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.
These join the PNC blog family along with Pagan+Politics, The Juggler, and Warriors & Kin. I’m very excited to see the launch of a group blog focusing on nature, the environment, and related issues from a Pagan perspective. I believe modern Pagans have a unique and valuable perspective to share with the world on these matters and look forward to the conversations this site will engender.