Posts Tagged ‘John Beckett’

Blessed Earth Day!

I almost forgot to post anything directly about Earth Day, although, clearly regular blog readers know that every day is Earth Day in my world.

I enjoyed John Beckett’s musings yesterday in his post, “The Candle of Earth Day,” which begins: “‘It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness’ – origin uncertain,” then shares his personal fight against the Texas State Legislators’ battle to ban any bans of fracking. As usual, John weaves together diversely personal and widely global strands into a contemplative tapestry. In response to ideas from, “’every day is Earth Day for Pagans’ to ‘Earth Day is like bringing flowers to the spouse you beat up last night’ to what is perhaps the most accurate ‘it’s just not enough,'” John reminds us:

But it’s still better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

This Earth Day let’s light a candle for the children of those Texas State Legislators who will have to live in the world their parents create. Let’s light a candle for the suburbanites who are so invested in their lifestyle they literally can’t imagine another way. Let’s light a candle for all those who are so accustomed to darkness they’ve forgotten how to see.

Because some of them will notice the candle, and they’ll wake up and see what’s going on around us.

I pray they do, because Mama’s not pleased with most of Her children. Her immense patience will not last forever. You can read John’s (cautiously hopeful) piece here.

John Beckett ~ Unfortunate Effects of Joseph Campbell

I love Joseph Campbell, too, but I found this post by John Beckett quite timely, in that he pushes back against the implementation of a “monomyth” at a time of fairly strong pressure to lump everything into one pot. While I love the rising recognition of our planet as a primal and holy force, I also feel caution that we don’t lose subtlety, uniqueness and local culture in our search for the one, the only, the all-encompassing, authoritative global myth.

Does a “Mythos for Planetary Culture” really require that we all believe the exact same thing? Or could we love our planet, recognize Her divinity and inherent value, yet go even deeper into our local heritage, the local spirits of place, and those Elemental and energetic beings who unfurl the veils, through engaging a very much embodied Nature, rather than an abstract concept of the One True Myth that supplants all other myths? Doesn’t that sound just a tiny bit like … (gasp!) the “elite”‘s coveted One World Religion? Are we so afraid of our differences that we can only integrate them by painting over everything with a different colored but still monochromatic brush?

A few highlights from John’s article:

“In his search for universal themes, Campbell combined and conflated widely differing myths into a ‘monomyth’ – a soft polytheism of mythology that claims all myths are aspects of One Myth. One critic called this ‘a (Joseph) Campbell soup of myths that loses all local flavor.’”

“Another source of confusion is our evolutionary instinct to divide everything into good/bad, helpful/harmful, like me/Other. When we get to know people of different religions and we see they’re basically good, we move them from the ‘Other’ category to the ‘like me’ category. And if someone else is ‘like me’ then I may assume that deep down they must be seeking the same things I seek. This is not an accurate assumption.”

“We don’t have to say ‘deep down you’re just like me’ in order to get along with another person or a different religion. We don’t have to assume they’re seeking the same things in different ways. We just have to respect their inherent dignity and worth and trust they’ll do the same for us.”

As always, I enjoy John’s unpacking and rearranging of commonly accepted beliefs and structures. His process, as much as anything he concludes, offers an excellent antidote to that collectivist urge to erase all differences into a homogenous blob, instead of learning to recognize and celebrate the vastness of Nature, Imagination and the ever unfolding Creation. Here’s the full post.

John Beckett ~ The Pyramids of Uxmal

I can’t reblog this article, so I’ll just post a link.

I always enjoy John Beckett’s contemplative musings, and this piece combines personal experience, ancient Mayan ruins, modern Mayan civilization, a ghost story of sorts, and important questions to ask ourselves as individuals and as a society. John’s a self described “Pagan, Druid and Unitarian Universalist,” but for some reason this piece particularly reminds me of the prayer of confession in the Episcopal Church, which seeks forgiveness “for things done and for things left undone.” As the days shorten into winter nights and the world around us continues to offer chaos, I find myself going deeper inside, too. This is an uncomfortable read, but one that asks us to consider what is ours to do.

In a world of imperfect options, at what point do we fight for our lives or for sacred things threatened with destruction? “[W]hat necessary acts are we neglecting because we find them unpleasant? What helpful changes have we not made because they carry risks, risks that are far less than those faced by the players on the Uxmal ball court?” Worth an introspective read.