First things first, as it’s the end of 2023, I want to invite you all—if you haven’t supported the Gaian Way this year and you value its work—to make a donation to sustain and grow our community and efforts to cultivate a healthier relationship between humans and Gaia—one based on an innate understanding that we, humans, depend deeply and fully on the living Earth for all aspects of our lives. This is a lesson that is lost among most progress-focused environmental groups (and certainly in the mainstream) and we hope you agree that this work is important and worth supporting. We’re a small organization so every gift matters!
Now, with that out of the way, I wanted to share some updates, along three groups: organizational innovation; philosophy; and community-building. Over the past year, we achieved a lot (particularly considering this is almost entirely a volunteer organization).
First and foremost, in 2023, we became a 501c3 federally recognized nonprofit, and with our new status became the first organization we know of that has added non-human board members to its board. In May, we added Southern Live Oak; Little Brown Bat; Sandhill Crane; and Horseshoe Crab to our Gaian Council. The exciting thing is that this has influenced organizational management, it has sparked creative channeling from some of our board members (like Horseshoe Crab), and has intrigued other organizations, who have inquired about doing the same for their groups.
Philosophically, we’ve continued to develop the Gaian Way, deepening key practices: creating a Gaian Moon Fast Prayer; exploring how Gaians celebrate; discussing rites of passage including green burial; even the Gaian way to respond to disasters. The exciting thing is that these last three were all written by Gaian community members—thanks Anna, Robinne, and Krista! (And the prayer got input from several community members as well.) We also had Following the Gaian Way published in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, which I think is so far the most concise introduction to the philosophy written, and it is with great joy that it includes an audio version by the resonant orator Michael Dowd, who returned to Gaia in October (note we’ll be discussing two of his videos January 24th at 2pm).
Plus, over the course of the year, 49 new Gaian Reflections have been written, including Bart Everson’s excellent eight-part Wheel of the Year Guided Meditation series (final one coming out next week). And many others—from serious explorations of environmental history (like this one by John Mulrow) to explorations of the Overview Effect and what it means to be invasive, to even two new parables, including the Parable of the Humane Philanthropist and the Parable of the Talent Bots (the parable of the Talents, with an AI-twist).
So it certainly has been a busy year, especially when factoring in the two to three events we had each month to deepen our community’s connection and understanding of Gaia. In 2023, we hosted two book clubs (Gaia Alchemy and The Sacred Depths of Nature), Wheel of the Year gatherings, a quarterly Gaian Guild support group, talks with authors and filmmakers, and a big Earth Day discussion with William Rees, John Mulrow, and Miriam Stevens on Dispelling the Myths of a Renewable Transition (it’s our myths on progress after all that help us to forget our utter dependence on Gaia for our entire wellbeing.) Plus, Jeremiah Jones, our Partnership Coordinator, helped to share the efforts of the Gaian Way with other networks and groups and help us support others’ important work. Among other outcomes, that led to a great presentation of our slightly tongue-in-cheek but oh-so-serious Gaian Holiday, #DoNothingforTheClimateDay.
Here Comes 2024…
This upcoming year is going to be exciting in new ways. We’re just about to launch our very first project: Cycles of Gaia, an ecological calendar for southern New England. This gorgeous eco-educational poster from Gaian Arts Fellow Jon Schroth is now back from the printer and will soon be making its ways into schools (and hopefully museums, stores, and homes) across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. I won’t give more details here as Jon will be writing a reflection on it early in 2024, but it is a true work of art!
Also, coming in 2024 is our Gaian Degrowth Pod (GDP), led by John Mulrow. We got a good number of responses on interest in degrowth (not too late to sign up!) and we will kick that off with a new book discussion on The Future is Degrowth. More on that soon after the New Year.
Our Gaian Reflections will also change up a bit, with one slot a month dedicated to digging into the Cycles of Gaia (and the natural cycles that make up the turning of the year in southern New England) and we’ll also be using some of the reflections to start deepening the 200+ reflections into a new book on the Gaian Way philosophy. That feels long overdue, but then again, these first four years we’re an adventure in just seeing if there was any there there.
While not for everyone, this philosophy—rooted in an awareness of, connection with, and obligation to the living Earth—is only going to grow in importance as Earth’s systems shift, and as humans panickedly work to do something, anything, to save themselves as two centuries of magical thinking reveal themselves as potently self-destructive as they really are. This is a philosophy that recognizes Earth as the primary unit, as the central player, subserviating humans and their desires accordingly. It also accepts the changes that we have brought upon ourselves (and treats a healthy response as accepting the pain and accelerating our efforts to serve Gaia and (hopefully) in the process help, and save, ourselves—not just physically, but saving our humanity, which is certainly not guaranteed at coming through the difficult times ahead unscathed.
So, lots behind us this year, and lots ahead in the new year. If you value this honest talk, these efforts to connect with the living Earth, and with others who understand Gaia’s value and beauty, please support the Gaian Way.
Have a great Yuletide, New Year, and Go Always with Gaia,