Rekindle Your Wild Joy and Deep Belonging to the Earth

Trees in Early Irish Law and Lore: Respect for Other-Than-Human Life in Europe’s History June 13, 2020

trees tall

My article, “Trees in Early Irish Law and Lore: Respect for Other-Than-Human Life in Europe’s History,” has just been published in the peer-reviewed journal, Ecopsychology.

Here is the article for download in plain document form (per the publication agreement), available in perpetuum or at least as long as the Internet stands:

Abstract (summary of contents): In contrast to modern Western society’s treatment of plants as non- sentient beings to be used or killed at will for our own benefit, the complex legal system used in Ireland from prehistory up until the 17th century delineated penalties for mistreating trees that were not dissimilar to the penalties for mistreating other humans. The early Irish relationship with trees as described in Brehon Law and extant lore was not only utilitarian but also deeply spiritual and tied to the peoples’ identity. Brehon Law provides an example from European history that illustrates traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and animistic relationships with the more-than-human world of nature. This paper explores some ecopsychological and environmental benefits of applying its principles today.

From the Journal’s announcement:

“Ecopsychology invites you to read this special issue dedicated to bringing forward insights from wisdom traditions, such as those from Indigenous peoples, and those from contemporary science, to more clearly inspire and guide actions that care for the Earth.

“The issue was co-edited by two leaders in their fields. Cheryl Charles is Co-Founder, President, and CEO Emerita of the Children & Nature Network, and an educator, author, and long-time advocate for connecting people of all ages with nature. Gregory Cajete is a scholar, educator, author and elder in his Indigenous tribe, Tewa, and served for many years as director of Native American Studies at University of New Mexico.”

Due to the timeliness of this Special Issue’s topic (Wisdom Traditions, Science and Care for the Earth), the publisher has offered a special link that contains free 30-day access with the request to “please be sure to share your work openly with your colleagues.” You folks reading this, feel free to share more widely as well if you know someone who might be interested.
Link to my article:
(available free from mid-June through mid-July, 2020 – and perhaps longer if you’re lucky)


I hope you enjoy it!   Please let me know what you think in the Comments below.

Climate Crisis Solutions conference October 19, 2016

I’m pleased to be one of the presenters in Ohio this coming weekend at the 63rd annual conference put on by the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions. It will be held at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, from October 21-23, 2016.

The presentations cover a wide variety of topics related to climate change.


Climate Crisis Solutions: Charting a New Course



My two presentations are:


Stones as Mentors: Spiritual Ecotherapy    Tina Fields

As you face the big issues like climate change along with figuring out how to best live your own life, have you ever wished you had a wise elder around to give you perspective and advice? Engage in an ancient and powerful animistic practice that works with the oldest parts of the earth – stones – to gain insight into a life question. Participants will experience how the natural world can serve as spiritual advisor.


Fostering Nature Connections and Joy as a Resilience Strategy     – Tina Fields

Along with structural alternatives, psychological and spiritual resilience need to be cultivated in order to effectively meet the enormous challenges and coming changes posed by climate change. Allowing the feelings that arise to be recognized and flow though us is a key element – both the harder feelings of pain, fear, anger and denial, and also the joy and mysteries of being alive at this time. In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to express their feelings about the situation of climate change, and to explore their own deep and abiding connection with the more-than-human world.


I’m especially delighted that two of my former students will be attending, and one, Catherine Phillips, will assist with the Stones as Mentors workshop.

Hope to see you there!



Welcome, Winter December 18, 2012

Holly King - Bret Gold


Three days till Solstice.

Welcome, Winter.

Welcome the reign of the Holly King.

This Winter Solstice 2012, the world cycle begins anew

Again. Yet again.


(The Holly King is portrayed here by Bret Gold, a friend of a friend. I’ve never seen finer.)


Mending Our Relations with the Natural World – Conference October 26, 2010

Missing earthy connection and ceremony in your life?  Consider coming to the Earth Medicine Alliance’s “Mending Our Relations with the Natural World” conference at the Unitarian Universalist Center (1187 Franklin St.) in San Francisco on November 6-7.

On Saturday afternoon, I will offer a presentation on “Bringing Earth Reverence into Everyday Life” in collaboration with my dear friend Maria Owl Gutierrez.

Description: “How can we take “reverence” beyond a mental concept and begin to place it at the core of our daily lives? Through stories, philosophy, and fun interactive exercises, we will explore practical ways to gain intimacy with ‘nature’ in body, mind, and spirit. Aspects include expanding our animal senses and animistic sensibilities, creating personal rituals and magical retreats that can restore our souls, and deliberately fostering intimate and reciprocally beneficial relationships with more-than-human relatives and the Sacred Web of Life. We’ll let sensual awareness, intellectual understanding, imagination, and gratitude guide our hearts and minds toward everyday respect and celebration.”

On Sunday, other folks are leading ceremonies outdoors, including two in SF and a Salmon Welcoming at Muir Beach.

The purpose of the conference is this: “In addition to consecrating a space for practitioners of diverse earth-honoring ways to share wisdom and make new connections with one another, the conference aims to deepen our understanding of and relationships with the land and natural powers of the San Francisco Bay Area.”

There are many multicultural offerings that range from spirituality of Native America, Africa, Asia and others to song and to clinical mental health. Registration is limited to 250 people, and the cost is quite reasonable at $50 for both days.

If you come because of this post, please be sure to tell me!


Audre Lorde on original authority May 31, 2010

Among the arcane delights in my tiny cottage are a fat file of poetry admired & collected over the years, and another fat collection of photos I’ve taken myself.

Here begin the artistic sandwiches.


What If? – (The Million-and-First Meditation and the Last)

What if we smashed the mirrors

And saw our true face?

What if we left the Sacred Books to the worms

And found our True Mind?

What if we burned the wooden Buddhas?

Gave the stone Buddhas back to the mountains?

Dispersed the gurus with a great laugh

And discovered the path we had always been on?

What if we told the Saviours

We were saved from our first breath

And the healers — If you could heal yourselves

All would be healed?

What if we washed clean of Authority’s ordure

And smelled the fresh smell of our own bodies?

What if, as Eve eating the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge,

We knew the “Patriarchal Curse” a mere natural thunder

Bringing Eden a cleansing rain?

What if, in the lightning’s flash

We saw there were



Sacred Books






And Knowledge was standing stark under the sky

Feet naked to earth

Eyes there for whatever light falls.

What if –?

– Audre Lorde