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We inhabit a living world

Of dreams waiting to be manifested

Continually on the brink of becoming reality


The possibilities sparkle all around us


Look at the trees … If left alone to multiply, they stretch to infinity

Enlivening the entire Earth

Gifting us the oxygen we need to survive and thrive

Funneling nutrients through the soil to benefit trees and other creatures

Providing a habitat for countless plants and animals


Look at the endless blue sky

It encompasses us

It opens up for us

It brings us sunlight, or rain, or cleansing wind: Whatever we need most: All those blessings that the sun and our atmosphere can shower down upon us


Think of the animals

All over the planet

Growing, evolving, adapting, changing the surface of the Earth with their activities,

Brightening our spirits just by existing

Think of how many different species

Exist across the globe

So many incredibly varied life forms

Millions that we have not even discovered yet

Each living in their own special way

Upon the same Earth as us


Consider our human brains:

Incredible computers that can process anything,

Receive divine inspiration,

Create new ideas never heard of before,

And come up with the technology and architecture to build something never seen before.

We are programmed to cradle and comfort a tiny baby

With the same ease that we communicate wirelessly

Or navigate outer space

Or paint a masterpiece


Think of the universe, stretching to infinity in all directions

And the wonders it holds!:

Planets of every size and description,

Comets and stardust and asteroids and moons

And exploding stars that are right now creating the matter that might make up our ancestors far in the future

Just as the explosions of billions of years ago created the elements that form our bodies today.


There are no limits to what we can do.


The universe and the vast expanses of sky and the happy proliferation of trees speak to this truth, if we would only listen.


Tune in to your intuition:

It feels like freedom.


Tune into the creative possibilities that you are capable of:

It feels like eternity.


Tune in to life itself:

It feels like magic.


It IS magic.


And all of this is within us

Within every cell of our bodies;

All of this is available at our fingertips.


Nothing is impossible.


We just need

To break free

From all expectations and perceived limits

And then we will soar

Higher than we ever dreamed

Connected to all that is

And living our truest, deepest, most potential-filled



By Jocelyn Mercado


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The Summer Solstice is the day of the year in which the daylight lasts longest and the night is shortest. This occurs in late June in the Northern Hemisphere, and is caused by the Earth’s tilt toward the Sun on its rotational axis. On the June Solstice, the Northern Hemisphere is at its maximum tilt toward the Sun. At the same time, the Southern Hemisphere is at its maximum tilt away from the Sun, creating the Winter Solstice or shortest day of the year for those living on the Southern side of our planet.

The Summer Solstice is most visibly obvious in Arctic regions, where the days grow extremely long, and within the Arctic Circle there is continuous daylight.

Our bodies are sensitive to the lengthening days, as the Pineal Gland controlling some of our biological internal clocks releases certain hormones that make us feel more energetic when there is more sunlight. Animals and plants are of course affected by the amount of sunlight as well. For animals, the amount of daylight affects their mating habits, migration, and hibernation; and for plants, the Sun cycles provide cues for when to grow and bloom, versus when to recede and become dormant. Most notably, deciduous trees lose their leaves as the days grow shorter and produce buds and new leaves as the days grow longer.

Ancient peoples were very much attuned to the seasonal cycles of light and dark. This was a matter of survival, on multiple levels. First, the Spring and Summer, when the days are lengthening and longest, were plentiful times for hunter-gatherers, and were planting, growing, and harvesting times for people who practiced agriculture. This was especially important in more Northen climates, where the growing season is the shortest and must be maximized for the people to survive through the long winters. Second, it was very important to ancient peoples to hold ceremonies at certain important points during the year, to connect with the Spirit world, in whatever form that might take from one region to the next. The people needed to maintain a good relationship with the Creator, and the Spirits that surrounded and supported them, in order to ensure an abundance of food, water, favorable weather conditions, and good health for all of their community.

Many traditions state that the Solstices are one of the few times during each year time when the veils are lifted between the physical world and the spirit world, and that magic or deeper connection to Spirit was possible at the Solstice time. As a result, the Solstice was believed to be an especially powerful time for gathering healing herbs (as the herbs were said to contain stronger healing power if gathered at this time), lighting sacred fires in celebration and to give thanks, or doing sacred rituals to strengthen the feminine powers of birth and life.

We know that as early as 30,000 years ago, ancient peoples were tracking the passing of the seasons and the cycles of the Sun and Moon. This is evidenced by marks that were scratched, chipped, or painted into pieces of ivory, bone, or stone that were noting significant events in the sky.

As early as six to eight thousand years ago (and possibly much earlier), we can find evidence of celebrations aligned with the Sun cycles, when people gathered together to appeal to the energies that they believed controlled the cycles of birth, life, death, and rebirth.

In the Chinese Book of Records from over four thousand years ago, astronomers were instructed to calculate the Solstices and Equinoxes for the Emperor’s knowledge.

There are four main techniques that have been found in ancient practices for marking the Solstices:

(1) Placing a picture, symbol, painting, or carving so that the sun would shine directly upon it (usually at sunrise or sunset) at the height of the Solstice, such as Newgrange in Ireland.

(2) The placement of a pillar or obelisk so that the shadow created by the onject would indicate the Solstices and Equinoxes (with shadows being longer at the Winter Solstice and almost nonexistent at mid-day on the Summer Solstice). This was a practice of the Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese, Peruvians, and other cultures.

(3) In central Native American tribes, a structure would be constructed in which on the longest day of the year, the Sun shines through a hole on the ceiling directly onto a particular location, drawing, or painting on the floor.

(4) In places such as Stonehenge and ancient Egypt, the Sun precisely aligns with a specific part of a human-built structure at sunrise or sunset on the Solstice.

So we know that people have been closely following and celebrating the Summer Solstice for many thousands of years!

Interestingly, both the Summer and Winter Solstices have become intertwined with Christian beliefs over the millennia. For example, the Summer Solstice is called St. John’s Day in many places. This began originally because the Summer Solstice was believed to be a powerful time for gathering the herb St. John’s Wort, which was used frequently for healing purposes. But as Christianity was integrated with the ancient traditions, it was said that St. John the Baptist was born at the time of the Solstice, as the Bible states that St. John was born six months before Jesus. So in the Christian traditions, St. John’s birthday is celebrated at the Summer Solstice and Jesus’ birthday at the Winter Solstice.

Here are some of the ancient traditions for the Summer Solstice from different parts of the world, many of which are still practiced today in some form. Due to more people becoming interested in, and taking the time to learn about ancient nature-based practices, many of these older traditions are being re-awakened and celebrated once again.

In the mythology of Ancient Britain, the Oak King ruled when the days were lengthening (from the Winter Solstice to the Summer Solstice), and the Holly King rules when the days were growing shorter. So while the Summer Solstice was a time of full celebration, at the same time the people knew the Oak King was turning over rulership to the Holly King, and the days would be growing progressively shorter. They knew that the progression toward midwinter actually begins at midsummer.

In Europe, particularly in Northern locations such as Nordic lands, Russia, the British Isles, and Ireland, Midsummer Night was frequently celebrated by lighting fires, both in the individual homes and at the center of the town or community. The fire, smoke, and ashes were believed to purify the air and environment, driving away evil spirits and protecting people, homes, families, and livestock. Farmers would purposely light fires where the smoke would blow over their fields and livestock, and some would even singe their cattle or horses with branches or embers, to protect and purify them. After these household & family rituals were completed, the families would all go to the communal bonfire which would be lit at nightfall. Because fire was looked upon as a miniature version of the sun, this large Midsummer bonfire was lit to encourage the Sun to keep burning as strongly as possible throughout the remainder of the growing season. The people would take turns leaping over the tall fire, the fittest & strongest youths at first when the fire was burning highest, and then women and couples would leap over later on, to ensure health and a many children, as the fire became lower.

Fire (representing the sun) was one aspect of the Midsummer festivities, and water (related to fertility and to sustaining life in the heat of summer) was another. People would dress wells, springs, and fountains with flowers. In Russia, on Kupala Night (Midsummer Night), girls and young women placed wreaths lit with candles into the river and where they flowed was said to indicate their romantic fortunes. People would often bathe in rivers at midnight on Midsummer Eve.








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Know deeply that whatever you are called to do, it is critically important.

If you are called to be a healer, then you are going to be instrumental in helping people remember the resilience & magic of their own bodies to heal; in reducing our dependence on the broken-down healthcare systems that only make us sicker; in reconnecting us with the healing power of plants; and in raising the vibration of the planet through increased health & expanded consciousness of all those who your work touches.

If you are called to be an artist or creative, then you are here to remind us of the massive potential of human brilliance to create beauty & inspiration. You are meant to reconnect us with the magic of the different dimensions, realms, and layers of the human experience. You know how to evoke emotions with line and color, how to see into the soul of the living world. You understand the importance of connecting children with art so that their creative expression will blossom & they will know there is magic surrounding all of us at every moment.

If you are called to be a teacher, coach, therapist, or counselor, then you are desperately needed at this time. To help people realize their full potential. To help them discover their true purpose, heal from childhood wounds, enter the mystery of the Dreamtime for answers & guidance. You have been sent here to be a guide and an inspiration to others. When you offer your work from a place of deep intuitive knowing, you are helping others to connect with their intuition as well, so they will be more open to hearing Mother Earth’s call and shining their own light for a brighter future.

If you help people to improve their nutrition, fitness, & wellbeing, then you are providing a basis for them to open up to higher levels of truth and understanding. For when we are eating healthy food, and taking good care of our bodies & minds, we have a greater capacity for spiritual growth, consciousness, and enlightenment. You are helping to raise the vibration of the planet through your important work.

If you work with animals, then you are so needed in order to re-establish our connection with our brothers and sisters who have been our companions and soul-mates since the beginning of time. So that we can learn from them, find comfort in their unconditional love, and treat them with respect and caring.

If you work with plants, then you are going to help us open to the new world in which we will seek the plants’ intelligence for healing and insights, just as we did in ancient times. When you enter into the intelligence of the plants, you have the capacity to see for yourself, and share with others, the shining spiderwebs of connection between all aspects of creation.

If you are a messenger from the Divine, a channel, a lightworker, a writer, a liaison between worlds: Then your task is absolutely critical. You are here to bridge the gap between worlds and offer people an entry way, a new perspective, a new way of seeing that includes the unseen. Your role is to raise consciousness and help our hearts to beat in tune with a higher vibration, for the increased health & wellbeing of Mother Earth and all beings.


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We are each the center of a universe,

Pulsing, becoming,

Drifting in & out of consciousness,

Expanding outward in ever-widening layers

To encompass a fully lived life.


When we are awake, the sun cycles round us.

We feel joy upon hearing laughter;

We give love when there are tears.

We receive messages from Spirit,

We tap into intuition to guide us,

We play,

We run,

We savor our food that grows from the Earth

And provides our cells with continued life.


When we sleep, the Dreamtime arrives.

We romp in the universal consciousness.

The moon blankets everything in its silvery glow.

Mysterious renewal occurs; our brains & bodies rejuvenate.

Sometimes, stirring in the darkness,

We float in the liminal space between worlds

Before drifting back to sleep.

When we wake with the rising sun, a new cycle begins.


We are each a tiny cyclone

Of births, deaths,

Children laughing,

Birds swooping,

Trees rustling,

Storms gathering,

The calm of sleep,

The fierceness of ocean waves.

The universe sends to each of us beauty, intensity, and possibility.


Each time we step outside we are surrounded by the mystery.

It is in everything.

A crackling fire,

An eagle soaring overhead,

A deer with spectacular antlers,

The stars sweeping through a clear night sky,

The oxygen we breathe.

Swollen buds in springtime,

Mirroring the rounded glory of a pregnant mama’s belly.

The trees who with their trunk and branches are oddly so much like us.

The cycles of the moon, waxing and waning,

Bringing tidal waves of emotion to our watery bodies.

The toning of whales,

The lilting sweet songs of birds that wake us at sunrise,

The calling of geese,

The paw lines where polar bears tread,

The warm fur-lined burrows of rabbits.

Raucous sounds from otherworldly insects

In the jungle night.



We are a part of all of this.

All of it is a part of us.

We have lived many lives before;

We have experienced all of these places,

All of these sounds,

All of these knowings.

They are each intimately familiar to us,

If we dig deep for that memory.


Long ago, we dug up herbs to heal family members,

We gave thanks at every sunrise,

We felt the sparkling magic in the messages delivered

Each night in dreams

And each day in the winds or from the animals who appeared by chance.


We are made of magic, and we are destined to return to it.

So go outside,

yes right now,

no matter how hot or cold or windy or rainy it is.

Drop whatever you are doing.

If there are children with you, bring them along, for they are seeking magic too.

Breathe in the fresh air as you step out the door.

Give thanks for the sun and the rain and the wind.

Lay down on the ground,

Or sit on a park bench,

And ask to be shown a miracle.


Open your heart. And see what arrives.


Repeat this practice every day until your life is so filled with the miraculous that you are forever changed.



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It was a windy, rainy morning. I felt called to the forest. As I left my backyard, I became entangled in a thornbush, and in passing through its prickly branches, I understood that I was crossing the threshold from everyday reality, into the Dreamtime, the realm that is accessible to all of us, where our deepest memories and knowings run free and unshackled.

I walked deeper into the forest, seeking a tree that would call my name. One tree did, and I lay on the ground beneath it, and began to drum for my journey. My spirit guide met me beneath the surface of the Earth and we emerged into the deep blue ocean.

We swam out into the center of the ocean, and went as deep as we could. A blue whale and her calf joined us. I looked around and saw that many more whales, humpbacks and sperm whales and narwhals and also porpoises and dolphins, were swimming toward us from every direction. They came close to us and began to form a circle around us, an enormous circle of brilliance and intelligence, encircling us, swimming slowly, and peering at us with their huge sparkling eyes that were facing toward the center of the circle.

There were layers and layers of whales and dolphins, as far as the eye could see in every direction: up, down, and concentric circles going out & away from us, larger & larger as they got further away, and all of them were circling around us slowly and carefully. My spirit guide and I were at the center of them all.

Then from within the circle, all of the young ones, the baby whales and porpoises and dolphins, broke through the circle of adults and swam to the center. They gathered there, close to us, playful, smiling. Suddenly then they all dove, all at once, deep beneath us, and then gathering speed they swam toward us from below. They met us and it did not hurt, they were so gentle, they pushed us up and up and up toward the surface of the ocean. We breached with them, leaping up above the top of the water, and then on our descent back toward the water, my spirit guide and I each grabbed a hold of one baby whale and so our re-entry was smooth and we glided along with the great mammals, back down into the depths.

We stayed deep with the babies protectively around us, and watched as next, all of the adult whales and dolphins charged toward the surface, hundreds of them all at once, breaking through waves into the sunshine, leaping up into the air and crashing back down to the sea with their huge, powerful bodies. Bubbles and waves crashed together with them. It was quite a sight from below. I can only imagine what it must have looked like above the surface.

Then the adults came back down and began circling the babies and my spirit guide and I again. The adults were protecting us and the babies. The babies were also protecting us. We were encircled in love, intelligence, and compassion.

The baby dolphins & whales & porpoises began to speak to us. Here is the message that I received from them:

Your little children need your help.

The little children who have been born within the past 4 years, and those who will be born in the future, have been sent to your world with souls from the stars. The human mothers who birthed them, opened portals from the stars at the time of their conception, and these babies who are being born into your world now are the ones who will welcome a new time of peace & creation into being. They have the power, and they have agreed to accept the task, to shift the paradigm in which you humans live.

But they are only babies now, or toddlers, or not yet born. They need time for their strength and power to grow and develop. They need you, all who are adults at this moment. They need you to halt or slow the destruction of the planet in every way that you possibly can.  They need you to stop the large corporations from doing more damage. They need you to prevent the drilling of oil in the rainforests, the Arctic, and other critical areas of the planet. They are depending on you to shut down the building of pipelines and to convince the energy companies that fracking and shale mines and tar sands operations must all end immediately, or it may not be soon enough.

This is not an easy task. But you, the generations who are walking the planet as adults at this time, have received a call from deep within Gaia and from the furthest reaches of the stars. This is a call to drop everything that no longer resonates with your heart & soul, to quiet your mind and open up to accessing the Dreamtime. Search there for the answers from your intuition and from the universal consciousness, the Anima Mundi. Search there and you will know what to do, to assist in this great effort, to pass along to our star children, a world which can still be lifted to a time of peace and magic and creation, like the time before time, before human civilization began, when the humans were one with the animals and with the magic of the cosmos. We can return there, and not too long from now. But everyone today must do their part, without delay, and with full confidence in their innate abilities to change the world.

Furthermore, the little children who are babies and toddlers or not yet born, must be allowed & encouraged to spend time outdoors, must not watch screens that will dull their senses, but instead must be in communion with nature so that they will know that intimate connection with the animate world. The ones who gain this knowledge as little children will be better equipped to welcome in the new time of creation. So send your little ones outside to play, once they are old enough; take them into the woods; find teachers who know the medicinal uses of the plants, how to build shelters and fires from natural materials; how to decipher the meaning of birdsong and animal speak; and let your children spend time with these teachers until they are one with nature. Let your children run wild, at least part of the time, so that they will have the wisdom & innate knowledge they need when their time comes and they are the leaders of the world. If we teach the little children now to respect and honor nature and all of life, then someday they will be the leaders, and the world’s decisions will finally be made by those who understand the sacredness of all things.


Note: I was gifted this message on the morning of November 29th, at almost the exact time of the Sagittarius New Moon.

If you feel inspired to do so, please forward this message on to your friends & family who may be interested: Most especially any families who are awaiting the birth of a new little one; or families who have had babies born to them within the past 4 years or so.

Peace and love to you.

Jocelyn Mercado

Whale Illustration by Phtorxp


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I’ve talked with so many people all around the globe who say that they feel guilty when they try to follow their heart.

They feel like they are asking too much, to want to take the time or the money or the space, to step outside of what society deems “productive,” and do something different … Something that they’ve longed to do all their lives.

Similarly, many people feel deep down (even if it’s hard to admit) that taking time for self-care or personal quiet time is selfish or lazy.

We receive overpowering messages from mainstream culture, about what we should or shouldn’t be doing with every minute of our day. These messages make us doubt our worthiness to feel & express our truest self.

There is a reason why you might have an intense longing to lay outside under a tree “doing nothing,” for example … Or to take time out from serious pursuits to laugh and play …

Or why you have an undeniable feeling that there is something more important that you’re meant to fill your days with, rather than going to an unfulfilling job.

That small voice that you hear is your soul calling out to you.

Ask yourself this: If you take a single day just for yourself, make time to play with a child, or lay under a tree for a few hours, who knows what could happen?

You might just experience an entirely new level of clarity and be inspired with an amazing new idea that can change the world.

Open to the possibilities.

We are being called to heal on a massive scale right now.

Mother Earth is issuing a global call for healers, teachers, visionaries, and revolutionaries of all kinds.

When you hear the voice of your soul, your intuition, it is your sacred responsibility to listen closely, and then take decisive action.

So the next time you want to spend time alone or in nature … Next time you get the urge to take a Reiki class or start a women’s or men’s circle in your community …

Take action! Embrace your heart’s longing for connection and spiritual growth.

For this is the path to raise our collective consciousness.

Give in to your longing!

Do something crazy or lazy or unexpected, something that you’ve never allowed yourself the freedom to do before.

It just might lead you home … To exactly where you’re supposed to be … To exactly what you’re meant to be doing.

If you are seeking happiness and joy, the truest way to find fulfillment is to discover a way that you can bring healing to others.

That is what we are here for.

We become our highest self by helping others to heal … So they, in turn, can become their own highest self.

When you say “yes” to your longing, that desire to heal the world starting with yourself; when you listen to your heart & soul; you are not being selfish at all.

This is the opposite of selfishness. This is the acceptance of your highest destiny.

This is how you find your mission to change the world.

Featured image from Pixabay by Valiunic


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Note: This article was written by Jocelyn Mercado and was originally published on the Pachamama Alliance website.

Our legal systems provide protection in the form of “rights.”

Certain entities have “rights,” and those who do fall into two groups: first, humans; and second, constructs created by humans, such as corporations and countries. Everything that does not fall under these two categories is considered the “property” of humans or their constructs.

Under this framework, nature is viewed as “property.” It can be owned, consumed, and bought or sold as needed. If a company or an individual owns land, by virtue of ownership, they have the right to destroy ecosystems on that land. Unless specific legal protections were already placed on the land, they have done no wrong in the eyes of the law.

If a case is brought later, the courts may or may not find fault. Remediation may or may not be mandated. This reactive approach leaves us constantly in a “too little, too late” position, and as a result we are witnessing the ongoing destruction of the biosphere.

The current legal framework supports an unsustainable economic paradigm. It is based on the same principles as limitless growth. In this system, we assume that we can consume endlessly, and there will be no repercussions. We go about our business with the false notion that we are separate from nature; that humans are so dominant upon the Earth that we do not need to rely on nature for our survival.

But this underlying belief is a falsehood. We are nature; nature created us; and we depend upon it to continue living. In addition, the natural world possesses intrinsic value simply by virtue of existing, the same as we do.

How Our Current Legal System Fails Nature

We are caught in a social, political, and economic system built on principles that ignore the sacredness of nature and of life itself. It is difficult to break free of a structure that is accepted globally, deeply entrenched in our everyday lives due to a culture of consumption, and strengthened by our perceived financial and governmental requirements.

We have laws such as the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act and the US Endangered Species Act, but these are too specific and selective, and often we are forced to use these laws only reactively. For example, during the time that we are completing the scientific research to identify which endangered species need the most protection, we are already losing dozens of species per day.

The existing systems contain fundamental legal issues, including the mistaken idea that human concerns are primary. In reality, the Earth’s systems are primary; humans and our entities are necessarily secondary, because we are derivatives of the Earth. Without it, we would not exist.

We are also limited by a pervasive misunderstanding about the relationship between nature and economics. Nature, and the resources that it provides to humans, are treated as a commodity and are traded on the capital markets. According to the International Center for Wholistic Law, this “segregates the interconnected components of an ecosystem” and does not account for the interconnectedness of all natural elements. Additionally, it allows corporations and executives to profit by exercising their excessive power over resources, frequently without being held responsible if their actions create pollution, environmental degradation, or social injustice.

We require an entirely new approach that accounts for nature as a whole, as a vast and interdependent system in which each part interacts dynamically with every other part. We need a transformational change within the dominant legal systems.

Rights of Nature: A Needed Paradigm Shift

The concept of Rights of Nature provides a new framework.

Under Rights of Nature, the Earth and its ecosystems are viewed as living beings with rights. “The natural world is … an equal stakeholder in maintaining the wellbeing of the planet—an active participant that is worthy of our respect.” Nature is protected based on its intrinsic value instead of for its monetary value as a consumable resource.

The International Center for Wholistic Law states that the Rights of Nature recharacterizes “ecosystems, species, and the atmospheric climate” from their long-held status of property to “a rights-bearing subject of the law equal to humans and corporations.”

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature states:

“Ultimately, our human obligations to all beings—obligations we share with Nature—will become so ingrained that [the old] directives will fade into obsolescence. Until then, we must correct the self-destructive habits we have built up over the centuries through new laws and governance systems that set us on a path of love, honor and obligation toward the Earth and all her beings.”

Making the Leap

The matter of Rights of Nature is often compared to the fact that woman and children were once legally considered property. Harm to them was resolved in court by payment to the husband/father, in other words the “owner.” Today we have raised our consciousness to the level of recognizing that all people have an equal right to life, health, and happiness.

Another great leap in our human consciousness is now required.

Succcessful Implementation of the Rights Of Nature

We are already witnessing significant global movement toward the Rights of Nature.

The Americas

In 2008, Ecuador became the first country to legally protect Pachamama, or Mother Nature, by including the Rights of Nature in its constitution. Fundacion Pachamama, sister organization of the Pachamama Alliance, played an important role in raising awareness around the Rights of Nature in Ecuador and encouraging the adoption of the Rights of Nature principles into its 2008 constitution.

In 2010, Bolivia passed Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra (the Law of Rights of Mother Earth), creating eleven specific rights of the environment. This was precipitated when 30,000 people from over 100 countries came together in April 2010 in Cochabamba, Bolivia to create a document named “The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.”

Also in 2010, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature was founded by a group of 20 people, including Bill Twist, co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance. The group gathered in Manteles, Ecuador with a goal to find ways to expand the ideas of Rights of Nature around the world.

Internationally: COP 20 and COP 21

The Global Alliance held a Rights of Nature Tribunal as part of the COP20 conference in Lima in 2014, issuing verdicts on 12 cases of violations to nature and local communities. Tribunals were also held on December 4-5, 2015, during the COP21 conference in Paris.

The Rights of Nature movement bears critical importance for COP 21, the 21st UN Conference of the Parties, in December 2015. The Rights of Nature Tribunal at COP 21 will help to galvanize international leaders into action by drawing to the forefront the “widening chasm between what global civil society wants done and what governments are willing to agree to and implement.”


The countries of the European Union have made a commitment to decouple economic growth from environmental destruction. Additionally, a group of lawyers, environmentalists, academics, and other citizens are preparing to call upon the European Commission to adopt laws that “recognize the right of nature to exist, renew, and maintain its vital cycles.”

This is called an ECI, or European Citizens’ Initiative, and it is a mechanism instituted in 2012 within the EU that allows citizens to propose a law to the European Commission, thus giving European citizens the power to play a more active role in legislation.


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Featured image: Tree of Life painting by Judith Shaw

Trees are considered sacred in many cultures. Tree worship, in one form or another, has been practiced almost universally by ancient peoples in every corner of the globe.

Trees Speak to the Soul of Human Beings

It is no wonder that trees have captured the human imagination since the beginning of time. Their strength, deeply rooted in the Earth, is an inspiration. Their trunk and branches are a wonder of nature because they stand sturdy and impenetrable most of the time, yet they can flex and sway with the wind when needed.

The whisper of a breeze in their leaves or the sight of ants marching in a straight line up or down their trunks remind us of the magic of nature that trees embody. They live for hundreds or even thousands of years, and so we revere them as keepers of past secrets and sentinels of the future.

Watching their cycles of growth, shedding of leaves, and re-flowering in the spring, people have long perceived trees as powerful symbols of life, death, and renewal. Since the beginning of time, humans have had a sense that trees are sentient beings just like us, that they can feel pain, that they bleed when they are hurt. Trees even look like us. People have a trunk; trees have arms. And so we innately feel a deep connection to them.

Many people say they can feel a tree’s vibrational energy when placing their hand upon its bark. With their deep roots, trees carry significant grounding energy. We naturally feel peace and serenity when walking in the shade of trees or on a forest trail.

Trees Help Us Every Day

A recent study shows that trees remove so much pollution from the air that they “prevented 850 human deaths and 670,000 cases of acute respiratory symptoms in 2010 alone.” When an insect called the emerald ash borer killed off a significant number of trees in the American Midwest in the 1990’s and 2000’s, rates of human death from cardiovascular and respiratory illness increased.

More difficult to quantify is the psychological effect that trees have on people. People who spend time outdoors, or even those who have access to windows looking out at trees, have been shown to have better health than those who do not.

The Universal Tree of Life: Both Ancient and Modern

The concept of a Tree of Life, often symbolizing the connections between all life forms, is found in many religions and philosophies, dating back as early as ancient Egypt. The Egyptian tree of life symbolized creation and represented the chain of events that brought everything into existence.

Fast forward to modern science. The tree has become the quintessential symbol of biological evolution, as its ever-branching image poignantly depicts the unmistakable interconnections between all living species on the Earth.

The beautiful Tree of Life painting at the top of the article was shared with us by artist Judith Shaw. It was inspired by the ancient symbol of the Tree of Life as well as by Sacred Geometry.

The Tree Leaf and Eternal Life

Consider this beautiful commentary from Thich Nhat Hanh reflecting on a tree leaf:

“I asked the leaf whether it was frightened because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling. The leaf told me, “No. During the whole spring and summer I was completely alive. I worked hard to help nourish the tree, and now much of me is in the tree. I am not limited by this form. I am also the whole tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. So I don’t worry at all. As I leave this branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, ‘I will see you again very soon.’

… That day there was a wind blowing and, after a while, I saw the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil, dancing joyfully, because as it floated it saw itself already there in the tree. It was so happy. I bowed my head, knowing that I have a lot to learn from the leaf because it is not afraid-it knew nothing can be born and nothing can die.”

Cultural Beliefs About Trees

Trees are considered sacred in virtually every place where humans have settled.

There are many profound beliefs surrounding trees that people have held for millennia. Here are some interesting and touching examples:

  • For the Sng’oi people of Malaysia, a person and a tree can belong with each other, and this relationship is maintained for life. Certain trees and certain people belong together. When a person belongs with a tree, they also belong with its offspring: any trees that grow from the seeds of the first tree, no matter how far the seeds may scatter. The Sng’oi people call upon their intuition to know which child trees have sprung from which parent trees.
  • The World Tree is said to dwell in three worlds: Its roots reach down to the underworld, its trunk sits on the Earth, and its branches extend up to the heavens. Many cultures share a belief that this tree is the Axis Mundi or World Axis which supports or holds up the cosmos. For the Mayan peoples, the Axis Mundi was a massive Ceiba (in other cultures, it is called Kapok) tree that stands at the center of the world. The Mayan beliefs reflect that human souls first came into being as the sacred white flowers on the branches of the Ceiba tree. Souls of the dead Mayan ancestors rose from the roots of the Axis Mundi up through its branches and into the celestial realms.
  • In Germanic regions, it was believed that mankind was created from tree trunks, echoing the perception that people and trees have much in common.
  • In Sweden, some trees were considered “wardens” and could guard a home from bad luck. The warden was usually a very old tree growing on the lot near the home. The family living there had such great respect for the tree that they would often adopt a surname related to the name of the tree.
  • A well-known sacred tree in Norse mythology was Yggdrasil, a giant ash tree that was said to link and shelter the nine worlds that were believed to exist.
  • In Irish and English folklore, fairies would be found wherever Ash, Oak, and Hawthorne trees grew together. Hawthorn trees were regarded as a powerful symbol of protection, and were often planted near houses to ward off lightning as well as evil spirits. On the dawn of Beltane, it was believed that women who bathed in the dew from a Hawthorne blossom would become beautiful, and men who washed their hands in the dew would become skilled craftsmen.
  • Buddhists have a deep reverence for the Bodhi tree, a type of fig tree with heart-shaped leaves, beneath which the Buddha is said to have meditated for 49 days, trying to reconcile his mind to the fact that there was suffering in the world. On the 49th day, he stood and thanked the tree for providing shade for him, and in that instant he attained enlightenment. Today, in the same location where the Buddha is believed to have sat, there grows a descendant of that same Bodhi tree. Buddhist myths say that the tree will live there until the world is destroyed, and the place where it grows will be the last place to be destroyed; and when the world is reborn, that site will be the first place to appear.
  • The villagers of Piplantri, in Rajasthan, India, celebrate the birth of each little girl by planting 111 trees in her honor. The entire village works together to plant and care for the trees. This tradition not only ensures that the environment will be able to support the increasing population of the village, but it has also brought harmony and a drop in crime to the village.
  • In Malaysia, people maintain a very intimate relationship with trees. “There is a practice of tree planting around houses to the extent that the walls and wooden structures are allowed to give way to the roots of creeping plants, purposely sown at the bases of these structures.” The graveyards in Malaysia are covered so thickly with trees that the entire grounds are cool and sheltered from the tropical sun. The trees are allowed to take root into the graves and it is said that the trees whisper prayers to the creator asking for forgiveness of past transgressions of those buried in that place.

This article was written by Jocelyn Mercado and originally published by the Pachamama Alliance.

Featured image: Tree of Life painting by Judith Shaw


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Note: This article, written by Dawn Baumann Brunke, is an excerpt from the book Shapeshifting with Our Animal Companions (Bear & Company, 2008).

One early morning, not long ago, I awoke from a terrific dream. It was so vivid and powerful that its images and ideas still pulsed through my body as I opened my eyes. It was one of those multi-leveled dreams–one in which I was ‘me’ but also a spirit self that was part observer, part participant.

To begin, the dream opened with a visual of the earth cut in half–the kind of graphic that elementary science books are fond of using when describing the different layers of our planet. But, unlike the static image in a text book, this visual was reverberating with activity. What I saw were so many layers of colours and movement: a frenzied red-orange molten center; a dark, dense layer that was magnetic, strong and powerful; several grid-like layers that were ‘electric’ and blue, like thin moving fields interspersed between other layers; and many more. Each layer had a unique consistency, pattern and–yes, consciousness. There were layers upon layers of water, and I noticed differences in such things as ‘lower waters’ and ‘upper waters’. Indeed, nearer the surface crust there were ever more delineations, and the patterns and colours became more varied and ornate.

As I moved closer in perspective, I was aware that each layer was actually many layers, and that even the divisions between layers were not so much divisions as layers of merging. So, too, were there many ‘voices’–many cohesive presences alive and aware, each responsible for a particular layer of space, each vibrating with its own flashing pulse that was both a tone and a colour and–I saw now–harmonically related to the deeper pulse that beats through every aspect of our earth. How exquisite!

I was reminded then of how I connect with large fields of presences, such as Ancestor Horse or Spirit of Dog or a Great Bird Deva. My understanding of these is that they are all are variations of group consciousness, ‘held’ by a unifying force and awareness. Of course, ancestral energy is different than devic energy or animal spirit energy, but all are similarly held by a sentient consciousness, a presence or wisdom which we can all connect with and learn from, should we choose to do so.

It is difficult to explain in words but, of course, we must always try. This is what I heard in the dream as I was observing the layers and urging myself to remember when I awoke–for part of me had been ‘awake’ in the dream, quite aware another part of me was sleeping. Everything I saw, felt and heard was alive and throbbing… so many insights were flooding my brain that I knew the best I could do was simply experience as much as I could and hope the gist would be carried back to my waking consciousness.

It was then that I was aware of being in a large meeting hall–not a meeting hall as we know it in our human way, but a spatial meeting hall, a kind of deep down in the ocean or far out in space setting that had a vague Sci-Fi atmosphere yet at the same time was realer than real. I remembered being here before! I remembered many of the beings who were sitting around the tall, elegant meeting tables, which were unlike any I had known. As I looked closer, I realized they were also simple, natural–how was it that we did not know of this design on earth?–and somehow centering.

This was a meeting of the Council of Earth (also known by other names), and the discussion was the ‘Surface People’. Many of us were in attendance as listeners and students. I was mildly surprised to find I was simultaneously sitting on the Council and sitting as an observer, watching, listening, learning. The Council was explaining how those called to know about the Council (which now includes you, as the larger memory is unfolding) are also called to remember we are all members (as always, a funny twist on the word remember, which is to re-member ourselves), and we are all part of something much greater than we normally suspect.

The Council then shared one of their main concerns for the Surface People–those of us living with our consciousness limited to the surface of the planet (or, we might also say, those of us living primarily on the surface of our awareness)–was our resistance to awakening to deeper levels. As a key example, they showed this in terms of the political arena. As an observer of the Council, I sensed dismay at the levels of corruption, fraud, and fixation on money that had diverted so many humans from breaking through to a larger awareness which would allow all of us to genuinely feel our connection not only with the wisdom and delight of our deeper selves and others, but with the earth herself. How could this have happened? And why?

And then, just as a wave of an overwhelming frustration, sadness and overall disappointment threatened to crash over me, I saw a shimmering movement from the Dolphin People. From their minds or beings, they shared an image of the dolphins on earth: joyous creatures leaping and arcing over turquoise waves in the ocean. On a huge flat screen which appeared in front of us, we watched the physical dolphins leaping, clicking, splashing and making backward motions half in the water and half out, until we were all smiling and laughing. This living film then shifted to other animal scenes: a group of ants moving and aerating soil beneath a flower bed; brightly shining bees buzzing from vibrant flower to flower and back to a golden, gleaming hive; dragonflies glittering the sky with their iridescent wings–and I was awash in the group’s responsiveness to the innate beauty and tremendous feeling of gratitude for these small beings who did so much. It was as if our hearts were swelling upward and outward, as if our deeper feelings–the ones we always felt but covered over with so much ‘stuff’–were suddenly coming to light, as if our inner selves were literally illumined and illuminating through our bodies in this joyous state of being.

We watched the Elephant People–such a proud, strong people!–walking majestically through sun-dappled forest. The Fox People showed us their presence in so many parts of the world and we appreciated their fine, delicate movements, their sensitivity to the cycles of the earth, the contours and varying presence of the land. The Raven People, the Polar Bears, the Iguana People, the Crocodiles–each group showed itself like a bubble of consciousness that any one of us could access merely by attuning ourselves and merging in deeper relationship. There was so much! Worlds within worlds–all these bright sparks of awareness, movement, vitality–and these words are merely covers of understanding, for it is not even awareness, movement or vitality as we pretend to know it in our surface way, but a deep, abiding love and connection for who we are in all our totality, with all our connections to our own countless layers of self, and to others, to all the peoples–plant, animal, human, sky, rock and more–of the Earth, and beyond. There is a central pulse of such pleasure for our diverse presence on earth which runs like a song–truly, like a song–throughout our planet. And between these worlds within worlds–which I now saw were not separated at all, but flowing, merging, one into another. I understood not just with my mind, but with my being, that this is how it was all over, even on the surface: when we limit our awareness, the very living of our lives, we see only the separation because we resist the fullness of who we really are. We so fear the greatness, the fullness of the experience of one merging into One, that we limit ourselves. And so we scuttle up to the surface of things, using only one thin fraction of our awareness, diverting our thoughts with so much activity and noise and busy-ness, so as to avoid the truth we all know deep inside.

The dream took several hours to unfold, bits of it reconnecting me like long-forgotten spiritual synapses, depths to surface, a little at a time. “Is there another message?” I asked, but nothing came. While writing about this for Timeless Spirit, I asked again, hoping for a central message or words from the Council to bring through to others. And then I heard, It is enough. You are enough.

As a laugh of deeper being burbled upwards to consciousness, I recalled the Council’s presence–the fullness of what that was: simultaneously being on the Council and watching the Council, hoping to learn more. How is it we are both something so big and something so small? What kind of trickster plan is this? And then I saw it was that way with all of us Surface People, such an extraordinary game we play: pretending not to recognize the truth of belonging flowing constantly through our blood and bones and being, linking us to all the ten thousands things upon the planet.

Our relationship with the earth is thus a relationship of becoming, of waking up from the dreamy game and laughing with elation at the fullness of who we all, really, most sacredly, are. It’s a dream within a dream. Not only are we remembering the Earth; the Earth is re-membering us.

You can read more from Dawn on her website.


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I want to offer you a paradigm shift today:

Don’t set goals. Instead, set yourself up to receive miracles.

When we set a goal, we are often looking for what is realistic, logical, expedient, or profitable.

When we ask for a miracle, on the other hand, it’s always about transformation. Getting from an old place to a completely new place, shifting paradigms, saving lives.

When we want to change the world then (quite a task these days!), what is going to be more useful? Goals? Or miracles?

I’ve had too many times where I set a goal and there was no energy behind it. No spark. No passion.

But when instead, you make the decision to put forth your highest effort, or take a big leap outside of your comfort zone, or go out of your way to help someone in need, or approach a project from an entirely new angle … When you seek help from above in the form of prayer or ceremony or simply asking for the resources that you need …

That’s setting yourself up for a miracle.

So if you think the only thing that’s going to get you unstuck, re-motivated, aligned with your life’s mission, or out of a bad situation is a miracle … You just might be right.

And miracles are available to us.

They happen every day. We know this. We know there is magic afoot, all around us. We know that spiritual teachers and prophets and shamans are not lying about the reality of mystical and non-ordinary experiences. Spiritual awakenings and moments of intense & life-changing insight are not an accident. We’ve all experienced synchronicities that we know are not a coincidence.

So why don’t we think it can happen to us?

It is the old scarcity story? Do we believe that there are not enough miracles to go around?

Guess what … We get to CHOOSE. We have an innate tendency, as human beings, to receive miracles. We just have to decide if we are up for the challenge of welcoming them into our life.

I make it a practice to expect to see and experience miracles & magic every day.

And so I do.

Many of the miracles I experience are small-ish. The way the sun shines through tree branches, creating a perfectly concentric, spiderweb-shaped glow in the middle of winter. A bald eagle flying overhead. A sudden burst of insight or inspiration which is the perfect answer to a question that I was stuck on.

Not so small, really. These are each incredibly amazing in their own right.

But some of the miracles I’ve experienced are BIG. The birth of my children. Quitting my finance job so I can do the work that I love. Talk to amazing people all around the world on Zoom every day. (Video conferencing itself is a miraculous feat – talking to someone on the other side of the world as if you are chatting together in your own living room!) Having a mountain speak to me, first in shamanic journeys … And then manifest into my physical reality. The synchronistic ways that beautiful & inspiring people come into my life at just the right time.

You can set yourself up to receive miracles.

There are PLENTY of them to go around. In fact, the world would be a better & happier place if more of us opened up our arms with full trust & faith to welcome miracles and magic into our lives. You can start today!

Here are 4 ways to set yourself up to receive miracles:

  1. Figure out your life’s purpose. We each hold the key to something the world critically needs. It is our sacred responsibility to find out what our purpose is, and then go and DO it! So don’t wait another day. When you are on the path toward your true life’s purpose, miracles and synchronicities will guide you all along the way. I guarantee it.
  2. Step outside of your comfort zone. We are programmed to recreate the familiar again & again, because it’s safe and predictable. When we jump outside of that comfort zone, we enable our subconscious mind to see that something entirely different is possible and even survivable. Even preferable! So try it! There is no better way to create a huge shift in your life (a miracle) than taking a big courageous step outside of your comfort zone. Outside of the comfort zone is where tremendous growth and transformation occur. Just hold on tight and enjoy the ride!
  3. Take action. This one is really important. The universe is constantly conspiring to send us huge amounts of abundance, but our blocks and low expectations can get in the way. When we take action, we counteract those low expectations, by creating an open pathway for the universe to send us what we’ve been dreaming of. It’s a two-part deal: (1) The universe creates opportunities, and then (2) We need to take action on those opportunities in order to receive the abundance that is meant for us. When you are consistently taking decisive & inspired action, you can expect miracles to begin arriving at your front doorstep.
  4. Know deeply that if you have a desire, there is a reason you feel so passionately about it, and there is a way for you to accomplish it. We are always surrounded by amazing solutions to our problems, solutions that will bring us the happiness, freedom, and income that we need and want; it’s just a matter of SEEING the opportunities that are there. We are each capable of so much more than we perceive on a day to day basis. So let go of that small version of yourself. Open up to your full potential, know that you have these ideas and longings and passions for a very important reason, and seek out those ways to accomplish what you most deeply desire to bring forth into the world.

I know these 4 steps are not easy. They can often bring up fear and doubt. But they are absolutely the TRUTH and once you step into them, big changes ALWAYS start to happen.

The world needs YOU to step out fully on your highest path, bring your life’s purpose to fruition, raise the consciousness & awareness of all the people with whom you come into contact, and make the world a better place, in the way that only YOU can do. All of our children and grandchildren are depending on us to take heart right now, step forward with courage, and do this work. The next 7 generations are counting on us.