As you know one of my
main aims is to encourage you to found Healing Communities. They are a beacon in the age
of hopelessness and increasing chaos. Our situation can be compared with the Dark Ages,
the time between the fall of the Roman Empire and the rising of Christianity. It is not
something to just fantasize about. The disintegration of society is a fact; its full blown
collapse only a matter of time. So it is better to take measures NOW. My proposal is to
establish small communities based on spirituality, health and ecology. Previous pages have
sufficiently elaborated on the content, hence, the emphasis here is on their direct
To have a common Source of spiritual
inspiration, shared values and mutual support is a condition sine qa non. This can be
found in the hearts of the community members, a shared holy shrine, a daily spiritual
practice and the common commitment toward a sacred site in the immediate surroundings of
your habitat. This guarantees an optimal level of inner strength and endurance. You will
be islands of life amidst a huge wasteland, after all. Moreover, caring for the
environment is one of the key missions of your Healing Community. Healing not only of
human suffering, but also of animals, plants, landscapes and cultural treasures.
Accidentally I opened the website of
the Bishnoi, a people from Rajastan (India), whose members consider the protection of
nature their first religious duty (http://www.bishnoism.com).
It immediately caused a shock of recognition in me. It reminded me of my childhood, in
which I also experienced nature as my true home. Bishnoi have actually died while trying
to protect trees. Their tradition is already 500 years old. They are part of a nation wide
concern of protecting "sacred groves". There used to be hundreds of thousands of
them in India. In fact, every village was considered part of the body of the Goddess, with
corresponding green, bush or forest dedicated to Her.
My suggestion is, that every Healing
Community is going to take care of a "Sacred Site" in its nearby surroundings.
This can be an existing "Sacred Grove", a place that traditionally is revered by
the local people. In absence of that, members of the Healing Community may create a new
site, a special place in the landscape, that is taken care of. The purpose is to turn
desacralization into sacredness, once again. The major aim is to preserve nature,
promoting its pristine character e.g. bio-diversity, protecting it as a place of silence,
while occasionally performing rituals or/and ceremonies, aimed at emphasizing the holiness
of this particular piece of the "Body of God".
In the same way a holy tree, a holy
mountain, a holy valley, a treasured monument or object can be chosen as precious shrines.
In our tradition images or/and statues of the Great Mother (Megaliths f.i.), a Cauldron,
Sacred Black Stone (Meteorite) the MotherGoddess, Sheela Na-Gigs (Ireland), Black
Madonna's or Lotus flowers/symbols (Cosmic Womb) are especially valued. They may be found
in a nearby old church, chapel or temple. Since we respect and honor all traditions
without exception, no reservations should be made in revering a "catholic"
shrine, for instance. In our view all "Madonna's" are manifestations of the
Original Mother, after all.
Additionally, all manifestations of the
old Vegetation Gods are revered, as well. Maitreya Budda in the East and the Green Men in
the West are of particular interest here. Their images/statues may be placed in gardens,
groves and other special places. Apart from nearby Sacred Sites, regular pilgrimages could
be held to important sanctuaries world wide. It is for every Healing Community to decide
which kind of tradition is most suitable to their particular culture. The experience that
influenced me most until then was my stay in Japan (1990-1991). I was deeply touched
during my walks by small pieces of forest, in which stones were placed symbolizing the
Shinto deities (Kami), the small Shinto Shrines, built at intrigueing places or Buddhist
statues and temples, often beautifully integrated in their natural
The first written source (among many
others) came to me from Celtic Spirituality. During my stay in Ireland - impressed by the
Irish Heritage - I read "Celtic Sacred Landscapes" written by Nigel Pennick. The
titles of the chapters speak volumes. From "Celtic Symbolic Landscape",
"Sacred Trees", "Sacred Stones", "Springs, Wells and Places of
Healing", "Holy Mountains" and many more. The books shows the still
existing relationship between the sacred, the people and the landscape. A unique
phenomenon in Europe, for on the continent this relationship was under the attack of the
Roman Church. The latter considered the "sacred earth" a competing religious
attitude, which had to be destroyed.
It took a while before the Sacred
Groves attracted my attention, once again. It happened through reading the book
"Sacred Groves in India"* by Kailash C.Malhotra, Yogesh Gokhale, Sudipto
Chatterjee and Sanjiv Srivastava. From the cover: "In India, as elswhere in many
parts of the world, a number of communities practise different forms of nature worship.
One such significant tradition is that of providing protection to patches of forests
dedicated to deities and/or ancestral spirits. These patches of forest are known as sacred
groves. The tradition is very ancient and once was widespread in most parts of the world.
Groves are rich heritage in India, and play an important role in religious and
socio-cultural life of the local people. These eco-systems harbour many threatened,
endangered and rare plant and animal species".
* Another good book (from a
Western point of view) is: Bas Verschuuren c.s. "Sacred Natural Sites", 2010
Earthscan. Furthermore countless articles in the internet.
These books gave me hope. Maybe it is still not too
late to restore the sacredness of the earth. The way this sacredness was once deliberately
and ruthlessly destroyed fills me with indignation and anger. The Catholic Church should
not be allowed to just "apologize" like pope John Paul II did and get away with
it. Many transgressions are well recorded, e.g. the details about the destruction of
trees, groves, forests, sacred stones, caves....the poisoning of wells, the burning down
or/and demolishing of (wooden) altars and temples, the construction of Christian crosses,
chapels and churches at sacred places, often with damage to their natural environment, not
to speak of the terror exercised against the people, who wanted to stick to their
(millennia-old) values. They were the first beginnings of organized "environmental
destruction", indeed major crimes against nature and its people. So, if the Church is
really serious about its repenting, then it should pay compensation for the damage it once
In practice, we make an appeal to the Church, that it
will be giving back all documented once destroyed ancient sacred places - or comparable
pieces of land - to eco-spiritual groups and others, all those who sincerely, responsibly
and effectively aim at restoring the sacredness of the earth. Secondly, Black Madonna's
have to be liberated from their bunkers - big churches like Einsiedeln, Loreto and many
others - and brought back to where they originally belonged: in small chapels
(shrines/temples) in nature. She should be taken care of by lay people rather than
clerics. Thirdly, all crosses should be removed from mountains and hills. They are not
meant for religious purposes, but exclusively serve the power claims of the Church*, a.o.
dominance over nature! However, nature should not be misused for power purposes. Jesus is
our great example here. When he was taken to a mountain the devil offered him power over
the world. As we all know Jesus declined. Last but not least, the Church should pay - on
the basis of genuine selflessness - money ("Wiedergutmachung") in order for new
eco-spiritual groups to realistically being able to achieve their aims. Only thus can the
Church prove its sincerity with regard to its own alleged "environmental
concerns". It can contact us through our "Sacred Earth Project", a
subdivision of our "Healing the Planet Initiative".
* We have just seen how the Church, when it concerns its power
claims, let nothing stand in its way. This is not an incident. On the contrary, pope
Benedict XVI is a true representative of a 2000 years' tradition of oppression.