Reverence for the Earth

July 16, 2017 — Lisa Barstow


46 years ago astronaut Ed Mitchell took a photograph of what he called the “blue green marble”  He was on his way home to Earth from the moon and it was the first time that human beings had seen their planet as part of the cosmos suspended in space. Like many other “firsts” in scientific advancement this event elevated our consciousness. That photograph changed our point of view about where we actually live and helped us to see the grandeur and serenity of our Home.

The banner to my left depicts what I assume to be the loving hands of Jesus holding Earth and I feel that it is a beautiful example of reverence. The Christ representing the cosmos, the God force- connecting with Earth which is also part of the God Force. We are not separate from that creative, loving vibration that holds all life in “the palm of its hand” with deep respect and humility.

In 1986 I experienced an awakening that changed my belief system. My being opened up to an expanded consciousness and instead of only believing in God the Father I was hurtled into an awareness that had to include the feminine part of God, and I realized that she is Gaia- the Greek word for land or earth. Gaia is a goddess, one of the Greek primordial deities. She is the ancestral mother of all life and the primal Mother Earth goddess. Earth as Gaia is a living organism, a sentient being that is conscious. She is interconnected with the oceans, the forests, the mountains- all its living creatures- and to the stars and beyond. Thought of in this way Earth becomes a holy place, a place worthy of reverence.

When thought of in this way we humans become part of the very fabric of this living organism of One-ness rather than separate and divided.

My epiphany lasted nearly a week. During that time I stared at the picture of my Home taken from space by astronaut Mitchell and understood that my reverence was not only to God but to the Divine feminine as well. God and Gaia uniting to create a Garden called Eden.

Did you know that at one time Earth was called Eden? Why is it that we humans did not feel worthy of living in the Garden? When did we begin living in separation rather than One-ness? Is original sin our legacy or instead, is it Love as the God Force that keeps us dwelling in our internal and eternal Garden? What if we never left the Garden? Can we change our belief system enough in the years ahead to believe we deserve Love and when we do will we begin to see our own Divinity?

We have been promised eternal life and yet I do not see that as separate from this life. We do not die into eternal life, we are in it all the time! There is no division line or duality between this world and the next. I believe we live in eternal One-ness-

Henry David Thoreau and Wendell Berry are among many who knew Gaia and poet Mary Oliver has an intimate relationship with Her. I think that when we are born we all hold Her in a special place in our hearts- we have come to live on this earth after all- and as we grow older don’t we keep yearning for the wonder we felt as children when a caterpillar crawled across our toes or we watched a mama bird make a nest to lay her eggs?  I was lucky to come to Maine every summer from New York City because I came home to a landscape that had entered me when I was a newborn. I was welcomed by the spirits of this place year after year and I loved them with all my heart. As I grew older and needed comfort I turned to a Father God and the natural world became less magical- I prayed to God in the Heavens and forgot to ask the trees, the ocean, the birds and fish for help too. Mother Earth was something beautiful to behold and feel awe about and yet I did not hold Her in my heart with reverence. But I do now. Once I awakened to this feminine aspect of God I felt I had re-entered the magical realms I had known as a young child.

Awakening is, of course, a process and in many ways, a practice. I could not have had the epiphany moments without the shared wisdom and personal experiences of so many others. One of these people came to Biddeford Pool recently. His name is Marko Pogacnik and he lives in Slovenia. Natalie McNerney’s daughter Mary is part of a group who have been working with him for 10 years. He is an artist, creating intricate stone carvings on standing stones and places them in circles where the land needs more energy. It is almost a form of acupuncture for the earth. Years ago he began to awaken to the vibrations and intuit the messages from Earth and he began a practice of geomancy- working with the Earth’s energies. He became aware of Gaia’s needs to connect with all living organisms so they may interact to create the One-ness that we all live in. It became obvious to him, as it has to many others, that we humans are just one small part of the whole. Marko has written many books about his work and his deep understanding of our Home.

Bill and I had the honor to walk around the Pool with Marko and his group and understood the deep resonance they, and especially Marko, has with the natural world.  He can see the unseen, and as 2 Corinthians says:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Marko felt a deep sacred energy here in this place called Biddeford Pool, and I know most of you do not need anyone else to tell you what YOU already feel here! But his presence at the Pool was so affirming that I, for one, was able to put aside any lingering skepticism and embrace what I know in my heart to be true. That is, to quote Job 12:  Ask the animals, the fish, birds….. speak to the Earth- They will teach you. And: In God’s hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.

A long time ago a teacher of mine asked me if I could explain this phrase “two are one.” I couldn’t then, but now I believe I understand. I think it means that no matter how dualistic humanity has become- even talking about God and Gaia, masculine and feminine is speaking in dualistic terms, we are becoming conscious enough now, as a collective mind, to realize that there is indeed only one force and that is Love. Love is the pulse of all there is. It inhabits what we have always called God and it is what brings us to our knees in reverence for all life, including ourselves- the human species.

I’d like to close with some writing by Mary Oliver from her book Upstream. She has spent her life interconnected with this vibration of Love that is in all things.