By: Alder MoonOak - Moon Books, $25.95
Description: Even within Paganism, the Church of All Worlds stands out: inspired by science fiction and led by a practicing wizard.
Verdict: Radiant Circles: Ecospirituality & the Church of All Worlds, is an examination of both Ecospirituality and the Church of all Worlds, a specific NeoPagan organisation inspired by a science fiction novel and founded by Oberon Zell, a practicing Wizard.
The book ranges widely in its historical, cultural and theological exploration of the Church and discusses its role and place as both as a unique Neo-Pagan and futurist New Religious Movement.
From its origin of standpoint, a spirituality closely bound to Godís creation has deep roots in Scripture, where in Genesis God separates light from darkness and water from sky, then creates all plants and creatures of Earth and sea and sees how good it is.
The Book of Job, among others, picks up the theme, telling of a God who speaks intimately of the constellations, the many forms water takes, the wisdom of the ibis and the hunger of lions, and the reproductive cycle of deer, bears and mountain goats ó but has a rather low opinion of the storkís common sense.
A couple of millennia later, St. Francis of Assisi added his voice to those who recognize the interconnectedness of all things, despite the pain of his own illness, finding God in ó and praising God through ó all of creation, including the sun, moon and stars, wind, water, fire and the Earth itself.
So itís not surprising that Pope Francis, the saintís namesake, echoes that idea in his own writings, especially his 2015 encyclical Laudato Sií, on Care for Our Common Home and Querida Amazonia, the apostolic exhortation that grew out of the 2019 synod for the Amazon.
With his emphasis on integral ecology, Francis ties care for Godís creation to our economic, political, social and religious priorities. In a lot of ways, with this pope, ecospirituality has gone mainstream.
Coming full circle on this, the prefix eco- before spirituality comes from the Greek oikos, meaning home ó a reminder that this house is the only one we have, weíre all together, what happens in Kolkata affects New York, Santiago in Chile, and S„o Paulo.
The Church of All Worlds (CAW) is an American Neopagan religious group whose stated mission is to evolve a network of information, mythology, and experience that provides a context and stimulus for reawakening Gaia and reuniting her children through tribal community dedicated to responsible stewardship and evolving consciousness. It is based in Cotati, California.
The key founder of CAW is Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, who serves the Church as Primate, later along with his wife, Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart (d. 2014), designated High Priestess. CAW was formed in 1962, evolving from a group of friends and lovers who were in part inspired by a fictional religion of the same name in the science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) by Robert A. Heinlein; the churchís mythology includes science fiction to this day.
CAWís members, called Waterkin, espouse Paganism, but the Church is not a belief-based religion. Members experience Divinity and honor these experiences while also respecting the views of others. They recognize Gaea, the Earth Mother Goddess and the Father God, as well as the realm of Faeries and the deities of many other pantheons. Many of their ritual celebrations are centered on the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece.
Here in Radiant Circles: Ecospirituality & the Church of All Worlds, author Alder MoonOak brings forth a most riveting, absorbing and highly in-depth ethnographic analysis of the foundational beliefs, practices, world view, ethos, vision and history that have inspired, seeded and infused a significant global spiritual community of green religion [Oberon Zell, Founder and Primate, Church of All Worlds].
It is a read that if you go into knowing next to nothing about the subject matter, you will close the book upon completion filled with a sense of more, whereas if you go in thinking you know all there is to know, you will be proven wrong, trust me.
About the Author - Alder MoonOak has an MA in Religion and a PhD in Religious Humanities. He serves as Priest of the Church of All Worlds and Editor of the Churchís journal Green Egg.
In addition, he is Professor of Religion and Philosophy at the College of Central Florida in Ocala. He lives in Gainesville, Florida.
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