On Election Day

by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen

Today is Election Day. The country is painfully divided and the weeks following this election are likely to be very challenging, with the potential for violence, disruption and great uncertainty. Some of our community members will be especially vulnerable – people of color, queer and trans folks, immigrants, and those who live in locations where they are surrounded by hate.

The COVID pandemic is also growing and we will probably be spending our winter physically separated from one another as we try to maintain our health and the health of the ones we love. 

Many of us are experiencing legitimate rage and fear, and it can feel like there is nothing tethering us to sanity, normalcy, or security. When we find there are fissures in the ground beneath our feet we need to remember what we know at our core.

Here is what I know:

Community is more important now than ever.
Showing up for each other is more important now than ever.
More than ever, we need to maintain the vision of the world that we want and do everything we can to live in a way that embodies that vision. 

Yes, It is hard to stay focused.
Yes, it can feel hopeless at times.
Yes, it is hard to take a deep breath and step in again.

But we have the resources of a broader community to turn to. We are not separate from the rest of the natural world, and those beings are part of our community too. They do not know politics or COVID and they can help us keep our balance if we spend time with them.

We have the humans that we love who can listen to us and surround us with care.

And we have the mystery, which we can touch but cannot see, and which winds around humans and rocks and streams and birds and clouds and mammals and fire and all the rest to create the world that we view with wonder. We need to remember to look with wonder.
If you haven’t already, I urge you to vote – for the Earth, for Black lives, for kindness, for the things that matter most to you. Vote for what moves us closer to that world we want for future generations.

Tomorrow night is a time to care for yourself. You might choose to be with others on Zoom, you might spend the night in ritual, you might just turn off the internet and read a novel, or anything else.  Wednesday will come and there will be plenty of work to do after that – whatever the results.

I hope that you will find moments of beauty and joy for yourself through this turmoil and I hope that EarthSpirit will be able to contribute to your sense of connection and community. I know that I rely on this community to keep me tethered to what matters. Thank you for being a part of that. 

May there be peace among all beings.

Thursday, Opening day at the 2015 Parliament

by Kate Richardson

EarthSpirit booth at the 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions

EarthSpirit booth at the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions

I arrived at the Parliament just in time for the closing session of the Women’s Assembly on Thursday (10/14). Deirdre started it off, filling the large room with voices chanting “I am the Earth” while she sang the main melody counterpoint. Women of many faiths then offered songs, prayers and invocations with encouragement for activism on behalf of peace, justice and healing the planet.

I then connected with some more of the EarthSpirit contingent at our booth in the exhibition hall. The booth is a communication hub for our group. Passers by stop to chat as well, and exchange information and questions, and sometimes to leave information about their events and practices. It’s lively, sometimes a little chaotic, full of web-weavings and little openings.

Just walking in the hallways you come across many fascinating sights that you wonder what they are about, such as this circle dance on a floor of circles.

Circle dance on a floor of circles at the 2015 Parliament.

Circle dance on a floor of circles at the 2015 Parliament.

The big event Thursday night was the Opening Plenary [video]. A huge room held many of the nearly 10,000 Parliament participants. It started with a procession of flags of different nations, and groups of indigenous people in full regalia, while a group of men drummed and chanted from the stage. As with the Australian Parliament six years ago, the chair of the Parliament Council started by thanking the local indigenous people, as original caretakers and inhabitants of this place. Many of the following speakers did the same.
Addresses and blessings were given by dignitaries of many faiths- Islam, Baptist, Baha’i, Sikh, Ute, Judaism to name a few, as well as a representative of the United Nations, and the governor of Utah and local government officials.

The plenary ended after 9pm, and some of us went out in search of food. Most restaurants were closing, but we found some highly entertaining cycle cab drivers who whisked the sore of foot off to a good kebab joint that was willing to serve us before they locked the doors.

As we move through all this activity I’m struck by how every one of our group feels a connection to the people who helped us get here, in so many ways. I’m sure there will be many wonderful photos and stories to help us carry it home and share the inspiration we’re getting here.

All best from Salt Lake