Creation Spirituality is a founding principle of the Trinity community since the start of our first nature-based worship service in 1992, and it has been integrated into our theological understanding for many years. Here is a brief primer on the history of the movement and what it means to us today.
Creation Spirituality is an ancient tradition, named and articulated most emphatically beginning in the 1970s by Catholic theologian and priest, Matthew Fox.
Drawing on the experiences, writings and rituals of all wisdom traditions, including indigenous cultures, eastern and western spiritualities and contemporary science, Creation Spirituality runs too deeply and broadly to be considered as “founded” or “invented” by one person, or indeed, one tradition.
From his own perspective as a former Dominican priest, Fox writes: “Creation Spirituality is not a newly invented path, but for twentieth century Westerners it is a newly discovered path.”
He further suggests, “Creation Spirituality is a tradition: it has a past; it has historical and biblical roots; it boasts a communion of saints.”
In his written works, Fox develops the conversation between western spirituality and other traditions (see One River, Many Wells, ISBN-13: 978-1585423262); and with science (see Natural Grace, by Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake ISBN-13: 978-0385483599); and with the passionate creativity of art (see Creativity, ISBN 1-58542-178-2).
The term “Creation Spirituality” was named for Fox in 1967 by the French Theologian MD Chenu, with whom Fox studied at L’Institute Catholique in Paris. Fox’s teaching and writing career led him to discover more deeply the common threads in countless traditions, and the principles of Creation Spirituality came to be named as such as Fox further explored and articulated the tradition.
The national organization Creation Spirituality Communities states that “Creation Spirituality is a way of living within the community of earth that deepens our reverence for life, participates in the creativity of the cosmos, and develops our passion for justice and human transformation.”
There are Six Essentials of Creation Spirituality. They are:
One. The Universe, and all life within it, is fundamentally a blessing. Every creature, every tree, every stone, every star, every human being, and every evolutionary turn is filled with the blessed spark of divine nature. We refer to this understanding as “Original Blessing.”
Two. It is through the work of spiritual practice that we move beyond fear into compassion and discover our deep and true selves. Creation Spirituality is the age-old tradition of listening to the story of spirit told by the creation that embodies it. We listen through deep communion with nature. We listen to the voices of mystics from all spiritual traditions–such as Rumi, Buddha, Hildegard, Black Elk, and Jesus. We also listen to the deep wisdom that bubbles up from our own personal devotions and spiritual practice. And, we listen to the needs and cries of the world that awaken our compassionate hearts and inspire us to take the action needed to bring about justice and peace.
Three. The spiritual journey can be understood as a dance moving in and out of four mystical paths:
– The Path of Awe (known as the Via Positiva)
Wonder, beauty, joy, blessing and mystery of nature and all beings, each of whom is, as Hildegard of Bingen puts it, “a word of God, a mirror of God that glistens and glitters.”
– The Path of Release (known as the Via Negativa)
The beauty of darkness and nothingness, the mystery of creation, the letting go and letting be, the pain and suffering that constitute an equally real part of our spiritual journey.
– The Path of Creativity (known as the Via Creativa)
Creativity, imagination, our generativity as we participate fully in the unfolding story; trusting our images as divine inspiration and more courageously birthing them into existence.
– The Path of Transformation (known as the Via Transformativa)
Individual, cultural, and global transformation made possible through practice and grace, the relief of suffering, the pursuit of justice, the communal celebration to embody and praise the gift of life.
Four. Every one of us carries within us the capacity to be a mystic, to be creative, to be visionary, and to be an agent for positive change. It is our responsibility to cultivate these capacities for the benefit of Earth and all its creatures. Our spiritual practice empowers us to make art, write, speak, work for justice, create ritual, defend the environment, organize, create, and celebrate the gift of being a co-creative participant in the evolving cosmos.
Five. We rejoice in and courageously honor the rich diversity within the Cosmos which is expressed in every individual and embodies multiple cultures, religions, and ancestral traditions. Creation Spirituality draws from eastern, western, and indigenous traditions and from contemporary theologians and scientists, distilling what is essential for evolving thought and practice.
Six. Ecological and social justice are our priorities as the imperative for the healing, sustainability, and harmony among our species and the entire Earth community. Like many creation mystics and activists over the ages, we believe that the aim of spirituality is not just union with the divine, but to leverage our experience of union into the transformation of the world; creating a new beloved world community–including the earth itself–of peace, inclusion, justice, and liberation.
Creation Spirituality Communities, http://creationspirituality.info/
MatthewFox.org, “What is Creation Spirituality?” Accessed 8/14/18. http://www.matthewfox.org/what-is-creation-spirituality/