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Ever since the goddess was conceived there have been ideas of a living Earth. The goddess herself usually symbolized, in ancient times, the planet and the nature within her. She had a bond that stretched to man, nurturing and punishing as required. In the Gaia Hypothesis, James Lovelock revitalized the idea in more scientific terms. Since then, we talk of the planet as a coordinated ‘whole’, the system geared and regulated by as yet unknown influences.
It offers a strong message for environmentalism. It presents us with the possibility that our interactions have consequences beyond merely pollution, etc. It argues that in hurting the planet we are also hurting ourselves, as we and the planet are one. A similar message was held in animism, the usual model for tribal religion. Here, the physical world and spirit world are in parallel, with everything in nature having a spirit. To thrive in nature, the spirits had to be appeased.
Religions often seem to go in tune with natural occurrences. If we go to Biblical times there is an argument that the popularity of Monotheism came in line with earthquake activity in the area. Towards the end of the European Dark Ages there was an outburst of religious fervor which led to Christendom. It is theorized that this went in line with a prolonged meteor shower. Could the two be related?
There are always religious gurus around. But could it be that, for a guru to be particularly successful, he needs a helping hand from planet Earth? It seems a ridiculous notion – at first. Religions have answers within human societies. They provide cultures, and these have an effect upon us. Also, there are times when a culture seems redundant, and there is a need for change. Now, those changes are political. In the past, politics worked through other means – namely religion.
The Book of Revelation, however, offers a different idea. It speaks of the Rapture, when people will be taken up en masse to the Kingdom of Heaven. As to what actually happens, it is vague. Yet, in many ways it suggests individuals en masse having a mystical experience similar to enlightenment or nirvana. Culture can seem to do this. In modern culture we have the rise of the New Age, or people abducted by aliens by the million.
The ‘grey’ – the usual alien culprit – offers an experience that is similar to ancient fairies or elementals, taken to a magic place - a cavern or, today, a spaceship. Whilst frightening, there is evidence that in the long run, such abductees end up more eco-friendly. This is similar to the eco-friendliness suggested by New Age. Many of us, today, ARE becoming more spiritually and ecologically aware. And it is coming at a time when many people believe that severe weather patterns are due to man-made global warming. Is this another incident of processes in the natural world having an effect on us? It is now known that electromagnetic bombardment of the brain can cause spiritual experiences.
Believed to cause chemical changes in the brain, it can produce visions that are profound. It is also known that electromagnetic disturbances occur in the atmosphere due to earthquake, meteor storm or severe weather patterns. Hence, whilst culture will definitely play a part in spiritual changes, it is highly likely that planet Earth could be currently ‘regulating’ our minds through electromagnetic bombardment, changing us from eco-vandals to saviours. If so, let the ‘rapture’ go on.