Sacred Custodians of the Earth? Women, Spirituality, and the Environment

By Alaine Low; Soraya Tremayne | Go to book overview

13
Children of the Gods:
The Quest for Wholeness in
Contemporary Paganism

Amy Simes

The last line of a well-known invocation commonly used in modern Pagan ritual goes, ‘For the earth is our mother, the sky our father, and we are the children of the gods.’1 This invocation is traditionally said at the beginning of a ritual in order to establish one’s relative position in the cosmos, and to remind those assembled of how all things are related – earth to sky, male to female, humans to nature, and humans to gods as well. It is also a typical example of one of contemporary Paganism’s main tenets; that in all things, as in nature, there exists a polarity or complementary relationship between two extremes which, when balanced in combination with one another, results in a sacred and holistic creative force. Thus in Pagan ritual, as in Pagan lifestyles, both the masculine and feminine are honoured and held in equal esteem. This view of holism is commonly put into practice on a daily level in order to help restore and re-establish an ecological and social balance in the modern world.2

Paganism as a newly emerging (or re-emerging) religion in the twentieth century has been described simply as a religion of ‘those who honour the earth’.3 To most modern Pagans who have embraced the idea that the earth is a living organism, there has been an equal embracing of the notion that the earth is feminine. Thus to love the earth is to love the feminine, and all things of an earthly or feminine nature. Often this feminine association is expressed in terms of a goddess or goddesses, and thus the earth is frequently thought of as ‘Mother Earth’. Even when the goddess

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