In this blog post, we continue our conversation with one of the Temple’s Elder Priestesses, Linda Maglionico, about her meet up group, Nature as Our Greatest Spiritual Teacher.
Why do you consider Nature our greatest spiritual teacher?
The underlying principle for Nature as Our Greatest Spiritual Teacher is that we revere and care for Nature; we accept this Earth as our paradise, if we look after it. We revel in the beauty and wisdom of Nature, and are full of wonder at its mystery and power.
The emphasis is on spirituality yet by spirituality and spiritual I don’t mean any kind of supernatural or non-physical activity. I mean our deeper emotions and aesthetic responses towards Nature and the wider Universe – our sense of our place in these, and the ethics and values that these feelings imply.
In our celebrations, we take the real Universe and Nature as our starting and finishing point; it’s not about worshiping some preconceived idea of an anthropomorphic god or goddess. It is not about exclusively beseeching blessings either, since reciprocity is a key component in our engagement with Nature.
The concept to focus solely on the sanctity of Nature grew out of my work as an Elder Priestess with Temple of Ara and Phyllis Curott, through which I discovered the world is alive with energy and spirit and consciousness. Because our approach in the Temple is so deconstructed while at the same time revolutionary, I discovered the spirits of the trees, the mountains, animals, stones, the flowers, the weeds… My experiences further developed my respect and reverence of Nature – asking for permission to harvest, giving offerings as thanks, building a relationship with plants, trees and land features. The group’s mission also grew out of the principles of Pantheism— the belief that the Universe (or Nature as the totality of everything) is identical with divinity, or that everything composes all-encompassing, immanent Divinity.
What Nature Teaches Us
In modern cultures there is a bias against Nature and our own wildness, which leads many to an emphasis on the realm of Spirit and symbolism. This split against Nature has led to not only social ills (a dying planet) but physical, psychological and emotional ills.
Nature teaches us so many simple, yet invaluable lessons of life. For instance, Mother Earth teaches us:
- About being present, about generosity, about testing our limitations through challenge, about simplicity and being grounded and rooted
- About versatility
- To remove distractions and incites us into a very deep connection and conversation with the Sacred and our souls
- To move toward both the core of our individuality as well as to the realm of our oneness with all
Being in wild nature engenders a sense of mystery about the world; a sense of awe or wonderment about the Earth; a sense of connectedness or oneness with the natural world; a belief in a power greater than oneself; and an appreciation of the beauty in Nature. It sparks feelings of inner peace, hope, joy and empowerment; promotes physical and emotional well-being, and brings about significant changes in attitude and behavior.
When we observe and engage with Nature, we open the door to our intelligence, notice the lessons to be learned, and see that everything has its own purpose, rhythm and balance. We learn from Nature about how to truly be who we are — that is, to be in full and open self-expression.
Nature teaches limits as well as possibilities, if we are willing to learn. Nature also gives us an easy and powerful way to work in the realm of soul — even a small amount of time in Nature can awaken the Sacred within.