Green Priestcraft: A ChristoPagan Pastoralia

"Pastoralia" is a somewhat archaic term denoting the spiritual, pastoral, and ritual care of a community.  "ChristoPagan" is a somewhat emergent term denoting a blend of Christian and Pagan thealogy, cosmology, and spirituality.  So, put the two together, and you have the hopefully intriguing (and, to some, infuriating) description of my own journey as a greenpriest.  I trust that folks of various and sundry spiritual persuasions will find something here to pique their interest, deepen their practice, and feed their souls.  Hear the Rune of Sophia: "God is Love, and Her body is all creation.  She is a Tree of Life, who gathers Her children in Love."  This is the conviction which guides me.  Blessed be.

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Listening Hard in Pentecost

“It is not the world who is mute, but rather we who are deaf.”  

Thus I wrote, several years back, in my book of Christian Animism.   I meant it – really, I did – but more as a rhetorical flourish than a statement from experience.  Now, the experience is kicking in.

It is humbling, as a Christian Druid, to be virtually incapable of understanding the beautiful chorus of voices speaking around me.  I can hear them, yes – the birds, the coyotes, the squirrels, the winds, and the thunders – but I wish I could claim some degree of comprehension.  Every day I walk in the woods, I visit the lake, I sit beside the small bay where the loons and the muskrats live out the stories of their lives.  We co-habit this beautiful place, and I am happy to report that my relationship with this amazing ecosystem of wights is deepening.  My prayers and blessings revolve around this small plot of Creation, this tiny tapestry in the vast Web of Wyrd.  

And so I receive intimations, small hints of what is going on in their lives.  But I do wish I could speak their languages, their multitude of tongues.  Not only as the naturalist does, interpreting behaviour and signs and spoor, but more as the hermeneut, or the wizard, or the pastor.  I want to hear the voices of their spirits, and the words of their hearts.  

In the cycle of the Christian year, we have just entered the beautiful season of Pentecost.  In the primary reading for the Feast we hear about the coming of the Spirit upon the disciples gathered in Jerusalem.  As She moves among them, like wind and fire, the Spirit gifts them with Wisdom, and they are enabled to speak and understand a vast diversity of languages.  This is called the gift of tongues, and it is a beautiful and powerful gift indeed, breaking down walls of division and hostility.  My hope and prayer for us in this new age of Sophia is that the Spirit will once again be poured out, and the gift of tongues will cross the boundary of species.  As this happens, I continue to keep my heart open to all the human and more-than-human neighbours around me, and listen hard for the miracle of their voices.

Blessed be.

 

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The Rev. Shawn Sanford Beck is an ecumenical priest associated with the United Church of Canada, and a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. He is the author of Christian Animism, and the founder of the Ecumenical Companions of Sophia, an informal online community fostering Christian-Pagan dialogue and spiritual practice.  He lives with his family on an off-the-grid farm community in north-western Saskatchewan (Treaty Six Territory), where he is chaplain to the human and more-than-human wights of the community.  When not writing sermons, chopping wood, or practising magic, Shawn can be counted on to have his nose buried in a book. He can be contacted at greenpriest@hotmail.ca
 

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