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Author Topic: Earth vs Nature  (Read 19212 times)
Aisling
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« Topic Start: June 02, 2007, 09:47:40 am »

Some folks use the terms such "earth-based" and "Nature-based" interchangably, with no distinction between the two (also applies to earth religion/nature religion, earth worship/nature worship, etc).  To me, these are two very different things.

So let me throw out a few questions, feel free to answer as many or few as you like:
  • In your mind, is there a difference between the terms? 
  • How do you distinguish between the two? 
  • Can you truly have one without the other?
  • If you self-define as earth or nature based, what's your basis for choosing one term over the other?  Did it come already defined by your particular tradition or was it a term you picked for yourself?
  • If you don't self-define as earth or nature based, what assumptions, if any, do you make when you see these terms?





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« Reply #1: June 02, 2007, 09:58:48 am »




As you point out, people use earth-based and nature-based inter-changeably, so this is how I tend to view the terms.  The Earth does not = Nature, but generally one gets a sense of people using the phrase (in this context) in the sense of Earth as an ecosystem.  Some of these people may believe in the concept of Gaia/ some kind of united life force, hence a mingling of terms.

Personally I'm not Earth-based or Nature-based.  The only thing that really matters in my path is the power to achieve my goals.  A dead planet is not conducive to my goals, but other than that I have no particularly connection with nature.

To the extent that I make any assumptions about the users of such terms, they run along the lines of 'here comes someone else who's going to tell me what I should believe' etc.
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« Reply #2: June 02, 2007, 10:24:22 am »

To the extent that I make any assumptions about the users of such terms, they run along the lines of 'here comes someone else who's going to tell me what I should believe' etc.

LMAO!  I tend to make that assumption about everyone on the planet.  Grin 
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« Reply #3: June 02, 2007, 10:30:10 am »

  • In your mind, is there a difference between the terms? 
  • How do you distinguish between the two? 
  • Can you truly have one without the other?

Hmm, to me, The Earth is the physical ball of dirt and rock and the like. Nature is the energy force that helps life. Now then I don't really think you can have one without the other. The earth supports life and life supports nature and nature helps support the earth in various ways.
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« Reply #4: June 02, 2007, 10:34:20 am »

Some folks use the terms such "earth-based" and "Nature-based" interchangably, with no distinction between the two (also applies to earth religion/nature religion, earth worship/nature worship, etc).  To me, these are two very different things.

So let me throw out a few questions, feel free to answer as many or few as you like:
  • In your mind, is there a difference between the terms? 
  • How do you distinguish between the two? 

I hear them used interchangably, but I think they are different in a way.  Nature is about patterns; earth is a planet.  Gaia, to me, is a Goddess or idea that blends the two concepts.

Quote
  • Can you truly have one without the other?

For the time being, they seem very linked.  But if we went to another planet, we would still have nature. 

Quote
  • If you self-define as earth or nature based, what's your basis for choosing one term over the other?  Did it come already defined by your particular tradition or was it a term you picked for yourself?
  • If you don't self-define as earth or nature based, what assumptions, if any, do you make when you see these terms?

I do define my religion as nature based, but I also define myself in many other ways too.  When I hear either term, I tend to think that the person means that they have reverence for nature and/or the earth.  I do think, however, that nature based also implies that the person considers Nature to be a Teacher.  Earth based might imply that we're just using what's available.






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« Reply #5: June 02, 2007, 10:35:46 am »

Some folks use the terms such "earth-based" and "Nature-based" interchangably, with no distinction between the two (also applies to earth religion/nature religion, earth worship/nature worship, etc).  To me, these are two very different things.

Let me turn it around and ask you:  What are the differences you see?  Smiley  I see a difference between "earth" and "nature" as stand-alone terms, but when applied to "-based religion" they seem pretty interchangable to me, at least in the way they're usually used, so I'm interested in hearing what makes them different.
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« Reply #6: June 02, 2007, 01:50:37 pm »

Let me turn it around and ask you:  What are the differences you see?  Smiley  I see a difference between "earth" and "nature" as stand-alone terms, but when applied to "-based religion" they seem pretty interchangable to me, at least in the way they're usually used, so I'm interested in hearing what makes them different.

I see them as distinct but related terms when it comes to applying them to religion/beliefs/faith/etc.   I look at "earth" as the physical place in which we exist (yeah, what Nigel said, big ball of dirt and rock, but I'd also include the life on that rock and the enviroments it contains).  My view of Nature on the other hand is that is the source and fiber of all, including earth.  It's like one of those horrible logic problems you see on tests... all earth is nature, but not all nature is earth.

Based on those definitions, earth-based would imply beliefs that are tied primarily to the planet itself.  Nothing wrong with that, but it seemed a little limited to me-- after all there is an entire cosmos out there that our planet does not revolve around. We and our planet are a part of, not separate from, the universe.  I can't say it any more succinctly than Dr. Carl Sagan did... "we are star stuff."  An earth-centric faith does not make room for the bigger picture IMHO.

Personally, earth is the context of what I do, where I live, express, create, and die.  My practices are limited to using earth-based resources and materials (at least until I can get my hands on a moonrock!), but my outlook is broader than the planet on which I live.  So I define my path as Nature-based.  If that makes any sense whatsoever... Smiley
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« Reply #7: June 02, 2007, 02:04:27 pm »

As you point out, people use earth-based and nature-based inter-changeably, so this is how I tend to Personally I'm not Earth-based or Nature-based.  The only thing that really matters in my path is the power to achieve my goals.  A dead planet is not conducive to my goals, but other than that I have no particularly connection with nature.

Add me to what EF said.  It's about what brings my magick to fruition.  Everything that "is" derives from nature.  There is no other source, so all is nature.  So isn't everything in essense nature based?  I use the two words interchangeably as I don't see a difference.
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« Reply #8: June 02, 2007, 02:29:39 pm »

Some folks use the terms such "earth-based" and "Nature-based" interchangably, with no distinction between the two (also applies to earth religion/nature religion, earth worship/nature worship, etc).  To me, these are two very different things.

So let me throw out a few questions, feel free to answer as many or few as you like:
  • In your mind, is there a difference between the terms? 

Yes.

Quote
  • How do you distinguish between the two? 

Earth is my home. And I see Earth as the planet as a whole, the biosphere with all the plants, animals, and microorganisms, the soil, mantle and core, the atmosphere, ocean, and our sattelite, the Moon. I also see Nature as all of these things. I guess I see it as Nature is the pattern, the Earth is the substance.

Quote
  • Can you truly have one without the other?

Can't really have Earth without Nature.  Can't really have the Nature that exists on the Earth without the Earth itself, although Nature extends beyond the Earth within the Cosmos.

Quote
  • If you self-define as earth or nature based, what's your basis for choosing one term over the other?  Did it come already defined by your particular tradition or was it a term you picked for yourself?

I am Nature-Based. I am more inspired by WHY of existence, which is Nature, rather than the WHAT which is Earth, partly. Celtic Irish and British Paganism puts a lot of emphasis on the Sacred Land, as being our connection with our ancestors. I find a lot of commonality with that belief. Wicca celebrates the cycles of the seasons of the Earth, Moon, Sun, and Stars.  So do I.  In addition, I am Pantheist, so I will see the Divine in everything, and all that exists is natural, and therefore part of Nature.


Now another question...
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« Reply #9: June 02, 2007, 03:52:45 pm »



Hey magicklynxx...  Just a side note.  Could you please remember to put your reply outside the quotes?  You can break up the quote itself if you need to--I've edited the post I'm replying to here to fix it if you need an example of what I mean.  Smiley

Thanks!
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« Reply #10: June 02, 2007, 05:02:37 pm »

Let me turn it around and ask you:  What are the differences you see?  Smiley  I see a difference between "earth" and "nature" as stand-alone terms, but when applied to "-based religion" they seem pretty interchangable to me, at least in the way they're usually used, so I'm interested in hearing what makes them different.

I'd have to agree. But, I see them as interchangeable, even as stand-alone terms. We don't live on any other planet BUT earth. If we did, I would probably see them seperate, but I don't. The earth IS nature. Just as nature makes the earth. It makes me, you, and Bob the rock over there.

 Cheesy
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« Reply #11: June 02, 2007, 06:17:58 pm »

  • In your mind, is there a difference between the terms? 
  • How do you distinguish between the two? 
  • Can you truly have one without the other?
  • If you self-define as earth or nature based, what's your basis for choosing one term over the other?  Did it come already defined by your particular tradition or was it a term you picked for yourself?
  • If you don't self-define as earth or nature based, what assumptions, if any, do you make when you see these terms?

I do see a difference between Earth based and Nature based. The Earth is a planet I live on. I'm Earth based in the same sense that I'm Colorado based. I see nature as a force. It's made up of things I can see like dirt and plants and rocks and furry things that also live on Earth. Nature is also made up of the energies that come from these things that live on Earth and the energies that exist as a result of the interaction of those things.

Because I'm Wiccan, I do feel that being Nature based is something I have to accept - but I'm eclectic so I could toss it out if I wanted to. But I celebrate and honor moon and seasonal cycles. I also work with energies existing in nature so I'm quite happy with saying I'm nature based.

As far as assumptions about those that identify as Earth or Nature based - I do often see those who define as Earth based use  it as more of a way of describing a focus on Ecological or Environmental efforts in their practices. So I do sometimes make the assumption that a person who says their Earth based might force me to compost or steal my cheeseburger.   Smiley

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« Reply #12: June 03, 2007, 12:50:49 am »

Some folks use the terms such "earth-based" and "Nature-based" interchangably, with no distinction between the two (also applies to earth religion/nature religion, earth worship/nature worship, etc).  To me, these are two very different things.

So let me throw out a few questions, feel free to answer as many or few as you like:
  • In your mind, is there a difference between the terms? 
  • How do you distinguish between the two? 
  • Can you truly have one without the other?
  • If you self-define as earth or nature based, what's your basis for choosing one term over the other?  Did it come already defined by your particular tradition or was it a term you picked for yourself?
  • If you don't self-define as earth or nature based, what assumptions, if any, do you make when you see these terms?
When I use those terms to self-identify, I would probably phrase it, "nature-based and earth-centred".  Exactly what I mean by that, though, offends and annoys some people.  V said,
Nature is about patterns
which is one good way to put it - nature isn't just untouched-by-human-hands wilderness, it's not just the rural environment, with pastoral-agricultural fields cheek-by-jowl with woodlands, or any of the other narrowly-restricted images that get evoked when many Pagans who use those terms are explaining them.  It's all of those things, true, but more.  It's in the orbits of the planets, and the whirling of subatomic particles (regardless of how different or similar the two may be).  It's in the beauty of a rainbow, but also in the beauty of the physics of refraction that explains how a rainbow works.  It's in the constructive achievement of a beaver's lodge, or of a high-rise apartment.  (Yes, physics was my science-of-choice in high school  Wink )

A few years back I ran across a Discordian website being loudly cranky about "nature/earth" references in definitions of Paganism, on the grounds that none of that had anything to do with Discordianism.  Now, I can agree that Discordians aren't exactly worshippers of nature or the earth (nor of much else, in conventional definitions of "worship"), and that Discordianism is not earth- or nature-centred, nor earth-based (other than, y'know, not yet having the facilities to put a base on the moon).  But what could be more nature-based than the Discordian recognition of the role of chaos?  The trouble, I think, is that these Discordians were accepting the narrower definitions of nature presented by others (or, at best, were resigned to being unable to propose counter-definitions).

As for earth-centred, I mean that in a very chthonic way.  My magicoreligious system revolves around the Mysteries of life and death, of this world and of the otherworlds connected with the life/death cycles.  My deities are mainly deities of those cycles, liminal and earthy (in pretty much any usage of "earthy").  Obviously this is part of the broader pattern I tagged as "nature"; possibly other subsets could be centred on the other classical elements (while still others didn't have damn-all to do with elements, or overlapped into more than one), or OTOH possibly it wouldn't work as well for the other elements - could be that living on a ball of dirt brings ball-of-dirt earthy patterns together in a way that doesn't apply with other elements.  Those hypothetical other subsets aren't my path, though, so I don't know and am not really qualified to evaluate.

When I hear others use those terms, what I think depends on how they're using them.  If the usage is strictly self-descriptive, I figure I'm most likely dealing with a neoPagan with some amount of Wiccish bent - might be solid, might be fluffy, have to talk at greater length to be sure.  If the usage involves anything resembling "definitions of Paganism", I'm liable to assume (occasionally incorrectly, but not often) that I'm dealing with someone who's only dimly aware that Paganism exists outside of "some amount of Wiccish bent".

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« Reply #13: June 03, 2007, 06:37:58 pm »

In your mind, is there a difference between the terms?

Yes, although most people in the Pagan community seem to use them interchangably

Quote
How do you distinguish between the two?

"Earth" is a planet. "Nature" is the environment on a planet (Earth in this case).

Quote
Can you truly have one without the other?

Yes.

Quote
If you don't self-define as earth or nature based, what assumptions, if any, do you make when you see these terms?

Sadly, my first though if I hear either term in connection with "Paganism" is that someone is trying to force me into their limited view of what a Pagan religion is like.





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« Reply #14: June 03, 2007, 07:55:37 pm »

Sadly, my first though if I hear either term in connection with "Paganism" is that someone is trying to force me into their limited view of what a Pagan religion is like.

I'm learning that this is not an uncommon sentiment (and here, I thought I was the only one who felt like that!). 

I define my faith as Nature-based and I still cringe when I hear someone trying to force this view (or any specific view) on the entire Pagan community or worse try to present that view as representative of all Pagans to the outside world.   

A good example of why so many of us seem to share this feeling:  The primary "pagan" group in this area limits itself to "earth religions" but simultaneously claims to "promote the openess of paganism."  I had a single conversation with a couple of their members who tried to convince me that really Wicca and Gardnerian Witchcraft are the only "true" earth-based/nature-based/pagan faiths (and that they quietly try to steer members in those directions).  My response: "Really now?  Please tell me another story, I love fantasy and outright fiction."   Wink
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