The Urgent Need of Our Time: An Order of the Sacred Earth | Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson & Jennifer Berit Listug

Image from an original painting by Larry Jacobsen.

The following is an excerpt of Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action, a compelling anthology of Creation Spirituality, applied. It’s a featured Speakeasy selection, and there are still limited review copies available for qualified reviewers.

Humanity finds itself today in a complex situation. Most Westernized people have been so heavily dominated and alienated by religion and patriarchal governance and a materialistic, consumer-driven, extractive capitalism that we have lost our active sense of the sacred living landscapes that we inhabit and that inhabit us.

We, Matthew Fox, a 76-year-old elder, activist, and spiritual theologian; along with Skylar Wilson, a 33-year-old wilderness and meditation guide who leads inter-cultural ceremonies, and Jennifer Listug, a 28-year-old writer, spiritual leader, and publicist, are presenting a challenge and an opportunity. This vision is about an Order of the Sacred Earth.

In times like ours, so marked by apocalyptic goings-on, from climate change to climate change denial, to the failures of education, media, politics, economics, and religion, it is important that we not succumb to despair or to non-action or to reptilian brain action-reaction. We need to go deeper within our own souls and within the genius of our species to find anew what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called “the beloved community.” Yes, we are witnessing the death of institutions and systems, and of the era that is not serving us nor our Earth well any longer. We need to journey into this dying in order to break into new forms of community, religion, spirituality, and education that will give birth to deeper forms of living and interacting with one another and other beings on this small, intertwined planet. Nothing short of what David Korten is calling “A New Enlightenment” will suffice in activating the energies and insights now needed at this important time.

A death and resurrection is at hand. This might be expected in an apocalyptic time like ours, one where the “end time” of our modern era is fast receding and we reach for new visions. Apocalypse, after all, can also be translated as “Revelation.”

We’ve been compelled to curate a succinct collection – a short book featuring contributions from friends and colleagues. An eco-spiritual tome that provides a new vision, but one that has precedents in our Western, Eastern, and Indigenous histories. What we are proposing came to us in different ways as visions and dreams several years ago.

It is about a new spiritual (not religious) Order.

We say “not religious” because it will not be beholden to any religious headquarters nor to only one religious tradition. More and more people are open in our times to the many spiritual traditions and practices that sustain life, that teach us to drink in wisdom from the Earth herself.

Many of us are identifying ourselves at this time in history as “spiritual but not religious.” At the same time we believe it is possible for some people to be both spiritual and religious, but people must make an effort; all spirituality requires effort through presence, intention, and direct action. We include action because we are in a time when contemplation alone is insufficient in addressing the needs of our times and the more-than-human world. So our vision of a new order extends to those who call themselves spiritual but not religious, to those who identify as spiritual and religious, and also to those who may call themselves either agnostic or atheist and feel the creative potential to build a community vessel such as the Order of the Sacred Earth (OSE). What is at stake is not a particular religious or spiritual tradition but something much larger: the future of Mother Earth, and, therefore, the future of countless species including our own. All are endangered. Humans can and must make a difference.

The essence of the OSE is a common vow we all take: “I promise to be the best lover and defender of the Earth that I can be.”

This sacred pledge is a wisdom practice that we can continually refine and develop as we evolve. This vow will underscore the principles through which we operate and the values we strive to fulfill. To understand the power of taking this vow, we look toward another sacred commitment: The marriage vow. When one takes a vow to commit to another person, then one’s life begins to orient around this new union in ways one could not have planned for or imagined before. So we believe that by taking the vow to love and defend the Earth, your life will orient around ecological and social justice in ways previously unimaginable to you.

The late eco-theologian Thomas Berry felt that recovering a sense of the sacred was at the heart of the renewal of our species. He wrote: “An absence of the sense of the sacred is the basic flaw in many of our efforts at ecologically or environmentally adjusting our human presence to the natural world. It has been said, ‘We will not save what we do not love.’ It is also true that we will neither love nor save what we do not experience as sacred.”

Praise for Order of the Sacred Earth

Order of the Sacred Earth is a vision as vital and inspired as any on our planet in this time of cultural collapse and regeneration―a gathering together of mystic warriors and visionary artisans of cultural evolution. There are now millions of us―imaginal cells of emerging ecocentric cultures―but what is needed is a consciously convened community that brings us together to synergistically deepen and amplify our artistry and to train and initiate others. Fox and Wilson’s co-dreamed vision draws from the very heart of the dream of the Earth.”
— Bill Plotkin, author of Soulcraft and Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche

Order of the Sacred Earth not only calls us home to our true nature as Earth, but also offers us invaluable guidance and company on the way.”
— Joanna Macy, environmental activist and author of eight books, including Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work that Reconnects

“The creation of Order of the Sacred Earth is a magnificent step forward for humanity. What we need now are sacred activists willing to come together to live conscious and sacred lives while pooling their resources and passions to preserve the earth and humanity. I am honored to celebrate and join this great adventure!”
— Andrew Harvey, author of over thirty books, including The Hope and Savage Grace: Living Resiliently in the Dark Night of the Globe (with Carolyn Baker)

“I feel grateful for this inspiring book and the inspiring initiative it launches. Order of the Sacred Earth gives me new hope; its founders are visionaries who set out a plausible program to engage all aspects of our life, and motivate much-needed change. I hope and pray that their message and their Order will spread and transform our relationships with the Earth and with each other.”
— Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of Science Set Free and The Physics of Angels: Exploring the Realm Where Science and Spirit Meet (with Matthew Fox)

About the Authors

Matthew Fox has been called a maverick, a rebel, and by some a heretic. In his quest for a viable spirituality he discovered the ancient (but often suppressed) creation spirituality tradition that honors the sacredness of all creation. He has worked closely with Native spiritual leaders, feminists, scientists, activists, and others, and got himself in trouble with his mother church and the pope. He has written nearly 40 books on spirituality and culture now translated in 67 languages and is a visiting scholar at the Academy for the Love of Learning and a professor at the new Fox Institute for Creation Spirituality. Among his books are Original Blessing, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, The Lotus & The RoseNaming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God, A Way To God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic Warrior for Our Times, and The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine.

Skylar Wilson, MA is the founder and co-director of Wild Awakenings, an adult Rites of Passage organization dedicated to the thriving of Earth, life, and humanity. Over the past 16 years, Skylar has led retreats all over the world focusing on ecological restoration, wilderness knowledge, meditation, and ceremonial practices. Skylar is director of an inter-cultural ritual called the Cosmic Mass, which brings together the world’s spiritual traditions into an embodied, transformational ritual that builds community through music, dancing and the arts. He works closely with community organizations including the Stepping Stones Project in Berkeley, CA which holds Rites of Passage groups for teenagers using a community-based curriculum. He enjoys surfing, swimming, climbing, writing, giving and receiving bodywork, as well as facilitating one-on-one integration sessions with people of all ages and backgrounds. He received his master’s degree in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness from the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2012.

Jennifer Listug works in book publishing as a private consultant for authors assisting with manuscript editing and book publicity. She is also the co-director of Wild Awakenings, an adult Rites of Passage organization dedicated to fostering the thriving of Earth, life, and humanity. Jennifer was on the Board of Trustees at the Unity in Marin Spiritual Community for three years, serving as the Board President for 18 months. Also at Unity in Marin, Jennifer was a guest speaker for Sunday mornings, she led Rites of Passage groups for teenagers, and founded a young adult interfaith group committed to conscious connection, community service, and social activism. She is a passionate hiker, reader, writer, and public speaker.

3 Responses to The Urgent Need of Our Time: An Order of the Sacred Earth | Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson & Jennifer Berit Listug

  1. Kat Burns November 13, 2018 at 5:21 pm #

    I AM 71 YEARS OLD SINCE SATURDAY. IF I HAVE NOT LEARNED HOW TO BE A TRULY HUMAN BEING BY NOW, I SHOULD SOAK MY HEAD IN SOMETHING.
    I HAVE GIVEN MORE THAN A GALLON OF BLOOD, WHICH I AM TOLD CAN HELP SAVE 3 PEOPLE FOR EACH PINT.
    THAT’S A LOT OF PEOPLE. I SAW A GUY FALL OFF A SCAFFOLD AND MY FRIEND AND I PUT OUR COATS OVER HIM AND CALLED 911. WE STAYED WITH HIM FOR ALMOST AN HOUR, UNTIL THE AMBULANCE GOT THERE. WE SPOKE TO HIM AND ENCOURAGED HIM. WE HAD PUT OUR COATS OVER HIM BECAUSE WE DID NOT WANT HIM TO DIE FROM EXPOSURE OR SHOCK BEFORE THE DOCTORS GOT TO HIM. I WAS COMING OUT OF MY DOCTORS ONE DAY AND THE PARKING ATTENDANT WAS STUNG BY A BEE AND YELLED I DON’T HAVE MY PEN WITH ME! I FIGURED HE DIDN’T WANT TO GIVE SOMEONE AN AUTOGRAPH SO RAN TO THE EMERGENCY WARD, GOT A CHAIR, AND BROUGHT HIM INTO THE HOSPITAL SO THEY COULD GIVE HIM HIS SHOT. I TRY. I REALLY REALLY TRY TO BE A DECENT HUMAN BEING WHO SHINES LIGHT. THAT IS WHAT I WAS TOLD MY PARENTS. MY FATHER TOLD ME THAT GOD LOVED ME SO MUCH HE HAD EVERY HAIR ON MY HEAD COUNTED. MY FATHER NEVER LIED TO ME. WE ARE ALL A VITAL PART OF EACH OTHER AND THIS BEAUTIFUL PLANET, THE BIG BLUE MARBLE. I AM MOVING UP NORTH AGAIN BECAUSE I AM GOING TO WALK IN THE FOREST BEFORE I DIE. AND I AM GOING TO SHOW MY BEST FRIEND, MY DOG SAM HOW WONDERFUL THE WOODS ARE. THE WOODS ARE MY CATHEDRAL. MUCH LOVE.

  2. Bruce Schuman December 5, 2018 at 3:48 pm #

    I was very influenced by Matthew Fox’s “The Coming of the Cosmic Christ” — and its section on (in the phrase from Gregory Bateson) “the pattern that connects”. I will honor the vow of this order — “I promise to be the best lover and defender of the Earth that I can be.”

    And I have another related promise for the “order” I would like to see — an “order of co-creation” — and the agreement might be “I agree to stay in co-creative resonance with all my relations.”

    Blessings and thank you.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. God: Ever New And Ancient (Naming the Unnamable) Matthew Fox | Mike Morrell - December 9, 2018

    […] “I’ve always experienced the Divine as expressing through everything around me: the squirrel chattering up the oak tree, the waves crashing on the shore, my baby boy looking me in the eyes. Matthew Fox in Naming the Unnameable allows us to explore all of the many and dynamic ways that God speaks and breathes and plays in the world.”―Jennifer Berit Listug, co-author with Matthew Fox and Skylar Wilson of Order of the Sacred Earth […]

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