Virescence

Community in the Sanctuary of the Earth

autumn05-287

Virescence:  becoming green

{excerpt from “God is Green” by Chris Highland}

“We are clearly verdant, virescent beings—always becoming green and growing greener.

I guess I’m beginning to think Green, naturally.  I find I have more of a feeling for, a connection with, the Pagan view of the earth:  pagan just means countryfolk (outsiders who live outside close to the ground; it’s like the old word, Heathen—meaning people of the heath and heather, or that great word Heretic:  one who chooses another, green?, path).  These outsiders have no fear of the dirt; they aren’t afraid of becoming impure or stained by the natural environment.  They see Life in the earth, the Earth is Alive, and all living things are animated—they are anima–there is living soul or spirit or breath within it all.

Pagans get really excited about Green.  Pagans, Wiccans and a lot of indigenous tribal people are members of the original Green Religion—Nature Religion—Nature as Religion, or at least some kind of directly experienced spirituality. 

Theologians (that is, those who make good guesses about things they really don’t know anything about) refer to this ancient philosophy of earthiness as either animism or Pantheism—all is imbued with life, every particle and proton teeming with electricity and aliveness—a relationship is possible with the earth, with nature, the Universe. . .or call it God. . .doesn’t matter.  The relationship is everything—and it is a relationship with Everything, as a part of every last thing.  Creator and creation are one.

The great naturalist John Burroughs said that we get into great trouble when we identify God with Nature.  But, Burroughs says. . .But what trouble we get into when we refuse to identify the two!  God and Nature are the same thing, in Burroughs’ mind.  God is Nature and Nature is God.  Seems natural doesn’t it?  Maybe not.  So either God is literally Green (and brown, red, yellow, white, blue—earth tones) or out there, as the old song says, somewhere beyond the sea, or beyond the sky. 

Burroughs put it this way:

“We go away from home [the earth, the known universe] searching for the gods [the spiritual]—gods that we carry with us always.”   What does that mean?  We search for the backpack and behold, it’s been on our back the whole time. We have been hoodwinked into thinking that there are two universes:  one physical and one spiritual—one natural and one super-natural.  The gospel of Burroughs, and Muir and many other scientific-naturalists calls us to return to our roots, literally, our dark brown and green roots.  In this view and practice, spirituality is simply our life—nothing more, nothing less.”

April 2009 

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About Chris Highland

Author, teacher, nonprofit manager, photographer, former minister, interfaith chaplain View all posts by Chris Highland

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