I won another book from Weiser/Red Wheel books that I was already planning on buying. This time it was John Michael Greer's Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth. I am a happy Fern. I have been a JMG fan for about a decade now, having 'met' him on the Order of the White Oak e-mail list, then reading his books, reading his weekly blog here on Blogspot , and meeting him for the first time at the Between The Worlds conference in Delaware in 2008. Yes, I'm a JMG fangirl, even as I disagree with him on any number of things.
So I CONSUMED this short book when it arrived. The environmental themes are familiar to those of us who read his blog - but while his his blog is about environmental and fuel energy changes happening around us and how to adjust to them, his book is not on on those changes.
What JMG does in this book is explain the teachings of mystery schools (he is a member of several and has studied others) in the language of the environment. Now, a whole lot of neopagans describe their religions as "Earth" or "Nature" religions, but this book in unique in demonstrating the teachings using a meadow and all the many and varied ecological systems in it to flesh out the teachings.
Keeping the tradition of having 7 laws he traces wholeness, flow, balance, limits, cause and effect, the Planes, and evolution thru' nature. Then he examines the spiritual ecology of Magic, Initiation, and History. Along the way he patiently explains why the mysteries have to be explained differently for different audiences, clears out misconceptions embodied in the idea that the individual and the individual alone creates their own reality, and perhaps most importantly points out that simple is not the same as easy.
That last point is one to remember as you read the book. The truths explained in it are simple, but not particularly easy to fully understand. Some of them could have used more explanation and details, in my never humble opinion. Heck, I had to have the Chubby Hubby remind me of the difference in energy creation (via nuclear power) vs energy stored and released (via coal) .... which was an interesting conversation in the Urgent Care Clinic while waiting to get antibiotics for the CH's abscessed tooth.
I totally recommend the book, but for those who are new to environmental systems theory and/or the teachings of mystery schools .... you may need to read it, do more research and study, and then read it again to get the most out of it. I'm certainly going to have to read it more than once myself.