An Integral Universe: Conscious from the Beginning, in Conception

Untitled30“From its beginning the universe is a psychic as well as a physical reality.” is Thomas Berry‘s principle #3 for a functional cosmology; a version he wrote amongst 12 principles in the early 90’s. See Appendix A PaGaian Cosmology

Thomas Berry later expressed it this way: “The capacity for ordered self-development, for self-expression, and for intimate presence to other modes of being must be considered as a pervasive psychic dimension of the universe from the beginning.” (Ref: Twelve Principles for Understanding the Universe )

Often I have heard that “we are more than our biology” … but what “more” are we? This seems to me just a re-iteration of the pervasive dualism: that perceives biology and physical being as devoid of sentience or consciousness. This separation is alluded to in PaGaian Cosmology Introduction in this way: “Conventionally, scientifically acceptable discourse has disregarded all subjectivity – reality was in the domain of hard quantifiable matter only; while many spiritual discourses – both conventional and ‘new age’ – have only valued subjectivity, that is, they have said that matter is not of consequence … both genres of discourse have perpetuated a notion of this “Flesh”, this Matter, this Subject in Whom we are, as purely passive, without sentience, and available for exploitation. Neither of these viewpoints challenge the notion that our Habitat – our materia – is inert dead stuff … ‘just a big dead ball of dirt’ as Brian Swimme describes the modern human’s conception of Earth.[1] … Neither the conventionally scientific nor the conventionally spiritual/religious viewpoint generally supports a sense of our context being essentially relational or a sacred whole – a mutual presence, that ‘we are subjects within a Subject'[2] – a sentient Universe.”

This holistic view that consciousness is integral to the creative process of the Universe (and hence all physical being) was more fully explored by Elisabet Sahtouris and Willis W.Harman in Biology Revisioned

On September 3rd 2016 PaGaian Cosmology in collaboration with Australian Earth Laws Alliance will host a Cosmic Walk ceremony; in the context of a day of presenting the story of the Universe, which is GaiaEarth’s story, and the story of each being of the Planet – an integral storytelling of who we are, which is where we are. You are invited, but you may also create your own version – extravagant or modest. Here are some resources: Cosmic walk script, Universe Story links, PaGaian Cosmology Winter Solstice Meditation available to be purchased individually on that link – scroll down (and also on the PaGaian Cosmology Meditation CDs, track 5 and 6, CD1 – if you already have them)

IMG_0016As Thomas Berry said:

The universe in its full extension in space and in its sequence of transformations in time is best understood as story: a story known in the twentieth century for the first time with scientific precision through empirical observation. The greatest single need for the survival of the Earth or of the human community in the twenty-first century is for the integral telling of the great story of the universe. This story must provide in our times what the mythic stories of earlier times provided as the guiding and energizing sources of the human venture.[3]


  1. Brian Swimme, The Universe is a Green Dragon, p.133
  2. as described by Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme, in several places.
  3. Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts, (ed. Mary Evelyn Tucker). SF: Sierra Club Books, 2006, p.145-147.

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Naturalistic Paganism

A community of Naturalistic & Humanistic Pagans

Celebration of Gaia

Marking Our Time on Earth

Stuart McHardy

A Lad o Pairts Speaks

Feral Words

Blog posts/essays & photos by William A. Young, linking travel, hiking, mythology, and some associated odds-and-ends

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