We discuss Bill Plotkin’s work as a depth psychologist and wilderness guide exploring the stages of a soul-centered, ecocentric life. We delve into the world of archetypes to discover the deepest impulses of the human psyche that move us through childhood, adolescence, adulthood and elderhood, and the challenges of trying to live a soul-centric life in an egocentric world.
We catch up on stories from earlier in the season with the latest developments. Great news on the Colorado River Delta gives us something to celebrate, as a decade’s long tragedy gets turned into a success story of water security and international cooperation. We revisit our conversation on placemaking with a discussion of the role of nature and wilderness in literature. And we wrap things up with post-election coverage of the impending fiscal cliff and what a second term for Obama means for the environment.
We explore the dark underbelly of this quintessential American harvest festival. Is the classic turkey dinner really a kind of animal sacrifice, symbolic of soldiers returning from war to be dismembered and cannibalized to nourish the homeland? Does the all-American obsession with football speak to our history of colonialism and military conflict? Is Black Friday just another shopping day, or is the consumerism that drives mobs into violent frenzies an inevitable result of our culture’s subconscious desire for blood sacrifice? What does our modern Thanksgiving holiday have in common with the ancient Aztec creation stories in which the gods themselves must sacrifice their flesh and blood to appease a ravenous earth? We investigate the disturbing underpinnings of this American holiday of gratitude and friendship.
We discuss Bill Plotkin’s work as a depth psychologist and wilderness guide exploring the stages of a soul-centered, ecocentric life. We begin by examining his definition of the soul as a person’s “ultimate place” in the universe, taking up the question of what we can learn from comparing the human soul to the concept of the ecological niche. From there, we delve into the world of archetypes to discover the deepest impulses of the human psyche that move us through childhood, adolescence, adulthood and elderhood.
We continue our conversation about the cyclical nature of growth and decay in ecology and human society. We wrap up our exploration of Doug Pagitt’s book, Church in the Inventive Age, with an in-depth examination of the Inventive Age and how it’s shaping our ideas, values, aesthetics and tools in powerful new ways. What defines shared sacred space in an age of virtual worlds and virtual lives? How does this new vision of religious organization and leadership lead us to more sustainable, eco-friendly spiritual traditions? And what are some of the potential problems that might arise as a result? Then, we look at the evolving nature of the American Dream and how it shapes the political and social landscape of whole generations.
We look at the cyclical nature of growth and decay in ecology and human society. We begin by checking out the salmon who are now returning to the creek a couple of miles from our home here in Seattle — their life cycle, humanity’s role in destroying or restoring their hatching grounds, and what these fish can teach nascent religious communities concerned with sustaining a love of nature from one generation to the next. Then we turn from fish to the fishers of men: Christianity. The church is undergoing massive changes as it struggles to accommodate technological developments and rising environmental consciousness. We look at the theories from the emergent Christian movement, including Phyllis Tickle and Doug Pagitt, who think that larger cycles of social change, which have been at work for thousands of years, are driving the church’s development; and we talk about the implications of those social changes for other religious and spiritual groups, and for society at large.
We look at the environmental challenges facing our churches, temples, sacred groves and other holy places today. What happens to the ecological balance of a sacred river when millions of people bathe, wash, and draw blessings from it? What about the sustainability of the materials to build a church, and the power to heat it, to cool it, and to travel to it? We also explore the irony of sacred animals who have come under threat by the very people they’ve inspired to reverence and worship. We spotlight ways people have sought to balance these conflicts, working with conservationist groups and taking personal responsibility for the effects of their worship on the landscape. Finally, we tackle the thorny question of green partnerships between government and religious organizations: is it always a good thing, or can it be misguided? What about the separation of church and state?