The Fifth Sacred Thing – Starhawk

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It presented a very powerful and personal vision of how society could be. Not utopian, still with challenges, still hard, still taking work, still real. But with virtually no oppression or suffering. It’s possible.
Engaging and gripping to the end. I highly recommend it.

  • The Declaration of the four sacred things
    • The earth is a living, conscious being. in company with cultures of many different times and places, we name these things as sacred: air, fire, water, and earth.
      Whether we see them as the breath, energy, blood, and body of the Mother, or as the blessed gifts of a Creator, or as symbols of the interconnected systems that sustain life, we know that nothing can live without them.
      To call these things sacred is to say that they have a value beyond their usefulness for human ends, that they themselves become the standards by which our acts, our economics, our law,s and our purposes must be judged. no one has the right to approbate them or profit from them at the expense of others. any government that fails to protect them forgets its legitimacy.
      All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. no one of us stands higher or lower than any other. only justice can assure balance: only ecological balance can sustain freedom. only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity.
      to honor the sacred is to create conditions in which nourishment, sustenance, habit, knowledge, freedom, and beauty can thrive. to honor the sacred is to make love possible.
      to this we dedicate our curiosity, our will, our courage, our silences, and our voices. to this we dedicate our lives.
  • when something is sacred, it can’t be bought or sold. it is beyond price, and nothing that might harm it is worth doing. what is sacred becomes the measure by which everything is judged. and this is our measure, and our vow to the life-renewing rain: we will not be wasters but healers.
  • “What if you don’t agree?”
    “We keep talking about it until we do agree. it works out”
    “what if it doesn’t?”
    “it always does. it has to, because we know what the alternative is.
    “the Stewards, or something like them.”
  • the means shape the ends. you become what you do.
  • I’ve read a lot about incest and child abuse, but we don’t have a climate of secrecy and shame that lets it go on for any length of time.i’m not saying it never happens, but nothing supports it. the same with rape. our men aren’t raised to believe they have the right to rape. in fact, we consider it the most shameful, degraded thing a man could do.
  • “Do you have police?”
    We find it’s better not to assign that role to any one group of people. For one thing, they generally aren’t around when you really need them, and for another, they ted to abuse their power. Instead, we’re all trained in self-defense, and as we get older we get more advanced Peacekeeper trainings – how to intervene in a heated conflict, how to restrain somebody. if there’s a fight, let’s say, which happens from time to time although it’s fairly rare, whoever happens to be around will take care of it.
  • We honor our ancestors, but we don’t think a lot about race exactly. we consider it a concept designed to separate people. we try to honor all our different heritages and histories. diversity is part of our strength. it enriches us.
  • We did it the long, slow way. it took lifetimes to lay the groundwork for it. some of the old ones spent their whole lives talking, organizing, trying one thing after another, never expecting to see real change. some of them didn’t. the Uprising seemed to happen in an instant, but it was half a century in the making.
  • they’re not so different from you and me. they just don’t have the same vision to hold on to. without a vision, human beings are nasty creatures.