An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links
to Mythologies, Fairy Tales & Folklore,
Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
Pacifica Graduate Institute
Common Themes, East & West:
22 APRIL 2001
Copyright © by the artist, Joanna Colbert, and used with her kind permission.
[Note: on her site, Joanna includes data on this Goddess of the Wilds,
who so fiercely protected Her forests and the young of all species]
11 April 2001:I began this page last year to celebrate a new millennium and the 30th anniversary of Earth Day (see my Archived Earth Day 2000 Page from last year). I felt a sense of great hope at the time. Since then, that hope has been muted, even numbed, by the horror of hundreds of thousands of stacked-up corpses of hooved creatures in the UK and Europe (see my recent page, Of Cows & Madness), and by betrayals from a new American president whose loyalties clearly belong to the business of business, and not the business of Mother Earth (see Greenpeace's Take Back the EarthDay for info on a 4/18/01 rally in Washington D.C. to protest Bush's policies).Last year, Earth Day fell within the strangely quiet "limbo-time" of Western Christianity's Holy Saturday. This year, it falls on Easter Sunday in the Orthodox Christian calendar. Could this shift from limbo to Easter be a subtle promise of resurrection for an ecological movement that's currently in dire straits? Is it too much to hope for that? -- probably. Yet, after all, Christ made his first appearance on Easter morning in a garden, and was himself mistaken, not for a CEO, or politician, or cabinet minister, or general, but for a gardener. The rich ritual legacy he left Christendom does not center around oil, power-brokers, pollutants, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, stocks, or even meat. It centers instead around simple bread from earth's fields of grain and wine from earth's sunripened grapes.
The Christian West holds too tenaciously to the drama of Christ's death. For him, that happened over 2000 years ago (see my Holy Saturday 2001 Thoughts & "Ikon"). What he left his believers, what was important to him, was bread and wine transformed within the great web-of-life and shared in communion with a species intimately woven into that same web-of-life. We should not forget this.
Nevertheless, this is forgotten or, worse, ignored. Therefore, if there is to be a resurrection for the ecological movement, it won't be easy. Politicians and multi-national business interests will oppose it with cunning laws and hypocritical rhetoric. The rest of us will need to work with renewed hope, a healthy sense of humor, and a clear determination to protect the environment for all species without resorting to the warped logic and power-abuses used by the powerful opposition.
Pray, create rituals, sprinkle water blessed by your hands on the earth, light fires of remembrance for slaughtered species (especially, this year, for the hooved creatures of Europe), write letters to politicians and CEOs, send them e-mails (e.g., see Greenpeace, Working for Change, and other activism sites that make sending appropriate e-mails easy), march in local protests, carry banners, start new websites, don't collapse into emotions that'll only drain you, stay calm and watchful, show compassion towards your own bodies (which are also of earth!) -- do whatever your own healthy, creative imagination prompts you for Earth Day this year. It'll all help.
This site, updated annually, offers a listing of Earth Day/Week/Month events around the United States (and a way to add your own to the others), tips for organizers of such events, terrific earth-friendly products, and -- best of all -- the international coverage of the "EnviroLink News Service -- Daily Environmental News." Here, for example, is one news item from 2000 (from EnviroLink):http://earthday.envirolink.org/history.htmlLONDON, April 5, 2000 (Reuters) - The Church of England should not allow new tenants to carry out genetically modified crop trials on its land, the church's Ethical Advisory Group said on Wednesday.... [Go to their "News Archives" if you want more particulars.]
From the above site comes a fascinating history of Earth Day since its beginning on 22 April 1970. [Note 4/11/01: since this link is currently broken, a good alternate is at Earthday Network: http://www.earthday.net/about/history.stm].http://www.earth-day2000.org/
"Earth Day 2000, the Consumer Clearinghouse for the Environmental Decade" is a sober, careful site that, among other things, watchdogs false advertising claims by companies like Coca Cola, Chevron, Mobil, and Pacific Gas & Electric (whose misuse of a chemical called chromium VI has now been made famous by the movie, "Erin Brockovich," starring Julia Roberts). Each year this non-profit organization puts out its "Don't Be Fooled" Awards:http://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/earthday/earthday.html...American consumers are increasingly looking for products from companies that are environmentally responsible, but find it difficult to sort through the numerous claims corporations make in their advertisements and product labels. Earth Day 2000 releases this report annually to call attention to the past year’s worst greenwashers, corporations that have made misleading or false claims about the environmental benefits of their products and industries. "Don’t Be Fooled" describes companies’ greenwashing attempts as well as the truth behind the misleading claims....Under "Links" are city-links to many different American municipalities with Earth Day celebrations as well as links to a wide array of environmental organizations. Under "Events" are Earth Day listings for more cities without websites. [Note: site has a 2001 update.]
This is a great little page from the EPA with 15 things you can do to help your local watershed for Earth Day -- or any day.http://geology.about.com/education/geology/library/weekly/aa040900a.htm
From Andrew Alden, the geology guide at about.com, comes an excellent essay (with clickable links) on Earth Day, past and present. He argues for creating a larger role for the earth sciences on this day, a role that would lift the day's often too tepid, feel-good quality to one of genuine significance.http://www.earthday-j.org/english/...The political side of Earth Day has faded from its remarkable origin in 1970, during the Nixon administration. Back then, ideas about conservation and environmentalism were vigorously debated, part of a sea change in American consciousness....
This is Earth Day 2000 in Japan but under "Asia" there is also material on Korea. Some of the pages are minimal but others contain excellent environmental papers.
Courtesy of Tradestone International
This is the Farm Sanctuary's website. One of my friends, Jane Brown, sent me this link after visiting the Sanctuary's northern California farm in early 2000. Jane was so moved by what she saw, and so agonized by the fate of so many other unrescued animals, that she spent the weekend in tears and has been haunted by the experience ever since. She is now a strict vegan.http://majordojo.com/vegetarianism/ecology.phtml: [URL updated 4/7/02]
This site isn't specifically focused on Earth Day, but it belongs here because these animals are Earth's own, and thus urgently deserve our help and protection -- for their sake as well as our own. Once, the goddess Artemis, Lady of the Animals, would have been their champion. Now, this is our task. Here's a portion of the page's introduction:Since incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has established America's premier farm animal shelters and waged effective campaigns to stop farm animal cruelty. In addition to its No Downers [note: "downers" are animals too weak to stand], Boycott Veal and Farm Animal Defense campaigns, Farm Sanctuary promotes a vegan lifestyle.The site is deeply disturbing, but it is also filled with hope, beauty, and love. I hope you'll risk visiting this one. (FYI: so that you know my own position, I have been, essentially, a vegan for many years, although as a proper Capricorn, which is the sign of the archetypal goat, I do use milk, yoghurt and cheese from goats. If ever I have land of my own, I plan to raise a small herd of goats so that I'll be 100% sure that they're loved and well cared for.)
Every year, thousands of people visit Farm Sanctuary in upstate New York and northern California. Here, people have the opportunity to be touched by rescued farm animals. Farm Sanctuary also hosts various conferences and events, and operates Bed & Breakfast cabins at its New York farm.
Farm Sanctuary has videos, photos, and other resources to help educate people about farm animal abuse, and it has reached millions through the media. The organization also publishes a quarterly newsletter to keep its members informed....
Courtesy of Russian Sunbirds
From D. Byrne Reese comes "A Global Responsibility," a well written page with sobering statistics on meat production versus vegetarianism. The style is very accessible -- for example:Animal Deaths in Europe: Of Cows & Madness...In all honesty, I resent scare tactics, and similar methods designed to shock people into change. Such methods have always made me feel like I was being manipulated - and as a result, I resisted. However, the facts involved here are exactly that: facts. I will talk about them below because they are some of the reasons that persuaded me to become a vegetarian. Whenever possible, I will indicate the source from which these facts can be verified....Again, the page isn't specifically connected to Earth Day but, in a larger sense, it's an intricate piece of the overall picture. My own suspicion -- and I'm speaking here purely as a mythologist with a depth psychological perspective, not a scientific one, so please understand my bias and take it for what it's worth to you -- but my own suspicion is that to take into one's body a life-form killed painfully, disrespectfully, untimely, and cruelly is to invite one's own cells to run amuck in confusion and revulsion -- the result could be what we call cancer. Humans are just one among many life-forms -- we're all interconnected -- how can our cells not feel the pain of all the others?
If we were just digesting chemicals compounded in someone's lab, that would be one thing. Or if we were digesting the flesh of animals and birds whose cellular structures still held memories of sun and rain, wind and fragrance, then even if their lives were terminated abruptly, but with the respect a hunter feels for a brave prey, we could probably find true nourishment there, for the earlier, soaring, life-drenched memories would still overbalance the pain at the end. But to take into ourselves the flesh of creatures reared in dismal, dreary, claustrophobic boredom on huge farms with thousands of other miserable creatures, never tasting rain or wind, never running free, and herded at the end into brutal pens of mass death, how could our own bodies ever digest and find decent nourishment in such gray, cramped, inert flesh? I don't know. For myself, I prefer not to risk it.
[Added 4/11/01]: This is a page I created for Mything Links on Spring Equinox 2001: it looks at Foot (Hoof) and Mouth Disease from the perspective of a cultural mythologist. I suggest in my essay that our tragically meat-engorged Western urban economy dates back to the ill-omened founding of an ancient Greek city (Thebes, birthplace of infamous Oedipus) on the corpse of a harried cow. We are still living with the twisted repercussions of that shift in consciousness. I hope you'll take a look.http://www.headlinemuse.com/Culture/footmouth.htm
[Added 4/11/01]: From the excellent monthly e-zine, Headline Muse, comes another cultural mythologist's look at Foot and Mouth Disease. Don't miss this subtle, compassionate essay by Adrian Strong, a meat-eater himself (and a former student of mine at Pacifica Graduate Institute) on our soulless attitudes towards the animals we eat. Here's an excerpt:http://www.grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?f=1&i=21808&t=21808...Do we still have any reverence or even respect left for that which gives up its own life so we may continue our own? The image of mountains of carcasses piled up in a field, being machined by bulldozers and front-end loaders, is a powerful one. Auschwitz this is not, we can smugly say to ourselves - for the victims are not human - and yet the attitude of machine-mind which haunts the shadowy background of such images is not so dissimilar. Indeed is it not this same attitude which treats animals as mere units of production and gives rise to such “stock” diseases as Foot-and-Mouth and Mad-Cow? For what passes for food and treatment of these animals can in no way be imagined as adequate to a soulful life....Strong then frames this larger issue within the context of an earlier incarnation in which the future Buddha sacrificed his own life to save a starving female tiger. I highly recommend this one.
The way we treat our daily food – as stock – not as a living sacrament which keeps us alive is an indication of just how removed we are from Life, and consequently from Death. Yet the powerful images we see on television speak for the slaughtered saying: “Yes, Look! This is the way we really are to you. Look at us! We are mere carcasses to you – not even Livestock, but Deadstock!”....
[Added 4/12/01]: Still on the topic of Foot and Mouth Disease and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of creatures comes a brief 3/24/01 forum-posting from "Mercury Rapids." The author places the slaughter in the heartbreaking context of a passage from the Book of Relevation:http://in.news.yahoo.com/010429/43/tcy4.htmlFound this in Revelation 6:9 and it reads to me like a cow's eye perspective of the recent foot and mouth outbreak: ....
[Added 7/11/01]:From a 29 April 2001 report from India Abroad News Service comes another item on Foot and Mouth disease, "Now British Army blamed for FMD epidemic." It traces the trail of blame and racism.http://184.108.40.206/board/Noncgi/Forum1/HTML/000344.html
[Added 4/14/01]: Finally, yesterday (4/13/01) I found this lengthy but worthwhile collection of often eloquent postings from members of the forum on Caroline Myss' site. Members discuss Foot and Mouth, cows, eating meat, eating plants, and much more of relevance.http://www.sdearthtimes.com/
This is the San Diego Earth Times On-Line -- it offers high calibre monthly articles on the environment:http://www.earthday.net/Each month, San Diego Earth Times On-Line presents articles covering a wide variety of local, national and international environmental topics. The SDET archive contains every article published since our first issue in Dec '93 -- more than 1,000 articles.For April, they have several special features on Earth Day (updated annually).
We also offer a searchable Calendar of Earth-Friendly Events, an Archive Search Engine, Web links and more....
This is Earthday Network -- another serious site for Earth Day and environmental issues in general. The main page is divided into three columns: "Events & Groups" (various Earth Day celebrations around the United States); "How To ---"; and "Grist Magazine," which is the area I found most interesting because it features well written essays by experts on environmental issues -- here, for example, is a direct link to a Dartmouth professor discussing ABC's John Stossel's attack on organic farming: http://www.gristmagazine.com/grist/citizen/citizen031300.stmhttp://www.kidsdomain.com/holiday/earthday/
There's another feature called "Teachers Corner" with excellent information on Earth Day for classroom use: http://www.earthday.net/howto/teachers-corner.stm
And there's "Breaking News" with updates on environmental news at:
Overall, this is an impressive site with solid information and goals.
For children, this is Kid's Domain's "Celebrate Earth Day - Every Day." There are stories, coloring pages, Earth Day cards, games, songs, crafts, foods, amimated rainforest animals (you can download a demo of these), and much more.http://www.pta.org/events/ew/00/index.htm
Detail of "Water Dance"
Painting © by Mo Montserrat
[From The Sacred Feminine]
Again focused on children, this is the National PTA's (Parent Teacher Association) website for Earth Week 2000 (16-22 April). The focus is on clean water, clean air, and lead-poisoning prevention. [4/11/01: not updated for 2001 but the data remains relevant for *any* year.]Water: Sacrality & Lore (Wells, Springs, Pools, Lakes)
[Added 4/12/01]: Continuing the theme of water is my new Mything Links page. Especially relevant to Earth Day are the first 4 links showing how crystallization-patterns in water are profoundly affected by positive emotions and certain kinds of music; on the flip side, these links show how the patterns break down into murky chaos when the water is polluted, or subjected to heavy metal music or emotional negativity; the implications, underscored by great photos on each of those 4 sites, are awesome.http://www.environmentaldefense.org
This page comes from the non-profit organization, Environmental Defense, and like other sites on my page, offers news updates on serious environmental issues. It also offers an impressive collection of new ways to protect the environment by "pointing & clicking" (go to "Action" in the small-lettered menu across the top of the page). Here's a review from PRNewswire:http://www.wildideas.net/forest/library/ecospirit.htmlPRESS RELEASE
Publication date: 2000-04-05
NEW YORK, April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Taking Earth Day activism beyond a concert in the park, Environmental Defense (www.environmentaldefense.org), today highlighted a variety of direct- action tools online to let concerned consumers help improve the environment in their own backyards and around the globe.
Environmental Defense, a leading national nonprofit organization based in New York, represents more than 300,000 members. Since 1967, the organization has linked science, economics, and law to create innovative, equitable, and cost-effective solutions to the most urgent environmental problems.
"To mark the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, we are using the power of the Internet to take environmental activism to the next level," said Environmental Defense executive director, Fred Krupp. "People are now just a point and click away from making a big difference this Earth Day."
From Scorecard, a state of the art resource allowing people to easily track and lobby polluters in their own communities, to the Clean Car Pledge, Environmental Defense's online features deliver tools for action directly to the desktops of consumers....
...Dedicated to finding the ways that work, Environmental Defense is a national advocacy organization with nearly 200 scientists, economists, attorneys, and other professionals in its eight regional offices. The organization was founded in 1967 and has helped bring about some of the twentieth century's most significant environmental milestones. From the phase-out of neurotoxic leaded gasoline to the ban of DDT (a measure that brought the Bald Eagle back from the brink of extinction) to persuading McDonald's to phase out foam clamshells, Environmental Defense has been on the cutting edge of environmental gains for more than 30 years. The organization has worked closely with the Bush and Clinton Administrations to create environmentally sound and economically viable strategies for reducing acid rain and controlling global warming, and continues to pursue new solutions by working directly with business, government, and grassroots groups on approaches that make sense for all.
[Added 4/12/01]: This is a lengthy scholarly paper, "The Soul of Nature: The Meaning of Ecological Spirituality," by Lynna Landstreet. It's an excellent, highly worthwhile, serious essay. The author has divided it into 16 subsections, each with a separate page (the full text is available on one page if you wish to print it out). To give you an idea of her range, here are the subsections: 1. Introduction; 2. Enviromentalism and the sacred; 3. The sacred defined; 4. Spiritual experience as transformative; 5."Despairwork" -- spirituality and activist burnout; 6. Immanence and animism in the West; 7. Monotheism and scientific atheism; 8. Three axes of change; 9. Magic and the problem of belief; 10.The cultural and historical specificity of disbelief; 11. The resurgence of spirituality in the West; 12. The birth of neopaganism; 13. Spiritual deep ecology; 14. Spirituality, culture and identity; 15. Tensions and commonalities between neo-paganism and deep ecology; and 16. Conclusions and endnotes.
I went browsing and what first caught my eye was a beautifully nuanced piece from section 9 on magic and belief -- here's a portion from the beginning:...A society's view of magic may in fact say a great deal about where that society perceives itself in relation to the world, in terms of the locus of power and control. A world where magic can happen is a world where we don't have all the answers, a world where nature still holds the power to surprise us, to confound our expectations and evade our attempts at categorization, prediction and control.
In my view, the acceptance of the possibility of magic is rooted in humility -- it is a tacit admission that we don't know everything. Conversely, the denial of magic is rooted in control fetishism -- in the blind faith that nothing we don't understand can exist. Even the term "supernatural" in itself implies a faith in the possibility of some sort of absolute knowledge of what is "natural."
I find that this faith in the ability, and perhaps more importantly, the right, of human beings to define the bounds of reality, to dictate what nature should and should not be allowed to do, is disturbingly widespread, even among many who are otherwise quite critical of anthropocentric biases....
Related Pages from MythingLinks:
To: Current Earth Day page
To Common Themes: Animal Deaths in Europe: Of Cows & Madness [New 2001]
To Common Themes: Water: Sacrality & Lore (Wells, Springs, Pools, Lakes) [New 2001]
To Common Themes: Land: Sacrality & Lore
To Common Themes: Earth Goddesses & Gods
To Common Themes: Green Men
To Common Themes: Tree & Plant Lore
To Current Springtide Greetings, Lore, & Customs
To Eastern & Western Europe: Earth-Based Ways (Wicca)
To the Wheel of the Year
Menu of Common Themes, East & West:
Animal Deaths in Europe: Of Cows & Madness
Artists & Muses: The Creative Impulse
Creation Myths I
Creation Myths II
Crones & Sages
Dragons & Serpents
Food: Sacrality & Lore
THE FOUR ELEMENTSEARTH:Green Men
Land: Sacrality & Lore (mountains, caves, labyrinths, spiral mounds, crop & stone circles, FengShui)
Earth Day & Environmental Issues
Earth Goddesses & Gods
Air: Sacrality & Lore (air, wind, sky, storms, clouds, weather lore)
Sky Goddesses & Gods
Fire: Sacrality & Lore (fire, northern lights, green-flashes, Elmo's Fire)
Fire Goddesses & Gods
Water: Sacrality & Lore (water, wells, springs, pools, lakes)
Floods & Rainbows: Mythologies & Science
Water Goddesses & Gods
Nature Spirits of the World
Rituals of Birthing [forthcoming]
Rituals of Death & Dying [forthcoming]
Rituals of Puberty
Rituals of Devic Weather-Working: An experimental, on-going ritual in cyberspace
Sacred Theatre & Dance
Star Lore & Astrology
Symbols, Signs, & Runes
Time(Calendars, Clocks, Natural Temporal Cycles, Attitudes toward Time, & Millennium Issues)
Trees & Plant Lore
Tricksters, Clowns, Magicians, Jesters & Fools
Wars, Weapns & Lies: The Dehumanizing Impulse
Weaving Arts & Lore (Cosmic Webs, Spinning, Spindles, Clothing)