Democratic Forest Trusts (PDF)in Watson, Alan; Dean, Liese; Sproull, Janet, comps. 2006. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress Symposium; 2005 September 30-October 6; Anchorage, AK.Democratic trusts with leadership elected by citizen-members promise to solve many of the problems afflicting both traditional government and corporate ownership of forestlands.Â This article explores these issues in some depth.Complexity and the Dream of Human Control of Eco-Systems (PDF)in Watson, Alan; Dean, Liese; Sproull, Janet, comps. 2006. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress Symposium; 2005 September 30-October 6; Anchorage, AK.The title captures it.Â I then explore the kinds of institutions compatible with both nature and the modern world that are implied from this analysis.Rethinking the Obvious: Modernity and Living Respectfully With Nature (PDF)The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy, Winter, 1997.Modernity is usually considered a wrong turn in terms of respect for and sustaining the environment.Â I argue the reality is more complex, for modernity has freed us from personal dependence on agriculture, ended the economic value of children, radically reduced the likelihood of large scale wat, and shifted much production to intellectual rather than material capital.Â This partially decouples society from nature, which gives us important opportunities as well as problems.Towards an Ecocentric Political Economy (PDF)The Trumpeter, Fall, 1996.This paper begins my effort at showing how liberal modernity can be harmonized with an ecocentric perspective on our relationship with the natural world.Â It is a corrective to much “free market environmental” literature that sacrifices Nature to money as well as to anti-liberal attacks by well-meaning but economically naÃ¯ve environmentalists.Unexpected Harmonies: Self-Organization in Liberal Modernity and Ecology (PDF)The Trumpeter, Journal of Ecosophy, 10:1, Winter 1993This is my initial paper exploring how what I term ‘evolutionary liberal’ thought can be an important means by which society and nature can be brought into greater harmony.Â The other Trumpeter papers build on it.Deep Ecology and Liberalism: The Greener Implications of Evolutionary Liberalism (PDF)Review of Politics, Fall, 1996.Liberal thought and deep ecology are usually regarded as mutually exclusive. But the “evolutionary” tradition offers a way to integrate the two through commonalties in the work of David Hume, Michael Polanyi, Arne Naess, and Aldo Leopold, providing a stronger foundation for liberalism while strengthening the case for an ecocentric ethic.(Related subjects: Ecology)Saving Western Towns: A Jeffersonian Green Proposal (PDF)in Writers on the Range, Karl Hess and John Baden, eds., University Press of Colorado, 1998.Developmental pressures in the rural and small town West involve three groups: long term residents, new arrivals, and environmentalists. Today their interests often conflict. This conflict is in part the outcome of institutions which prevent harmonizing competing interests. The concept of developmental trusts, both for rural regions and for small communities offers a means whereby these interests can be harmonized for the benefit of all concerned.(Related subjects: Politics)Social Ecology, Deep Ecology, and Liberalism (PDF)Critical Review, 6: 2-3, 1992.Murray Bookchin is considered a leading radical environmental theorist. However, his analysis is incapable of leading humankind towards a more respectful and sustainable relationship with the natural world. Criticisms of Bookchin from both the deep ecology and evolutionary liberal perspective complement one another, pointing the way towards a better understanding of how modernity relates to the environment.The paper as a whole offers an early discussion of issues that are more clearly addressed in later papers, particularly Deep Ecology and Liberalism (1996) and the three Trumpeter articles in 1997, 1996, and 1993. However, there are other ideas in the article which have not been developed more thoroughly elsewhere.
Wiccans along with most other
NeoPagans celebrate the sacredness of all natural cycles. These cycles are particularly clear
within regions with four distinct seasons, and I think it is natural that we,
whose origins most recently hail from the British Isles, emphasize the ever
changing and eternal seasons to concretely symbolize the most basic of these
cycles. We have eight Sabbats,
four synchronized with the solar cycle of Solstices and Equinoxes, and four
linked to the old Celtic agricultural cycle. These last four are generally the more important, I think
because the cycles of birth, life, and death are at their most concrete.
Of these four days, two are
particularly important: Beltane and Samhain. Samhain honors the powers of
death, as Beltane honors those of life.
For these are the two biggest themes in all embodied existence. Without life, the rest of embodiment is
irrelevant, and everything that lives also dies. As one joker told me, “Life is a sexually transmitted
And that is why Beltane, which
most unreservedly and exuberantly focuses on life, also most unreservedly and
exuberantly focuses on sexuality.
In most of the temperate world
Spring is far along by now. In
most places Beltane fittingly marks Spring’s transition to summer. The sexual energy of spring is flowing
into the generative abundance of summer.
I think of Beltane as a celebration of beauty and delight for its own
Flowers, the sexual organs of
plants, are blooming abundantly, soon to set seeds. Birds are building their nests. Throughout the world the energies of reproduction, of
sexuality, are at their most visible.
It is through sex that we come into physical existence, and sexuality
enables us to connect most intimately with the powers of life and with one
another. It inspires the greatest
beauty in the biological world, from flowers to plumage to the celebration of
beauty among us two leggeds. The custom of having a May Queen is an
acknowledgement of this, and it is fitting that it emphasizes physical beauty
and vitality. (There are other Sabbats where we celebrate balance, wisdom, and
the other forms beauty can take.)
Beltane begins at sundown, April
30, and extends until sundown May 1.
Those fortunate enough to be able to meet outside in the country will
often have bonfires on the 30th, which young couples can jump
through, celebrating their hopes for love and perhaps fertility. That night, weather permitting, many
will sleep outside, and fertility will have another chance to manifest. In this
day and age many of us honor fertility in all its forms, there now being quite
enough of the human kind.
Covens will meet with friends to
celebrate the time, often with small fires safe for a living room as a symbol
and reminder of the big ones we’d like to have. Often our rituals will honor the symbolic wedding of the
Goddess and the God, or the revival of the Oak King, to reside until
Samhain. The rituals will often be
followed by a feast.
Before dawn many of us will be up,
myself among them, to watch and applaud Morris Dancers who
symbolically dance up the summer sun.
The first time I experienced this wonderful ritual there seemed
something deeply primordial and right about it. A couple hundred of us had arisen long before dawn to be at
Inspiration Point in Berkeley. Today, many years later, Morris Dancers are far more widespread
than they were over 20 years ago, and these dawn celebrations are far more
common. Here in Sonoma County,
Sebastopol’s Apple Tree Morris Dancers now perform the same ritual. They
are very good, but this year I’ll be down south with old friends.
Those of us who are hard core even
come out in the pouring rain. I
will never forget one May morning, joining perhaps a hundred other of the
really hard core huddled under umbrellas, watching the dancers as the light
slowly grew until a watch told us the sun had actually made its way above the
Afterwards, in Berkeley, many of
us repair to a Pagan’s house, a generous soul who lays out a wonderful brunch
to begin the rest of the day. More
of us than normal will be able to do it this year because it’s a weekend. I have no idea how widespread this
particular custom has become, but it’s a wonderful one, whether as a gift to the community and offering to
the Gods, or as a pot luck.
As the day progresses public
Sabbats will sprout all over our country, in parks and other large open
spaces. This year some will be on
Saturday, others on Sunday. It’s a
chance to be deeply immersed in sacred time for long time for those who wish. May Poles will rise, whether as magickal centers of
intention or simply as fun. In
Berkeley NROOGD will give a public celebration with its “Obby Hoss,” a old British tradition that, along with being a lot of fun to watch, is said
to bring fertility to any woman who gets caught under its cloak. I know it works. Here are some pictures from last year’s festivities.
We celebrate Beltane because it is
fun, because it honors the sacred dimension of fun, because it celebrates life
and love, because it more than any other honors the gift of life and the
blessings of delight.