There are many diverse ways in which
spirituality manifests in the pagan traditions, but underlying all of
them is a fundamental sense of experiencing the Sacred, the Great
Mystery, through communion with the natural world. For pagans, Nature is
our spiritual matrix, the means through which we may most directly
connect with the Great Mystery that permeates every facet of our
existence and surpasses the many identities, labels and theologies
through which humans have attempted to represent it.
Nature is the most immediate and
tangible manifestation of the Great Mystery. Like the Sacred, it
contains us, but also transcends us. In cultivating a spiritual
relationship with the natural world, we quickly come to realize that we
are part of something much greater than ourselves, something so much
more complex and far-reaching than we can begin to understand. We are as
much a part of Nature as a tree, as a mountain, as a stream, as a
meadowlark, as fire. Our sustenance, our very survival, depend upon it
– the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the wood
and stone we use for shelter.
Through spiritual communion with the
natural world, we experience ourselves as enmeshed in a vast, living web
of interdependent relationships, where we are part of everything, and
everything is part of us. This leads us to an understanding that all our
actions matter, that all our actions have consequences which affect
everything else. It also instills in us a sense of perspective, of
proportion – that the universe does not exist exclusively for the
benefit of us humans, that the rest of the natural world deserves our
respect and consideration.
with Nature brings us face-to-face with the Sacred in all its mystery
and power, and can induce in us a mystical experience of profound inner
peace, in which we merge with the Sacred and are nurtured and formed by it.