Bart Everson

Religion

Standing in the Need of a Blessing

In the hustle and grind of daily life, it’s too easy to lose sight of the things that are most important. We need ways of remembering what really matters. That’s the main point of spiritual work. It’s about remembering.

Practices

Here are some things that I do, to help me remember.

I meditate daily. This helps me remember who I am, what I am, the nature of consciousness.

I bake bread weekly. This helps me remember that I must provide for my family. It connects us to history, culture, agriculture, science, and the natural world.

I celebrate a cycle of observances (sabbats or holy days) known as the Wheel of the Year. This helps me remember the rhythms of the Earth.

I take an active role in my community. I do faculty development. I make art. I write. These are all spiritual practices for me.

Beliefs & Values

I believe all life on Earth evolved from one single-celled organism. I believe the atomic elements which make up our planet (and our bodies) were forged in the nuclear furnace of a star. I believe that the universe expanded from a single point about 13.8 billion years ago.

Are you beginning to see a pattern here? My beliefs are, essentially, modern science. I want my practice, and my life, to be grounded in truth, as much as possible, and I believe science gives us a good shot at that. I also believe there are manifold mysteries we have yet to understand, which is consonant with my understanding of how science works. I value that mystery. It’s exciting.

I also value direct experience as a way of knowing the world. This should go without saying, but sadly it doesn’t. In my view, we’re all scientists, and life is a process of inquiry.

I believe humanity faces numerous ecological challenges, and that the continuance of our high-tech civilization is very much an open question. We need a revolution in our relations to the Earth, and insofar as religion represents an attempt to deal with ultimate issues, I feel this becomes a religious question. The broad environmental movement would be enriched by a religious dimension, and our future as a species may depend on embracing environmentalism as an aspect of religion.

I value the Earth as a system in which we exist and participate, upon which we depend for all the good things we enjoy in life, including life itself. I experience the Earth as sacred, or strive to. It’s a matter of remembering.

Community & Identity

Although I’m something of a spiritual rogue, since 2010 I have been an active participant in a local group called New Orleans Lamplight Circle, which is a Pagan forum for discussion, activism, education and ritual celebration.

Yes, I am one of those Earth-centered, nature-loving, tree-worshiping Pagans you may have heard about.

Or perhaps you haven’t heard. In that case, I suggest taking a look at Neo-Paganism.com for a quick introduction and broad overview.

Want more? Okay: I am a contemplative, activist, eclectic, celebratory, naturalistic, process-oriented, Goddess-professing, practicing Neo-Pagan with Buddhist tendencies and pantheistic inclinations.

Candles on Summer Solstice Altar

If you want to know more about my perspectives on religion and spirituality, please read my column, A Pedagogy of Gaia.