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Walking the walk: Practice for naturalists, by NaturalPantheist

August 19, 2012
Alley in Bokheung, South Korea, by B. T. Newberg

The path of the naturalist is, above all, practical.

This article, originally written for Pantheists, seems just as applicable to readers of HP.  Do you engage in any of these practices?  Are there any you would like to try?  – B. T. Newberg, editor

The Naturalistic Pantheist can follow any path they feel connects them with nature. Below is a suggested path to follow, partly inspired by the AODA Druidry Curriculum.

Practices – Path

The Naturalistic Pantheist can follow any path they feel connects them with nature. Below is a suggested path to follow.

The Path

The Path of Earth (Connection) -

  • Spend at least 30 minutes in Nature each week – meditating, observing and journaling.
  • Make three lifestyle changes annually that will benefit the environment.
  • Grow a plant or tree from seed.
  • Do something in service of the Earth or Community once per month e.g. beach clean.

The Path of Fire (Celebration) -

  • Celebrate the Solar,  Agricultural and Lunar Cycles (8 Festivals and Full/ Dark Moons).
  • Create and say some Daily Thanksgivings.
  • Get involved in a Pantheist community or start your own.
The Path of Air (Mysticism) -
  • Meditate for at least 15 minutes per day.
  • Learn a martial art e.g. Tai Chi or Yoga. Learn and do it twice weekly for 30 minutes each time.
  • Study Sceptical Buddhism and Philosophical Taoism and apply the insights to your life e.g. Mindfulness, Wu Wei (read “The Effortless Life” by Leo Babauta).
  • Create a family tree and remember your ancestors.

The Path of Water (Education) -

  • Keep a Journal and write in it daily, recording your spiritual journey and examining your day.
  • Study Stoicism and apply its insights to your life e.g. negative visualisation, self denial and understanding what’s in your control (read “A Guide to the Good Life” by William Irvine)
  • Learn the weekly facts (see below).

The Weekly Facts

Each week a Pantheist will study two things about Nature. This will help to develop an awareness and knowledge of the world.

Week 1 – Health

Body – Learn one thing about your body that will help to keep you fit and healthy either physically or mentally.

Plants – Learn the name of one local plant, flower or herb, how to identify it and its uses.

Week 2 – Re-wilding

Trees – Learn the name of one local tree, how to identify it in summer and winter and its uses.

Bush-craft – Learn one Bushcraft skill.

Week 3 – Ecology

Animal – Learn the name of one local animal, how to identify it, its habitat and food.

Bird – Learn the name of one local bird, how to identify it, its habitat and food.

Week 4 – Cosmos

Stars – Learn one star constellation and how to find it.

Clouds – learn one cloud formation, what it looks like and what it means for weather prediction.

Nature Meditation

Each Naturalistic Pantheist should spend at least 30 minutes a week in Nature, meditating, observing and journaling (part of the Path of Earth).

This could be as follows: -

  • Breath Meditation
  • Sense Meditation – what do we see, hear, feel, smell, taste
  • Elements Meditation – focus on the Earth, Air, Water, Fire/Energy
  • Quiet Observation – simply sit in non-judgment taking in all that is happening around us.
  • Focused Meditation – concentrating on one thing in Nature, observing it in detail.
  • Reflecting on our experiences and writing in our journal.

Each journal entry should also include – Date, Time, Location, Weather, Your Feelings/ Moods.

This article first appeared at NaturalPantheist.wordpress.com.

The author

NaturalPantheist

NaturalPantheist:  A former Christian, I now see myself as a Naturalistic Pantheist with an interest in Druidry.

I blog at Natural Pantheist Musings on issues relating to scientific and naturalistic approaches to spirituality.
I’ve lived in both China and the UK and I love to travel. I’m a country boy at heart but also strongly believe in getting involved in
my local community here in Devon, UK. My interests include religion & philosophy, social media & technology, current affairs and walking.

My blog is at naturalpantheist.wordpress.com

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2012 10:41 am

    Brilliant. I have been trying to do a little bit from each of the paths enumerated here. Nice to see it all spelled out like this.

  2. Jonathan Blake permalink
    August 19, 2012 9:24 pm

    Credit where credit is due: this seems to draw heavily from the old AODA First Degree curriculum.

    • August 21, 2012 4:35 pm

      Yes Jonathon – if you look at my original blog post on my site, it does say that it was inspired by AODA.

      • August 21, 2012 5:51 pm

        Oops, that’s my fault for letting that get cut off. The original opening lines are now in place. Also, I put a link at the end to the original article post. Apologies, everyone.

  3. Rua Lupa permalink
    August 24, 2012 9:39 am

    Well put together. I found myself surprised as I do most of this unconsciously (i.e. weather watching, plant Identifying, thought/meditation work, etc. through how I was raised. Much was handed down, which I fear I am the last of the line to teach these things and likely the first to record the teachings) I haven’t done much looking into the AODA, as I skim most of my druidry from RDNA and friends of various other druidic paths. I tend to steer away from anything that has money tied to it, mostly because I don’t have any to spare. So I miss out on a number of great sources. I have a lot of this already covered in my Bioregional Quiz that you folks might like – http://ehoah.weebly.com/bioregional-quiz.html

    The big difference is the quiz is a one off thing that is meant to get you thinking, and this is a long term thing, like the Ehoah Stepping stones, but summarized in an easy format to decide your options. Which I may very well take and run with for the Customs page. Its almost silly that I haven’t thought of it before as the RDNA has something similar too. Thank you naturalpantheist :)

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