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Thoughts on Nature

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S: Thoughts on Nature

BC: "When we speak of Nature it is wrong to forget that we are ourselves a part of Nature. We ought to view ourselves with the same curiosity and openness with which we study a tree, the sky or a thought, because we too are linked to the entire universe. | Modern man's difficulties, dangerous beliefs, and feelings of loneliness, spiritual emptiness, and personal weakness are caused by his illusions about, and separation from, the natural world. | - Henri Matisse

FC: Thoughts on Nature Maren Bollinger

1: Have humans gone too far when it comes to our deteriorating relationship with nature? Is religion to blame? Or is it human nature; our greed, our blindness towards the consequences of our actions, and our slow response to gradual problems? Where did the "green man" go? | Can we fix things? How far are we prepared to go? Is it too late? And what will it take? | Thoughts on Nature

2: "A jaguar hurrying enraged Through prison darkness after the drills of his eyes On a short fierce fuse. Not in boredom— The eye satisfied to be blind in fire, By the bang of blood in the brain deaf the ear— ...there’s no cage to him" - Ted Hughes, The Jaguar | Me and Nature | Spirit animal: Jaguar | My element - I have two: fire and water

3: Sacred Grove | Gladiators Killing Animals | Human Relationship with Nature in Ancient Times | The Romans would bring in exotic animals for gladiators to kill as people watched. | Diana Nemorensis Grove Nemi, Italy | These groves were considered the realms of certain gods and goddesses, a people did not want to offend them, so they were respectful to the nature within the groves.

4: "The yew is similar to these other trees in general appearance... [The berry] is possessed of so active a poison, [it is said] that those who sleep beneath it, or even take food there, are sure to meet their death from it." | "...where the buds push forth amidst the bark... and- no long time- behold! To heaven upshot with teeming boughs, the tree strange leaves admires and fruitage not its own." | The Yew -Pliny, The Natural History | The Ancient | -Virgil, Georgics

5: A Kid was perched up on the top of a house, and looking down saw a Wolf passing under him. Immediately he began to revile and attack his enemy. "Murderer and thief," he cried, "what do you here near honest folks' houses? How dare you make an appearance where your vile deeds are known?" "Curse away, my young friend," said the Wolf. "It is easy to be brave from a safe distance." | "...earth, fire, water, air, plants, animals; to these may be added all things produced from them, such as showers, hail, thunders, hurricanes, and winds." | Aesop, The Wolf and the Kid | Writers | Plutarch, Concerning Nature, Book 1

6: Dear World, | You have known me as Jack the Green, Robin Goodfellow, the Oak Man, and countless other names. I am the eyes you see in the bushes, the whispers you hear in the wind, and the eavesdropper you sense in silence. I am your companion in the forest. I am the link to nature that you have left behind. Do not forget me, -the Green Man

7: Robin Hood Robin Hood was an outlaw who "took from the rich and gave to the poor". He dressed in green and lived in the forest. It is possible that the traditions of the Green Man and the Wild Man influenced the growth of the Robin Hood legend. Oak King and Holly King They are the physical manifestation of the seasons. The Oak King symbolizes summer, while the Holly King is winter. The two fight an endless battle, and their deaths and rebirths create the seasons. | Herne the Hunter Herne was a king's Keeper, and one day he was fatally wounded while hunting. A strange man appeared and saved his life, but Herne had antlers attached to his head in the process. The other Keepers bribed the man to take away Herne's hunting skills, so the king demoted Herne, and he hung himself in shame. Later, the other hunters were forced to join his eternal hunt. Herne became a wild, nocturnal, horned huntsman, and it was said that his coming was announced by the baying of his hounds and the blast of his horn, in search of souls to carry away. Cernunnos This Celtic god was like a peaceful, non-hunting version of Herne. | Different Manifestations and Aspects of the Green Man in Legend and Literature

8: Earth | Fire | Earth spirits are called Gnomes. | Fire spirits are called Salamanders . | Air spirits are called Sylphs. | Water spirits are called Undines. | Air | Water | Elementals

9: Birch - 1st Moon (Dec. 24 - Jan. 21) Rowan - 2nd Moon (Jan. 22 - Feb. 18) Ash - 3rd Moon (Feb. 19 - March 17) Alder - 4th Moon (March 18 - April 14) Furze - Tree of the Spring Equinox (approx. March 20) | Willow - 5th Moon (April 15 - May 12) Hawthorn - 6th Moon (May 13 - June 9) Oak - 7th Moon (June 10 - July 7) Heather - Tree of the Summer Solstice (approx. June 20) Holly - 8th Moon (July 8 - Aug. 4) | Hazel - 9th Moon (Aug. 5 - Sept. 1) Vine - 10th Moon (Sept. 2 - Sept. 29) Poplar - Tree of the Fall Equinox (approx. Sept. 22) Ivy - 11th Moon (Sept. 30 - Oct. 27) Reed - 12th Moon (Oct. 28 - Nov. 24) | Elder - 13th Moon (Nov. 25 - Dec. 23) Yew - Tree of the day before the Winter Solstice (approx. Dec. 21) Fir - Tree of the day of the Winter Solstice Mistletoe - Tree of the day after the Winter Solstice (approx. Dec. 23) | Celtic Wheel of the Year

10: “The pine woods that seemed in the darkness to be closing down upon us, great masses of greyness which here and there bestrewed the trees, produced a peculiarly weird and solemn effect, which carried on the thoughts and grim fancies..." -Bram Stoker, Dracula | “Letting the eyes follow along the course of the stream, they could catch the reflected light from its water, at some short distance within the forest, but soon lost all traces of it amid the bewilderment of tree-trunks and underbrush... All these giant trees and boulders of granite seemed intent on making a mystery.” -Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter | “Beyond the fence the forest stood up spectrally in the moonlight, and through that dim stir, through the faint sounds of that lamentable courtyard, the silence of the land went home to one's very heart—its mystery, its greatness, the amazing reality of its concealed life.” -Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness | Forests in Literature | Scary and Dangerous | Neutral | Beautiful and Mysterious

11: Ash - sacrifice, sensitivity, and higher awareness | Birch - new beginnings and cleansing of the past | Elder - birth, death, and the fairy realm | Fir - springtime and immortality | Hazel - hidden wisdom, dousing and divination | Holly - protection, overcoming of anger and spiritual warrior | Oak - strength and courage | Rowan - healing, mystery, and visions into the worlds beyond | Sacred Trees

12: Unicorn | Werewolf | Basilisk | A person who transforms into a wolf in nature and appearance under the influence of a full moon. The werewolf is only active at night. | According to legend, there are two species of Basilisk. The first kind burns everything it approaches, and the second kind can kill every living thing with a mere glance. Both species are so dreadful that their breath wilts vegetation and shatters stones. The only way to kill a basilisk is by holding a mirror in front of its eyes, while avoiding to look directly at it. | In the European Middle Ages, a bestiary was a collection of stories, each based on a description of certain qualities of real or mythical animal. | The unicorn is a legendary animal. It is usually portrayed as a slender, white horse with a spiraling horn on its forehead. It was usually considered wild and untamable.

13: The Selkies are marine creatures in the shape of a seal. A female can shed her skin and come ashore as a beautiful woman. When she recovers the skin, she will immediately return to sea. The male Selkies are responsible for storms and also for the sinking of ships, which is their way of avenging the hunting of seals. | Selkies | Dragon | In Irish or Scottish folklore, the Banshee is a spirit or fairy who foretells a death by wailing. She visits a household and by wailing she warns them that a member of their family is about to die. When a Banshee is caught, she is obliged to tell the name of the doomed. She has long streaming hair and is dressed in a gray cloak over a green dress. Her eyes are fiery red from the constant weeping. | Banshee | Dragons are typically depicted as huge lizards, larger than elephants on average. Most dragons are magical creatures in nature and have the ability to breathe fire.

14: My little sisters, the birds, much bounden are ye unto God, your Creator, and always in every place ought ye to praise Him, for that He hath given you liberty to fly about everywhere, and hath also given you double and triple rainment; moreover He preserved your seed in the ark of Noah, that your race might not perish out of the world; | St. Francis, Sermon to the Birds | Medieval/Christian Europe | till more are ye beholden to Him for the element of the air which He hath appointed for you; beyond all this, ye sow not, neither do you reap; and God feedeth you, and giveth you the streams and fountains for your drink; the mountains and valleys for your refuge and the high trees whereon to make your nests; and because ye know not how to spin or sow, God clotheth you, you and your children; wherefore your Creator loveth you much, seeing that He hath bestowed on you so many benefits; and therefore, my little sisters, beware of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praises unto God.

15: Near the end of the year, Gawain travels in search of the Green Chapel. He finds a castle in the wilderness, and the lord of the castle asks Gawain to stay until New Year's Day, because the Green Chapel is nearby. The lord proposes an agreement: He will go out hunting while Gawain stays at the castle, and the two men will exchange whatever they have gained at the end of the day. This exchange takes place over three days. Each day, the lord goes out hunting, while the lady of the castle tries to seduce Gawain. Gawain politely refuses, although he does give her some kisses. Finally, she offers him a magic belt that will protect the life of any man who wears it. Gawain repays the lord his lady's kisses, but he does not mention the belt. The next day Gawain goes Green Chapel. The Green Knight raises his axe to cut off Gawain's head, but twice he draws back. The third time, the Green Knight barely cuts Gawain on the neck. The Green Knight reveals that he was Gawain's host and that his appearance as the Knight was made possible by Morgan le Fay. He tells Gawain that the first two blows were for the first two days of their agreement, when Gawain fairly repaid him his wife's kisses. The small cut was for accepting the belt and concealing it. Overcome with shame, Gawain acknowledges his fault and wears the belt to remind him of his fault. When he returns to Camelot, King Arthur decrees that the entire court wears green sashes, as confession of all of their faults. | Sir Gawain and the Green Knight | At Christmas, a knight who is completely green rides into King Arthur's hall. He challenges any knight brave enough to cut off his head, but that man must accept a return stroke in one year. Gawain accepts the challenge and cuts off the Green Knight's head. The knight picks up his severed head and leaves, telling Gawain to look for the Green Chapel. | a summary

16: If a crime or sin has been done, judgment is based upon the intent, and not just the action itself. If a person (or animal) has done wrong without meaning to, then they are not considered guilty, while a person or animal, with the intent of doing harm, is guilty. | During the Middle Ages, animals, domestic and wild, were tried and sometimes executed for destroying crops, attacking people, and other crimes against humanity. The offending animal could have a lawyer, and was given a formal trial. If found guilty, they could be executed, exiled, excommunicated, or given an exorcism. | Doctrine of Intent | Doctrine of Intent and Animal Trials | Animal Trials

17: Many wealthy families in during the Renaissance had a cabinet of curiosities. These were collections (a sort of private museum) of types of objects whose categorical boundaries were yet to be defined. | Cabinet of Curiosities

18: Doctrine of Signatures and Botanical Symbolism | The Doctrine of Signatures was used as a form of medicine in renaissance and medieval times. It was the idea that a plant looks similar to what it is trying to help or cure. The implied relationships were gotten through appearance, taste, texture, smell, shape, color, or habitat.

19: Nature and Gardens in the Renaissance | During the Renaissance, nature was viewed as a reflection of the divine. Botanical symbolism was included in much of the religious art of the day and medieval gardens were often created with both symbolic and spiritual meanings. | Garden of Eden Jan Bruegel, 1612 | Primavera, Sandro Botticelli, 1482

20: Botanical | During the late renaissance period, a mixture between art and botanical science was emerging: botanical realism. While natural philosophers had done sketches for centuries, this new form was concentrated on the pictures, not just simple illustrations. This was also a chance for women to become more involved in science.

21: Realism | One such woman was Maria Sibylla Merian. She was a German scientist who painted, in realistic detail, plants and insects, and published her works for other to see. Maria traveled to different countries in order to paint, and she was one of the first scientists to study living plants, instead of dead specimens.

22: Enlightenment and the Romanticism of Nature | The Romantic period was when nature was seen as divine, and, later, began to be associated as female. However, the enlightenment was going to introduce another view. It gave the concept that humans should have complete control over nature.

23: The Study of Nature | The disenchantment of nature began when nature started to be studied in a scientific way.

24: The Scientific Revolution | Scientists wanted to find the order in the chaos of nature. The Scientific Revolution is when the death of nature began, as well as further suppression of women. Local healers and midwives were replaced with doctors, and women were kept away from education.

25: Dominion Over Nature | "They [animals] could never use words or other signs arranged in such a manner as is competent to us in order to declare our thoughts to others: for we may easily conceive a machine to be so constructed that it emits vocables, and even that it emits some correspondent to the action upon it of external objects... for example, if touched in a particular place... it may cry out that it is hurt." | - Descartes, Discourse on Method | "We have great lakes, both salt and fresh, whereof we have use for the fish and fowl... We also have pools, of which some do strain fresh water out of salt... We have... violent streams and cataracts, which serve us... | - Bacon, New Atlantis | As humans became more separated from nature, they began to believe that it was created for their use. For example, Descartes wanted to justify experiments on living animals because he said they had no pain. Bacon serves as a good example of how people began to use nature, and did not regard it as more than a tool for their use.

26: Woman as | Caring and Nurturing | "Here nature sees her fairest forms more fair; Owns them as hers, yet owns herself excelled By what herself produced" -Gilpin | Nature was feminized because it was seen as possessing the same qualities as woman at the time when most of the romantic writing was produced.Women were seen as being pious, moral, pure, gentle, kind, graceful, simple, and beautiful. Men were seen as hard-working, rational, assertive, independent, and proud; one of these could be easily connected to nature. Also, since women were seen as responsible for reproduction and fertility, it could be associated with nature. This idea of the connection between women and nature goes back to ancient times, and appears in mythology around the world.

27: Nature | Wild and Chaotic | "The sublime is specifically a male achievement gained through women as female objects or through female nature..." | During the Romantic period, sublimity was mostly associated with the presence of Nature, conceived as feminine and maternal, but sometimes destructive.

28: Humanism and Transcendentalism | One humanist view was that humans were included within nature. A form of Humanism was Transcendentalism, an idea made famous by Emerson and Thoreau. | Transcendentalism developed at the same time as the beginnings of conservation were beginning in the United States, with the ideas establishing national parks and not scarring the nature in the exploitation of resources. “Environmentalism” was not the same as it is now, but more mystical, with emphasis on the beauty present in nature as it is, and not how we would mold it to be.

29: The Beauty of Nature Pastoral Images of 18th Century England

30: Zoos | The first public zoo in England was opened in the 16th century, under Elizabeth I. During the 18th century, the price of admission was three half-pence, or the supply of a cat or dog for feeding to the lions. A zoo in Versailles, France appeared in the 17th century. | Zoos (also known as zoological parks, zoological gardens, or a menageries) have been around since ancient times. By 4th century B.C.E., zoos existed in many Greek city-states | Modern zoos are putting increasing attention into recreating the animals' natural habitats.

31: Managing Nature | National Parks | To prevent parts of the "wilderness" from being destroyed, many countries have create national parks. These are funded and managed by the government. They help preserve the land from the devastation people cause by strip mining, logging, building dams, hunting, and more pollution

32: Nature vs Culture | Grass seeds and blades are a part of nature, but when they become "lawn," they are culture. When seeds are bred for certain attributes, they move from natural to artificial. Scrub brush is removed to maintain grasslands for grazing sheep and wildflowers. Natural features can be a product of human choice. We may perceive natural environments to be unaltered, but they may have been transformed by natural or artificial forces. | Examples

33: The International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List revealed that one in four of the world’s 5,487 known mammal species was at risk of extinction. Humans are the main cause of this. Human caused extinctions is estimated to be between 100 and 1,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. Only 869 extinctions have been formally recorded since 1500, however, there are 208 species that are "possibly extinct", and some animals are considered "extinct in the wild". | These four are either critically endangered or vulnerable | Extinctions

34: Recreating Nature Now | We have begun creating and protecting parks, recycling, conserving wildlife and endangered species, and numerous other things to bring back nature.

35: "The 'control of nature' is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man." | My Views of Nature Reflected in Quotes | - Rachel Carson | Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. | - John Lubbock | In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia. | - Charles Lindbergh

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  • Title: Thoughts on Nature
  • Western Thought II
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  • Started: about 7 years ago
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