The Spiritual Side of Environmentalism

abDear Friends,
I absolutely love this beautiful article. Indeed I think it is a masterpiece to understand, that an authentic expression of spirituality – naturally leads to the need for a renewed, deeper and more tuned-in relationship with nature and mother earth. And to me this lines confirm, that Indigo Children, Crystal Children and Empath are our natural leader in the movement towards positive spiritual activism, as they suffer with the environment and earth abuses – just as much as they suffer with the human beings and animals, who get harmed  in this world. My personal experience is just as the divine / hermetic Law of Correspondence states – ABOVE AS BELOW – the more my higher-self is guiding me, the deeper I desire to dig into the blessings Mother Earth is providing and spend time in profound connection with her funny spirits!
Hope your activism is inflamed already! And that you are burning from within, for the preservation and sustainability of the mutual ground we stand on!!!
Love and Blessings to you!!
Edith
When we think of spirituality, it is often in terms of a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves or a search for meaning in life. Some people may associate spirituality with going to church or temple, praying, meditating, fasting, attending spiritual retreats, making a spiritual pilgrimage, or spending time in nature. Most would agree that essentially all widely-accepted forms of spirituality are centered around love, compassion and caring for others, developing a connection to the source of life, and living in an ethical and moral manner.

Spirituality and Environmentalism

If we accept that spirituality compels us toward love, compassion, and ethical ways of living, then spirituality necessarily leads us toward a moral imperative to take better care of the Earth than we are now doing as a global society. All living beings are inextricably connected to the Earth. We are made of her elements and minerals. We emerge from her at birth; we eat the food and drink the water that she provides; and at the end of life, we become a part of her once again. As humans, we also intrinsically rely on far deeper aspects of our relationship with nature, such as our need for creative inspiration, peace and tranquility, and a deep inter-connectedness to the energy and vibration of all life on the planet.
The Earth is a complex and intricate web. When we negatively impact our planet, we harm all beings who depend on her for life. Likewise, when we hurt people, plants, or animals, we damage the Earth as well. If we look within, we are sure to find a longing in our hearts to protect the Earth herself from suffering and sadness, to create a world in which we can each pursue our dreams and aspirations without harming the one planet that supports the type of life that we love and treasure.

ahWhat Are We Doing to Ourselves?

When we reflect on the need for meetings such as the COP 21 conference or initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we automatically enter into a moral and spiritual discussion, due to the gravity of our current situation. Even the UN officials and many world leaders seem to be speaking in spiritual terms at times, as they express their concern over the environmental crisis. This is because global warming is not simply causing unusual weather patterns and hotter summers. The impacts from climate change are much more severe and life-threatening, and much more immediate, than we can tell by looking out of our own windows.
Global warming is cutting off large populations of people from their traditional modes of subsistence, rendering them unable to feed themselves or their children. It is causing the unchecked spread of diseases such as malaria. It is decimating species at the fastest rates the Earth has experienced since before humans emerged on the planet. It is causing untold suffering for people and animals in polar regions, rain-forests, and other delicate ecosystems, where the rapid environmental changes are decimating their way of life. Our modern society based on endless consumption, which is the primary cause of global warming, has other harmful side effects which also bring ethics into the picture:

Our world leaders, particularly those participating in the ongoing United Nations climate discussions leading up to COP 21, are faced with a question that seems nearly impossible to answer:
Now that we are so deeply entrenched in this way of living, what can we do to turn things around?

abaPolitical Initiatives With a Spiritual Basis

World leaders are spurring political action on many fronts that is increasingly aligned with spiritual and ethical goals as a path to environmental sustainability: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals include objectives inspired by spiritual and ethical tenets such as ending poverty, promoting gender equality, protecting the oceans, ensuring sustainable food production, and protecting forests and biodiversity. To protect indigenous groups that have been harmed by oil drilling and climate change, indigenous pavilions and Rights of Nature tribunals will occur at the COP 21 meetings in Paris in December 2015. The Earth and its vital ecosystems are beginning to receive the respect and legal protection that was previously reserved for humans. For example, in New Zealand earlier this year, a river was legally granted the rights of personhood.

Taking Individual Action Based on Spirituality

An over-dependence on logic, technology, and economics got us into this mess. So it makes heart sense—soul sense—that spirituality, intuition, and reconnecting with nature may be the only way out. Let us consider a new definition of spirituality. Spirituality as our system of deeply-held beliefs that allow us to go beyond politics, beyond economics, beyond societal norms in order to make decisions for the common good of all beings. Beliefs that connect us to the very heart of who we are and what we know is most important. Although it may be difficult, we can rise above materialism and societal norms when we know it is the right thing to do. When we recognize that we are harming each other, that our everyday actions are depleting the resources of Mother Earth who gave us life, that by accepting the modern dream of materialism and consumption we are reducing the possibilities for future generations to thrive and pursue their own dreams …HumanTreeWhen we accept these truths into our hearts and allow our true nature to respond with full emotion and allow ourselves to feel the longing for a better way of living … Then, at that very moment, our spirituality opens up a new space of clarity within us, where we fully internalize the conviction that each one of us has the universal responsibility to make the world a better place. Then, suddenly, we know what it is that we need to do in the world. How our small, precious set of skills and our unique viewpoint can lend a vital force and power to the vast movement that is occurring in the world at this time.
Every one of us has talents that can make a powerful and positive difference in the world. It may be your beautiful singing voice. It may be your talent for public speaking or your ability to bring together diverse groups of people for a shared goal. Or it may be your knowledge of farming, finance, software development, or manufacturing that can lead to a breakthrough in sustainability. We all have a part to play; it is just a matter of finding your inspiration, and that can only come from the deepest reaches of your heart and soul.

Source: http://www.pachamama.org/blog/the-spiritual-side-of-environmentalism, by

 

9 Animal Species That Use Psychoactive Substances In The Wild

1524815_185511901649386_324707819_nDear Friends,
from day to day now, we are tapping deeper into the awareness of our shared reality with the Animal Kingdom. More and more people receive messages by the other world, transported by animal spirits. Reading this article I can’t help but ask myself if this facts might not be helpful for the human race, when we harmonize our energy field with the Animal Kingdom.
Many of the below mentioned animals are well known helper for us, in indigenous traditions identified as Power animals. I like to think, that the Dolphin in it’s  “trance-like state” is able to tap into the energetic field of humanity to charge us with the amazing qualities their lives represent to us. Same for the Jaguars – who are royal animals to many cultures, the Horse – part of Native American inheritance, the Reindeer the same 
for the Nordic countries and Pics  , part of cultural believes worldwide.
So couldn’t it be possible that animals in altered states of awareness also use the same highways of information than humans do and therefor are channeling their characteristics, love and support to us, when consuming psychoactive substances!?? What Do you think? Anybody who can share such an experience?

Wishing you loving and nurturing connections with the animal world!!
Edith

2401829514by Gonzo Nieto
For millennia, our ancestors have enjoyed, and even regarded as sacred, a variety of mind-altering substances. Cultural artifacts, visionary artwork and rituals in many indigenous cultures and past civilizations point to this fact. As Ethan Nadelmann remarked in a recent TED talk, “Our desire to alter our consciousness may be as fundamental as our desires for food, companionship, and sex.”

While Homo sapien consumption for consciousness-expanding purposes is well-documented throughout anthropology and history, ample evidence suggests we are not the only creatures who seek mind-altering plants and substances in their environment.
Indeed, plenty of our animal friends enjoy mind-altering substances: Some eat fermented fruits, psychoactive mushrooms, and opium poppies. Others rub themselves with crushed ants or angry millipedes.
The initial attraction to these substances might not be just to get high, but for nutritional or protective purposes. For example, fermenting fruits might be attractive to certain species because the process signifies the fruit is at its highest caloric value, and is also going to rot soon. In other cases, naturally occurring intoxicants might serve some curative function or contain nutrients that are otherwise scarce in the environment.
But, there’s compelling evidence to suggest that altering one’s state of mind for the simple purposes of experiencing that altered state is a natural drive common to many inhabitants of the animal kingdom. See for yourself.

1. Lemurs and capuchin monkeys get high off of millipedes.

The idea that some animals get high off other animals is an intriguing one, and lemurs and capuchin monkeys seem to be doing just this with poisonous millipedes. The millipedes store toxic chemicals, including cyanide, which they release in defense when provoked. The primates pick up and agitate millipedes and then rub them all over their bodies, coating themselves in the defensive secretions — here’s a BBC documentary clip on this. As mentioned in the video, the primary reason for this seem to be protection against a variety of parasites, but the monkeys and lemurs also seem to enjoy a thoroughly blissful intoxication as a result. The monkeys, being more social animals, have been seen passing a millipede around, reminiscent of a group of people passing around a joint.

images (1)2. Dolphins enjoy the psychoactive effects of poisonous pufferfish.

Similar to the lemurs and monkeys above, dolphins have been observed hanging out in groups of four to seven, passing around an angry pufferfish. The pufferfish releases an extremely potent poison called tetrodotoxin which is more deadly than nerve gas or the venom of the black widow spider, and thus is one of the most toxic compounds known to man. Evolutionary biologist Dr. Christie Wilcox is skeptical of the theory that dolphins are intentionally doing this for the purpose of intoxication and pleasure, but there is some compelling evidence to the contrary. For example, the BBC documentary Spy in the Pod showed dolphins passing around a pufferfish and then floating near the surface of the water, apparently in a “trance-like state.”

3. Many species of birds do what is called “anting.”

A seemingly odd behavior, ravens, myna birds, jays, magpies, and other birds sometimes either rub themselves with ants or get intimate with anthills to coat themselves in ants (see a jay do it here). This is called anting, and its purpose remains unclear.
An article published in the journal of the American Ornithologist’s Union in 1974 reviewed the possible explanations for anting. One theory is that the birds are coating themselves with the ant’s defensive chemical secretions, thus applying a protective coating much like when we apply insect repellent.
Another possibility is that the secretions serve to soothe the bird’s body during molting season. Others point to the curious movement sometimes observed during anting (described by one ecologist as “a curious dance that involved flopping around on the grass with its wings outstretched and its beak open”) as proof of an intoxicated state, suggesting that anting is pleasurable for the birds.
Perhaps the answer is a combination of these theories. Similar to how humans use cannabis, anting may at times serve a protective or curative purpose, while at other times be done mainly for the enjoyment of the altered state it brings about.

4. Many animals seek out fermented fruits in the wild.

It has been widely reported that elephants get themselves drunk from the marula tree’s fermented fruit. Anecdotal reports of these stumbling elephants go back over a century, and the phenomenon was portrayed in the film Animals are Beautiful People by James Uys (Uys also made The Gods Must Be Crazy). The idea is that the fallen fruit ferments either on the ground before being eaten, or in the elephant’s digestive system, yielding one drunk pachyderm.
As fun as it is to think about inebriated elephants, this theory has been debunked by an article published in the Physiological and Biochemical Zoology journal in 2006, and it’s been suggested that the clips shown in the above video were staged by artificially sedating the elephants. For starters, elephants don’t eat the rotten fruit from the ground, instead preferring to ram the tree trunk to shake loose the ripe fruit, even when there’s fruit on the ground available. Another hypothesis, which suggests that the fruit ferments in the digestive system, is also out of the question; the fruits are not in the digestive system long enough for that to happen, and the sugars needed for fermentation are metabolized by the elephant before they can be converted to alcohol by yeast. And, in order to get drunk an elephant would need to eat 1,400 fully fermented marula fruits — an unlikely feat. Despite its improbability, the myth, and convincing videos of seemingly drunk elephants, persist.

images (2)However, there have been confirmed reports of other animals that regularly consume fermented fruit. The pen-tailed treeshrew, native to Thailand and Malaysia, is known to regularly snack on the nectar of the bertam palm tree, sharing this indulgence with the slow loris and several other mammals native to that area, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in 2008. The palm’s flower bud houses a species of yeast that ferments the nectar, bringing it to a beer-like alcohol content of up to 3.8%. It is estimated that, in one night, the treeshrew can consume the equivalent of nine alcoholic beverages. However, they show no overt signs of intoxication because their bodies use more efficient ways of breaking down alcohol than we do, preventing the accumulation of alcohol necessary for getting drunk. Similarly, bats regularly encounter and consume fermented fruits in the wild. Like the treeshrew, they show no signs of intoxication. When scientists gave bats an alcohol solution and made them fly an obstacle course, they performed no worse than their sober counterparts.

Monkeys also have a taste for alcohol — not only do they seek out fermented fruits, but they also like to steal alcoholic drinks from tourists. And their taste for alcohol has allowed for some pretty interesting research on their drinking habits. Vervet monkeys that were given access to alcohol in a social setting show some striking parallels to the drinking patterns of humans.
The monkeys could be grouped into social drinkers, which prefer sweetened drinks and only drink in the company of others; regular drinkers, which prefer their drinks straight, make good leaders, and are socially dominant; binge drinkers, which are aggressive and can drink themselves to death within months if given unrestricted access to alcohol; and abstainers. What’s more, not only the types of drinkers similar to humans, but the proportions of each of these behavior patterns in the monkeys studied reflects those found in human populations. These findings raise the possibility that our patterns of drug consumption are more fundamental aspects of our animal nature than we might think.

wacky-horse-570x3675. Horses seek out locoweed for its intoxicating effects.

Locoweed refers to any plant that produces the chemical swainsonine. It is thought that horses are initially attracted to these plants because they remain green longer than other plants once winter comes around. However, they begin to seek it out for its intoxicating effects, increasing their use over time. Farmers do their best to eliminate locoweed from their properties, as its frequent consumption is damaging to the animal’s health. A study published in the Journal of Animal Science in 2003 found that horses that ate the weed for two weeks developed significant weight loss and signs of depression. Swainsonine interferes with a metabolic enzyme, resulting in the buildup of the simple sugar mannose in neural cells. If severe, this buildup can lead to heart problems, reproductive difficulties, and neurological damage to the horses.

6. Jaguars eat the ayahuasca vine.

According to this Discovery article, humans aren’t the only ones that use Banisteriopsis caapi (one of the two plants used to make ayahuasca) as a psychoactive. This Amazonian jungle vine contains several compounds called beta-carbolines that potentiate the DMT in the ayahuasca brew by inhibiting bodily enzymes that would otherwise be responsible for breaking down the DMT. It turns out that jaguars also seek out the leaves of this jungle vine.
Higher doses of harmala alkaloids often result in vomiting and diarrhea characteristic of ayahuasca, so one possibility is that they consume the vine to purge the intestinal tract of possible parasites; a study of the Amazonian Piaroa tribe published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs suggests that eating the leaves grants the jaguar heightened sensory perception, helping them hunt. However, the jaguars are also known to roll around in ecstasy after consuming the vine, suggesting to some that its use is primarily for pleasure. See it for yourself here.

images7. Reindeer eat the psychoactive Amanita muscaria mushrooms.

These red-and-white psychedelic mushrooms, native to temperate and boreal regions in the Northern Hemisphere and thought to be the sacrament referred to as Soma in one of Hinduism’s foundational texts, are also a favorite snack of reindeer. As Gordon Wasson relates in his book Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality, reindeer are reported to prance about after eating the fungi — which are commonly referred to as “fly agaric” — apparently reveling in their intoxicated state. Reindeer are also an integral part of the history of Amanita use by indigenous peoples of Northern Europe and Siberia. As Reset.me recently reported, a 2009 BBC video explains how the Sami people indigenous to the Arctic Circle have long used fly agaric mushrooms in their visionary rituals. It is theorized that the connection between reindeer, Sami and fly agaric mushrooms is the basis for the legend of Santa’s flying reindeer.

Not only did these people herd reindeer, the animal being their main source of food and clothing, but they also got high with a little help from their reindeer friends. The effects of Amanita muscaria are characterized by a certain unpredictability, as their ingestion can bring about a range of thoroughly unpleasant side-effects and physical symptoms. In time, it was discovered that muscimol, the active compound of the mushrooms, is not processed by the body but is instead flushed out through urination while the more toxic compounds responsible for the body load are broken down. This led to the practice in some places of drinking the psychoactive urine of the shaman who had eaten, and thus purified, the mushroom. Some shamans even drank the urine of reindeer that had eaten the mushrooms. It turns out that the reindeer, intelligent in their own right, also realized that they could get high from the urine of a human that had consumed the mushroom, leading to what Cracked humorously referred to as “The Circle of Piss.”

8. Wallabies ravage opium poppy fields.

Tasmania is a leading producer of opium poppies for the pharmaceutical industry, supplying the morphine necessary for the production of painkillers. There’s only one problem: wallabies love the poppies. They’ll raid a field, gorge themselves on poppies, and crush the plantations in the process. As reported by BBC in 2009, the issue of stoned wallabies was even discussed at a parliamentary hearing on the security of opium crops in Tasmania, with the country’s attorney general stating that wallabies were “entering poppy fields, getting high as a kite, and going around in circles.”

download9. Pigs dig up truffles containing cannabinoids.

Black truffles, a gourmet delicacy for us humans, are also a sought-after snack for pigs. These mushrooms grow exclusively below ground and are identified by pigs by their aroma, said to be reminiscent of wet earth, dried fruit, and cacao.  A recent article in the journal Phytochemistry revealed that the black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) contains the cannabinoid anandamide, a compound structurally related to THC that is also found endogenously in the human body and is a key component of the body’s endocannabinoid system. Anandamide derives its name from the Sanskrit word ananda, meaning “bliss.” Researchers suggest that the anandamide in black truffles might be “an ancient attractant to truffle eaters that are well-equipped with with endocannabinoid receptors,” indirectly suggesting that humans might be drawn to truffles for the same reason.

Source: http://reset.me/story/psychoactive-substances-natural-8-animal-species-use-wild