The (b)earth of a gendered eco-spirituality
In this chapter, the authors rely on three different settings to propose a reflection on recently observed challenges of a secular view of ecology as mainly a technical subject. They analyse the ways in which actors in a Maya renewal in Mexico, a Swiss ecospiritual movement claiming an “inner transition”, and in Damanhur an eco-esoteric community in Piedmont, Italy, frame environmentalist or ecological concerns within religious (including spiritual and esoteric) views, approaches, practices or symbols. In all three settings, ritual actions linked to nature or cultural cosmological references to the earth produce essentialized ideas about gender. In each setting, notions and metaphors such as a “sacred feminine” (Fedele 2013), or the articulation of a gender polarity as a key to “harmonization” with nature, are present in an idealized form. Such idealizations of relationships are quite common among “New Age” spiritualities, which join gender and ecological concerns. Although these three settings are very distant geographically, in this chapter we have chosen to discuss them side by side as they are globally interconnected by the circulation of actors, symbols and imaginaries.