"There are no magic words to incant, no spiritual laws to memorize, no ruby-slippered heels to click three times. You don’t need to read a hundred new ecotheology books or leave the church or become an animist or pantheist. (But you can if you want to.)
You simply need to learn how to listen. And allow your heart to be broken, just like you do every time you fall in love.
Because the holy is in your place too. You open the gates into this enchanted land, your home, with hands muddied from the soil outside your house and a raw, scabby, and unprotected heart. You enter naked and brave." Church of the Wild prologue
Brief Bio: I am a Wild Church Pastor, an Eco-Spiritual Director, and founder of the Center for Wild Spirituality (aka Seminary of the Wild) and co-founder of the ecumenical Wild Church Network. My book, Church of the Wild: How Nature Invites Us into the Sacred., is an invitation to deepen our commitment to a suffering earth by falling in love with it--and calling it church.
After a long season of wandering, I recently moved to Massanutten, Virginia where deer and squirrels and the deciduous forest invite me back into kindred relationship again and again. I'm very proud of (and miss!) my young adult children, Alec and Ollie, who are wise, creative, tender souls, dedicated to creating a more inclusive, compassionate, and just world. VictoriaLoorz.com
Tell us a bit about who you are and how you came to this work.
After a dozen years in the climate movement, co-founding a youth climate organization with my son, Alec, and twenty years leading “indoor churches,” I have been focused on healing the underlying spiritual crisis of disconnection these past ten years. Collaborating with Mystery and kindred spirits, I am deeply committed to creating opportunities for people to re-member themselves back into intimate, sacred relationship with the rest of the living world.
Share a bit about the lands who raised you, and how your own connection with the natural world has influenced your path?
I didn't realize it until I was writing Church of the Wild. Particular small hidden places near my house raised me just as much as my mother did. I grew up in suburbs in a family who never camped and didn't especially value wilderness. So, my wild places where I felt seen and connected were empty lots where new construction was happening and along small edgezones in manicured neighborhoods. Ladybugs, dandelions finding their own edges to thrive, the little river at the curb when people over-watered their lawns. By the time I was in highschool, the barranca, that i open my book with, became my sanctuary.
Why do you believe a practice of spiritual connection with the earth is important for our time?
It is the foundation of any chance of survival for our species. Sorry to be so intense about it but I just feel that strongly. A foundational worldview shift to a way of being in the world as kin with all other humans and the rest of the planet is necessary for all the other changes that are needed. Nothing less than a kinship worldview will de-throne humans as the top of some made-up and false hierarchy that invites our species to destroy our own home. God it pisses me off so much. We need -- as in we cannot make it through this transition to a new story that allows survival without it -- we NEED deep connection with others who have never forgotten our place in the interconnected, kindred relationship called life, the surviving indigenous and aboriginal peoples. We need deep connection with others who are not human, too. And it's more than just thinking in a new way. It is living in a new way. It is speaking in a new way. Which is actually an ancient way, deeply embedded in our DNA. So we need to create spiritual practices that restore the great conversation. That restore our sacred connection with all of life.
In your experience, what are some of the barriers or challenges individuals or communities face in developing a deeper connection with nature?
We have been raised in a culture of disconnection. Many generations of us have been forced into a system of colonization and empire. We've forgotten who we are and what life is about. We are dealing with generations of fear and trauma. It won't change by simply acknowleging the disconnect. Like healing of all trauma, it takes intention, gentleness, listening, honoring the pain, being witnessed and witnessing, falling in love again.
What practices (big or small) can help heal our disconnection from the natural world?
Wandering. Being open to the gazes of the wild. Spending time. Opening your heart. Creating new spiritual practices of reconnection. Art. Story. Movement, getting into our bodies. Seeing with courage where we are complicit with a destructive system and creating new ways of being. This can't be done alone. We need a community of support, who sees us for who we are and supports us as we remove masks and become more of who we truly are.
What are you looking forward to offering as a guide in Seminary of the Wild Earth?
What a joy it is to watch this movement grow. I'm excited about the beautiful kind gifted courageous people who are drawn into this work. I'm excited to hear more of their stories, to learn from them as we co-create this new story together.