This course took place in the spring of 2023.
— Margie Abbott, RSM
What happens when we change our foundational context to that of a universe that’s been transforming for 14 billion years, is continuing to change, and in which humans play a crucial part of the story? With this new view, an unknown future opens up; stunning new possibilities appear.
These practices contribute to Goal Six of Laudato Si’ (Ecological Spirituality) which invites changing language and developing prayer and ritual to mirror the interconnectedness of everything and the Spirit of Love permeating all matter.
Guided by the principles of spontaneity and creativity each session will include personal reflection, silence, contemplative listening, and groupwork. Expect to become creators of beauty, inspired, captivated and trusting that the powers of the universe are flowing within you.
In this course, you can expect: to reverse roles with an albatross, the ocean, soil and earth community subjects; to be attentive to beauty; to open to fresh ways of experiencing prayer and ritual; to create practices for an Ecozoic Era that reflect the Universe Story; to hear the call to right relationship; and to experience ALL of reality as sacred.
“We are living in the midst of a great epochal shift, and we need a new religious awareness.” — Ilia Delio
“We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will…We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of Earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.” (Laudato Si’ 2015 1-2)
— John Haught
The three forms, according to Robin Wall Kimmerer, are Indigenous knowledge, scientific/ecological knowledge, and plant knowledge. Strength comes when they are interwoven, much as Native sweetgrass is plaited. “It’s not the land which is broken, but our relationship to land,” she says. “That’s the work of artists, storytellers, parents. We braid sweetgrass to come into right relationship.”
It’s time as Brenda Peddigrew says “to enter into a physical heart-centred and nurturing relationship with Earth.” And Sally Neaves adds, “rituals provide an opportunity for groups to express the sacred depths we encounter in the Earth Community, to take up the challenges of our times in imaginative ways and to deal with the grief that we share that may otherwise leave us frozen.”
Image to left by Imogene Drummond ©
Ecological Spirituality springs from a profound ecological conversion and helps us to “discover God in all things,” both in the beauty of creation and in the sighs of the sick and the groans of the afflicted, aware that the life of the spirit is not dissociated from worldly realities. Actions could include promoting creation-based liturgical celebrations, developing ecological catechesis, retreats and formation programmes, etc.- Laudato Si’ Goal 6 Seven Year Platform
Session 1 (April 4): Morning is Broken – Introduction to methodology of role reversal, sociometry and the reason for the urgency of this course which is to offer and evoke practices that will contribute to the Field we all share and a group realization that we are all one in this evolving Universe and unfolding future. Expect time to reflect, listen to one another contemplatively and share respectfully, reverently and responsibly. Experiential groupwork underpins this course and poetry, video and music will enhance our learning together.
Session 2 (April 11): Power of Now is Here Now – Continuing our appreciation and understanding of the links between cosmology, theology and contemplative listening, we will explore the power of lament and experience a variety of lament rituals that will be enhanced with videos, poems and music.
Session 3 (April 18): We Shall Be Known – Ecozoic Practices integrate the wisdom of Universe Story, and the call to right relationship with the larger reality. “Pope Francis urges us to take the time and trouble to become more aware of, more interested in and more excited by the undreamt horizons opening up before us.” Daniel O’Leary 2018:26We’ll re-visit our earlier learnings and re-understand our familiar beliefs, teachings, practices and spiritualities inside an evolutionary context. We will continue to build bridges between the old story and the new story, experientially and contemplatively, using poetry, music, drama and videos.
Break Week (April 25): Time to spend with yourself – journaling, creating, and producing with a spirit of discernment and willingness to take risks.
Session 4 (May 2): The Body Prayer – We’ll Integrate: cosmology with body, spirit and mind; four pathways of creation centered spirituality; four directions; and four moments of Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects Spiral; sharing our practices and creating a gift for the world as a contribution to Goal 6, Ecological Conversion, Laudato Si’ Seven Year Platform.
Igniting a Re-Enchantment with the Sacred
by Margie Abbott, RSM
Each ritual offered in the book has a brief reference in bolded text to helpful book or website to explore. There will be suggested readings from this book, articles and Youtube videos assigned each week.
2) The Components of Practices
3) How to Reframe Traditional Forms
5) Practices for Eco-activism
6) Practices to evolve consciousness
— Brian Swimme, Cosmogenesis
Practices are a powerful way to embody, celebrate, and deepen our way of contemplative listening; to hear what is emerging from within and to share with a group. According to Brian Swimme in his new book COSMOGENESIS, “To give birth to a new cosmological story requires a profound creativity.” And that profound creativity comes from within at the nexus between the personal and the cosmic. This course is a response to the times through contemplative listening.
Margie Abbott RSM lives in Geelong Australia. Inspired by a dynamic and creative impulse Margie offers courses and retreats in eco-spirituality which integrate her qualifications, lifelong learning, and passionate desire to share her gifts. Her qualifications include MA Theology Flinders University 1995; MA Pastoral Ministry: Spirituality Concentrate Boston College 1988; and Psychodrama AANZPA 2005. Margie is the author of four Earth ritual books all of which show how her understanding of science, theology and cosmology have evolved over the years between 1996 and 2022. In her private practice Igniting Sparks Margie offers supervision, spiritual direction, agapes, retreats, eco workshops and is part of Integral Ecology Fellowship Program for ISMAPNG as presenter and mentor.
— Stephan Martin interviewing Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams,
View from the Center of the Universe
" It is so supportive to have a whole community, from around the world, working together to embody and live out a deep connection to the new cosmology in its ethical and spiritual dimensions. We are the Universe emerging. "- M.J. Zimmerman
" After 20 years of living into the Universe Story, I was reawakened to how truly empowering it is through what is emerging for others on parallel paths from around the globe. "— Penny Andrews
" If you're seeking a meaningful story that explains our place in our Universe and in Nature, and like-minded global citizens, this course may be your next step on that journey. " - David Morton Rintoul
" Everything I have known in life is being integrated into unifying perspectives and connectedness which come like seeds being nourished from a deep space of love, abundance, and creativity "— Marides "Madett" Virola-Gardiola, Philippines
" I am co-creating a space for children older than 7 years old and this course has been granting me a deeper understanding of how I want to position myself and act in this space while deep listening to children. " — Joana Benetton, Brazil
" Being around so many talented and confident people has helped me with developing a children’s book for Montessori Sunday school. " — Nancee Cline
It is all and more than I expected – I am not new to the material though have certainly learned and gained new insights into the wonderful planet we call “home”.
The assignments are doable, interesting, and inviting. I am enjoying the course very much.
Am loving it. The small groups are wonderful. It is such a marvelous group of participants. The networking is fabulous. Love the opening and thoughtful reflections.
I look forward to every session.
I had to miss two weeks and was aware there was something missing in my life, so I know I am finding it really useful and challenging. Also good to make connections.
I am feeling inspired, energized, and more-connected-than ever! I am also enjoying the arc of the course, the meditations, quote sharing, and especially the content.
We use Sensei integrated with Buddypress so that participants can engage in asynchronous course discussions, and share resources, profiles, and information about their organizations. We’ve had experience using this technology with people of all levels of technical capability. If you have any questions, we’re right there to help you. This particular course will not be recorded since it’s experiential. The course will remain open for one year so you can revisit resources, stay in touch, and continue to share thoughts and resources with others sharing the journey with you. Our fearless developer, Mohit Sharma, stands at the ready to solve any tech problems that might crop up a long the way.