(Originally published in 1989 under the title: ‘Earthmind: A modern adventure in ancient wisdom’)
Harper and Row 1992 248pp
Reviewed by Howard Jones
This is a story of the new global consciousness that was inspired by the view of Earth from space and which was represented metaphorically by James Lovelock as the Earth goddess, Gaia. These events were contemporary with the awakening by ordinary people in the West to eastern wisdom in the 1960s and 1970s. It ushered in the New Age and Green revolutions. Ever since, there has been a much greater concern to care for our earthly environment and a slow development in human consciousness to see our lives in a more spiritual context. As Devereux says, For a whole cultural attitude to alter, we have to change more than our industrial processes – we have to change our minds. The sad fact is that while many ordinary people care passionately about what happens to the planet, our politicians are concerned only with economic results that will gain them re-election.
Devereux is an English environmentalist and research fellow at the International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL) group at Princeton University, and his co-authors are fellow environmentalists. He is a founding editor of the academic publication, Time & Mind – The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture and he has written 26 books since 1979.
The authors lament the disrespect we now show the Earth and attribute this change in attitude to the replacement of female nature goddesses by an authoritarian male deity. Our culture has now forgotten how to live in harmony with the planet. To our ancestors, Earth was reborn every moment in some new incarnation of the life force. Today we have to rely on shamans to transmit the wisdom of the Dreamtime to our normal consciousness. The pagan belief in the Earth as a living organism was crushed by the advance of Christianity. The emergence of the materialist philosophy of science and the economic demands of the Industrial Revolution from the Renaissance onward made respect for the Earth an anachronistic irrelevance. During the Reformation, the Christians in England were intent upon wiping out any lingering belief in witchcraft or the supernatural – unless of course it was the supernatural of Christianity.
This book presents quite a different take on the rape of the Earth from that which we usually read, though its main theme is depressingly familiar. The authors make much of the effect on mind of the electromagnetic properties of the Earth and its rocks. They believe that communication with the Earthmind or anima mundi can best be achieved at sacred sites, facilitated by the crystal structures within the dolmens there. However, the authors believe there are hopeful signs of a revival of belief in paganism and in Earth’s spirituality, which would contribute to lessening our desecration of our planetary home. The key to such a consciousness revolution rests, in the opinion of the authors, with acceptance of the existence of a universal field of consciousness and our spiritual integration with it – what Peter Russell (The Awakening Earth) described as the Gaiafield and which Devereux calls Earthmind.
The book is an intriguing mixture of environmental, biological and physical science, with a dash of politics and religion, but the subjects are forged together skillfully and in a novel way; the message overall is encouraging.