Recently my local Quaker Meeting hosted a workshop run by a group called The Kindlers. Usually that wouldn’t merit mention on my Pagan blog – but I was very stuck by the connections in our content. This workshop was called ‘Sacramental Vision’ – we looked, in light of Friends’ commitment to sustainability and low-carbon living, at how our spirituality and the earth relate.
Using resources like the theology of Matthew Fox, we explored the sacredness of nature – bordering on pantheism at times, although there seems to be a leaning towards panentheism. (I remain agnostic about the ‘en’, personally, but some folks are very attached to it.) The aim of the Kindlers movement and their workshops is to open up discussion, and they succeeded in that quite clearly. I was glad to have the chance to discuss such things openly with other Quakers – and pleasantly surprised that Friends were not horrified or even worried about mention of seasonal rituals. Nobody used the word ‘pagan’, but we did speak about Gaia, Mother Earth, and world-as-deity. At that point I think you’re quite close.
(Some Friends did have concerns about the ‘Cosmic Christ’ concept, for example – and I was glad to hear them expressing that. I can’t say it convinces me especially!)
For me, the Kindled thing I have taken away is a greater sense of integration: both between between my spiritual traditions, something I sometimes struggle for, and between myself and the world – what in my other tradition I would call the insight of interbeing. The day after the workshop I went to Meeting for Worship, where we had some tulips on the table in the middle (as we often, although not always, do). Tulips always seem to me to be a very Goddess flower, strong, sensual, curvy, and this red one was drooping rather, head down as if resting. In the middle of Meeting, one of her petals gave way – dropped down onto the table with a soft sound.
In the moments after that, I could actually see it: the compost in the tulip.