Walking in the Land of Many Gods
Remembering Sacred Reason in Contemporary Environmental Literature
Publication Year: 2013
Insightful readings of three contemporary classics of nature writing—Janisse Ray's Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Terry Tempest Williams's Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, and Linda Hogan's Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World—are at the heart of Wohlpart's endeavor. Powerful and affecting works like these reveal a pathway to a deeper remembering, one that reconnects us with the primal forces of creation and acknowledges the sacredness of the world.
We have forgotten that the world around us is rich and fertile and generative, says Wohlpart. His exploration of these literary works, based on deep anthropology and Native American philosophy, opens a pathway into a new way of thinking called sacred reason. Founded on interdependence and interrelationship, and on care and compassion, sacred reason reminds us that divinity exists around us at all times. We are invited to walk, once again, in a land filled with many gods.
Published by: University of Georgia Press
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Praise, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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The founding premise of Walking in the Land of Many Gods is that a creative force animates the universeâa force that became manifest in the Big Bang nearly 14 billion years ago and that led to the formation of Earth 4.5 billion years ago, which in turn fostered a life-sustaining system, call it Gaia or what you willâand that humans, like all animate and less-than-animate beings, ...
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In deepest gratitude, I would like to recognize the many students who took my Environmental Literature course over the years and walked the journey of this book with me, including especially the fall 2009 class. My students helped me develop the ideas presented in this book, but more than that, they also helped me remember that the ideas must be lived. Many of them ...
A NOTE ON DOCUMENTATION
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Hogan, Linda. Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World. New Ray, Janisse. Ecology of a Cracker Childhood. Minneapolis: Milkweed Williams, Terry Tempest. Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and ...
CHAPTER ONE: Introduction: A Mind of Sky and Thunder and Sun
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I remember walking on a dirt road that crossed a steep hillside somewhere in Switzerland. I was with my Opa, my German grandfather. I must have been about four years old. Opa had on his characteristic gray fedora with a blue jay feather stuck in the band. He had removed his shirt, retaining his starch-white A-shirt, so that the sun could warm his bare shoulders. We had ...
CHAPTER TWO: Remembering Deep Space and Deep Time: Heidegger, the Pleistocene, and Native American Philosophy
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Around the middle of the 1930s, Heideggerâs thinking took a turn away from an analysis of human being, or Dasein (which found its expression in what is often considered his most important work, Being and Time), to consider-ing the unfolding historical movement of Being in general.1 His exploration of the phenomenon of Being yielded the insight that being becomes mani-...
CHAPTER THREE: Restor(y)ing the Self: Ecological Restoration in Janisse Ray’s Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
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In The Sunflower Forest, William Jordan defines ecological restoration as âthe attempt, sometimes breathtakingly successful, sometimes less so, to make nature whole. To do this the restorationist does everything possible to heal the scars and erase the signs of disturbance or disruption.â1 He explains that the work of the restorationist is to restore all aspects of an ecosystem ...
CHAPTER FOUR: The Long Migration Home: Listening to Birds in Terry Tempest Williams’s Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place
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As a work of ecological restoration and the reformation of self, Janisse Rayâs Ecology of a Cracker Childhood reinscribes the longleaf pine ecosystem into existence on a metaphorical or textual level. The restoration of the lost forest in turn creates a value system in the autobiographer such that she is able to rewrite her own childhood, insinuating a close intimacy with the natural world around her, including the vanishing longleaf pine forests. Telling the...
CHAPTER FIVE: Healing the Severed Trust: Linda Hogan’s Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World as Native Ceremony
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In The Sacred Hoop, Paula Gunn Allen identifies two basic forms of Native American literature, the ceremony and the myth. According to Allen, âthe ceremony is the ritual enactment of a specialized perception of a cosmic relationship, while the myth is a prose record of that relationship.â1 Both forms have the purpose of locating the individual within an interlocking ...
CHAPTER SIX: Walking in the Land of Many Gods: Remembering the Mysterious Plenitude of Earth
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In the essay âLandscape and Narrative,â Barry Lopez suggests the way in which storytelling acts as a kind of ceremony that heals the rift between our inner and outer worlds. He defines âtwo landscapesâone outside the self, the other within. The external landscape is the one we seeânot only the line and color of the land and its shading at different times of the day, but ...
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...1. Wilson, Biophilia. See especially his prologue, where he describes his own origi-nary experience before defining biophilia as âthe innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processesâ; he continues: âTo explore and affiliate with life is a deep and compli-cated process in mental development. To an extent still undervalued in philosophy and religion, our existence depends on this propensity, our spirit is woven from it, hope rises ...
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Abram, David. âThe Air Aware: Mind and Mood on a Breathing Planet.â Orion (Septem-âââ. Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. New York: Pantheon Books, 2010.âââ. The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. Aho, Kevin. Heideggerâs Neglect of the Body. Albany: State University of New York Press, Allen, Paula Gunn. Grandmothers of the Light: A Medicine Womanâs Sourcebook. Boston: ...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2013