The Monarch Bear institute - 2002 Founding Statement

The following document is a mission statement written and sent out April, 2003 to a group of people who are involved in creating the Monarch Bear institute. This document will give you an idea of our philosophy and purpose.

Dear Friends of Rodney Karr that are working with him in the formation of an EcoSpirituality Institute. Several of us were able to meet last Saturday afternoon and have agreed to continue working together on several major projects. These projects are:

  1. To establish a legal 501c3 institute that will oversee the operations of the various aspects of the work of the institution. This will take about one year to finalize. A suggested name was the Monarch Bear institute.
  2. In the meantime we are seeking another 501c3 non-profit to work with us during the establishment phase. Suggested were -, and Michael Gorman's institute. We also may want to try the Tides institute. (Michael and Steve please contact Roger Wharton 408-605-1687).
  3. To work to protect the Monarch Bear Grove and make it a model project, similar to the AIDS grove for public land restoration and sacred use.
  4. To work to develop the Sierra County land as a retreat and sacred land trust.
  5. To work to develop methods, means, and the will to preserve sacred lands.
  6. To develop a "Teacher's Circle" which would encourage and enable various teachers to work together in presenting programs, workshops, institutes and to promote their individual learning opportunities. (ecospiritual, poetic, artistic, etc.) This is the project that we spent the most time on because it is the easiest to bring to fruition. [Rodney will get advertising deadlines for Open Exchange, Common Ground, etc.]

Some of the ideas DISCUSSED (please note these are only ideas that we talked about, not decisions).

  • It would be a member group.
  • There would be a membership fee to pay for joint expenses such as insurance, advertising and web site development and maintenance.
  • Each prospective member of the Teacher's Circle are asked to use this e-mail distribution list to present to the group the following: 1) A short bio. 2) Suggested course names and short descriptions for course to be taught this fall. 3) A suggested name and mission statement for this teacher's circle and/or the institute. 4) Please bring all of the above to the next meeting.

Draft Mission Statement for "The Institute" by Rodney Karr

This is a rough draft meant to stimulate comments, additions, and input.

Over the last 6 months the purposes, foci and philosophy of this project have gradually, organically and slowly become clarified.

It is now time to express our philosophy and address and define who we are, who we will appeal to and who we are not.
1. We are animistic. We believe spirit manifests in, and is present in all matter.
2. We are democratic and non-hierarchical, i.e. we are not anthropocentric. Rather we believe the cosmos is inhabited by many other living and spiritual beings who have their own consciousness.
3. We cooperate with the universe, seeking alliances with other beings for mutual benefits and purposes rather than forms of the 18th and 19th century magic, which often attempted to dominate and control other beings for "self". We reject the Industrial Revolution's war against all Life and the devaluation of life and nature for the purpose of serving certain individuals' bottomless greed. We practice the traditional Celtic Faery traditions, beliefs and practices of the Alliance between Human, Human Ancestors, Faery, and Creatures as a model for our own work.
4. We are dualistic and holistic. We believe in being inclusive of all polarities, of dark and light. The whole is Dark and Light and must be balanced. We reject the polarity tradtitions which create war between polarities and support the conquest of Dark over Light or of Light over Dark and thereby create conflict and war rather than cooperation and balances.
5. We believe in and support the worldwide shamanistic belief in the concept of Overworld (star realm and solar realm), Middleworld (material world-earth and moon realm) and Underworld (realms of archetypes, ancestors, Faery, the dead and the many other worlds - the inner realm). Nature and the universe are our Teachers, and mother and father, not our servants. We wish to promote a loving serving relationship for humanity and ourselves with the universe rather than the current mechanistic, demeaning user-relationship humanity has come to practice towards the universe.
6. We honor and respect all religious and spiritual traditions and all beings' right to choose rather than be forced to follow a religion. We honor all manifestations and faces of Deity including Jesus Christ, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, Isis, Danu, et al. We honor all human beings regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, culture or religion.
7. Our primary focus, appeal and support, however, will be for the underworld; western mysteries and earth based (nature based) spiritual traditions and approaches. It is our belief that for the last two thousand years the dominant world religions of "the people of the book" (Muslims, Christians and Jews) as well as Buddhists have been overworld (stellar and solar) in their primary focus and denied and denigrated the "underworld" and the middleworld as spiritual realms equal to the solar realm. There are exceptions to this in Christianity (e.g. the Rosicrucians, Knights of Templar and certain mystics such as St. John of the Cross and Teilhard de Chardin et al.); in Muslim tradition (e.g. Sufism); and in Buddhism (e.g. Tibetan Buddhism, etc.). It is not that we deny the Starry Heaven or Solar Realm, rather we say that we need to emphasize the underworld realm, which has been demonized and denigrated and denied, in order to bring balance. This position is compatible with Depth Psychologists such as Jung's emphasis upon the shadow and the collective unconscious and Freud's emphasis upon the Id and the unconscious (which are really aspects of underworld consciousness).
8. It is our belief that our philosophy is congruent with various nature-wisdom spiritual traditions, which see God spirit present within all nature and creation.

9. Our focus is Nature based. We plan to teach the lessons of nature of the 8 seasons of the earth's year, of the elements of the material world: earth, air, fire, water and spirit. Additionally, we intend to teach the lessons of the 7 Sacred Directions: 1. north, 2. south, 3. east, 4. west. 5. below, 6. within, and 7. above and the Lessons of the Living: 1. The creatures (animals, trees, plants, et al.), 2. Faery (elemental beings), 3. Human Ancestors.
10. We wish to help people to remember and practice the belief that all arts are at their core inspirational and spiritual in nature. Art is a primary spiritual process of healing connection, inspiration and transformation. It is our goal to help our culture reclaim the conscious spiritual nature of all arts: poetry, music, dance, film, visual arts, theater, writing, etc.

The institute is to have 5 parts:

  1. Education-providing a place for teachers to teach our traditions.
  2. Networking-providing a place for teachers of various traditions to come together to teach, know and respect both each other and our traditions.
  3. To be a land trust to receive land and steward it for spiritual and artistic purposes.
  4. To provide places in nature for creatives to go and retreat, and live to encourage inspiration and dialog from divine nature.
  5. To create a stewardship trust to take over management of care of the Monarch Bear Grove Golden Gate Park (modeled after the National AIDS Memorial Grove, which is next to it).

Also, the Grove would be dedicated to honoring the 12th century Spanish monastery Stones, from Santa Maria de Ovila, a chapter house of the Cistercian order, blessed by St. Martin in the 13th century. The stones have been present since 1931, when William Randolph Hearst gave them to Golden Gate Park, and the De Young Museum.