What is Earth Medicine?
Earth Medicine is an umbrella term for Earth-centered science, psychology, medicine, spirituality, agriculture, architecture and planning. We call it “medicine” because, while we can use it to heal our bodies and minds, we also aspire to use Earth Medicine to heal the planet.
Why should we care about Earth Medicine?
Earth Medicine works from the premise that what is most needed for our species today is a reconnection to our appropriate, relative, and relevant place within the global biosphere. Earth Medicine is an active way to support appropriate sustainable technology and reject technology or behavior that diminishes biological diversity or social justice.
We humans are pretty much the same all over the world. Being raised in a Western or Non-Western society might influence some of our basic world-views, but it does not erase our commonalities. No matter our race or cultural background, all humans have similar needs: to be safe, warm, respected, fed and loved. We pass through predictable stages in our lives, love our families, and strive to be happy. We share a similar potential for brilliance and stupidity, kindness and cruelty. And we all face the great mystery of death.
These commonalities are what bind us as humans and Earth Medicine honors these connections.
Even though we may come from a Western or scientific society we may still have deep needs to connect to the Earth and our psyche in vision quests and traditional rites of passage. And those who come from a traditional shamanic society may still need to access the most current scientific and technological information.
Many horrible things in both traditional and scientific cultures should be rejected. Neither world has cornered the market on madness and violence. To embrace only Western or Non-Western culture and reject the other diminishes our possibilities as a species. We will not survive our current dilemma by using only one half of our brain.
Earth Medicine sees many traditional cultures as embodying the rich flowering of the human spirit; that these cultures are not only important but also as necessary to us as air and water. We also see science as a fantastic tool to help us navigate a planet with 9 billion humans and finite resources. What we need and what Earth Medicine aspires to provide is sane science and sane shamanism.
In the West we have overlooked, forgotten, ignored the lessons of those who have come before us. Many of the cultures of our past also carry a genius which we are just now beginning to recognize and from which we have much to learn. We can no longer afford to discard our past and the wisdom of our ancestors like a baby with the bathwater.
Our species is careening along a dangerous path straight toward the edge of a very high cliff. We believe we can change our direction before the Earth changes it for us. Much of what has come before can point us toward a healthy future.
As National Geographic Explorer Wade Davis says: All of these people teach us that there are other ways of being, other ways of thinking, other ways of orienting yourself on the Earth. And this is an idea that… can only fill you with hope… The ethnosphere [is] the sum total of all thoughts, dreams, myths ideas, inspirations, and intuitions brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness. The ethnosphere is humanity’s great legacy; it is a symbol of all that we are and all that we can be as an astonishingly inquisitive species. And just as the biosphere is being severely eroded, so too is the ethnosphere; and if anything at a far greater rate.
The ethnosphere is the cultural Internet of humanity.
An emerging awareness worldwide, bubbling up from the deepest parts of who we are, realizes we must begin to change the way we think without resorting to the naiveté and clichés of our recent myopic and commercial Western perspectives. We must begin to look upon the world with fresh eyes. And ironically, many of these new and needed perspectives are actually not new at all.
We are blesséd to have world-class human beings as instructors for the Earth Medicine Institute. We honor who they are, how they show up, and their ancient wisdom that teaches us so much about what we must do to heal in today’s modern world.