Defining Nature Spirituality
In the May 11, 1855 letter detailing the commissioning instructions, the Christian biased Capital Engineer, Captain Montgomery Meigs wrote this:
“We have too many Washington’s: we have America on the pediment, Victories and Liberties are rather pagan emblems, but a Liberty I fear is the best we can get.”
In July 1853, Meigs, supervising engineer of the construction of the Capitol extension, asked Massachusetts Senator Edward Everett to recommend artists to make the sculptures for the new pediments on the East Front. Everett recommended the American Thomas Crawford (1813-1857) who was then working in Rome.
After getting the commission Crawford began to collaborate with Meigs and former Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis on artwork for the Capital. At the time Jefferson Davis was Secretary of War (1853 to 1857) and in charge of Capitol art and construction. He would later become President of the Confederacy. Meigs wrote to Crawford:
“I do not see why a Republic so much richer than the Athenian should not rival the Parthenon in the front of its first public edifice.”
To top the capital dome, Crawford was commissioned to design a statue of "Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace." In 1855 he built a plaster model for the statue in his studio in Rome, Italy.
Crawford died suddenly in 1857 after completing of the full-size plaster model for the Statue of Freedom in Rome. After his death, his widow shipped the model to the United States, where it was cast in bronze by Clark Mills and placed atop the Capitol Dome on December 2, 1863. Crawford's original plaster model is now on view in Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center. During the placement ceremony it was hailed by President Lincoln as a symbol of the country's unification.
Katya, Miller (2007) An Appreciation of Thomas Crawford's Statue of Freedomhttp://www.ladyfreedom.net/articles/Lady%20Freedom%20article%20(complete).pdf and http://www.ladyfreedom.net/history.html
Fryd, Vivien Green (2017) Thomas Crawford, Statue of Freedom, 1855-63. American Social History Productions http://picturinghistory.gc.cuny.edu/thomas-crawford-statue-of-freedom-1855-63/
Image from https://www.aoc.gov/explore-capitol-campus/blog/nature-capitol-statue-freedom)
Paganism is Freedom - Origin Of Liberty In Pagan Revival Called The Enlightenment (1690- 1770)
(July 6, 2022) The first phase of the Enlightenment challenged human created religious laws and institutions hiding behind a claimed divine sanction. The next phase would challenge was the divine right of kings to rule. The idea of liberty never emerged in nations having a non-Pagan cultures.
The Dawn of Freedom began in Britain in 1688 because that was the year of the "Glorious Revolution" in which constitutional limits were placed on monarchical power and religious toleration was made state policy and entered English culture such that it was never revoked. This phase had its roots in the philosophy of government from the classical era. This is why all the original government buildings in the United States look classical. An overview of this phase of the Enlightenment published in 1966 said the following:
In this phase, the Enlightenment thinkers tried to separate the role of the state from the role of religion. Europe had seen too many religious wars and wars against heretics in its history. They concluded that the state would be responsible for material things while religion would be responsible for emotional/spiritual things. This first stated by John Locke (1632-1704) who was also important in closing out the previous phase of Enlightenment. He wrote the following between 1689 and 1693:
The commonwealth seems to me to be a society of men constituted only for the procuring, preserving, and advancing their own civil interests. Civil interests I call life, liberty, health, and indolency of the body (freedom from bodily pain); and the possession of outward things, such as money, lands, houses, furniture, and the like. (Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration in Kramic 1995)
Thomas Jefferson in the U.S Declaration of Independence shortened and generalized Locke's phase to "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The concept of happiness as used by Jefferson thus includes the right to health and the right to acquire and hold possessions. During the civil war Abraham Lincoln and the nation elevated in blood the Declaration of Independence above that of the constitution to justify the elimination of the property right of slavery. The Declaration as a statement of purpose trumped any legal document meant to implement that purpose. Freedom is Pagan.
Gay, Peter (1966) The Enlightenment - The Rise of Modern Paganism
Kramic, Isaac [editor] (1995) The Portable Enlightenment Reader. Penguin books
Feeling forests and meadows is a multisensory experience so Druids tend to develop an awareness and appreciation of all their all their senses.
Feelings are conscious phenomena and all available evidence indicates consciousness is the means of connecting with the spiritual realm. Considerations of its evolutionary purpose suggests we are all interconnected by a spiritual network in addition to the scientifically demonstrated non-verbal emotional propagation network. Networks are extensively mentioned in Alphabetic Akkadian texts and seen in some of the earliest Neolithic archaeological images.
Using feelings to interact with the spiritual realm is emotional magic and this sort of magic is extensively mentioned in the Alphabetic Akkadian texts.
Nature Paganism Starts by Having Feelings of Connection with Nature.
(Jan. 3, 2023) Nature spirituality is mainstream Paganism such that the all-encompassing word "Pagan" usually means "nature spirituality" even though its dictionary definition is: "a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions."
The core of any spiritual practice are feelings. These feelings are non-material conscious experiences having various levels of emotional energy. Consciousness experiences represent the non-material spiritual realm which is separate from the physical realm. No theory of physics explains consciousness.
Main Denominations of Nature Paganism Originate in Different Land Resonances
(June 9, 2023) The emotional resonances generated by land and climate are the main component of culture. This defines the main denominations found in today's Nature Paganism. These main denominations are:
- Celtic (Druid) - British Isles, France
- Classical (Greek-Roman),
- Central American (Mayan, Inca, Aztec)
- Nordic-Germanic (Viking)
- Eclectic - present land spirituality (nature witchcrafts, wicca) but no connection with past traditions
The main subject of this website is the the Neolithic Farmer Ancient Druid civilization. This ancient culture along with the invading Indo-European culture is the ancestor to the Celtic, Nordic-Germanic, and Classical Pagan denominations.
Some popular witch specializations are:
- Green Witch - works with green growing things. Often a herbalist.
- Kitchen Witch - works with green growing things with emphasis on home
- Sea Witch - works with oceans, lakes, rivers, waters
- Cosmic Witch - works with state of planets, moon, sun
- Hedge Witch - works with the mystery of darkness and the powers of spirits between realms. Almost a shaman.
Starting Green Witchcraft by Annabel Margaret
(June 9, 2023) How does prayer or any communication with the spiritual realm really work? Are you on the phone or radio with some deity? Of course not! Energy is a physical phenomena and does not cross over into the non-material realm of consciousness. Only feelings have that possibility. Using feelings for that purpose is emotion magic, in other words, witchcraft.
The main themes of this video are:
- Magic crafting is a life-long path of growing awareness and self-improvement.
- Everyone must find their own emotional resonances and correspondences. For example, what you read about what a crystal does may not work for you, that is only an observation of average effects. (standard training is to take a crystal and carry it with you so it is constantly in your mind. Observe what happens to you during that week.)
- You don't need a lot of tools and things to start. While those aid in directing and enhancing certain feelings and emotional channels most things around you generate some sort of feeling within you. Start with natural things you find and personal memory items. Also practice various kinds of meditation and yoga to see what works.
- Don't be afraid to mess up. Everyone is already messing up and doing uncontrolled witchcraft because everyone has feelings which are being projected out to others. These feelings then come back at oneself because we live in a social and spiritual network. So don't be afraid to start magic work which starts to bring emotions into awareness and under some sort of control. (That we exist within a social network has been scientifically proven. That we also exist within a spiritual network is inferred based upon anecdotal evidence and consideration of the evolutionary purpose of conscious experiences.)
- Keeping desired subconscious emotional channels open (emotional conditioning) requires constant but moderate practice just like athletic conditioning. If your life is a mess you have the wrong emotional/spiritual channels open so don't keep using those.
- You don't need to be a Wiccan to be a witch. While this was the first organized witchcraft tradition/religion, it is just one tradition out of many. Find a supportive tradition and make it your own but be aware that not all traditions are supportive. Traditions that are dualist (reality divided into good versus evil), dogmatic, or have lordified, human only, deities will severely limit your witchcraft by blocking many emotional channels. As Jesus himself said "you cannot serve two masters," meaning a person cannot follow both a feeling based spiritual path and a dogmatic path.
(July 3, 2022) This well done video uses the word "Pagan" as meaning "nature spirituality." Any spirituality involves feelings of connection with the believed sources of existence. Nature spirituality assumes the sources of existence are the various powers of nature found in both its physical and spiritual (conscious) realms and not some human-like god living apart from nature on a higher plane. Also notice that Paganism (Druidry) in both its spiritual and religious forms is an ever growing personal path and not a static dogmatic faith.
Grounding Nature Spirituality Makes it a Force in People's Lives
The three components of spiritual grounding are:
Defining a community knowledge source
Defining a paradigm of the Divine
Defining the goals (purpose) of the community
Some people have much difficulty in changing one of their paradigms when that paradigm makes them feel superior and secure. This can make them appear completely irrational and willing to perform atrocities. This was noticed by German Christian theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was jailed and eventually killed by the Nazis:
“The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison)
Comparing Religious Paradigms
(Jan. 3, 2023) Having all the facts in the world is useless unless the relevant facts can be found when needed. This requires a mental framework or model (paradigm) for working with acquired facts. If new facts cannot be fitted into a person's existing paradigm they will tend to ignore those facts. Thus holding onto a simple paradigm makes that person seem stupid to others. Consequently, each person needs to develop as general a paradigm as possible by having broad experiences and getting a broad education.
Paradigms are difficult to change. In science paradigm changes are what make scientific revolutions different from normal science. Paradigms are heavily influenced by the culture one is born into and ones own emotional needs, especially the need to belong to a powerful group. These deep emotional needs can make paradigms very sticky and resistant to change.
The four main classes of spiritual/religious paradigms are:
Atheistic, Pantheistic - Material realm is superior or is the only realm which exists.
The spiritual realm does not really exist or has no power. Our material world of energy and mass is the only reality. Anything spiritual like the existence of conscious experiences is considered an illusion or as something which mysteriously emerges from material activity.
Transcendentalist - The divine/spiritual realm is superior. The material world is an illusion.
The material realm has no existence apart from the divine realm and is just a manifestation of the divine. Our minds create define our reality as constrained by our own cultural conditioning.
Perceptheistic - the divine/spiritual realm co-exists equally with the material realm but only the material realm can be known in common by a community (Druidry)
We can know the physical realm objectively as a community but we can only know the spiritual realm at a personal level. No one else directly shares our consciousness. Because of this, deities of the spiritual realm can be perceived in a way best suited for each person either as people or as clusters of powers. This was the paradigm of the ancient pre-classical era culture as revealed by its newly translated texts.
Theistic (Monotheistic or Polytheistic) - Theistic (Monotheistic or Polytheistic) - Divine/spiritual realm co-exists equally with material realm.. Both realms can be known in common by a community. The spiritual realm is known dogmatically via a religion's sacred text. Deities may be lordified, that is, perceived only as people. (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) or be perceptheistic (Buddhism, reconstructed Pagan religions)
This paradigm replaced ancient perceptheism with the rise of large nation states. Their distant male kings came to be seen powers just a powerful and capricious as nature powers. Because these kings were mostly male the divine feminine was downgraded. Because kings had royal courts the divine realm came to be perceived as personified lord gods living on a higher plane in their own royal courts. Because these gods have a full range of human emotions humans need to fear them and appease them with gifts and praise.
A difference exists between community knowledge and personal knowledge. Community knowledge is the facts a community as a whole is expected to believe in order to insure their prosperity and survival. Not believing in the effectiveness of smallpox vaccines puts yourself and many in your community at risk of early death. Being careless with matches because you don't realize how they work can set your building on fire killing you and others. Humans do not exist in isolation from others so a community has the right to expect its members to care about the truths of the physical world.
In contrast personal knowledge is knowledge about your own emotional reactions. It is spiritual knowledge that only you know. You cannot expect others to feel the same or to use the same mental model which works for you. This is why Nature Religion is perceptheistic encouraging any divine conception which works best for each individual. All all equally valid because the spiritual realm in not knowable by experiment.
Nature Paganism's Community Knowledge Source is Nature
(July 3, 2022) Druidry has two valid sources of knowledge with differing purposes because we as humans exist in two different realms, the physical realm and the spiritual realm (our conscious feelings). Community knowledge deals with group survival and prosperity so everyone is expected to have the same truths. In contrast spiritual knowledge is for personal fulfillment, that is, for finding out who we really are. This is reflected in the ancient saying at the entrance to Greek sanctuary at Delphi of "Know Thyself."
In the ancient past before the rise of books and institutional authorities, nature was the only source of community knowledge. If to many cultural traditions developed contrary to nature that culture soon went extinct by being outperformed by others.
Nature is the only guaranteed consistent source of knowledge even if we humans may not understand all of it. If nature was not consistent we would not be here because the universe would have crashed like a computer.
Other knowledge sources are charismatic gurus and sacred texts which are human created sources although unsupported dogmatic claims are made that they are divinely inspired. If they are truly divinely inspired they would all be consistent internally and consistent with each other but they are not. The result is inherent conflict because in the end truth cannot be agreed upon. The only inherently peaceful religions are nature based religions.
The two sides of dualism were at war with each other until the end times when they would be united once again. In the west, dualism inserted the idea of the end times into Judaism and from there into Christianity and Islam. In the east it triggered the debates which led to the founding of Buddhism and the creation of the Hindu Bhagavad Gita.
Nature Paganism's Goals as a Community is To Align with the Divine Powers
(July 3, 2022) Existing religious communities have three possible requirements for their members:
Druid (Nature-Based) Communities- Conscious beings are the endpoint of creation and so play an amplified role in its eternal cycle. Therefore humans must seek to support that eternal cycle by aligning with the divine powers (which if personified is the same as saying do the will of God). Whatever a person's personal goals may be they will be easier to achieve by working with the divine powers instead of against them. Conscious beings are eventually reincarnated in this world or other worlds at a level appropriate for their level of consciousness. This life is an opportunity for improving one's eternal soul.
Eastern Dualist Communities- Creation separated humans from the perfect eternal and changeless divine. Therefore humans must seek to rejoin the Divine by becoming still and passionless like the Divine (oneness).
Western Dualist Communities- Creation separated humans from the good divine so that humans are born part of an evil and corrupt world. Therefore, humans must be saved from it by either doing good works, by following laws, or by having proper beliefs. Only in this way can souls rejoin the Divine and gain an eternal blissful life.
The ancients always sought to work with the divine/natural powers to achieve societal and personal goals because they viewed them as laws of nature. If the "divine powers" are personified like they are in the Bible then this statement is the same as saying "doing the will of God." (in the Hebrew scriptures the word translated as god is 'elohim where /m/ is a plural ending.)
What challenged the original Nature based life purpose was the invention of dualism in the Zoroastrian religion (see picture).