Gaian Methodologies - Bibliography

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Annotated Bibliography

The blend of Gaian Methodologies represent the flourishing convergence of several sources of research, including Complexity (including emergence), Ecospirituality (including Animism, Earth-Based, Judaism, Buddhism), Gaia Hypothesis as applied to methods, Healing and Shamanism, Multisensory Embodiment and Experiential Methods (including Arts Based Inquiry, Embodiment/Experiential, Feminism/Ecofeminism, Observation as Inquiry, Mindfulness and Contemplative Inquiry, and Poetic Inquiry), Ecophilosophy and Deep Ecology, Philosophy, Ecopsychology, Planetary Evolution, and an Unannotated Bibliography of an additional 100+ sources.

Ecospirituality article on ecospirituality


Animism

Barrett, M.J. (2009). Beyond human-nature-spirit boundaries: Researching with animate Earth. Dissertation, Published online at http://www.porosity.ca

Publishing her dissertation as hypertext as a means of subverting Western epistemologies, Barrett questions how animate human and non-human life can more effectively find representation and expression. She establishes more respectful means for researchers engaging with animate Earth, questions the particular barriers in education to explore and represent animate Earth, and explores kinds of representation congruent with animism. A vibrant and instantiated transdisciplinary depth and integrity blesses this inquiry. —MH

Goodenough, U. (1998). The Sacred Depths of Nature. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Ursula Goodenough is a molecular biologist. Similar to Lynn Margulis, Goodenough muses on the correlations between biological facts of our human existence and finds macrocosmic parallels. Goodenough is interested particularly in the philosophical/spiritual connotations for humans found in molecular biology. In terms of Gaian methodology, Goodenough understands a connection between science and spirituality that is not confined to particular religious dogma, but is rooted in nature. In the chapter “How Evolution Works”, Goodenough concludes, "Blessed be the tie that binds. It anchors us. We are embedded in the great evolutionary story of planet Earth, the spare, elegant process of mutation and selection and bricolage. And this means that we are anything but alone" (p. 75). Goodenough’s ability to bridge the gulf between science and spirituality without compromising either sets an inclusive precedent for the future of Gaian methodological research —JL

Judaism

Bernstein, E., ed. (1998) Ecology & the Jewish spirit: Where nature & the sacred meet. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing.

This compilation is eclectic, each point of view distinct yet linked by a deep understanding of principles of Judaism related to ecological understanding. The teachings of Judaism have much to say about humankind’s relationship with nature, with food, with weather, and with the treatment of animals. Although the Abrahamic religions are subject to criticism regarding themes and modes of patriarchal domination and dualism, Judaism also contains deep messages and laws regarding ecological consciousness affecting one’s overall spiritual condition. Ellen Bernstein identifies three attitudes about humankind and nature found in Biblical Judaism: humanity struggling with its God-given role as the keeper of the garden as found in Genesis; a humanity that dominates nature as found in Deuteronomy, and what is called the “Wisdom literature (which includes Proverbs and Ecclesiastes)” revealing a world “in which nature predominates as humanity and God fade into the background” (p. 19). Interesting to note that Wisdom is traditionally feminine in Judaism, connected to the immanent presence on earth of the Shekhinah. It is also clearly stated that the first human was created from the earth—from soil. The Israelites depended on their invisible monotheistic Unity to lead them through the desert and provide for them, later to provide water and proper weather for their crops. There is a connection to the earth intrinsic to their story, connected to the cycles of the year and rhythms of the land.

Dan Fink, a rabbi in Idaho (not too many of those), writes in his essay “Shabbat and the Sabbatical Year“ about the Jewish laws regarding keeping the Sabbath every seventh day, and about the Sabbatical year, occurring every seventh year. There is also a Year of Jubilee occurring on the fiftieth year of a seven times seven year cycle.. On the Sabbath, once a week, Jews are not allowed to work the land. Fink writes, “on Shabbat we refrain from any work that uses nature for human ends” (p. 116) This includes using livestock, or any animals for work. More interesting, however, is the idea of the Sabbatical year, coming once every seven years, in which Israelites are commanded to leave the land fallow. They may eat from what it produces wildly, but they may not cultivate. The people are also commanded to let the “needy” come and eat freely as well as the wild beasts (p. 118). Rabbi Fink considers this a piece of built in social justice and says, “abuse of the earth and human poverty go hand in hand” (p. 119). The Year of Jubilee extends this concept even further, where land holdings are returned and slaves freed. The biblical description is found in Leviticus 25: 8-12, 23 saying, “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is Mine; you are but strangers resident with me” (p. 119). While the year of Jubilee has not been enacted fully since the second Temple, the concept of land not belonging to humans in perpetuity and the ecological implications of this theology has not been lost entirely. I focus on this article because I find the concept of Shabbat ecologically sound, and relevant in my own life. Many of the other essays in the book link aspects of Judaism to ecological awareness and sustainable practice. —JL

Hammer, J. (2006). The Jewish book of days: a companion for all seasons. Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society.

Jill Hammer is a rabbi and rav kohenet (high priestess) as well as an innovative spiritual ecological author and thinker. She teaches feminist and earth-based Judaism—a Judaism rooted in relationship to the cycles of nature and the rhythms of life. “The voice of the Divine”, Hammer writes, “comes to us not only from text and history but also from trees, the sky, the waxing and waning moon, and the wondrous and fragile functioning of our own bodies” (p. 3). This is a Judaism that is non dualistic, a Judaism with an understanding that ‘our own bodies’ are equated with the moon, are part of Gaia, are part of the Divine.

Hammer connects every festival (and there are many) to what is happening in nature at that point in time as well as to what is happening in the spiritual timeline, one which repeats itself in an endless cycle. Does it occur during the rainy, introspective half of year, or in the sunny, communal half of the year; or does the festival correspond to a time embodying the seed, root, branch, sap, bud, leaf, flower, or fruit of the matter? These are the divisions of time in The Jewish book of days (2006), i.e. the literal and metaphorical time of the leaf, described as the season of spring shading into summer, of water within fire; a time when “trees and all living things must use their multiple resources to wrest water and nutrients from the wind and soil” (p.271). It is a time of abundance corresponding with several holidays of revelation, “the wisdom that comes from the meeting between the human and the Eternal” (p. 271). In this way Hammer connects nature, myth, text, and spirit to each day of the calendar in what is, for me, a very Gaian approach to telling time. —JL

Buddhism

Badiner, A. H. (1990). Dharma Gaia: A harvest of essays in Buddhism and ecology. Berkeley, Calif: Parallax Press.

Includes thirty-three Buddhist scholars and writers, including Gary Snyder, Joanna Macy, David Abram, Thich Nhat Hanh, Deena Metzger, Bill Devall, John Seed, and the Dalai Lama, exploring Green Buddhism, shifting views of perception, experiencing extended mind, becoming sangha, and meditations on earth as a sentient being. —MH

Earth based

LaChapelle, D. & J. Bourque (1973). Earth festivals: Seasonal celebrations for everyone young and old. Silverton, Colorado: Finn Hill Arts.

The authors suggest over four dozen inquiry techniques following seasonal cycles, including autumn equinox, relationship, energy, vegetation, and vision cycles through the calendar of the year. LaChapelle and Bourque design inquiry processes through earth rituals, mandalic work, awakened experiences on walks, pollen, dreams, bones, spirals, energy, stars, waterfalls and other natural phenomena. —MH

Spangler, D. (1984). “Gaia: The ultimate ecology,” In Emergence: The rebirth of the sacred. New York: Delta.

Aligning with the hypothesis that the Earth is a living being, Spangler advocates for a shift in perspective in research from anthropomorphism to “gaiamorphism.” —MH

Taylor, B. (2010). Dark green religion: Nature spirituality and the planetary future. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Bron Taylor generates frameworks for understanding naturalistic animism and gaian naturalism and takes in wide sweeps radical environmentalists, surfers, evolutionary biologists, movements in arts, letters, and sciences, and wide cultural gyres to distill the trends in what he terms dark green religion across multi-various dimensions of human culture. He positions it as the daughter of evolutionary insight, and naturalism, an intersection of natural animism (scientific approach who nevertheless feel kinship for the world) and Gaian naturalism (Lovelock) — a religion of nature (p. 38) — “a belonging to and reverence for the biosphere” (p. 40). His framework includes claiming dark green religion as a powerful social-cultural movement whose promise lies in its ability to provide a civic (secular), evolution-compatible, spiritual-religious framework for needed changes. He discusses two dimensions of criteria for further study, including the potential danger of religious hegemony and the need for timeliness in providing alternatives that will move behavior and culture in earth-healing directions.

He offers a framework of four propositions, each depending on verifiable claims, to provide tests for the risks and trade-offs of fostering social movements based on biophilic and ecological claims about whether they would cause more harm or good (p. 218) and be empowered to leverage existing systems to prevent more harm. This could prove a useful construct for further Gaian methodologies oriented research. —MH

Complexity articles on complexity

Berkes, F., Colding, J., & Folke, C. (2003). Navigating social-ecological systems: Building resilience for complexity and change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Authors leverage Holding’s complexity model of panarchy and apply it to social-ecological systems, including how to proactively design research and projects for resilience and regeneration. Resilient systems are inherently innovative and have whole systems cycles built in to ensure adaptability. They have natural flows of growth and change. The latter portion of the book offers many innovative designs and case studies applying the model and principles across domains, cultures, and contexts. Essential gear for every Gaian methodologist. —MH

Lewin, R. (1992). Complexity: Life at the edge of chaos. New York: Macmillan Pub.

Lewin uses a biographical narrative introducing and engaging in dialog with key figures working on complexity in various disciplines (biology, mathematics, computer science, information science, etc.) The concept that local rules generate global order is examined and illustrated in various ways, and ultimately the conclusion is that “emergence is the central feature of the new science of complexity” (p. 175). Gaia, in this regard, is thus the global control that emerges from an infinite number of local rules. —AdC

Emergence

Minati, G. and E. Pessa (2006). Collective beings. Contemporary systems thinking series. R.L. Flood, Series Ed. New York: Springer.

Minati and Pessa propose three general criteria for emergence: bifurcation, spatial extent, and fluctuations. They explore Collective Beings and emergent properties in research, including how to model emergence, both traditionally and non-traditionally. They explore the role of ergodicity, applications to social systems (sustainable development, ethics, systems archetypes, virtual systems, knowledge management, organizational learning, and industrial districts), and applications to cognitive systems (including computation, cognition, consciousness, and embodied cognition). They leverage nonlinear dynamical systems and quantum field theory to account for the unique fluctuations in biological systems and find emergence as a powerful model for understanding cognition and the phenomena of consciousness (pp. 398-400). —MH

Meadows, D. H., & Wright, D. (2009). Thinking in systems: A primer. London: Earthscan.

Meadows presents the core of systems theory in a tone that is engaging, and in a readable and easy to understand way. Meadows, who died unexpectedly in 2001, wrote in her Note from the Author that she is interested in analysis in terms of how it solves real world problems and not so much in abstract concepts (p. ix). In doing this, she draws on knowledge and examples from a variety of disciplines. In fact, one of her concluding remarks is about the interdisciplinary nature of systems work, and cautions that it works well when people get together to apply their strengths to solving a problem rather than “getting together just to talk past each other” (p. 183). Meadows’ goal is to provide enough information so that the reader acquires a basic ability to work with complex systems. —AdC

Vitek, W., & Jackson, W. (2008). The virtues of ignorance: Complexity, sustainability, and the limits of knowledge. Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky.

The essays in this books are from a 2004 gathering called the Matfield Green Dialogues arranged by Wes Jackson. The topics for these gatherings are provided by Jackson, and for the 2004 event he asked his “guests to focus on knowledge as the primary feedstock for the Western love of progress and the scientific control of nature and to consider the possibility that, despite its flashy achievements, the knowledge-based worldview has not delivered what it promised and is getting more dangerous to practice” (pp. 6-7). The basis for the book is that since there will always be more that we don’t know than what we do know, it is appropriate to use an ignorance-based worldview to approach problems. In so doing, before making any decisions or taking any actions “we must consider who and how many are involved, the level of cultural change that will be involved, and the chances of backing out if things go sour” (p. 7). The cross-disciplinary essays are for people who wish to challenge the status quo when solving problems (p. 8). —AdC

Gaia Hypothesis as Applied to Methods articles on gaia hypothesis

Elders, F. ed., (2004). Visions of nature: Studies on the theory of Gaia and culture in ancient and modern times. Brussels, Belgium: VUB Brussels University Press

This book is an edited compilation of writers from diverse disciplines as well as locations, in discourse about the “consequences of a unified Earth” (p. 8), meaning the far reaching implications of Gaia hypothesis, particularly on modern industrialized Western societies. Peter Westroek, in his essay “Gaia: self-organization on a planetary scale”, talks of the collective shock and resonance of seeing pictures of Earth from the Apollo space mission of 1969. “What we saw”, Westroek writes, “was our home, our unique native country, rotating in majestic solitude through infinite space” (p.16). This was the beginning of the modern wave of consciousness that readily accepted Lovelock and Margulis’s Gaia hypothesis. Westbroek then goes on to describe the backlash and criticism leveled against the theory by “overcritical epistemologists”, ultimately choosing Gaia as a “guiding principle for future discoveries” (p. 24).

In introducing the section on Nature in the Western Tradition, editor Fons Elders writes, “Europe with its colonial past and the US with its politics of globalization bear particular responsibility for what is happening to nature” (p. 54). He goes on to say that “The similarities in attitude found in Western philosophy of nature and Western colonial politics are no fortuitous coincidence. They are interconnected.” The essays elucidate areas where the elevation of science has turned against nature as in F. David Peat’s article, “Nature’s inscape: from the Blackfoot to David Bohm”, culminating in Karin Verelst’s, “Concerning the Ontology of the World Tree”. Verelst concludes that the “same reasons that make science incapable of coexisting with other—different ways of reality-access— make our civilization incapable of coexisting with other forms of socio-cultural organization, or with the ‘environment’ around us” (p. 122). The authors and articles in this compilation are valuable resources for Gaian methodologies, largely because the level of discourse is high, and also because the book targets those aspects of Western thinking that have both disconnected us physically and alienated us spiritually from our environment. —JL

Harding, S. (2006). Animate Earth: Science, intuition and Gaia. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green.

Harding highlights and integrates Gaian method experiential exercises into this overview of how the Gaia Hypothesis is becoming the Gaia Theory, how life, the elements, water, carbon, evolution of planetary life, and biodiversity emerge from the living planetary system, Gaia. —MH

Joseph, L. E. (1990). Gaia: The Growth of an idea. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

Lawrence E. Joseph, a science reporter and writer, elaborates on Lovelock and Margulis’s Gaia hypotheses and it’s influence since it was first introduced by Lovelock in 1979 in Gaia: A New look at life on earth. Joseph considers various aspects of the Gaia hypothesis including the criticisms leveled at it, the embracing of it by popular culture, and the ambivalence of its scientific authors about using Gaia hypothesis as religion. In chapter III, “Gaia: Goddess and Theory” Joseph talks not only of Gaian theory but of the struggle Lovelock and Margulis had in presenting it to the scientific community at large, of legitimizing the hypothesis in the halls of academia. He chronicles how the debates stimulated by critics Paul Erhlich and W. F. Doolittle actually fueled dissemination of Gaia hypothesis by recognizing it as a scientific theory worthy of debate (p. 58). The public was hungry for a new paradigm that addressed the rapid alienation engulfing the industrialized world. Joseph concludes “The value of the theory is ultimately the value of our responses to the fundamental questions it raises” (p. 252). Joseph places Lovelock and Margulis’s Gaia hypothesis in historical and scientific context and deems it accessible and valuable to the culture at large. —JL

Lovelock, J. (2000). Gaia: The practical science of planetary medicine. New York: Oxford.

In Gaia: The Practical Science of Planetary Medicine (2000), Lovelock offers fabulous visual examples and visualizations for planetary “geophysiology” as part of the fleshing out of the Gaia Hypothesis. His extended metaphor for the Earth as having a physiology includes later chapters on “The People Plague,” fever as a metaphor for global warming, and exfoliation as a metaphor for deforestation. —MH

Margulis, L. (1998). Symbiotic planet: A new look at evolution. New York: Basic Books.

Lynn Margulis, co-innovator of the Gaia Hypothesis, overviews her lifework studying symbiosis as the central driver of evolution in Symbiotic Planet. In “Gaia” (Chapter 8) in particular, Margulis describes the key characteristics of planetary self-regulation at the meta-ecosystemic level. Her systems thinking models of symbiogenesis and planetary geophysiology are foundational for several strains of Gaian methodologies. —MH

Sahtouris, E. (2000). Earthdance: Living systems in evolution. San Jose, CA: IUniversity Press.

Sahtouris synthesizes her personal experience with scientific understanding in a demonstration of a Gaian mixed method—which, in Gaian methodologies, is not mixed but rather, required holism. —MH
Lovelock describes Earthdance thus:
“Elisabet gives us valuable insights as she draws parallels between the evolution of cells and the evolution of human society, pointing out the contrast between the healthy organization of cells, bodies, and biosystems on the one hand and the unhealthy organization of economics and politics in human society on the other. While she argues that our social evolution is not as much under our control as we like to think, she warns us that our survival depends on our meeting the evolutionary demand to transform competitive exploitation into cooperative synergy. … On the whole, her advice makes sense because she herself has taken the trouble to learn directly from nature as well as from the growing store of scientific knowledge about nature. She comfortably integrates the traditionally separated domains of biology, geology, and atmospheric science to show us the evolution of our living planet and our own roots within it. She then inspires us on ethical grounds to learn from this planetary organism of which we are part, showing us how we can mature as a species well integrated into the larger dance of life.” [pp.6-7, from Lovelock’s Introduction]

Schneider, S. H. (2004). Scientists debate Gaia: The next century. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

The papers that make up the chapters of this book are divide into five areas: principles and processes; earth history and cycles; philosophy, history and human dimensions of Gaia; quantifying Gaia; and life forms and Gaia: microbes to exraterrestrials. This is an interdisciplinary work that draws in part on papers that were presented at the second AGU Chapman Conference on the Gaia hypothesis held in Valencia in 2000. The conference specifically sought to address three major themes: “the temporal viability of Gaia, the structure of Gaia, and how to quantify Gaia feedbacks” (p. xiv). —AdC

The Gaia Hypothesis is one fertile source of the current understanding of “the formative role of life in the biosphere’s biogeochemical cycles and climate [which] serve as an active feedback mechanism for biogeoclimatological control” (Schneider, 2004, p. xiii) – rather than through means of a global scale teleology, as an emergent property of the complex Earth system (xv). This MIT book offers thirty-one applications and explorations of the Gaia Hypothesis and its methodologies, ranging from the study of earth worms, planetary modeling, rainforest ecology, deglaciations, food web complexity, and Daisyworlds, to extraterrestrial Gaias. The book is structured to explore Gaian principles and processes in earth science, thermodynamics, regulation and natural selection; biosphere and ocean feedback, phanerozoic eon biogeochemical Earth models, life driving disequilibrium, and other Earth history and cycles; philosophy and human dimensions of Gaia—including complexity, gradient reduction, observer self-selection, and planetary models of human-Earth systems; quantitative inquiry of daisyworld modeling, artificial life, biogeography, and feedback modeling between water and vegetation in African climate systems; and lastly research on life forms and Gaia. Scofield in Scientists Debate Gaia explores over two dozen expressions of the concept of a living Earth in Western natural philosophy (p. 157). Darwin’s last book on earthworms and soil ecology also lays the groundwork for geophysiological understanding of earth and a living Earth (Crist, pp. 161-170). —MH

Sheldrake, R. (1991). The rebirth of nature: The greening of science and god. New York: Bantam.

Sheldrake proposes applying his theory of morphic resonance to the phenomenon of Gaia the Earth planet as a framework of a testable hypothesis applying throughout the realm of nature to the idea that the Earth is alive. He proposes several experiential methods, including remembering our connection to nature, breaking taboos against sharing mystical experiences of nature connection, remembering childhood experiences, recognizing sacred places, including pilgrimage, remembering sacred time, the practice of gratitude, and research into prayer. His work includes developing models on emergent memory at different levels of complexity, applying breaking science to nature connection, including for intuition. —MH

Arts based inquiry

Chenail, R. J. (2008). “But is it research?”: A review of Patricia Leavy’s Method Meets Art: Arts-Based Research Practice. The Weekly Qualitative Report, 1(2), 7-12.
Retrieved from http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/WQR/leavy.pdf

Chenail provides insightful cultural context for honoring Levy’s contribution of the book Method Meets Art by demonstrating how arts-based inquiry does bring the “science” of research rigor and validation to the qualitative research methods within (and among) the arts, along with the benefit of transdisciplinary approaches to inquiry. —MH

Leavy, P. (2009). Method meets art: Arts-based research practice. New York: Guilford Press.

Levy travels the gamut of arts-based research, providing historical context, qualitative research examples as well as methodological insights into validity, assessment, and trustworthiness and provides coaching about how to explode the arts-science divide. She effectively dedicates depth and insight to explore narrative, poetry, music, performance studies, dance and movement, and the visual arts as qualitative research methods. —MH

Lightman, A. (2005). A sense of the mysterious: Science and the human spirit. New York, NY: Pantheon Books.

In A Sense of the Mysterious (2005), Alan Lightman writes about the connection between art and science. He talks about both in terms of the human spirit and the paradox of holding the love for both these disciplines within himself. He talks of loving the “power, the beauty, the logic and precision of science” and also longing for the unique individualized expression of art. Lightman writes, “Individual expression is everything. You can separate Einstein from the equations of relativity, but you cannot separate Beethoven from the Moonlight Sonata” (p. 28). Lightman does come to a place of reconciliation for himself, finding his creative outlet through writing about his passion, science.

What makes this book relevant to Gaian methodologies, however, is precisely Lightman’s musings on the seeming paradox between subjective art and objective science. A sense of wonder accompanies Gaian methodology. There is a recognition that comes with acknowledgement of the Gaia hypothesis, and that is the importance of the dynamics of creativity in both science and art. Lightman quotes Einstein from an article published in 1931, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science” (p 42). The mysterious is what compels us to question, create and travel to the unknown places. —JL

Multisensory-Embodiment-Experiential articles on embodiment

Abram, D. (1996). The spell of the sensuous: Perception and language in a more-than-human world. New York: Vintage.

The author begins with a spontaneous hike and retreat in a cave where he enters a meta-aware state and through the rain discovers the multi-verse of spiders’ webs before a verdant, living landscape. Abram, an oracle of embodiment, explores philosophers on the way to ecology, including Husserl’s phenomenology and Merleau-Ponty’s participatory nature of perception and enfleshment. Abram then ventures into the flesh of the language, animism and the alphabet, language landscapes, the eclipse of the earth, and remembering air as he journeys eloquently to a more fully embodied and enlivened planetary presence. —MH

Bosnak, R. (2007). Embodiment: Creative imagination in medicine, art, and travel. New York: Routledge.

This Jungian analyst offers a set of methods for accessing the living wisdom of the body as expressed through the experience of embodiment. The book offers a tour through methods, healing responses, neuroscience, dreaming, and simultaneous multiplicity, kinds of imagination, and applications of alchemy to eliciting body wisdom. The final section offers a twenty-one-fold practitioner method for surfacing embodiment insight, including: context; structure analysis, strategy and pacing; the waking hypnagogic state; embodiment and sense of place; affect; the lived body; pressure and reduction; distillation, trigger points, sense memory, and composite; topographical body map; container; depth fluctuations and embodied metaphor; contrast; identifying; Qi; steeping; mimesis or aping; networking the impulsive composite; geometry; and communion (pp. 114-135). Could be used as a specific flavor of heuristics or phenomenology or embodiment as inquiry. —MH

Casey, E. S. (2005). Earth-mapping: Artists reshaping landscape. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Casey’s book discusses the representation of earth/cartography/mapping through the work of various artists such as Sandy Gellis, Jasper Johns, and Willem de Kooning. Artistic mapping of the earth allows the capture of an essence as well as describing a placement. The tension of interacting with the the earth-body can be represented more fully in artistic renderings than it can be in strict cartographic illustration. Casey chose the artists discussed in this book because of their sensitivity to working in a kind of collaboration with the landscape in combining mapping with landscape painting (or creative works in mixed media, including installations and sculptures). —AdC

Ferguson, T.H. (1996) Celebrate Gaia: Aspects of Solar Art. Leonardo, 29(1), pp. 69-71.

This is a brief article describing Solar Art projects. The concept behind solar artwork was to demonstrate active collaboration with the Earth and Sun to create art. The article lists a few artists and their projects that were part of a SolArt Global Network. The SolArt Global Network (see http://www.khm.de/~SolArt/introduction.html) was established to bring together artists and solar energy to create research-based solar art. The network unfortunately appears to have become defunct. — AdC

Latta, M. M., & Buck, G. (2008). Enfleshing embodiment: “Falling into Trust” with the body’s role in teaching and learning. Educational Philosophy and Theory. 40 (2), 315-329.

Perceptive article by two educational researchers who conduct an extensive review of the literature and apply phenomenologist Merleau-Ponty’s enfleshment approaches along with Dewey’s calls for connected learning to increase embodiment and trust in nine studies of science classroom learning. —MH

Olsen, A. Body and earth: An experiential guide. (2002). Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England Press.

Andrea Olsen is a dancer. It is clear she has studied the body, inside and out. It is clear that she understands the body as part of nature and as our way, as humans, of experiencing Earth. She introduces her book, Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide (2002) as a guide to “whole-body” learning and implores the reader to come to know the body as “familiar” and as “the vessel through which you experience the earth” (p. xx). Olsen recognizes she is treading new ground, bringing a dancer’s sensibilities to science, reminding us “that every field of study begins and ends in mystery” (p. xviii).

Olsen defines her terms—body is all inclusive of what it means to be human, body, mind, soul, psyche, physical, emotional, intuitive, etc. Body refers to the “whole being” (p. 3). Earth refers to Gaia, our world, and is also an inclusive term meaning the whole planet. “Body is an aspect of earth”, is also part of the definition (p. 3). For example, she tells us that our bones are our “mineral” body, similar to the composition of marble (p. 95). Place is defined as “a particular part of the earth that we know through direct experience in the body” (p. 3). Olsen regards place as something palpable, she writes that, “perception of place merges the exterior landscape with powerful interior responses” (p. 226). This idea of connection between the interior and exterior is woven throughout the book, giving the reader a holistic sense of body in relationship with earth. Olsen reminds us with scientific facts that the body is made up of the same elements as earth, of how we are mostly water, attuned to magnetic fields, of how we are embodied examples of the united macrocosm and microcosm.

Olsen believes in a correlation with how we treat our bodies and how we treat the earth. She writes, “Our attitudes toward our bodies have everything to do with the health of the earth” (p.8). She speaks of patterns and systems such as alignment, referring not only to our internal postural alignment (i.e. knees over toes, shoulders over hips) but says, “alignment is relationship, to self and to the environment” (p.20). Olsen also makes an important statement regarding the role of art and creativity in our relationship of body and earth. She considers art as integrative, as bringing wholeness. She speaks of creative process as an “ecotone, the dynamic edge zone of ecosystems that offers the richness of two overlapping habitats, creativity is a place of great potential” (p. 208). Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide (Olsen, 2002) is a rich work—rich in imagery, rich in biological facts, rich in connections, rich also in the holistic way the information is presented. The book is an integrated creative exercise in experiencing the body on earth and in place, recognizing the influences of the past and the possibilities of the future, and giving guidelines to creating a dynamic and healthy relationship.

Feminism

Adams, C. J. ed. (1993). Ecofeminism and the sacred. New York, NY: The Continuum Publishing Company

Ecofeminism and the sacred (1993), edited by Carol J. Adams is a collection of feminist writings that largely discuss the relationship between women, the body, and nature. There is ample evidence throughout history that attitudes towards our bodies correspond to our attitudes towards nature. Adams, in her introduction to the collection, says “When patriarchal spirituality associates women, body, and nature, and then emphasizes transcending the body and transcending the rest of nature, it makes oppression sacred” (p. 1). In the ensuing essays, the themes of dualism, patriarchal dichotomies, and feminist spirituality, are discussed. There is an understanding expressed that part of an ecofeminist outlook is an understanding of the body as sacred, of earth as sacred, of a holistic and inclusive understanding of ourselves as part of nature.

In “Toward an Ecofeminist Ethic of Shamanism and the Sacred”, Gloria Orenstein writes, “Shamanism, because it functions upon the acknowledgment that spirit resides in matter, shatters the patriarchal dualism pervading the Western religions – a dualism that insists upon spirit being separate from matter” (p. 173). Orenstein goes on to say that shamanism can be considered ecofeminist because it is “neither androcentric nor anthropocentric” nor does it recognize superiority of one gender over another, but instead places humans within cosmic cycles and natural ecosystems. Charlene Spretnak in “Earthbody and personal body as sacred” talks of an orientation to nature and culture that she terms “ecological sanity”, that is the idea that “the bodily affinity of females and males with nature is respected and culturally honored, rather than denied and scorned” (p. 273). She describes the Goddess “as a metaphor for divine immanence and the transcendent sacred whole”, expressing “ongoing regeneration with the cycles of her Earthbody and contains the mystery of diversity within unity” (p. 273). The book is a useful resource for connecting feminist writings and sensibilities to Gaian methodology. —JL

Anderson, L. (2003). Sisters of the earth: Women’s prose and poetry about nature. New York: Vintage books.

This second edition of Sisters of the Earth offers a trove of hundreds of passages by women poets and writers in seven sections, offering a universe of Gaian modes and methods: our kinship and embedding in nature, delight, wildness, solace and healing, creatures, abuse, healing and walking in balance. —MH

Goettner-Abendroth, H. (2009). Societies of peace: Matriarchies past, present, and future. Toronto: Innana.

In this unique book, forty scholars from across the globe offer brief cultural ethnographies, mythopoetic insight, and other methods to develop a wide-spanning view across cultures that begin with women (alternate etymology for ‘matriarchy’) and their connection and pattern-sharing to planetary nature-loving cultures in all their particularities across time and space. Everyone’s voice is important and honored; political practice follows the principle of consensus in an egalitarian society of peace (Goettner-Abendroth, 2009, p. 23). —MH

Jackson, A. Y. (2003). Rhizovocality. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. 16 (5), 693-710.

This researcher extends the application of the growth patterns of rhizomes (Deleuze & Guattari) and the musical notion of vocality to develop a poststructural feminist qualitative research approach termed rhizovocality. The author applies these concepts of nonlinear growth of rhizome roots to feminist voice in qualitative research, generating a tripartite model of emergence and connection: emancipative and interconnected iruption, positioned, aware situating of the researcher, especially when speaking for Other, deconstructing meaning and voice, arriving at a Trickster rhizovocality. —MH

“Rhizovocality, in its multiplicity and contingency, is difference within and between and among; it highlights the irruptive, disruptive, yet interconnected nature of positioned voices (including the researcher’s) that are discursively formed and that are historically and socially determined – irrupting from discursive pressures within/against/outside the research process. Locating the coordinates of irruption and following a line of flight enables the Trickster to ‘blow apart strata, cut roots, and make new connections’(Deleuze & Guattari, 1987, p. 15).” (p. 706-707)

Merchant, C. (1996). Earthcare: women and the environment. New York, NY: Routledge.

In Earthcare: Women and the Environment, Carol Merchant is quick to distance herself from essentialism, noting that the relationship between women and nature is a complex one, not limited to notions of women’s nature is to nurture (p. xvi). She talks about a partnership model of earthcare, an ethic that can be “embraced by women and men, scientists and environmentalists alike, in personal as well as politically-responsible terms” (p. xvii). Merchant makes distinctions between cultural and social ecofeminism, associating cultural ecofeminism with study of the feminine divine and historical relationships between women and nature. Social ecofeminism, Merchant writes, “advocates the liberation of women through overturning economic and social hierarchies that turn all aspects of life into a market society that today even invades the womb.” (p. 14).

Merchant reiterates that essentialism has no place in her ideologies, but that “both women and men are capable of an ecological ethic based on caring” (p. 14). In the chapter “Eve: nature and narrative” Merchant uses examples from American history to reveal fundamental differences between European Western creation myths and those of the Native Americans they encountered. Merchant claims
“These meanings of nature as female and agency as male are encoded as symbols and myths into American lands…. they are historically constructed and derive from the origin stories of European settlers and European cultural and economic practices transported to and developed in the American New World. That they appear to be essences is a result of their historical construction in Western history, not their immutable characteristics” (p. 33).
I think her distinctions are important and relevant to finding a path of inclusion for Western men, in particular, into the ecofeminist paradigm. It is Part One/Theory that is most relevant for Gaian methodologies, with Merchant showing the implications of Gaia theory, both ancient and new, on her partnership model of caring for the earth (earthcare). Although Merchant speaks in terms of ecofeminism, she uses the term inclusively, recognizing that the participation of men is vital, necessary and encouraged to alter the devastating consequences of a Westernized culture of domination. —JL

Observation as Inquiry

Lanting, F., & Eckstrom, C. K. (2005). Jungles. Koln: Taschen.

Frans Lanting is a world-renowned nature photographer who, with his wife and partner Chris Eckstrom work to produce books and films that, according to their website, promote knowledge and understanding about the earth and its natural history through images and ideas that convey a passion for nature and a sense of wonder about our living planet.(lanting.com/welcome.html) Jungles is a series of striking images that Lanting has collected precisely to evoke the feeling of the forest rather than the science of it (p. 23). The photographs are arranged in a series of four portfolios: Water and Light, Color and Camouflage, Anarchy and Order, and Form and Evolution. Lanting succeeds in his goal to use images to portray the kaleidoscopic nature of the jungle (p. 23). The images are amazing in their intimacy and, since they are deliberately chosen to exclude evidence of human interference or transformation of the environment, they give the viewer the sense that s/he is the only person there in the jungle at the moment the image was captured. —AdC

Mindfulness & Contemplative Inquiry

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. (2005). Coming to our senses: Healing ourselves and the world through mindfulness. New York: Hyperion.

Gaian methodologies include multisensory, interdisciplinary inquiry at the intersection of multiple “scapes,” including the bodyscape, landscape, lightscape, etc. (Parajuli, 2007). Jon Kabat-Zinn in Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness, explores mindfulness and meditation as doorways into several of these ‘scapes. In Part 3, in particular, he explores “The Sensory World” through Mary Oliver’s poem “Your One Wild and Precious Life,” the whole-body and extended senses of those persons who have lost access to one or more senses, the elision of senses, and mystery and the spell of the sensuous (referring to Abram’s Spell of the Sensuous). He then explores methods of inquiry into seeing and being seen, hearing and the soundscape, the airscape, the touchscape and being in touch with the skin (including proprioception), the smellscape, tastescape, mindscape, and nowscape (pp. 185-242). In Part 4 Kabat-Zinn offers formal practices for tasting mindfulness (pp. 243-312). Part Five relates these practices to mind-body medical research (pp. 313-402). Part Six involves practices to arrive fully into mindfulness, including attaining place (pp. Pp. 425-428) and overcoming resistance, including the resistance to being and staying present, even the fear of death. In “Healing the Body Politic,” Part Seven offers expansions on how mindfulness can heal larger scalars of imbalance, including cultivating democracy, treating war depression, and addressing larger global events (pp. 499-580). He concludes his explorations with Part 8: “Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do,” including reflections on awe and wisdom, how humans fit into nature, unfurling sensitivities with eleven-dimensions curled in primordial potentiality as three or four are available to us, and an invitation to perspective shifts that will allow our species to, indeed, “come to our senses” (pp. 581-609). —MH

Poetic Inquiry

Bell, A. (2003). A Narrative Approach to Research. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education. 8, 95-110.

Author provides a modified narrative approach to environmental education research in which she explores the metaphors of communities of teachers and students, the power of subjectivity to match her epistemological and ontological frame, as well as the location of the researcher as a storyteller in articulating research findings. —MH

Berry, W. (1985). Collected poems, 1957-1982. San Francisco: North Point Press.

In this elegiac, elegant, collection of many books of oracular Kentucky poet and farmer Wendell Berry, we meet one of the most eloquent Gaian poets. We “make tracks in the wrong direction/Practice resurrection” with the Mad Farmer’s Liberation Front; rest in the grace of the world, and are free; “And we pray, not for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye, clear. What we need is here…” —MH

Healing & Shamanism articles on healing

Turner, N. J. (2005). The earth’s blanket: Traditional teachings for sustainable living. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Nancy Turner is an ethnobotanist working primarily in Northwest North America (British Columbia). Her book The Earth’s Blanket is a synthesis of her own observations, experiences and ideas that have been substantially informed by indigenous practices, beliefs, traditions, and stories. Turner is both imparting ethnobotanical and people-earth relationship information to the reader as well as investigating for her own personal needs ideas about how we impact the earth and each other. Her goal is to look at the treatment of the earth around us from different perspectives, to reorient herself and the readers so that we can find alternative ways of looking at the world. Her hope is that this reorientation will help us change the way we look at the Earth, presumably so that we stop harming the environment and start discovering (or re-discovering) more sustainable habits.

The title of the book is taken from the journal of James Teit, a Scottish ethnographer who explored and studied aboriginal people in the Interior of British Columbia in the late 1800s and early 1900s (p. 19). Turner cites an entry in Teit’s journal as follows (p. 20):

Flowers, plants & grass especially the latter are the covering or blanket of the earth. If too much is plucked or ruthlessly destroyed [the] earth [is] sorry and weeps.

This quote from Teit’s journal, combined with the understanding that aboriginal stories traditionally conveyed both knowledge and ethics, lays the foundation for the rest of the book. Turner first describes the geologic, botanical, and cultural landscape of the area and discusses the loss of the old ways, reflections of days when people may have been materially poorer but were socially wealthier. Having set the stage, she then uses a rich collection of traditional stories and customs with a botanical (ethnobotanical) theme to examine the relationships between humans and their environment. Through these stories she can easily illustrate alternative ways of viewing the human relationship with the environment, particularly in caring for the world as an intimate part of one’s life, family, and social history.

Turner notes in her preface that she is an outsider to the cultures from which she collects these stories, traditions, and knowledge. She was not raised in these traditions and therefore will never be able to completely internalize the lessons and obtain the deep understanding had by the people who relate the stories. Her research, therefore, strives to relate as accurately as possible the stories, the understanding and knowledge contained in the stories as related by the storyteller, and to then interpret this for herself on a personal level and also in terms that can be generalized for others’ use. —AdC

Tedlock, B. (2005). The woman in the shaman’s body: Reclaiming the feminine in religion and medicine. New York: Bantam Books.

Anthropologist Barbara Tedlock researches ancient women’s shamanic traditions, six examples of women’s shamanic traditions in action, the specific arenas of menstruation, birth, and creation, and the revitalization and reconstruction of women shamanism globally. —MH

Wilson, P.L., C. Bamford, and K. Townley (2007). Green hermeticism: Alchemy and ecology. Great Barrington, MA: Lindisfarne Books.

Green Hermeticism is an attempt to wed alchemy and hermetic approaches with ecology and scientific insight including exploring Goethe’s paradoxical quandary between scientific abstraction and ideation and the particularity of experiential results. The authors develop a quilting approach and call up ancestors of the green hermetic tradition, including Paracelsus, Goethe, and Rudolf Steiner. They explore and advocate for a return to multiple planetary and ecological frameworks from esoteric Western thought, for alchemy as sacred ecology, and also advocate for the creation of planetary elixirs to return balance. —MH

Eco-Philosophy and Deep Ecology article on ecophilosophy

Drengson, A. R., & Inoue, Y. (1995). The deep ecology movement: An introductory anthology. Io, no. 50. Berkeley, Calif: North Atlantic Books.

This anthology includes core writings of Naess, elaboration including extremely useful frameworks and constructs for applying deep ecology in research, and exploration of deep ecological approaches to major topics such as feminism, ritual, council of all beings, and radical ecocentrism. Amongst the many scholars in this rich anthology, Fox offers a transpersonal ecological framework for the deep ecological levels of person, ontology and cosmos; Duvall describes “The Ecological Self” (pp. 101-123); and Freya Matthews explores the question of whether deep ecology is as much a part of chest-beating extraction culture and how acceptance of ourselves as natural phenomenon would effect our approach to inquiry—how all things are constituted by their relationship with other things (Matthews, p. 126). —MH

LaChapelle, D. (1988). Sacred land, sacred sex: Rapture of the deep : Concerning deep ecology and celebrating life. Durango, Colo: Kivakí Press.

LaChapelle digs into the uprooting of agriculture, addiction, and capitalism; explores Taoism, nature, and our roots in the old ways; and follows the “root-traces” for a return for humans to play, ritual, living by and celebrating with the dynamic rhythms of earth and sky and season, sacred sex, and earth bonding. Her ecospiritual, healing, shamanic, ecofeminist, deep ecological embodied and experiential Gaian methodologies are a perfect example of the very uncategorizable nature of the best of this work. —MH

Næss, A., Rothenberg, D., & Næss, A. (1989). Ecology, community, and lifestyle: Outline of an ecosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This book elaborates on the deep ecology themes originally introduced in Naess’ 1973 article coining the term “deep ecology.” The discussion begins by introducing the “total view” (also called the “relational, total-field image”) and goes on to explain why ecology alone cannot provide principles for acting. These principles are driven by an ecosophy which must itself be a living and flexible model (p. 41). This book provides a detailed outline for a philosophy of “being with other living beings” where “being with them is more important than exploiting or killing them” (p.24). —AdC

Snyder, G. (2003). The practice of the wild: Essays. Washington, DC: Shoemaker & Hoard.

This evocative and provocative collection of essays encourages the reader to look at issues such as sprawl, use of the commons, philosophy of the wild, and so on from a completely different point of view – one that is an integral part of the wild and natural places he leads on to on the pages of this book. Snyder is mentor, tour guide, instigator, history teacher, and encourager as he takes the reader on a journey to different locations and different ways of thinking about presents itself along the way. —AdC

Smith, M. J. (1998). Ecologism: Towards ecological citizenship. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Questioning the anthropocentric approach to thinking about the relationship between society and the “green environment” Ecologism discusses the reasons why the anthropocentric viewpoint has come into question and what it means for rethinking this relationship (p. 1). Smith defines ecologism as the new way to look at this relationship, one in which humans are removed from the center of the equation. Ecologism focuses on ways of seeing the environment. The themes the book is arranged around include (1) looking at ways in which we value the environment and (2) the implications of “the debates over valuing the environment have for existing approaches towards justice, entitlements and obligations” (p. 3). In other words, we need to stop considering the value of nature as based upon human needs or where humans are “always… the measure of all things” (p. 4). Ecocentrism puts the ecosystem at the center. This has the effect of relegating humans to a part of the “more complex system and no longer [do they] sit at the top of the ethical hierarchy” (p. 5). Humans and their current anthropocentric view see nature as appropriate for exploitation, and further see property ownership as a right, and property as having value equivalent only to as much as it what it produces has value. Ecocentrism causes us to rethink current ethical assumptions by “replacing anthropocentric with ecocentric values” (p. 91). —AdC

Philosophical

Casey, E. S. (2009). Getting back into place: Toward a renewed understanding of the place-world. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Casey is the master philosopher of place, devotee of Merleau-Ponty. In this massive volume he explores finding place, the body in place, built places, wild places, and moving between places. His work on finding places, the body in place, and wild places are all particularly relevant for Gaian methodological inquiry. —MH

McCallum, Ian. (2008). Ecological Intelligence: Rediscovering ourselves in nature. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing.

Ian McCallum is a medical doctor and a Jungian analyst; he mixes science and poetry, and understands the importance of dreams as well as biology in explaining the human predicament. In Ecological intelligence: Rediscovering ourselves in nature (2008) McCallum examines the relationship between sense of self and sense of place and how our “deep historical sense of kinship with wild places and wild animals” affects our identity and current actions (p. 173). While recognizing and incorporating the biological nature of humanity, he claims that the psychological health and wholeness of humans is connected to a deep and evolutionary relationship with nature (both animals and land). McCallum makes an eloquent argument for the health of humanity being tied to the health of our relationship to Gaia and an understanding of our interlocking history, essential make-up, and collective future. —JL

Margulis, L. and Sagan, D. (2007). Dazzle gradually: reflections on the nature of nature. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Dazzle Gradually (2007) is a series of essays and articles by Lynn Margulis and her son Dorion Sagan. Margulis is a biologist and the first wife of astronomer and scientist Carl Sagan. Dorion Sagan is their firstborn son, also a scientist/philosopher. In true holistic fashion, the essays range from the emotional necessity of finding reconciliation between father and son, to a description of the atmosphere as Gaia’s circulatory system. Margulis and Sagan have a wonderful way of uniting intricate scientific facts with mundane human metaphor, as in the essays “An Evolutionary Striptease” and “The Riddle of Sex,” exploring aspects of evolutionary biology. The authors are able to connect the microcosm of microbes to the macrocosm of Gaia hypotheses. Margulis and Sagan consider the Gaia hypothesis a scientific worldview based on biology and extend the implications of that worldview to whatever subject area they choose to focus their gaze, be it human emotions or ‘bacterial sex.’ —JL

Spretnak, C. (1999). The resurgence of the real: Body, nature, and place in a hypermodern world. New York: Routledge.

Multiple ways of knowing are critical for Earth survival. Spretnak proposes an ecological postmodernism to ward off hypermodernity (p. 73), including the metanarrative of cosmological unfolding, the truth mode of experientialism, the reality of dynamic relationship, the primary truth of the particular-in-context, the grounding in cosmological processes, and the following other attributes and affiliations: nature as a subject, trust in the body, complexity science, community-based economics, sense of the divine as creativity in the cosmos and ultimate mystery and the key metaphor of ecology. —MH

Wilson, E. O. (2006). Nature revealed: Selected writings, 1949-2006. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

A compendium of writings by Edward O. Wilson. It is a reflection on Wilson’s journey from entomology to the biology of social behavior to ecology represented by the body of his research and writing, as selected by Wilson himself. —AdC

Traditional

Mugerauer, R. (1995). Interpreting environments: Tradition, deconstruction, hermeneutics. Austin: University of Texas Press.

This book is for researchers interested in answering questions about the meaning both built and natural environments have for people. The author shows how three philosophical approaches can be used to help interpret the environment, and discusses the merits and drawbacks of each. The traditional approach is used to discuss Wittgenstein and Jung’s construction of and preferences for their housing arrangements. Deconstruction is illustrated with a discussion of a variety of types of pyramids. Hermeneutics is used to illustrate the understanding of America as the natural paradise, beginning with a western religious point of view and summing up with references to indigenous expressions. The book begins with a useful introduction to each of the three philosophical approaches. —AdC

Steeves, H. P. (1999). Animal others: On ethics, ontology, and animal life. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

Steeves uses a variety of continental philosophical approaches to examine understanding, communication, and other issues at the interface between human and non-human animals. —AdC

phenomenology – lived, embodied relationships (bentz & shapiro)

[See embodiment]

hermeneutics – interpretation of earth’s message

Lippit, A. M. (2000). Electric animal: Toward a rhetoric of wildlife. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Although humans are often described as separate from animals, are are thus defined by their separateness, the disappearance of animals is, as Jung described, dehumanizes mankind. The loss of animals is a reduction in the “fullness of our world and not the animals’. The absence of animal being weakens the humanity of the human world” (p. 17). Electric animal looks at humans’ relationship through written and cinematic use of animals as literary and philosophical device. Lippit makes the case that animal is transferring from wild, through written to cinematic representation, to indestructible “animetaphors.” —AdC

Ecopsychology

Chalquist, C., & Gomes, M. E. (2007). Terrapsychology: Re-engaging the soul of place. New Orleans: Spring Journal Books.

Chalquist (2007) describes the imaginal presence of a place manifest as a living, reactive field (p. 57). He investigates how the alchemists explored “a heightened participatory consciousness- animism as a quality of active engagement with things” (p. 93) wherein these researchers could “hear the psychic sound of an animated world, with the substances they sought to transform serving as psychological portals into the world’s interiority.” (p. 94). Terrapsychology honors and explores how to research a place in a way that respects and responds to the animating energies of particular places, including methods for imaginal “treatment” of disquieted local place energies. —MH

Elsner, T. (2009). Following the footsteps of the soul in research. Psychological Perspectives: A Quarterly Journal of Jungian Thought. 52 (1), 24-36.

Elsner reviews Romanyshyn’s The Wounded Researcher and highlights the role of a researcher’s dreams and the symbols that emerge in life during the course of research as a fertile source of extended wisdom available to the researcher and describes how the researcher must open to align with these larger founts of information available. —MH

Macy, J. and M.Y. Brown. (1998). Coming back to life: Practices to reconnect our lives, our world. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society.

Whole systems thinker and Buddhist Joanna Macy’s tour de force Gaian methodologies tome include dozens of proactive, embodied exercises for turning apethelia (deadening of mind and heart) and despair into a choice for life. She positions her work inside the context of living systems theory, deep ecology, ancient teachings, and the nature of our power. Through the work that reconnects, this scholar offers group work, affirmation, gratitude, and a shift to seeing with new eyes, through deep time connecting the past and future generations, to a council of all beings. She offers learnings to bring back to communities and meditations for coming back to life. —MH

Romanyshyn, R. D. (2007). The wounded researcher: Research with soul in mind. New Orleans, La: Spring Journal Books.

Romanyshyn builds a case for and outlines the theory, process, method, and implications of an imaginal approach to research which he names alchemical hermeneutics: “how one writes down the soul in writing up one’s research” (xi). There are extensive parallels between the “unconscious” and the planetary in Gaian methodologies, and the idea that the self-producing emergent properties of Gaia, similar to the collective unconscious, need to be invited, articulated, named, and interacted with explicitly as holistic inputs and processes during the research. —MH

Human Species/Planetary Evolution

Rifkin, Jeremy (2009). Empathic civilization: The race to global consciousness in a world in crisis. New York: Tarcher/Penguin.

Suggests that humans are becoming homo empathicus, moving to empathic capacity with the entire biosphere as technology has extended the central nervous system to ever more complex levels of emergence, from blood ties, religious, then national realms. In the biosphere realm –the third industrial revolution will be a distributed communication revolution integrating with distributed (renewable – energies found in the back yard: geothermal, garbage/waste, hydro, tidal, solar, etc.) energy to come to distributed consciousness. Empathy: an existential sense of our own vulnerabilities, fragilities, one and only life—tough for all being alive, feel their struggle to be and compassion is to move toward life. Empathy requires individualism – requires sense of selfhood and must understand self so can feel others. Empathy is the opposite of utopia, requires death, recognizes frailties. Empathy is grounded and if we broaden empathy we broaden our mortality. Religion: Awe, empathy, transcendence (experience awe/mystery in larger collectives). Awe requires creativity; empathy is an extension of awe. The ability to imagine. Empathy is both felt and rational. A way our intelligence is extending globally. —MH

Rifkin, J. and M. Gunn (2010-February 2). “The Nature of Being Human: Interview with Jeremy Rifkin, Author of Empathic Civilization: The race to global consciousness in a world in crisis.” Tech Nation.

Retrieved on February 21, 2010 from http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail4387.html#

Good overview of Empathic Civilization. Rifkin describes his work leveraging models for applying biomimetic distributed computing networks to distributed energy networks, modeling applying Gaian methods and complexity to sustainable project design. —MH

Samson, P.R. and Pitt, D. (1999). The biosphere and the noosphere reader: global environment, society, and change. NY: Routledge.

This reader includes over fifty essays including an examination of the origins of the concepts of biosphere and noosphere from geologists, biologists, biogeochemists, and biosphere ecologists; tracks the evolution of the concept 'noosphere' (including readings from Teilhard de Chardin, Vernadsky, and others), parallels between Gaia and global change, and the future of the noosphere. —MH(N)

Swimme, B. and Berry T. (1992). The universe story: From the primordial flaring forth to the ecozoic era – A celebration of the unfolding of the cosmos. San Francisco: Harper Collins.

This rendering of the story of the universe positions Gaian methodologies inside the larger planetary family story, and include descriptions of the advent of a fourth Earth era, the ECOZOIC era, when humans live in harmony with nature and Earth. Similar to the cultural adoption of John White’s vision of our potential to speciate into homo noeticus (Hamilton). —MH

Further Sources for Gaian Methodologies - Unannotated

  • Abram, D. (1990). “The perceptual implications of Gaia.” In A. H. Badine, Ed., Dharma Gaia: A harvest of essays in Buddhism and ecology. Berkeley, California: Parallax Press. (Embodiment)
  • Abram, D. (2006-Spring). The invisibles. Parabola 31, 1, pp. 6-15. (Embodiment)
  • Bar-Yam, Y. (2007). Significant points in the study of complex systems. Available via the Web at the New England Complex Systems Institute. [http://www.necsi.edu/guide/points.html ] (Complexity) (N)
  • Berkes, F. (1999). Sacred ecology: Traditional ecological knowledge and resource management. Philadelphia, PA: Taylor & Francis. (Shamanism, Gaia Hypothesis) (N)
  • Berry, W. (1977). The unsettling of America: Culture and agriculture. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. (Ecophilosophy)
  • Berry, W. (1987). Home economics: Fourteen essays. San Francisco : North Point Press. (Ecophilosophy)
  • Bloom, H. K. (2000). The global brain: The evolution of mass mind from the big bang to the 21st century. New York: Wiley.
  • Bolen, J. S. (2001). Goddesses in older women: Archetypes in women over fifty. New York: Harper Collins. (Earth Based)
  • Boucher, S. (1999). Discovering KwanYin: Buddhist goddess of compassion; A path toward clarity and peace. Boston: Beacon.
  • Bowers, C.A. (1995). Educating for an ecological sustainable culture: Rethinking moral education, creativity, intelligence, and other modern orthodoxies. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. (Philosophy)
  • Brandenberg, J. www.jimbrandenberg.com (Observation as inquiry)
  • Braud, W. (2004). An introduction to organic inquiry: Honoring the transpersonal and spiritual in research praxis. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. 36, 18-25. (Psychology)
  • Bresler, L. (2004). Knowing bodies, moving minds: Towards embodied teaching and learning. Dordrecht [u.a.]: Kluwer Acad. Publ. (Embodiment)
  • Brown, C. S., & Toadvine, T. (2003). Eco-phenomenology: Back to the earth itself. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. (Philosophy)
  • Brown, O. (2010, March-10). Daisy Art. Blogpost on the blog “Ollie Brown: Music and Research Fragments.” Available from http://www.olliebown.com/main_blog/?p=376. (Gaia Hypothesis) (N)
  • Burks, D. C. (1994). Place of the wild: A wildlands anthology. Washington, D.C.: Island Press [for] Shearwater Books. (Deep Ecology/Wilderness)
  • Buzzell, L., & Chalquist, C. (2009). Ecotherapy: Healing with nature in mind. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. (Ecopsychology)
  • Cajete, G. (1999). Igniting the sparkle: An indigenous science education model. Skyand, NC: Kivaki Press. (Gaian Methods/Science)
  • Camazine, S., J.L. Deneubourg, N.R. Franks, J. Sneyd, G. Theraulaz, and E. Bonabeau (2001). Self-organization in biological systems. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (Complexity)
  • Capra, F. (2002). The hidden connections: A science for sustainable life. New York: Anchor. (Gaian Science)
  • Casey, E. S. (1976). Imagining: A phenomenological study. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. (Philosophy)
  • Clingan, Joan. (2008). An understanding of textual/theoretical research. Unpublished manuscript, Prescott College, Arizona.(Research Methods and Methodologies Best Practices)
  • Cohen, M. (2007). Reconnecting with nature: Finding wellness through restoring your bond with the Earth. Lakeville, Minnesota: Finney/Ecopress. (Ecopsychology)
  • Collier, J., & Collier, M. C. (1986). Visual anthropology: Photography as a research method. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico press. (Observation as inquiry)
  • Cresswell, T. (2004). Place: A short introduction. Short introductions to geography. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
  • Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. (Research Methods and Methodologies Best Practices)
  • Crist, E. (2004) “Concerned with trifles? A geophysiological reading of Charles Darwin’s last book.” Pp 161-172. In S.H. Schneider, J.R. Miller, E.Crist, and P.J. Boston, Eds. Scientists debate Gaia: The next century. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. (Gaia Hypothesis) (N)
  • Csepregi, G. (2006). The clever body. Calgary: University of Calgary Press. (Embodiment)
  • Denzin, N. K., Lincoln, Y. S., & Smith, L. T. , Eds. (2008). Handbook of critical and indigenous methodologies. Los Angeles: Sage. (N)
  • Devall, B. & Sessions, G. (1985). Deep ecology: Living as if nature mattered. Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith. (Deep Ecology/Ecophilosophy) (N)
  • Diamond, I. (1994). Fertile ground: Women, earth, and the limits of control. Boston: Beacon Press. (Ecofeminism)
  • Diamond, I. & Orenstein, G. F. (1990). Reweaving the world: The emergence of ecofeminism. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. (Ecofeminism)
  • Duran, E. (2006). Healing the soul wound: Counseling with American Indians and other native peoples. Multicultural Foundations of Psychology and Counseling Series. New York: Columbia Teacher's College Press. (Shamanism/Healing)
  • Ecofem.org's Massive Bibliography of Books, Articles, and Journals available at: http://www.ecofem.org/biblio/(N)
  • Ehrenreich, B. (2007). Dancing in the streets: A history of collective joy. NY: Metropolitan. (Shamanism)
  • Estés, C. P. (1992). Women who run with the wolves: Myths and stories of the wild woman archetype. New York: Ballantine Books.
  • Flinders, C. L. (2002). The values of belonging: Rediscovering balance, mutuality, intuition, and wholeness in a competitive world. San Francisco: Harper. (Ecopsychology)
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Gaian Methodologies - A Convergence of Sensuous Earth

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Gaian Methodologies Team

The main resources on this site include how the flower petals of sources and methods grow together to compose the flowering of Gaian methods and methodologies. We include essays and bibliographies to nurture... More…

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Prescott College PhD in Sustainability Education

Prescott College offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Education with a concentration in Sustainability Education. This low-residency, four-year program combines expansive interdisciplinary inquiry with intense individual research and practice, and follows a cohort-based learning model...More…

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