Tikkun Daily button

Archive for the ‘Earth-based Religions’ Category



Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Feb13

by: on February 13th, 2013 | Comments Off

An Ash Wednesday Reflection

"Spirit of the River," Yuba River near Nevada City, California

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. In Christian tradition, on this day ashes are used to symbolize two things: repentance and mortality.

As we consider the destruction of the earth and the suffering of our fellow creatures, both human and nonhuman, repentance and humble acceptance of our own mortality seem appropriate. In Ash Wednesday services the imposition of ashes is a way to show our repentance, our intention to turn away from harmful actions and to turn back toward God. As we consider harm to the earth we are called to repent of our own violence, greed, and over-consumption, our participation in ecological destruction and human misery, our complicity in the harm caused by the institutions and systems of which we are a part.

Read more...

A Public Outcry Against Fracking In New York

Jan13

by: on January 13th, 2013 | 4 Comments »

On Wednesday, January 9, nearly 2,000 people rallied against fracking outside of Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address, in Albany, New York.

Folks danced, chanted, shouted, drummed, and waved signs. Pete Seeger sang, the Reverend Billy Talen shook and shouted halleluyah, Sandra Steingraber, Debra Winger, and Natalie Merchant spoke. Voices of the thousands rang out loudly for hours.

Activists called (and call) for a permanent ban on fracking in the state of New York.

Geologists, chemists, biologists, and medical doctors argue that fracking is a threat to public health, will produce hazardous air and water pollution, and will endanger the state’s food supply. It contributes negatively to climate change as well, according to Phil Aroneanu, campaign director of 350.org. Of additional concern to many, as reported by Treehugger and the New York Times, among others, is the release of dangerous radiaoactive materials into the ecosystem through the fracking process. As of now, the gas industry has no means or plan to contain such radioactive waste.


Read more...

Did the Flood Actually Happen?

Oct12

by: Gabriel Crane on October 12th, 2012 | 3 Comments »

Here at Tikkun we receive many advance copies of books from amazing authors, artists, and activists every day. It’s encouraging to encounter the powerful work our peers are engaged in, not to mention inspiring to see the sheer volume of it. Unfortunately, as with most small non-profits, we are stretched pretty thin and often don’t have the time to read or review the vast majority of what comes in.

One book that did catch my eye this week, though, was a title by Gregg Braden, Deep Truth: Igniting the Memory of Our Origin, History, Destiny, and Fate (you can check it out online here). While I haven’t had a chance to read it through all the way, I was fascinated by Braden’s presentation of emerging scientific evidence that suggests our classic understanding of human history, which posits that civilization developed roughly 5,000 years ago out of the “Fertile Crescent” that spans the intersection of Africa and Asia, is incomplete and flawed.


Read more...

Happy Birthday, Occupy Oakland! Now where do we go from here?

Oct12

by: on October 12th, 2012 | 5 Comments »

Occupy Oakland at NightToday, I’m thinking a lot about Occupy.

No, I’m not simply being late to the party – I know that Occupy Wall Street celebrated its one-year anniversary some weeks ago with a glorious 135 or so arrests in New York and a smattering of media attention. But today, October 10th, marks the one-year anniversary of Occupy Oakland– the most notorious and widely controversial “Occupy” of the nation. And, in spite of all of its many challenges and inadequacies, the one closest to my heart.

A year ago, Occupy Oakland started as a dozen or two dozen folks sleeping in a park – which is nothing much to shake a stick at, believe me, because people sleeping in parks is hardly news in downtown Oakland. as far as political activities go, I’ve attended dozens of actions with more organization, more arrests, more media, more puppets and far wittier banners. But somehow, in a matter of months, Occupy Oakland became a driving force that helped sweep this apathetic nation off its feet.

A little pinpoint of light that became a spark, and then a movement. Like a wildfire. Like falling in love.

Falling in love is about making a connection – and Occupy did that, it made the connection between the unemployed steel workers and the students drowning in debt and homeowners facing foreclosure in the face of nation-wide corporate bailouts.


Read more...

Embracing the Shmita Cycle: A New Year Vision

Sep16

by: Yigal Deutscher on September 16th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

For what many of us happens to be a subconscious pattern, at every single moment our bodies are set to move with an internal rhythm, a frequency of flow. It is so obvious, so integral, and so taken for granted that it is most likely not something we pay that much attention to. This rhythm is breath, and without this beat, there is no life in the bodies we reside in. The beautiful thing about this simple and subtle, often forgotten, internal movement is that when you pay it some attention, it can take on the force of powerful winds, of strong waves. It creates its own gravity and momentum, each movement taking on an exaggerated expression. Each inhale lifts your lungs and belly, inflating what now feels like elastic skin. Each exhale becomes a gratifying release and surrender, an emptying of something you never knew could ever be so full.


Read more...

Sacred Snapshots Brings a Justice-Seeking Connection to the Holy

Apr17

by: on April 17th, 2012 | Comments Off

On Saturday, April 21, Sacred Snapshots, a day-long Sampler for the Spirit, will invite participants to experience the divine, celebrate spiritual practices from a range of religions and traditions at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) Whether exploring religion in pop culture, engaging 12-step spirituality, or experiencing Hindu ritual, attendees will create a multi-religious, multicultural and international community for one day. Rumi wrote that “there are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground,” and at Sacred Snapshots, you will have the chance to try at least a dozen.

Read more...

How I Spent my Lent

Apr7

by: on April 7th, 2012 | 4 Comments »

One day in Lent went like this: another scattered stupid day of laundry, a crazy amount of mediocre cooking, bad feelings about myself and my negligible achievements, and attempts to pull myself out of self-absorbed self-criticism. Scurry, scurry, worry, worry, and meta-worrying about worrying. Tiring.

I got simple things done – a haircut, but only after wasting inordinate amounts of time surfing the web for “flattering haircuts for older women,” printing some images, doubting, looking for signs, irked at having to make all these decisions myself without clear divine commands. (Maybe the command I didn’t hear was, “Is this really important? Please live with more gratitude and now-ness.”)

That night, trying to decide whether to add doing a textbook to my list of tasks, I went to a Taize service at a local Church, a ritual I got into last year with my friend, Marilyn. I love to watch the candles, flickering as if they have a soul. Sitting in the dark, the computer well out of reach, I try to spare thought for others, think about Jesus in Gethsemane. Up above the altar, a big, round stained-glass window shows that scene, idealized. Why, I wonder, is Jesus’s face raised to the sky in prayer? Why that posture? Wouldn’t his head be down on the stone in agony and pleading? Around him are brilliant reds like chili peppers, and stunning blues. Closer to the congregation, two white lambs stand guard, one proudly holding a denominational banner, apparently with its leg. I wonder (but not in a harsh way) why martyrs need clean robes and how lambs can super-proud without dirt on their wool. Is this representation of myth an acknowledgment that daily life has so many dirty clothes and animals acting like animals? What would it be like if the lambs in church looked real, silly and fearful with maggots in their tails? What if Jesus looked like an everyday person in a country under occupation? Maybe we would find it hard to hope; maybe we’d resent being reminded of the world too much around us.

I believe in the value of ritual. Though not Catholic, I like to observe Lent in an interfaith way: a little bit of Ramadan for solidarity with the poor, a little bit of Judeo-Christianity for depth in simplicity, a little bit of Native American enlightenment through solitary retreat, a Jungian belief in the balance of feast and fast. In an unorthodox way, I decided to try out the experience of relinquishing several needless things during this period between Mardi Gras and Easter: candy was the first thing. For years, I never ate candy and somehow I’d started eating it regularly. The second thing was crabby negativity, a lifelong habit. You can guess which one was easier to give up.

Read more...

Murmuration & Occupation – Why We Shut Down the Ports

Dec15

by: on December 15th, 2011 | Comments Off

On Monday morning I awoke before dawn and somehow managed to crawl out of bed, fumble my jeans and boots on, and sling my drum and backpack – the one that has become the indefinite home for my first aid kit, a patchwork bag of herbal tinctures, a squirt bottle half-full of milk of magnesia, a bottle of bubbles, and some lavender essential oil – over my shoulder.

As I checked my back pocket one more time for my ID and locked the back door, the clock on the microwave read 5:08 AM. By 5:39 AM, I was snaking through the dark streets of West Oakland in what seemed to me to be a much-too-small crowd, mostly quiet except the occasional heartbeat of a lone drum or the sleepy but hopeful cheer that rose up as we passed under the overpass of Mandela Parkway. It was somehow comforting to hear our own voices echoing off the walls – it helped us remember our power.

You better believe I was asking myself the same questions that CNN, the Huffington Post, the BBC, and Mayor Quan had that morning: Why on earth are we doing this? Are you absolutely out of your gourd, trying to shut down all of the major ports on the West Coast?

Read more...

The Derivation of Catastrophe

Mar16

by: on March 16th, 2011 | Comments Off

As I write, heroic workers in Japan struggle to prevent what one headline called potential “nuclear catastrophe” in the wake of the record-breaking earthquake and devastating tsunami. I was struck by the use of the word, so I looked up catastrophe in my 1975 hardcover edition of The American Heritage Dictionary.

Catastrophe 1. A great and sudden calamity; disaster 2. A sudden violent change in the earth’s surface; cataclysm 3. The denouement of a play, especially a classical tragedy.  The root derives from the Greek katastrophe from katastreiphen: to turn down, overturn. Kata-, down and strephein, to turn. From the root Strebh, to wind, to turn, to twist.  

At first the root meaning is not obvious to me. Then I think of the earth turning, like its own tides and storms, like the twisted strands of DNA. In a tragedy, literary or literal, there is also a turning. The tragic hero overreaches, underestimates, or both, and the tide turns against him, the people turn against him, the furies, the very elements. He is overturned, overthrown like a corrupt regime, downturned like our economy. We live in catastrophic times. Humans, as a species, share the tragic flaw of the hero, the illusion that we can control what is beyond our control for our own ends. And now we face global catastrophe.  

Earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, volcanoes (earth, water, wind, fire) are natural disasters not caused by human agency (though increased storm activity is linked to global warming). They are the earth shaping and re-shaping itself, losing and restoring balance, as it always has, as all life does. This dramatic flux is nothing new on planet earth. A cataclysm (kata, down kluzien, to wash) is catastrophic because we cluster in huge numbers along the coasts or on the slopes of volcanoes or on flood plains where the soil is fertile. And if we must build a power plant on a fault line to meet our needs, we do, hoping for the best, preparing (however inadequately) for the worst—all of us, in every nation that has the capability.  

As we appear to be in a period of denouement in our collective drama, we might ponder the meaning of tragedy.  The hero in a tragedy is not just flawed but heroic. Our advances in technology, medicine, agriculture that have hugely increased our population and our expectations all began with noble intent. The tragedy, as a form, gives us a chance to identify where the hero (us) lost his way. The survivors of the tragedy (us too) have chance to restore the balance that was lost and begin again.

Spring…and Death: More Questions than Answers

Mar13

by: on March 13th, 2011 | 4 Comments »

After a long, cold, and icy winter, it’s spring here in Boston. The light has changed, making the sky somehow lighter and further away; if you find a spot out of the wind you might actually feel some real warmth from the sun; and in my neighbor’s miniscule front garden a band of hardy crocuses (croci?) have adorned themselves with purple buds. The birds didn’t have to be told twice, and they are singing, tweeting, cawing, and flying around with new home building and speed dating on their minds.

Spring is change, new life, excitement. Taking off the heavy leather, the bulky down, searching the ads for some new running shoes.

And spring also makes me think of death. But in a good way.

Read more...