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7 of 12 | Monday is for Religion: The Art of Connecting What’s Not Really Separate

Hi lovely Earthlings!
Nuraghe Losa, Sardinia
Our series on religion is coming to a close.  But not before we briefly look at an echo of Native American wisdom across the world.  Often we think of Western culture as predatory.  In reality there are many simultaneous cultural traditions in the numerous regions called West and they don’t always get along.  The sense of sacredness of the Earth, the notion that it belongs to itself, comes across very strong in this short poem yours truly learned from the ex-mother-in-law when she was married in Sardina.  This Mediterranean island, she learned, was host to an ancient civilization whose communitarian values organized life around a main stone building the group shared, the Nuraghe.  
Listen to what the poem says:
Nuraghe Prisciona, Sardinia

« Tancas serradas a muru  
Fattas a s’afferra afferra
Si su chelu fit in terra 
L’aiant serradu puru »

The first line refers to agricultural land that’s enclosed by walls.
The second line explains that these walls were made “the grub-street way.”  They were built in a hurry and without consideration for the common usage that had been customary of the land, what deep ecologists call “the commons.” 
The third line refers to the sky or heavens, which in Italian and Sardinian are the same word: “cielo,” or “chelu.”  It compares the Earth to the sky, which cannot be fenced.  And refers to the predatory ways of those who appropriate the commons by saying that, if at all possible, they would fence out the “heavens” or sky as well.  
Central Building, Nuraghe Torralba
So the poem’s force comes from the way it connects the earth with sacred space: the “cielo, chelu” where people in Catholic cultures believe the sacred is located.  
The affinity with Chief Seattle is that here too the Earth, the land, is sacralized again by the invective against those who keep privatizing it, appropriating it.  “Should the land not deserve the same reverence the sky gets?”  the poet seems to ask.  “Why is it that we’ve come to believe we can own it?”  “Does this sense of ownership not violate the Earth’s sovereignty over itself?”
The Italian version echoes this wisdom: 

Su Nuraxi, Barumini

« Proprietà chiuse coi muri
Fatte all’arraffa arraffa
Se il cielo fosse stato in terra
Avrebbero chiuso pure quello »

The poem is attributed to one Melchiorre Murenu. 

For those well versed in Italian or interested in another translation of Chief Seattle’s Lament, here goes the Italian Lamento.  It’s in verse translation and yours truly brings it to you this way.

Nel 1854 il governo degli Stati Uniti offrì una grossa somma per l’acquisto del territorio di una tribù di pellirosse, che avrebbe poi dovuto sistemarsi in una riserva. Il capo della tribù replicò col documento che qui pubblichiamo. Avevo l’edizione integrale di questa splendida lettera che purtroppo è andata persa. Questa è una versione leggermente ridotta. Questo documento da un’idea della profondità e sensibilità dell’animo del popolo pellirosse, tutt’altro che selvaggio. Il sentimento di comunione con la natura ed il cosmo e la concezione immanente della loro spiritualità sono sorprendentemente affini alla concezione Zen della vita e dell’Universo. Ritrovare questo profondo sentimento di comunione con la natura è la base su cui costruire il proprio equilibrio interiore.

Questa terra è sacra

Come potete comperare o vendere il cielo,
il calore della terra?
L’idea per noi è strana.
Se non possediamo la freschezza dell’aria,
lo scintillio dell’acqua,
come possiamo comperarli?
Ogni parte di questa terra è sacra per il mio popolo.
Ogni ago di pino che brilla,ogni spiaggia sabbiosa, ogni vapore nelle scure foreste, ogni radura e ronzio d’insetto è sacro nella memoria e
nell’esperienza del mio popolo.
La linfa che scorre attraverso gli alberi porta i ricordi degli uomini…
Noi siamo parte della terra ed essa è parte di noi.
I fiori profumati sono le nostre sorelle;
il cervo, il cavallo, la grande aquila, questi sono i nostri fratelli.
Le cime rocciose, la linfa dei prati,
il corpo caldo del cavallo, e l’uomo:
tutto appartiene alla stessa famiglia…
I fiumi sono i nostri fratelli, e ci dissetano.
I fiumi portano le nostre canoe e nutrono i nostri bambini.
Se noi vi vendessimo la nostra terra,
voi dovreste ricordare ed insegnare ai vostri figli
che i fiumi sono nostri fratelli, e vostri;
e voi dovreste d’ora in poi dare ai fiumi la gentilezza
che dovreste dare ad ogni fratello…
non c’è nessun posto tranquillo nelle città dell’uomo bianco.
Non c’è nessun posto
per udire il dispiegarsi delle foglie in primavera,
o il frusciare delle ali di un insetto.
Ma forse c’è, perché io sono un selvaggio e non capisco.
Solo lo scalpitio sembra un insulto all’udito.
E che cosa è vivere
se un uomo non può udire il pianto di un caprimulgo
o le conversazioni delle rane intorno ad uno stagno di notte?
Io sono un pellerossa e non capisco.
L’indiano preferisce il soffice suono del vento che vibra sulla superfice dello stagno, e l’odore del vento,
pulito da una pioggia del mezzogiorno,
o profumato dall’odore del pino.
L’aria è preziosa per il pellerossa,
poiché tutte le cose hanno lo stesso respiro;
I’animale, I’albero, I’uomo,
condividono insieme lo stesso respiro.
L’uomo bianco non sembra accorgersi dell’aria che respira.
Come un uomo morente,
per molti giorni, è insensibile al fetore.
Ma se noi vi vendessimo la nostra terra,
vi dovreste ricordare che l’aria è preziosa per noi, che l’aria condivide il suo spirito con ogni vita che sostiene.
Il vento che fu dato a nostro nonno al suo primo respiro ha anche accolto il suo ultimo respiro.
E se noi vendessimo la nostra terra,
dovreste tenerlo a parte in un posto sacro, come un luogo dove anche l’uomo bianco può andare per sentire il vento addolcito dai fiori del prato.
A queste condizioni noi considereremo la vostra offerta di comperare la nostra terra.
Se noi decidessimo di accettare, io porrei una condizione:
che l’uomo bianco deve trattare gli animali di questa terra come suoi fratelli…
Cosa è l’uomo senza gli animali?
Se tutti gli animali se ne andassero,
I’uomo morirebbe per la grande solitudine dello spirito.
Poiché qualsiasi cosa accada agli animali,
presto accade all’uomo.
Tutte le cose sono collegate.
Potreste insegnare ai vostri bambini
che la terra sotto i loro piedi è la cenere dei nostri nonni.
Affinché loro rispettino la terra,
dite ai vostri bambini
che la terra è ricca delle vite dei nostri amici.
Insegnate ai vostri bambini
quello che noi abbiamo insegnato ai nostri,
che la terra è nostra madre.
Qualsiasi cosa accade alla terra, accade ai figli della terra.
Se gli uomini sputano sulla terra, sputano su se stessi.
Questo noi lo sappiamo: la terra non appartiene all’uomo;
I’uomo appartiene alla terra.
Questo noi sappiamo.
Tutte le cose sono collegate
come il sangue che unisce una famiglia.
Tutte le cose sono collegate.
Qualsiasi cosa accada alla terra, accade ai figli della terra.
L’uomo non ha intrecciato il tessuto della vita: egli è semplicemente un filo di essa.
Qualsiasi cosa faccia al tessuto, lo fa a se stesso…
Possiamo essere fratelli, dopo tutto. Vedremo.
C’è una cosa che noi sappiamo,
e che l’uomo bianco un giorno scoprirà:
il nostro Dio è lo stesso.
Potete pensare ora che il vostro “Lui” come voi desideri possedere la nostra terra; ma non è possibile.
Egli è il Dio dell’uomo e la Sua compassione è uguale
sia per il pellerossa che per l’uomo bianco.
Questa terra per lui è preziosa,
e danneggiare la terra è disprezzare il suo Creatore.
Anche il popolo bianco passerà.
Ma nella vostra discesa brillerete luminosamente, infuocati dalla forza di un Dio che vi ha portati in questa terra
e per qualche scopo speciale
vi ha dato dominio su questa terra e sopra l’uomo rosso.
Questo destino è un mistero per noi,
poiché non capiamo quando i bufali
vengono completamente massacrati,
i cavalli selvaggi tutti addomesticati,
gli angoli segreti della foresta appesantiti
con l’odore di molti uomini
e la vista delle colline in fiore
rovinata dai fili del telegrafo.
Dove è il boschetto? E’ andato.
Dove è l’aquila? E’ andata.
La fine della vita e l’inizio della sopravvivenza. — 

Rutger Zen with Silvana Cibba.

Republished with permission from Facebook Group Assenza: http://www.facebook.com/groups/193924080673423/


Dear Earthlings,
This post brings the series to an end.  We are so happy you followed it.  Thank you!  Stay tuned for what comes next. 

Did you enjoy the series?  Let us know!  Yours truly appreciates your attention.  The comments box is open.

Come back!  And stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
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6 of 12 | Monday is for Religion: The Art of Connecting What’s Not Really Separate

Hi lovely Earthlings!
We’re on the final stretch.  Chief Seattle concludes his lament with an even more touching lesson.  What is life?  Joy, connectedness, a sense of being part of a larger whole, beauty, pleasure, the music of trees, of birds.  Being present to all this IS life.  Does “survival” qualify?  “No” the chief claims.  And so it goes for the hypermedicalized lives many of us live today.  When one’s life is mere survival it doesn’t even count as life.  It would be better to surrender it and become part again of life in general, return to the larger whole.  The hostess will know what to do next with what’s left of the individual whose personal life has dissolved.  As Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens declare in the vows of their ecosexual weddings, when we marry the Earth we do so “until death brings us closer together.”
So life is not really different from death, it’s a cycle, a continuation of strands that come upon other strands, of waves and their ebbs and flows.  If we shift the focus away from death, and the fear of death we internalize from belief systems organized around it, we find out that there is no such thing as death, only life and its ongoing ebbs and flows.  
“Survival” the wise chief implies, is not worth the pain.  It’s just a result of the fear of death and the effort of staving it off.  But then, when life in general becomes survival, there is no real life left at all.  Zombis, as they say.  Oh well . . . .

“The Land Is Sacred to Us”

Chief Seattle’s Lament, Cont’d

Handsome chief, eh?

Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all; we shall see. One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover—our God is the same God. You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white. This earth is precious to Him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator. The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Continue to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.

But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man. Your destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires. Where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone. And what is it to say good bye to the swift pony and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival…..

Source: From “The Land Is Sacred to Us: Chief Seattle’s Lament.”
Dear Earthlings: 
Did you notice the wisdom of these words?  The Washington Chief assumes Chief Seattle thinks he owns the land.  Chief Seattle knows better.  And he is honest.  Nobody really owns any land.  The earth own itself.  It is sovereign.  And it the seat of life where individuals graced with presence are mere moments in the energetic flow. 

Stay tuned for the next step.  We will post every Monday at noon.  

Did you enjoy the post?  Let us know!  Yours truly appreciates your attention.  The comments box is open.

Come back!  And stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
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5 of 12 | Monday is for Religion: The Art of Connecting What’s Not Really Separate

Hi lovely Earthlings!
This section is for us.  Yes, it is about our being Earthlings like everybody else: Earthlings, those who live on Earth, the only “home,” the only “oikos,” the only ecosystem that will have us over.  Aha!  And you thought this WAS your home.  But no, this is home to life.  Gaia, our hostess is kind enough to let us stay only as long as we’re a welcome addition to her.  As Chief Seattle puts it, “the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.”  How ironic!  For Western science to “discover” something so simple and self evident, a whole controversial theory had to be invented: Gaia theory.  Seattle knew way before!  “Men” he claims, are simple “strands” in the web of life.  There is no foothold for us on Gaia because she is sovereign.  As Seattle puts it, we are “like waves in the sea.”  And most scientists of course don’t want to hear any of this, one way or the other, even today.  They are so prejudiced!  Then they claim that “science” is the only real way to know.  Oh well . . . . 
 

“The Land Is Sacred to Us”

Chief Seattle’s Lament, Cont’d
One thing we know, Our God is the same God. This earth is precious to Him. Even the white man cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We shall see.
This we know: The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know: All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
But we will consider your offer to go to the reservation you have for my people. We will live apart, and in peace. It matters little where we spend the rest of our days. Our children have seen their fathers humbled in defeat. Our warriors have felt shame, and after defeat they turn their days in idleness and contaminate their bodies with sweet foods and strong drink. It matters little where we pass the rest of our days. Tribes are made of men, nothing more. Men come and go like waves of the sea.
Dear Earthlings: 
Did you notice the wisdom of these words?  The Washington Chief assumes Chief Seattle thinks he owns the land.  Chief Seattle knows better.  And he is honest.  Nobody really owns any land.  The earth own itself.  It is sovereign.  This is where religion comes in.  We cannot prove that the earth is sovereign in a laboratory experiment.  However, we can find out after we destroy it with our own selves.  So, no matter how much we know or think we know, there will always be something important we don’t quite know for sure.  We will need a “belief system” to fill up that space where mystery is present.  So why not choose a belief system that makes sense?  One that serves us well and may very well protect us from being our own henchman?  That’s where Native American religion helps!  It sacralizes nature and reflects the very deep, widely time tested knowledge of long-time dwellers of the Western Hemisphere: those humans who crossed over through the sliver of land that was the Bering Straight during the latest glaciation some 18-20,000 years ago! 
Stay tuned for the next step.  We will post every Monday at noon.

Did you enjoy the post?  Let us know!  Yours truly appreciates your attention.  The comments box is open.

Come back!  And stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
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4 of 12 | Monday is for Religion: The Art of Connecting What’s Not Really Separate

Hi lovely Earthlings!
Yours truly is back with another piece of the Chief’s Lament.  This time the wisdom is even deeper.  Animals are our siblings, Chief Seattle claims, and when we destroy their habitat, we destroy them, our turn is next.  Since these wise words were pronounced a century and a half ago, we’ve explored space, we’ve landed on the Moon.  In that search for other planets who might be hospitable to our species, we’ve only found out one thing for sure.  If we ever find another astral body willing to have us over, we humans will have to migrate along with all the other species.  Why?  Because no species can live alone: we’re all connected!  “Animals are our bothers” as Chief Seattle puts it.  He already knew what took so much effort for us to discover.  Oh well . . .

“The Land Is Sacred to Us”

Chief Seattle’s Lament, Cont’d

So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we decide to accept, I will make one condition: The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers.

Handsome chief, eh?

I am a savage and I do not understand any other way. I have seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train. I am a savage and I do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive.

What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.
So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we agree, it will be to secure the reservation you have promised. There, perhaps, we may live out our brief days as we wish. When the last red man has vanished from this earth, and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, these shores and forests will still hold the spirits of my people. For they love this earth as the newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. So if we sell you our land, love it as we’ve loved it. Care for it as we’ve cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you take it. And with all your strength, with all your mind, with all your heart, preserve it for your children, and love it . . . as God loves us all.
Dear Earthlings: 
Did you notice the wisdom of these words?  The Washington Chief assumes Chief Seattle thinks he owns the land.  Chief Seattle knows better.  And he is honest.  Nobody really owns any land.  The earth own itself.  It is sovereign.  Animals are our siblings and respecting the joy of their life, their freedom and self-possession is essential to our happiness as well.  We are part of the same life and food chain.  We don’t have to be vegetarian.  But we owe our siblings a life of joy!
Stay tuned for the next step.  We will post every Monday at noon.  
Did you enjoy the post?  Let us know!  Yours truly appreciates your attention.  The comments box is open.

Come back!  And stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
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3 of 12 | Monday is for Religion: The Art of Connecting What’s Not Really Separate

Hi again lovely Earthlings!

Wish yours truly a Happy Birthday for this is the right day!  She is getting wiser and happier every year, and more adept in the arts of love.

When you think of religion, what comes to your mind?  When we desacralize nature, we imagine things as separate, each one a cute toy we can play with.  If the toy breaks we get a new one and throw the old one away.  Chief Seattle berates himself.  “I am the savage” he says.  “I don’t understand.”  How ironic!  Now that we’ve used up everything nature had to offer, the fun is over.  “Who was the savage then?” Chief Seattle would ask today.  When we do religion we sacralize nature again.  We revere and respect all its elements in an aura of ecosexual love.  Chief Seattle shows the way. 

“The Land Is Sacred to Us”
Chief Seattle’s Lament, Cont’d


I do not know. Our ways are different from your ways. The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. But perhaps it is because the red man is a savage and does not understand.

Chief Seattle
There is no quiet place in the white man’s cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring or the rustle of insect’s wings. But perhaps it is because I am a savage and do not understand. The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand. The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond and the smell of the wind itself, cleansed by a midday rain or scented with the pinion pine.

Cute hair, eh?

The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath—the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath. The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench. But if we sell you our land, you must remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. And the wind must also give our children the spirit of life. And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where even the white man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow’s flowers.

Dear Earthlings: 
Annie & Beth: Ecosexual Embrace

Did you notice the wisdom of these words?  The Washington Chief assumes Chief Seattle thinks he owns the land.  Chief Seattle knows better.  And he is honest.  Nobody really owns any land.  The earth own itself.  It is sovereign.  Chief Seattle knows the meaning of words.  Air, breathing, wind, spirit, they are all connected.  When I inhale the air you’ve exhaled in your most recent breath, I become part of you, you become part of me, we become part of each other in the sacred union of breathing together.  Love is the ecology of life, and it begins with breath.  What love can we inhale when cities emanate toxic clouds into our breath?  Chief Seattle reflects the wisdom of one who embraces ecosexual love. 

Stay tuned for the next step.  We will post every Monday at noon.  
Did you enjoy the post?  Let us know!  Yours truly appreciates your attention.  The comments box is open.

Come back!  And stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
 GaiaCoverFullSize  
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog: http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ 
Author’s Page/Lists all books: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JS1VKA 
YouTube Uploaded Videos: http://www.youtube.com/SerenaAnderlini
 

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2 of 12 | Monday is for Religion: The Art of Connecting What’s Not Really Separate

Hi again lovely Earthlings!
Have you been thinking about religion?  Religion has a bad name today.  It’s the excuse for wars.  But has it always been so?  The Civil Rights movement was inspired by religion.  And it was a social space where people of different races met, worked together, fell in love.  What other antidote is there to racism than the commingling of all shades so that difference does not matter?
More to the point, in the supposed land of religious freedom, those with belief systems that sacralized nature were not considered religious at all.  They were considered “heathens,” something in between a savage and an atheist.  Their belief system was against nature and had to be extirpated at the cost of eliminating its people as well.  So the genocide of Native American civilizations had to be almost successful before progressive monotheists became respectful of their belief systems, and sometimes fell in love with them.
Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens

But who was savage?  Who betrayed nature and got a license to kill her?  The earth remembers, Seattle says.  Animals, plants, rocks, are our family.  The lament resonates with Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens’s ecosexual weddings, designed to marry the natural elements and make them part of the fold. 

Listen to Chief Seattle as he predicts what will happen:

“The Land Is Sacred to Us”
Chief Seattle’s Lament, Cont’d 


Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.

Chief Seattle
The white man’s dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters, the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man—all belong to the same family.

So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves. He will be our father and we will be his children. So we will consider your offer to buy our land. But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us.
A young Seattle

The red man has always retreated before the advancing white man, as the mist of the mountain runs before the morning sun. But the ashes of our fathers are sacred. Their graves are holy ground, and so these hills, these trees, this portion of the earth is consecrated to us. We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his fathers’ graves behind, and he does not care. He kidnaps the earth from his children. He does not care. His fathers’ graves and his children’s birthright are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.

Dear Earthlings: 
Did you notice the wisdom of these words?  The Washington Chief assumes Chief Seattle thinks he owns the land.  Chief Seattle knows better.  And he is honest.  Nobody really owns any land.  The earth own itself.  It is sovereign.  Chief Seattle knows his people are losing.  But what’s the point of winning when the price is our hostess?  Today’s winners are tomorrow’s losers in a zero sum game.  And today we know the deserts our devouring appetites cause to grow. 
Stay tuned for the next step.  We will post every Monday at noon.  
Did you enjoy the post?  Let us know!  Yours truly appreciates your attention.  The comments box is open.

Come back!  And stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

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1 of 12 | Monday is for Religion: The Art of Connecting What’s Not Really Separate

Hi lovely Earthlings!
Yours truly is back and she feels this sudden shift toward religion.  What is religion?  “Re-” for doing again something that was done before.  “Ligion” for linking together.   So it could be the art of connecting what was not separate but appears to be so.  
For one who was raised atheist religion is not exactly an easy conversation.  As a kid, I often felt the “god” we rejected was an entity of its own.  We simply had to brave the desire to “believe” there was any power in that.  Living a sling shot from the Vatican, we had no choice.  It was either “religion,” and that meant Roman Catholicism, or “atheism,” and that meant pushing Catholicism away.  
It was only as a student in California many years later that I realized people had different religions.  They were ok with the religion of their neighbors.  Did not try to convert them!  Then, I thought, these deities are all inventions!  They really don’t exist outside people’s imagination.  There’s nothing out there that will get mad at you if you’re not afraid.  Oh!  What relaxation!
Yes, but how powerful the human imagination can be is something I was just becoming aware of.  I was studying the play For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enough by African-American poet Ntozake Shange.  And it ended with all the “girls” echoing for each other the phrase “and i found god in myself and i loved her, i loved her fiercely.”
How empowering, I thought.  She’s using a masculine name for this deity, but the pronoun to refer to it is feminine.  She’s talking about women who learn to love themselves.  They love themselves “fiercely” because they’ve been told that it’s a bad idea to do so.  They’ve been taught that the sacred is masculine. The feminine is what the sacred is not.  The feminine is not lovable, it is “temptation”!
That’s when I realized that these deities created by the human imagination simply help different people have more courage.  We invent deities that resemble us, and then we claim that they made us in their own image!  We can love knowledge as much as we want.  We can pursue it.  When can believe that science, when in good faith, will help resolve problems.  But we will never understand everything and must mask this mystery, this fear, with some invention of the imagination.  Religion therefore is inevitable.
But given the choice of a number of belief systems to become affiliated with, why choose the ones that don’t help?  As a woman I would rather choose a belief system that includes me in the sacred.  A system where goddesses, or female deities, are important.  But is that enough?  Or is it just more of the same, namely, people invent deities who look like themselves.
There was a way to go beyond that.  It was questioning another assumption that came with the idea of “god” my family rejected.  It’s called monotheism.  Why is monotheism so bad?  Because it extracts the sacred from the material and places it in an abstract realm.  Then it affords people a “license to kill” nature as if it was pure matter.  Including their own nature as lovers of nature, lovers of love. 
We need to re-sacralize nature, I thought.  Yes, we need to practice the art of connecting again what appears to be separate–separate from us, separate from itself–and in reality is not.  That’s “religion.”  Literally!  Yes.  And it’s also Gaia, the planetary life that’s the ecology of love.
Love is the ecology of life, Gaia says.  And what is love if not connecting, communion, the ecstasy of being together? 
Chief Seattle

Chief Seattle’s Lament appeared on my Facebook thread today.  I will blog it in a series of posts on Religion: The Art of Connecting What’s Not Really Separate.

The lament is so ominous, so clairvoyant, so attuned to the moment, that it really needs to be metabolized in small increments.
Here goes the first section:

“The Land Is Sacred to Us”

Chief Seattle’s Lament

Chief Sealth of the Duwamish League, known to us as Chief Seattle, delivered this speech in 1854—One year before a great treaty-making council between Indian tribes and the U.S. government. The government proposed that reservations be established, and although several tribes opposed this, treaties were signed: each of the tribes was to select its favorite home valley as its reservation. Three months later, war broke out.

The great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. The Great Chief also sends us words of friendship and goodwill. This is kind of him, since we know he has little need for our friendship in return. But we will consider your offer. For we know that if we do not sell, the white man may come with guns and take our land.

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us.

If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

Dear Earthlings: 
Did you notice the wisdom of these words?  The Washington Chief assumes Chief Seattle thinks he owns the land.  Chief Seattle knows better.  And he is honest.  Nobody really owns any land.  The earth own itself.  It is sovereign.  And today we know, while seas raise and get warmer, and hurricanes get to the red people’s sacred island, Manhattan.
Stay tuned for the next step.  We will post every Monday at noon.  
Did you enjoy the post?  Let us know!  Yours truly appreciates your attention.  The comments box is open.

Come back!  And stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
 GaiaCoverFullSize  
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog: http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ 
Author’s Page/Lists all books: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JS1VKA 
YouTube Uploaded Videos: http://www.youtube.com/SerenaAnderlini
 

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