interfaith seminaries like the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley and the Parliament of World Religions take on the great problems of the world through interfaith dialogue and community, shared action programs, and conscious-raising training.
  • Spiritual Activism: In this variety, our deeply held religious and spiritual beliefs prompt us to act in the service of humanity, life or the Earth. Drawing on our personal understanding and experience of prayer, meditation, reading, and religious gatherings, we act from spiritually informed commitments, realizations and teachings. Religious organizations often encourage spiritual activism in line with their founder's teachings.   
Mystically-Informed Activism           
  • Presencing: A methodology adapted from Otto Scharmer's Theory U, Presencing is used by the Wisdom Council of the Conscious Elders Network (CEN) to bring presenting problems and conflicts into the direct experience of the sacred. After defining the differing points of view, participants settle into a deep meditative silence for several minutes, waiting patiently for images, metaphors, feelings and intuitions to rise from the deep ground of sacred being. Insights, realizations and revelations are then shared through deep listening, mirroring and reflection. Presenting issues often change dramatically at the end of the process. (Wisdom Council, CEN)
  • Dialogue with God: In this process, an individual identifies a specific problem and then move into Mystical Consciousness to dialogue with the divine about it. Based on John Robinson's model of the Religious Psyche, the dialogue process separates the left-brain beliefs from mystical right-brain consciousness allowing new insights and revelations to emerge, often dramatically changing the problem's significance. (Robinson: Finding Heaven Here)
  • Subtle Activism: According to David Nicol, Subtle Activism melds the power of spiritual practices (e.g., prayer, meditation, visualization, etc.) into a coherent group field of consciousness to affect positive change in near or distant places. Its methodology involves creating a group energy field, becoming deeply centered in that field, and then using the field to reach traumatized people or places in the world. The Maharishi Effect is an example of Subtle Activism. (David Nicol: Subtle Activism)
The Activism of Self-Transformation
  • Meditation and Mindfulness Practice: Practicing Mindfulness changes now we respond to personal and social upheaval. We become less reactive, more conscious and peaceful, and thus capable of breaking the cycle of violence that drives contentious discourse and vengeful acting out. Working on ourselves, we bring loving kindness and peace into the world, which are also forms of Sacred Activism.
  • Mystical Consciousness: Here action flows from our immersion in the awakened, thought-free consciousness of divinity. In this heightened non-conceptual state of consciousness, we experience the world as a literally sacred, no longer related to personal identity and belief. Mystical Consciousness also affects others, bringing quiet healing energy, kindness and love into the dramas surrounding us. In this variety of activism, changing the self subtly changes the world around us. (Robinson, Ordinary Enlightenment, Finding Heaevn Here)
  • The Work of Monasteries and Monks: Those who dedicate their lives to the spiritual service in monasteries or as solo mystics often dwell in the depth and timelessness of Mystical Consciousness. Their teaching, spiritual direction and retreats serve many and their individual work touches the common ground of divine being even if there is no apparent connection to the problems of the world, for acausal influences ripple through the Creation like the waves of a pebble dropped into still water.
  • The Divine Human: Experiencing our unity with the divine as exemplified by the 'I am God" mantra represents a further development of. The up-surging ecstatic love from divine consciousness transforms the body-mind and we become Divine Humans. From this state of unity consciousness, what happens to the other is happening to me for self and other are one. Now the mystic drives the prophet whose awakened perception turns everything back into divinity and revealing the ultimate nature and purpose of divine action. (Harvey: The Hope; Robinson: The Divine Human).
John C. Robinson is a clinical psychologist with a second doctorate in ministry, an ordained interfaith minister, the author of nine books and numerous articles on the psychology, spirituality and mysticism of the New Aging, and a frequent speaker at Conscious Aging Conferences across the country. You can learn more about his work at www.johnrobinson.org


Early Family Experiences and  Creation Spirituality
by David  Stang

The noise that shook the house was an unusual summer thunderstorm in Dayton, Ohio. The lightning flashed across the afternoon sky, bright  and pervasive. Then came the loud thunder that shook the old one hundred year home. The big wooden house shook to its foundations. We could now see the vibrant maple trees outside due to the enormous lightning. The trees were bright and green, with their big maple leaves waving with the winds. The flashing, lightning enhanced the visual effects of the trees. The outside rain quite visible. Again and again, the house shook. We young ones could not deny the power of nature around us and it affected our very breathing and emotions as we huddled inside the house. The storm, lightning, rain, lasted for hours. We knew to the depth of our being who was in charge of our environment. It was not us. As the time moved on we soon began to see candles being  lit around the house, especially by the Virgin statues that Mom so loved. After the candles were lit by our Mom we saw her lay on the floor with her arms out and breathing slowly and at peace. We too felt the power of peace with our Mom's presence. During that period of time, we wondered how to rate what was  most important -- the candles, the statues, the thunderstorm, lightning, or the  shaking of the house, or Mom. We could not deny the power of the shaking of the house, or the noise, or the pounding of the rain on 
the roof.  We could definitely feel the incredible power of nature. This power we never forgot as it entered deeper and deeper into our consciousness. We had heard enough stories about the Irish goblins and faeries from our Mom  to know that they existed so we always wondered if that also we coud add to the candles and the statues that fit in to Mom's life, and was this a different way of feeling and knowing about life. Such thoughts were never taught in school or in our catholic catechism.  Whatever, Mom lying on the floor with her arms out, breathing peacefully had its own effect on us. After all, there we were, seven of us, our two older brothers were no longer in the house, who were  protected by Mom during this extravaganza of nature. We however, also began to trust Nature as when the storm was over and we went outside, we could smell the energy of the incredible air, see the fresh energized ground, the new power of the trees, and our garden looking fresh and alive. The vegetables in the garden seemed empowered, enlivened by the incredible event of nature and the energized water. The thunderstorm did overwhelm us for those couple of hours but our house was still standing, even though during these storms we could hear the fire trucks in the distance and hear about this or that house, or this or that garage had burned down. We were however safe, secure and ready for the next storm and candles and Mom lying on the floor. We were appreciative of the food growing in our garden.

We young ones not only lived to even enjoy and feel the energy of  the storms but were pushed outside to be with all the wonder and awe that existed outside. We were outside a lot. We at young ages, jumped on the back of Mummas Farm trucks at 7AM to ride to the farms to pick berries, weed the land, and make a dime to help support each other during the depression. We knew what a sunburn was and suntans. We knew how to protect our backs, protect each other from strangers and behave. We all had nice tans and good appetites even though the strawberries at Mummas were excellent, with no pesticides, we knew we needed more than fruit, though at autumn time the apples, apple juice was a taste we never forgot. Arriving back home from Mummas, we would go to our own garden to weed it and eat the green onions, carrots, radishes, green beans  and we even had a pear tree and walnut tree. Mom would be inside preparing supper for seven of us and of course her and Dad were organic farmers, even though in those days was there any other way to farm, and the food was healthy and none of us had health problems, such as cancer or muscle or other health issues that existed at the time. We did know that there was the existence of city people but felt excluded as we were different, with our hand me down clothes, shoes, and interests.

Dad was a scientist who worked at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Such a job and his skills kept us from starvation and living on the streets. He must have been good because he was never fired even though he had the reputation to speak out strongly for his belief in the protection of Nature and against the chemicals that were beginning to appear in our foods. Dad was a chemical engineer who believed in the organic route and regulating the chemicals that were just being invented. He took on the leadership of Montsanto that
 was just beginning to develop its corporation in St. Louis and Dayton, Ohio. In fact he was even offered a job with Monsanto as one of the leaders was a Catholic graduate from the same school.  Dad would often take us on walks and educate us about what mushrooms we could or could not eat, where to find them and also about the animal kingdom that existed in our area which was called Miami Valley. I only learned later in life that my twin brother and I were born during the time of the enormous floods in Dayton that almost destroyed the city, a city which was thriving at the time with many engineers, scientists, and inventors. The Wright Brothers had their bicycle shop in Dayton and of course National Cash Register, General Electric, Frigidaire, and the Big Wright Patterson Air Force Base was thriving in Dayton. A side story for those who remember, that a UFO landed in New Mexico in the 40's, It was announced even on the radio which we all heard and the UFO bodies were sent to Wright Patterson where our Dad worked in the Analytical Laboratory where the bodies were supposedly sent.  Oh the memories and stories of our youth.

How can one forget Winter. We did not have double paned windows or insulation in our walls. We did have heavy blankets and heavy clothes. We slept well under those wool blankets and I even remember snow on our faces one night because, of course my twin brother broke the window near our bed and Dad would not fix it immediately perhaps to teach us a lesson. Mom was a sharp buyer when it came to good clothing for winter. I do not remember any of us ever having frost bite. But we loved winter and we did not need to be told to go outside. You can imagine if we preferred to stay inside how we would have driven each other crazy. We all had hand me down ice skates, well worn skiis, though the hills were small and so we rarely used them. More importantly we had the old sleds with metal runners that could hold four or five of us and lots of children around the neighborhood and a couple good hills. We did not suffer from not having other kids to play with. Not too far away, maybe two miles was the Miami River. During the forties the weather was colder and the river often froze over. Sometimes we could even ice skate all the way down from our house to the river. We became good ice skaters and knew how to judge the safety of the ice. We can still remember skating on black ice as it went up and down as you skated on it. Even though periodically we would hear of someone drowning  in the river, this never happened to any of us as we were good judgers of ice.  At night the people who lived near the river would put on their back porch lights for us to see and even make us hot chocolate. Feeling the warm chocolate in our tummies, and the snow on our faces and the blades on the ice, for us this was heaven. I could be having forgetfulness, but I do not remember any of us complaining about the cold or not wanting to be outside. Life was full of awe and wonder for us as only children can feel such wonder.

Summer was just as wonder filled season as winter. Besides, working on the fruit farm, we were known as the Stang Gang and we challenged all the neighbors in football, baseball, and basketball. The best players in our family of course were the girls, especially Dorothy and Norma. When the teams were chosen, Dorothy and Norma were the ones that chose the teams. The boys in the neighborhood highly respected these two girls. Also, Tom and I never had to worry about any bullies in the neighborhood hurting us. One time as we were coming home from school a couple boys challenged Tom and I. Oh what a mistake. Quickly two of my sisters showed up, tackled two of the boys, the other boys ran away and the two boys on the ground quickly surrendered. I only remembered this happening once. I am sure I could remember other stories but perhaps this gives one a picture of our early childhood. With such memories, as we get old, they become so important. But more importantly this helps us understand the strength of our sister Dorothy who was not afraid to take on the bullies in the Amazon and was not afraid when they put a price on her head and who said, "I will not runaway from my family" when she was offered the chance to move on. Creation Spirituality was an essential part of our lives from childhood. Dorothy going to the Amazon was just another amazing part of her being with nature with the diversity of creation. Dorothy's time spent with Matthew Fox in California studying Creation Spirituality was an incredible experience as it confirmed her beauty as a woman, as a nature-filled being, and that there were other great women who felt like her over the centuries. Dorothy saying I cannot leave my family, included the forest, the animal and her relationship with all of life that existed around her. Spirituality is not whole when we exclude such thinking and people from our existence. 

David Stang is a brother of Sister Dorothy StangSister Dorothy Mae Stang, S.N.D., (7 June 1931 - 12 February 2005) was an American-born, Brazilian member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur community in 1948 and professed final vows in 1956. From 1951 to 1966 she taught elementary classes at St. Victor School in Calumet City, IL, St. Alexander School in Villa Park, IL and Most Holy Trinity School in Phoenix, Az. She began her ministry in Brazil in 1966, in Coroata in the state of Maranhao. She was murdered in Anapu, a city in the state of Pará, in the Amazon Basin of Brazil. Stang had been outspoken in her efforts on behalf of the poor and the environment, and had previously received death threats from loggers and land owners. Her cause for canonization as a martyr and model of sanctity is underway within the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Parachutes for the Planet, t he Sacred Voices of Children for Sacred Earth
by Sylvia Oliva

It begins with a 13-year old Quaker girl, member of Annapolis Friends Meeting (AFM), who is so lucky to have parents who home-school her with a wide and wise curriculum and who are outstanding mentors in the art of living a full life and being deeply committed to protecting our Earth and reversing its demise due to global warming. Kallan Benson is her name. Her younger brother and the family dog and cat complete the family, each one a very special part of who this young lady is.
 
It was just two years ago I got to know the Bensons after my 4-year hiatus from AFM to sojourn with Chesapeake Creation Spirituality Community.  My four years' exposure to creation-based spirituality with the Rev. Dr. Wayne Schwandt gave me a deepened appreciation for the beauty, immensity, and sacredness of life and of our precious planet. 
 
Returning to AFM in 2015, I found a very hard-working, serious and knowledgeable non-profit called Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis (CSGA), which was founded by my Quaker Community with several local residents from other environmental organizations. Kallan and her family are members of CSGA as well as members of a Quaker group interior to AFM (the "Green Team") who find ways to put our meeting house and our homes on a better path to sustainability.
 
Back to Kallan, because she's the main character in "Parachutes for the Planet." Kallan has learned quite a lot about climate change, also about how to communicate with different people, how to collaborate and network, to listen for truth and stand up for it in public, how to organize, and how to use her artistic and creative gifts such as learning to play the cello, operating the spotlight in a local theatre, and making art such as the hundreds of paper cranes for peace she and her brother created and gave out to people, making banners for
marches, etc. Kallan is a person with a social conscience. At the age of 13 (she just turned 14 in February 2018) she is experienced in conducting research and in teaching. She is a credible prophet/activist for eco-justice and is very concerned how it will fare for future generations. Kallan is savvy in social media, with her own gmail address, facebook page, youtube video, and instagram. She has even made the awesome decision to do the annual Polar Plunge in the Potomac River this year, to raise funds for an environmental organization.  Last but not least, she is a fun-loving, kind, reliable, thoughtful, bright, down-to-earth and lovely young woman!
 
Now, to get to her latest project: the seeds for it were sown when she decided to make a banner to take to the People's Climate March in Washington, D.C. in April of 2017.  So, on a 24' round play parachute she drew a huge monarch butterfly flying over the land and waters of the Earth. Then she took it to lots of schools and other groups of children to get their signatures and messages about climate change and their hopes for the future. Those who signed the butterfly used orange markers; those who signed on the Earth, green; and those who signed on the water, blue. In just six weeks time, she gathered 1600 messages and signatures! The colorful monarch flew in the People's Climate March and was seen by many, and kids young and old had fun running underneath it.
 
One young man who noticed her butterfly came up to Kallan and told her that his Dad would be very interested in seeing it. His Dad turned out to be the founder of Mother Earth Project. The Mother Earth Project (MEP) is a nonprofit founded in 2015 by internationally renowned sculptor and scientist Barton Rubenstein and his family. Mr. Rubenstein invited Kallan to extend her work of amplifying the voices of children by partnering with MEP, who would sponsor "Parachutes for the Planet." In this way, her  initiative would reach out to groups of kids all over the world to create their own unique artwork on a circular banner, with their messages.The parachutes would be sent to MEP, who would take them around the world to become part of massive displays to awaken people to the dangers of global warming and to inspire action.  
 
This work has now begun. At first the goal was to get a parachute from every State and territory of the United 
States. It is gathering momentum. Kallan and her friends made one for Annapolis, MD depicting the Chesapeake Bay. P arachutes are being made in other c ountries as well: China, the Marshall Islands, Morocco, Tanzania, Chile, the Netherlands, and Lithuania!  

Recently Kallan was awarded the National Aquarium's 2018 Promise for the Planet Youth Award, in recognition for this project. In the words of her notification letter, she was selected "because you led by example, demonstrated determination and fearlessness in meeting an environmental challenge and inspired change within your communities, making our world a better place."
 
Now here is your part of the story: Please encourage any groups of children you know-of any age-to join in thiswonderful sacred work by children throughout the world who want to grow up and inherit a healthy, beautiful Earth to live in. We owe it to them!
 
Connect through the links below to Kallan's you tube video tutorial on how to make a banner (and have fun doing it), her facebook page, or email her. Learn more about Mother Earth Project on their website.

#parachutesfortheplanet
Kallan Benson ( releaf4us@gmail.com)

Community News
Carol Vaccariello on Hay House Radio

Learning to Accept the Gifts of the Universe
Bright New Voices: The Balboa Press Hour airs every Friday  from 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM .

Learning to Accept the Gifts of the Universe - Tune in and discover some exciting new authors waiting to be heard! In this episode, we feature; Carol P. Vaccariello, D.Min., LPC with her book,  The Lion of God Archangel Ari'El, Kristy S. Rodriguez with her book,  Pure Nurture, Patricia Allen, PhD. with her book,  It's a Man's World and a Woman's Universe, Jennifer Cochern, LCPC with her book,  Alignment, Joffre McClung with her book,  The Heart of the Matter, and Wende Grant with her book,  The Tao of Thinking.

The Episode aired on Friday, March 30th, but should soon be available in the archive:  https://www.hayhouseradio.com/#!/episode/learning-to-accept-the-gifts-of-the-universe

News from GreenSpirit in the UK

Our Annual Gathering this year will be in Derbyshire from Friday 21st September - Sunday 23rd September 2018 where we will be celebrating the Autumn Equinox. We are delighted to welcome Dr Vivianne Crowley who will speak on Journeying inward with the Divine Feminine at Autumn Equinox. Along with meditations, rituals, creative activities, making our own entertainment and more, this promises to be a rich and rewarding event.
 
Our Spring 2018 magazine entitled "New Life, New Energy, New Ideas" was published in March with a wide range of articles including Janism: An Environmental Philosphy, Wild Soul Singing and book reviews.
 
We have recently published another title in our GreenSpirit book series Dark Nights of the Green Soul which contains articles about deepening our spiritual experience whilst facing difficulty or adversity.
 
To find out more about all of these, go to our website at:  https://www.greenspirit.org.uk/




Environmental Justice in Tarpon Springs, FL

April 4th marks the 50th anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King. He died while helping to organize sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. In Florida, people of different races, faith traditions, age groups, and cultures, will join together in April  to remember Dr. King and his work. A memorial gathering will take place on April 4th, at noon, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tarpon Springs. A community concert is scheduled for April 7th.  

 Tarpon Springs is a Gulf Coast community that faces a variety of environmental protection and human rights concerns. The town has several sites where toxic dumping has occurred. Climate change and sea level rise are major problems for coastal Florida. On April 21st and May 5th, community events will help area residents to prepare for the 2018 hurricane season.

For information about Florida's environmental justice concerns and the Tarpon Springs initiatives, please contact the Unitarian Universalists in Tarpon Springs.      Telephone:   727-937-4682.

One member's Sacred Work keeps him very busy

John C. Robinson, DMin, PhD recently sent this update of his upcoming activities. Likely typical of many of our members (we'd love to hear from all of you). Here is a taste of what one person's Sacred Work in the world looks like:
  • Presenting a roundtable talk titled "Initiation, Transformation, Revelation: The Mysticism of Aging" at the American Society on Aging 2018 Aging In America conference in San Francisco March 28. 
  • Gail Ransom, Penny Andrews and I will be interviewing Howard Hanger for Elder InnerViews at the Asheville Sacred Earth.Sacred Work conference.
  • I will be the subject of an Elder InnerView on May 17. 
  • Presenting a workshop called "Finding Sacred Work in a Sacred World" at the Sacred Earth. Sacred Work conference in Asheville.
  • Teaching a class at the Fox Institute titled "The Psychology, Spirituality and Mysticism of the New Aging" the week of August 6.
  • Two Workshops at Stillpoint Conference Center ("Men's Work in the New Aging" and "Enlightened Aging: A Daylong Retreat")
  • Presenting a workshop titled "The Divine Human in a d Divine World: The Final Transformation of Sacred Aging" at the 2018 Sage-ing International conference Elder Voices Transforming the World in October.




by Adrian Ravarour
Sacred Earth ~ Sacred Work: Workshops

Here is a sample of some of the workshops that will be happening at the Sacred Earth.Sacred Work Gathering, April 26-29th. You can read the detailed description of each workshop on the Workshops page on our website:

  • A CODE OF BEING AND BECOMING: Cosmic Beatitudes for this Evolutionary Moment with Carol Kilby, Ontario
  • PANEL: CREATING AND SUSTAINING A CREATION SPIRITUALITY COMMUNITY  with Bill Crowell, Judy Shook, Michael Dodin, Gail Ransom, Howard Hanger, and Mary Reaman
  • TELL THE CHILDREN WE ARE STARDUST with Jinny Easterday, Scotts Valley, CA
  • EMPOWERED BY THE COSMOS: NEW WORLD, NEW EYES with Penny Andrews, Cottage Grove, WI
  • CREATION/CREATION CARE CURRICULUM FOR KIDS with Vicki Garlock, Asheville, NC
  • RECLAIMING THE WILD SPIRIT with Skylar Wilson and Jennifer Listug 
  • FINDING SACRED WORK IN A SACRED WORLD with John Robinson, D.Min, PhD.  Fox Island, WA
  • SELF CARE WITH CHINESE ACUPRESSURE with Ann Ehringhaus, Ocracoke, VA
  • RESTORING THE HEART OF ABRAHAM: USING SPIRITUAL PRACTICES AS A CONDUIT FOR PEACE with Roxanne Whitelight  Kihei, HI
  • WRITING TO AWAKEN OUR SOUL with Candace Chellew-Hodge  Hopkins, SC
  • NAVIGATING VIA NEGATIVA, A ANDEAN PERSPECTIVE with Jeff Firewalker Schmitt, PhD, Asheville, NC
  • CONNECTING WITH HOLY HELPERS with Mary Ann Maruska, Dmin, Gananoque, ON
  • CREATION'S VOICE - A SACRED LANGUAGE FOR THE SOUL with Carol Wimmer
  • ARCHTYPES OF GENDER PARTNERSHIP IN VIA TRANSFORMATIVA with Dr. Carol Pearson
  • IN THE PRESENCE OF DIVINITY - 65 MILLION REFUGEES with Joan Naylor, Barnardsville, NC
  • AUTHENTIC CUSTOMER SERVICE AS SACRED WORK with Majo John Madden
  • THE FUTURE OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY with Joran Slane Oppelt
  • THE BUSH UNIVERSITY: ABORIGINAL SPIRITUAL LAW with Paul Taylor
  • EXPLORING YOUR SACRED WORK IN THE CONTEXT OF MINISTRY with Paula Pociecha, Peter Lanzillotta, Roxanne WhiteLight, Gerry Paulsen, Gail Ransom, and Diane Sontum
  • INTRODUCING CREATION SPIRITUALITY INTO YOUR CONGREGATION'S WORSHIP with Dr. Marcia McFee
  • REFLECT A DIVERSITY OF VOICES IN DECISION-MAKING with Michelle Smith
  • IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD (VIEW)! THE RE-MAGINING LAB with Theodore Richards.
  • DANCING OUR SACRED EARTH, DANCING OUR SACRED WORD, THE SPIRITUALITY OF RITUAL LEADERSHIP with Michael Mansfield
  • THE TRANSFORMATIONAL POWER OF SOUND: with Michael Dodin
To register for the Gathering in whole or in part (including LIVE STREAMING), click on the graphic below or this link: Registration

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