March 28th, 2023
Of all the problems I have with the majority of main world religions, that might at the first glance seem insignificant, but in the long run, it could be the worst thing that came from artificially created dogmas in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, and other religions as well — with only Shinto as an exception. Those religions got rid of something fundamental in worship and experience of spirituality — the understanding and belief and experience of the sacredness of nature.
Those religions put humans as rulers and not as a part of nature. Nature is there for us to exploit and use as we see fit. And boy — didn’t we go just go about it as heavy-handed brutes and barbarians obsessed only with profit we can get out of it. No regard for its current state and definitely no regard for the future — of nature itself and of our descendants and all the future generations. Religious tracts and preachers told us that we were the masters of plants and animals and applied master-like behavior to this relationship, forgetting that all relationships need to be partner-like.
The relationship between us and nature is an abusive one, and most religions provide an easy explanation for it — there is a creator who is responsible for making the world as it is, so no matter what we do somehow this creator will take care of all the destruction and will make it right again. We don't need to exercise caution or do anything inconvenient because we will be provided for as long as we pray and worship and pay hard money to preachers and politicians. And corporations — which are becoming more and more cult-like.
Not so long ago the relationship between people and nature was based on partnership and a harmonious understanding of our place in it. Of course — since the beginning of human consciousness we tried to gain and use from nature what we could for our benefit or just survival. But there was in all “pagan” religions deep awe and fear and a need for acceptance toward natural aspects surrounding people. Particular natural sites or animals were assigned a place in a pantheon of the spiritual world. There were sacred trees, forests, mountains, streams, rivers, lakes, and so on. Each with its either a benevolent or a demanding spirit — but even the scariest one could be easily bribed though by our prayers or offerings.
I miss this relationship that was once universal and given just as a circle of seasonal changes with its rebirth, fruition, decay, and death. I do have my private places where I can feel the surrogate spirit of animism in trees and stones and streams. Those places are just mine, not for sharing or showing to anybody else — even in photos on here. Some I can visit within a quick afternoon walk, and some were left on another continent. No matter — I know that wherever I will find myself in life, I will find more of those sacred sites. And I will never accept any dogma that would ridicule or try to stop me from doing that. The “sacred” in nature is still there — no religion can destroy it, even if the participants are willing.