Ecomagic can be described as the principles and practice of magical and spiritual action for the environment that seek to maintain a symbolic connection to nature and the earth while effecting changes in consciousness and honoring the animate world. Often manifesting as a series of rituals and direct action motivated by a particular belief system that confronts rigid patterns, Ecomagic can be performed as a kind of “magical activism.”
The Dongas for instance fought off a construction project that would have destroyed a rare ecosystem by empowering themselves and sustaining their connection to the land. Believing the targeted plot of land to be a Gaian powerpoint, a sacred place intimately bound up in sacred nature, their magic ultimately led to the resignation of security guards so that the intended project could not proceed. This can be attributed to the power of a lateral, sensory experience of reality, not directed by a hierarchy.
Immersed in a field of perception, the participatory nature of experiential being provides a relational field of active agencies: an intelligent creative life process via reciprocal relationships, i.e. development. Discourse in this context can be regarded in a sense as communication with the “other,” or “Self.”
This communication then provides the specific foundational beliefs of non-industrial communities:
1) there exists a sacred, underlying, unifying, and universal force
2) this sacred force manifests as physical nature, where each soul has sacred intelligence (logos)
3) souls communicate
4) humans are the offspring of this natural process and ancestors will help them if only they ask
5) we learn though communion and communication with nature
6) by cultivating an attentive mind, we can know reality more fully through the earth’s expressions
7) nature is the ecological balance of biodiversity
In this regard, harmonious relationships with the natural world empowers one’s self and an other, so that we are called to nourish our relationship to nature. This spiritual connection is traditionally fulfilled by the shaman, whose responsibility includes the shifting of states of awareness in order to better know the multiform cosmic intelligences. The shaman is a medium of expression, acting like a porous membrane while taking “journeys” to other planes of consciousness in order to engage these ‘others’ for reciprocal balance, thus maintaining an equilibrium. David Abram explains this reciprocity:
“Our bodies have formed themselves in delicate reciprocity with the manifold textures, sounds, and shapes of an animate earth—To shut ourselves off from these other voices, to continue by our lifestyles to condemn these other sensibilities to the oblivion of extinction, is to rob our own senses of their integrity, and to rob our minds of their coherence. We re human only in contact, and conviviality, with what is not human.” 22 Spell of Sensuous
In this light, diseases are considered disruptions of energy so that healers work with the participatory power of perception in order to know the hidden acting forces and cure the afflicted. Mental healing is thus achieved through symbolic action, allowing us to recognize the sympathetic nature of all of reality and the conclusion Sir James Frazer came to regarding imitative and contagious magic.
- If we analyze the principles of thought on which magic is based, they will probably be found to resolve themselves into two: first, that like produces like, or that an effect resembles its cause; and, second, that things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed. The former principle may be called the Law of Similarity, the latter the Law of Contact or Contagion. From the first of these principles, namely the Law of Similarity, the magician infers that he can produce any effect he desires merely by imitating it: from the second he infers that whatever he does to a material object will affect equally the person with whom the object was once in contact, whether it formed part of his body or not.
Frazer’s book, The Golden Bough attempts to define the shared elements of religious belief. Its thesis is that old religions were fertility cults that revolved around the worship of, and periodic sacrifice of, a sacred king. The germ for Frazer’s thesis was the pre-Roman priest-king at the fane of Nemi, who was murdered ritually by his successor:
This king was the incarnation of a dying and reviving god, a solar deity who underwent a mystic marriage to a goddess of the Earth, who died at the harvest, and was reincarnated in the spring. Frazer claims that this legend is central to almost all of the world’s mythologies. http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Fi-Go/Golden-Bough.html
The Golden Bough is thought to be Mistletoe, the plant needed to pass into underworld, while the king who guarded the tree had to be ritually killed every year. The Life of the Oak (world tree) is found in Mistletoe, so that the king of the wood personated the Oak spirit and perished in the fire.
Fertility cults developed this myth of a sacred marriage–the Solar Deity with Earth Goddess– so that the magical art and evolution (succession) of kings, taboos and the perils of the soul, the dying gods (Adonis, Attis, Osiris…), the spirits of the corn of the wild, the scapegoat were all born out of these worldviews.
Additionally, the figure of Christ is thought to similarly represent the annual killing of a God, whose counterparts were well known all over western asia, helping to explain the early deification and rapid spread of his worship. Moreover, John M. Allegro writes that Jesus Christ was the personification of a fertility cult based on the use of the psychedelic mushroom amanita muscaria. In his book, The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, he relates the development of language on Eurasia to the development of myths, religions and cultic practices in many cultures. Allegro believed he could prove through etymology that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults; and that cultic practices, such as ingesting hallucinogenic drugs to perceive the mind of god, persisted into Christian times. The biological origins of mankind therefore provided the basis for worshiping nature, so that the Tree of Life, a metaphor for all life on earth, became the central symbol in religious mythology whereby ceremonies and festivals would ensure the fertility of the soil so that crops could grow and the cycle of seasons would continue.
The correspondence between microcosm (man) and macrocosm (universe) is thus seen in fertility cults, where the continuation of life is dependent on the power of the spirit world, so that what is done in one is evident in the other–each sympathetically attuned to the other. The spiritual principle central to such outlooks stimulate the desire for direct mystical union with this soul for influence over things through it by means of a systematic understanding of the cosmos. Universal energy fields are thought to have instantaneous effects, in that beliefs ultimately create the reality in which the human soul is nurtured by the greater, universal one…
In the Magic of Findhorn (and other intentional communities), Paul Hawken points to a thriving community that directly communicates with spirits, positing that the resultant energy fields create such prosperous growth and reciprocity. Findhorn is a power center where a new consciousness represents an emergent aspect of the evolution of consciousness on the planet, co-created with vision to act accordingly with the emergent organism (Earth) to bring it to life and fruition.
Hawken writes —
“the new sense of sublimation to the greater whole and of being ‘attuned’ to people who in fact one hardly knew at all…the Magic of Findhorn is the actual, palpable experience of one’s own consciousness merging with a group consciousness…the vibrant and powerful energy field that exists within Findhorn changes any individual who comes into it. When this energy flows into people, they find things coming out besides this energy…At Findhorn that presence [defying analysis] is strong and powerful, and anyone can notice it. It seems to be a place where divine energy is anchored, an energy which flows through everything…The etheric web [of powerpoints] is analogous to the vital energy of the human body which is called Ch’I in the Orient and is manipulated in acupunctiure. This etheric energy is the matrix from which forms emerge into denser planes of existence…At these points, the etheric energy can be used and transformed by human beings into vital energies of growth and development. These centers correspond to various manifestations of etheric energy with different functions…if the energies of a power point are properly anchored and stabilized, then they can be used to influence life on the planet, particularly in the surrounding area.”
From mystery cults and the search for wisdom and truth in nature, hermetic religious writings and the underground esoteric disciplines of magic, astrology, alchemy, and spiritualism, claim to utilize the same unifying principles assumed in science and in the astral theology of philosophy. Initiates seek to connect to a hidden power in order to communicate with multiple intelligences in order to reduce stress and anxiety in social spheres.
Drumming, ceremonies, chanting, dancing, and storytelling are all utilized to send one’s soul into the spiritual realm, bringing to bear mythic initiation and ritual. The mediator (magician or shaman) performs certain rites to purify the soul, using spiritual techniques to exercise communication and transform states, and shifting into various consciousnesses beyond normal perceptual boundaries in order to effect the world we wish to see and live in. Whereas the occult refers to those hidden forces that lay beyond the knowledge of the uninitiated, magic is the ability to compel the cooperation of these forces.
Changing the energy field involves the alteration of environmental signals, thus changing the structure of the organism which then alters specific movement/work to accommodate new behavior. In this way, environment creates the self! As children of our ancestors, the embedded beliefs and repetitive thoughts that have become our focus have a potential to manifest reality since material reality is affected by electrical and magnetic energies, thereby effecting biological responses. This then gives support to Starhawk’s notions regarding the Rule of Three:
“Pagans speak of the Rule of Three–that what we send out, especially magically but also in how we live our lives–returns to us three times over. If we focus our being twoard love, healing, and compassion, we attract those forces to us, because energy attracts energies like itself. That does not mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us or that we will become immune to grief or loss. It DOES mean that we will have the inner resources and the outer support to deal with the inevitable sorrows of life.” 102 The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: practical rituals, prayers, blessings, and meditations on crossing over