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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.

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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:
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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.

 
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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.”

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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.
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Link to my article:  https://bit.ly/2XIeutw
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(available free from mid-June through mid-July, 2020 – and perhaps longer if you’re lucky)

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I hope you enjoy it!   Please let me know what you think in the Comments below.
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Japan! May 14, 2019

I’ve not posted here for some time, having frittered my labors on Facebook instead. Welcome back to all of us!

Hopefully this short series will be fun for you to read. I’m off to Japan for 12 days with my BFF Julianne Skai Arbor (aka TreeGirl). We will go to INFOM, the international conference of Forest Medicine, and also visit Shinrin-Yoku sites on our own for independent research. Plus, Japan!! I’ve never been.

I landed in Narita/Tokyo last night after a 12 hour flight from Denver. Non-stop. Even though I’ve lived with it my entire life, my father being a pilot, I will never stop seeing flying as anything but a miracle.

Looking out of our hotel window, I was amazed to see that we were 12 stories above a giant forest! I thought of this whole area is being one giant city but I was wrong. In my jetlagged sleep, half in and out of a hypnagogic state, every time I came back from the bathroom or whatever, I repeatedly dreamed that I crawled back into bed in the hollow of a giant tree; part of that forest outside the window. I was held cozy in the tree’s body. It happened so many times that it seems it must have been true. So I already love Japan.

Then breakfast included fish! What other delights await?